2333. The Whole Band Against Christ

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No. 2333-39:529. A Sermon Delivered On Lord’s Day Evening, September 15, 1889, By C. H. Spurgeon, At The Metropolitan Tabernacle, Newington.

A Sermon Intended For Reading On Lord’s Day, November 5, 1893.

Then the soldiers of the governor took Jesus into the common hall, and gathered to him the whole band of soldiers. {Mt 27:27}

1. I have not observed that anyone has turned to account the fact that “the whole band of soldiers” gathered in the Praetorium, or Common Hall, for the purpose of mocking our Lord. That they did mock him, has often been noticed, and preached on; but that they should have gathered to him the whole cohort, that all should have been there, is mentioned both by Matthew and by Mark, and this being recorded twice cannot have been without some meaning and some lesson for us.

2. To begin then, our blessed Lord, being condemned to die, was given over to the brutal soldiers who were garrisoned in Jerusalem. They lived in quarters around the palace of the governor; and when the Saviour was delivered to them to be put to death, they needed to make him the centre of their mockery and derision before they executed the terrible sentence on him. Does it not strike you that any man condemned to die ought to be protected against such usage as that? If he must die, some respect should be paid to one who is about to endure the death-penalty. I think that there should be great indulgence shown in such a case; at any rate, nothing should be done or said to hurt the feelings, or to wound the sensibilities. Compassion seems to say, “If the man must die, then so be it; but let us not for a single moment make fun of him. Away with mirth; that is a brutality not to be thought of at such a time as this; and to make a man, about to die, the subject of scorn, is a superfluity of cruelty and wickedness.” I think that even a demon might be ashamed of such savagery as this. But there was no law to protect the Saviour from these soldiers. Every man’s heart seems to have been steeled against him; the common dictates of the most ignorant humanity appear to have been violated. They said by their actions, if not in words, “He shall not only die, but he shall be stripped of all his honour; he shall be robbed of every comfort; he shall become the butt and target of all the cruel arrows of contempt that we can shoot at him.”

3. Still, why is it said that, in order to make him the object of derision, they gathered together “the whole band?” I do not know how many soldiers constituted the garrison, or how many were barracked around the governor’s palace; but they gathered together “the whole band”; not merely a few of them who were on duty that day, but all were summoned to mock Christ. It was not because he needed to be guarded lest he should escape, for he had no desire to be set free. It was not because the soldiers would be needed to guard him lest the people should attempt to rescue him, for the Jews did not want him to be rescued. On the contrary, it was by their clamour that he was doomed to die. They had cried, “Crucify him! Crucify him!” He had no friends to stand up for him, no band of disciples to come and force the soldiers away, and set him free. Therefore these legionaries did not guard him with the whole strength of the band on that account.

4. Nor were they all needed to execute the death sentence. With a people eager for his death, four soldiers, a single quaternion, sufficed. He carried his own cross, and they only had to drive the nails into his hands and feet, and fasten him to the tree. That could be soon done to a Victim so defenceless, so inoffensive; it did not require that they should gather together “the whole band,” and so we are told this, as a remarkable circumstance which did not rise necessarily out of the narrative. It must have a meaning of its own, “They gathered to him the whole band of soldiers.”

5. I shall speak on it like this. First, it would appear that the soldiers were unanimous in mocking their Prisoner; secondly, so are men united in opposing Christ; and, thirdly, what shall we say concerning both the facts on which we are to speak tonight?

6. I. First, then, it is clear that THE SOLDIERS WERE UNANIMOUS IN MOCKING THEIR PRISONER.

7. On this, I remark, first, that men are very apt to go together when they go wrong. You notice, in a workshop, how the religion of Christ will be despised, and how certain men will lead the way in uttering calumnies against it, and then the rest will follow. When men go astray, they are like a flock of sheep; one gets through the hedge, and all the rest go after it. We have heard of one sheep leaping over the railing of a bridge into a river, and the whole flock went after it, and all were drowned. Men are such curious beings, not only the creatures of their own habits, but the imitators of other men’s example. I do not know why it is, but people who, alone and apart, would seem to have some good inclinations, will shake them all off when they get into bad company. At home, they will talk reasonably; but in the crowd, they speak madly. At home and alone, they are amenable to rebuke and conviction; but when they get with other men, they will not hear a word of it; they shut their ears to anything like good teaching, and they run greedily to do mischief. I do not, therefore, so much wonder that, when our Lord was given over to the soldiers, they gathered together the whole band, for it is so usual for men to go together when they go wrong.

