Mount, they crossed the brook Kedron, and entered the Garden of
Grethsemane (the Oil-press). A part of the garden still exists, be-
tween the brook and the foot of the Mount, marked by a few olive-
trees, which are old enough to have grown there since our Saviour's
;ime. 6 Here Jesus took apart the same three disciples Peter,
James, and John who had seen his glory on the Mount of Trans-
figuration, to be near him during his last and most fearful agony of
temptation. We leave to the words of Holy Writ the scene which
ended with the appearance of the traitor, leading the officers of the
temple, and his betrayal of his Master by a kiss ; as well as the in-
cidents which put the assailants to shame, and proved the omnipo-
tence which our Lord abstained from using in his own defense,
since this hour (he said) was granted to them and to the powers of
darkness, that the Scriptures might be fulfilled. Then all his dis-
ciples forsook him and fled : but the self-reliant zeal of Peter and
the love of John induced them to follow at a safe distance (Matt.
xxvi. 36-5G; Mark xiv. 32-50; Luke xxii. 39-53; John xviii. 2-
We must distinguish four different scenes of our Lord's trial (to
use the word for such a mockery of justice) : (1) His being taken to
the house of Annas; (2) His private examination by Caiaphas ;
(3) His formal arraignment before the Sanhedrim as a blasphemer
under the Jewish law ; (4) His being delivered to Pilate, to be dealt
with by the Roman law, as a traitor to Caesar besides the episode
of Pilate's sending him to Herod.
(1.) The Divine prisoner was led first to the house of Annas, the
father-in-law of the high-priest, Caiaphas perhaps to avoid com-
mitting the rulers, till it was decided whether they would risk a
public trial. But there seems now to have been no wish to draw
back ; and Annas sent him bound to Cniaphas, who had already
openly advised his death (John xviii. 13. 14, 24).
(2.) The examination in the house of Caiaphns is connected with
the affecting episode of Peter's threefold denial of his Master, to
* The present garden is fifty paces square. That it was much Inr^er is
clear from Luke xxii. 41. There are eight trees, the age of which hn? been
reckoned at two thousand years.
7 The incident of the young man, which is recorded by Mars only (iiv 61,
62), has been conjectured to refer to the Evangelist himself.
288 SCRIPTURE HISTORY. CHAP. XXV.
understand which, the structure of an Oriental house should be re-
membered. The gate gives entrance to an open court-yard, and it
was in the middle of this court that the servants and officers made
a fire to keep off the chilliness of a spring night. Peter and John
followed at a distance; but John, having some acquaintance with
the high-priest, not only ventured himself into the palace, but spoke
to the female servant at the door who let in Peter ; and he had the
rashness to sit down among the soldiers. Jesus was led into one
of the chambers opening into the court, whence he could see what
passed round the fire. Where John was, we are not told ; but it
seems that, being known to the servants, he was left unmolested,
and so became an eye-witness of what followed to the very end ;
and hence the vast importance which is assigned to his testimony.
The details of the three denials must be read in the Gospels. 8
The first interrogation seems to have been made by the high-
priest just after Peter's first denial, preparatory to the meeting of
the Sanhedrim at dawn. "The high-priest asked Jesus of his dis-
ciples and of his doctrine." The former question may have been de-
signed to ascertain, before summoning the Sanhedrim, how far the
new leaven had spread among its members (comp. John xii. 42);
but Jesus betrayed no man. To the other question he only replied
by appealing to the evidence of those who had been his hearers, and
for this an officer struck him for contempt of the high-priest (John
xviii. 19-24). Caiaphas seems then to have retired to summon the
Sanhedrim ; and Peter's second and third denials occurred in the
6. GOOD-FRIDAY, still the 15th of Nisan (April 6tK).(S.) At
dawn of day the Council (Sanhedrim) met, and Jesus was arraigned
before them (Luke xxii. 66). Their first object was to condemn
him as a false prophet and blasphemer, crimes punishable by the
Mosaic law with death. The law required the testimony of two
witnesses ; and several witnesses were suborned, but their testi-
mony was too evidently false to be admitted. When at last two
were found to swear to the same point, and to pervert the words he had
used about the destruction and resurrection of the temple of his
body into a threat that he would destroy the temple, they were still at
variance with one another (Matt. xxii. 59-63 ; Mark xiv. 55-61).
Matt. xxvi. 4T-58, 69, 75 ; Mark xiv. 43-54, 66-72 ; Luke xxii. 47-62 ; John
xviii. 1-18, 25-27. We do not enter on the minor questions as to the order
of the three denials, which again illustrate that unity amidst diversity which
characterizes faithful witnesses. The double crowing of the cock, mention-
ed only by St. Mark, is consistent with every-day experience, and forms a
valuable note of time ; for the cock always crows soon after midnight, as
well as at the break of day.
