Gospel of Mark 15:15-20, 29-32, 37-39; 16:5-7 Antique Commentary Quotes

Catena Aurea
Mark 15:15-20
Bede: There follows: “And so Pilate, willing to content the people, released Barabbas unto them, and delivered Jesus, when he had scourged Him, to be crucified.”

Theophylact: He wished indeed to satisfy the people, that is, to do their will, not what was agreeable to justice and to God.

Pseudo-Jerome: Here are two goats; one is the scape goat, that is, one loosed and sent out into the wilderness of hell with the sin of the people; the other is slain, as a lamb, for the sins of those who are forgiven. The Lord’s portion is always slain; the devil’s part, (for he is the master of those men, which is the meaning of Barabbas,) when freed, is cast headlong into hell.

Bede: We must understand that Jesus was scourged by no other than Pilate himself. For John writes: “Pilate took Jesus, and scourged Him,” [Joh_19:1] which we must suppose that he did, that the Jews might be satisfied with Him pains and insults, and cease from thirsting for His blood.

Theophylact: The vainglory of soldiers, ever rejoicing in disorder and in insult, here displayed what properly belonged to them.

Wherefore it is said, “And the soldiers led Him away into the hall called Praetorium, and they call together the whole band,” that is, the whole company of the soldiers, “and they clothed Him with purple as a king.”

Bede: For since He had been called King of the Jews, and the scribes and priests had objected to Him as a crime that He usurped rule over the Jewish people, they in derision strip Him of His former garments, and put on Him a purple robe, which ancient kings used to wear.

Augustine, de Con. Evan., iii, 9: But we must understand that the words of Matthew, they “put of Him a scarlet robe,” Mark expresses by “clothed Him in purple”; for that scarlet robe was used by them in derision for the royal purple, and there is a sort of red purple, very like scarlet. It may also be that Mark mentions some purple which the robe had about it, though it was of a scarlet colour.

Bede: But instead of the diadem, they put on Him a crown of thorns, wherefore it goes on, “And platted a crown of thorns, and put it about His head.” And for a royal sceptre they give Him a reed, as Matthew writes, and they bow before Him as a king, wherefore there follows, “And began to salute Him, Hail, King of the Jews!” And that the soldiers worshipped Him as one who falsely called Himself God, is clear from what is added: “And bowing their knees, worshipped Him,” as though He pretended to be God.

Pseudo-Jerome: His shame took away our shame; His bonds made us free; by the thorny crown of His head, we have obtained the crown of the kingdom; by His wounds we are healed.

Augustine: It appears that Matthew and Mark here relate things which took place previously, not that they happened when Pilate had already delivered Him to be crucified. For John says that these things took place at Pilate’s house; but that which follows, “And when they had mocked Him, they took off the purple from Him, and put on Him His own clothes,” must be understood to have taken place last of all, when He was already being led to be crucified.

Pseudo-Jerome: But in a mystic sense, Jesus was stripped of His clothes, that is, of the Jews, and is clothed in a purple robe, that is, in the Gentile church, which is gathered together out of the rocks. Again, putting it off in the end, as offending, He again is clothed with the Jewish purple, [Rom_11:25] for when the fulness of the Gentiles is come in, then shall all Israel be saved.Bede: Or else, by the purple robe, with which the Lord is clothed, is meant His flesh itself, which He gave up to suffering, and by the thorny crown which He carried is meant, the taking upon Him of our sins.

Theophylact: Let us also put on the purple and royal robe, because we must walk as kings treading on serpents and scorpions, and having sin under our feet. For we are called Christians, that is, anointed ones, just as kings were then called anointed. Let us also take upon ourselves the crown of thorns, that is, let us make haste to be crowned with a strict life, with self-denials and purity.

Bede: But they smite the head of Christ, who deny that He is very God. And because men are wont to use a reed to write with, they, as it were, smite the head of Christ with a reed, who speak against His divinity, and endeavour to confirm their error by the authority of Holy Writ. They spit in His face, who spit from them by their accursed words the presence of His grace. There are some also in this day, who adore Him, with a sure faith, as very God, but by their perverse actions, despise His words as though they were fabulous, and think the promises of that word inferior to worldly allurements. But just as Caiaphas said, though he knew not what it meant, “It is expedient for us that one man should die for the people,” [Joh_11:50] so also the soldiers do these things in ignorance.

John Calvin
Mat 27:26
26Then he released to them Barabbas. Our three Evangelists do not mention what is related by John, (Joh_15:13,) that Pilate ascended the judgment-seat to pronounce sentence from it; for they only state that the clamor of the people and the confused tumult prevailed on him basely to deliver up Christ to death. But both of these things must be observed, that a compliance was forced from him contrary to his will, and yet that he exercised the office of a judge in condemning him whom he pronounces to be innocent. For if the Son of God had not been free from all sin, we would have had no right to look for satisfaction from his death; and, on the other hand, if he had not become our surety, to endure the punishment which we had deserved, we would now have been involved in the condemnation of our sins. So then God determined that his Son should be condemned in a solemn manner, that he might acquit us for his sake.

But even the severity of the punishment serves to confirm our faith, not less than to impress our minds with dread of the wrath of God, and to humble us by a conviction of our miseries. For if we are desirous to profit aright by meditating on the death of Christ, we ought to begin with cherishing abhorrence of our sins, in proportion to the severity of the punishment which he endured. This will cause us not only to feel displeasure and shame of ourselves, but to be penetrated with deep grief, and therefore to seek the medicine with becoming ardor, and at the same time to experience confusion and trembling. For we must have hearts harder than stones, if we are not cut to the quick by the wounds of the Son of God, if we do not hate and detest our sins, for expiating which the Son of God endured so many torments. But as this is a display of the dreadful vengeance of God, so, on the other hand, it holds out to us the most abundant grounds of confidence; for we have no reason to fear that our sins, from which the Son of God acquits us by so valuable a ransom, will ever again be brought into judgment before God. For not only did he endure an ordinary kind of death, in order to obtain life for us, but along with the cross he took upon him our curse, that no uncleanness might any longer remain in us.

Albert Barnes
Mat 27:26
And when he had scourged Jesus – See the notes at Mat_10:17. Among the Romans it was customary to scourge or whip a “slave” before he was crucified. This was done to inflict greater suffering. than crucifixion would be alone, and to add to the horrors of the punishment. Our Lord, being about to be put to death after the manner of a slave, was also treated as a slave as one of the lowest and most despised of mankind.

He delivered him to be crucified – Not merely gave him up to them to crucify him, as if they only were answerable, but he gave him up as a judge, when he ought to have saved his life and might have done it. Crucifixion was a Roman punishment; it was performed by Roman soldiers; Pilate pronounced the sentence from a Roman tribunal, and Pilate affixed the title to the cross. Pilate, therefore, as well as the Jews, was answerable to God for the death of the Savior of the world.

John Calvin
Mat 27:27
27.Then the soldiers of the governor. It is not without reason that these additional insults are related. We know that it was not some sort of ludicrous exhibition, when God exposed his only-begotten Son to every kind of reproaches. First, then, we ought to consider what we have deserved, and, next, the satisfaction offered by Christ ought to awaken us to confident hope. Our filthiness deserves that God should hold it in abhorrence, and that all the angels should spit upon us; but Christ, in order to present us pure and unspotted in presence of the Father, resolved to be spat upon, and to be dishonored by every kind of reproaches. For this reason, that disgrace which he once endured on earth obtains for us favor in heaven, and at the same time restores in us the image of God, which had been not only stained, but almost obliterated, by the pollutions of sin. Here, too, is brightly displayed the inconceivable mercy of God towards us, in bringing his only-begotten Son so low on our account. This was also a proof which Christ gave of his astonishing love towards us, that there was no ignominy to which he refused to submit for our salvation. but these matters call for secret meditation, rather than for the ornament of words.

We are also taught that the kingdom of Christ ought not to be estimated by the sense of the flesh, but by the judgment of faith and of the Spirit. For so long as our minds grovel in the world, we look: upon his kingdom not only as contemptible, but even as loaded with shame and disgrace; but as soon as our minds rise by faith to heaven, not only will the spiritual majesty of Christ be presented to us, so as to obliterate all the dishonor of the cross, but the spittings, scourgings, blows, and other indignities, will lead us to the contemplation of his glory; as Paul informs us, that
God hath given him a name, and the highest authority, that before him every knee might bow, because he willingly emptied himself (ἐκένωσε) even to the death of the cross. (Phi_2:8.)

