Golden Chain 11247
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GLOSS. After first mentioning the prayer of Christ, St. Luke goes on to speak of His betrayal wherein He is betrayed by His disciple, saying, And while he yet spoke, behold a multitude, and he that was called Judas.
CYRIL; He says, he that was called Judas, holding his name as it were in abhorrence; but adds, one of the twelve, to signify the enormity of the traitor. For he who bad been honored as an apostle became the cause of the murder of Christ.
CHRYS. For just as incurable wounds yield neither to severe nor soothing remedies, so the soul when once it is taken captive, and has sold itself to any particular sin, will reap no benefit from admonition. And so it was with Judas, who desisted not from His betrayal, though deterred by Christ by every manner of warning. Hence it follows, And drew near to Jesus to kiss him.
CYRIL; Unmindful of the glory of Christ, he thought to be able to act secretly, daring to make an especial token of love the instrument of his treachery.
CHRYS. Now we must not depart from admonishing our brethren, albeit nothing comes of our words. For even the streams though no one drink therefrom still flow on, and him whom you have not persuaded today, peradventure you may tomorrow. For the fisherman after drawing empty nets the whole day, when it was now late takes a fish. And thus our Lord, though He knew that Judas was not to be converted, yet ceased not to do such things as had reference to him. It follows, But Jesus said to him, Judas, betray you the Son of man with a kiss?
AMBROSE; It must be used I think by way of question, as if he arrests the traitor with a lover's affection.
CHRYS. And He gives him his proper name, which was rather like one lamenting and recalling him, than one provoked to anger.
AMBROSE; He says, Betray you with a kiss? that is, do you inflict a wound with the pledge of love? with the instruments of peace do you impose death? a slave, do you betray your Lord; a disciple, your master; one chosen, Him who chose you?
CHRYS. But He said not, "Betray you your Master, your Lord, your Benefactor," but the Son of man, that is, the humble and meek, who though He were not your Master and Lord, forasmuch as He has borne himself so gently toward you, should have never been betrayed by you.
AMBROSE; O great manifestation of Divine power, great discipline of virtue! Both the design of your traitor is detected, and yet forbearance is not withheld. He shows whom it is Judas betrays, by manifesting things hidden; He declares whom he delivers up, by saying, the Son of man, for the human flesh, not the Divine nature, is seized. That however which most confounds the ungrateful, is the thought that he had delivered up Him, who though He was the Son of God, yet for our sakes wished to be the Son of man; as if He said, "For you did I undertake, O ungrateful man, that which you betray in hypocrisy.
AUG. The Lord when He was betrayed first said this which Luke mentions, Betray you the Son of man with a kiss? next, what Matthew says, Friend, wherefore are you come? and lastly, what John records, Whom seek you?
AMBROSE; Our Lord kissed him, not that He would teach us to dissemble, but both that He might not seem to shrink from the traitor, and that He might the more move him by not denying him the offices of love.
THEOPHYL. The disciples are inflamed with zeal, and unsheathe their swords. But whence have they swords? Because they had slain the lamb, and had departed from the feast. Now the other disciples ask whether they should strike; but Peter, always fervent in defense of his Master, waits not for permission, but straightway strikes the servant of the High Priest; as it follows, And one of them smote, &c.
AUG. He who struck, according to John, was Peter, but he whom he struck was called Malchus.
AMBROSE; For Peter being well versed in the law, and full of ardent affection, knowing that it was counted righteousness in Phineas that he had killed the sacrilegious persons, struck the High Priest's servant.
AUG. Now Luke says, But Jesus answered and said, Suffer; you thus far; which is what Matthew records, Put your sword up into its sheath. Nor will it move you as contrary thereto, that Luke says here that our Lord answered, Suffer you thus far, as if He had so spoken after the blow to show that what was done had pleased Him so far, but He did not wish it to proceed farther, seeing that in these words which Matthew has given, it may rather be implied that the whole circumstance in which Peter used the sword was displeasing to our Lord.For the truth is, that upon their asking,
Lord, shall we strike with the sword? He then answered, Suffer you thus far, that is, be not troubled with what is about to happen. They must be permitted to advance so far, that is, to take Me, and so to fulfill the things which were written of Me. For he would not say, And Jesus answering, unless He answered this question, not Peter's deed. But between the delay of their words of question to our Lord and His answer, Peter in the eagerness of defense struck the blow. And two things cannot be said, though one may be said and another may be done, at the same time. Then, as Luke says, He healed him who was struck, as it follows, And he touched his ear, and healed him.