8. Frequently, too, it will happen that there is not one man to bear his protest. Would you not have expected that, in a large band of soldiers, there would have been at least one man of noble spirit, who would have said, “No, do not torture him; he is about to die?” Would it have been at all amazing if one man had come forward, and said, “This Man has done nothing amiss; our governor has said that he finds no fault in him. Why, therefore, do you set him in that chair, and robe him, and bow the knee in mockery, and spit on him?” It would not have been very surprising if there had been among the Roman soldiers some one or two who had espoused Christ’s cause; for, to tell the truth, those valiant men, although they grew brutalized by living amid scenes of blood, were capable of deeds of high virtue. One has only to read the old Roman history, to stand amazed sometimes that such fair flowers of virtue and benevolence could grow on such a dunghill as the Roman State then was. Yet you see that not one out of the whole band of soldiers would say a word for Christ, or absent himself from the ring, when their comrades mocked him.

9. Perhaps, I address some men here who work together, and who are in the habit of scoffing at the cross of Christ. I hope that there is not a workshop in London without one man, at least, who will stand up, and defend his Master’s cause; but if I speak to one to whom that thought has occurred, and yet he has said, “I dare not; I should be myself the subject of so much persecution, that I could not stand up alone”; now, listen, sir, if a Gaius, or a Fabius, or a Julius, had stood up alone to defend the Lord’s cause, we should have had his name recorded here, and if he had even suffered death for it, he would have been among the brightest of the martyr host. And you do not know what honour you lose if you conceal your testimony. If you allow the whole drift of the talk to be infidel and atheistic, and never put in your good word for him whom you call Master and Lord, you dishonour yourself; but if you could have the courage, and I hope that you may, to say, “He, of whom you speak so badly, has saved my soul, snatched me from habits of vice, and renewed my character,” if you could stand up, and bear such testimony for him, I think that it would be a short road to glory, and honour, and immortality. It is not likely that you would have to suffer as the martyrs did; but suppose that you did, the more of suffering, the brighter that ruby crown which would be set on your head in the day of your Lord’s appearing. I hope that Christian men are still made of that grand old stuff which defied the Roman emperors, and made them weary of slaughter, for they could not mow down the crops of the Church so fast as they grew. The blood of the martyrs was the seed of the Church; and the more copiously it was shed, the more the Church multiplied.

10. But, once more, the number of those who mocked Christ like this made their conduct all the baser. When you, young fellow, get in with fifty more, and in the workshop you mock at some solitary Christian youth, when each one of you have your jibe, when you give him what you call “chaff,” which is sport to you, but cruel enough to be death to him, did it never occur to you that it was a most cowardly thing, and altogether unworthy of you, that ten, twenty, thirty, forty, fifty, should all be against one? What if a man does believe in religion? Does he not have a right to do so if he likes? Some of you who talk so much about freedom are the biggest bullies in the world; you boast loudly about religious liberty, but to you it means liberty to be irreligious. Surely I have as much right to worship Christ as you have to despise him; and if my views of religion should seem to you to be peculiar, yet, if peculiar, have I not as good a reason to hold them as you have to reject them? I speak so plainly because I know of many, many cases where, if men were men at all, they would cease to persecute Christians, since they persecute one or two wherever they can if they themselves happen to be in the majority. Think of this lot of howling dogs around this one gentle Lamb of God, the Christ who never even had a harsh word for them, whose mightiest weapon was silence and patience; think of him surrounded by all these men of war from their youth up, these Roman legionaries with their imperial eagles. It was a cruel shame. The more there were of them, the baser it was of them, as a whole band, to gather together to mock the Saviour like this.

11. But I suppose that their number accounted for the excess to which they went. If there had only been two or three of them, they would not have thought of all the cruel things that they did to our Lord. To put an old cloak on him, and to call him the purpled Caesar, is commonplace enough; but one cries, “Let us make a crown for him,” and they weave the thorns with cruel hands, piercing his temples with the sharp spines. Another says, “Fetch a sceptre, and put it in his hand. Set him in that chair, and let us bow before him, let us cry, ‘Hail, King of the Jews!’ ” They would have stopped at that point had there not been so many of them; but, being so large a band, one coarse fellow must go even further, and he spits into that blessed face!

    See how the patient Jesus stands,
       Insulted in his lowest case!
    Sinners have bound the Almighty hands,
       And spit in their Creator’s face.

I hardly think that one, two, three, or even half-a-dozen by themselves could have been guilty of such detestable, loathsome conduct against Christ; but the whole band being together, they thought of new insults.

