Golden Chain 13819
13819 Jn 18,19-21
CHRYS. As they could bring no charge against Christ, they asked Him of His disciples: The high priest then asked Jesus of His disciples; perhaps where they were, and on what account He had collected them, he wished to prove that he was a seditious and factious person whom no one attended to, except His own disciples.
THEOPHYL. He asks Him moreover of His doctrine, what it was, whether opposed to Moses an the law, that he might take occasion thereby to put Him to death as an enemy of God.
ALCUIN. He does not ask in order to know the truth, but to find out some charge against Him, on which to deliver Him to the Roman Governor to be condemned. But our Lord so tempers His answer, as neither to conceal the truth, nor yet to appear to defend Himself: Jesus answered him, I spoke openly to the world; I ever taught in the synagogue, and in the temple, where the Jews always resort; and in secret have I said nothing.
AUG. There is a difficulty here not to be passed over: if He did not speak openly even to His disciples, but only promised that He would do so at some time, how was it that He spoke openly to the world? He spoke more openly to His disciples afterwards, when they had withdrawn from the crowd; for He then explained His parables, the meaning of which He concealed from the others. When He says then, I spoke openly to the world, He must be understood to mean, w within the hearing of many. So in one sense He spoke openly, i.e. in that many heard Him; in another sense not openly, i.e. in that they did not understand Him. His speaking apart with His disciples was not speaking in secret; for how could He speak in secret before the multitude, especially when that small number of His disciples were to make known what He said to a much larger?
THEOPHYL. He refers here to the prophecy of Esaias; I have not spoken in, secret, in a dark place of the earth.
CHRYS. Or, He spoke in secret, but not, as these thought, from fear, or to excite sedition; but only when what He said was above the understanding of the many.
To establish the matter, however, upon superabundant evidence, He adds, Why ask you Me? ask them which heard Me what I said to them; behold, they know what I said to them: as if He said, you ask Me of My disciples; ask My enemies, who lie in wait for Me. These are the words of one who was confident of the truth of what He said: for it is incontrovertible evidence, when enemies are called in as witnesses.
AUG. For what they had beard and not understood was not of such a kind, as that they could justly turn it against Him. And as often as they tried by questioning to find out some charge against Him, He so replied as to blunt all their stratagems, and refute their calumnies.
13822 Jn 18,22-24
THEOPHYL. When Jesus had appealed to the testimony of the people by, an officer, wishing to clear himself, and show that he was not one of those who admired our Lord, struck Him: And when He had thus spoken, one of the officers which stood by struck Jesus with the palm of his hand, saying, Answer you the high priest so?
AUG. This shows that Annas was the high priest, for this was before He was sent to Caiaphas. And Luke in the beginning of his Gospel says, that Annas and Caiaphas were both high priests.
ALCUIN. Here is fulfilled the prophecy, I gave my cheek to the smiters. Jesus, though struck unjustly, replied gently: Jesus answered him, If I have spoken evil, bear witness of the evil: but if well, why smite you Me?
THEOPHYL. As if to say, If you have any fault to find with what I have said, show it; if you have not, why do you rage? Or thus: If I taught any thing unadvisedly, when I taught in the synagogues, give proof of it to the high priest I but if taught aright, so that even you officers admired, why smite you Me, Whom before you admired?
AUG. What can be truer, gentler, kinder, than this answer? He Who received the blow on the face neither wished for him who struck it that fire from heaven should consume him, or the earth open its month and swallow him; or a devil seize him; or any other yet more horrible kind of punishment. Yet had not He, by Whom the world was made, power to cause any one of these things to take place, but that He preferred teaching us that patience why which the world is overcome? Some one will ask here, why He did not do what He Himself commanded, i.e. not make this answer, but give the other cheek to the smiter? But what if He did both, both answered gently, and gave, not His check only to the smiter, but His whole body to be nailed to the Cross? And herein He shows, that those precepts of patience are to be performed not by posture of the body, but by preparation of the heart: for it is possible that a man might give his cheek outwardly, and yet be angry at the same time. How much better is it to answer truly, yet gently, and be ready to bear even harder usage patiently.
