Ante-Nicene Fathers, Vol VIII:Early Church Fathers Index Previous Next
Apocrypha of the New Testament.: Chapter 11
Then Jesus, crying out with a loud voice, Father, into Thy hands I shall commit my spirit, breathed His last. 1911 And immediately one could see the rocks rent: for there was an earthquake over all the earth; and from the earthquake being violent and great, the rocks also were rent. And the tombs of the dead were opened, and the curtain of the temple was rent, and there was darkness from the sixth hour till the ninth. And from all these things that had happened the Jews were afraid, and said: Certainly this was a just man. And Longinus, the centurion who stood by, said: Truly this was a son of God. Others coming and seeing p. 431 Him, beat their breasts from fear, and again turned back. 1912
And the centurion having perceived all these so great miracles, went away and reported them to Pilate. And when he heard, he wondered and was astonished, and from his fear and grief would neither eat nor drink that day. And he sent notice, and all the Sanhedrin came to him as soon as the darkness was past; and he said to the people: You know how the sun has been darkened; you know how the curtain has been rent. Certainly I did well in being by no means willing to put to death the good man. And the malefactors said to Pilate: This darkness is an eclipse of the sun, such as has happened also at other times. Then they say to him: We hold the feast of unleavened bread to-morrow; and we entreat thee, since the crucified are still breathing, that their bones be broken, and that they be brought down. Pilate said: It shall be so. He therefore sent soldiers, and they found the two robbers yet breathing, and they broke their legs; but finding Jesus dead, they did not touch Him at all, except that a soldier speared Him in the right side, and immediately there came forth blood and water. 1913
And as the day of the preparation 1914 was drawing towards evening, Joseph, a man well-born and rich, a God-fearing Jew, finding Nicodemus, whose sentiments his foregoing speech had shown, says to him: I know that thou didst love Jesus when living, and didst gladly hear his words, and I saw thee fighting with the Jews on his account. If, then, it seem good to thee, let us go to Pilate, and beg the body of Jesus for burial, because it is a great sin for him to lie unburied. I am afraid, said Nicodemus, lest Pilate should be enraged, and some evil should befall me. But if thou wilt go alone, and beg the dead, and take him, then will I also go with thee, and help thee to do everything necessary for the burial. Nicodemus having thus spoken, Joseph directed his eyes to heaven, and prayed that he might not fail in his request; and he went away to Pilate, and having saluted him, sat down. Then he says to him: I entreat thee, my lord, not to be angry with me, if I shall ask anything contrary to what seems good to your highness. And he said: And what is it that thou askest? Joseph says: Jesus, the good man whom through hatred the Jews have taken away to crucify, him I entreat that thou give me for burial. Pilate says: And what has happened, that we should deliver to be honoured again the dead body of him against whom evidence of sorcery was brought by his nation, and who was in suspicion of taking the kingdom of Cæsar, and so was given up by us to death? And Joseph, weeping and in great grief, fell at the feet of Pilate, saying: My lord, let no hatred fall upon a dead man; for all the evil that a man has done should perish with him in his death. And I know your highness, how eager thou wast that Jesus should not be crucified, and how much thou saidst to the Jews on his behalf, now in entreaty and again in anger, and at last how thou didst wash thy hands, and declare that thou wouldst by no means take part with those who wished him to be put to death; for all which reasons I entreat thee not to refuse my request. Pilate, therefore, seeing Joseph thus lying, and supplicating, and weeping, raised him up, and said: Go, I grant thee this dead man; take him, and do whatever thou wilt.
And then Joseph, having thanked Pilate, and kissed his hands and his garments, went forth, rejoicing indeed in heart as having obtained his desire, but carrying tears in his eyes. Thus also, though grieved, he was glad. Accordingly he goes away to Nicodemus, and discloses to him all that had happened. Then, having bought myrrh and aloes a hundred pounds, and a new tomb, 1915 they, along with the mother of God and Mary Magdalene and Salome, along with John, and the rest of the women, did what was customary for the body with white linen, and placed it in the tomb. 1916
And the mother of God said, weeping: How am I not to lament thee, my son? How should I not tear my face with my nails? This is that, my son, which Symeon the elder foretold to me when I brought thee, an infant of forty days old, into the temple. This is the sword which now goes through my soul. 1917 Who shall put a stop to my tears, my sweetest son? No one at all except thyself alone, if, as thou saidst, thou shalt rise again in three days.
Mary Magdalene said, weeping: Hear, O peoples, tribes, and tongues, and learn to what death the lawless Jews have delivered him who did them ten thousand good deeds. Hear, and be astonished. Who will let these things be heard by all the world? I shall go alone to Rome, to the Cæsar. I shall show him what evil Pilate hath done in obeying the lawless Jews. Likewise also, Joseph lamented, saying: Ah, me! sweetest Jesus, most excellent of men, if indeed it be proper to call thee man, who hast wrought such miracles as no man has ever done. How shall I enshroud thee? How shall I entomb thee? There should now have been here those whom thou fedst with a few loaves; for thus should I not have seemed to fail in what is due.
Then Joseph, along with Nicodemus, went p. 432 home; and likewise also the mother of God, with the women, John 1918 also being present with them.
Luke xxiii. 46.431:1912
Comp. Luke xxiii. 44-49.431:1913
John xix. 31-34.431:1914
[Or simply, “the Preparation;” comp. Matt. xxvii. 62, and elsewhere, in the Rev. Vers.—R.]431:1915
Comp. Matt. xxvii. 60.431:1916
John xix. 38-42.431:1917
Luke ii. 35.432:1918
It is to be observed that Johns Gospel is much more frequently quoted in this book than any of the others.
Next: Chapter 12
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