MEDITATIONS ON THE PASSION: Of The Injuries Done Unto Christ In Caiphas His House

HONTHORST, Gerrit van 
Christ before the High Priest 
c. 1617

THE XVI MEDITATION Of the injuries done unto Christ in Caiphas his house.


Then they which held Jesus striking him did scoff at him, & did spit in his face, and covering his eyes with a cloth struck him with their hands, others sticking him on the face asked him saying, Prophecy unto us O Christ, who is he which struck thee? & blaspheming they spake many other things against him.


After that the Philistines had blinded Sampson, they made him play in their presence, & despitefully mocked him.


1. I yield my body to those which struck me, & my cheeks to those that pulled them.

2. I have not turned away my face from them, which rebuked me and spit on me.

3. Thou shalt cover thy face with a veil, for that I have given thee as a wonder unto the house of Israel.

4. They have me in abomination, and fear not to spit on my face.


1, These wicked ministers having heard the answer of Christ, being incapable of so high a verity, in most raging sort turned themselves against him, pulling of his beard, spitting on his face, giving him buffets, blaspheming against him, deriding, and dishonoring him with all kinds of villainies and reproaches. The most meek Jesus stood in manner of an humble sheep before them that pulled away his wolle without lamenting himself, or without once opening his most sweet month. But think with thyself how much the affliction of his most pitiful heart increased, when as lifting up his swollen eyes, and looking about him to see if amongst so great a troupe there were any of those to whom he had showed diverse benefits, or taught his heavenly doctrine, which at least would take compassion on him, he saw no other but his beloved John, who being not able to endure to see the injuries which were done unto his Master placed himself in a corner weeping bitterly: and also Peter who stood warming himself amidst those ministers dissembling himself to be his Disciple and being ready to deny him. O infinite goodness, since that neither so many injuries as your enemies did unto you, neither all the ire of our ingratitude could once diminish or cool a whit the flame of your love.

2. The Jews having for greater derision of our Savior tied a cloth before his eyes, afterward like as the Philistines did with Sampson, they played & sported with him at their pleasure. Where thou maist consider how he who is the wisdom of his father is made in manner a fool for our love, since that to communicate unto us the treasures of his wisdom and knowledge, he took upon himself our foolishness, even as to make us heirs of his eternal benediction, he took upon him our malediction.

3. Consider how our God is made blind for our love, since that by means of the great love which he beareth us, he will not see nor know our sins but with great mercy dissembleth them, expecting our repentance: where see how on one side his exceeding charity shutteth his eyes and bindeth his hands to the extent he do not punish us, but on the other side he seeth and chastiseth most sharply, not in us, but in himself the sins and wickedness which we commit against him. O bounty never heard of: O fatherly bowels of mercy, who ever heard that anyone would suffer death for the self same persons which put him to death? wherefore as no wickedness can be more horrible then that man should go so far as to lay hands on his God, even so there can be no greater goodness & charity, then that God doth vouchsafe to suffer such torments for the self same creatures which torment him.

4. Consider how that most amiable and beautiful Face, is in all parts marked & swollen with the strokes of those cruel hands & all over imbrued with their lithesome spittle: That Divine Face, which in Heaven is so much honored, and with the only sight whereof the whole city of God is rejoiced, now thou maist see on earth so much disfigured and defiled, that those wicked wretches to their seeming could not any place more dispitiful to spit in, than on the Face of our Savior. O unhappy Jews, how had you not horror to dishonor and defile that figure and retract the glory of the Father, and with your excommunicate hands to strike in manner of a vile slave the Ruler of the whole world? But truly my Lord, it was not those ministers which did so much dishonor & scorn you, but rather my intolerable pride, the disordinate affections of my heart, the murmurings of my tongue, & the evil works of my wicked hands.

5. Alas my soul, what wouldst thou have done,if thou hadst been there present, and seen such affliction and disgrace of thy Redeemer, with what love wouldst thou have embraced him, and with what piety, wouldest thou have washed with tears his deformed Face? O Jesus hop of my heart, who will grant that I may suffer for you since that I and not you, am the party which hath sinned. O most beautiful amongst the sons of men, how are you become so deformed and foul? Truly as the Prophet said, you are made through my sins the reproach of man, and the most abject of the people. Be thou confounded thou proud man who because thou art compacted and covered with a little ashes and dirt, seemest to thyself some thing, and canst not endure that any do touch thee: Behold how much the Son of God & the glory of heaven is humbled for thee, and in what sort that high Majesty hath been disposed and s=dishonored for thy cause.


Thou shalt pray unto Christ our Lord, since that he for thy love refused not, that his divine Face should be of the Jews embrued with filthly spittle, and his most holy Eyes covered with a cloth, and he himself in such shameful sort scorned and tormented: that he will grant thee grace in such sort to keep and conserve they soul made to his Image clean and neat, that never by any sin, either in thought, word, or deed it be defiled, and that he also vouchsafe to take away the veil of ignorance and ungratefulness from thy heart, that knowing the debt which thou owest unto his Majesty for doing and suffering so much for thee, thou maist from hence forth with greater love and diligence serve him, and honor him.


1. They spit on the Face of our Lord who with unclean thoughts, or else with impure affections do defile their soul, which is the Image of God.

2.Likewise they spit in the Face of Christ, unto whom he offering his grace or else sending them holy inspirations, they because they will not leave their imperfections, make resistance against them and reject them.

3. In like manner they blot and blemish the Divine face of Jesus, who without reverence & devotion, not cleansing their soul from all fithliness of sin receive with their impure mouths, the most blessed Body of our Lord.

4. Then our Lord is scorned of us, when we despise or deride the poor, or else any of his servants.

5. Moreover they dishonor Christ with their tongue, who speak not with reverence of sacred things, or being religious persons speak as profanely if they were secular, or else talk of their neighbors doings which are not to edification.

6. They blindfold the eyes of Christ, who with feigned excuses seek to cover their own imperfections, & they likewise that without shame and fear of God, sin no otherwise then if God saw them not.

7. Then also we cover the Eyes of Christ, when as we desire to have our Prelates and Superiors blind, and we ourselves to be those which see, willing and procuring that they govern themselves according to our judgment and not we after theirs.


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