A.U. 30. THE TRIAL OF JESUS. 289
To all this evidence Jesus made no reply, as indeed none was
necessary ; till the high-priest reproached him for his silence, and
adjured him by the living God to say whether he was the Christ, the
Son of God. Then he plainly said I AM, and warned them of the
time when they should see him sitting in his power at the right hand
of God, and coming in the clouds of heaven. This was enough.
Bending his clothes the wonted sign of distress and horror the
high-priest appealed to the council, who at once condemned Jesus
for blasphemy, while the officers covered his face, spat on him, and
buffeted him with blows, mocking his prophetic powers by asking
him to tell who struck him, and adding many other blasphemies
(Matt. xxvi. G3-68; Mark xiv. 6 1-65 ; Luke xxii. 67-71 and 63-65;
comp. Isa. 1. 6 ; liii. 7).
(4.) The next step, according to the law of Moses, would have
been to have led him without the city and stoned him to death.
But the subjection of the Jews to Rome had deprived even their
highest court of the power of life and death. So they took a course
which secured the fulfillment of Christ's own sayings respecting the
manner of his death. It became the act of Pilate, with the approval
of Herod ; thus uniting with the ecclesiastical rulers of the Jews
their own civil authority and the supreme power of Rome a con-
currence of the representatives of all the world (comp. Psa. ii.)
and securing the infliction of that form of death, the most ignomin-
ious as well as painful, which could best mark God's wrath against
sin, and which, as especially the punishment of a slave, showed the
Saviour descending to the lowest depths of humiliation, to prove that
he would save the most degraded (see Gal. iii. 10; vi. 14; Phil,
ii. 8; Heb. xii. 2; Col. ii. 14).
They led Him to the Prtetonum, where the Roman procurator,
PONTIUS PILATE," had just taken his sent early in the morning;
but, as they could not enter a court inaugurated by heathen sacri-
fices without incurring a pollution that would" have prevented their
keeping the feast, Pilate came out to ask them the charge on which
they delivered up the prisoner. They only replied that he was a
malefactor, and Pilate gave them leave to deal with him according
to their law. Then they charged him with the political offense of
forbidding the people to pay tribute to Ciesar (the very trap into
which they had vainly tried to draw him) and making himself a king.
Pilate went back, and began his examination by asking, "Art thou
the king of the Jews?" Jesus replied that his kingdom was not
9 The Prsetorinm, translated in the authorized version the " hall of judg-
ment" (John xviii. 28), was the head-quarters of the Roman military govern-
or. The time was the early dawn, a point of importance in reference to the
time of the condemnation (see below). .
290 SCRIPTURE HISTORY. CHAP. XXV.
of this world, as the peaceful conduct of his disciples proved ; and
when further pressed with the question, "Art thou a king, then?"
he explained his kingdom to consist in bearing witness to the truth,
and claimed the allegiance of every one who was himself true. To
this appeal Pilate made the often-quoted rejoinder, "What is truth?"
and left the praetorium, to tell the Jews that he found no fault in
the accused. He seems to have brought Jesus out with the inten-
tion of dismissing him ; but the priests and elders began to upbraid
him with new charges, to which he made no reply (Matt, xxvii.
1,2, 11, 14; Mark xv. 1-5; Luke xxiii. 1-5; John xviii. 28-38:
comp. Isa. liii. 7).
Catching at the mention of Galilee as the chief scene of his sedi-
tious teaching, Pilate resolved to send him to Herod Antipas, who
had come up to Jerusalem to the Passover a practice by which he
was accustomed to conciliate the Jews. Herod rejoiced in obtain-
ing the interview which he had long sought in vain, and put many
questions to Jesus, in the hope of his working some miracle. Pro-
voked, however, at receiving no answer, and seeing the vehemence
of Christ's accusers, Herod, with his soldiers, made a mockery of
his regal claims, and sent him back to Pilate arrayed in the im-
perial purple. The occasion was seized for a reconciliation between
the king and procurator, who had been long at variance, and the
words of David were fulfilled, " The kings of the earth set them-
selves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the Lord and
against His anointed" (Luke xxiii.4-12; Psa. ii. 1, 2: comp. Acts
iv. 25, 26).
