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BIBLE STUDY on the Gospel of Matthew
Gospel of Matthew
This chapter continues to bring us events surrounding the crucifixion of Jesus; the Sanhedrin delivers Jesus to Pilate; repentance of Judas; trial before Pilate; release of Barabbas; the crucifixion, the death and burial of Jesus; the tomb sealed and a watch set.
This brings us to the central FACT of the Gospel message: the crucifixion of Christ. When Paul explained the Gospel to the Corinthians, he said. 1 Cor. 15:3 For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; (KJV) . . . We have now come to Matthew’s record of that tremendous event.
Matthew does not give a record of the actual crucifixion. Truthfully, no Gospel writer does. They merely tell us what went on, around the Cross. There are those who portray in graphic terms how the nails were driven into the quivering Flesh of the battered Jesus, and how His Blood spurted out . . . but NONE of that is in the Bible. That is only man’s opinion of what happened. In the holy and inspired record, it is as if God placed a huge blanket of darkness over the last three hours of the life of the suffering Jesus on the Cross and tells us, "This is something I will not permit you to see, because it is far beyond all human understanding. His suffering cannot be measured or understood." It was a transaction completely between the Father in Heaven and His Son on the Cross. That horrific cross became an altar upon which the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world, was offered.
The very simple statement of Matthew is, "And they crucified Him," nothing more.
This chapter begins on the morning after Jesus had been arrested in the Garden of Gethsemane, after He had been brought before Caiaphas and the Sanhedrin, after false witnesses had testified against Him, after He had been severely beaten and ridiculed, and after Peter had denied Him.
The Sanhedrin Delivers Jesus To Pilate (Matthew 27:1-10)
Matthew 27:1 When the morning was come, all the chief priests and elders of the people took counsel against Jesus to put him to death: (KJV)
When the morning was come . . . as soon as it was day, Luke says (Lk.22:66). The Sanhedrim had been up all night. After eating the Passover, they spent their time in apprehending, trying, and examining Jesus, and brought witnesses against Him; and had come to an unanimous vote, that He was guilty of death. The counsel now taken was different from that described in the previous chapter. There they had then pronounced Him worthy of death; now they take counsel "to put him to death." It was not lawful for the Sanhedrim to put any one to death (Jn.18:31), that power having been taken away by the Romans and placed with the Roman governor.
All the chief priests and elders of the people . . . the question now discussed was the best way to obtain Pilate's consent to execute Jesus.
Took counsel against Jesus to put him to death . . . God's Holy Son Jesus, His Anointed, the Messiah. They were actually taking counsel against the Lord Himself; and so the prophecy in (Ps.2:2), had its fulfillment. What they consulted about was not what punishment to inflict upon Him, whether scourging or death; that was already decided; they had already condemned Him to death. Now they consulted what death to put Him to, and in what manner.
Matthew 27:2 And when they had bound him, they led him away, and delivered him to Pontius Pilate the governor. (KJV)
And when they had bound him . . . He was bound when He was first arrested (Jn.18:12), and the fact that He was now bound again shows either that He had been loosed while in the presence of the Sanhedrim, or that He was now bound more securely on account of the greater danger of his being rescued by His friends.
They led him away . . . most likely the servants of the chief priests and elders of the people took Him.
And delivered him to Pontius Pilate the governor . . . after Archelaus, son of Herod the Great (Mat.2:1), had reigned over Judea ten years, he was deposed by the Roman government, and Judea was placed under Procurators sent from Rome. Pilate was the sixth of these, and was appointed in the twelfth year of Tiberius Cæsar, or about three years before the beginning of John's ministry (Lk.3:1). He had now been in office about six years. His character is sufficiently indicated by the incidents connected with the death of Jesus. His official career is fully described in Josephus.
The captain and officers bound Him when they first took Him, and brought Him to Annas, and Annas sent Him bound to Caiaphas (Jn.18:12,24).
Matthew 27:3 Then Judas, which had betrayed him, when he saw that he was condemned, repented himself, and brought again the thirty pieces of silver to the chief priests and elders, (KJV)
Then Judas, which had betrayed him, when he saw that he was condemned, repented himself . . . before, Judas is described as “he that shall, or would betray him” . . . but now having committed the despicable sin, as he that had done it.
And brought again the thirty pieces of silver to the chief priests and elders . . . which was the price he had bargained for, and they had agreed to give him, on condition of delivering Jesus into their hands, which he had done. And it appears soon after that, that the money had been paid to him. But now, he is filled with remorse for what he had done. There is NO comfort whatsoever in his mind. He had an abusing, brutalizing and torturing conscience which gave him no rest.
Matthew 27:4 Saying, I have sinned in that I have betrayed the innocent blood. And they said, What is that to us? see thou to that. (KJV)
Saying, I have sinned in that I have betrayed innocent blood . . . this confession has been rightly regarded as testimony in favor of Jesus . . . meaning, that Judas knew and felt that Jesus was innocent. This confession is a remarkable proof that Jesus WAS innocent. Judas had been with Him three years, he had seen Him in public and private; he had heard His public teaching and His private lectures; he had seen Him in every kind of circumstance. That he fully and frankly confessed that Jesus was innocent, and that he surrendered the ill-gotten price of treason, is full proof that the Saviour was free from any crime.
What is that to us? . . . this way of speaking means that they had nothing to do with his remorse of conscience, and his belief that Jesus was innocent. They had secured what they wanted, the Person of Jesus, and they cared nothing for the feelings of the traitor, so it is with all wicked men, who make use of the assistance of others to accomplish crime. They care nothing for the resulting effect on the betrayer. They will simply cast him off and despise him . . . and, in thousands of cases, the instruments of wickedness, and the go-between to the pleasures of others, are abandoned to crime, deep regret, misery, remorse, and death. Innocent blood: (2Ki.24:4).
What is that to us? . . . this reply from the priests was both hypocritical and cruel. IF Jesus was innocent, it concerned them as much as it did Judas, and now that they had used him as a tool, it was extreme spitefulness to try to throw the entire responsibility on him.
This Passage was a confession, but, NOT true repentance! Judas did confess, but not to the right persons; NOT to God, but to the enemies of Jesus, the chief priests and elders. He was not going to Christ for pardon and cleansing, nor did he confess and forsake sin, but went on adding sin to sin . . . so NO mercy was found. The same confession was made by a similar hard-hearted Pharaoh (Ex.9:27). He proceeds and points out the evil he had done.
Matthew 27:5 And he cast down the pieces of silver in the temple, and departed, and went and hanged himself. (KJV)
And he cast down the pieces of silver in the temple, and departed, and went and hanged himself . . . according to Matthew, Judas hanged himself. Peter says, in giving an account of the death of Jesus (Acts 1:18), that Judas, "falling headlong, burst asunder in the midst, and all his bowels gushed out." There are those who say there is some difficulty in reconciling these two accounts, but I disagree. I think that both accounts could be true. Matthew records the way in which Judas tried to take his life, by hanging. Peter speaks of the result. Judas probably left the temple in great haste, with a very tense and uneasy mind. He hunted for a place where he might commit this crime. In this frame of mind, he would not be very careful about the things that he used. In his torment, his haste and his desire to die, he grabbed a rope, and it could have been that the rope might have been old and weak, and broke. And too, the tree limb may have broken, thus causing him to fall . . . falling headlong . . . on his face, and he burst asunder, and in awful horrors died. Possibly it was a double death, with double pains and double horrors . . . the reward of his aggravated guilt. I do not know what happened, except that Judas died.
As evil as Judas was, there is one point in which he compares favorably with many men who consider themselves his superiors. How many people are there, who have possessed ill-gotten gain, who NEVER think of returning it, but cling to it with desperation and hopes to get more? Judas did NOT do this; he offers to return it, and when the offer is refused he throws it on the ground as a thing that he hates. While in quest of that money, it lit up his eyes; but now that he has it, he wishes he had never seen it, and despises it as a thing cursed. Went and hanged himself . . . I think that the extreme sorrow of Judas shows that he NEVER expected a fatal result. He had seen Jesus escape from death many times, and he never thought that Jesus would allow Himself to be killed. He had been prompted to the foul deed of betrayal, by love of money alone, and never has that consuming passion displayed its power more strikingly. Jesus had said everything to Judas that might make him turn from his despicable plan. He had told the apostles that one of them would betray Him, and this made them gasp in of horror against such an act. He had then pointed out Judas as the man, and had said, within his hearing that it were better for him that he had never been born than that he should do the deed. And finally, when Judas was about to leave the supper, to fulfill his contract, Jesus had said, with critical sadness, "That thou doest, do quickly." Judas was totally deaf to all these warnings, and completely untouched by compassion for his willing Victim, and he had persistently continued in his plan. It was not until his wicked act was done, and the results against which he had deliberately shut his eyes to, began to show themselves, that he realized how utterly worthless was his prize and how sinful was the way by which he had won it. Dear one, so it is with every person who comes under the power of this shameful passion. It blinds the eyes and dulls the senses while in the pursuit of gold, only to reveal at last that he has traded his soul for a price! Even while Judas held the money in his hands, it became an object of loathing and disgust. BEWARE!!!
Matthew 27:6 And the chief priests took the silver pieces, and said, It is not lawful for to put them into the treasury, because it is the price of blood. (KJV)
And the chief priests took the silver pieces, and said, one to another, it is not lawful to put them into the treasury . . . it was forbidden (Deut.18:18), to take what was considered to be an abomination, and offer it to God. The price of blood . . . the life of a man, they justly considered as an improper and unlawful offering.
The treasury . . . the treasury was kept in the court of the women. It was composed of a number of small chests placed in different areas of the courts to receive the voluntary offerings of the people, as well as the half-shekel required of every Jew. The original word, here rendered treasury, contains the idea of an offering to God. What was given there was considered as an offering made to Him. The price of blood . . .the life is in the blood (Lev.17:11). The word blood here means the same as life. The price of blood, means the price by which the life of a man has been purchased. This was an acknowledgment that in their view Jesus was innocent. They had bought Him, and had NOT condemned Him justly. It is remarkable that they were now so honorable about so small a matter as putting this money back in the treasury, when they had NO remorse about murdering an innocent Jesus. Men are often very honorable in small matters, but stand firm in the greatest of crimes. Jesus’ enemies strained at a gnat, and swallowed a camel (Mat.23:24). It is highly possible, that they took this same money out of the treasury to buy this Blood, and yet they have qualms about putting it back in. They did not hesitate to seek and shed this innocent Blood, and yet they are baffled about putting this money back where they got it. They pretended much religion, and great reverence for holy pieces and things, but they had NO conscience of committing the most shamefully wicked crimes (Deut.23:18).
