Golden Chain 7443
7443 Mc 14,43-52
(p. 297) Bede: After that our Lord had prayed three times, and had obtained by His prayers that the fear of the Apostles should be amended by future repentance, He, being tranquil as to His Passion, goes to His persecutors, concerning the coming of whom the Evangelist says, "And immediately, while he yet spake, cometh Judas Iscariot, on of the twelve."
Theophylact: This is not put without reason, but to the greater conviction of the traitor, since though he was of the chief company amongst the disciples, he turned himself to furious enmity against our Lord.
There follows: "And with him a great multitude with swords and staves from the Chief Priests and the Scribes and the elders."
Pseudo-Jerome: For he who despairs of help from God, has recourse to the power of the world.
Bede: But Judas had still something of the shame of a disciple, for he did not openly betray Him to His persecutors, but by the token of a kiss.
Wherefore it goes on: "And he that betrayed Him had given them a token, saying, Whomsoever I shall kiss, that same is he; take him, (p. 298) and lead him away safely."
Theophylact: See how in his blindness he thought to deceive Christ by the kiss, so as to be looked upon by Him as His friend. But if thou wert a friend, Judas, how didst thou come with His enemies? But wickedness is ever without foresight.
It goes on: "And as soon as he was come, he goeth straightway to Him, and saith, Master, master; and kissed Him."
Pseudo-Jerome: Judas gives the kiss as a token, with poisonous guile, just as Cain offered a crafty, reprobate sacrifice.
Bede: With envy and with a wicked confidence, he calls Him master, and gives Him a kiss, in betraying Him. But the Lord receives the kiss of the traitor, not to teach us to deceive, but lest he should seem to avoid betrayal, and at the same time to fulfil that Psalm, "Among them that are enemies unto peace, I labour for peace." (Ps 120,5)
It goes on: "And they laid hands on Him, and took Him."
Pseudo-Jerome: This is the Joseph who was sold by his brethren (Ps 105,18), and into whose soul the iron entered. (note: this passage not found in the Venice ed. of the Pseudo-Jerome)
There follows: "And one of them that stood by drew a sword, and smote a servant of the High Priest, and cut off his ear."
Bede: Peter did this, as John declares, with the same ardent mind with which he did all things; for he knew how Phineas had by punishing sacrilegious persons received the reward of righteousness and of perpetual priesthood.
Theophylact: Mark conceals his name, lest he should seem to be praising his master for his zeal for Christ. Again, the action of Peter points out that they were disobedient and unbelieving, despising the Scriptures; for if they had ears to hear the Scriptures, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory. But he cut off the ear of a servant of the High Priest, for the Chief Priests especially passed over the Scriptures, like disobedient servants.
It goes on: "And Jesus answered and said unto them, Are ye come out, as against a thief, with swords and with staves to take me?"
Bede: As if He had said, it is foolish to seek with swords and staves Him, who offers Himself to you of His own accord, and to search, as for one who hides Himself, by night and by means of a traitor, for Him who taught daily in the temple.
Theophylact: This, however, is a proof of His divinity, for when He taught in the temple they were unable to take Him, (p. 299) although He was in their power, because the time of His Passion had not yet come; but when He Himself was willing, then He gave Himself up, that the Scriptures might be fulfilled, "for he was led as a lamb to the slaughter," not crying nor raising His voice, but suffering willingly.
It goes on: "And they all forsook Him and fled."
Bede: In this is fulfilled the word, which the Lord had spoken, that all His disciples should be offended in Him that same night.
There follows: "And there followed Him a certain young man, having a linen cloth cast about his naked body," that is, he had no other clothing but this linen cloth.
It goes on: "And they laid hold on him, and he left the linen cloth, and fled from them naked." That is, he fled from them, whose presence and whose deeds he abhorred, not from the Lord, for Whom his love remained fixed in his mind, when absent from Him in body.
Pseudo-Jerome: Just as Joseph left his mantle behind him, and fled naked from the wanton woman; so also let him, who would escape the hands of the evil ones, quit in mind all that is of the world, and fly after Jesus.