If, therefore, even in the present day, the world insolently mocks at Christ, let us learn to rise above these offenses by elevated faith; and let us not stop to inquire, what unworthy opposition is made to Christ by wicked men, but with what ornaments the Father hath clothed him, with what scepter and with what crown he hath adorned him, so as to raise him high, not only above men, but even above all the angels.

Mark uses the word purple instead of scarlet; but though these are different colors, we need not trouble ourselves much about that matter. That Christ was clothed with a costly garment is not probable; and hence we infer that it was not purple, but something that bore a resemblance to it, as a painter counterfeits truth by his likenesses.

John Gill
Mar 15:16 And the soldiers led him away into the hall,…. From the place called the pavement, where was the judge’s bench, from which he passed sentence on Christ, to a large room,

called the praetorium, or judgment hall; being the hall, or room, where the praetor, or Roman magistrate, kept his court of judicature; and is the same place the Jews would not go into, lest they should be defiled, and become unmeet to eat the Chagigah that day; and into which Pilate had Jesus more than once alone, Joh_18:28, but now he had a large company with him:

and they call together the whole band; very likely the soldiers, into whose custody Jesus was put, and who led him away, were the four soldiers that attended his crucifixion, and parted his garments; but for greater diversion they got together the whole band to which they belonged; See Gill on Mat_27:27.

John Wesley
Mat 27:27 The whole troop – or cohort. This was a body of foot commanded by the governor, which was appointed to prevent disorders and tumults, especially on solemn occasions. Mar_15:16; Joh_19:2.

Albert Barnes
Mat_27:27
Into the common hall – The original word here means, rather, the governor’s palace or dwelling.

The trial of Jesus had taken place outside of the palace. The Jews would not enter in Joh_18:28, and it is probable that courts were held often in a larger and more public place than would be a room in his dwelling. Jesus, being condemned, was led by the soldiers away from the Jews “within” the palace, and subjected there to their profane mockery and sport.

The whole band – The “band” or cohort was a tenth part of a Roman legion, and consisted of from 400 to 600 men, according to the size of the legion. Compare the notes at Mat_8:29.

A.T. Robertson
Mat 27:27
Into the palace (eis to praitorion). In Rome the praetorium was the camp of the praetorian (from praetor) guard of soldiers (Phi_1:13), but in the provinces it was the palace in which the governor resided as in Act_23:35 in Caesarea. So here in Jerusalem Pilate ordered Jesus and all the band or cohort (holen ten speiran) of soldiers to be led into the palace in front of which the judgment-seat had been placed. The Latin spira was anything rolled into a circle like a twisted ball of thread. These Latin words are natural here in the atmosphere of the court and the military environment. The soldiers were gathered together for the sport of seeing the scourging. These heathen soldiers would also enjoy showing their contempt for the Jews as well as for the condemned man.

Marvin Vincent
Band (σπειραν)
Originally anything wound or wrapped round; as a ball, the coils of a snake, a knot or curl in wood. Hence a body of men-at-arms. The same idea is at the bottom of the Latin manipulus, which is sometimes (as by Josephus) used to translate σπειρα. Manipulus was originally a bundle or handful. The ancient Romans adopted a pole with a handful of hay or straw twisted about it as the standard of a company of soldiers; hence a certain number or body of soldiers under one standard was called manipulus.

Albert Barnes
Mat_27:28
And they stripped him – That is, they either took off all his upper garments or removed all his clothing, probably the former.

A scarlet robe – Mark says they clothed him in “purple.” The “scarlet” color was obtained from a species of fruit; “purple” from shell-fish.

See the notes at Isa_1:18. The ancients gave the name “purple” to any color that had a mixture of “red” in it, and consequently these different colors might be sometimes called by the same name. The “robe” used here was the same kind worn by Roman generals and other distinguished officers of the Roman army, and also by the Roman governors. It was made so as to be placed on the shoulders, and was bound around the body so as to leave the right arm at liberty. As we cannot suppose that Pilate would array him in a new and splendid robe, we must suppose that this was one which had been worn and cast off as useless, and was now used to array the Son of God as an object of ridicule and scorn.

A.T. Robertson
Mat 27:28
A scarlet robe (chlamuda kokkinen). A kind of short cloak worn by soldiers, military officers, magistrates, kings, emperors (2 Maccabees 12:35; Josephus, Ant. V. 1, 10), a soldier’s sagum or scarf. Carr (Cambridge Gk. Test.) suggests that it may have been a worn-out scarf of Pilate’s. The scarlet colour (kokkinen) was a dye derived from the female insect (kermes) which gathered on the ilex coccifera found in Palestine. These dried clusters of insects look like berries and form the famous dye. The word occurs in Plutarch, Epictetus, Herodas, and late papyri besides the Septuagint and New Testament.

Mark (Mar_15:17) has “purple” (porphuran). There are various shades of purple and scarlet and it is not easy to distinguish these colours or tints. The manuscripts vary here between “stripped” (ekdusantes) and “clothed” (endusantes). He had been stripped for the scourging. If “clothed” is correct, the soldiers added the scarlet (purple) mantle. Herodotus (iii. 139) relates that Darius richly rewarded a Samian exile for a rare scarlet robe which he obtained from him. This scarlet mantle on Jesus was mock imitation of the royal purple.

Adam Clarke
Mat 27:29
A crown of thorns – Στεφανον εξ ακανθων. It does not appear that this crown was intended to be an instrument of punishment or torture to his head, but rather to render him ridiculous; for which cause also they put a reed in his hand, by way of scepter, and bowed their knees, pretending to do him homage. The crown was not probably of thorns, in our sense of the word: there are eminently learned men who think that the crown was formed of the herb acanthus; and Bishop Pearce and Michaelis are of this opinion. Mark, Mar_15:17, and John, Joh_19:5, term it, Ϛεφανον ακανθινον, which may very well be translated an acanthine crown or wreath, formed out of the branches of the herb acanthus, or bear’s foot. This, however, is a prickly plant, though nothing like thorns, in the common meaning of that word. Many Christians have gone astray in magnifying the sufferings of Christ from this circumstance; and painters, the worst of all commentators, frequently represent Christ with a crown of long thorns, which one standing by is striking into his head with a stick. These representations engender ideas both false and absurd.

There is a passage produced from Philo by Dr. Lardner, which casts much light on these indignities offered to our blessed Lord.

“Caligula, the successor of Tiberius, gave Agrippa the tetrarchy of his uncle Philip, with the right of wearing a diadem or crown. When he came to Alexandria, on his way to his tetrarchate, the inhabitants of that place, filled with envy at the thoughts of a Jew having the title of king, showed their indignation in the following way. They brought one Carabus (a sort of an idiot) into the theater; and, having placed him on a lofty seat, that he might be seen by all, they put a diadem upon his head, made of the herb byblos, (the ancient papyrus, or paper flag); his body they covered with a mat or carpet, instead of a royal cloak. One seeing a piece of reed, παπυρου (the stem, probably, of the aforesaid herb) lying on the ground, picked it up, and put it in his hand in place of a scepter. Having thus given him a mock royal dress, several young fellows, with poles on their shoulders, came and stood on each side of him as his guards. Then there came people, some to pay their homage to him, some to ask justice, and some to consult him on affairs of state and the crowd that stood round about made a confused noise, crying, Mario, that being, as they say, the Syriac word for Lord; thereby showing that they intended to ridicule Agrippa, who was a Syrian.” See Philo, Flace. p. 970, and Dr. Lardner, Works, vol. i. p. 159.

There is the most remarkable coincidence between this account and that given by the evangelists; and the conjecture concerning the acanthus will probably find no inconsiderable support from the byblos and papyrus of Philo. This plant, Pliny says, grows to ten cubits long in the stem and the flowers were used ad deos coronandos, for Crowning The Gods. See Hist. Nat. lib. xiii. c. 11.

The reflections of pious Quesnel on these insults offered to our blessed Lord merit serious attention. “Let the crown of thorns make those Christians blush who throw away so much time, pains, and money, in beautifying and adorning a sinful head. Let the world do what it will to render the royalty and mysteries of Christ contemptible, it is my glory to serve a King thus debased; my salvation, to adore that which the world despises; and my redemption, to go unto God through the merits of him who was crowned with thorns.”

Albert Barnes
Mat_27:29
Had platted – The word “platted” here means “woven together.” They made a “wreath” of a thorn-bush.

A crown – Or perhaps, rather, a wreath.