Matthew 27:7 And they took counsel, and bought with them the potter's field, to bury strangers in. (KJV)
And they took counsel . . . with one another, to consider the matter, and think about it for a while; and then came to up with an answer,
And bought with them the potter's field, to bury strangers in . . . a field of no great value, because it could not have been bought so near Jerusalem for so small a sum as thirty pieces of silver. Acts 1:18 Now this man purchased a field with the reward of iniquity; and falling headlong, he burst asunder in the midst, and all his bowels gushed out. (KJV). . . . This Passage means no more than that Judas furnished the means. The potter's field . . . this was probably some field well known by that name, which was used for the purpose of making earthen vessels. It is quite likely that it had been worked till the clay was exhausted, and was neither fit for that business nor for tillage, and was therefore considered as of little value. To bury strangers in . . . the high priests, who regarded the Gentiles as abominable, would be inclined to provide a burial-place for them, also a burial-grounds for the poor.
Matthew 27:8 Wherefore that field was called, The field of blood, unto this day. (KJV)
Wherefore that field was called, The field of blood, unto this day . . . not by the priests and elders, but by the common people, who knew by what money it was purchased, for it was purchased by the price of blood. The name by which this field was called was Aceldama (Acts 1:19). It was just outside the walls of Jerusalem, on the south side of Mount Zion. Unto this day . . . it is thought that Matthew wrote this Gospel, about thirty years after the field was purchased.
Matthew 27:9 Then was fulfilled that which was spoken by Jeremy the prophet, saying, And they took the thirty pieces of silver, the price of him that was valued, whom they of the children of Israel did value; (KJV)
Then was fulfilled that which was spoken by Jeremy the prophet . . . words similar to these are recorded in Zechariah, and from that place this quotation has been doubtless made. Zechariah 11:12-13 And I said unto them, If ye think good, give me my price; and if not, forbear. So they weighed for my price thirty pieces of silver. 13 And the LORD said unto me, Cast it unto the potter: a goodly price that I was prised at of them. And I took the thirty pieces of silver, and cast them to the potter in the house of the LORD. (KJV) . . . Some have thought that Matthew, quoting this, quoted from the Jewish Book of the Prophets under the name of that which had the first place in the book . . . Jeremiah; and although the words are those of Zechariah, yet they are quoted correctly as the words of the Book of the Prophets, the first of which was Jeremiah. Others have thought that there was a mistake made by ancient transcribers, writing the name Jeremiah instead of Zechariah; and it is observed that this might be done by the change of only a single letter. It was often the custom to abridge words in writing them, so instead of writing the name of Jeremiah in full, it would be written in Greek Iriou, and Zechariah would be written Zriou. So, by merely changing the Z to I, the mistake might easily be made. Still others suppose that the words were spoken by Jeremiah, and that Zechariah recorded them; and that Matthew quoted them as they were, the words of Jeremiah. The Passage is not quoted literally; and by its being fulfilled is meant, probably, that the language used by Zechariah on a similar occasion would express also this event. It was language appropriate to this occasion.
Saying, and they took the thirty pieces of silver, the price of him that was valued, whom they of the children of Israel did value . . . the word rendered "valued," here, does not, as most often in our language, mean to esteem or honor, but to estimate; not to love, approve, or regard, but to fix a price on, to estimate the value of. This they considered to be thirty pieces of silver, the common price of a slave.
Matthew 27:10 And gave them for the potter's field, as the Lord appointed me. (KJV)
And gave them for the potter's field . . . this price of blood was given for the potter's field.
As the Lord appointed me . . . that is, commanded me. The meaning of the place in Zechariah is that Jesus was directed to go to the Jews as a Prophet, a Pastor, a Shepherd of the people, but they treated Him, just as they had done others, with great contempt. Judas asks them to give him his price . . . the price which the chief priests and elders thought Christ Jesus and His pastoral efforts were worth. They showed their estimation of His office. If they thought it of value, they were to pay Judas accordingly; if not, they were to "forbear" . . . that is, to give nothing. To show their great contempt of Jesus and His office, and of God who had sent Him, they gave Judas thirty pieces of silver, the price of a slave.
Pilate Questions Jesus (Matthew 27:11-32)
Jesus Silent Before His Accusers
Matthew 27:11 And Jesus stood before the governor: and the governor asked him, saying, Art thou the King of the Jews? And Jesus said unto him, Thou sayest. (KJV)
And the governor asked him, saying, Art thou the King of the Jews?. . . when the high priest had put Jesus on oath and asked Him if He was the Christ, the Son of God, Jesus said that He was. And He also said, "Hereafter shall ye see the Son of man sitting on the right hand of power, and coming in the clouds of heaven" (Mat.26:64). To these religious rulers, that was blasphemy, and they would have stoned Him on that charge, but Rome did not allow the Jews to carry out the death penalty. So they had to deliver Jesus to Pilate with a charge that would stick in a Roman court. Treason would be such a charge, so Jesus was charged with claiming to be the King of the Jews.
And Jesus said unto him, Thou sayest . . . or, thou sayest right, or that is the truth. It is not said why the Jews, when they heard this confession, did not demand the attention of Pilate as a full confession of His guilt. Think what a sight this was, the eternal Son of God in human nature, the Lord of life and glory, the Prince of the kings of the Earth, standing before a Heathen governor! This same Messiah (Christ), before whom Pilate must one day stand, and my friend, this includes ALL people, small and great, rich and poor, ALL must appear before Judge Jesus on Judgment Day.
The reason for this was, because Jesus stood in the legal place, and in the stead of His people. He became their Substitute from everlasting, was made under the law (Gal.4:4), and was subject to its precept, and its penalty: and even though He had absolutely NO crimes of His own to answer for. Jesus, sinless: (Isa.53:9; Mat.27:4,19,23-24; Jn.8:46; Lk.23:41,47; 2 Cor.5:21;Heb.4:15; 7:26-27; 1 Pet.2;22; 1 Jn.2:1; 3:5).
He would soon have the sins of His people on Him. That is why He stood before the governor, to receive the sentence of condemnation on Himself, so that sin being condemned in His flesh, the whole righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in them. He stood there, in humility, that we might stand before God, and at the Throne of His grace with courage and boldness. A new way was opened for us, through His once for all (Heb.10:10) Blood and Sacrifice . . . that we might stand before Him, the Judge of all the Earth, with confidence, and looking forward to His Coming (Tit.2:13; 2 Pet.3:12-13), and not be ashamed at His Coming (Rom.9:33; 1 Jn.2:28).
Many things are omitted by Matthew in the account of this trial, which are recorded by the other Gospel writers. A more full account is found in John 18:28-49.
Matthew 27:12 And when he was accused of the chief priests and elders, he answered nothing. (KJV)
And when he was accused of the chief priests and elders . . . they made certain false charges against Him, and our Lord did not bother to answer them. They said that He perverted the people, stirred up sedition, discord and rebellion among them; and set Himself up as a King. All of which, they said He had done not in one place only, but throughout all the land of Judea, from Galilee to Jerusalem (Lk.23:2,5).
He answered nothing . . . since the things that they accused Him of were false, and known to be so by all the people; He therefore judged it unnecessary, and not worth the time to answer them.
Matthew 27:13 Then said Pilate unto him, Hearest thou not how many things they witness against thee? (KJV)
Then saith Pilate unto him, hearest thou not how many things they witness against thee? . . . this means that they accused him. They were not witnesses, but accusers. These accusations were repeated and pressed.
Matthew 27:14 And he answered him to never a word; insomuch that the governor marvelled greatly. (KJV)
And he answered him to never a word; insomuch that the governor marvelled greatly . . . He said nothing. This is a way of speaking, meaning that it was remarkable. It is an emphatic way of saying that He answered nothing. There was no need of His replying. He was innocent, and they offered no proof of guilt. His appearance was full evidence in His favor. He was poor, unarmed, without powerful friends, and alone. Marvelled greatly . . . he was probably more surprised that Jesus bore this so meekly, and did not return railing for railing (1 Pet.3:9), and did not set up a defense. This was unusual. The governor was not accustomed to see it, and was therefore greatly amazed. He marveled at the patience of Jesus, that He could hear such notorious untruths, which affected His character, and His life, and say nothing.
Matthew 27:15 Now at that feast the governor was wont to release unto the people a prisoner, whom they would. (KJV)
Now at that feast the governor was wont to release unto the people a prisoner, whom they would . . . at the feast of the Passover, the governor was accustomed to release a prisoner. From what, where or by whom this custom arose is not known. It was possibly approved to secure popularity among the Jews, and to show the Roman government less hateful. Even a little sympathy granted to the Jews, during the heavy oppression of the Romans, would serve to pacify them, and to keep the nation from sedition. At that feast: (Mk.15:6; Lk.23:17; Jn.18:39).
Matthew 27:16 And they had then a notable prisoner, called Barabbas. (KJV)
And they had then a notable prisoner, called Barabbas . . . the word notable means one that is distinguished in any way, either for great virtues, or great crimes. Here it means for crimes. He was possibly a leader of a band who had been guilty of sedition, and had committed murder in an insurrection (Lk.23:19). Pilate had a problem. He wanted to please the religious leaders in order to maintain peace in Jerusalem, but he felt that he could not haphazardly sentence the Lord Jesus to death. He thought he had the solution to the problem. Since it was usual for him to release a Jewish prisoner during the Passover celebration, he would offer the crowd a choice: Jesus . . . or a very notorious prisoner called Barabbas, who was guilty of murder, robbery, treason.
Matthew 27:17 Therefore when they were gathered together, Pilate said unto them, Whom will ye that I release unto you? Barabbas, or Jesus which is called Christ? (KJV)
Therefore when they were gathered together . . . not meaning the chief priests and elders; for these were together before, but the common people.
Pilate said unto them, Whom will ye that I should release unto you?Barabbas, or Jesus, which is called Christ? . . . he leaves it up to them . . . whom do they want to have released, Barabbas, the thief and robber, the seditious person and murderer, or Jesus, whom some called the Christ, the Messiah, the king of the Jews? Pilate, quite on purpose, suggested such an disreputable person along with Jesus, thinking they would have preferred Jesus, whatever were their prejudices against Him, instead of such a scandalous person as Barabbas. His idea was not to reproach Christ, by joining Him with so wicked a man, but in order to save Him.
Matthew 27:18 For he knew that for envy they had delivered him. (KJV)
For he knew that for envy they had delivered him . . . he had seen their faces, and by their charges against Him, and by their ridiculous conduct, that it was NOT out of any regard to Caesar, or to the peace and tranquility of the civil government, but because of envy at His popularity, His fame, the honor, glory and praise He had among the people, because of His doctrine and miracles. Pilate hoped to succeed in this scheme of his to release Him, by offering Him with such a notorious a person to the public.