CHRYS. What should they do then but either disprove, or admit, what He said? Yet this they do not do: it is not a trial they are carrying on, but a faction, a tyranny. Not knowing what to do further, they send Him to Caiaphas: Now Annas sent Him bound to Caiaphas the high priest.
THEOPHYL. Thinking that as he was more cunning, he might find out something against Him worthy of death.
AUG. He was the one to whom they were taking Him from the first, as Matthew says; he being the high priest of this year. We must understand that the pontificate was taken between them year by year alternately, and that it was by Caiaphas's consent that they led Him first to Annas; or that their houses were so situated, that they could not but pass straight by that of Annas.
BEDE. Sent Him bound, not that He was bound now for the first time, for they bound Him when they took Him. They sent Him bound as they had brought Him. Or perhaps He may have been loosed from His bonds for that hour, in order to be examined, after which He was bound again, and sent to Caiaphas.
13825 Jn 18,25-27
AUG. After the Evangelist has said that they sent Jesus bound from Annas to Caiaphas, he returns to Peter and his three denials, which took place in the house of Annas: And Simon Peter stood and warmed himself. He repeats what he had said before.
CHRYS. Or, He means that the once fervid disciple was now too torpid, to move even when our Lord was carried away: strewing thereby how weak man's nature is, when God forsakes him. Asked again, he again denies: They said therefore to him, Are not you also one of His disciples? He denied it, and said, I am not.
AUG. Here we find Peter not at the gate, but at the fire, when he denies the second time: so that he must have returned after he had gone out of doors, where Matthew says he was. He did not go out, and another damsel see him on the outside, but another damsel saw him as he was rising to go out, and remarked him, and told those who were by, i.e. those who were standing with her at the fire inside the hall, This fellow also was with Jesus of Nazareth. He heard this outside, and returned, and swore, I do not know the man. Then John continues: They said therefore to him, Are not you also one of His disciples? which words we suppose to have been said to him when he had come back, and was standing at the fire. And this explanation is confirmed by the fact, that besides the other damsel mentioned by Matthew and Mark in the second denial, there was another person, mentioned by Luke, w ho also questioned him. So John uses the plural. They said therefore to him.
And then follows the third denial: One of the servants of the high priest, being his kinsman whose ear Peter cut off, says, Did not I see you in the garden with Him? That Matthew and Mark speak of the party who here question Peter in the plural number, whereas Luke mentions only one, and John also, adding that that one was the kinsman of him whose ear Peter cut off, is easily explained by supposing that Matthew and Mark used the plural number by a common form of speech for the singular; or that one who had observed him most strictly put the question first, and others followed it up, and pressed Peter with more.
CHRYS. But neither did the garden bring back to his memory what he had then said, and the great professions of love he had made: Peter then denied again, and immediately the cock crew.
AUG. Lo, the prophecy of the Physician is fulfilled, the presumption of the sick man demonstrated. That which Peter had said he would do, he had not done. I will lay down my life for your sake, but what our Lord had foretold had come to pass, you shall deny Me thrice.
CHRYS. The Evangelists have all given the same account of the denials of Peter, not with any intention of throwing blame upon him, but to teach us how hurtful it is to trust in self, and not ascribe all to God.
BEDE. Mystically, by the first denial of Peter are denoted those who before our Lord's Passion denied that He was God, by the second, those who did so after His resurrection. So by the first crowing of the cock His resurrection is signified; by the second, the general resurrection at the end of the world. By the first damsel, who obliged Peter to deny, is denoted lust, by the second, carnal delight: by one or more servants, the devils who persuade men to deny Christ.
13828 Jn 18,28-32
AUG. The Evangelist returns to the part where he had left off, in order to relate Peter's denial: Then led they Jesus to Caiaphas to the hall of judgment: to Caiaphas from his colleague and father in law Annas, as has been said. But If to Caiaphas, how to the praetorium, which was the place where the governor Pilate resided;
BEDE. The praetorium is the place where the praetor sat. Praetors were called prefects and preceptors, because they issue decrees.
AUG. Where then for some urgent reason Caiaphas proceeded from the house of Annas, where both had been sitting, to the praetorium of the governor, and left Jesus to the hearing of his father in law: or Pilate had established the praetorium in the house of Caiaphas, which was large enough to afford a separate lodging to its owner, and the governor at the same time.
