The Jews therefore, because it was the preparation, that the bodies should not remain on the cross on the sabbath day…
I. THE IMMORALITY OF TECHNICAL SAINTHOOD. The Jews here were in a conventional and ceremonial sense great saints, and felt themselves such; albeit they were destitute of genuine morality, and in heart disregarded every precept of the decalogue. It has ever been so. There is a pietism which eats out the heart of humanity, and turns men into bigots and persecutors.
II. THE SERVILITY OF STATE HIRELINGS. The soldiers who crucified and pierced Christ had sold themselves to the state, and surrendered their whole individuality to their employers. The spirit of manhood was extinct; they had become machines to murder and kill. This is the curse of nations. In proportion to the servile spirit of a people is the strength of tyranny. Sycophancy paralyses patriotism. This is not unknown even in England.
III. THE CERTITUDE OF THE GREATEST FACT.
1. The greatest fact in history is the death of Christ. To it all past events pointed, and from it all future have their rise and take their date. It created moral influences which deepen every day.
2. The most competent witness of the fact was John. No one was —
(1) More intellectually competent. No one was so much with Christ, and so intimately acquainted with Him.
(2) More morally competent. He was incorruptibly honest and incontrovertibly disinterested.
IV. THE PHILOSOPHY OF EVANGELICAL. PENITENCE (ver. 37). He who looks with the eye of faith on the cross as the demonstration of human wickedness and the expression of God's compassion for sinners, is in a way to have his heart broken with contrition for sin.
(D. Thomas, D. D.)
Parallel VersesKJV: The Jews therefore, because it was the preparation, that the bodies should not remain upon the cross on the sabbath day, (for that sabbath day was an high day,) besought Pilate that their legs might be broken, and that they might be taken away.
WEB: Therefore the Jews, because it was the Preparation Day, so that the bodies wouldn't remain on the cross on the Sabbath (for that Sabbath was a special one), asked of Pilate that their legs might be broken, and that they might be taken away.