Matthew 27:19 When he was set down on the judgment seat, his wife sent unto him, saying, Have thou nothing to do with that just man: for I have suffered many things this day in a dream because of him. (KJV)
When he was set down on the judgment seat, his wife sent unto him . . . when Pilate the governor was set down on the bench trying Jesus, his wife sent word to him. Her name, according to some, was Abrokla, who might have been a Jewess, as was the wife of Felix (Acts 24:24). We do not know if she was an admirer of Jesus, or a religious person. Even if she were a Heathen, she had some idea of justice. However, compelled by her dream, she sent a messenger to her husband, as he was trying this case.
Saying, have thou nothing to do with that just man . . . meaning do not condemn Him. Perhaps she was afraid that the vengeance of Heaven would follow her husband and family, if he condemned the innocent.
That just man . . . The word just here has the sense of innocent; or not guilty. She might have been satisfied of his innocence from other sources, as well as from the dream. It is possible that the woman might have been a worshipper of the true God, and that she might therefore have desired that the Messiah should be released.
I have suffered many things this day, in a dream, because of him . . . dreams were sometimes thought to be indications of the Divine will of God among the Romans and Greeks, as well as the Jews, and great reliance was placed on them. Her mind was probably agitated with the subject; satisfied of the innocence of Jesus; and knowing that the Jews would make every effort to secure His condemnation, plus she was also excited during her sleep, perhaps with a frightful prospect of the judgments that would come down on the family of Pilate if Jesus was condemned. That is why she sent to him to secure if possible His release. "That just man”, meaning Jesus, whom she either thought to be so, or concluded from her dream that He was one. That just Man: (Isa.53:11; Zec.9:9; Lk.23:47; 1 Pet.2:22; 1 Jn.2:1).
Matthew 27:20 But the chief priests and elders persuaded the multitude that they should ask Barabbas, and destroy Jesus. (KJV)
But the chief priests and elders persuaded the multitude . . . it was the choice of the people, who should be released. This they did not do by lecturing them, or making a public speech to them; but by sending their servants, or proper persons among them, telling them that Jesus had been examined before the Sanhedrim that morning, and was found to be a blasphemer; and that the entire court had unanimously condemned Him to death, and therefore they should act according to their decree.
That they should ask Barabbas and destroy Jesus . . . Barabbas should be released to them, and Jesus should be put to death, for nothing short of that would satisfy these enemies of Jesus. They thirsted after His Blood, and were bound and determined that He should die. Just to release Barabbas, if Jesus were not destroyed, would not make them happy. They wanted Barabbas's liberty for NO other reason, except for the sake of Jesus’ death.
Matthew 27:21 The governor answered and said unto them, Whether of the twain will ye that I release unto you? They said, Barabbas. (KJV)
The governor answered and said unto them . . . a second time, after some time had been allowed for them to consider the matter, and which the chief priests and elders worsened among the people against Jesus.
Whether of the twain will ye that I release unto you? . . . as these two were suggested, one of them must be released. It lay in the hands of the people to choose.
They said, Barabbas . . . so that Christ was NOT only numbered among, and reckoned with transgressors, but He was accounted worse than the worst of them; a seditious person, a robber, and a murderer was preferred before Him. See: Isa.53:12; Acts 3:14.
Matthew 27:22 Pilate saith unto them, What shall I do then with Jesus which is called Christ? They all say unto him, Let him be crucified. (KJV)
Pilate saith unto them, What shall I do then with Jesus, which is called Christ? . . . It seems he was astonished at their choice. He did not think that they would have asked the life of so revolting a wretch as Barabbas, that had been guilty of capital crimes, crimes that were hated by all men.
Can you picture a Roman judge asking a crowd what he should do with a prisoner? Pilate was the judge, and he should make the decision. The Gospel of John tells us that Pilate repeatedly called Jesus inside the judgment hall and questioned Him privately. But the Lord Jesus would NOT defend Himself. When we analyze this mock trial, we come to the conclusion that Pilate was the one on trial and, actually, that Jesus was the Judge. Pilate had to make a decision, so he asked the crowd, "What shall I do then with Jesus which is called Christ?" Surely you do not want me put Him to death, for no other reason than He is called either by Himself or others, Christ, or the Messiah, or the king of the Jews!
They all say unto him, let him be crucified . . . their answer came flying back to him . . . it was thrust in his face . . . "Let him be crucified!"
Crucifixion was a Roman punishment, inflicted on the meanest and worst of men, such as wicked servants, thieves, robbers and cut-throats. Not only was it an extremely torturing and painful death, but a very shameful and humiliating one as well.
Matthew 27:23 And the governor said, Why, what evil hath he done? But they cried out the more, saying, Let him be crucified. (KJV)
And the governor said, Why, what evil hath he done? . . . what reason could they give? Why should He be crucified? What sin has He committed that deserves such a dreadful death? From this, it is clear, that of all the things they had accused Him of, they had NOT, in Pilate's eyes, given proof of one single action, that was criminal . . . not only had He NOT done any . . . He came into the world without sin, He NEVER did any in it.
He knew NO sin, nor could any be found in Him . . . NOT by Satan, NOT by His accusers, NOT by this judge. Jesus, sinless: (Isa.53:9; Mat.27:4,19,23-24; Jn.8:46; Lk.23:41,47; 2 Cor.5:21;Heb.4:15; 7:26-27; 1 Pet.2;22; 1 Jn.2:1; 3:5).
But they cried out the more, saying, Let him be crucified . . . the more they saw that Pilate inclined to favor Him, and pleaded for Him, and indicated His innocence; the more clamorous, outrageous and urgent they were to have Him crucified. It seems strange to me, that the multitude was so believing about the falsehoods of the chief priests and elders. They were talked into Jesus’ death far too quickly.
Matthew 27:24 When Pilate saw that he could prevail nothing, 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 ye to it. (KJV)
When Pilate saw he could prevail nothing . . . there was NO way he could talk to them in favor of Jesus. He saw they were determined to crucify Him, and that nothing else would satisfy them.
But that rather a tumult was made . . . there was an uproar among the people, and Pilate feared the results of it, should he not give in to them.
He took water, and washed his hands before the multitude . . . this was a custom among the Jews, whereby they testified their innocence as to the commission of murder (Deut.21:6-7; Ps.26:6). By Pilate solemnly washing his hands, and declaring himself free from the innocent blood about to be shed, you would think they would surely have been deterred from their purpose.
Saying, I am innocent of the blood of this just person: see ye to it . . . this did NOT clear him from all guilt in this matter. He should have acted the part of an upright judge, and NOT yielded to the unrighteous requests of the people. He should NOT to have scourge an innocent man, and worse, condemned and delivered Him to be crucified. ALL people must be answerable for their actions, and all the consequences of it. The Blood of Jesus was on his hands no matter how hard he scrubbed them. Pilate's act displayed his weakness and hypocrisy. He was there with his men of war to execute justice among the people, and to restrain them when tempted to deeds of lawlessness . . . but instead, he consents to the murder of a man in the same breath in which he pronounces Him innocent. To me, for this act, his name must always stand closely associated with that of Judas Iscariot. Which would be the greater sin? Only Almighty God shall be the Judge of that!
Matthew 27:25 Then answered all the people, and said, His blood be on us, and on our children. (KJV)
Then answered all the people, and said, His blood be on us, and on our children . . . they were as unanimous in their oaths upon themselves, as in desiring the crucifixion of Christ. Little did they think what fate they were bringing down on themselves and their children. They had NO right to call down this vengeance upon their children, but because of the righteous judgment of God, it HAS come upon them. In less than 40 years their city and temple were overthrown and destroyed. More than a million of people perished in the siege. Thousands died by famine; thousands by disease; thousands by the sword; and their blood ran down the streets like water, so that, Josephus says, it extinguished things that were burning in the city. How awful. Thousands were crucified . . . suffering the same punishment that they had inflicted upon the Messiah. So great was the number of those who were crucified, that Josephus says, they were obliged to cease from it, "room being wanting for the crosses, and crosses for the men." It is sad to say, but to this day, that curse remains. Israel has been a nation scattered, persecuted almost everywhere, and a hissing and a by-word among men (Jer.25:18; 29:18). No single nation has suffered as much; and yet they have been preserved. They are living demonstrations of the crime of their fathers in putting the Messiah to death, and in calling down vengeance on their heads.
Matthew 27:26 Then released he Barabbas unto them: and when he had scourged Jesus, he delivered him to be crucified. (KJV)
Then released he Barabbas unto them . . . the rebellious and wicked person, a robber and murderer, for which crimes he was in prison.
And when he had scourged Jesus . . . among the Romans, it was customary to scourge or whip a slave before he was crucified. This was done to inflict a greater suffering than crucifixion would be alone; and to add to the horrors of the punishment. Our Lord, about to be put to death, after the manner of a slave, was also treated as a slave; as one of the lowest and most despised of mankind. Scourged Jesus: (Isa.53:5; Mat.10:17; Lk.18:33).
It seems this scourging was done some time before His examination, trial and condemnation were over. As appears from John 19:1, this was done by Pilate, to move the pity and compassion of the Jews; hoping they would have been satisfied with that alone, and not demanded His death. He wanted to move them, hoping they would be satisfied with the chastisement, and allow him to let Him go (Lk.23:32), but nothing would do but crucifixion. IF He was scourged twice, John may be thought to tell of the one, and Matthew the other; but it is certain, the Romans used rods or whips, just before crucifixion. Persons of birth and blood, and freemen of Rome, were beaten with rods; but such as were servants, which form Christ had taken, were scourged with whips; to which, sometimes were fastened, the hip bones of beasts. This kind of whipping, was very severe and cruel. The Jews themselves admit this scourging of Jesus, only they ascribe it to the elders of Jerusalem. Thus, the prophecy in Isaiah 1:5-6, and our Lord's prediction in Mat.20:19, had their fulfillment. This scourging of Christ, was a symbol of the scourges and strokes of divine justice, which He endured in His soul, for the security of His people. He was smitten of God (Isa.53:4), by the sword of justice, He took their place, and was stricken for their transgressions (Isa.53:8).
He delivered him to be crucified . . . into the hands of the Jews, to their will and at their request; or into the hands of his soldiers, to execute the sentence he passed upon him; which was done in a judicial way, and according to the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God (Acts 2:23). He delivered him . . . he not just gave Him up to them to crucify Him, as if they only were answerable, but he gave Him up as a judge when he should have saved His life, which he could have done. Crucifixion was a Roman punishment; performed by Roman soldiers. Pilate pronounced the sentence from the court, and Pilate attached the title to the cross. Therefore Pilate, as well as the Jews, was answerable to God for the death of the Saviour of the world.
Matthew 27:27 Then the soldiers of the governor took Jesus into the common hall, and gathered unto him the whole band of soldiers. (KJV)
Then the soldiers of the governor took Jesus into the common hall . . . those that were around him, his attendants and guards in the judgment hall, as it is sometimes called; the governor's palace, into which the Jews would not enter, lest they should defile themselves: Pilate therefore came out to them, and went into the pavement called Gabbatha, and sat upon a judgment seat there (Jn.18:28-29; 19:13).
