Matthew 27:12
And when he was accused of the chief priests and elders, he answered nothing.
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(12) He answered nothing.—Here, as before in Matthew 26:63, we have to realise the contrast between the vehement clamour of the accusers, the calm, imperturbable, patient silence of the accused, and the wonder of the judge at what was so different from anything that had previously come within the range of his experience.

Matthew 27:12-14. When he was accused of the chief priests, &c., he answered nothing — In consequence of the conversation that took place between Jesus and Pilate, referred to in the preceding note, Pilate was inclined to acquit Jesus, declaring he found in him no fault at all; but the priests were not disconcerted, nor abashed by the public declaration which the governor, in obedience to conscience and truth, made of the prisoner’s innocence; for they persisted in their accusations with more vehemence than before, affirming that he had attempted to raise a sedition in Galilee; see Luke 23:5. To this heavy charge Jesus answered nothing. Nay, he continued mute, notwithstanding the governor expressly desired him to speak in his own defence, saying, Hearest thou not how many things they witness against thee? — Yes, he did hear, and still hears all that is witnessed unjustly against his truth and ways; but he keeps silence because it is the day of his patience, and does not answer as he shortly will, Psalm 50:3. In answering nothing to the accusations of the witnesses, Jesus fulfilled the prophecy of Isaiah, chap. Isaiah 53:7. But a conduct so extraordinary, in such circumstances, astonished Pilate exceedingly, for he had good reason to be persuaded of Christ’s innocence. Indeed, his humble appearance was a sufficient refutation of the charge which the Jews brought against him, and his silence served instead of the most elaborate defence; and possibly he might decline making any public defence, lest the common people, moved by what he must have said, should have asked his release, and prevented his death; in which respect he showed his followers a noble example of courage and submission to the divine will. Besides, the gross falsehood of the accusation, known to the chief priests themselves, and to all the inhabitants of Galilee, rendered any reply needless.

27:11-25 Having no malice against Jesus, Pilate urged him to clear himself, and laboured to get him discharged. The message from his wife was a warning. God has many ways of giving checks to sinners, in their sinful pursuits, and it is a great mercy to have such checks from Providence, from faithful friends, and from our own consciences. O do not this abominable thing which the Lord hates! is what we may hear said to us, when we are entering into temptation, if we will but regard it. Being overruled by the priests, the people made choice of Barabbas. Multitudes who choose the world, rather than God, for their ruler and portion, thus choose their own delusions. The Jews were so bent upon the death of Christ, that Pilate thought it would be dangerous to refuse. And this struggle shows the power of conscience even on the worst men. Yet all was so ordered to make it evident that Christ suffered for no fault of his own, but for the sins of his people. How vain for Pilate to expect to free himself from the guilt of the innocent blood of a righteous person, whom he was by his office bound to protect! The Jews' curse upon themselves has been awfully answered in the sufferings of their nation. None could bear the sin of others, except Him that had no sin of his own to answer for. And are we not all concerned? Is not Barabbas preferred to Jesus, when sinners reject salvation that they may retain their darling sins, which rob God of his glory, and murder their souls? The blood of Christ is now upon us for good, through mercy, by the Jews' rejection of it. O let us flee to it for refuge!When he was accused ... - To wit, of perverting the nation, and of forbidding to give tribute to Caesar, Luke 23:2, Luke 23:5. Probably this was done in a tumultuous manner and in every variety of form.

He answered nothing - He was conscious of his innocence. He knew that they could not prove these charges. They offered no testimony to prove them, and, in conscious innocence, he was silent.

Mt 27:11-26. Jesus Again before Pilate—He Seeks to Release Him but at Length Delivers Him to Be Crucified. ( = Mr 15:1-15; Lu 23:1-25; Joh 18:28-40).

For the exposition, see on [1372]Lu 23:1-25; [1373]Joh 18:28-40.

See Poole on "Matthew 27:14".

And when he was accused of the chief priests and elders,.... As that he was a perverter of the people, a stirrer of sedition, discord, and rebellion among them; that he taught them not to give tribute to Caesar, and set up himself for a king; all which he had done not in one place only, but throughout all the land of Judea, from Galilee to Jerusalem; see Luke 23:2,

he answered nothing; the things laid to his charge being notoriously false, and known to be so by all the people; and the evidence with which they were supported being so slender, the judge could never receive it; he therefore judged it unnecessary, and not worth a while to return an answer to them: besides, he knew they were bent upon his death, and that, should he set aside these charges, as he easily could, they would invent new ones, and so increase their sin, and their condemnation: but the chief reason of all, of his silence, was, he had the sins of his people to answer for, and the time of his dying for them was now come, and for which he was ready; and therefore would say nothing to remove these false charges, and retard his death.

And when he was accused of the chief priests and elders, he answered nothing.
Matthew 27:12. he accusations here referred to appear to have been made on the back of Pilate’s first question and Christ’s answer. Mark indicates that they were copious. In Luke the charge is formulated before Pilate begins to interrogate (Matthew 23:2). The purpose of their statements would be to substantiate the main charge that Jesus claimed to be King of the Jews in a sense hostile to Roman supremacy. What were the materials of proof? Possibly perverse construction of the healing ministry, of the consequent popularity, of Christ’s brusquely independent attitude towards Rabbinism, suggesting a defiant spirit generally.—οὐδὲν ἀπεκρίνατο (note use of 1st aorist middle instead of the more usual ἀπεκρίθη). Jesus made no reply to these plausible mendacities, defence vain in such a case.

Verse 12. - When Pilate went forth again to the door of the judgment hall, he was met by a storm of accusations from the chief priests and elders, who, seeing the impression produced on him by Christ's bearing, vied with each other in vociferating charges against the meek Prisoner. He answered nothing. With Divine patience he bore it all; he would not defend himself before people who cared nothing for truth and justice, and wanted only to secure condemnation and death. As for Pilate, he had told him expressly that his kingdom was spiritual and not of this world, and therefore his claims did not interfere with the sovereignty of Rome. To him and to the rest there was nothing more to be said. Matthew 27:12
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