7 Bar-Abbas, which means son of the father, had committed the political crime against the Roman government which they tried to fasten on our Lord. He was a murderer. The Lord was a life giver. Yet, because he was the son of their father, the Slanderer (Jn.8:44), they preferred him to the Beloved Son of God. It seems, however, that the people might have made a different choice had they not been excited by the priests. So that we may trace the crucifixion of Christ backward, with varying degrees of responsibility, through Pilate, the strong governor, who weakly yielded to the people who were swayed by the priests, who were controlled by Satan, who was carrying out the purpose of God. Most of these were bitterly opposed to God, and none of them had any desire to work His will, yet all are moved by motives of which they are unconscious, to do what He has determined shall be done.
9-15 Compare Mt.27:17-26; Lu.23:16-25; Jn.18:39.11 Compare Jn. 18:40. See Ac. 3:14.12 Compared to the malignant hatred of the priests, Pilate's weak submission to the will of the people is merely censurable. Indeed, they are to be contrasted, for Pilate, in his ignorance, was much impressed by the claims of Christ, and sought to release Him. The priests, whose whole life had been devoted to a study of God's law, were blind to the plainest indications of His messiahship. Pilate marveled that He did not reply to the priests. They should have known Him by His silence, even if they had no ears for His words, for the prophet had foretold (Isa. 53:7) :
He is hard pressed, and He is humiliated,
Yet He is not opening His mouth :
He is fetched as a flockling to the slaughter.
And as a ewe before its shearers is mute,
So He is not opening His mouth.
His silence before the deaf leaders of religion was not dictated by haughty contempt. It was useless to speak. They could not hear. So His silence is the God-given sign which they should have heeded.
14 Compare Jn. 19:4-16.
16-20 Compare Mt.27:27-32; Jn.19:1-3.
19 See Mic. 5:1.
21 Compare Lu.23:26-31; Jn.19:17.
22-28 Compare Mt.27:33-38; Lu.23:36-43 Jn.19:17-24. See Ps.69:21, 22:18.
26 Mark, with characteristic brevity, gives only the charge on the inscription. This was probably included in the full title, which probably read
THIS IS JESUS THE NAZARENE
THE KING OF THE JEWS
John's account has almost all of it (Jn.19:19), Matthew says nothing of the appellation "Nazarene" (Mt.27:37), Luke (23:38) and Mark omit His personal name. These were written in the three languages of the day, Greek, Latin, and Hebrew. It is not likely that Pilate allowed any changes to be made after he said "What I have written, I have written!" (Jn.19:22). Each account accords with its peculiar character. Mark, as befits the record of a Servant's death, gives only the charge, and says nothing of the various languages. In the inspired accounts of this inscription we have an illustration of the way in which the spirit culls only such facts for each account of our Lord's life as are pertinent to the particular aspect of His character which is being presented.
27 See Isa.53:12.
29-30 Compare Mt.27:39-44; Lu.23:35-37 Jn. 2:19-21.29
29 How profanely silly are man's comments on the
cross of Christ! He had never said that He would demolish the temple of God.
They were doing that! Should He descend He could not fulfill this word that they
are casting in His teeth. Likewise, the insufferable stupidity of the priests
could not apprehend that, if He would save others, He could not save Himself.
33-34 Compare Mt.27:45,46; Lu.23:44-45.
33 God draws the veil of darkness over the scene during the awful hours in which He abandoned His Son. Then it was that He was accursed (Deut.21:23; Ga.3:13). Then it was that it pleased Jehovah to bruise Him, to put Him to grief, to make His soul a trespass offering (Isa.53:10). Here is a holy of holies into which we dare not come but with bowed hearts and unshod feet. It was the moral crisis of universal history, the grand, long-heralded event that will make this earth the shrine of all creation.
35-36 Compare Mt.27:47-49; Jn.19:25-29.