AUG. According to Matthew, When the morning came, they led Him away, and delivered Him to Pontius Pilate. But He was to have been led to Caiaphas at first. How is it then that He was brought to him so late? The truth is, now He was going as it were a committed criminal, Caiaphas having already determined on His death. And He was to be given up to Pilate immediately.
And it was early.
CHRYS. He was led to Caiaphas before the cock crowed, but early in the morning to Pilate. Whereby the Evangelist shows, that all that night of examination, ended in proving nothing against Him; and that He was sent to Pilate in consequence. But leaving what passed then to the other Evangelists, he goes to what followed.
AUG. And they themselves entered not into the judgment hall: i.e. into that part of the house which Pilate occupied, supposing it to be the house of Caiaphas. Why they did not enter is next explained: Lest they should be defiled, but that they might eat the Passover.
CHRYS For the Jews were then celebrating the passover; He Himself celebrated it one day before, reserving His own death for the sixth day; on which day the old passover was kept. Or, perhaps, the passover means the whole season.
AUG. The days of unleavened breed were beginning; during which time it was defilement to enter the house of a stranger.
ALCUIN. The passover was strictly the fourteenth day of the month, the day on which the lamb was killed in the evening: the seven days following were called the days of unleavened bread, in which nothing leavened ought to be found in their houses. Yet we find the day of the passover reckoned among the days of unleavened bread: Now the first day of the feast of unleavened bread the disciples came to Jesus, saying to Him, Where will you that we prepare for you to eat the passover?
And here also in like manner: That they might eat the passover; the passover here signifying not the sacrifice of the lamb, which took place the fourteenth day at evening, but the great festival which was celebrated on the fifteenth day, after the sacrifice of the lamb. Our Lord, like the rest of the Jews, kept the passover on the fourteenth day: on the fifteenth day, when the great festival was held, He was crucified. His immolation however began on the fourteenth day, from the time that He was taken in the garden.
AUG. O impious blindness! They feared to be defiled by the judgment hall of a foreign prefect, to shed the blood of an innocent brother they feared not. For that He Whom they killed was the Lord and Giver of life, their blindness saved them from knowing
THEOPHYL. Pilate however proceeds in a more gentle way: Pilate then went out to them.
BEDE. It was the custom of the Jews when they condemned any one to death, to notify it to the governor, by delivering the man bound.
CHRYS. Pilate however seeing Him bound, and such numbers conducting Him, supposed that they had not unquestionable evidence against Him, so proceeds to ask the question : And said, What accusation bring you against this Man? For it was absurd, he said, to take the trial out of his hands, and yet give him the punishment.
They in reply bring forward no positive charge but only their own conjectures: They answered and said to him, If He were not a malefactor, we would not have delivered Him up to you.
AUG. Ask the freed from unclean spirits, the blind who saw, the dead who came to life again, and, what is greater than all, the fools who were made wise, and let them answer, whether Jesus was a malefactor. But they spoke, of whom He had Himself prophesied in the Psalms, They rewarded Me evil for good.
AUG. But is not this account contradictory to Luke's, who mentions certain positive charges: 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. According to John, the Jews seem to have been unwilling to bring actual charges, in order that Pilate might condemn Him simply on their authority, asking no questions, but taking it for granted that if He was delivered up to him, He was certainly guilty. Both accounts are however compatible. Each Evangelist only inserts what he thinks sufficient.
And John's account implies that some charges had been made, when it comes to Pilate's answer: Then said Pilate to them, Take you Him, and judge Him according to your law.
THEOPHYL. As if to say, Since you will only have such a trial as will suit you, and are proud, as if you never did any thing profane, take you Him, and condemn Him; I will not be made a judge for such a purpose.
ALCUIN. Or as if he said, you who have the law, know what the law judges concerning such: do what you know to be just.
The Jews therefore said to him, It is not lawful for us to put any man to death.
AUG. But did not the law command not to spare malefactors, especially deceivers such as they thought Him? We must understand them however to mean, that the holiness of the day which the' were beginning to celebrate, made it unlawful to put any man to death. Have you then so lost your understanding by your wickedness, that you think yourselves free from the pollution of innocent blood, because you e deliver it to be shed by another?