And gathered unto him whole band of soldiers . . . the same soldiers that Judas had with him to take Jesus, which consisted of five hundred or more. These soldiers, to whom Jesus was committed, got together "against him", to make themselves entertainment and sport with Him. Can you imagine in what hands our dear Lord now was? He was encompassed with dogs, and enclosed with the assembly of the wicked (Ps.22:16). Some versions renders it, "multitudes of knaves being gathered together to him".
Matthew 27:28 And they stripped him, and put on him a scarlet robe. (KJV)
And they stripped him and put on him a scarlet robe . . . stripped His clothes from Him; at least of His upper garment. For one man to spit on another, as these soldiers did afterwards did to Christ, or to strip Him of His garment, according to the Jewish canons, was punishable with a fine; but the soldiers were in no danger of being prosecuted. This is just one part of the low estate Christ submitted to. Mark and John say the robe was "purple" (Mk.15:17; Jn.19:2). Whether there were two garments put on Him, a purple vest, and the other a scarlet robe over it; or whether scarlet was used instead of purple, is not certain; which was a color worn by kings, and a sign of imperial dignity. This they put on Jesus, simply to mock Him, reproaching Him with the character He bore, as King of the Jews. This was a symbol of His being clothed, as it were with our sins, which are as scarlet (Isa.1:18), and of His Bloody sufferings in His human nature.
Matthew 27:29 And when they had platted a crown of thorns, they put it upon 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! (KJV)
And when they had platted a crown of thorns . . . we lived in Arizona years ago. There was a thorn bush there that was called “Corpus Christi”. It had huge thorns, and even its thorns had thorns. Really horrible looking. We were told that this was the kind of thorns that was used for this crown of thorns mentioned in this Passage. If this was so, it would have been excruciating. Of thorns . . . what the precise species of shrub denoted here is not known. But, it was certain, it was a species that has sharp points of very hard wood. They could therefore be easily pressed into the skin, and cause considerable pain. Probably they grabbed the first thing they saw that could be made into a crown, which happened to be a thorn bush . . . thus increasing the agonizing sufferings of the meek Redeemer.
They put it upon his head . . . a crown was worn by kings, commonly made of gold, and precious stones. This crown was to ridicule the Lord Jesus, that He was a King. They probably removed pieces of a thorn bush growing nearby, fashioned it into something resembling a royal crown, so it would correspond with the scarlet or purple robe.
And a reed in his right hand . . . a reed is a straight slender herb that grows in marshy places, and was abundant on the banks of the Jordan River. It was often used for making staves for walking; and it could have been that such a staff was in the possession of someone present. The word is several times used in this manner (2 Ki.18:21; Isa.36:6; Eze.29:6). Kings usually carried a scepter, made of ivory or gold, as a sign of their office or rank (Esther 4:11; 8:4). This reed or staff that they put in His Hand was an imitation of a scepter, again, to mock and ridicule His pretensions of being a King.
And they bowed the knee . . . this was done in mockery and ridicule; an act of pretended respect and reverence. This too, was done to ridicule His saying that He was a King. The usual way of showing respect or homage for kings was by kneeling or prostration. All this shows amazing patience and self-control on the part of the Lord Jesus. No mere human being would have been able to bear it. NO one but Him, who loved us unto death (Eph.5:2), and who saw the striking results that would come from this scene of sufferings, could have endured such cruel mockery.
Hail, king of the Jews! . . . hail was a common was of greeting to a king, or even to a friend. It usually implies, the highest respect for office, as well as the person, and is a request of blessings upon the person. But, here it was used to carry on what they thought to be the pretense of His being a King. Mocked Him: (Ps.69:19-20). It seems that they did anything possible by way of contempt, disrespect and mocking His character, the King of the Jews, to afflict and cause Him misery. May we this day, be very careful not to call Him Lord, Lord (Lk.6:46), but totally disregard His commands to us (Jn.15:14,17). Trust and obey! For there is no other way!
Matthew 27:30 And they spit upon him, and took the reed, and smote him on the head. (KJV)
And they spit upon him . . . some versions say, "upon his face", which He did not hide from spitting (Isa.1:5-6). With all that had happened to Him, His flogging, His sweat, and with blood trickling down from His temples, scratched and torn with the thorns, and with the spit of these grimy soldiers, His visage was more marred than any man's, and his form than the sons of men (Isa.52:14).
And took the reed . . . or "cane" which they put into His right Hand,
And smote him on the head . . . it was not enough for them to forcibly smash that horrid crown down on His Head, they struck Him on the Head, driving the sharp thorns deep. This had to give Him overwhelming pain and torture.
Matthew 27:31 And after that they had mocked him, they took the robe off from him, and put his own raiment on him, and led him away to crucify him. (KJV)
And after that they had mocked him . . . after the soldiers had gone through the whole travesty, and filled themselves up with contempt and ridicule of Him, and with morbid entertainment of Him.
They took the robe off from him, and put his own raiment on him . . . before leading the Lord away to be crucified they restored to Him His own clothing, but not until Pilate had led Him out to the people wearing the crown of thorns and the purple robe, and said, "Behold the man" (Jn.19:5).
And led him away to crucify him . . . a condemned person was always executed the same day.
Matthew 27:32 And as they came out, they found a man of Cyrene, Simon by name: him they compelled to bear his cross. (KJV)
And as they came out . . . of the city. No execution was made, either in the court of judicature, or in the city, but some distance away from the city, being it stoning or crucifixion.
They found a man of Cyrene . . . Cyrene was a place in Libya. Many Jews dwelt here, as appears from (Acts 2:10). As it seems, this man was a Jew, as his name shows, and too, there was a synagogue of the Cyrenian Jews at Jerusalem (Acts 6:9), so that although he was a native of Cyrene, he might now dwell there, and some of these were converted to the faith of Christ; for of those that were scattered abroad at the death of Stephen, some were men of Cyrene (Acts 11:19-20). It is very likely, that this man was a favorer of Christ, which might be one reason why they laid hold on him, and forced him to bear the cross of Christ; since he was the father of Alexander and Rufus (Mk.15:21), who were men noted among the first Christians.
Simon by name . . . Simon which name was one of the apostles (Mat.10:1-4), and a common name among the Jews, and means hearkening and obedient. We today must consider that none are fit to bear, or will bear the cross of Christ, but only those who hearken to His voice, and are obedient to Him, being made willing in the day of His power.
Him they compelled to bear his cross . . . which they did, NOT out of good will to Christ, but fearing because He was so faint and weak, lest He should die before He got to the place of execution. They did not want to be disappointed of their end, His crucifixion.
He was weak and ready to faint under the burden of that cross, and not able to go the pace they would have Him go. When they came across Simon, they petition him to carry the cross for the Lord. Was he willing to do so? We do not know. Was he reluctant to do so? He might have been, because it was disgraceful and shameful; and IF he was a follower of Jesus, he did not want to be in any way, an accessary to His death. BUT . . . it seems that he was forced to do it. Let us consider this: Taking up the cross and following Christ is disagreeable to the vast majority of people on Earth today. Although the spirit may be willing, the flesh pulls away. Very “few” (Mat.7:13-14) choose to bear the cross, unless forced into it.
Matthew 27:33 And when they were come unto a place called Golgotha, that is to say, a place of a skull, (KJV)
And when they were come to a place called Golgotha, that is to say, a place of a skull . . . Golgotha is the Hebrew word meaning the place of a skull, and in Luke is called Calvary (Lk.23:33). The word calvary is a Latin word meaning skull, or place of skulls. It is not known for sure why this name was given to this place. Some have supposed that it was because the mount resembled in shape a human skull. But, I think the most probable opinion, is that it was a place of execution; that criminals were beheaded there, or otherwise put to death, and that their bones remained unburied or unburned. Jesus was put to death out of the city, because capital punishments were not allowed within the walls (Num.15:35-36; 1 Ki.21:13). This was a law among the Romans, as well as the Jews. He also died there, because the bodies of the animals slain in sacrifice, looking forward to Him, were burned without the camp. Jesus also suffered without the gate (Heb.13:11-12).
Matthew 27:34 They gave him vinegar to drink mingled with gall: and when he had tasted thereof, he would not drink. (KJV)
They gave him vinegar to drink vinegar mingled with gall . . . it was a custom of the Jews when a man went out to be executed, to give him to drink with some frankincense in a cup of wine, that his understanding might be disturbed (Pro.31:5-6). "Give strong drink to him that is ready to perish, and wine to those that be of heavy hearts", and the tradition is, that the honorable women in Jerusalem gave this freely; but if they did not, it was provided at the charge of the congregation. The plan was to cheer their spirits, and intoxicate their heads, that they might not sense their pain and misery. BUT . . . such a cup was NOT allowed Christ at the public expense, nor were the honorable women so compassionate to Him. If it was sent to Him, the soldiers did not give it him, but instead another concoction in place of it. Mark says, they gave him "wine mingled with myrrh" (Mk.15:23), which was either something provided by His friends, and given to Him, different from what the soldiers gave Him here. By this offer was fulfilled the prophecy in (Ps.69:21), which He did not altogether refuse.
And when he had tasted thereof, he would not drink . . . not because it was the vinegar of Gentiles, which was forbidden by the Jewish laws, lest it should have been offered to idols; but because He would use nothing which would either prolong His life, or discompose His mind. The mixture of vinegar (sour wine) and gall was intended to render Him less susceptible to pain; but Jesus, having resolved to suffer, declined any such relief. When the Lord Jesus was on the cross, just before His death, vinegar was offered to Him without the myrrh, the vinegar which the soldiers usually drank, and of this He received (Mat.27:49; Jn.19:28-30). Where Matthew and Mark say that He "would not drink," they refer to a different thing and a different time from John, and I cannot see any contradiction.
Matthew 27:35 And they crucified him, and parted his garments, casting lots: that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet, They parted my garments among them, and upon my vesture did they cast lots. (KJV)
And they crucified him . . . they = the soldiers. This death was not only painful and cruel, but exceedingly shameful and disgraceful, inflicted on the most cruel and callous criminals. Christ was now numbered with the worst of men, as murderers, cut-throats, thieves, and the vilest of men.
And parted his garments, casting lots . . . they had stripped Him of His clothes before they fixed Him to the cross. They crucified Him naked, as was the custom of the Romans; as it was of the Jews to stone and hang persons naked.
So our Lord was crucified; His clothes were a privilege of the four soldiers, as we learn from (Jn.19:23-24). They divided them into four parts, and then cast lots for each part.
That it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet . . . by David, in (Ps.22:18).
They parted my garments among them, and upon my vesture did they cast lots . . . His vesture, or coat, being seamless, and woven from top to bottom, they did not tear into pieces, but cast lots for it, who should have it.