12. Take heed of sinning in a crowd. Young man, abandon the idea that you may sin in a crowd. Beware of the notion that, because many do it, it is less a guilt to any one of them. Remember that the broad way always was the wrong road, and that it leads to destruction none the less because many walk on it. “Though hand join in hand, the wicked shall not be unpunished.” Though you finish up the day’s work of sin with three cheers for your noble selves, each one of you shall find yourselves arraigned before the judgment seat of God, each one to give an account for the deeds done in his body according to what he has done, whether it is good or whether it is evil. Oh, the pitiful story, a whole company of soldiers united against Christ, with not one to quit the ranks, and say, “No, comrades; do not do this”; but all wallowing in their cruelty, like swine in the mire!

13. II. That leads me to talk to you, secondly, about another point. Just as these soldiers were unanimous in mocking their illustrious Prisoner, SO MEN ARE UNITED IN OPPOSING CHRIST.

14. Like these soldiers, many do not pass Christ by with neglect. I should have thought that many a brave man of that Roman legion would have said, “Nonsense! I shall not go to taunt the poor Jew who has been hunted down by the priests. No one gives him a good word; even his own followers have fled from him. I heard one of them declare that he did not know him, though I knew that man was a liar, for I saw him in the garden with his Master. My comrades are going to the Praetorium to mock him, but I shall not go; such mirth is unworthy of a man, especially of a Roman.” Instead of that, they were all there. Peaked by curiosity, they must all come to see this Man of whom they had heard so much; and an evil conscience made them bitter against him, for, because they were evil, his being good was a protest against their wicked deeds.

15. So they were all united against him, and they came up, every one of them, to show their scorn. It is a strange thing; but if Christ is fully preached, somehow men cannot be indifferent to him. If they can be right away, and never hear of him, they may be indifferent; but the true gospel either offends men, or else it charms them. I believe that you may preach a certain kind of gospel, from the first of January to the end of December, and everyone will say, “Yes, that is very good, very, very good, perfectly harmless.” Yes, a lump in the porridge, with no flavour in it; but if it is the real out-and-out gospel of a crucified Saviour, there will be someone who will say, “Ah, that is what I want! I like that”; but there will be others who will grind their teeth, and say, “I will never hear that man again; I cannot bear his talk; I hate it.” Do not be surprised when I say that, if I hear that So-and-so was very angry at one of my sermons, I state as my belief, “That man will go to heaven. I have the hook in that fish, and I shall catch him yet.” But when I hear people simply say, “Oh, yes; we heard the sermon!” and they make some trifling remark about it and go their way, nothing good comes of it. It is better that a man should be in a downright rage against Christ than be utterly indifferent to him; and where he really comes so that men are obliged to see him, they cannot be indifferent for long. “That the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed,” is one of the objects of his death. The cross of Christ is the great detector of men. Set it up, and men immediately go to the right or to the left of it. It is the parter and divider of the ways. Jesus himself said, “He who is not with me is against me; and he who does not gather with me scatters abroad.” Men cannot pass by utterly with neglect after once hearing the story of the cross. They must gather for Christ or against him, and alas! many of them do gather to pour their scorn on him.

16. Many ungodly men feel an inward contempt for Christ’s claims. No, one says, “I have no such contempt for Christ.” I would not wish to charge you wrongfully; but if you are not a believer in him, if you have never accepted him to be your Saviour and your Lord, I venture to repeat the charge, you have an inward contempt for his claims, my hearers. Whether you are Christians or not, you are the subjects of King Jesus. God has put you into his hand, and you will have to stand before his judgment seat at the last. The Man Christ Jesus, who died on Calvary, and rose again, and went to heaven, will judge every one of you at the last great day; and he claims that you now should become his servants, and yield obedience to him. Now, I know that you will say in your hearts, “We shall not do anything of the kind.” just so, and have I not proved what I said? “The carnal mind is enmity against God,” and that carnal mind may be in a man who always goes to church, or to chapel. If he has not been renewed, he does not believe in Christ as King; and as far as his heart is concerned, he mocks at the idea of his being a servant of Christ, and Christ being Lord over him. In his very soul he thinks this to be a preposterous claim, that he should be obedient to Christ in everything. Besides, the majority of men do not seek to know what Christ’s claims are. They are ignorant of his royalty and sovereignty, and it is in this way that their minds are filled with an indistinctly expressed, but still very powerful, contempt for him.

17. And so it happens, in the next place, that men invent different ways of showing their derision. It is very curious that you find very learned men opposed to Christ, and they go to work usually by destructive criticism, trying to get rid of this part of the Bible and that; but an ignorant man cannot do that, so he says that he does not believe in the Bible at all. Here you find a rich man despising Christ, sneering at “the common people,” as he calls Christ’s followers, and there you see another man, who is very poor, despising Christ by wishing to overthrow all the rules of his sacred kingdom. Herod and Pilate hate each other until Christ comes, and then they join together in reviling him.