Theophylact: It appears probable that this young man was of that house, where they had eaten the Passover. But some say that this young man was James, the brother of our Lord, who was called Just; who after the ascension of Christ received from the Apostles the throne of the bishopric of Jerusalem.
Greg., Mor. 14, 49: Or, he says this of John, who, although he afterwards returned to the cross to hear the words of the Redeemer, at first was frightened and fled.
Bede: For that he was a young man at that time, is evident from his long sojourn in the flesh. Perhaps he escaped from the hands of those who held him for the time, and afterwards got back his garment and returned, mingling under cover of the darkness with those who were leading Jesus, as though he was one of them, until he arrived at the door of the High Priest, to whom he was known, as he himself testifies in the Gospel. But as Peter, who washed away the sin of his denial with the tears of penitence, shews the recovery of those who fall away in time of martyrdom, so the other disciples who prevented their actual seizure, teach the prudence of flight to those who feel themselves unequal to undergo tortures. (p. 300)
7453 Mc 14,53-59
Gloss: The Evangelist had related above how our Lord had been taken by the servants of the Priests. Now he begins to relate how He was condemned to death in the house of the High Priest.
Wherefore it is said: "And they led Jesus away to the High Priest."
Bede: He means by the High Priest, Caiaphas, who (as John writes) was High Priest that year, of whom Josephus relates that he bought his priesthood of the Roman Emperor.
There follows: "And with him were assembled all the Chief Priests and the elders and the scribes."
Pseudo-Jerome: Then took place the gathering together of the bulls among the heifers of the people. (Ps 67,31, Vulgate)
It goes on: "And Peter followed Him afar off, even into the palace of the High Priest."
For though fear holds him back, love draws him on.
Bede: But rightly does he follow afar off, who is just about to betray Him; for he could not have denied Christ if he had remained close to Him.
There follows: "And he sat with the servants, and warmed himself at the fire."
Pseudo-Jerome: He warms himself at the fire in the hall, with the servants. The hall of the High Priest is the enclosure of the world, the servants are the devils, with (p. 301) whom whosoever remains cannot weep for his sins; the fire is the desire of the flesh.
Bede: For charity is the fire of which it is said, "I am come to send fire on the earth," (Lc 12,49) which flame coming down on the believers, taught them to speak with various tongues the praise of the Lord. There is also a fire of covetousness, of which it is said, "They are all adulterers as an oven:" (Hosea (Osee) 7:4) this fire, raised up in the hall of Caiaphas by the suggestion of an evil spirit, was arming the tongues of the traitors to deny and blaspheme the Lord. For the fire lit up in the hall amidst the cold of the night was a figure of what the wicked assembly was doing within; for because of the abounding of iniquity the love of many waxes cold. (Mt 24,12) Peter, who for a time was benumbed by this cold, wished as it were to be warmed by the coals of the servants of Caiaphas, because He sought in the society of traitors the consolation of worldly comfort.
It goes on: "And the Chief Priests and all the council sought for witness against Jesus to put Him to death."
Theophylact: Though the law commanded that there should be but one High Priest, there were then many put into the office, and stripped of it, year by year, by the Roman emperor. He therefore calls chief priests those who had finished the time alloted to them, and had been stripped of their priesthood. But their actions are a sign of their judgment, which they carried on as they had prejudged, for they sought for a witness, that they might seem to condemn and destroy Jesus with justice.
Pseudo-Jerome: But iniquity lied as the queen did against Joseph, and the priests against Susannah, but a flame goes out, if it has no fuel.
Wherefore it goes on: "And found none. For many bare false witness against Him, but their witness agreed not together."
For whatever is not consistent is held to be doubtful.
There follows: "And there arose certain, and bare false witness against Him, saying, We heard him say, I will destroy this temple that is made with hands, and within three days I will build another made without hands."
It is usual with heretics out of the truth to extract the shadow; He did not say what they said, but something like it, of the temple of His body, which He raised again after two days.
Theophylact: For the Lord had not said, I will destroy, but, "Destroy", nor did He say, made with hands, (p. 302) but, "this temple."