Finding himself compelled to decide the case, Pilate tried an ap-
peal from the rulers to the people. It was a customary act of grace,
in honor of the Passover, for the Roman governor to release some
prisoner, whom the people chose. Knowing that the charge against
Jesus sprang from the envy of the priests, and that the people had
shown such enthusiastn for him, he proposed to release him whom
they had so lately hailed as their King. But the plan was defeated
by a cunning manoeuvre of the priests. There was another prisoner,
named BARABHAS, a murderer and robber, and the leader of one
of those insurrections against the Roman government which were
frequent during the later days of Judaea. The feelings of the peo-
ple were easily inflamed on behalf of this patriot brigand ; and they
probably saw by this time that Jesus was not about to fulfill their
hopes of a miraculous restoration of David's kingdom. Pilate await-
ed their decision with an anxiety the more intense because, while
Hitting on the tribunal, he received a warning message from his wife,
who had just awakened from a harassing dream about the "just
taan." He repeated the question, ''Which of the two shall I re-
A.D. 30. JESUS CONDEMNED BY PILATE. 291
lease to you?" and they replied, "Not this one, but Barabbas!"
Again he tried to bring them to reason, and to revive their interest
in Christ, by asking, " What will ye then that I shall do to him
whom ye call the King of the Jews ?" The answer was ready,
"Crucify him." Still Pilate made a third appeal: "Why, what
evil hath he done ?" and, again declaring that he found no fault in
him. he proposed the strange compromise to scourge him and let
him go ! But by this time the people, always ready for sedition,
and continually prompted by the priests, were roused to the verge
of tumult. The loud cries of "Crucify him !" prevailed over rea-
son and conscience ; and Pilate released Barabbas, and yielded up
Jesus to their will. But first Pilate washed his hands before the
people, protesting, " I am innocent of the blood of this just person :
see ye to it;" and they accepted the tremendous responsibility:
"His blood be on us and on our children" (Matt, xxvii. 15-26;
Mark xv. 6-15 ; Luke xxiii. 13-25 ; John xviii. 39, 40).
Jesus was now handed over to the Roman soldiers, whose brutal-
ity was made more cruel by their contempt and hatred for the sedi-
tious Jews, over whose peasant king they now celebrated a mock
triumph. To the torture of the scourging which always preceded
crucifixion, their wanton wit added the cruel mockery of the insignia
of royalty the crown of thorns, the purple robe, and the reed for
a sceptre, while they mingled the parody of homage with blows and
spitting in his face (Matt, xxvii. 26-30 ; Mark xv. 15-19; John
The scene seems to have suggested to Pilate one more effort to
save Jesus, in which, if unsuccessful, ho would at least indulge his
levity by an insult to the Jews. As a proof that he believed him
innocent, he brought him out and showed him invested with the in-
signia of royalty ! But the insult excited rage, and not compas-
sion ; and the cry was again, " Crucify him !" " Take you him and
crucify him ; for I find no fault in him," rejoined Pilate, knowing
that they dared not take him at his word ; while they cried that he
deserved death according to their law, "because he made himself
the SON OF GOD." Pilate's reluctance had for some time shown a
mixture of superstitious fear, which these words raised to the high-
est pitch. Leading Jesus back into the hall, he asked him, " Whence
artthou?"but received no answer; and when he urged the ques-
tion by speaking of his power to crucify or to release him, Jesus
told him that he could have no power at all over him unless it were
given him from above, and with divine authority pronounced the
guilt of his betrayers the greater. Pilate was now determined, if
possible, to release him ; but the Jews knew how to work upon a
fear more present to him than that of the last judgment : " If thou
292 SCRIPTURE HISTORY CHAP. XXV.
let this man go, thou art not Cresar's friend." The dread of being
denounced to Tiberius for acquitting a usurper was decisive to his
weak and selfish spirit. Taking his seat in the open place called
Gabbatha (the pavement^), 10 in full view of the temple and the people,
just as the sun had risen, Pilate passed sentence on him whom he
had so often declared innocent, and of whose right to be his Judge
he was not unaware. Still venting the reproaches of his conscience
in insults on his instigators, he again said to the Jews, "Behold
your King!'' "Away with him! crucify him!" was still the an-
swer. And when he asked, " Shall I crucify your King ?" the chief
priests, in their rage, abjured the independence which was the strong-
est passion of a Jew, " We have no king but Casar " (Matt, xxvii.
26-30; Mark xv. 15-19; John xix. 1-16).