A crown was worn by kings, commonly made of gold and precious stones. To ridicule the pretensions of Jesus that he was a king, they probably plucked up a thornbush growing near, made it into something resembling in shape a royal crown, so as to correspond with the old purple robe, and to complete the mockery.

Of thorns – What was the precise species of shrub denoted here is not certainly known. It was, however, doubtless, one of that species that has sharp points of very hard wood. They could therefore be easily pressed into the slain and cause considerable pain. Probably they seized upon the first thing in their way that could be made into a crown, and this happened to be a “thorn,” thus increasing the sufferings of the Redeemer. Palestine abounds with thorny shrubs and plants. “The traveler finds them in his path, go where he may. Many of them are small, but some grow as high as a man’s head. The Rabbinical writers say that there are no less than 22 words in the Hebrew Bible denoting thorny and prickly plants.” Professor’s Hackett’s Illustrations of Scripture, p. 135. Compare Pro_24:30-31; Pro_15:19; Jer_4:3.

Albert Barnes
Mar 15:18
Hail, King of the Jews! – The term “hail” was a common mode of salutation to a king, or even to a friend. It implies, commonly, the highest respect for office as well as the person, and is an invocation of blessings. Here it was used to carry on what they thought to be the farce of his being a king; to ridicule in every possible way the pretensions of a poor, unattended, unarmed man of Nazareth, as if he was a weak impostor or was deranged.

Catena Aurea
Mar 15:29-32
Pseudo-Jerome: The foal of Judah has been tied to the vine, and his clothes dyed in the blood of the grape, [Gen_49:11] and the kids tear the vine, blaspheming Christ, and wagging their heads.

Wherefore it is said: “And they that passed by railed on Him, wagging their heads and saying, Ah, thou that destroyest the temple.”

Theophylact: For the passers by blasphemed Christ, reproaching Him as a seducer. But the devil moved them to bid Him come down from the Cross; for he knew that salvation was being won by the Cross, therefore he again proceeded to tempt Christ, so that if He came down from the Cross, he might be certain that He is not truly the Son of God, and so the salvation, which is by the Cross, might be done away. But He being truly the Son of God, did not come down; for if He ought to have come down, He would not have ascended there at all; but since He saw that in this way salvation must be effected, He underwent the crucifixion, and many other sufferings, unto the finishing of His work.

It goes on: “Likewise also the Chief Priests mocking said among themselves with the Scribes, He saved others, himself he cannot save.”

They said this, to do away with His miracles, as though those which He had done were but the semblance of them, for by working miracles He saved many.

Bede: Thus also they confess, though against their will, that He saved many. Therefore your words condemn you, for He who saved others could have saved Himself.

It goes on: “Let Christ the King of Israel descend now from the cross, that we may see and believe.”

Pseudo-Jerome: Afterwards they saw Him arise from the grave, though they would not believe that He could come down from [p. 324] the tree of the Cross. Where, O Jews, is your lack of faith? Your own selves I appeal to; your own selves I bring as judges. How much more wonderful is it that a dead man should arise, than that one yet living should choose to come down from the cross. Ye asked but small things, till greater should have come to pass; but your want of faith could not be healed by signs much greater than those for which you sought. Here “all have gone out of the way, all are become abominable.” [Psa_13:3]

Wherefore it goes on: And they that were crucified with Him reviled.”

Augustine, de. Con. Evan. 3, 16: How can this be, when according to Luke one only reviled Him, but was rebuked by the other who believed on God; unless we understand that Matthew and Mark, who touched but slightly on this place, put the plural for the singular number?

Theophylact: Or else, both at first reviled Him, then one recognizing Him as innocent, rebukes the other for blaspheming Him.

John Calvin
Mat 27:39
And they that passed by. These circumstances carry great weight; for they place before us the extreme abasement of the Son of God, that we may see more clearly how much our salvation cost him, and that, reflecting that we justly deserved all the punishments which he endured, we may be more and more excited to repentance. For in this exhibition God hath plainly showed to us how wretched our condition would have been, if we had not a Redeemer. But all that Christ endured in himself ought to be applied for our consolation. This certainly was more cruel than all the other tortures, that they upbraided, and reviled, and tormented him as one that had been cast off and forsaken by God, (Isa_53:4.) And, therefore, David, as the representative of Christ, complains chiefly of this among the distresses which he suffered; (Psa_22:7.) And, indeed, there is nothing that inflicts a more painful wound on pious minds than when ungodly men, in order to shake their faith, upbraid them with being deprived of the assistance and favor of God. This is the harsh persecution with which, Paul tells us, Isaac was tormented by Ishmael, (Gal_4:29;) not that he attacked him with the sword, and with outward violence, but that, by turning the grace of God into ridicule, he endeavored to overthrow his faith. These temptations were endured, first by David, and afterwards by Christ him-self, that they might not at the present day strike us with excessive alarm, as if they had been unusual; for there never will be wanting wicked men who are disposed to insult our distresses. And whenever God does not assist us according to our wish, but conceals his aid for a little time, it is a frequent stratagem of Satan, to allege that our hope was to no purpose, as if his promise had failed.

A.T. Robertson
Mat 27:39
Wagging their heads (kinountes tas kephalas auton). Probably in mock commiseration. “Jews again appear on the scene, with a malice like that shewn in the trial before the Sanhedrin” (McNeile). “To us it may seem incredible that even his worst enemies could be guilty of anything so brutal as to hurl taunts at one suffering the agonies of crucifixion” (Bruce). These passers-by (parateroumenoi) look on Jesus as one now down and out. They jeer at the fallen foe.

John Calvin
Mat 27:40
40.Thou who destroyedst the temple. They charge Christ with teaching falsehood, because, now that it is called for, he does not actually display the power to which he laid claim. But if their unbridled propensity to cursing had not deprived them of sense and reason, they would shortly afterwards have perceived clearly the truth of his statement. Christ had said, Destroy this temple, and after three days I will raise it up, (Joh_2:19;) but now they indulge in a premature triumph, and do not wait for the three days that would elapse from the commencement of its destruction. Such is the daring presumption of wicked men, when, under the pretense of the cross, they endeavor to cut them off from the hope of the future life. “Where,” say they, “is that immortal glory of which weak and credulous men are accustomed to boast? while the greater part of them are mean and despised, some are slenderly provided with food, others drag out a wretched life, amidst uninterrupted disease; others are driven about in flight, or in banishment; others pine away in prisons, and others are burnt and reduced to ashes?” Thus are they blinded by the present corruption of our outward man, so as to imagine that the hope of the future restoration of life is vain and foolish but our duty is to wait for the proper season of the promised building, and not to take it ill if we are now crucified with Christ, that we may afterwards be partakers of his resurrection,(Rom_6:5.)

If thou art the Son of God. Wicked men demand from Christ such a proof of His power that, by proving himself to be the Son of God, he may cease to be the Son of God. He had clothed himself with human flesh, and had descended into the world, on this condition, that, by the sacrifice of his death, he might reconcile men to God the Father. So then, in order to prove himself to be the Son of God, it was necessary that he should hang on the cross. And now those wicked men affirm that the Redeemer will not be recognized as the Son of God, unless he come clown from the cross, and thus disobey the command of his Father, and, leaving incomplete the expiation of sins, divest himself of the office which God had assigned to him. But let us learn from it to confirm our faith by considering that the Son of God determined to remain nailed to the cross for the sake of our salvation, until he had endured most cruel torments of the flesh, and dreadful anguish of soul, and even death itself. And lest we should come to tempt God in a manner similar to that in which those men tempted him, let us allow God to conceal his power, whenever it pleases Him to do so, that he may afterwards display it at his pleasure at the proper time and place. The same kind of depravity appears in the other objection which immediately follows: —

Adam Clarke
Mat 27:40
Thou that destroyest – Who didst pretend that thou couldst have destroyed the temple, and built it up again in three days. This malicious torturing of our Lord’s words has been noticed before. Cruelty is obliged to take refuge in lies, in order to vindicate its infamous proceedings.

If thou be the Son of God – Or rather, Υιος του Θεου A son of God, i.e. a peculiar favorite of the Most-High; not Ο Υιος του Θεου, The Son of God. “It is not to be conceived,” says a learned man, “that every passenger who was going to the city had a competent knowledge of Christ’s supernatural conception by the Holy Spirit, or an adequate comprehension of his character as the Messiah, and (κατ’ εξοχην)

The Son Of God. There is not a single passage where Jesus is designed to be pointed out as the Messiah, The Son Of God, where the article is omitted: nor, on the other hand, is this designation ever specified without the article, thus, ‘Ο Υιος του Θεου. See Mat_16:16; Mat_26:63; Mat_28:19.”