18. These Roman soldiers, having all come together, found something to do in mocking Christ. First, some of them stripped him. Oh, have I not seen men at it in these days, stripping Christ of his deity, stripping him of his priesthood, stripping him of his sovereignty, stripping him of his righteousness, stripping Christ of everything that makes him Christ? Is that not the way with many of the rich, and the great, and the “advanced” theologians of the present day? They show their hatred of Christ by stripping him.

19. There are others who go to work the other way; they put on him a scarlet robe. I have seen them do it; put other men’s garments on him, make him out to be what he never was, make a travesty of the doctrines of grace, caricature the gospel, and hold it all up to contempt, imputing to Christ the faults of all his followers, and even laying at his door the sin of men who, like Judas, have betrayed him. That is another method of showing enmity for Christ.

20. Then we see all around us men who mock at Christ’s royalty. They crown him with a crown of thorns by their harsh speeches against his people. By their persecutions of those who love him, Christ is often crowned again with thorns. The husband has done it in his unkindness towards his believing wife; parents have done it in their objection to their children following Christ; the man or woman who has given the cold shoulder to a pious friend has put another crown of thorns on the Saviour’s head. And have we not seen them put the reed into his hand by representing Christ as being a mere myth, and his doctrine as a dream, a holy fantasy, a proper thing to keep the people quiet, but with no matter of fact or truth in it? So they put into his hand the reed sceptre to mock him, and he regards it as mockery. And so, around the Christ today, I seem to see, with eyes closed, but by the vision of faith, a multitude kneeling before him, and pretending to worship him, hypocritical worshippers, those who even by their bedsides are hypocrites, repeating a form of prayer, and yet never really praying, drawing near to him with their lips, while their hearts are far from him. Oh, how do sinners prove their unanimity of enmity to Christ by this! Even in their pretended worship, they only show the opposition of their hearts to him.

21. Here and there, also, I see one who is coarser than other men, who spits on Jesus, and strikes him. You cannot live long in London without hearing expressions that disgust you from men who are opposed to the cross of Christ. I have given up all idea now that we are living in a Christian country. Believers, in England, are a band of Christ’s soldiers who are holding the fort against deadly odds. Ours is a heathen country, with a mixture of Christian people, and a smear, a varnish, of pretended religion, but a still heathen country. And every now and then, some outspoken heathen, by his awful profanity, makes us wish that we could not hear at all. This is how they spit on Christ. One does it very politely with a bow; another comes forward, and abuses both the Christ and his cross. He has spat in his face, and honestly let us know where he stands. One will undermine the truth; another brings the battering ram, in broad daylight, to beat down the citadel; but they are so united together that, with one accord, the whole band of soldiers is gathered against Christ.

22. Dear friends, if men attacked any one doctrine, you would find only one band of men opposing it; but when Christ himself is the object of mockery, the whole band gathers around him. If I preach some of the doctrines of Calvinism, I shall find men, who are fatalists, and necessitarians, and the like, who will agree with me; but if I preach the whole gospel of Christ, these very men, who might have been my friends under one form of doctrine, will be my enemies against the full gospel. Only let Jesus appear, and Jews and Gentiles, rich and poor, learned and unlearned, until they are renewed by grace, think his cross to be a stumbling-block and his doctrine to be foolishness.

23. Now notice that men who could mock Christ like this were capable of doing anything evil. If they could revile Christ, it was no wonder that they cast lots for his vesture just at his feet when he hung on the cross. I am often astounded at things that I read about gamblers, and what they have been known to do. It is fifty years ago since there was a story told by a policeman, and I do not doubt its truth, of two men at Hampstead who, having bet with each other all that they had, at last had a wager concerning which one should hang the other, and one of them did hang the other. The policeman came along just in time to save him; and when the man was cut down, what do you think he said? Why, he said that he would have hung the other man, if he could, to win the bet! That was thought to be very extraordinary; but it is not so very long ago since, at the laying of the first stone of a chapel, a friend of mine stood behind two gentlemen from Newmarket; and when one whom I know stood up to pray over the first stone, these two made a bet about how long he would be praying! Men will do anything for a wager. That mischievous vice, which is becoming so common nowadays, leads to an extraordinary hardness of heart beyond anything else; and I cannot so much wonder that men, who were brought up as these Roman soldiers were, were capable of mockery of Christ, and of anything else that was evil.

24. III. I have finished when I have asked and answered this question, WHAT SHALL WE SAY CONCERNING BOTH THE FACTS OF WHICH WE HAVE SPOKEN TONIGHT?