Bede: He had said also, "I will raise up," meaning a thing with life and soul, and a breathing temple. He is a false witness, who understands words in a sense, in which they are not spoken.
7460 Mc 14,60-65
Bede: The more Jesus remained silent before the false witnesses who were unworthy of His answer, and the impious priests, the more the High Priest, overcome with anger, endeavoured to provoke Him to answer, that he might find room for accusing Him, from any thing whatever which He might say.
Wherefore it is said, "And the High Priest stood up in the midst, and asked Jesus, saying, Answerest thou nothing? what is it which these witness against thee?"
The High Priest, angry and impatient at finding no room for accusation against Him, rises from his seat, thus shewing by the motion of his body the madness of his mind.
Pseudo-Jerome: But our God and Saviour Himself, Who brought salvation to the world, and assisted mankind by His love, is led as a sheep to the slaughter, without crying, and remained mute and "kept (p. 103) silence yea even from good words."
Wherefore it goes on, "But He held His peace, and answered nothing."
The silence of Christ is the pardon for the defence or excuse of Adam. (Gn 3,10)
Theophylact: But He remained silent because He knew that they would not attend to His words, wherefore He answered according to Luke, "If I tell you, ye will not believe." (Lc 22,67)
Wherefore there follows: "Again the High Priest asked Him, and said unto Him, Art thou the Christ, the Son of the Blessed?"
The High Priest indeed puts this question, not that he might learn of Him and believe, but in order to seek occasion against Him. But he asks, "Art thou the Christ, the Son of the Blessed," because there were many Christs, that is, anointed persons, as Kings and High Priests, but none of these was called the Son of the Blessed God, that is, the Ever-praised.
Pseudo-Jerome: But they looked from afar off for Him, whom though near they cannot see, as Isaac from the blindness of his eyes does not know Jacob who was under his hands, but prophecies long before things which were to come to him.
It goes on: "Jesus said, I am;" namely, that they might be inexcusable.
Theophylact: For He knew that they would not believe, nevertheless He answered them, lest they should afterwards say, If we had heard any thing from Him, we would have believed on Him; but this is their condemnation, that they heard and did not believe.
Augustine, de Con., iii, 6: Matthew, however, does not say that Jesus answered, "I am," but, "Thou has said." But Mark shews that the words "I am" were equivalent to "Thou hast said."
There follows: "And ye shall see the Son of Man sitting on the right hand of power, and coming in the clouds of heaven." (Mt 26,64)
Theophylact: As if He had said, Ye shall see Me as the Son of Man sitting on the right hand of the Father, for He here calls the Father, "power". He will not however come without a body, but as He appeared to those who crucified Him, so will He appear in the judgment.
Bede: If therefore to thee, O Jew, O Pagan, and heretic, the contempt, weakness, and cross in Christ are a subject of scorn, see how by this the Son of Man is to sit at the right hand of the Father, and to come in His majesty on the clouds of heaven.
Pseudo-Jerome: The High Priest indeed asks the Son of God, but Jesus in His answer speaks of the Son of Man, that we may by this understand that the Son of God is also the Son of Man; and let us not make (p. 304) a quaternity (a reference to the charge brought by the Apollinarians against the Catholics, that their doctrine of a divine human substance in our Lord introduced a fourth Person into the Blessed Trinity; it is also answered by St. Ambrose, de Incarnatione, 7, 77 (ed. note?)) in the Trinity, but let man be in God and God in man.
And He said, "Sitting on the right hand of power," that is, reigning in life everlasting, and in the Divine power. He says, "And coming with the clouds of heaven." He ascended in a cloud, He will come with a cloud; that is, He ascended in that body alone, which He took of the Virgin, and He will come to judgment with the whole Church, which is His body and His fulness.
Leo, Sermon 5, de Pass.: But Caiaphas, to increase the odiousness of what they had heard, "rent his clothes," and without knowing what his frantic action meant, by this madness, deprived himself of the honour of the priesthood, forgetting that command, by which it is said of the High Priest, "He shall not uncover his head or rend his clothes." (Lv 21,10)
For there follows: "The High Priest rent his clothes, and saith, What need we any further witnesses? Ye have heard the blasphemy: what think ye?"