A.T. Robertson
Mat 27:40
If thou art the Son of God (ei huios ei tou theou). More exactly, “If thou art a son of God,” the very language of the devil to Jesus (Mat_4:3) in the early temptations, now hurled at Jesus under the devil’s prompting as he hung upon the Cross. There is allusion, of course, to the claim of Jesus under oath before the Sanhedrin “the Son of God” (ho huios tou theou) and a repetition of the misrepresentation of his words about the temple of his body. It is a pitiful picture of human depravity and failure in the presence of Christ dying for sinners.

John Gill
Mat 27:41 Likewise also the chief priests,…. Who as they attended at his apprehension, and in their own council condemned him to death unanimously, and were very busy at his arraignment, examination, and trial before Pilate, and persuaded the people to be urgent for his crucifixion; they follow him to the cross to exult over him, and insult him, and to see that the execution was strictly performed: and forgetting their character, office, and education; and laying aside all humanity, decent, and good manners; instead of rebuking and restraining the populace from using him in an ill and unkind manner, they themselves stood

mocking him, with the Scribes and elders; who composed the whole sanhedrim of the nation. The Syriac, Arabic, and Persic versions, and several copies, read, “and the Pharisees”: of which, no doubt, there were great numbers present, who had been indefatigable and implacable enemies of Christ every where, and to whom it must be a pleasing sight to see him hanging on the cross: these scoffed at him, gibed, and reproached him; anaid, as follows;

A.T. Robertson
Mat 27:41
The chief priests mocking (hoi archiereis empaizontes). The Sanhedrin in fact, for “the scribes and elders” are included. The word for mocking (empaizontes, en, and paizo, from pais, child) means acting like silly children who love to guy one another. These grave and reverend seniors had already given vent to their glee at the condemnation of Jesus by themselves (Mat_26:67.).

John Calvin
Mat 27:42 He saved others, himself he cannot save,…. This was not so much a concession of theirs, that he had done many saving works, as healing the sick, cleansing lepers, causing the blind to see, and the lame to walk, and raising the dead; but rather a suggestion, that these were only pretensions and illusions; that either they were not really done, or done by the help of the devil; since now he himself was in the utmost extremity, he could not save himself: but of this they might have been convinced by his striking many of them to the ground, that came to apprehend him in the garden, and of which these men were eyewitnesses; and he, as man, could easily have obtained of his Father more than twelve legions of angels that would have rescued him out of their hands: but so it must not be; he came not to save himself, but others, and to save them spiritually and eternally by dying himself,

If he be the king of Israel; that is, the Messiah, who was promised and expected as a king, as Zion’s king, or king of Israel; see Joh_1:49, hence in Mar_15:32 it is Christ the king of Israel,

Let him now come down from the cross, and we will believe him. The Persic version reads, “that the people may see, and believe in him”; and the Syriac and Arabic versions, “that we may see, and believe in him”, as in Mar_15:32. But, alas! they had seen greater things already than this, and yet had not believed. He could easily have caused the nails to have given way, and unloosed himself, and come down, who had done such mighty works among them; and if he had, there is no reason to conclude they would have believed him to be the Son of God, and the true Messiah; for though after this, he did a much greater work, raised himself from the dead, of which they had the fullest evidence, yet they remained unbelieving.

He saved others; himself he cannot save. It was an ingratitude which admits of no excuse, that, taking offense at the present humiliation of Christ, they utterly disregard all the miracles which he had formerly performed before their eyes. They acknowledge that he saved others. By what power, or by what means? Why do they not in this instance, at least, behold with reverence an evident work of God? But since they maliciously exclude, and—as far as lies in their power—endeavor to extinguish the light of God which shone in the miracles, they are unworthy of forming an accurate judgment of the weakness of the cross. Because Christ does not immediately deliver himself from death, they upbraid him with inability. And it is too customary with all wicked men to estimate the power of God by present appearances, so that whatever he does not accomplish they think that he cannot accomplish, and so they accuse him of weakness, whenever he does not comply with their wicked desire. But let us believe that Christ, though he might easily have done it, did not immediately deliver himself from death, but it was because he did not wish to deliver himself. And why did he for the time disregard his own safety, but because he cared more about the salvation of us all? We see then that the Jews, through their malice, employed, in defense of their unbelief, those things by which our faith is truly edified.

John Gill
Mat 27:42 He saved others, himself he cannot save,…. This was not so much a concession of theirs, that he had done many saving works, as healing the sick, cleansing lepers, causing the blind to see, and the lame to walk, and raising the dead; but rather a suggestion, that these were only pretensions and illusions; that either they were not really done, or done by the help of the devil; since now he himself was in the utmost extremity, he could not save himself: but of this they might have been convinced by his striking many of them to the ground, that came to apprehend him in the garden, and of which these men were eyewitnesses; and he, as man, could easily have obtained of his Father more than twelve legions of angels that would have rescued him out of their hands: but so it must not be; he came not to save himself, but others, and to save them spiritually and eternally by dying himself,

If he be the king of Israel; that is, the Messiah, who was promised and expected as a king, as Zion’s king, or king of Israel; see Joh_1:49, hence in Mar_15:32 it is Christ the king of Israel,

Let him now come down from the cross, and we will believe him. The Persic version reads, “that the people may see, and believe in him”; and the Syriac and Arabic versions, “that we may see, and believe in him”, as in Mar_15:32. But, alas! they had seen greater things already than this, and yet had not believed. He could easily have caused the nails to have given way, and unloosed himself, and come down, who had done such mighty works among them; and if he had, there is no reason to conclude they would have believed him to be the Son of God, and the true Messiah; for though after this, he did a much greater work, raised himself from the dead, of which they had the fullest evidence, yet they remained unbelieving.

A.T. Robertson
Mat 27:42
He saved others; himself he cannot save (allous esosen heauton ou dunatai sosai). The sarcasm is true, though they do not know its full significance. If he had saved himself now, he could not have saved any one. The paradox is precisely the philosophy of life proclaimed by Jesus himself (Mat_10:39).

Let him now come down (katabato nun). Now that he is a condemned criminal nailed to the Cross with the claim of being “the King of Israel” (the Jews) over his head. Their spiteful assertion that they would then believe upon Jesus (ep’ auton) is plainly untrue. They would have shifted their ground and invented some other excuse. When Jesus wrought his greatest miracles, they wanted “a sign from heaven.” These “pious scoffers” (Bruce) are like many today who make factitious and arbitrary demands of Christ whose character and power and deity are plain to all whose eyes are not blinded by the god of this world. Christ will not give new proofs to the blind in heart.

John Calvin
Mat 27:44
44.And the robbers also. Matthew and Mark,by synecdoche, attribute to the robbers what was done only by one of them, as is evident from Luke And this mode of expression ought not to be accounted harsh; for the two Evangelists had no other design than to show that Christ was attacked on every hand by the reproaches of all men, so that even the robbers, who were fast dying, did not spare him. In like manner David, deploring his calamities, exhibits their violence in a strong light by saying, that he is the reproach of all sorts of men, and despised by the people. Now although they leave out the memorable narrative which Luke relates as to the other robber, still there is no inconsistency in their statement, that Christ was despised by all, down to the very robbers; for they do not speak of particular individuals, but of the class itself. Let us now, therefore, come to what is stated by Luke

Catena Aurea
Mar 15:37-39
Pseudo-Jerome: Though the flesh was weak, yet the heavenly voice, which said, “Open me the gates of righteouness,” [Psa_117:19] waxed strong.

Wherefore there follows: “And Jesus cried with a loud voice, and gave up the ghost.”

We who are of the the earth die with a very low voice, or with no voice at all; but He who descended from heaven breathed His last with a loud voice.

Theophylact: He who both rules over death and commands it dies with power, as its Lord. But what this voice was is declared by Luke: “Father, into Thy hands I commend My Spirit.” For Christ would have us understand by this, that from that time the souls of the saints go up into the hands of God. For at first the souls of all were held in hell, till He came, who preached the opening of the prison to the captives.

Gloss: After the Evangelist has related the Passion and the death of Christ, he now goes on to mention those things which followed after the death of our Lord.

Wherefore it is said: “And the veil of the temple was rent in twain from the top to the bottom.”