CHRYS. Or, they were not allowed by the Roman law to put Him to death themselves. Or, Pilate having said, Judge Him according to your law, they reply, It is not lawful for us: His sin is not a Jewish one, He has not sinned according to our law: His offense is political, He calls Himself a King. Or they wished to have Him crucified, to add infamy to death: they not being allowed to put to death in this way themselves.
They put to death in another way, as we see in the stoning of Stephen: That the saying of Jesus might be fulfilled, which He spoke, signifying what death He should die. Which was fulfilled in that He was crucified, or in that He was put to death by Gentiles as well as Jews.
AUG. As we read in Mark, Behold, we go up to Jerusalem; and the Son of man shall be delivered to the chief priests, and to the scribes; and they shall condemn Him to death, and shall deliver Him to the Gentiles. Pilate again was a Roman, and was sent to the government of Judea, from Rome. That this saying of Jesus then might be fulfilled, i.e. that He might be delivered to and killed by the Gentiles, they would not accept Pilate's offer, but said, If is not lawful for us to put any man to death.
13833 Jn 18,33-38
CHRYS. Pilate, wishing to rescue Him from the hatred of the c Jews, protracted the trial a long time. Then Pilate entered into the judgment hall, and called Jesus.
THEOPHYL. i.e. Apart, because he had a strong suspicion that He was innocent, and thought he could examine Him more accurately, away from the crowd: and said to Him, Are you the King of the Jews?
ALCUIN. Wherein Pilate shows that the Jews had charged Him with calling Himself King of the Jews.
CHRYS. Or Pilate had heard this by report; and as the Jews had no charge to bring forward, began to examine Him himself with respect to the things commonly reported of Him.
Jesus answered him, Say you this thing of yourself, or did others tell it you of Me?
THEOPHYL. He intimates here that Pilate was judging blindly and indiscreetly: If you say this thing of yourself, He says, bring forward proofs of My rebellion; if you have heard it from others, make regular inquiry into it.
AUG. Our Lord knew indeed both what He Himself asked, and what Pilate would answer; but He wished it to be written down n for our sakes.
CHRYS. He asks not in ignorance, but in order to draw from Pilate himself an accusation against the Jews: Pilate answered Bred, Am I a Jew? Your own nation and the chief priests have delivered you to me.
AUG. He rejects the imputation that He could have said it of Himself; Your own nation and the chief priests have delivered you to me: adding, what have you done? Whereby he shows that this charge had been brought against Him, for it is as much as to say, If you deny that you are a King, what have you done to be delivered up to me? As if it were no wonder that He should be delivered up, if He called Himself a King.
CHRYS. He then tries to bring round the mind of Pilate, not a very bad man, by proving to him, that He is not a mere man, but God, and the Son of God; and overthrowing all suspicion of His having aimed at a tyranny, which Pilate was afraid of, Jesus answered, My kingdom is not of this world.
AUG. This is what the good Master wished to teach us. But first it was necessary to show the falsity of the notions of both Jews and Gentiles as to His kingdom, which Pilate had heard of; as if it meant that He aimed at unlawful power; a crime punishable with death, and this kingdom were a subject of jealousy to the ruling power, and to be guarded against as likely to be hostile either to the Romans or Jews. Now if our Lord had answered immediately Pilate's question, He would have seemed to have been answering not the Jews, but the Gentiles only. But after Pilate's answer, what He says is an answer to both Gentiles and Jews: as if He said, Men, i.e. Jews and Gentiles, I hinder not your dominion in this world. What more would you have? Come by faith to the kingdom which is not of this world. For what is His kingdom, but they that believe in Him, of whom He says, you are not of the world: although He wished that they should be in the world. In the same way, here He does not say, My kingdom is not in this world; but, is not of this world. Of the world are all men, who created by God are born of the corrupt race of Adam. All that are born again in Christ, are made a kingdom not of this world. Thus hath God taken us out of the power of darkness, and translated us to the kingdom of His dear Son.
CHRYS. Or He means that He does not derive His kingdom from the same source that earthly kings do; but that He has his sovereignty from above; inasmuch as He is not mere man, but far greater and more glorious than man: If My kingdom were of this world, then would My servants fight, that I should not be delivered to the Jews. Here He shows the weakness of an earthly kingdom, has its strength from its servants, whereas that higher kingdom is sufficient to itself, and wanting in nothing. And if His kingdom was thus the greater of the two, it follows that He was taken of His own will, and delivered up Himself.
