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This was horribly wicked; and they are as horribly wicked who make sport with the name of Jesus, and use it triflingly or in jest: take care never to sport with sacred things.
Peter was all this while sitting among the servants of the High Priest, when one of the maids espied him out, and accused him of being a disciple; but Peter was afraid of suffering in the same way, and so denied it. He then left his seat and went to the porch or entrance of the High Priest's hall; but there he was again discovered by another maid, and then he swore that he knew nothing of Christ. After this some more persons charged him with being one of Christ's followers, and they said that his dialect proved he came from the same part of the country. Peter again cursed and swore, probably worse than before, and said he knew nothing of Christ. Those that curse and swear show most plainly that they cannot belong to Christ, so Peter took a most effectual and wicked method to disguise himself.
Jesus had warned him of this, and told him, that before the cock should crow twice he would deny him thrice. His words now came to pass; the cock crew-Peter remembered it—his heart was ready to break—he thought how wicked he had been, and, going away, he “wept bitterly." This was a sign that he sincerely repented; but no weeping bitterly can ever wash away the foulness of your sins and of mine ; that can only be done by faith in the blood of Jesus Christ, which has a particular virtue in healing the wounded soul, and taking away its guilt and defilement, and which “cleanseth from all sin."
The Sufferings of Christ-His Death.
We left Christ in the hands of the chief priests and elders, condemned to die, but they had not full power to kill him; they could only show how much they desired to put him to death. About two years before this, the Romans who had conquered the Jews, had taken from them the power to execute any, and therefore another council was held, to know what further to do. So they bound Jesus and led him to Pilate, the Roman Governor, who was placed over them, in order that he might execute the sentence which they had passed upon him.
While this was doing, Judas's conscience became so troubled for having basely delivered up his innocent Master, that he went and threw down the money which, for his wicked act, he had received from the chief priests and elders, and he said, “ I have sinned, in that I have betrayed the innocent blood.” But the priests, even more hardened than he, said, “What is that to us? see thou to that." As much as to say, that is your concern, Judas, and not ours; our end is served, and so you may do as you please ; and if you have betrayed the innocent, the fault is yours, and not
Christ having declared himself to be the Christ or Messiah—the Son of God—the Jews thought they had excellent grounds on which to accuse him to the Romans. They had a notion in their heads, that the Messiah was to be their king, as David and others had been before, and so they thought that by Christ owning himself to be the Messiah, he professed also to be their king. This was their own fancy, for his kingdom was not of this world, but spiritual; he never intended to sit upon an earthly throne, but to reign in the human heart, making it obedient to him from love. This fancy of theirs they told to Pilate as truth ; and as the Romans would be jealous of any one claiming the throne-as Herod was when Christ was bornthey thought they could bring a charge of treason against Christ. Pilate being informed of this, asked, “ Art thou the king of the Jews ?” Jesus said unto him, " Thou sayest;" meaning, “I am.” He was, indeed, as I have said, a spiritual King, reigning in the hearts of those that believed in him ; but he was misunderstood, and he would explain no further ; for he knew that the malice of the Jews bent them on his destruction. And this was not the only charge they had, for they proceeded to accuse him of many other things, in reply to which charges he thought it beneath the dignity of innocence to reply.
Now there had been a custom introduced by the Romans—perhaps to win the hearts of the lower orders of the Jews—to release some prisoner at the time of the passover. So Pilate fixed upon Barabbas, a most notorious thief and murderer, and proposed to the Jews to determine which of the two should be set at liberty, Barabbas or Christ. He believed Christ to be innocent, and proposed this Barabbas, whose life none could well wish to be spared, that the innocent Saviour, whom he set in contrast to him, might escape. But the chief priests and elders managed to persuade the people to demand Barabbas. Astonished at their choice, Pilate then asked what was to be done with Jesus, and they said, “Let him be crucified !"