Matthew 27:36 And sitting down they watched him there; (KJV)
And sitting down, they watched him there . . . after the soldiers had crucified Jesus, and parted His garments, they sat down on the ground at the foot of the cross, and watched Him, lest His disciples should take Him down. There was no need to fear that, since they were few, weak and lacked courage, and were in the utmost dread and anxiety themselves, or lest the people, who were so very changeable with regard to Christ, one day saying Hosanna to the son of David (Mat.21:9,15), and another day crucify Him, crucify Him (Lk.23:21). They might change their feelings for Him, and with pity to Him rise up and take Him down; or lest Jesus Himself should, by His miraculous power, unloose Himself, come down and escape. It was common for the Romans to set a soldier, or soldiers, to watch those that were crucified, not only before they expired, but after they were dead, lest they should be took down and buried. This seems to be what Pilate refers to (Mat.27:65), and over which there was a centurion (Mat.27:54).
Matthew 27:37 And set up over his head his accusation written, THIS IS JESUS THE KING OF THE JEWS. (KJV)
And set up over his head his accusation written . . . John calls it a "title" (Jn.19:19-20), and Luke calls it a "superscription" (Lk.23:38), and Mark calls it the "superscription of his accusation" (Mk.15:26). It contained the sum and substance of what Jesus was accused of, and for which He was condemned, suffered and died. This title, or inscription, setting forth the person's crime, was carried before him, or put upon him, as he was led to execution, but here it was set upon the cross, and perhaps nailed unto it; to which the apostle Paul seems to indicate in (Col.2:14). The substance of it was,
This is Jesus the king of the Jews . . . this being what the chief priests accused Him of to Pilate, and about which he questioned Him, and for which they wanted Him crucified for. Pilate wrote the accusation in this form, not so much in contempt of Jesus; for by speaking with Him, he understood what kind of a King He was. He did it more so, to rebuke of the Jews for crucifying Him, who was their King; being the Person that was prophesied of in their books, as king of Zion, and whom they expected as such, although now they denied and rejected Him.
Matthew 27:38 Then were there two thieves crucified with him, one on the right hand, and another on the left. (KJV)
Then were there two thieves crucified with him . . . . Pilate did not live in Jerusalem, whenever he came there on the great feasts, or at other times, it was to hold courts for the trial of criminals. These thieves had probably been condemned at that time. And to show greater contempt for Jesus, He was crucified between men of reckless character, and on a cross that should have been occupied by their apparent companion and leader, Barabbas. These two thieves were led out with Jesus (Lk.23:32), to be put to death with Him, and were crucified with Him at the same place. Their death was the same, but NOT their crime.
One the right hand, and another on the left . . . and Jesus in the midst (Jn.19:18), and thus was fulfilled, as Mark observes (Mk.15:27-28), a prophecy in (Isa.52:12). It is not known if this was so ordered by Pilate, done in order to cover the sin, and remove the reproach of putting an innocent person to death, suggesting by this He was one of them. It seems instead to be done by the Jews, with the soldiers agreeing to it, for the greater reproach of Jesus. So even though Christ Jesus was NOT a lawbreaker, He was accounted as one, and stood in the place of sinners, and was numbered with them, and as such was treated by divine justice, and accordingly died for them. Have you thanked Jesus for what He did for you?
Matthew 27:39 And they that passed by reviled him, wagging their heads, (KJV)
And they that passed by . . . on the road to or from Jerusalem; for it seems that the crosses were placed by the wayside; so that those who passed by the crosses, could not miss it.
Reviled him . . . blasphemed Him, ridiculed Him, spoke all manner of evil against Him (Mat.5:11), to which He answered not a word; and which should teach us patience under the revilings of men. This was foretold of Him (Ps.89:51). "They have reproached the footsteps of thine anointed".
Wagging their heads . . . in mockery of Him, and as rejoicing in His misery. (Isa.37:22; Lam.2:15-16). This also was prophesied of Him (Ps.22:7).
Matthew 27:40 And saying, Thou that destroyest the temple, and buildest it in three days, save thyself. If thou be the Son of God, come down from the cross. (KJV)
And saying, thou that destroyest the temple, and buildest it in three days, save thyself . . . (Mk.15:29). They refer to the charge of the false witnesses against Him, who misunderstanding His words in John 2:19, declared that He was able to destroy the temple of Jerusalem, and rebuild it in three days. They rebuke Him with it saying that these were vain and empty boasts . . . for IF He was able to do anything of that kind, He did not need to hang on the cross, but could easily save Himself.
If thou be the Son of God, come down from the cross . . . the Jews themselves admit that the following words were said to Jesus on the cross. The remark from which this came was made during His first visit to Jerusalem after His baptism (Jn.2:18-22), and now it is thrown at Him while He hangs on the cross, as though it were the most boastful speech that he had ever made. This accusation was used against Jesus in His trial by the high council (Mat.26:61). It is ironic that Jesus was in the very process of fulfilling His own prophecy. Because Jesus IS the Son of God, who always obeys the will of the Father, He did NOT come down from the cross. http://www.godcannotlie.org/is_jesus_god_what_the%20bible_says.htm
Matthew 27:41 Likewise also the chief priests mocking him, with the scribes and elders, said, (KJV)
Likewise also the chief priests . . . these attended when He was seized in the Garden, and it was their own council that condemned Him to death unanimously. They had been very busy at His arraignment, examination, and trial before Pilate, and then persuading the people to demand His crucifixion. They now follow Him to the cross to triumph over Him, insult Him, and to see that the execution was strictly carried out. They had forgotten their office and their education; and layed aside all humanity, decent and good manners. Instead of rebuking and restraining the people from using Him in an cruel and unkind manner, they themselves also stood . . .
Mocking him, with the Scribes and elders . . . who composed the whole Sanhedrim of the nation. There were great numbers present, who had been untiring and merciless enemies of Christ everywhere, and to these, it must have been a pleasing sight to see Him hanging on the cross. These scoffed at Him, gibed, and reproached Him; and said . . . as follows;
Matthew 27:42 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. (KJV)
He saved others, himself he cannot save . . .
This was not so much a concern of theirs, that He had done many saving works, as healing the sick, cleansing lepers, causing the blind to see, and the lame to walk, and raising the dead; but instead suggesting that these were only deceptions . . . that either were not really done, or they were done with the help of Beelzebub (Mat.12:24). But, now when He Himself was in extreme trouble, He could not save Himself.
They had seen His striking many of them to the ground, when they came to capture Him in the garden, and of which these men were eyewitnesses (Jn.18:6); and He, as Man, could easily have obtained from His Father more than twelve legions of angels (Mat.26:53), that would have rescued Him out of their hands. But, this was NOT meant to be, for He came NOT to save Himself, but others, and to save them spiritually and eternally by dying Himself. Have you thanked Jesus?
If he be the king of Israel . . . that is, the Messiah, who was promised and expected as a king, as Zion's king, or king of Israel (Jn.1:49). And in Mark 15:32, it is Christ the King of Israel.
Let him now come down from the cross, and we will believe him . . . or "that we may see, and believe in him" (Mk.15:32). But, unfortunately, they had seen greater things already than this, and yet had NOT believed. The Lord Jesus could easily done any number of things IF He had chosen to do so. BUT . . . even IF He had, there is NO reason to think they would have believed Him to be the Son of God, and the true Messiah (Lk.1631) . . . because after this, He did a much greater work, raising Himself from the dead, of which they had the fullest evidence, yet they still remained unbelieving.
Matthew 27:43 He trusted in God; let him deliver him now, if he will have him: for he said, I am the Son of God. (KJV)
He trusted in God; let him deliver him now, if he will have him ; for he said, I am the Son of God . . . since He seemed unable to save Himself, they now insult Him with His profession of trust in God, and assume that He cannot be the Son of God, or the Father Himself would deliver Him. All of these revilings reveal guilty fear mixed with cruel exultation. May I say to you, BEWARE! Do NOT back away from your faith and trust in the Lord God. Hebrews 13:6 So that we may boldly say, The Lord is my helper, and I will not fear what man shall do unto me. (KJV)
Matthew 27:44 The thieves also, which were crucified with him, cast the same in his teeth. (KJV)
The thieves also, which were crucified with him, cast the same in his teeth . . . the robbers or highwaymen. Luke says that one of them did, and that the other reproved him and was penitent (Lk.23:39). The account in Luke may, however, easily be reconciled with that in Matthew, by supposing that possibly at first, both of them reviled the Saviour, and that it is of what Matthew speaks. Afterwards one of them relented, and became repentant . . . maybe from seeing the patient sufferings of Christ Jesus. It is of this, particularly, that Luke speaks.
Cast the same in his teeth . . . this simply means they reproached Him in the same manner, as the people, the chief priests, Scribes, elders and Pharisees had done. Rebuking His pretensions of being the Son of God, the Messiah, and King of Israel; and insisted that if He was, why did not He save Himself, and them also?
Matthew 27:45 Now from the sixth hour there was darkness over all the land unto the ninth hour. (KJV)
Now from the sixth hour . . . which was twelve o'clock noon. The Jews divided their day into twelve hours, beginning the count at sunrise.
There was darkness over all the land unto the ninth hour . . . until three o'clock in the afternoon. Luke says, the sun was darkened (Lk.23:45). This darkness had to be a supernatural eclipse of the sun; for it was at the time when the moon was in the full, as appears from its being at the time of the Passover; which was on the fourteenth day of the month Nisan (April). The Jews begin their months from the new moon: and furthermore, it was over all the land, or Earth. Some versions say "the whole world was dark". Whether this darkness was over "all the earth," in our sense of the terms, or only over the small portion of it, there at Jerusalem, is not known. We know that this darkness came suddenly at noon, and then left at three o'clock, therefore it lasted during the three hours in which the sun is usually at its greatest heat and brightness. There was darkness. This could not have been a normal eclipse of the sun, for the Passover was celebrated at the time of the full moon, when the moon is opposite to the sun. The ONLY cause of this, was the intervening power of Almighty God, which provided evidence to the dignity of the Sufferer, and causing the elements to sympathize with the pains of His dying Son. It was also strangely proper to furnish this testimony when the Sun of Righteousness (Mal.4:2), was withdrawing His light for a time, and the Redeemer of men was dying. A thick, dark cloud, shut out the light of day, and clothed everything with the darkness of midnight, which was the appropriate curtain with which the world should be clothed when the Son of God died.
This darkness that was over the Earth at the time of Christ's sufferings, was no doubt, an addition to them. The sun, hiding its face and refusing to give its comforting light and heat to Him . . . but what about the hatred of the monstrous sin the Jews were committing, and as expressing the divine anger and resentment of the Father? God's purposes and decrees, and the end He had in view, did NOT excuse, nor diminish or lessen their wickedness! It shows their shameful stupidity, for they were NOT awakened and convinced by the amazing darkness! It made absolutely NO impression on them, although it did on the Roman centurion, who settled in his mind that Christ must be the Son of God. The darkness was a symbol of the judicial blindness and darkness of the Jewish nation.