25. These cruel soldiers unanimously came together to see Christ as a prisoner, and to put him to extraordinary scorn; yet out of this band Christ found witnesses. Their chief officer, “the centurion, and those who were with him,” as they stood and saw Christ die, said, “Truly this was the Son of God”; and some of these soldiers, being appointed to watch the tomb of Christ, came and declared that he had risen from the dead. They were fine witnesses, were they not? men who were too rough to lie to help a sect. They came forward to bear testimony to the Christ. Oh God, if there are any here who have blasphemed you, who have cursed Christ to his face, who have persecuted Christ’s people, save them tonight, and make them witnesses of your power to bless! When such a man gets saved, he is a good witness for Christ. He says, “I know what Christ can do, for he has changed my heart, he has appeared to me by the way, and revealed himself to me; and I know and am sure of what I testify, that truly this is the Son of God.”

26. Next, learn another lesson. All this mockery should rebuke the backwardness among Christ’s friends. When he was to be mocked, all the soldiers came up. Some of them were down in the canteen, but they left their wine, and came up to mock him. Some of the soldiers, perhaps, had furlough for that day; but they gave up their holiday to go to mock Christ. Now, then, brothers and sisters, if his enemies could gather together the whole band against him, let us gather together the whole band for him. Why, just look at some of you on the Lord’s day! There are a few drops of rain, that might spoil your best bonnets, or wet your new clothes, so you cannot go to chapel. You would have gone to market, you know, rain or shine. How many are there who will not be able to come to the prayer meeting tomorrow night! One pleaded, some time ago, at the prayer meeting, “Lord, bless those who are at home on beds of sickness!” “Yes,” said the preacher, “and, Lord, bless those who are at home on sofas of wellness!” There are plenty of that kind, who stay at home because they do not have enough of the hearty spirit that ought to be in them to let the whole band gather together to confess Christ. Do you love Jesus Christ, my dear sister? Then, come and confess it. Do you love Jesus Christ, my brother? Then out with your affirmation of it. Do not try to go to heaven behind the hedges. Get into the King’s high road, and travel in broad daylight as a soldier of Christ should. Say, —

    I’m not ashamed to own my Lord,
       Or to defend his cause.

27. Next, I think that these mockers chide the uninventiveness of many Christians. See how they brought out the old red cloak, and weaved the crown of thorns, and cried, “Put them on him.” Then they brought the sceptre of reed, saying, “Stick it in his hand, and shout, ‘Hail, King of the Jews!’ ” Then came the spitting and the slapping; they could not have made the mockery more complete. They soon rigged up all that mimicry of royalty. Come, then, brothers and sisters, let us be inventive in honouring Christ.

    Bring forth the royal diadem,
    And crown him Lord of all.

See, is there not some new plan to be tried, some method that you have not yet attempted by which you could make Jesus loved and honoured in the soul of someone, if it is only a poor child, a servant girl, or the humblest man on the street? Surely, if enmity was so quick to deride him, love ought to be equally alert and inventive to find ways by which to honour him.

28. But, once more, all this mockery should arouse our admiration of our patient Lord. Remember that, as he sat there, flouted and made a jest of, he might with one glance of his eyes have flashed hell into their souls, and killed every one of them. Had he only opened those lips, he could have spoken thunderbolts that would have destroyed them at once; but he sat there, and patiently bore it all. As a sheep before her shearers, he was dumb; he did not open his mouth, because he was bearing all this to save you and to save me. Blessed Saviour! Oh, come, let us worship and adore and love him!

29. The last lesson is, let us summon all our faculties to honour Christ tonight. Gather together the whole band, your memory of all his goodness, your judgment of all his greatness, all your hopes, and all your fears, your quieted conscience, your soul at rest, come, and with the whole band of faculties that God has given you, from the highest to the lowest, bow down in grateful adoration before him who bowed so low that he might lift us up to be with him for ever.

30. Dear hearers, are you trusting Christ? There is no other trust that will do for a soul for time and for eternity. On a death-bed, it must be no one but Jesus; let it be no one but Jesus on your bed tonight before you fall asleep. Do not dare to close your eyes until you have committed your soul into the keeping of him who still holds out his hands, as he did on the cross, so that he may receive you with open arms, and save you with an everlasting salvation. Amen.

 {See Spurgeon_Hymnal “Jesus Christ, Sufferings and Death — Crucifixion To The World By the Cross” 282}
 {See Spurgeon_Hymnal “Jesus Christ, Sufferings and Death — Jehovah Satisfied” 299}
 {See Spurgeon_Hymnal “Jesus Christ, Life on Earth — His Work As God’s Anointed” 267}

{a} Socinian: One of a sect founded by Laelius and Faustus Socinus, two Italian theologians of the 16th century, who denied the divinity of Christ. OED.