Theophylact: The High Priest does after the manner of the Jews; for whenever any thing intolerable or sad occurred to them, they used to rend their clothes. In order then to shew that Christ had spoken great and intolerable blasphemy, he rent his clothes.
Bede: But it was also with a higher mystery, that in the Passion of our Lord the Jewish priest rent his own clothes, that is, his ephod, whilst the garment of the Lord could not be rent, even by the soldiers, who crucified Him. For it was a figure that the Jewish priesthood was to be rent on account of the wickedness of the priests themselves. But the solid strength of the Church, which is often called the garment of her Redeemer, can never be torn asunder.
Theophylact: The Jewish priesthood was to be rent from the time that they condemned Christ as guilty of death.
Wherefore there follows: "And they all condemned Him to be guilty of death."
Pseudo-Jerome: They condemned Him to be guilty of death, that by His guiltiness He might absolve our guilt.
It goes on: "And some began to spit on Him, and to cover His face, and to buffet Him, and to say unto Him, Prophecy: and the servants did strike Him with the palms of their hands;" that is, that by being spit upon He might wash the face of (p. 305) our soul, and by the covering of His face, might take away the veil from our hearts, and by the buffets, which were dealt upon His head, might heal the head of mankind, that is, Adam, and by the blows, by which He was smitten with the hands, His great praise might be testified by the clapping of our hands and by our lips, as it is said, "O clap your hands together, all ye people." (Ps 47,1)
Bede: By saying, "Prophesy, who is he that smote thee," they mean to insult Him, because He wished to be looked upon as a prophet by the people.
Augustine: We must understand by this, that the Lord suffered these things till morning, in the house of the High Priest, whither He had first been brought.
7466 Mc 14,66-72
Augustine: Concerning the temptation of Peter, which happened during the injuries mentioned, all the Evangelists do not speak in the same order. For Luke first relates the (p. 306) temptation of Peter, then these injuries of the Lord; but John begins to speak of the temptation of Peter, and then puts in some things concerning our Lord's ill-treatment, and adds, that He was sent from there to Caiaphas the High Priest, and then he goes back to unfold the temptation of Peter, which he had begun.
Matthew and Mark, on the other hand, first notice the injuries done to Christ, then the temptation of Peter.
Concerning which it is said, "And as Peter was beneath in the palace, there cometh one of the maids of the High Priest."
Bede: But what can be meant by his being first recognized by a woman, when men were more able to know him, if it be not that that sex might be seen to sin in the death of our Lord, and that sex be redeemed by His Passion?
It goes on: "But he denied, saying, I know not, neither understand I what thou sayest."
Pseudo-Jerome: Peter when he had not the Spirit yielded and lost courage at the voice of a girl, though with the Spirit he was not afraid before princes and kings.
Theophylact: The Lord allowed this to happen to him by His providence, that is, lest he should be too much elated, and at the same time, that he might prove himself merciful to sinners, as knowing from himself the result of human weakness.
There follows: "And he went out into the porch; and the cock crew."
Bede: The other Evangelists do not mention this crowing of the cock; they do not however deny the fact, as also some pass over many other things in silence, which others relate.
There follows: "And a maid saw him again, and began to say to them that stood by, This is one of them."
Augustine (ed. note: for a harmony of this portion of the Gospel, v. Williams on the Passion, p.101): This maid is not the same, but another, as Matthew says. Indeed, we must also understand, that in this second denial he was addressed by two persons, that is, by the maid whom Matthew and Mark mention, and by another person, of whom Luke takes notice.
It goes on: "And he denied it again."
Peter had now returned, for John says that he denied Him again standing at the fire; wherefore the maid said what has been mentioned above, not to him, that is, Peter, but to those who, when he went out, had remained, in such a way however that he heard it; wherefore coming back and standing again at the fire, he contradicted them, and denied their words. For it is evident, if we compare the accounts of all the Evangelists on (p. 307) this matter, that Peter did not the second time deny Him before the porch, but within the palace at the fire, whilst Matthew and Mark who mention his having gone out are silent, for the sake of brevity, as to his return.