BEDE; For the Lord is never forgetful of His loving kindness. While they are bringing death upon the righteous, He heals the wounds of His persecutors.
AMBROSE; The Lord in wiping away the bloody wounds, conveyed thereby a divine mystery, namely, that the servant of the prince of this world, not by the condition of His nature but by guilt, should receive a wound on the ear, for that he had not heard the words of wisdom. Or, by Peter so willingly striking the ear, he taught that he ought not to have a ear outwardly, who had not one in a mystery. But why did Peter do this? Because he especially obtained the power of binding and loosing, therefore by his spiritual sword he takes away the interior ear of him who understands not. But the Lord Himself restores the hearing, showing that even they, if they would turn, might be saved, who inflicted the wounds in our Lord's Passion; for that all sin may be washed away in the mysteries of faith.
BEDE; Or that servant is the Jewish people sold by the High Priests to an unlawful obligation, who, by the Passion of our Lord, lost their right ear; that is, the spiritual understanding of the law. And this ear indeed is cut off by Peter's sword, not that he takes away the sense of understanding from those that hear, but manifests it withdrawn by the judgment of God from the careless. But the same right ear in those who among the same people have believed, is restored by the Divine condescension to its former office.
It follows, Then said Jesus to them, Are you come out as against a thief with swords and staves? &c.
CHRYS. For they had come at night fearing an outbreak of the multitude, therefore He says, "What need was there of these arms against one who was always with you? as it follows, When I was daily with you.
CYRIL; Whereby He does not blame the chiefs of the Jews that they had not sooner prepared their murderous designs against Him, but convicts them of having presumptuously supposed they had attacked Him against His will; as if He says, "You did not take Me then, because I willed it not, but neither could you now, did I not of My own accord surrender Myself into your hands." Hence it follows, But this is your hour, that is, a short time is permitted you to exercise your vengeance against Me, but the Father's will agrees with Mine. He also says, that this power is given to darkness, i.e. the Devil and the Jews, of rising in rebellion against Christ. And shell is added, And the power of darkness.
BEDE; As if He says, Therefore are you assembled against Me in darkness, because your power, wherewith you are thus armed against the light of the world, is in wherewith. But it is asked how Jesus is said to be addressing the chief priests, the officers of the temple, and the elders, who came to Him, whereas they are reported not to have gone of themselves, but to have sent their servants while they waited in the hall of Caiaphas? The answer then to this contradiction is, that they came not by themselves, but by those whom they sent to take Christ in the power of their command.
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AMBROSE; The wretched men understood not the mystery, nor had reverence to an outpouring of compassion so merciful, that even His enemies He suffered not to be wounded. For it is said, Then took they him, &c. When we read of Jesus being holden, let us guard against thinking that He is holden with respect to His divine nature, and unwilling through weakness, for He is held captive and bound according to the truth of His bodily nature.
BEDE; Now the Chief Priest means Caiaphas, who according to John was High Priest that year.
AUG. But first He was led to Annas, the father-in-law of Caiaphas, as John says, then to Caiaphas, as Matthew says, but Mark and Luke do not give the name of the High Priest.
CHRYS. It is therefore said, to the house of the High Priest, that nothing whatever might be done without the consent of the chief of the Priests. For thither had they all assembled waiting for Christ. Now the great zeal of Peter is manifested in his not flying when he saw all the others doing so; for it follows, But Peter followed afar off.
AMBROSE; Rightly he followed afar off, soon about to deny, for he could never have denied if he had clung close to Christ. But herein must he be revered, that he forsook not our Lord, even though he was afraid. Fear is the effect of nature, solicitude of tender affection.
BEDE; But that when our Lord was going to His Passion, Peter followed afar off represents the Church about to follow indeed, that is, to imitate our Lord's Passion, but in a far different manner, for the Church suffers for herself, our Lord suffered for the Church.