Exposition By C. H. Spurgeon {Mt 27:22-50}

Our Lord was brought before the Roman governor Pilate. He was anxious to let Jesus go; but he was a weak-minded man, easily swayed by the noisy cry of the people, prompted by the chief priests and elders.

22, 23. Pilate says to them, “What shall I do then with Jesus who is called Christ?” They all say to him, “Let him be crucified.” And the governor said, “Why, what evil has he done?” But they cried out all the more, saying, “Let him be crucified.”

A blind, unreasoning hate had taken possession of the people. They gave no answer to Pilate’s wondering enquiry, “Why, what evil has he done?” for he had done nothing amiss; they only repeated the brutal demand, “Let him be crucified! Let him be crucified!” The world’s hatred of Christ is shown in a similar way today. He has done no evil, no one has suffered harm at his hands, all unite to pronounce him innocent; and yet they all practically say, “Away with him! Crucify him!”

24. When Pilate saw that he could not prevail, but that rather a tumult was made, he took water, and washed his hands before the multitude, saying, “I am innocent of the blood of this just person: see to it.”

Ah, Pilate, you cannot rid yourself of responsibility by that farce! He who has power to prevent a wrong is guilty of the act if he permits others to do it, even though he does not actually commit it himself. If you are placed in positions of power and responsibility, do not dream that you can escape from guilt by merely allowing other people to do what you would not do yourself.

25. Then all the people answered, and said, “His blood be on us, and on our children.”

All the people willingly took on themselves the guilt of the murder of our dear Lord: “His blood be on us, and on our children.” This fearful imprecation must have been remembered by many when the soldiers of Titus spared neither age nor sex, and the Jewish capital became the veritable Aceldama, the field of blood.

26. Then he released Barabbas to them: and when he had scourged Jesus, he delivered him to be crucified.

Why scourge him before delivering him up to be crucified? Surely this was a superfluity of cruelty. The Roman scourging was something which I scarcely care to describe, one of the most terrible punishments to which anyone could be subjected; yet Pilate first scourged Jesus, and then gave him up to die by crucifixion.

27, 28. Then the soldiers of the governor took Jesus into the common hall, and gathered to him the whole band of soldiers. And they stripped him, and put on him a scarlet robe.

Some old soldier’s coat, that they found lying around, they cast on Christ in imitation of the royal robes of Caesar or Herod.

29-31. And when they had weaved a crown of thorns, they put it on his head, and a reed in his right hand: and they bowed the knee before him, and mocked him, saying, “Hail, King of the Jews!” And they spit on him, and took the reed, and struck him on the head. And after they had mocked him, they took the robe off from him, and put his own clothing on him, and led him away to crucify him.

By that fact, though they did not intend it, our Lord was recognised in the street as the same Person who had been taken into the Praetorium by the soldiers. Had Jesus been brought out in the scarlet robe, people looking at him might not have known him to be the same Man who wore the garment woven from the top throughout; but in his own seamless clothing, they readily recognised the Nazarene.

32. And as they came out, they found a man of Cyrene, Simon by name: they compelled him to bear his cross.

I wonder if he was a black man. There was a Simon in the early Church; and it certainly was the lot of the Ethiopian to bear the cross for many and many an age. This Simon was a stranger, anyway, and a foreigner; he was truly honoured to be compelled to bear the cross after Christ.

33. And when they were come to a place called Golgotha, that is to say, a place of a skull,

From its shape. There appears to be to this day a hill still in the form of a human skull outside the gate of Jerusalem. When they came to that common place of execution, the Tyburn or Old Bailey {b} of the city, —

34. They gave him vinegar to drink mingled with gall and when he had tasted it, he would not drink.

A stupefying draught was given to the condemned; that is the only mercy that there was about the whole thing. The Romans gave to the crucified a draught of myrrh to take away some of the agony of crucifixion; but our Lord did not come to be stupefied, be came to suffer, therefore he would not take anything that would at all impair his faculties. He drank even to the dregs the bitter cup of grief and woe.

35. And they crucified him,

Horrible scene, to see those blessed hands and feet pierced with nails, and fastened to the cross!

35. And parted his garments, casting lots:

Rattling the dice-box at the foot of the cross! Gambling is the most hardening of all vices. I believe that crimes have been committed by people, under the influence of gambling, which never could have been committed by them in any other condition of mind: “They parted his garments, casting lots.” See here, you gamblers! With Christ’s blood bespattering them, these soldiers still dared to raffle for his robe.