AUG, After showing that His kingdom was not of this world, He adds, But now My kingdom is not from here. He does not say, Not here, for His kingdom is here to the end of the world, having within it the tares mixed with the wheat until the harvest. But yet it is not from here, since it is a stranger in the world.
THEOPHYL, Or He says, from here, not, here; because He reigns in the world, and carries on the government of it, and disposes all things according to His will; but His kingdom is not from below, but from above, and before all ages.
CHRYS. Heretics infer from these words that our Lord is a different person from the Creator of the world. But when He says, My kingdom is not from here, He does not deprive the world of His government and superintendence, but only shows that His government is not human and corruptible.
Pilate therefore said to Him, Are you a King then? Jesus answered, you say that I am a King.
AUG. He did not fear to confess Himself a King, but so replied as neither to deny that He was, nor yet to confess Himself a King in such sense as that His kingdom should be supposed to be of this w world. He says, you say, meaning, you being carnal say it carnally. He continues, To this end was I born, and for this cause came I into the world, that 1 should bear witness to the truth. The pronoun here, in hoc, must not be dwelt long on as if it meant, in hâc re, but shortened, as if it stood, ad hoc, natus sum, as the next words are, ad hoc veni in mundum. Wherein it is evident He alludes to His birth in the flesh not to that divine birth which never had beginning.
THEOPHYL. Or, to Pilate's question whether He w as a King our Lord answers, To this end was I born, i.e. to be a King, That I am born from a King. proves that I am a King.
CHRYS. If then He was a King by birth, He has nothing which He has not received from another. For this I came, that I should bear witness to the truth, i.e. that I should make all men believe it. We must observe how He shows His humility here: when they accused Him as a malefactor, He bore it in silence; but when He is asked of His kingdom, then He talks with Pilate, instructs him, and raises his mind to higher things. That I should bear witness to the truth shows that He had no crafty purpose in what He did.
AUG But when Christ bears witness to the truth, He bears witness to Himself; as He said above, I am the truth. But inasmuch as all men have not faith, He adds, Everyone that is of the truth hears My voice: hears, that is, with the inward ear; obeys My voice, believes Me. Every one that is of the truth, has reference to the grace by which He calls according to His purpose. For as regards the nature in which we are created, since the truth created all, all are of the truth. But it is not all to whom it is given the truth to obey the truth. For had He even said, Everyone one that hears My voice is of the truth, it still would be thought that such were of the truth, because they obeyed the truth But He does not say this, but Everyone that is of the truth hears My voice. A man then is not of the truth, because he hears His voice, but hears His voice because he is of the truth. This grace is conferred upon him by the truth.
CHRYS. These words have an effect upon Pilate, persuade him to become a hearer, and elicit from him the short inquiry, What is truth had almost said to Him, What is truth?
THEOPHYL. For it had almost vanished from the world, and become unknown in consequence of the general unbelief.
13838 Jn 18,38-40
AUG. After Pilate had asked, What is truth? he remembered a custom of the Jews, of releasing one prisoner at the passover, and did not wait for Christ's answer, for fear to losing this chance of saving Him, which he much wished to do. And when he had said this, he went out again to the Jews.
CHRYS. He knew that this question required time to answer, and it was necessary immediately to rescue Him from the fury of the Jews. So he went out.
ALCUIN, Or, he did not wait to hear the reply, because he was unworthy to hear.
And, says to them, I find no fault in Him.
CHRYS. He did not say, He has sinned and is worthy, of death; yet release Him at the feast; but acquitting Him in the first place, he does more than he need do, and asks it as a favor, our, that, if they are unwilling to let Him go as innocent, they will at any rate allow Him the benefit of the season: But you have a custom, that I should release one to you at the passover.
BEDE. This custom was not commanded in the law, but had been handed down by tradition from the old fathers, viz. that in remembrance of their deliverance out of Egypt, they should release a prisoner at the passover. Pilate tries to persuade them: Will you therefore that I release to you the King of the Jews.