AMBROSE; And by this time there was a fire burning in the house of the High Priest; as it follows, And when they had kindled afire, &c. Peter came to warm himself, because his Lord being taken prisoner, the heart of his soul had been chilled in him.
PSEUDO-AUG. For to Peter were delivered the keys of the kingdom of heaven, to him were entrusted an innumerable multitude of people, who were wrapped up in sin. But Peter was somewhat too vehement, as the cutting off the ear of the High Priest's servant ant betokens. If he then who was so stern and so severe had obtained the gift of not sinning, what pardon would he have given to the people committed to him? Therefore Divine Providence suffers him first to beholden of sin, that by the consciousness of his own fall he might soften his too harsh judgment towards sinners. When he wished to warm himself at the fire, a maid came to him, of whom it follows, But a certain maid beheld him, &c.
AMBROSE; What means it, that a maid is the first to betray Peter, whereas surely men ought the more easily to have recognized him, save that that sex should be plainly implicated in our Lord's murder, in order that it might also be redeemed by His Passion; But Peter when discovered denies, for better that Peter should have denied, than our Lord's word should have failed. Hence it follows, And he denied, saying, Woman, I know him not.
AUG. What ails you, Peter, your voice is suddenly changed? That mouth full of faith and love, is turned to hatred and unbelief. Not yet awhile is the scourge applied, not yet the instruments of torture. Your interrogator is no one of authority, who might cause alarm to the confessor. The mere voice of a woman asks the question, and she perhaps not about to divulge your confession, nor yet a woman, but a door-keeper, a mean slave.
AMBROSE; Peter denied, because he promised rashly. He does not deny on the mount, nor in the temple, nor in his own house, but in the judgment-hall of the Jews. There he denies where Jesus was bound, where truth is not. And denying Him he says, I know him not.
It were presumptuous to say that he knew Him whom the human mind can not grasp. For no one knows the Son but the Father. Again, a second time he denies Christ; for it follows, And after a little while another saw him, and said, You were also one of them.
AUG. And it is supposed that in the second denial he was addressed by two persons, namely, by the maid whom Matthew and Mark mention, and by another whom Luke speaks of. With respect then to what Luke here relates, And after a little while, &c. Peter had already gone out of the gate, and the cock had crowed the first time, as Mark says; and now he had returned, that, as John says, he might again deny standing by the fire. Of which denial it follows, And Peter said, Man, I am not.
AMBROSE, For he preferred to deny himself rather than Christ, or because he seemed to deny being of the company of Christ, he truly denied himself.
BEDE; In this denial then of Peter we affirm that not only is Christ denied by him who says that He is not Christ, but by him also, who, being a Christian, says he is not.
AMBROSE; He is also asked a third time; for it follows, And about the space of one hour after, another confidently affirmed, saying, Of a truth this fellow also was with him.
AUG. What Matthew and Mark call after a little while, Luke explains by saying, about the space of one hour after; but with regard to the space of time, John says nothing. Likewise when Matthew and Mark record not in the singular but in the plural number those who conversed with Peter, while Luke and John speak of one, we may easily suppose either that Matthew and Mark used the plural for the singular by a common form of speech, or that one person in particular addressed Peter, as being the one who had seen him, and that others trusting to his credit joined in pressing him. But now as to the words which Matthew asserts were said to Peter himself, Truly you are one of them, for your speech betrays you; as also those which to the same Peter, John declared to have been said, Did not I see you in the garden? whereas Mark and Luke state that they spoke to one another concerning Peter; we either believe that they held the right opinion who say that they were really addressed to Peter; (for what was said concerning him in his presence amounts to the same as if it had been said to him;) or that they were said in both ways, and that some of the Evangelists related them one way, some the other.
BEDE; But he adds, For he is a Galilean; not that the Galileans spoke a different language from the inhabitants of Jerusalem, who indeed were Hebrews, but that each separate province and country having its own peculiarities could not avoid a vernacular tone of speech.
It follows, And Peter said, know I know not what you say.
