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Book XII.

1.  Concerning Those Who Asked Him to Show Them a Sign from Heaven.

And the Sadducees and Pharisees came, and tempting Him kept asking Him to shew them a sign from heaven.55535553    Matt. xvi. 1.  The Sadducees and Pharisees who disagreed with each other in regard to the most essential truths,—for the Pharisees champion the doctrine of the resurrection of the dead, hoping that there will be a world to come, while the Sadducees know nothing after this life in store for a man whether he has been advancing towards virtue, or has made no effort at all to come out from the mountains of wickedness,—these, I say, agree that they may tempt Jesus.  Now, a similar thing, as Luke has narrated,55545554    Luke xxiii. 12. happened in the case of Herod and Pilate, who became friends with one another that they might kill Jesus; for, perhaps, their hostility with one another would have prevented Herod from asking that He should be put to death, in order to please the people, who said, “Crucify Him, Crucify Him,”55555555    Luke xxiii. 21. and would have influenced Pilate, who was somewhat inclined against His condemnation, his hostility with Herod giving fresh impulse to the inclination which he previously cherished to release Jesus.  But their apparent friendship made Herod stronger in 450his demand against Jesus with Pilate, who wished, perhaps, also because of the newly-formed friendship to do something to gratify Herod and all the nation of the Jews.  And often even now you may see in daily life those who hold the most divergent opinions, whether in the philosophy of the Greeks or in other systems of thought, appearing to be of one mind that they may scoff at and attack Jesus Christ in the person of His disciples.  And from these things I think you may go on by rational argument to consider, whether when forces join in opposition which are in disagreement with one another, as of Pharaoh with Nebuchadnezzar,55565556    2 Kings xxiv. 7. and of Tirhakah, king of the Ethiopians, with Sennacherib,55575557    2 Kings xix. 9. a combination then takes place against Jesus and His people.  So perhaps, also, “The kings of the earth set themselves and the rulers were gathered together,”55585558    Ps. ii. 2. though not at all before at harmony with one another, that having taken counsel against the Lord and His Christ, they might slay the Lord of glory.

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