Pseudo-Jerome: The veil of the temple is rent, that is, the heaven is opened.

Theophylact: Again, God by the rending of the veil implied that the grace of the Holy Spirit goes away and is rent from the temple, so that the Holy of holies might be seen by all; [ed. note: The sense of the passage by reference to Theophylact appears to be, that as the Jews used to rend their clothes as a sign of grief, so the temple by the rending of its veil might be said to mourn.] also that the temple will mourn amongst the Jews, when they shall deplore their calamities, and rend their clothes.

This also is a figure of the living temple, that is, the body of Christ, in whose Passion His garment is torn, that is, His flesh.

Again, it means another thing; for the flesh is the veil of our temple, that is, of our mind. But the power of the flesh is torn in the Passion of Christ, from the top to the bottom, that is, from Adam even down to the latest man; for also Adam was made whole by the Passion of Christ, and his flesh does not remain under the curse, nor does it deserve corruption, but we all are gifted with incorruption.

“And when the centurion who stood over against Him saw.” He who commands a hundred soldiers is called a centurion. But seeing that He died with such power as the Lord, he wondered and confessed.

Bede: Now the cause of the centurion’s wonder is clear, that seeing that the Lord died in that way, that is, sent forth His Spirit, he said, “Truly this man was the Son of God.” For no one can send forth his own spirit, but He who is the Creator of souls.

Augustine: This also he most of all wondered at, that after that voice which He sent forth as a figure of our sin, He immediately gave up His Spirit. For the Spirit of the Mediator shewed that no penalty of sin could have had power [p. 328] to cause the death of His flesh; for it did not leave the flesh unwillingly, but as it willed, for it was joined to the Word of God in the unity of person.Pseudo-Jerome: But the last are now made the first. The Gentile people confesses. The blinded Jew denies, so that their error is worse than the first.

Theophylact: And so the order is inverted, for the Jew kills, and the Gentile confesses; the disciples fly, and the women remain.

John Calvin
Mat 27:50
Jesus having again cried with a loud voice. Luke, who makes no mention of the former complaint, repeats the words of this second cry, which Matthew and Mark leave out. He says that Jesus cried, Father, into thy hands I commit my spirit; by which he declared that, though he was fiercely attacked by violent temptations, still his faith was unshaken, and always kept its ground unvanquished. For there could not have been a more splendid triumph than when Christ boldly expresses his assurance that God is the faithful guardian of his soul, which all imagined to be lost. But instead of speaking to the deaf, he betook himself directly to God, and committed to his bosom the assurance of his confidence. He wished, indeed, that men should hear what he said; but though it might be of no avail to men, he was satisfied with having God alone as his witness. And certainly there is not a stronger or more decided testimony of faith than when a pious man—perceiving himself attacked on every hand:, so that he finds no consolation on the part of men—despises the madness of the whole world, discharges his sorrows and cares into the bosom of God, and rests in the hope of his promises.

Though this form of prayer appears to be borrowed from Psa_31:5, yet I have no doubt that he applied it to his immediate object, according to present circumstances; as if he had said, “I see, indeed, O Father, that by the universal voice I am destined to destruction, and that my soul is, so to speak, hurried to and fro; but though, according to the flesh, I perceive no assistance in thee, yet this will not hinder me from committing my spirit into thy hands, and calmly relying on the hidden safeguard of thy goodness.” Yet it ought to be observed, that David, in the passage which I have quoted, not only prayed that his soul, received by the hand of God, might continue to be safe and happy after death, but committed his life to the Lord, that, guarded by his protection, he might prosper both in life and in death. He saw himself continually besieged by many deaths; nothing, therefore, remained but to commit himself to the invincible protection of God. Having made God the guardian of his soul, he rejoices that it is safe from all danger; and, at the same time, prepares to meet death with confidence, whenever it shall please God, because the Lord guards the souls of his people even in death. No as the former was taken away from Christ, to commit his soul to be protected by the Father during the frail condition of the earthly life, he hastens cheerfully to death, and desires to be preserved beyond the world; for the chief reason why God receives our souls into his keeping is, that our faith may rise beyond this transitory life.

Let us now remember that it was not in reference to himself alone that Christ committed his soul to the Father, but that he included, as it were, in one bundle all the souls of those who believe in him, that they may be preserved along with his own; and not only so, but by this prayer he obtained authority to save all souls, so that not only does the heavenly Father, for his sake, deign to take them into his custody, but, giving up the authority into his hands, commits them to him to be protected. And therefore Stephen also, when dying, resigns his soul into his hands, saying, Lord Jesus, receive my spirit,(Act_7:59.) Every one who, when he comes to die, following this example, shall believe in Christ, will not breathe his soul at random into the air, but will resort to a faithful guardian, who keeps in safety whatever has been delivered to him by the Father.

Adam Clarke
Mat 27:50
Yielded up the ghost – Αφηκε το πνευμα, He dismissed the spirit. He himself willingly gave up that life which it was impossible for man to take away. It is not said that he hung on the cross till he died through pain and agony; nor is it said that his bones were broken, the sooner to put him out of pain, and to hasten his death; but that himself dismissed the soul, that he might thus become, not a forced sacrifice, but a free-will offering for sin.

Now, as our English word ghost, from the Anglo-Saxon gast, an inmate, inhabitant, guest, (a casual visitant), also a spirit, is now restricted among us to the latter meaning, always signifying the immortal spirit or soul of man, the guest of the body and as giving up the spirit, ghost, or soul, is an act not proper to man, though commending it to God, in our last moments, is both an act of faith and piety; and as giving up the ghost, i.e. dismissing his spirit from his body, is attributed to Jesus Christ, to whom alone it is proper; I therefore object against its use in every other case.

Every man, since the fall, has not only been liable to death, but has deserved it; as all have forfeited their lives because of sin. Jesus Christ, as born immaculate, and having never sinned, had not forfeited his life, and therefore may be considered as naturally and properly immortal. No man, says he, taketh it, my life, from me, but I lay it down of myself: I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again; therefore doth the Father love me, because I lay down my life that I might take it again, Joh_10:17, Joh_10:18. Hence we rightly translate Mat_27:50, αφηκε το πνευμα, he gave up the ghost; i.e. he dismissed his spirit, that he might die for the sin of the world. The Evangelist St. John (Joh_19:30) makes use of an expression to the same import, which we translate in the same way: παρεδωκε το πνευμα, he delivered up his spirit. We translate Mar_15:37, and Luk_23:46, he gave up the ghost, but not correctly, because the word in both these places is very different – εξεπνευσε, he breathed his last, or expired; though in the latter place, Luk_23:46, there is an equivalent expression – O Father, into thy hands, παρατιθεμαι το πνευμα μου, I commit my spirit; i.e. I place my soul in thy hand: proving that the act was his own; that no man could take his life away from him; that he did not die by the perfidy of his disciple, or the malice of the Jews, but by his own free act. Thus He Laid Down his life for the sheep. Of Ananias and Sapphira, Act_5:5,Act_5:10, and of Herod, Act_12:23, our translation says, they gave up the ghost; but the word in both places is εξεψυξε, which simply means to breathe out, to expire, or die: but in no case, either by the Septuagint in the Old, or any of the sacred writers in the New Testament, is αφηκε το πνευμα, or παρεδωκε το πνευμα, he dismissed his spirit, or delivered up his spirit, spoken of any person but Christ. Abraham, Isaac, Ishmael, Jacob, etc., breathed their last; Ananias, Sapphira, and Herod, expired; but none, Jesus Christ excepted, gave up the ghost, dismissed, or delivered up his own spirit, and was, consequently, free among the dead. Of the patriarchs, etc., the Septuagint use the word εκλειπων, failing; or κατεπαυσεν, he ceased, or rested.

Adam Clarke
Mar 15:37
Gave up the ghost – This was about three o’clock, or what was termed by the Jews the ninth hour; about the time that the paschal lamb was usually sacrificed. The darkness mentioned here must have endured about two hours and a half. Concerning this eclipse, see on Mat_27:45 (note).

John Wesley
Mat 27:50 After he had cried with a loud voice – To show that his life was still whole in him. He dismissed his spirit – So the original expression may be literally translated: an expression admirably suited to our Lord’s words, Joh_10:18 No man taketh my life from me, but I lay it down of myself. He died by a voluntary act of his own, and in a way peculiar to himself. He alone of all men that ever were, could have continued alive even in the greatest tortures, as long as he pleased, or have retired from the body whenever he had thought fit. And how does it illustrate that love which he manifested in his death? Insomuch as he did not use his power to quit his body, as soon as it was fastened to the cross, leaving only an insensible corpse, to the cruelty of his murderers: but continued his abode in it, with a steady resolution, as long as it was proper. He then retired from it, with a majesty and dignity never known or to be known in any other death: dying, if one may so express it, like the Prince of life.