Bede: By this denial of Peter we learn, that not only he denied Christ, who says that He is not the Christ, but he also, who although he is a Christian, denies himself to be such. For the Lord did not say to Peter, Thou shalt deny thyself to be my disciple, but, "Thou shalt deny me;" he therefore denied Christ, when he said that he was not His disciple.
There follows: "And a little after, they that stood by said again to Peter, Surely thou art one of them, for thou art a Galilaean, and thy speech agreeth thereto."
Not that the Galilaeans spoke a different tongue from the inhabitants of Jerusalem, for they were both Hebrews, but that each province and region has its own peculiarities, and cannot avoid a vernacular pronunciation.
Theophylact: Therefore Peter was seized with fear, and forgetting the word of the Lord, which said, "Whosoever shall confess Me before men, him will I confess before My Father," (Mt 30,32) he denied our Lord.
Wherefore there follows: "But he began to curse and to swear, saying, I know not this man of whom ye speak."
Bede: How hurtful it is to speak with the wicked. He denies before infidels that he knows the Man, whom amongst the disciples, he had confessed to be God. But the Scripture is wont to point out a Sacrament of the causes of things, by the state of the time; thus Peter, who denied at midnight, repented at cock crew.
Wherefore it is added: "And the second time the cock crew. And Peter called to mind the word which Jesus said unto him, Before the cock crew twice, thou shalt deny me thrice."
Theophylact: For tears brought Peter by penitence to Christ. Confounded then be the Novatians, who say that he who sins after receiving baptism is not received to the remission of his sin. For behold Peter, who had also received the Body and Blood of the Lord, is received by penitence; for the failings of saints are written, that if we fall by want of caution, we also may be able to run back through their example, and hope to be relieved by penitence.
Pseudo-Jerome: But in a mystical sense, the first maid means the wavering, the second, the assent, the third man is the act. This (p. 308) is the threefold denial which the remembrance of the word of the Lord washes away through tears. The cock then crows for us when some preacher stirs up our hearts by repentance to compunction. We then begin to weep, when we are set on fire within by the spark of knowledge, and we go forth, when we cast out what we were within.
7501 Mc 15,1-5
(p. 309) Bede, in Marc., 4, 44: The Jews had a custom of delivering him whom they had condemned to death, bound to the judge. Wherefore after the condemnation of Christ, the Evangelist adds: "And straightway in the morning the Chief Priests held a consultation with the elders and Scribes and the whole council, and bound Jesus, and carried Him away, and delivered Him to Pilate." But it must be observed, that they did not then first bind Him, but they bound Him on first taking Him in the garden by night, as John declares.
Theophylact: They then gave Jesus up to the Romans, but were themselves given up by God into the hands of the Romans, that the Scriptures might be fulfilled, which say, "Recompense them after the work of their hands." (Ps 28,5)
It goes on: "And Pilate asked Him, Art thou the King of the Jews?"
Bede: By (p. 310) Pilate's asking Him about no other accusation, except whether He was King of the Jews, they are convicted of impiety, for they could not even find a false accusation against our Saviour.
It goes on: "And He answering said unto him, Thou sayest."
He answers in this way so as both to speak the truth, and yet not be open to cavil.
Theophylact: For His answer is doubtful, since it may mean, Thou sayest, but I say not so.
Bede: And observe that He does somewhere answer Pilate, who condemned Him unwillingly, but does not choose to answer the priests and great men, and judges them unworthy of a reply.
It goes on: "And the Chief Priests accused Him of many things."
Augustine, de. Con. Evan., iii, 8: Luke has also laid open the false charges which they brought against Him; for he thus relates it: "And they began to accuse Him, saying, We found this fellow perverting the nation, and forbidding to give tribute to Caesar, saying that he himself is Christ a King." (Lc 23,2)
There follows: "And Pilate asked Him, saying, Answerest thou nothing? behold how many things they witness against thee."
Bede: He indeed who condemns Jesus is a heathen, but he refers it to the people of the Jews as the cause.