AUG. He could not dismiss the idea from his mind, that Jesus was King of the Jews; as if the Truth itself, whom he had just asked what it was, had inscribed it there as a title.
THEOPHYL. Pilate is judicious in replying that Jesus had done nothing wrong, and that there was no reason to suspect Him of aiming at a kingdom. For they might be sure that if He set Himself up as a King, and a rival of the Roman empire, a Roman prefect would not release Him. When then He says, Will you therefore that I release to you the King of the Jews? he clears Jesus of all guilt, and mocks the Jews, as if to say, Him whom you accuse of thinking Himself a King, the same I bid you release: He does no such thing.
AUG. Upon this they cried out: Then cried they all again, saying, Not this man, but Barabbas. now Barabbas was a robber. We blame you not, O Jews, for releasing a guilty man at the passover, but for killing an innocent one. Yet unless this were done, it were ere not the true passover.
BEDE. Inasmuch then as they abandoned the Savior, and sought out a robber, to this day the devil practices his robberies upon them.
ALCUIN. The name Barabbas signifies, The son of their master; i.e. the devil; his master in his wickedness, the Jews' in their perfidy.
13901 Jn 19,1-5
AUG. When the Jews had cried out that they did not wish Jesus to be released on account of the passover, but Barabbas, Then Pilate therefore took Jesus, and scourged Him. Pilate seems to have done this for no reason but to satisfy the malice of the Jews with some punishment short of death. On which account he allowed his band to do what follows, or perhaps even commanded them.
The Evangelist only says however that the soldiers did so, not that Pilate commanded them: And the soldiers plated a crown of thorns, and put it on His head, and they put on Him a purple robe,
and said, Hail, King of the Jews! and they smote Him with their hands.
CHRYS Pilate having called Him the King of the Jews, they put the royal dress upon Him, in mockery
BEDE. For instead of a diadem, they put upon Him a crown of thorns, and a purple robe to represent the purple robe which kings wear. Matthew says, a scarlet robe, but scarlet and purple are different names for the same color. And though the soldiers did this in mockery, yet to us their acts have a meaning. For by the crown of thorns is signified the taking of our sins upon Him, the thorns which the earth of our body brings forth. And the purple robe signifies the flesh crucified. For our Lord is robed in purple, wherever He is glorified by the triumphs of holy martyrs.
CHRYS. It was not at the command of the governor that they did this, but in order to gratify the Jews. For neither were they commanded by him to go to the garden in the night, but the Jews gave them money to go. He bore however all these insults silently. Yet do you, when you hear of them keep stedfastly in your mind the King of the whole earth, and Lord of Angels bearing all these contumelies in silence, and imitate His example.
AUG. Thus were fulfilled what Christ had prophesied of Himself; thus were martyrs taught to suffer all that the malice of persecutors could inflict; thus that kingdom which was not of this world conquers the proud world, not by fierce fighting, but by patient suffering.
CHRYS. That the Jews might cease from their fury, seeing Him thus insulted, Pilate brought out Jesus before them crowned: Pilate therefore went forth again and says to them, Behold, I bring Him forth to you, that you may know that I find no fault in Him,.
AUG. Hence it is apparent that these things were not done without Pilate's knowledge, whether he commanded, or only permitted them, for the reason we have mentioned, viz. that His enemies seeing the insults heaped upon Him, might not thirst any longer for His blood: Then came Jesus forth, wearing the crown of thorns, and the purple robe: not the insignia of empire, but the marks of ridicule. And Pilate says to them, "Behold, the Man!" as if to say, If you envy the King, spare the outcast ignominy overflows, let envy subside.
13906 Jn 19,6-8
AUG. The envy of the Jews does not subside at Christ's disgraces; yea, rather rises: When the chief priests therefore and officers saw Him, they cried out, saying, Crucify Him, crucify Him.
CHRYS. Pilate saw then that it was all in vain: Pilate says to them, Take you Him, and crucify Him. This is the speech of a man abhorring the deed, and urging others to do a deed which he abhors himself. They had brought our, Lord indeed to him that He might be put to death by his sentence, but the very contrary was the result; the governor acquitted Him: For I find no fault in Him. He clears Him immediately from all charges: which shows that he had only permitted the former outrages, to humor the madness of the Jews.