A.T. Robertson
Mat 27:50
Yielded up his spirit (apheken to pneuma). The loud cry may have been Psa_31:5 as given in Luk_23:46 : “Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit.” John (Joh_19:30) gives It is finished (tetelestai), though which was actually last is not clear. Jesus did not die from slow exhaustion, but with a loud cry.

He breathed out (exepneusen, Mar_15:37), sent back his spirit (Mat_27:50), gave up his spirit (paredoken to pneuma, Joh_19:30). “He gave up his life because he willed it, when he willed it, and as he willed it” (Augustine). Stroud (Physical Cause of the Death of Christ) considers the loud cry one of the proofs that Jesus died of a ruptured heart as a result of bearing the sin of the world.

John Calvin
Mat 27:51
51.And, lo, the veil of the temple was rent. When Luke blends the rending of the veil with the eclipse of the sun, he inverts the order; for the Evangelists, as we have frequently seen, are not careful to mark every hour with exactness. Nor was it proper that the veil should be rent, until the sacrifice of expiation had been completed; for then Christ, the true and everlasting Priest, having abolished the figures of the law, opened up for us by his blood the way to the heavenly sanctuary, that we may no longer stand at a distance within the porch, but may freely advance into the presence of God. For so long as the shadowy worship lasted, a veil was hung up before the earthly sanctuary, in order to keep the people not only from entering but from seeing it, (Exo_26:33; 2Ch_3:14.) Now Christ, by
blotting out the handwriting which was opposed to us,(Col_2:14,) removed every obstruction, that, relying on him as Mediator, we may all be a royal priesthood, (1Pe_2:9.) Thus the rending of the veil was not only an abrogation of the ceremonies which existed under the law, but was, in some respects, an opening of heaven, that God may now invite the members of his Son to approach him with familiarity.

Meanwhile, the Jews were informed that the period of abolishing outward sacrifices had arrived, and that the ancient priesthood would be of no farther use; that though the building of the temple was left standing, it would not be necessary to worship God there after the ancient custom; but that since the substance and truth of the shadows had been fulfilled, the figures of the law were changed into spirit. For though Christ offered a visible sacrifice, yet, as the Apostle tells us (Heb_9:14 ) it must be viewed spiritually, that we may enjoy its value and its fruit. But it was of no advantage to those wretched men that the outward sanctuary was laid bare by the rending of the veil, because the inward veil of unbelief, which was in their hearts, hindered them from beholding the saving light.

Jamieson, Fausset, and Brown
Mat 27:51
And, behold, the veil of the temple was rent in twain from the top to the bottom — This was the thick and gorgeously wrought veil which was hung between the “holy place” and the “holiest of all,” shutting out all access to the presence of God as manifested “from above the mercy seat and from between the cherubim” – “the Holy Ghost this signifying, that the way into the holiest of all was not yet made manifest” (Heb_9:8). Into this holiest of all none might enter, not even the high priest, save once a year, on the great day of atonement, and then only with the blood of atonement in his hands, which he sprinkled “upon and before the mercy seat seven times” (Lev_16:14) – to signify that access for sinners to a holy God is only through atoning blood. But as they had only the blood of bulls and of goats, which could not take away sins (Heb_10:4), during all the long ages that preceded the death of Christ the thick veil remained; the blood of bulls and of goats continued to be shed and sprinkled; and once a year access to God through an atoning sacrifice was vouchsafed – in a picture, or rather, was dramatically represented, in those symbolical actions – nothing more. But now, the one atoning Sacrifice being provided in the precious blood of Christ, access to this holy God could no longer be denied; and so the moment the Victim expired on the altar, that thick veil which for so many ages had been the dread symbol of separation between God and guilty men was, without a hand touching it, mysteriously “rent in twain from top to bottom” – “the Holy Ghost this signifying, that the way into the holiest of all was NOW made manifest!” How emphatic the statement, from top to bottom; as if to say, Come boldly now to the Throne of Grace; the veil is clean gone; the mercy seat stands open to the gaze of sinners, and the way to it is sprinkled with the blood of Him – “who through the eternal Spirit hath offered Himself without spot to God!” Before, it was death to go in, now it is death to stay out. See more on this glorious subject see on Heb_10:19-22.

Albert Barnes
Mat 27:51
The vail of the temple – This was doubtless the veil, curiously performed, which separated the holy from the most holy place, dividing the temple into two apartments, Exo_26:31-33.

In twain – In two pieces or parts. This was the time of day when the priest was burning incense in the holy place, and it is probable that he witnessed it. The most holy place has been usually considered as a type of heaven, and the tearing of the veil to signify that the way to heaven was now open to all – the great High Priest, the Lord Jesus, being about to enter in as the forerunner of his people. However, about the design of the tearing of the veil, the Scriptures are silent, and conjecture is useless.

A.T. Robertson
Mat 27:51
Was rent (eschisthe). Both Mark (Mar_15:38) and Luke (Luk_23:45) mention also this fact. Matthew connects it with the earthquake, “the earth did quake” (he ge eseisthe). Josephus (War VI. 299) tells of a quaking in the temple before the destruction and the Talmud tells of a quaking forty years before the destruction of the temple. Allen suggests that “a cleavage in the masonry of the porch, which rent the outer veil and left the Holy Place open to view, would account for the language of the Gospels, of Josephus, and of the Talmud.” This veil was a most elaborately woven fabric of seventy-two twisted plaits of twenty-four threads each and the veil was sixty feet long and thirty wide. The rending of the veil signified the removal of the separation between God and the people (Gould).

John Calvin
Mat 27:54
54.Now the centurion. As Luke mentions the lamentation of the people, the centurion and his soldiers were not the only persons who acknowledged Christ to be the Son of God; but the Evangelists mention this circumstance respecting him for the purpose of heightening their description: for it is wonderful that an irreligious man, who had not been instructed in the Law, and was ignorant of true religion, should form so correct a judgment from the signs which he beheld. This comparison tends powerfully to condemn the stupidity of the city; for it was an evidence of shocking madness, that when the fabric of the world shook and trembled, none of the Jews were affected by it except the despised rabble. And yet, amidst such gross blindness, God did not permit the testimonies which he gave respecting his Son to be buried in silence. Not only, therefore, did true religion open the eyes of devout worshippers of God to perceive that from heaven God was magnifying the glory of Christ, but natural understanding compelled foreigners, and even soldiers, to confess what they had not learned either from the law or from any instructor.

When Mark says that the centurion spoke thus, because Christ, when he had uttered a loud voice, expired, some commentators think that he intends to point out the unwonted strength which remained unimpaired till death; and certainly, as the body of Christ was almost exhausted of blood, it could not happen, in the ordinary course of things, that the sides and the lungs should retain sufficient rigor for uttering so loud a cry. Yet I rather think that the centurion intended to applaud the unshaken perseverance of Christ in calling on the name of God. Nor was it merely the cry of Christ that led the centurion to think so highly of him, but this confession was extorted from him by perceiving that his extraordinary strength harmonized with heavenly miracles.

The words, he feared God,must not be so explained as if he had fully repented. It was only a sudden and transitory impulse, as it frequently happens, that men who are thoughtless and devoted to the world are struck with the fear of God, when he makes an alarming display of his power; but as they have no living root, indifference quickly follows, and puts an end to that feeling. The centurion had not undergone such a change as to dedicate himself to God for the remainder of his life, but was only for a moment the herald of the divinity of Christ.

When Luke represents him as saying no more than certainly this was a righteous man, the meaning is the same as if he had plainly said that he was the Son of God, as it is expressed by the other two Evangelists. For it had been universally reported that Christ was put to death, because he declared himself to be the Son of God. Now when the centurion bestows on him the praise of righteousness, and pronounces him to be innocent, he likewise acknowledges him to be the Son of God; not that he understood distinctly how Christ was begotten by God the Father, but because he entertains no doubt that there is some divinity in him, and, convinced by proofs, holds it to be certain that Christ was not an ordinary man, but had been raised up by God.