Matthew 27:46 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 hast thou forsaken me? (KJV)
And about the ninth hour . . . or three o'clock in the afternoon, or about the time of the slaying and offering of the daily sacrifice, which was an well-known type of Christ.
Jesus cried with a loud voice saying, Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani . . . in great distress, having been silent during the three hours of darkness, and patiently bearing all His Soul sufferings, under a sense of divine wrath, and the hiding of His Father's Face from Him. WHY did the Father hide His Face from Jesus? Because God is SO holy and pure, that He cannot look on any sin . . . and when Jesus hung on that cross, He carried the sins of the world on His sinless Self! He endured all His conflicts with the powers of darkness; but now, in the anguish of His Soul, he cries out.
That is to say, My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?. . . the depth of meaning in this bitter outcry can never be understood by any human mind, although the word "forsaken" does direct our thought in the right path. My God, my God . . . is expressing intense suffering. It is hard for us to understand in what sense Jesus was forsaken by God. I cannot understand how ALL the sins of the world could be placed on precious Jesus. It is certain that God approved His work. It is certain that Jesus was innocent. He had done nothing to forfeit the favor of God. As His own Son, Jesus was holy, harmless, pure, undefiled and obedient . . . and God still loved Him. In either of these senses, God could NOT have forsaken Him. His being forsaken by God, has to do with OUR sins that He carried to the cross, for us!
Matthew 27:47 Some of them that stood there, when they heard that, said, This man calleth for Elias. (KJV)
Some of them that stood there, when they heard that, said, This man calleth for Elias . . . near the cross, looking at and mocking Him. When they heard the words, "Eli, Eli", spoken by Christ, they thought He was calling for Elias (Elijah). These could NOT be the Roman soldiers that said this, for they had no idea who Elias was. It had to be the Hellenistic (Greek speaking) Jews, who did not understand the Hebrew language so well. When they heard the above words, and having some notion of the prophet Elias, thought Jesus was calling for Elias.
Matthew 27:48 And straightway one of them ran, and took a spunge, and filled it with vinegar, and put it on a reed, and gave him to drink. (KJV)
And straightway one of them ran, and took a spunge, and filled it with vinegar, and put it on a reed, and gave him to drink . . . took a spunge . . . a sponge is a well-known porous substance that easily absorbs water. It was used in this case because, Jesus being elevated, it was difficult to lift a cup to His lips. Filled it with vinegar . . . this was the common drink of Roman soldiers; a light wine, turned sour and mixed with water. John says that there was a vessel set full of vinegar, probably for the use of the soldiers who watched His crucifixion (Jn.19:29). And put it on a reed. John says, it was put upon hyssop. The hyssop was a shrub, growing so large sometimes it was called a tree (1 Ki.4:33). The stalk of this was what Matthew calls a reed. The sponge fastened to this could easily be extended to reach the mouth of Jesus. This vinegar Jesus drank, for it was not intended to stupefy Him, or blunt His sense of pain like the wine and myrrh. With vinegar: (Ps.69:21).
Matthew 27:49 The rest said, Let be, let us see whether Elias will come to save him. (KJV)
The rest said, let be . . . others said let him alone, stay away from Him, give him nothing to drink.
Let us see whether Elias will come to save him . . . Elijah was looked upon to be the forerunner of the Messiah, and therefore suggest, that should he come to save Him, they would believe He was the Messiah; although they did not believe Elijah would come, and appear to Christ.
Matthew 27:50 Jesus, when he had cried again with a loud voice, yielded up the ghost. (KJV)
Jesus, when he had cried again with a loud voice; yielded up the ghost . . . "Father, into thy hands I commend my Spirit" (Lk.23:46), and "it is finished" (Jn.19:30). This shows the intensity of His affection, His strong confidence in God, and His being fearless of death. Do you see HOW He died? He "yielded up the ghost" . . . meaning that He silently dismissed His Spirit. As a rancher, I have often heard the death rattle in animals, the gasp for that last breath. Our precious Lord did NOT go that way. He dismissed His Spirit. He went silently and willingly.
Incidents Connected With His Death (Matthew 27:51-56)
When Christ Jesus died, some very important things happened. One was an earthquake, and the rocks rent (broke, split), and the high and huge veil in the temple, the curtain which separated the Holy of Holies from the rest of the temple, was torn in two . . .
Matthew 27:51 And, behold, the veil of the temple was rent in twain from the top to the bottom; and the earth did quake, and the rocks rent; (KJV)
And behold, the veil of the temple was rent in twain from the top to the bottom . . . do you see how that veil was torn? NOT from the bottom to the top but from top to bottom. It was rent by God, NOT by man. The veil symbolizes the body of Jesus. When His Body was rent upon the Cross . . . when He had paid the penalty for your sin and mine in His own Body . . . it was then that the way was opened for us into the Presence of God (Rom.5:1-2). Since then we do NOT have to have a priest or a preacher go into the Presence of God for us. We ourselves are a priesthood (1 Pet.2:5,9). We can go directly to the throne of God through Christ. My friend . . . the only Way to the Father is through His Son. "For there is one God, and one Mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus" (1 Tim.2:5).
For Holy of Holies, and Veil, see: http://www.jewishencyclopedia.com/articles/7830-holy-of-holies
And the earth did quake . . . whether this earthquake was only on the ground where Christ was crucified, and on which the city and temple of Jerusalem stood; or whether it extended to other parts of the Earth is not said. It is said that there was an earthquake in the reign of Tiberius Caesar, in which twelve cities in Asia fell. It is not certain this is the earthquake mentioned here. But, this earthquake certainly was an indication of God’s divine anger and resentment, and in abomination of the sin of crucifying Christ (Ps.18:7; Heb.12:27), and it was a symbol of the shaking and removing of the Jewish church state and ordinances (Heb.12:26-27). http://www.jewishencyclopedia.com/articles/5395-earthquake
And the rocks rent . . . which were near Mount Calvary and around Jerusalem. It is said that the cracks and crevices are to be seen to this day, and which seemed to be supernatural. This also was a sign of Almighty God’s divine wrath and fury (Nah.1:5-6), and a rebuke for the stupidity and hardness of the Jews, who were unmoved when rocks were rent (broken) asunder. But, the rocks were a symbol of the future conversion of many through the powerful ministry of the Word, and as a result of Christ's death . . . hearts, as hard as rocks, were broken in pieces, stony hearts removed, and hearts of flesh given (Eze.11:19; 36:26); of which the three thousand being pricked to the heart under Peter's sermon, were an example (Acts 2:41).
What was the importance of the Temple veil being torn in two when Jesus died?
During the lifetime of Jesus, the holy Temple in Jerusalem was the center of Jewish religious life. The Temple was where animal sacrifices were carried out and worship according to the Law of Moses was followed faithfully. A veil separated the Holy of Holies, considered the earthly dwelling place of God’s Presence, from the rest of the Temple. That veil indicated that man was separated from God by sin (Isa.59:1-2). Only the high priest was permitted to pass beyond this veil, and only once each year (Ex.30:10; Heb.9:7), to enter into God's Presence for ALL of Israel and make atonement for their sins (Leviticus 16).
Solomon's temple was 30 cubits high (1 Ki.6:2), but Herod had increased the height to 40 cubits, according to the writings of Josephus, a first century Jewish historian. There is uncertainty as to the exact measurement of a cubit, but it is safe to say that this veil was possibly almost 60 feet high. Josephus also tells us that the veil was four inches thick and that horses tied to each side could not pull the veil apart. The book of Exodus tells us that this thick veil was made from blue, purple and scarlet material and fine twisted linen.
The size and thickness of that veil makes the events that happened at the moment of Jesus’ death on the cross so much more important. And when Jesus had cried out again in a loud voice, he gave up his spirit. At that very moment the curtain (veil) of the temple was torn in two . . . from the TOP to bottom.
HOW can we apply this to us today? Just WHAT importance does this torn veil have for us today? The tearing of that veil at the very moment of Jesus' death vividly symbolized that His Sacrifice, the shedding of His own Blood, was a sufficient atonement for sins in the Eyes of God the Father! It meant that from that moment on, the way into the Holy of Holies was open for ALL people, for ALL time, both Jew and Gentile. NO more priests necessary! Born again believers are now the priesthood (1 Pet.2:5,9).
When Jesus died, the veil was torn, and God moved out of that place, never again to dwell in a temple made with hands again (Acts 17:24).
The temple and Jerusalem were left “desolate” (destroyed by the Romans) in A.D. 70, just as Jesus prophesied in Luke 13:35. As long as the temple stood, it implied the continuation of the Old Covenant. Hebrews 9:9-11 refers to the age that was passing away as the new covenant was being established (Heb.8:13; Rom.6:14-15).
The veil was really symbolic of Christ Himself as the only Way to the Father (Jn.14:6; Acts 4:12). This is indicated by the fact that the high priest had to enter the Holy of Holies through the veil. Now, Christ Jesus is our superior High Priest, and as believers in His finished Work on the cross, we partake of His priesthood (1 Pet.2:5,9). We can now enter the Holy of Holies through Him (Rom.5:1-2). Born again believers enter into the sanctuary (the Throne of God) by the “blood of Jesus” (Heb.10:19-20; 1 Pet.1:18-19). This is the way that He opened for us, through the veil, that is, through his flesh. That veil is symbolic of Jesus’ Flesh being torn for us during His suffering and death, just as He was tearing down the Temple veil for us.
The veil being torn from top to bottom is a fact of history. The profound significance of this event is explained in wonderful detail in Hebrews. The things of the temple were shadows of things to come, and they all ultimately pointed to Christ Jesus. He was the Veil to the Holy of Holies, and through His death the faithful believers now have free access to God (Rom.5:1-2; Eph.2:18; 3:12).
The veil in the Temple was/is a constant reminder that sin renders humanity unfit to be in the Presence of a holy and pure God. The fact that the sin offering was offered annually, plus countless other sacrifices repeated daily showed clearly that sin could NOT truly be atoned for or erased by mere animal sacrifices. Christ Jesus through His death, removed the wall (the veil) between God and man, and now we can approach Him with confidence and boldness (Heb.4:14-16).
At the exact time that Christ spoke with a loud voice and died, was the time of the offering of the evening incense; and so must be seen by the priest that was then offering, and those that assisted him, because the incense altar was near the veil. This renting of the veil must have been a very amazing sight to them.
Matthew 27:52 And the graves were opened; and many bodies of the saints which slept arose, (KJV)
And the graves were opened . . . near the city of Jerusalem: this was a proof of Christ's power over death and the grave. By death, He destroyed him that had the power of it (Satan), and abolished death itself; taking into His Hands the keys of Hell and death (Rev.1:8).