AMBROSE; That is, I know not your blasphemies. But we make excuse for him. He did not excuse himself. For an involved answer is not sufficient for our confessing Jesus, but an open confession is required. And therefore Peter is not represented to have answered this deliberately, for he afterwards recollected himself, and wept.
BEDE; Holy Scripture is often wont to mark the character of certain events by the nature of the times in which they take place. Hence Peter who sinned at midnight repented at cock-crow; for it follows, And immediately, while be yet spoke, the cock crew. The error he committed in the darkness of forgetfulness, he corrected by the remembrance of the true light.
AUG. The cock-crow we understand to have been after the third denial of Peter, as Mark has expressed it.
BEDE; This cock must, I think, be understood mystically as some great Teacher, who rouses the listless and sleepy, saying, Awake, you righteous, and sin not.
CHRYS. Marvel now at the case of the Master, who though in He was a prisoner, had exercised much forethought for His disciple, whom by a look He brought to Himself, and provoked to tears; for it follows, And the Lord turned, and looked upon Peter.
AUG. How we should understand this requires some careful consideration; for Matthew says, Peter was sitting without in the hall, which he would not have said unless the transaction relating to our Lord were passing within. Likewise also, where Mark said, And as Peter was beneath in the hall, he shows that the things he had been speaking of took place not only within but in the upper part. How then did our Lord look upon Peter? not with His bodily face, since Peter was without in the hall among those who were warming themselves, while these things were going on in the inner part of the house. Wherefore, that looking upon Peter seems to me to have been done in a divine manner. And as it was said, Look you, and hear me, and Turn and deliver my soul, so I think the expression here used, The Lord turned and looked upon Peter.
BEDE; For to look upon him is to have compassion, seeing that not only while penance is being practiced, but that it may be practiced, the mercy of God is necessary.
AMBROSE; Lastly, those whom Jesus looks upon weep for their sins. Hence it follows, And Peter remembered the word of the Lord, how he had said to him, Before the cock crow, you shall deny me thrice.
And he went out, and wept bitterly. Why did he weep? Because he sinned as man. I read of his tears, I do not read of his confession. Tears wash away an offense which it is shame to confess in words. The first and second time he denied and wept not, for as yet our Lord had not looked upon him. He denied the third time, Jesus looked upon him, and he wept bitterly. So then if you will obtain pardon, wash away your guilt in tears.
CYRIL. Now Peter did not dare to weep openly, lest he should be detected by his tears, but he went out and wept. He wept not because of punishment, but because he denied his beloved Lord, which was more galling than any punishment.
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AUG. The temptation of Peter which took place between the mockings of our Lord is not related by all the Evangelists in the same order. For Matthew and Mark first mention those, then Peter's temptation; but Luke has first described the temptations of Peter, then the mockings of our Lord, saying, And the men that held Jesus mocked him, &c.
CHRYS. Jesus, the Lord of heaven and earth, sustains and suffers the mockings of the ungodly, giving us an example of patience.
THEOPHYL. Likewise the Lord of prophets is derided as a false prophet. It follows, And they blindfolded him. This they did as a dishonor to Him who wished to be accounted by the people as a prophet.
But He who was struck with the blows of the Jews, is struck also now by the blasphemies of false Christians. And they blindfolded Him, not that He should not see their wickedness, but that they might hide His face from them. But heretics, and Jews, and wicked Catholics, provoke Him with their vile actions, as it were mocking Him, saying, Who smote you? while they flatter themselves that their evil thoughts and works of darkness are not known by Him.
AUG. Now our Lord is supposed to have suffered these things until morning in the house of the High Priest, to which He was first led. Hence it follows, And as soon as it was day, the elders of the people and the chief priests and the scribes came together, and led him into their council, saying, Are you the Christ? &c.
BEDE; They wished not for truth, but were contriving calumny. Because they expected that Christ would come only as man, of the root of David, they sought this of Him, that if He should say, "I am the Christ," they might falsely accuse Him of claiming to Himself the kingly power.
THEOPHYL. He knew the secrets of their hearts, that they who had not believed His works would much less believe His words. Hence it follows, And he said to them, If I tell you, you will not believe, &c.