The providence of God took them at their word, when their last
efforts for freedom ended in their dispersion over all the world. No
less signal was the retribution which befell the other actors in tins
greatest crime of the world's history. The unjust judge afterwards
incurred the very displeasure which he dreaded, and only put an
end to his exile by suicide. Herod also died in exile (see p. 241),
and Caiaphas was deposed. But there was no delay in the fate of
Judas. Seized with remorse as soon as he saw his Master con-
demned, he carried back the thirty pieces of silver to the chief
priests, and confessed his sin, hoping perhaps that good might yet
be done by this assertion of Christ's innocence. Their only answer
was, " What is that to us? See thou to that !" and, casting down
the money on the pavement of the temple, he went and hanged
himself. With the scrupulousness of religious formalism, the men
who had used his treason decided that the thirty silver pieces, as the
price of blood, must not be put back into the treasury ; so they
purchased with them the potter's field without the city, as a burial-
place for strangers, thereby fulfilling to the very letter a prophecy
of Zechariah (Zech. xi. 12, foil.). The field thus purchased seems
to have been the place where Judas committed suicide, and the
double memorial of the scene and the price of blood was preserved
by its name, Aceldama, the field of blood (Matt, xxvii. 3-10 ; Acts
Meanwhile that great sacrifice was accomplished, the Gospel rec-
ord of which we should not dare to touch but for the need of some
remarks on the manner and place and time of the execution, the in-
cidents that marked it, and the sayings which our Saviour uttered
from the cross. It was a Roman execution, conducted in the usual
10 This was a paved platform on the rid;.;e of the rock between the castle
of Antonin and the western corner of the temple.
A.D. 30. THE CRUCIFIXION. 293
forms of crucifixion, but with some important variations ; but sev-
eral important details must be left for future study.
(1.) The place of execution was necessarily without the city (Acts
vii. 58; Heb. xiii. 11-13; comp. Exod. xxix. 14; Lev. iv. 11, 12, 21;
vi. 30 ; ix. 11 ; xvi. 27 ; Num. xix. 3) ; but its exact site is unknown.
It was near one of the gates, and beside a public road, but there is
no mention of its being on a "hill" or "Mount." The sacred
name of CALVARY, which our version has only in St. Luke, is the
Latin translation (calvarium, ' ' skull ") for the Greek word (Kpavtov),
by which all four Evangelists explain the Hebrew name GOLGOTHA,
"place of a skull," which implies the horrid signs that marked its
use (Matt, xxvii. 33, 34 ; Mark xv. 22, 23 ; Luke xxiii. 33 ; John
(2.) The Bearing of the Cross. To add to the ignominy of this,
servile form of death, the condemned carried his cross to the place
of execution ; and Christ was thus led forth, with two criminals who
were "justly in the same condemnation " (Luke xxii. 32, 41 ; comp.
Isa. liii. 12). The act of " taking up the cross" had already been
used by Christ for the sacred figure which it has ever since express-
ed (Matt. x. 38 ; xvi. 24 ; Mark viii. 34 ; x. 21 ; Luke ix. 23 ; xiv. 27 ;
Heb. xiii. 12, 13) ; and everlasting honor was laid upon Simon, a
man of Cyrene, whom the soldiers caught as he was entering the
city, and compelled him to bear the load under which Christ had
sunk. It was then that he bade the women, who followed him
weeping, to weep rather for the judgments that were coming on the
land (Matt, xxvii. 31-32; Mark xv. 20, 21 ; Luke xxiii. 2G-32;
John xix. 17).
(3.) The Crucifixion. Arrived at the place of execution, the con-
demned were stripped and fastened to the cross, which was usually
of the form familiar to us under the name of the " Roman cross ""
but not nearly so high as is commonly represented. The feet of
the sufferer were only a foot or two above the ground a fact of
some weight, as showing that Jesus suffered in the midst of his per-
secutors, and not looking down from above their heads. The body
was either nailed or bound by cords to the cross, or in both ways.
Our Lord was nailed both by the hands and feet, as the prophet:;
had foretold; 13 a method more exquisitely painful at lirst, though
tending to shorten the torture. When the cross wns not already
standing, the sufferer, as in our Saviour's case, was fastened to it as
11 That i?, the form of +, the two pieces being unequal, as distinguished
from the " Greek cross," -f , with equal arms, and the diagonal or " St. An-
drew's Cross," x ; not to mention ornamented forms.
11 Psa. xxii. 10 ; Zech. xii. 10 ; John xx. 25, 27, etc. : comp. Rev. i. 7, the lat
ter passage referring to all his wounds.
29* SCRIPTURE HISTORY. CHAP. XXV.
it lay upon the ground, and the shock when it was dropped into the
hole or socket must have been terrible. To deaden the sense of
these tortures, some drug was usually administered ; but our Lord
refused the mixture of wine and myrrh thus offered him, as he had
abstained from wine at the Paschal Supper. He still observed the
meek silence which Isaiah had foretold, till all the horrid details
were accomplished, and he hung upon the cross between the two
malefactors, on his right and on his left; being thus emphatically
"numbered with the transgressors" (Matt, xxvii. 38 ; Mark xv.