35, 36. That it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet, “They parted my garments among them, and on my vesture they cast lots.” And sitting down they watched him there;

His enemies gloating their cruel eyes with the sight of his sufferings; his friends with many tears watching his amazing griefs. It is for us, tonight, with humble faith and grateful love, to note the incidents connected with his painful death.

37, 38. And set up over his head his accusation written, THIS IS JESUS THE KING OF THE JEWS. Then there were two thieves crucified with him, one on the right hand, and another on the left.

Giving him the place of honour, which means in this case the place of dishonour. He was the apex of that terrible triangle.

39, 40. And those who passed by reviled him, wagging their heads, and saying, “You who destroy the temple, and build it in three days, save yourself. If you are the Son of God, come down from the cross.”

This is the cry of the Socinians {a} today, “Come down from the cross. Give up the atoning sacrifice, and we will be Christians.” But, by rejecting his vicarious atonement, they practically un-Christ the Christ, as those mockers at Golgotha did.

41, 42. Likewise also the chief priests mocking him, with the scribes and elders, said, “He saved others; he cannot save himself. If he is the King of Israel, let him come down from the cross now, and we will believe him.

Just so. Get rid of a crucified Saviour, then they will believe in him. Atonement, substitution, vicarious sacrifice, this staggers them. They will have Christ if they can have him without his cross.

43-46. He trusted in God; let him deliver him now, if he will have him: for he said, ‘I am the Son of God.’ ” The thieves also, who were crucified with him, cast the same in his teeth. Now from the sixth hour there was darkness over all the land until the ninth hour. And about the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, saying, “Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani?” that is to say, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”

Every word in this terrible cry from the cross is emphatic; every syllable cuts and pierces to the heart.

47. Some of those who stood there, when they heard that, said, “This man calls for Elijah.”

They knew better, yet they jested at the Saviour’s prayer.

48. And immediately one of them ran, and took a sponge,

It always seems to me very remarkable that the sponge, which is the very lowest form of animal life, should have been brought into contact with Christ, who is at the top of all life. In his death, the whole circle of creation was completed.

48-50. And filled it with vinegar, and put it on a reed, and gave him to drink. The rest said, “Leave him alone, let us see whether Elijah will come to save him.” Jesus, when he had cried again with a loud voice, yielded up the ghost.

Christ’s strength was not exhausted; his last word was uttered “with a loud voice,” like the shout of a conquering warrior. He need not have died on account of any infirmity in himself; but voluntarily, for your sake and mine, he “yielded up the ghost.” Blessed be his holy name!

{b} Tyburn was used for centuries as the primary location of the execution of London criminals; the Old Bailey was the main criminal court of London. Editor.

 The Sword and the Trowel
 Table of Contents, November, 1893.
 An Address to Sunday-school Teachers. Delivered at a Prayer-meeting at the Metropolitan Tabernacle. By C. H. Spurgeon.
 Had Jesus Sin? By Pastor G. A. Huntley, Ch’en-ku-hsien, China.
 “Rutherford’s Witnesses.” Cited by Mrs. C. H. Spurgeon.
 “Joy Cometh in the Morning.” A Poetical Version of Psalm xxx. 5 (R. V. margin). By Pastor E. A. Tydeman, Sidcup.
 “The Shadow of a Name.” A Poetical Tribute to the Memory of C. H. Spurgeon. By Pastor A. Parker, Harpole, Northamptonshire.
 Summer-house at “Westwood.” By Mrs. C. H. Spurgeon. (Illustrated.)
 Mr. Spurgeon’s First Outlines of Sermons preached in Camridgeshire and Essex, in 1851 (continued).
 The Round of the Prayer-meetings. XI. Talbot Tabernacle, Notting Hill.
 The Fire and the Silver.
 Memories of America. By Pastor Thomas Spurgeon. II. The Mormon City, with view of the Temple and Tabernacle.
 What’s the Time? By Pastor C. M. Longhurst, Birmingham.
 “Happy all the Day.” By Pastor J. D. Gilmore, Brannoxtown.
 Right Godward and Manward.
 A Message from the Sea. By Pastor John Kemp, Southsea.
 A Missionary Plea. By John Stubbs, Missionary, Patna, India.
 More about Slaves in Morocco. By Dr. Churcher, of the Pastors’ College Missionary Association. (Illustrated.)
 The Waiter also a Guest. By C. H. Spurgeon.
 Thomas Doubtful. By R. Shindler.
 The Cost of Dancing. By Pastor John Horne, Glasgow.
 “For Nellie’s Sake.” A True Story of Pastor C. H. Spurgeon. By Lizzie Limbert.
 Mr. Spurgeon on the Inerrancy of the Bible.
 Notices of Books.
 Notes. (Pastor Charles Spurgeon’s Mission at Cotham Grove Baptist Chapel, Bristol. Pastor Thomas Spurgeon at the Tabernacle. In Memoriam, — “ Little Miss Bonser” (with portrait), Sir Arthur Blackwood, and Mr. Robert Paton. The Absolute Inerrancy of the Bible. Richmond Street Mission, Walworth. Metropolitan Tabernacle’s Evangelists’ Association. Metropolitan Tabernacle’s Temperance Society. Arthur’s Mission, Snow’s Fields, Bermondsey. Surrey Gardens Memorial Hall. Metropolitan Tabernacle Maternal Society. Workers’ Quarterly Communion Service. &c. Home Counties’ Baptist Association. College. College Missionary Association. Evangelists. Orphanage. Colportage. Baptisms at Metropolitan Tabernacle and Haddon Hall. Personal Notes, by Mrs. C. H. Spurgeon.)
 Lists of Contributions.