BEDE; For He had often, declared Himself to be the Christ; as when he said, I and my Father are one, and other such like things. And if I also ask you, you will not answer me. For He had asked them how they said Christ was the Son of David, whereas David in the Spirit called Him his Lord. But they wished neither to believe His words nor to answer His questions.
However, because they sought to accuse falsely the seed of David, they hear something still farther; as it follows, Hereafter shall the Son of man sit on the right hand of the power of God.
THEOPHYL. As if he said, There is no time left to you any longer for discourses and teaching, but hereafter shall be the time of judgment, when you shall see the Son of man, sitting on the right hand of the power of God.
CYRIL; Whenever sitting and a throne are spoken of God, His kingly and supreme majesty is signified. For we do not imagine any judgment-seat to be placed, on which we believe the Lord of all takes His seat; nor again, that in any wise right hand or left hand appertain to the Divine nature; for figure, and place, and sitting, are the properties of bodies. But how shall the Son be seen to be of equal honor and to sit together on the same throne, if He is not the Son according to nature, having in Himself the natural property of the Father?
THEOPHYL. When then they heard this, they ought to have been afraid, but after these words they are the more frantic; as it follows, All said, &c.
BEDE; They understood that He called Himself the Son of God in these words, The Son of man shall sit on the right hand of the power of God.
AMBROSE; The Lord had rather prove Himself a King than call Himself one, that they might have no excuse for condemning Him, when they confess the truth of that which they lay against Him. It follows, And he said, You say that I am.
CYRIL; When Christ spoke this, the company of the Pharisees were very wroth, uttering shameful words; as it follows, Then said they, What need we any further witness? &c.
THEOPHYL. Whereby it the manifest, that the disobedient reap no advantage, when the more secret mysteries are revealed to them, but rather incur the heavier punishment. Wherefore such things ought to be concealed from them.
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AUG. Luke, after he had finished relating the denial of Peter, recapitulated all that took place concerning our Lord during the morning, mentioning some particulars which the others omitted; and so he has composed his narrative, giving a similar account with the rest, when he says, And the whole multitude of them arose, and led him to Pilate, &c.
BEDE; That the word of Jesus might be fulfilled which He prophesied of His own death, He shall be delivered to the Gentiles, that is, to the Romans. For Pilate was a Roman, and the Romans had sent him as governor to Judea.
AUG. He next relates what happens before Pilate, as follows, And they began to accuse him, saying, We found this fellow perverting our nation, &c. Matthew and Mark do not give this, though affirming that they accused Him, but Luke has laid open the very charges which they falsely brought against Him.
THEOPHYL. Most plainly are they opposed to the truth. For our Lord was so far from forbidding to give tribute, that He commanded it to be given. How then did He pervert the people? Was it that He might take possession of the kingdom? But this is incredible to all, for when the whole multitude wished to choose Him for their king, He was as aware of it, and fled.
BEDE; Now two charges having been brought against our Lord, namely, that He forbade to pay tribute to Caesar, and called Himself Christ the King, it may be that Pilate had chanced to hear that which our Lord spoke, Render to Caesar the things which be Caesar's; and therefore setting aside this accusation as a palpable lie of the Jews, he thought fit to ask concerning that alone of which he knew nothing, the saying about the kingdom; for it follows, Pilate asked him, saying, Are you the King of the Jews, &c.
THEOPHYL. It seems to me that he asked this question of Christ by way of deriding the wantonness or hypocrisy of the alleged charge. As if he said, you a poor humble naked man, with none to help You, are accused of seeking a kingdom, for which you would need many to help You, and much money.
BEDE; He answers the governor in the same words which He used to the Chief Priests, that Pilate might be condemned by his own voice; for it follows, And he answering said, You say.
THEOPHYL. Now they finding nothing else to support their calumny, have resort to the aid of clamor, for it follows, And they were the more fierce, saying, He stirs up the people, teaching throughout all Jewry, beginning from Galilee to this place. As if they said, He perverts the people, not in one part only, but beginning from Galilee He arrives at this place, having passed through Judea. I think then that they purposely made mention of Galilee, as desirous to alarm Pilate, for the Galileans were of a different sect and given to sedition, as, for example, Judas of Galilee who is mentioned in the Acts of the Apostles.