Adam Clarke
Mat 27:54
The centurion – The Roman officer who superintended the execution, called centurio, from centum, a hundred, because he had the command of one hundred men.

Truly this was the Son of God – An innocent, holy, and Divine person; and God thus shows his disapprobation of this bloody tragedy. It is not likely that this centurion had any knowledge of the expectation of the Jews relative to the Messiah, and did not use the words in this sense. A son of God, as the Romans used the term, would signify no more than a very eminent or Divine person; a hero.

Albert Barnes
Mat 27:54
Now when the centurion … – Centurion, a captain of a hundred soldiers. He was here placed over the band that attended the crucifixion.

They feared greatly – They regarded these things as proof that God was angry, and they were terrified at the prospect that vengeance was coming on them.

Truly this was the Son of God – They had heard, probably, that Jesus professed to be the Son of God. Seeing these wonders, they believed that God was now attesting the truth of his professions. The centurion was a pagan, and had probably no very distinct notions of the phrase “the Son of God” – perhaps understanding by it only that he was like the pagan heroes who had been deified; but he certainly regarded these wonders as proof that he was “what he professed to be.” In the original it is “a son of a god;” an expression perfectly suitable to a polytheist, who believed in the existence of many gods. Mark Mar_15:39 says that they affirmed that “this man was the Son of God.” Luke Luk_23:47, that they said, “Certainly this was a righteous man.’ These things were said by “different persons,” or at different periods of his sufferings – one evangelist having recorded one saying, and another another.

A.T. Robertson
Mat 27:54
Truly this was the Son of God (alethos theou huios en houtos). There is no article with God or Son in the Greek so that it means “God’s Son,” either “the Son of God” or “a Son of God.” There is no way to tell. Evidently the centurion (hekatontarchos here, ruler of a hundred, Latin word kenturion in Mar_15:39) was deeply moved by the portents which he had witnessed. He had heard the several flings at Jesus for claiming to be the Son of God and may even have heard of his claim before the Sanhedrin and Pilate. How much he meant by his words we do not know, but probably he meant more than merely “a righteous man” (Luk_23:47). Petronius is the name given this centurion by tradition. If he was won now to trust in Christ, he came as a pagan and, like the robber who believed, was saved as Jesus hung upon the Cross. All who are ever saved in truth are saved because of the death of Jesus on the Cross. So the Cross began to do its work at once.

Catena Aurea
Mar 16:5-7
Theophylact: Though Matthew says that the Angel was sitting on stone, whilst Mark relates that the women entering into the sepulchre saw a young man sitting, yet we need not wonder, for they afterwards saw sitting within the sepulchre the same Angel as sat without on the stone.

Augustine: Either let us suppose that Matthew was silent about that Angel, whom they saw on entering, whilst Mark said nothing of him, whom they say outside sitting on the stone, so that they saw two and heard separately from two, the things which the Angels said concerning Jesus; or we must understand by “entering into the sepulchre,” their coming within some inclosure, by which is it probable that the place was surrounded a little space before the stone, by the cutting out of which the burial place had been made, so that they saw sitting on the right hand in that space him whom Matthew designates as sitting on the stone.

Theophylact: But some say the women mentioned by Matthew were different from those in Mark. But Mary Magdalene was with all parties, from her burning zeal and ardent love.

Severianus: The women, then, entered the sepulchre, that being buried with Christ, they might rise again from the tomb with Christ. They see the young man, that is, they see the time of the Resurrection, for the Resurrection has no old age, and the period, in which man knows neither birth nor death, admits of no decay, and requires no increase. Wherefore what they saw was a young man, not an old man, nor an infant, but the age of joy.

Bede: Now they saw a young man sitting on the right side, that is, on the south part of the place where the body was laid. For the body, which was lying on its back, and had its head to the west, must have had its right to the south.

Greg.: But what is meant by the left hand, but this present life, and what by the right, but everlasting life? Because then our Redeemer had already gone through the decay of this present life, fitly did the Angel, who had come to announce His everlasting life, sit on the right hand.

Severianus, Chrysologus: Again, they saw a young man sitting on the right, because the Resurrection has nothing sinister in it. They also see him dressed in a long white robe; that robe is not from mortal fleece, but of living virtue, blazing with heavenly light, not of an earthly dye, as saith the Prophet, “Thou deckest thyself with light as with a garment;” [Psa_104:2] and of the just it is said, “Then shall the righteous shine forth as the sun.” [Mat_13:43]

Greg.: Or else, he appeared covered with a white robe, because he announced the joys of our festivity, for the whiteness of the robe shews the splendour of our solemnity.

Pseudo-Jerome: The white robe is also true joy, now that the enemy is driven away, the kingdom won, the King of Peace sought for and found and never let go by us. This young man then shews an image of the Resurrection to them who feared death. But their being frightened shews that “Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man to conceive the things which God hath prepared for them that love Him.” [1Co_2:9]

There follows: “And he saith unto them, Be not affrighted.”

Greg.: As though he had said, Let them fear, who love not the coming of the inhabitants of heaven; let them fear, who, weighed down with carnal desires, despair that they can ever attain to their company; but why should ye fear, ye who see your own fellow citizens.

Pseudo-Jerome: For there is no fear in love. Why should they fear, who had found Him whom they sought?

Greg.: But let us hear what the Angel adds; “Ye seek Jesus of Nazareth.” Jesus means the Saviour, but at that time there may have been many a Jesus, not indeed really, but in name, therefore the place Nazareth is added, that it might be evident of what Jesus it was spoken. And immediately he subjoins the reason, “Which was crucified.”

Theophylact: For he does not blush at the Cross, for in it is the salvation of men, and the beginning of the Blessed.

Pseudo-Jerome: But the bitter root of the Cross has disappeared. The flower of life has burst forth with its fruits, that is, He who lay in death has risen in glory. Wherefore he adds, “He is risen; He is not here.”

Greg.: “He is not here,” is spoken of His carnal presence, for He was not absent from any place as to the presence of His majesty.

Theophylact: As if he had said, Do ye wish to be certain of His Resurrection, he adds, “Behold the place where they laid Him.” This too was the reason why he had rolled away the stone, that he might shew them the place.

Pseudo-Jerome: But immortality is shewn to mortals as [debita, ap. Pseudo-Hier.] due to thankfulness, that we may understand what we were, and that we may know what we are to be.

There follows: “But go your way, tell His disciples and Peter that He goeth before you into Galilee.”

The women are ordered to tell the Apostles, that as by a woman death was announced, so also might life rising again. But He says specially unto Peter, because he had shewn himself unworthy of being a disciple, since he had thrice denied his Master; but past sins cease to hurt us when they cease to be pleasing to us.

Greg.: If again the Angel had not expressly name him who had denied his Master, he would not have dared to come amongst the disciples; he is therefore called by name, lest he should despair on account of his denial.

Augustine, de. Con. Evan., iii, 25: By saying, “He will go before you into Galilee, there shall ye see Him, and He said unto you,” he seems to imply, that Jesus would not shew Himself to His disciples after His Resurrection except in Galilee, which shewing of Himself Mark himself has not [‘sec’, ap. Aug. (?)] mentioned. For that which He has related, “Early the first day of the week He appeared to Mary Magdalene,” and “after that to two of them as they walked and went into the country,” we know took place in Jerusalem, on the very day of the resurrection; then he comes to His last manifestation, which we know was on the Mount of Olives, not far from Jerusalem.

Mark therefore never relates the fulfilment of that which was foretold by the Angel; but Matthew does not mention any place at all, where the disciples saw the Lord after He arose, except Galilee, according to the Angel’s prophecy. But since it is not set down when this happened, whether first, before He was seen any where else, and since the very place where Matthew says that He went into Galilee to the mountain, does not explain the day, or the order of the narration, Matthew does not oppose the account of the others, but assists in explaining and receiving them.

But nevertheless, since the Lord was not first to shew Himself there, but sent word that He was to be seen in Galilee, where He was seen subsequently, it makes every faithful Christian on the look out, to find out in what mysterious sense it may be understood.

Greg.: For Galilee mean ‘a passing over’ [transmigratio]; for our Redeemer had already passed from His Passion to His Resurrection, from death unto life, and we shall have joy in seeing the glory of His Resurrection, if only we pass over from vice to the heights of virtue. He then who is announced at the tomb, is shewn in ‘passing over,’ because He who is first known in mortification of the flesh, is seen in this passing over of the soul.

