23:1 And 1 the whole multitude of them arose, and led him unto Pilate.
(1) Christ, who is now ready to suffer for the rebellion which we raised in this world, is first of all pronounced guiltless, so that it might appear that he suffered not for his own sins (which were none) but for ours. 23:2 And they began to accuse him, saying, We found this [fellow] a perverting the nation, and forbidding to give tribute to Caesar, saying that he himself is Christ a King.
(a) Corrupting the people, and leading them into errors. 23:6 2 When Pilate heard of Galilee, he asked whether the man were a Galilaean.
(2) Christ is a laughing stock to princes, but to their great pain. 23:7 And as soon as he knew that he belonged unto b Herods jurisdiction, he sent him to Herod, who himself also was at Jerusalem at that time.
(b) This was Herod Antipas the Tetrarch, in the time of whose period of rule (which was almost twenty-two years long) John the Baptist preached and was put to death, and Jesus Christ also died and rose again, and the apostles began to preach, and various things were done at Jerusalem almost seven years after Christs death. This Herod was sent into banishment to Lyons, about the second year of Gaius Caesar. 23:11 And Herod with his c men of war set him at nought, and mocked [him], and arrayed him in a gorgeous robe, and sent him again to Pilate.
(c) Accompanied with his nobles and soldiers who followed him from Galilee. 23:12 3 And the same day Pilate and Herod were made friends together: for before they were at enmity between themselves.
(3) The hatred of godliness binds the wicked together. 23:13 4 And Pilate, when he had called together the chief priests and the d rulers and the people,
(4) Christ is acquitted the second time, even by him of whom he is condemned, so that it might appear in what way he who is just, redeemed us who were unjust. 23:16 5 I will therefore chastise him, and release [him].
(d) Those whom the Jews called the sanhedrin.
(5) The wisdom of the flesh is to choose the lesser of two evils, but God curses such plans. 23:22 6 And he said unto them the third time, Why, what evil hath he done? I have found no cause of death in him: I will therefore chastise him, and let [him] go.
(6) Christ is acquitted the third time before he is condemned, so that it might appear that it was for our sins that were condemned in him. 23:26 7 And as they led him away, they laid hold upon one Simon, a Cyrenian, coming out of the country, and on him they laid the cross, that he might bear [it] after Jesus.
(7) An example of the outrageousness and disorder of the soldiers. 23:27 8 And there followed him a great company of people, and of women, which also bewailed and lamented him.
(8) The triumph of the wicked has a most horrible end. 23:31 For if they do these things in a e green tree, what shall be done in the dry?
(e) As if he said, "If they do this to me who is always fruitful and flourishing, and who lives forever by reason of my Godhead, what will they do to you who are unfruitful and void of all active righteousness?" 23:33 9 And when they were come to the place, which is called Calvary, there they crucified him, and the malefactors, one on the right hand, and the other on the left.
(9) Christ became accursed for us upon the cross, suffering the punishment which the ones who would belong to God deserved. 23:34 10 Then said Jesus, Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do. And they parted his raiment, and cast lots.
23:35 And the people stood beholding. And the rulers also with them derided [him], saying, He saved others; let him save himself, if he be Christ, the f chosen of God.
(10) Christ, in praying for his enemies, shows that he is both the Sacrifice and the Priest.
(f) Whom God loves more than all others. 23:38 11 And a superscription also was written over him in letters of Greek, and Latin, and Hebrew, THIS IS THE KING OF THE JEWS.
23:39 g And 12 one of the malefactors which were hanged railed on him, saying, If thou be Christ, save thyself and us.
(11) Pilate is unknowingly made a preacher of the kingdom of Christ.
(g) Therefore we must either take Matthews account to be using the figure of speech synecdoche, or that both of them mocked Christ. But one of them who was eventually overcome with the great patience of God breaks forth in that confession worthy all memory. 23:41 And we indeed justly; for we receive the due reward of our deeds: but this man hath done nothing h amiss.
(12) Christ, in the midst of the humbling of himself upon the cross, indeed shows that he has both the power of life to save the believers and the power of death to avenge the rebellious.
(h) More than he ought. 23:43 And Jesus said unto him, Verily I say unto thee, To day shalt thou be with me in i paradise.
(i) God made the visible paradise in the eastern part of the world: but that which we behold with the eyes of our mind is the place of everlasting joy and salvation, through the goodness and mercy of God, a most pleasant rest for the souls of the godly, and a most quiet and joyful dwelling. 23:44 13 And it was about the sixth hour, and there was a darkness over all the earth until the ninth hour.
23:45 14 And the sun was darkened, and the veil of the temple was rent in the midst.
(13) Christ, even being at the point of death, shows himself to be God almighty even to the blind.
23:47 15 Now when the centurion saw what was done, he glorified God, saying, Certainly this was a righteous man.
(14) Christ enters bravely and resolutely into the very darkness of death, and he does this so that he might overcome death even within its most secret places.
23:49 16 And all his acquaintance, and the women that followed him from Galilee, stood afar off, beholding these things.
(15) Christ, as often as it pleases him, causes his very enemies to give honourable witness that he is right.
23:50 17 And, behold, [there was] a man named Joseph, a counsellor; [and he was] a good man, and a just:
(16) Christ gathers together and defends his little flock in the midst of the tormentors.
23:54 And that day was the preparation, and the sabbath k drew on.
(17) Christ, through his well known burial, confirms both the truth of his death as well as his resurrection, by the plain and evident witness of Pilate.
(k) Literally, "dawning", and now beginning, for the light of the former day drew toward the going down of the sun, and that was the day of preparation for the feast, that is, the feast which was to be kept the following day. 23:55 18 And the women also, which came with him from Galilee, followed after, and beheld the sepulchre, and how his body was laid.
(18) Christ, being set upon by the devil and all his instruments, and being even in deaths mouth, places weak women in his service, bearing in mind to immediately triumph over these terrible enemies, and that without any great endeavour.