BEDE; But with these words they accuse not Him, but themselves. For to have taught the people, and by teaching to have roused them from their former idleness, and doing this to have passed through the whole land of promise, was an evidence not of sin, but of virtue.
AMBROSE; Our Lord is accused and is silent, for He needs no defense. Let them cast about for defense who fear to be conquered. He does not then confirm the accusation by His silence, but He despises it by not refuting it. Why then should He fear who does not court safety? The Safety of all men forfeits His own, that He may gain that of all.
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BEDE, Pilate having determined not to question our Lord concerning the above-mentioned accusation, is the rather glad now that an opportunity offers to escape from passing judgment upon Him. Hence it is said, When Pilate heard of Galilee, he asked whether the man were a Galilean. And lest he should be compelled to pass sentence against one whom he knew to be innocent, and delivered for envy sends Him to be heard by Herod, preferring that he who was the Tetrarch of our Lord's country might be the person either to acquit or punish Him;
for it follows, And as soon as he knew that he belonged to Herod's jurisdiction.
THEOPHYL. Wherein he follows the Roman law, which provided that every man should be judged by the governor of his own jurisdiction.
GREG. Now Herod wished to make proof of Christ's fame, desiring to witness His miracles; for it follows, And when Herod saw Jesus, he was glad, &c.
THEOPHYL. Not as though he was about to gain any benefit from the sight, but seized with curiosity he thought he should see that extraordinary man, of whose wisdom and wonderful works he had heard so much. He also wished to hear from His mouth what He could say. Accordingly he asks Him questions, making a sport of Him, and ridiculing Him. But Jesus, who performed all things prudently, and who, as David testifies, orders His words with discretion, thought it right in such a case to be silent. For a word uttered to one whom it profits nothing becomes the cause of his condemnation. Therefore it follows, But he answered him nothing.
AMBROSE; He was silent and did nothing, for Herod's unbelief deserved not to see Him, and the Lord shunned display. And perhaps typically in Herod are represented all the ungodly, who if they have not believed the Law and the Prophets, cannot see Christ's wonderful works in the Gospel.
GREG. From these words we ought to derive a lesson, that whenever our hearers wish as if by praising us to gain knowledge from us, but not to change their own wicked course, we must be altogether silent, lest if from love of ostentation we speak God's word, both they who were guilty cease not to be so, and we who were not become so. And there are many things which betray the motive of a hearer, but one in particular, when they always praise what they hear, yet never follow what they praise.
GREG. The Redeemer therefore though questioned held His peace, though expected disdained to work miracles. And keeping Himself secretly within Himself, left those who were satisfied to seek for outward things, to remain thankless without, preferring to be openly set at nought by the proud, than be praised by the hollow voices of unbelievers. Hence it follows, And the chief priests and scribes stood and vehemently accused him.
And Herod with his men of war set him at nought, and mocked him, and arrayed him in a white robe.
AMBROSE; It is not without reason that He is arrayed by Herod in a white robe, as bearing a sign of His immaculate Passion, that the Lamb of God without spot would take upon Himself the sins of the world.
THEOPHYL. Nevertheless, observe how the Devil is thwarted by the thing which He does. He heaps up scorn and reproaches against Christ, whereby it is made manifest that the Lord is not seditious. Otherwise He would not have been derided, when so great a danger was afloat, and that too from a people who were held in suspicion, and so given to change. But the sending of Christ by Pilate to Herod, becomes the commencement of a mutual friendship, Pilate not receiving those who were subject to Herod's authority, as it is added, And they were made friends, &c. Observe the Devil every where uniting together things separate, that he may compass the death of Christ. Let us blush then, if for the sake of our salvation we keep not even our friends in union with us.
AMBROSE; Under the type also of Herod and Pilate, who from enemies were made friends by Jesus Christ, is preserved the figure of the people of Israel and the Gentile nation; that through our Lord's Passion should come to pass the future concord of both, yet so that the people of the Gentiles should receive the word of God first, and then transmit it by the devotion of their faith to the Jewish people; that they too may with the glory of their majesty clothe the body of Christ, which before they had despised.