And many bodies of saints which slept, arose . . . graves, or sepulchers were most commonly made by the Jews, in rocks or in caves of rocks. The rending of the rocks, thus would lay them open. The graves were opened by this earthquake, but the dead in them did not rise until after His resurrection (Mat.27:53).
It is not known who these saints were, or whatever became of them. Had the ancient saints risen, they would not have been known, and would not so soon have been credited as those who had recently died. This event is mentioned only by Matthew. I can only say that I believe it happened just the way Matthew tells it and that those who arose were part of that great company who went to Heaven when Christ led captivity captive at His ascension (Eph.4:8-10). The earthquake mentioned above was a planned earthquake, not a hit-or-miss one, because the graves were opened by it, and "many bodies of the saints which slept arose" . . . NOT all, just certain ones. "And [they] appeared unto many" (verse 53). There were many witnesses who saw these certain risen ones because, according to Matthew, they "went into the holy city and appeared unto many." Which slept . . . these saints had died. The death of saints is often called sleep (Dan.12:2; 1 Thes.4:15). And the graves: (Isa.25:8; 25:19; Hos.13:14; Jn.5:25,28).
I do not think that they arose at the time of Christ's death: the graves were opened then, when the earth quaked, and the rocks were rent; but the bodies of the saints did not arise, until after Christ was risen, as appears from the following verse. Jesus is called the Firstfruit (Rom.11:16), so NO other was raised on a permanent basis before Him. Such as slept in Jesus; and of whom He is the firstfruit that now rose; not all, but many of them, as pledges of the future resurrection, and to confirm Christ's resurrection, and to fulfill a prophecy (Isa.26:19). And they rose in the same bodies in which they before lived, otherwise they could not be known by those to whom they appeared. WHO? Were they? I do not know.
At the end of this chapter, see: The Six Miracles of Calvary.
Matthew 27:53 And came out of the graves after his resurrection, and went into the holy city, and appeared unto many. (KJV)
And came out of the graves after his resurrection . . . the resurrection of Christ Jesus, for He rose as the firstfruits, as the first begotten of the dead, and the firstborn from the dead; for He was the first that was raised to an everlasting life. Although others were raised before Him, by Himself, and in the times of the prophets, yet they were raised to a mortal life . . . they died again. But these saints came forth to the resurrection of life, and so it was necessary that Christ the Firstfruits, should rise first.
And went into the holy city . . . the city of Jerusalem, which although now, it was a very wicked city, it was so called, because of the Temple, and the worship of God, and His residence in it. The burying places of the Jews were outside the city, and therefore these risen saints, are said to go into it.
And appeared unto many . . . of their friends and acquaintances, who had personally known them, and knew them in their lifetime. These saints, it seems, continued on Earth until our Lord's ascension, and then went jubilantly with Him to Heaven, as trophies of His victory over sin, Satan, death and the grave.
Matthew 27:54 Now when the centurion, and they that were with him, watching Jesus, saw the earthquake, and those things that were done, they feared greatly, saying, Truly this was the Son of God. (KJV)
Now, when the centurion, saw the earthquake, and those things that were done . . . the centurion that was in charge of the band of soldiers that mocked Christ Jesus in Pilate's hall, and who sat near the cross of Christ.
And they that were with him, watching Jesus . . . the soldiers that were with him, who were commanded to watch the cross of Christ, in case He should come down, or anyone would take Him down (verse 36). They had seen the darkening of the sun, the rending of the rocks, and heard the loud voice Christ spoke, and then had died.
They feared greatly . . . NOT a true godly fear, but a fear of punishment; lest divine vengeance should light on them.
Saying, truly this was the Son of God . . . which they concluded, from effects of God’s divine power; and which to them showed Jesus to be a divine Person, just what He said He was, and that the Jews had charged Him with blasphemy, on account of, and condemned Him for.
Matthew 27:55 And many women were there beholding afar off, which followed Jesus from Galilee, ministering unto him: (KJV)
And many women were there beholding afar off . . . at the cross of Christ, a little away from it. Many women, (the weaker sex), were there watching. This seems to be a rebuke of the former vanity and confidence of the apostles, and of their present fear and cowardice. WHERE was Peter? He had boldly stated that he would never be offended, though all men were; and would die with Christ, rather than deny Him. And where were the rest of the apostles, who said the same things? NONE were present except John, as can be learned from the Gospel writer (Jn.19:26-27).
Christ was upon the cross, enduring all His agonies: the chief priests and people mocking Him, the darkness upon the Earth, the earthquake and the rending of the rocks. The women were witnesses to all of this, being just a short distance away because of the crowd of people and soldiers around the cross. They beheld with an eye of faith, their bleeding, dying Lord, being crucified for them (and us), and as bearing and taking away their sins (and ours). This could not help but stir up their affection and love for Christ Jesus, their concern for Him, and their sorrow for sin. Even with the sadness of seeing the suffering of their Redeemer, there had to be great joy and peace within them, for believing in Him. I feel sure that they remembered Jesus’ Words about eternal life.
Which followed Jesus from Galilee . . . (Lk.8:2-3; 23:27; Mk.15:40-41; 16:1; Jn.19:25). These women had seen His miracles, heard His doctrines, and had been converted by Him. It seems that they had followed Him wherever He went, over many miles and through many difficulties and discouragements. They were there with Him in His triumphant entry into Jerusalem (Mat.21:5), and now here at His cross. They did not even leave Him when He was dead, and in His grave.
Ministering unto him . . . attending Him, and providing for His needs. While multitudes of men joined in the cry, “Crucify Him”, and forsook Him in His exasperating moments, it seems that NONE of His female followers were unfaithful to Him. In the midst of all His trials, and all the disrespect poured out on Him, they stayed close to their beloved Redeemer. Never did female loyalty shine more brilliantly, and never was a more joyful example set for all who should afterwards believe in Him and follow Him . . . men or women!
Matthew 27:56 Among which was Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James and Joses, and the mother of Zebedee's children. (KJV)
Among which was Mary Magdalene . . . Mary of Magdala. She had a special affection to the Saviour, for she was relieved by Him of a most dreadful calamity, and restored to her right mind, after being possessed by seven devils (Mk.16:9). She truly did have a great reason for loving Jesus. She truly did know that He was who He said He was, because of the way He healed her. She had to be most grateful.
And Mary the mother of James and Joses . . . the same as the wife of Cleophas, and sister to Mary, the mother of Jesus (Jn.19:25).
And the mother of Zebedee's children . . . the mother of James and John (Mat.10:2). Her name was Salome (Mk.15:40-41).
Jesus Buried In Joseph's Tomb (Matthew 27:57-61)
Matthew 27:57 When the even was come, there came a rich man of Arimathaea, named Joseph, who also himself was Jesus' disciple: (KJV)
When the even was come . . . the second evening, when it was just at sunset; at which time the Jewish Sabbath began, and when the bodies of those that were crucified, must be taken down. If they were not yet dead, their leg bones must be broken, so as to make death come sooner.
There came a rich man of Arimathea, named Joseph . . . Joseph lived at Jerusalem; Arimathea was the place of his nativity, or where he had formerly lived. Arimathea is the same as Ramathaimzophim, and Ramah, and was the birthplace of Samuel the prophet (1 Sam.1:1,3,19; 8:4; 15:34; 16:13; 28:3). Joseph’s character, as a rich man, is mainly mentioned, not just to show that such men can be, and sometimes are, instances of the grace of God. This is not in a way of boasting, that a rich man was devoted to Jesus; but rather to point out the reason, that being that he had easy access to Pilate, and to succeed in his request of him; and too, to observe the fulfillment of a prophecy (Isa.53:9). Some think Joseph is the same as Joseph ben Gorion, the brother of Nicodemus ben Gorion, often spoken of as a priest, and one of the richest of them in Jerusalem.
Who also himself was Jesus' disciple . . . I believe until now, Joseph was a ‘closet Christian’, the same as
Nicodemus was. He had not as yet, publicly professed Christ Jesus, for fear of the Jews, who had made a law, that whoever did, should be cast out of the synagogue (Jn.19:38). http://www.jewishencyclopedia.com/articles/8815-joseph-of-arimathaea
Matthew 27:58 He went to Pilate, and begged the body of Jesus. Then Pilate commanded the body to be delivered. (KJV)
He went to Pilate . . . Joseph went to Pilate's house where he lived, and went in, as Mark says (Mk.15:43), boldly . . . not being ashamed of Christ crucified, and now, not afraid to own Him, and show his respect to Him as dead, although he knew it would bring on the displeasure, reproach, and persecution of the Jews.
And begged the body of Jesus . . . which could not be taken down and buried, without permission of the Roman governor; and which was usually granted to the friends of the deceased; otherwise they were buried in places allotted for such persons (Mat.27:33). This would have been the case of Christ Jesus, had not Joseph asked for His Body. This he did to prevent its being still further abused by the Jews, and buried in such a disgraceful way.
Then Pilate commanded the body to be delivered . . . to Joseph, after he had was told by the centurion that Jesus was dead, which he at first could hardly believe, and marveled at it (Mk.15:44-45). Joseph was able to more easily obtain his request, as he was a person of good character and wealth, and because Pilate himself had a good opinion of Jesus, and of His innocence, as well as his wife was also much in His favor: so that Joseph had no trouble obtaining the Body of Christ. As soon as Joseph asked, he was granted the favor, and orders were given to the centurion and his soldiers, to deliver Jesus’ Body it to Joseph.
Matthew 27:59 And when Joseph had taken the body, he wrapped it in a clean linen cloth, (KJV)
And when Joseph had taken the body, he wrapped it in a clean linen cloth . . . John says that this was done with spices (Jn.19:40). The Jews’ custom was to use myrrh, aloes and other aromatics in large quantities, when they buried their dead. When they were not regularly embalmed, which was a long and tedious process, they enclosed the spices in the folds of the linen, or wrapped the body in it. Spices were sometimes used in such large quantities as to form a bed, on which the dead body was laid. It is said of Asa (2 Chron.16:14), they "laid him in the bed which was filled with sweet odours and spices." There was not enough time to properly embalm the Body of Jesus, so He was buried in this manner.
This clean linen cloth, in which the dead Body of Christ was wrapped, may be a symbol of His purity and innocence, who did NO sin. He did NOT die for any of his own sins, but for the sins of others (you and me), and also it represents His pure and spotless righteousness (Jer.23:5; 1 Cor.1:30; Heb.1:9; 1 Jn.2:1; 3:7; Rev.19:11), which is compared to fine linen, clean and white.