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 London: Passmore and Alabaster, Paternoster Buildings; and all Booksellers.


Jesus Christ, Sufferings and Death
282 — Crucifixion To The World By the Cross
1 When I survey the wondrous cross
   On which the Prince of Glory died,
   My richest gain I count but loss,
   And pour contempt on all my pride.
2 Forbid it, Lord, that I should boast,
   Save in the death of Christ, my God,
   All the vain things that charm me most,
   I sacrifice them to his blood.
3 See from his head, his hands, his feet,
   Sorrow and love flow mingled down!
   Did e’er such love and sorrow meet,
   Or thorns compose so rich a crown!
4 His dying crimson, like a robe,
   Spreads o’er his body on the tree,
   Then am I dead to all the globe,
   And all the globe is dead to me.
5 Were the whole realm of nature mine,
   That were a present far too small;
   Love so amazing, so divine,
   Demands my soul, my life, my all!
                           Isaac Watts, 1709.


Jesus Christ, Sufferings and Death
299 — Jehovah Satisfied
1 More marr’d than any man’s,
      The Saviour’s visage see;
   Was ever sorrow like to his
      Endured on Calvary?
2 Oh, hear that piercing cry!
      What can its meaning be?
   “My God! my God! oh! why hast thou
      In wrath forsaken me?”
3 Oh ‘twas because our sins
      On him by God were laid;
   He who himself had never sinn’d,
      For sinners, sin was made.
4 Thus sin he put away
      By his one sacrifice,
   Then, conqueror o’er death and hell,
      He mounted to the skies.
5 Therefore let all men know
      That God is satisfied;
   And sinners all who Jesus trust,
      Through him are justified.
                     William Russell, 1861.


Jesus Christ, Life on Earth
267 — His Work As God’s Anointed <8.7.4.>
1 Thus saith God of his Anointed:
   He shall let my people go;
   ‘Tis the work for him appointed,
   ‘Tis the work that he shall do;
         And my city
   He shall found, and build it too.
2 He whom man with scorn refuses,
   Whom the favour’d nation hates,
   He it is Jehovah chooses,
   Him the highest place awaits;
         Kings and princes
   Shall do homage at his gates.
3 He shall humble all the scorners;
   He shall fill his foes with shame;
   He shall raise and comfort mourners
   By the sweetness of his name;
         To the captives
   He shall liberty proclaim.
4 He shall gather those that wander’d;
   When they hear the trumpet’s sound,
   They shall join his sacred standard,
   They shall come and flock around;
         He shall save them;
   They shall be with glory crown’d.
                        Thomas Kelly, 1809.

Spurgeon Sermons

These sermons from Charles Spurgeon are a series that is for reference and not necessarily a position of Answers in Genesis. Spurgeon did not entirely agree with six days of creation and dives into subjects that are beyond the AiG focus (e.g., Calvinism vs. Arminianism, modes of baptism, and so on).

Terms of Use

Modernized Edition of Spurgeon’s Sermons. Copyright © 2010, Larry and Marion Pierce, Winterbourne, Ontario, Canada. Used by Answers in Genesis by permission of the copyright owner. The modernized edition of the material published in these sermons may not be reproduced or distributed by any electronic means without express written permission of the copyright owner. A limited license is hereby granted for the non-commercial printing and distribution of the material in hard copy form, provided this is done without charge to the recipient and the copyright information remains intact. Any charge or cost for distribution of the material is expressly forbidden under the terms of this limited license and automatically voids such permission. You may not prepare, manufacture, copy, use, promote, distribute, or sell a derivative work of the copyrighted work without the express written permission of the copyright owner.

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