27, 28 ; Luke xxiii. 33 ; John xix. 18).
(4.) The "First Sayinij" from the Cross. It was then that he
uttered the first of the " Seven Sayings," which have ever been re-
vered as his dying words, a prayer for his murderers "Father, for-
give them, for they know not what they do" (Luke xxiii. 34).
(5.) The time of our Saviour's crucifixion was the third hour (or
9 o'clock A.M.), the very time when the morning sacrifice was of-
fered (Mark xv. 25) ; and his death was at the ninth hour, which
was the time of the evening sacrifice the whole space of six hours
being divided at noon by the beginning of the miraculous darkness.
(6.) Parting of Christ's Garments. The execution was carried
out, and the cross watched, by a guard of four soldiers, with a cen-
turion ; and the garments of the sufferers were their perquisite.
Four parts being made, there remained the upper robe, woven
throughout without a seam, the type of Christ's perfect righteous-
ness, and the source of healing to many who had touched it. As
it would have been spoiled by dividing it, the soldiers decided to
cast lots for it, thus fulfilling another prophecy : "They parted my
raiment among them, and for my vesture they did cast lots " (Matt.
xxvii. 35 ; Luke xxiii. 34 ; John xix. 23 ; Psa. xxii. 18).
(7.) The Inscription on the Cross. The custom of writing up the
culprit's crime on a scroll, or label, above his head gave Pilate an-
other opportunity of mortifying the Jews, while bearing unconscious
witness to the truth. To avoid all ambiguity, he wrote the title in
Hebrew, Greek, and Latin. The various readings of the Evangel-
ists give a striking case of their agreement in substance amidst
varieties of expression.
" Tins is JESCB, THE KINO OP THE JEWS " (Matthew).
"THE KINO OF THE JEWS" (Mark).
"THIS 18 THE KlNO OF THE JEWS" (Luke).
"JESUS OF NAZABETH, THE KINO OK TUB JEWS" (John).
Pilate's shaft did not miss its mark. The chief priests wished
him to amend the inscription thus: "He said, I am King of the
Jews ;" but he silenced them with the answer, "What I have writ-
A.D. 30. THE SEVEN SAYINGS. 295
ten I have written " (Matt, xxvii. 31-38 ; Mark xv. 20-28 ; Luke
xxiii. 26-34, 38 ; John xix. 17-24).
(8.) The " Second Saying " to the Penitent Robber. For the first
three hours (9-12 A.M.) Jesus hung upon the cross, exposed to all
the insults of the rulers, and of the rabble, whose cries had changed
with his change of fortune. Some stood to enjoy the sight; while
others, passing in and out of the neighboring city-gate, waggec
iheir heads, and taunted him with the very prophecy which was be
ing fulfilled the destruction of the temple of his body, that it
might be raised again in three days. A strong temptation was
added to these taunts. He was challenged to prove his Divine
power and kingdom by coming down from the cross ; nay, even the
chief priests offered to believe him on that sign, though they dis-
believed the still higher proof given by his resurrection. Of the
very culprits who hung beside him, one joined in the railing, and
dared to demand their deliverance and his as a proof that he was
the Christ. But the other reproved his comrade's madness, con-
fessing the justice of their sentence and bearing witness to Christ's
innocence, and then turned to him with the prayer, " Lord, re-
member me when thou comest into thy kingdom." Jesus opened
his lips for the second time with these words, "Verily I say unto
thee, To-day thou shall be with me in paradise " (Matt, xxvii. 39-
44 ; Mark xv. 29-32 ; Luke xxiii. 35-37, 39-43).
(9.) The Women at the Cross Christ's " Third Saying," to St.
John. Three women, with the beloved disciple, had dared to stay
by his cross. They were "the three Marys:" his mother; her
sister, the wife of Clopas ; and Mary of Magdala. With filial love,
even in that hour of agony, he bade his mother behold a son in the
beloved disciple, and that disciple to look upon her as his mother ;
and henceforth Mary found a home with John (John xix. 25-27).
(10.) The Miraculous Darkness, and the Fourth, Fifth, and Sixth
Sayings. It was now noon, and yet a supernatural darkness rested
upon all the land, from the sixth hour to the ninth hour, as if to
veil the last agonies of the Redeemer from the eyes of men. 13 But
far deeper than that darkness WHS the gloom that weighed upon the
Saviour's soul as he bore the whole burden of the Divine wrath for
the sins of all men. To that awful mystery our only guide is in
the words with which at the ninth hour he broke the solemn si-