There follows: "But Jesus yet answered nothing; so that Pilate marvelled."
He was unwilling to give an answer, lest He should clear Himself of the charge, and be acquitted by the judge, and so the gain resulting from the Cross should be done away.
Theophlyact: But Pilate wondered, because, though He was a teacher of the law, and eloquent, and able by His answer to destroy their accusations, He did not answer any thing, but rather bore their accusations courageously.
7506 Mc 15,6-15
(p. 311) Bede: Pilate furnished many opportunities for releasing Jesus, in the first place contrasting a robber with the Just One.
Wherefore it is said: "Now at that feast he released unto them one prisoner, whomsoever they desired."
Gloss: Which indeed he was accustomed to do, to obtain favour with the people, and above all, on the feast day, when the people of the whole province of the Jews flocked to Jerusalem. And that the wickedness of the Jews might appear the greater, the enormity of the sin of the robber, whom they preferred to Christ, is next described.
Wherefore there follows: "And there was one Barabbas, who lay bound with them that had made insurrection with him, who had committed murder in the insurrection."
In which words their wickedness is shewn both from the heinousness of his signal crime, in that he had committed murder, and from the way in which he did it, because he had in doing it raised a sedition and disturbed the city, and also because his crime was notorious, for he was bound with seditious persons.
It goes on: "And the multitude," when it had come up, "began to desire him to do as he had ever done unto them."
Augustine: No one can feel it a difficulty that Matthew is silent as to their asking some one to be released unto them, which Mark here mentions; for it is a thing of no consequence that one should mention a (p. 312) thing which another leaves out.
There follows: "But Pilate answered them, saying, Will ye that I release unto you the King of the Jews? For he knew that the Chief Priests had delivered Him for envy."
Some one may ask, which were the words of which Pilate made use, those which are related by Matthew, or those which Mark relates; for there seems to be a difference between, "Whom will ye that I release unto you? Barabbas, or Jesus which is called Christ?" as Matthew has it; and, "Will ye that I release unto you the King of the Jews?" as is here said. But since they gave to kings the name of Christs, he who said this man or that must have asked whether they wished the King of the Jews to be released unto them, that is, Christ. It makes no difference to the sense that Mark has said nothing of Barabbas, wishing only to mention what belonged to the Lord, since by their answer he sufficiently shewed whom they wished to have released to them.
For there follows: "But the Chief Priests moved the people that he should rather release unto them Barabbas."
Bede: This demand which the Jews made with such toil to themselves still sticks to them. Because, when the choice was given to them, they chose a robber instead of Christ, a murderer instead of the Saviour, they deservedly lost their salvation and their life, and they subjected themselves to such a degree to robbery and sedition, that they lost their country and their kingdom which they preferred to Christ, and never regained their liberty, body or soul.
Then Pilate gives another opportunity of releasing the Saviour, when there follows, "And Pilate answered and said again unto them, What will ye then that I should do unto the King of the Jews?"
Augustine: It now is clear enough that Mark means by "King of the Jews" what Matthew means by the word, "Christ"; for no kings but those of the Jews were called Christs. For in this place according to Matthew it is said, "What then shall I do with Jesus which is called Christ?" (Mt 27,22)
There follows: "And they cried out again, "Crucify him!"
Theophylact: Now see the wickedness of the Jews, and the moderation of Pilate, though he too was worthy of condemnation for not resisting the people. For they cried out, "Crucify"; he faintly tries to save Jesus from their determined sentence, and again puts a question to them.
Wherefore there follows: "Then Pilate said unto them, "Why, (p. 313) what evil hath he done?" For he wished in this way to find an opportunity for releasing Christ, who was innocent.
Bede: But the Jews giving loose to their madness do not answer the question of the judge. Wherefore it goes on, "And they cried out the more exceedingly, Crucify him!," that those words of the Prophet Jeremiah might be fulfilled, "Mine heritage is unto me as a lion in the forest, it crieth out against me." (Jr 12,8)
There follows: "And so Pilate, willing to content the people, released Barabbas unto them, and delivered Jesus, when he had scourged Him, to be crucified."
