He saved others; himself he cannot save. If he be the King of Israel, let him now come down from the cross, and we will believe him.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)He saved others.—The mockers, as before (comp. John 11:50-51), bear unconscious witness to the truth. They referred, it may be, to the works of healing and the raising of the dead which had been wrought in Galilee and Jerusalem, but their words were true in a yet higher sense. He had come into the world to save others, regardless of Himself.
If he be the King of Israel ... - It may seem strange to some that Jesus did not vindicate by a miracle his claims to be the Messiah, and come down from the cross. But the time had come for him to make an atonement. He had given full and sufficient proof that he was the Christ. Those who had rejected him, and who mocked and taunted him, would have been little likely to admit his claims if he had come down from the cross, since they had set at naught all his other miracles. They said this for the purpose of insult; and Jesus chose rather to suffer, though his character was assailed, than to work a new miracle for their gratification. He had foretold his death, and the time had come; and now, amid revilings, and gibes, and curses, and the severe sarcasms of an angry and apparently triumphant priesthood, he chose to die for the sins of the world. To this they added "insult" to God, profanely calling upon him to interpose by miracle and save him, if he was his friend; and all this when their prophets had foretold this very scene, and when they were fulfilling the predictions of their own Scriptures. See the Isaiah 53 notes, and Daniel 9:24-27 notes. So wonderful is the way by which God causes His word to be fulfilled.
For the exposition, see on Joh 19:18-30.See Poole on "Matthew 27:44".
Let him now come down from the cross, and we will believe him. The Persic version reads, "that the people may see, and believe in him"; and the Syriac and Arabic versions, "that we may see, and believe in him", as in Mark 15:32. But, alas! they had seen greater things already than this, and yet had not believed. He could easily have caused the nails to have given way, and unloosed himself, and come down, who had done such mighty works among them; and if he had, there is no reason to conclude they would have believed him to be the Son of God, and the true Messiah; for though after this, he did a much greater work, raised himself from the dead, of which they had the fullest evidence, yet they remained unbelieving.He saved others; himself he cannot save. If he be the King of Israel, let him now come down from the cross, and we will believe him.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)Matthew 27:42 Parallelism similar to that of Matthew 27:40.
καὶ πιστεύομεν (see the critical remarks) ἐπʼ αὐτῷ: and we believe on Him (at once), that is, as actually being the Messiah. ἐπί with the dative (Luke 24:25) conveys the idea that the faith would rest upon Him. So also Romans 9:33; Romans 10:11; 1 Timothy 1:16; 1 Peter 2:6.Matthew 27:42. ἄλλους ἔσωσεν, etc., He saved others, Himself He cannot save. Both facts; the former they can now afford to admit, and they do so all the more readily that it serves as a foil to the other fact patent to everybody.—βασιλεὺς Ἰ. Messianic King—the claim involved in the confession before the Sanhedrim, refuted by the cross, for who could believe that Messiah would be crucified?—καταβάτω νῦν, etc.: yet let Him come down now from the cross, and we will believe on Him at once. These pious scoffers profess their readiness to accept descent from the cross as the conclusive sign from heaven they had always been asking for.42. He saved others; himself he cannot save] These words in the original would recall the “hosannas” in the Temple which had enraged the chief priests; see note ch. Matthew 21:9. They also connect themselves with the name of Jesus (“Saviour”).
the King of Israel] A title applied to Jesus only here and in the parallel passage of St Mark’s Gospel.Matthew 27:42. Πιστεύσομεν Αὐτῷ, we will believe Him) We [Christians] believe on Him for that very reason, that He did not immediately descend from the Cross, but on the contrary consummated His work.Verse 42. - He saved others. They knew something of his many miracles of healing; many among them had witnessed the cure of the man blind from his birth (John 9.); most must have heard of the raising of Lazarus; - they made these very works of mercy a reproach against him. He had proved himself a beneficent Saviour; he had shown superhuman power, and yet they say, Himself he cannot save. There was indeed a sense, not their sense, in which this was true. Christ willed to die; it was his purpose thus to redeem mankind; in adhering to this steadfast determination he could not deliver himself from suffering and death. Some read the clause interrogatively, "Cannot he save himself?" It is then parallel to the expression used at the grave of Lazarus (John 11:37). If he be the King of Israel. "If" (εἰ) is omitted by א, B, D, L, etc., and many modern editors. Its omission is more concinnons to the other taunts, e.g. "He saved others;" "He trusted in God." His claim to be Messiah would involve the Kingship of Israel (Matthew 2:6), which the title over his head asserted. We will believe him (pisteu/somen au)tw = ""). We will believe (not subj., "let us believe") what he says. The Sinaitic, Vatican, and other good manuscripts read ἐπ αὐτόν, "on him." So Westcott and Hort, Tischendorf, etc. This form of expression would imply that they would put their trust in him, become his followers. A confident boast! for they were so fully persuaded of the final triumph of thcir malice, that they decreed they might safely make such a promise. And yet Christ did a greater thing than come down alive from the cross; he rose from the dead; but they believed not in him. And if the sign which they asked had been vouchsafed, they would have explained it away, or evaded its meaning, and nave been no nearer to salvation than now.
The Greek order is, Others he saved ; himself he cannot save.
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