But nothing could shame the Jewish hounds: The Jews answered him, We have a law, and by out law He ought to die, because He made Himself the Son of God.
AUG. Lo, another greater outbreak of envy. The former was lighter, being only to punish Him for aspiring to a usurpation of the royal power. Yet did Jesus make neither claim falsely; both were true: He was both the Only-begotten Son of God, and the King appointed by God upon the holy hill of Sion. And He would have demonstrated His right to both now, had He not been as patient as He was powerful.
CHRYS. While they disputed with each other, He was silent, fulfilling the prophecy, He opens not His mouth; He was taken from prison and from judgment.
AUG. This agrees: with Luke's account, We found this fellow perverting the nation, only with the addition of, because He made Himself the Son of God.
CHRYS Then Pilate begins to fear that what had been said might be true, and that he might appear; to be administering justice improperly: When Pilate therefore heard that saying, he was the more afraid.
BEDE. It was not the law that he was afraid of, as he was a stranger: but he was more afraid, lest he should slay the Son of God
CHRYS. They were not afraid to say this, that He made Himself the Son of God: but they kill Him for the very reasons for which they ought to have worshipped Him.
13909 Jn 19,9-11
CHRYS. Pilate, agitated with fear, begins again examining Him: And went again into the judgment hall, and says to Jesus, Where are you? He no longer asks, What hast you done? But Jesus gave him no answer. For he who had heard, To this end was I born, and for this cause came I into the world, and, My kingdom is not from here ought to have resisted, and rescued Him, instead of which he had yielded to the fury of the Jews. Wherefore seeing that he asked questions without object, He answers him no more indeed at other times He was unwilling to give reasons and defend Himself by argument, when His works testified so strongly for Him; thus showing that He came voluntarily to His work.
AUG. In comparing the accounts of the different Evangelists together, we find that this silence was maintained more than once; viz. before the High Priest, before Herod, and before Pilate. So that the prophecy of Him, As a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so opened He not His mouth was amply fulfilled. To many indeed of the questions put to, He did reply, but where He did not reply, this comparison of the sheep shows us that His was not a silence of guilt, but of innocence; not of self-condemnation, but of compassion, and willingness to suffer for the sins of others.
CHRYS. He remaining thus silent, Then says Pilate to Him, Speak you not to me? know you not that I have power to crucify you, and have power to release you? See how he condemns himself. If all depends upon thee, why, when you find no fault of offence, do you not acquit Him?
Jesus answered, you could have no power at all against Me, except it were given you from above: strewing that this judgment was accomplished not in the common and natural order of events, but mysteriously. But lest we should think that Pilate was altogether free from blame, He adds, Therefore he that has delivered Me to you has the greater sin. But if it was given, you wilt say, neither he nor they were liable to blame you speak foolishly. Given means permitted; as if He said, He has permitted this to be done; but you are not on that account free from guilt.
AUG. So He answers. When He was silent, He was silent not as guilty or crafty, but as a sheep: when He answered, He taught as a shepherd. Let us hear what He says; which is that, as He teaches by His Apostle, There is no power but of God; and that he that through envy delivers an innocent person to the higher power, who puts to death from fear of a greater power, still sins more than that higher power itself. God had given such power to Pilate, as that he was still under Caesar's power: wherefore our Lord says, you could have no power at all against Me, i.e. no power however small, unless it, whatever it was, was given you from above. And as that is not so great as to give you complete liberty of action, therefore he that delivered Me to you has the greater sin. He delivered Me into your power from envy, but you will exercise that power from fear. And though a man ought not to kill another even from fear, especially an innocent man, yet to do so from envy is much worse. Wherefore our Lord does not say, He that delivered Me to you has the sin, as if the other had none, but, has the greater sin, implying that the other also had some.
THEOPHYL. He that delivered Me to you, i.e. Judas, or the multitude. When Jesus had boldly replied, that unless He gave Himself up, and the Father consented, Pilate could have had no power over Him, Pilate was the more anxious to release Him; And from thenceforth Pilate sought to release Him.
AUG. Pilate had sought from the first to release: so we must understand, from thence, to mean from this cause, i.e. lest he should incur guilt by putting to death an innocent person.
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