Theophylact: He wished indeed to satisfy the people, that is, to do their will, not what was agreeable to justice and to God.
Pseudo-Jerome: Here are two goats; one is the scape goat, that is, one loosed and sent out into the wilderness of hell with the sin of the people; the other is slain, as a lamb, for the sins of those who are forgiven. The Lord's portion is always slain; the devil's part, (for he is the master of those men, which is the meaning of Barabbas,) when freed, is cast headlong into hell.
Bede: We must understand that Jesus was scourged by no other than Pilate himself. For John writes: "Pilate took Jesus, and scourged Him," (Jn 19,1) which we must suppose that he did, that the Jews might be satisfied with Him pains and insults, and cease from thirsting for His blood.
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(p. 314) Theophylact: The vainglory of soldiers, ever rejoicing in disorder and in insult, here displayed what properly belonged to them.
Wherefore it is said, "And the soldiers led Him away into the hall called Praetorium, and they call together the whole band," that is, the whole company of the soldiers, "and they clothed Him with purple as a king."
Bede: For since He had been called King of the Jews, and the scribes and priests had objected to Him as a crime that He usurped rule over the Jewish people, they in derision strip Him of His former garments, and put on Him a purple robe, which ancient kings used to wear.
Augustine, de Con. Evan., iii, 9: But we must understand that the words of Matthew, they "put of Him a scarlet robe," Mark expresses by "clothed Him in purple"; for that scarlet robe was used by them in derision for the royal purple, and there is a sort of red purple, very like scarlet. It may also be that Mark mentions some purple which the robe had about it, though it was of a scarlet colour.
Bede: But instead of the diadem, they put on Him a crown of thorns, wherefore it goes on, "And platted a crown of thorns, and put it about His head." And for a royal sceptre they give Him a reed, as Matthew writes, and they bow before Him as a king, wherefore there follows, "And began to salute Him, Hail, King of the Jews!" And that the soldiers worshipped Him as one who falsely called Himself God, is clear from what is added: "And bowing their knees, worshipped Him," as though He pretended to be God.
Pseudo-Jerome: His shame took away our shame; His bonds made us free; by the thorny crown of His head, we have obtained the crown of the kingdom; by His wounds we are healed.
Augustine: It appears that Matthew and Mark here relate things which took place previously, not that they happened when Pilate had already delivered Him to be crucified. For John says that these things took place at Pilate's house; but that which follows, "And when they had mocked Him, they took off the purple from Him, and put on Him His own clothes," must be understood to have taken place last of all, when He was already being led to be crucified.
Pseudo-Jerome: But in a mystic sense, Jesus was stripped of His clothes, that is, of the Jews, and is clothed in a purple robe, that is, in the Gentile church, which is gathered together out of the rocks. Again, putting it off in the end, as offending, He again is clothed with the Jewish purple, (Rm 11,25) for when the fulness of the (p. 315) Gentiles is come in, then shall all Israel be saved.
Bede: Or else, by the purple robe, with which the Lord is clothed, is meant His flesh itself, which He gave up to suffering, and by the thorny crown which He carried is meant, the taking upon Him of our sins.
Theophylact: Let us also put on the purple and royal robe, because we must walk as kings treading on serpents and scorpions, and having sin under our feet. For we are called Christians, that is, anointed ones, just as kings were then called anointed. Let us also take upon ourselves the crown of thorns, that is, let us make haste to be crowned with a strict life, with self-denials and purity.
Bede: But they smite the head of Christ, who deny that He is very God. And because men are wont to use a reed to write with, they, as it were, smite the head of Christ with a reed, who speak against His divinity, and endeavour to confirm their error by the authority of Holy Writ. They spit in His face, who spit from them by their accursed words the presence of His grace. There are some also in this day, who adore Him, with a sure faith, as very God, but by their perverse actions, despise His words as though they were fabulous, and think the promises of that word inferior to worldly allurements. But just as Caiaphas said, though he knew not what it meant, "It is expedient for us that one man should die for the people," (Jn 11,50) so also the soldiers do these things in ignorance.
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