Matthew 27:60 And laid it in his own new tomb, which he had hewn out in the rock: and he rolled a great stone to the door of the sepulchre, and departed. (KJV)
And laid it in his own new tomb . . . Christ was laid not in his own tomb, but in another's tomb. This perfectly matches His lifetime, “He had not where to lay his head” (Mat.8:20; Lk.9:58). So when He died, He had no sepulcher (tomb) of His own to put His body in; thus fulfilling yet another prophecy (Isa.53:9). Do NOT believe those heretics that say that Jesus was rich. They LIE!!!
And he rolled a great stone to the door of the sepulchre . . . sepulchers were made with doors to go in and out at; the stone rolled to the door, was a large and broad stone, with which the mouth of the sepulcher was shut up. It was at the shutting up of the sepulcher with this stone, that mourning began; and after it was shut with this big stone, it was not lawful to open it. This was done by Joseph, to preserve the Body from any injury, either from beasts, or from the Jews.
And departed . . . to his own house; for the Sabbath was here, and there was no more time to do anything more.
The sepulcher in which the Body of Christ was laid, had been hewn out of a rock; the body was wrapped in a clean linen cloth, and wound up in it with myrrh and aloes to preserve it, and was buried . . . the women later prepared spices and ointments, to anoint Jesus' Body with; although they rested on the Sabbath day according to the commandment; but then as soon as the Sabbath was over, although it was a feast day, they came to the sepulcher with their spices and ointments Lk.23:56; 24:1).
Matthew 27:61 And there was Mary Magdalene, and the other Mary, sitting over against the sepulchre. (KJV)
And there was Mary Magdalene and the other Mary . . . the wife of Cleophas, and the mother of James and of Joses:
Sitting over against the sepulchre . . . looking at where the Body of Christ was put, and how it was laid; for they intended to prepare spices and ointments to anoint it with. They were mourning the death of Christ: sitting was a mourning position, which now they were allowed, the body being taken down from the cross, and buried by permission of the governor. Before, these women stood (Jn.19:25), but now they sat.
Matthew 27:62 Now the next day, that followed the day of the preparation, the chief priests and Pharisees came together unto Pilate, (KJV)
Now the next day that followed the day of preparation . . . how early the next day is not stated, but the purpose was to prevent the disciples from stealing the body, so the earlier the better. The next day began at sunset, and the probability is that the guard was stationed at the tomb before dark. Which was the Sabbath day; for the day of preparation was the day before the Sabbath (Mk.15:42), in which they prepared everything necessary for the Sabbath, and therefore was so called. By sealing the stone, and setting a guard around the tomb; it shows what consciences these men had, who accused the disciples of Christ of a violation of the Sabbath, for plucking a few ears of corn on that day (Mat.12:1); and sought to kill Jesus, because He healed a man on it, and bid him take up his bed and walk (Jn.5:8-9); and yet they leave their devotions, and agree upon an address to Pilate, and then go to his palace; and having obtained their request, march to Joseph's garden, and make the sepulcher sure, sealing the stone, and setting a watch, which was servants’ work, and, according to their laws and traditions, NOT to be done on the Sabbath day.
The Jewish day closed at sunset, and the Sabbath at that time started. The next day mentioned here does not mean the following day in our understanding of the word, or the following morning, but the next day in the Jewish way of speaking; that is, after the next day had commenced, or after sundown. They certainly would not have waited until the next morning. That would be absurd, because the disciples would be just as likely or more, to steal Him away the first night as the second . . . IF they were going to steal Him. We knew a Jewish man years ago, knew him very well . . . he told us “You stole Him,” meaning Jesus.
The chief priests and Pharisees came together unto Pilate . . . these were the confirmed and hard-hearted enemies of Christ Jesus. They had taken counsel how to put Him to death; they hired Judas to betray Him, and they sent a band of soldiers with Judas to arrest Jesus; they bribed false witnesses to speak against Him; they stimulated the people to demand Barabbas release, not Jesus; they got Him condemned to death, they followed Him to the cross, they mocked and ridiculed Jesus . . . BUT this was not enough! They were like the troubled sea, restless and uneasy. Even though He was dead, they were in great fear of His resurrection; and although they could NOT prevent the thing from happening, they still try to hinder it.
Matthew 27:63 Saying, Sir, we remember that that deceiver said, while he was yet alive, After three days I will rise again. (KJV)
Saying, Sir, we remember that that deceiver said . . . meaning Jesus, who was NOT a deceiver! He was a public Preacher, who taught men, not privately, but openly, in the temple and in the synagogues. He did NOT teach idolatry, or anything that was contrary to the God of Israel.
While he was yet alive . . . so they are admitting the fact that He is dead; so they could not object this to the truth of His resurrection. They could NOT say that He was taken down from the cross alive, and did not die.
After three days I will rise again . . . we must consider that although the Pharisees quote Jesus as saying that He would rise "after three days," they ask, probably demand, that the tomb be guarded only "until the third day," showing that they regarded the time designated by "after three days" as terminating "on the third day."
See: Matthew 12:40.
Matthew 27:64 Command therefore that the sepulchre be made sure until the third day, lest his disciples come by night, and steal him away, and say unto the people, He is risen from the dead: so the last error shall be worse than the first. (KJV)
Command therefore that the sepulchre be made sure . . . by these words, they also admit the fact, that He was buried; and they knew in what tomb, and whose tomb He was laid, and where it was. Pilate had given permission to Joseph to take the body and bury it, that he would also give orders that the sepulcher might be watched until the third day, that NO one might come near it, and remove the Body.
Until the third day . . . not from the time they made this request, but from the time of Christ's death; for no longer did they want the sepulcher to be guarded; for if He did not rise, and no pretenses could be made to it in that time, then they very likely intended to expose His dead Body, and triumph over Him being an impostor; and after that time, they did not care what happened to it, and had no more concern about watching the sepulcher . . . but until then they insisted that it was necessary for the tomb to be guarded.
Lest his disciples come by night, and steal him away . . . Pilate told them that they could secure the sepulcher as carefully as they could. They sealed the stone, and set a guard, and were satisfied that all was well. To guard the tomb against the poor weak disciples was foolishness, but to guard it against the power of God was absolute stupidity. That was fruitless, and to no purpose . . . yet they thought they had dealt wisely. But the Lord took those supposedly wise ones in their own craftiness, and all the rage and the plans of Christ's enemies would be made to promote His glory.
And say unto the people, he is risen from the dead . . . the chief priests and Pharisees thought that the common people were illiterate, gullible and easily imposed on, and were afraid they might believe the disciples.
So the last error shall be worse than the first . . . either their own error and mistake, should the sepulcher be neglected, or the error of the people, in believing that Jesus was the Messiah; which would be greatly strengthened and received by greater numbers, should it be told there was proof that He was risen from the dead.
Matthew 27:65 Pilate said unto them, Ye have a watch: go your way, make it as sure as ye can. (KJV)
Pilate said unto them, Ye have a watch: go your way, make it as sure as ye can . . . the Jews had a guard or watch of Roman soldiers, who kept watch in the tower of Antonia, on the north-west side of the Temple. Pilate either referred to these, or to the watch that attended the crucifixion. As the torments of crucifixion sometimes lasted many days, the band had been probably been granted to them during that time, and they were, therefore, still under the direction of the chief priests.
Matthew 27:66 So they went, and made the sepulchre sure, sealing the stone, and setting a watch. (KJV)
So they went, and made the sepulchre sure, sealing the stone, and setting a watch . . . from Pilate's palace, to the garden of Joseph, and to the sepulcher there. The sepulcher was made sure, by affixing the large stone to the entrance in such a way that it could not be removed without detection. It was sealed. In what way this was done cannot now be certainly told. The cave in which Daniel was cast was fastened in the same manner, and sealed with the king's signet (Dan.6:17), perhaps by fastening the stone in its place with cords, and bringing them together and uniting them with wax, and impressing on that the seal of the king. In this way letters and books were anciently sealed. Possibly on the sepulcher of Jesus was imprinted in this manner with the seal of Pilate, the seal of his office, making it doubly sure. Or possibly the stone was fitted into the tomb with clay or cement, and on that was impressed the seal of Pilate. We do not know.
The zeal of the enemy actually confirms Jesus' resurrection! If they had gone away and left that tomb as it was, their explanation for the tomb's being empty might be reasonable. But, when you have a tomb that is sealed and a Roman guard around it watching it, their claim that the apostles stole away the body of Jesus sounds pretty stupid! The enemies of Jesus went to a lot of trouble to make the tomb secure, and that fact gives us a marvelous confirmation of His resurrection.
Also consider: when the Lord Jesus told His apostles that He would rise again the third day, they certainly told a many people, and it is certain that the religious rulers got word of it. As soon as they could get another audience with Pilate, they said, "Look, that deceiver Jesus made the statement that He would rise again the third day, and we want to make sure His body stays in that tomb." They did NOT believe that He would be resurrected, but I do not think that the apostles believed that He would come out of that tomb alive either.
The Six Miracles of Calvary
The Miraculous Darkness: Luke 23:44-45. It was the 6th hour. That was noon. There was darkness over all the land and it continued from 12:00 to 3:00 o'clock. This was not an eclipse, which lasts for only a few minutes. It was at full moon, when an eclipse is impossible. At Jesus birth the night became light. At His death the light became night.
The Rending of the Veil: Matthew 27:51. There were three divisions in the Temple: #1. The Outer Court, #2. The Holy Place and #3. the Most Holy Place. There was a very high and stout veil that separated the Holy Place from the Most Holy Place. The Most Holy Place is where only the High Priest entered, and ONLY once a year. NO one else ever stepped beyond this veil. When Jesus cried out on the cross . . . "It Is Finished", this veil was torn in two from top to bottom, thus opening the way for anyone to enter into the Presence of God, without the high priest.
The Miraculous Earthquake: Matthew 27:51. The shaking of the Earth was at the exact moment of Jesus’ death. The Earth quaked to the extent that rocks were split open, yet the cross did NOT move. Supernatural? Yes! God interfered with nature.
The Miracle of the Opened Graves. Matthew 27:52-53. The graves, of some saints, were opened at the very moment of Jesus’ death. Graves were rocky tombs, excavations in the rocks, and made secure by doors of stone. None came out of the graves at this time. The Earthquake was evidence of God’s divine power. The opening of the graves was evidence of God’s will.
The Undisturbed Grave Clothes of Jesus. Luke 24:12; John 20:3-10. When Peter and John entered the sepulcher, they saw the "linen clothes lying"...precisely as the body had lain there. No human hands could have removed the body from its clothes without leaving behind marks of disturbance. One thing they knew, Jesus was not there. He had risen.
Life in the Graveyard. Matthew 27:52-53. The graves of the saints were opened at the earthquake, but the dead bodies of the saints, did not rise and come out of the graves, until after Christ Jesus Himself had risen. This is a grand miracle to say the least! Totally miraculous.
Gospel of Matthew
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