Pseudo-Jerome: This sentence is but short in the number of syllables, but the promise is vast in its greatness. Here is the fountain of our joy, and the source of everlasting life is prepared. Here all that are scattered are brought together, and the contrite hearts are healed. There, he says, ye shall see Him, but not as ye have seen Him.

Augustine: It is also signified that the grace of Christ is about to pass over from the people of Israel to the Gentiles, by whom the Apostles would never have been received when they preached, if the Lord had not gone before them and prepared a way in their hearts; and this is what is meant by, “He goeth before you into Galilee, there shall ye see Him,” that is, there shall ye find His members.

John Calvin
Mat 28:7
7.And go quickly, and tell his disciples. Here God, by the angel, confers extraordinary honor on the women, by enjoining them to proclaim to the apostles themselves the chief point of our salvation. In Mark’s account of it, they are expressly enjoined to carry this message to Peter; not because he was at that time higher in rank than the others, but because his crime, which was so disgraceful, needed peculiar consolation to assure him that Christ had not cast him off, though he had basely and wickedly fallen. He had already entered into the sepulcher, and beheld the traces of the resurrection of Christ; but God denied him the honor, which he shortly afterwards conferred on the women, of hearing from the lips of the angel that Christ was risen. And, indeed, the great insensibility under which he still labored is evident from the fact that he again fled trembling to conceal himself, as if he had seen nothing, while Mary sat down to weep at the grave. It cannot be doubted, therefore, that she and her companions, in beholding the angel, obtained the reward of their patience.

And, lo, He goeth before you into Galilee. When the angel sent the disciples into Galilee, he did so, I think, in order that Christ might make himself known to a great number of persons; for we know that he had lived a long time in Galilee. He intended also to give his followers greater liberty, that by the very circumstance of their retirement they might gradually acquire courage. Besides, by being accustomed to the places, they were aided in recognizing their Master with greater certainty; for it was proper to adopt every method of confirming them, that nothing might be wanting to complete the certainty of their faith.

Lo, I have told you. By this manner of speaking the angel earnestly assures them that what is said is true. He states this, not as from himself, as if he had been the first to suggest it, but gives his signature to the promise of Christ; and, therefore, in Mark’s account of it, he merely recalls to their remembrance the very words of Christ. Luke carries out the address still farther, by saying that the disciples were informed by Christ that he must be crucified, and rise again on the third day. But the meaning is the same; for along with his resurrection he had foretold his death. He then adds, —

Albert Barnes
Mat 28:5
And the angel answered and said … – This was not on the outside of the tomb, for Matthew does not say that the angel appeared to the “women” there, but only to the keepers. Mark says, “entering into the sepulchre, they saw a young man sitting on the right side, clothed in a long white garment” Mar_16:5. Luke says Luk_24:3, “they entered in, and found not the body of the Lord Jesus; and as they were much perplexed thereabout, behold, two men stood by them in shining garments.” Seeing the stone rolled away and the sepulchre open, they of course anxiously entered into it, to see if the body was there. They did not find it, and there they saw the vision of the angels, who gave them information respecting his resurrection. Infidels have objected that there are three inconsistencies in the accounts by Mark and Luke:

1. that Mark says the angel was sitting, and Luke says they were standing. Answer: The word in Luke does not of necessity mean that they “stood,” but only that they were “present.” Or it may be that the one that Mark mentions was sitting when they entered, and then arose.

2. It is objected that Luke mentions two, but Mark and Matthew one. Answer: Mark mentions the one who spoke; for it cannot be supposed they both spake the same thing. He does not deny that another was present with him. Luke affirms that there was. This way of speaking is not unfrequent. Thus, Mark and Luke mention only one demoniac who was cured at Gadara. Matthew mentions two. In like manner Mark and Luke speak of only one blind man who was cured at Jericho, while from Matthew it is certain that two were. The fact that but one is mentioned, where it is not denied that there were others, does not prove that there could not be others.

3. Matthew calls this an “angel.” Mark and Luke say “a man.” Answer: Angels, in the Scriptures, from “appearing” in the form of human beings, are often called as they “appear,” and are mentioned as men. See Gen_18:2, Gen_18:16, Gen_18:22; Gen_19:1, Gen_19:5. “Fear not ye.” That is, “Be not agitated, or troubled, that you do not find the body of the Saviour. I know that ye seek him, and are troubled that he is removed; but you need not fear that he has been stolen. You will see him again in Galilee.”

Albert Barnes
Mat 28:6
He has risen, as he said – Jesus had often predicted that he would rise, but the disciples did not understand it, and consequently did not expect it, Mat_16:21; Mat_20:19.

The place where the Lord lay – The place where a body was deposited in a sepulchre was commonly a niche cut in the wall of the sepulchre. The sepulchre was usually large; that of David was mere than 100 feet in length, cut out of solid rock under ground, and separated into various apartments. All round the sides of those apartments were niches for the dead; or they were ranged around the sides, in places cut in the solid rock just large enough to contain the body. In such a place, probably, our Lord lay.

John Calvin
Mat 28:7
7.And go quickly, and tell his disciples. Here God, by the angel, confers extraordinary honor on the women, by enjoining them to proclaim to the apostles themselves the chief point of our salvation. In Mark’s account of it, they are expressly enjoined to carry this message to Peter; not because he was at that time higher in rank than the others, but because his crime, which was so disgraceful, needed peculiar consolation to assure him that Christ had not cast him off, though he had basely and wickedly fallen. He had already entered into the sepulcher, and beheld the traces of the resurrection of Christ; but God denied him the honor, which he shortly afterwards conferred on the women, of hearing from the lips of the angel that Christ was risen. And, indeed, the great insensibility under which he still labored is evident from the fact that he again fled trembling to conceal himself, as if he had seen nothing, while Mary sat down to weep at the grave. It cannot be doubted, therefore, that she and her companions, in beholding the angel, obtained the reward of their patience.

And, lo, He goeth before you into Galilee. When the angel sent the disciples into Galilee, he did so, I think, in order that Christ might make himself known to a great number of persons; for we know that he had lived a long time in Galilee. He intended also to give his followers greater liberty, that by the very circumstance of their retirement they might gradually acquire courage. Besides, by being accustomed to the places, they were aided in recognizing their Master with greater certainty; for it was proper to adopt every method of confirming them, that nothing might be wanting to complete the certainty of their faith.

Lo, I have told you. By this manner of speaking the angel earnestly assures them that what is said is true. He states this, not as from himself, as if he had been the first to suggest it, but gives his signature to the promise of Christ; and, therefore, in Mark’s account of it, he merely recalls to their remembrance the very words of Christ. Luke carries out the address still farther, by saying that the disciples were informed by Christ that he must be crucified, and rise again on the third day. But the meaning is the same; for along with his resurrection he had foretold his death.

Adam Clarke
Mar 16:7
Tell his disciples and Peter – Why is not Peter included among the disciples? For this plain reason, – he had forfeited his discipleship, and all right to the honor and privileges of an apostle, by denying his Lord and Master. However, he is now a penitent: – tell him that Jesus is risen from the dead, and is ready to heal his backsliding, and love him freely; so that, after being converted, he may strengthen his brethren.

Albert Barnes
Mar_16:7
Tell his disciples and Peter – It is remarkable that Peter is singled out for special notice. It was proof of the kindness and mercy of the Lord Jesus. Peter, just before the death of Jesus, had denied him. He had brought dishonor on his profession of attachment to him. It would have been right if the Lord Jesus had from that moment cast him off and noticed him no more. But he loved him still. Having loved him once, he loved unto the end, Joh_13:1. As a proof that he forgave him and still loved him, he sent him this “special” message – the assurance that though he had denied him, and had done much to aggravate his sufferings, yet he had risen, and was still his Lord and Redeemer. We are not to infer, because the angel said, “Tell his disciples and Peter,” that Peter was not still a disciple. The meaning is, “Tell his disciples, and especially Peter,” sending to him a particular message. Peter was still a disciple. Before his fall, Jesus had prayed for him that his faith should not fail Luk_22:32; and as the prayer of Jesus was “always” heard Joh_11:42, so it follows that Peter still retained faith sufficient to be a disciple, though he was suffered to fall into sin.

A.T. Robertson
Mar 16:7
And Peter (kai toi Petroi). Only in Mark, showing that Peter remembered gratefully this special message from the Risen Christ. Later in the day Jesus will appear also to Peter, an event that changed doubt to certainty with the apostles (Luk_24:34; 1Co_15:5). See Mat_28:7 for discussion of promised meeting in Galilee.

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