BEDE; Or this alliance between Herod and Pilate signifies that the Gentiles and Jews, though differing in race, religion, and character, agree together in persecuting Christians
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AUG. Luke returns to those things which were going on before the governor, from which he had digressed in order to relate what took place with Herod; saying as follows, And Pilate, when he had called, yet from which we infer, that he has omitted the part wherein Pilate questioned our Lord what He had to answer to His accusers.
AMBROSE; Here Pilate, who as a judge acquits Christ, is made the minister of His crucifixion.
He is sent to Herod, sent back to Pilate, as it follows, Nor yet Herod, for I sent you to him, and behold nothing worthy of death is done to him. They both refuse to pronounce Him guilty, yet for fear's sake, Pilate gratifies the cruel desires of the Jews.
THEOPHYL. Wherefore by the testimony of two men, Jesus is declared innocent, but the Jews s His accusers brought forward no witness whom they could believe. See then how truth triumphs. Jesus is silent, and His enemies witness for Him the Jews make loud cries, and not one of them corroborates their clamor.
BEDE; Perish then those writings, which composed so long a time after Christ, convict not the accused of magical arts against Pilate, but the writers themselves of treachery and lying against Christ.
THEOPHYL. Pilate therefore lenient and easy, yet wanting in firmness for the truth, because afraid of being accused, adds, I will therefore chastise him and release him.
BEDE; As if he said, I will subject Him to all the scourgings and mockings you desire, but do not thirst after the innocent blood. It follows, For of necessity he must release one to them, &c. an obligation not imposed by a decree of the imperial law, but binding by the annual custom of the nation whom in such things he was glad to please.
THEOPHYL. For the Romans permitted the Jews to live according to their own laws and customs. And it was a natural custom of the Jews to seek pardon of the prince for those who were condemned as they asked Jonathan of Saul. And hence it is now added, with respect to their petition, And they cried all at once, Away with this man, and release to us Barabbas, &c.
AMBROSE; Not unreasonably do they seek the pardon of a murderer, who were themselves demanding the death of the innocent. Such are the laws of iniquity, that what innocence hates, guilt loves. And here the interpretation of the name affords a figurative resemblance, for Barabbas is in Latin, the son of a father. Those then to whom it is said, You are your father the Devil, are represented as about to prefer t the true Son of God the son of their father, that is, Anti Christ.
BEDE; Even to this day their request still clings to the Jews. For since when they had the choice given to them, they chose a robber for Jesus, a murderer for a Savior; rightly lost they both life and salvation, and became subject to such robberies and seditions among themselves as to forfeit both their country and kingdom.
THEOPHYL. Thus it came to pass, the once holy nation rages to slay, the Gentile Pilate forbids slaughter; as it follows, Pilate therefore spoke again to them,
but they cried, out, Crucify, &c.
BEDE; With the worst kind of death, that is, crucifixion, they long to murder the innocent. For they who hung on the cross, with their hands and feet fixed by nails to the wood, suffered a prolonged death, that their agony might not quickly cease; but the death of the cross was chosen by our Lord, as that which having overcome the Devil, He was about to place as a trophy on the brows of the faithful.
THEOPHYL. Three times did Pilate acquit Christ, for it follows, And he said to them the third time, Why, what evil has he done? I will chastise him, and let him go.
BEDE, This chastisement wherewith Pilate sought to satisfy the people, lest their rage should go even so far as to crucify Jesus, John's words bear testimony that he not only threatened but performed together with mockings and scourgings. But when they saw all their charges which they brought against the Lord baffled by Pilate's diligent questioning, they resort at last to prayers only; entreating that He might be crucified.
THEOPHYL. They cry out the third time against to be that by this third voice, they may approve the murder to e their own, which by their entreaties they extorted; for it follows, And Pilate gave sentence that it should be as they required.
And he released him that for sedition and murder was cast in to prison, but delivered Jesus to their will.
CHRYS. For they thought they could add this, namely, that Jesus was worse than a robber, and so wicked, that neither for mercy's sake, or by the privilege of the feast, ought He to be let free.
Golden Chain 11247