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Matthew 27

SUMMARY.--Christ Delivered to Pilate. Judas Hangs Himself. Jesus Before Pilate. Barabbas and Christ. Pilate's Wife's Intercession. Pilate Acquits Jesus, but Yields to the Clamor. Jesus Scourged, Mocked, Taken to Golgotha, Crucified. Mocked on the Cross. Reviled by the Thieves. It Is Finished. The Veil of the Temple Rent. The Centurion's Confession. Pilate Yields the Body of Jesus to Joseph. Buried in the New Tomb. The Tomb Sealed and Guarded.

      34. They gave him wine to drink mingled with gall. A stupefying drink, intended to lessen suffering. He would not drink. The "tasting" implied a recognition of the kindly purpose of the act, but a recognition only. In the refusal to do more than taste, we trace the resolute purpose to drink the cup which his Father had given him to the last drop.

      35. They crucified him. This was the most dreadful, terrible and shameful death known to antiquity. The Jews never crucified Jews, nor the Romans, Romans. That the Jews should demand of the Romans to inflict it on Jesus shows the intensity of their hate. And parted his garments. From John 19:23 we learn that there were four soldiers at the cross, and the garments were the perquisite of the soldiers. The outer garments were divided into four parts, one to each, but the coat, rather the "tunic," an inner garment, was seamless, woven in one piece, probably of wool. As it would have been spoiled by dividing it, the soldiers decided to cast lots for it, thus fulfilling another prophecy ( Psalm 22:18 ).

      36. And sitting down they watched him there. It was their duty to remain by the cross until the execution was ended by death.

      37. This is Jesus the King of the Jews. It was the Roman custom to place on the cross over the criminal's head, a titulus, or placard, stating the crime for which he suffered. Luke ( 23:38 ) says that the title was written in Greek, Latin, and Hebrew, the chief languages then spoken, and all spectators would be able to read it.

      38. Then were there two robbers crucified with him. In all probability, partners in the crime of Barabbas. The mountain robbers, or banditti, were always ready to take part in such desperate risings against the Roman power.

      39. They that passed by reviled him. The people going in and out of the city, on the thoroughfare near the place of crucifixion. Wagging their heads. Derisively and insultingly. Compare 2 Kings 19:21 Job 16:4 Psalm 109:25 .

      40. Thou that destroyest the temple. It is very remarkable that now, while this was receiving its real fulfillment, it should be made more public and more impressive by the insulting proclamation of his enemies. Hence the importance attached to it after the resurrection ( John 2:22 ).

      41, 42. He saved others. This may be ironical, but if Christ had saved himself he could not have saved others. If he be the King of Israel. The language is that of taunt, and refers to the inscription upon the cross.

      43. He said, I am the Son of God. It was because he said this that the Sanhedrim condemned him to death. In that he hung, seemingly helpless, on the cross, the chief priests, the very persons who voted his death, considered it demonstrated that he was not the Son of God.

      44. The robbers also cast upon him the same reproach. Luke only ( 23:39-43 ) tells of the penitence of one. Doubtless, both at first reviled him, but one was converted in three hours that they hung side by side.

      45. From the sixth hour there was darkness over all the land. Darkness from twelve until three o'clock. "Over all the land" means, not the whole earth, but Judea. Early Christian writers speak of this, and appeal to heathen testimony in support of the fact. The period of outward darkness, no doubt, coincided with that of Christ's mental agony and sense of desertion. The darkness was not total, but probably a deep gloom, such as every one remembers to have experienced in his life-time.

      46. About the ninth hour. Three o'clock, after the Lord had been six hours on the cross. The cry that follows is from the 22d Psalm . Why hast thou forsaken me? These words can only express the idea that he was treading the wine-press alone. As he hung on the cross, "made sin for us," he was left to struggle without a sense of his Father's presence. Still, the cry, My God, my God! shows that he still clung to the Father as his own.

      47. Some . . . said, He calleth of Elias. The resemblance between the word "Eli" and the name Elijah is very close in the original. There is an allusion to the belief that Elijah would come before the Messiah.

      48. One ran and filled a sponge. This was occasioned by our Lord's cry, "I thirst" ( John 19:28 ), the fifth word from the cross. Full of vinegar. This was the sour wine used by the soldiers; not mixed with myrrh, as in the case of the stupefying draught Jesus had refused before crucifixion.

      49. Let be, let us see, etc. This was spoken in the way of interruption of him who was furnishing the draught of vinegar. According to Mark, he replied, and asked to be let alone.

      50. When he had cried again with a loud voice. "It is finished" ( John 19:30 ), the sixth word from the cross. The three evangelists all dwell upon the loudness of the cry, as if it had been the triumphant note of the conqueror. The last words from the cross were those recorded in Luke 23:46 , "Father, into thy hands," etc. The first "word" is the prayer for his enemies ( Luke 23:34 ). Yielded up his spirit. He voluntarily gave up his life for his sheep, and took it back again ( John 10:17 ).

      51. The veil of the temple was rent. The curtain before the Holy of Holies separating it from the Holy Place.It took place about the time of the evening sacrifice and showed by symbol that the real atonement, of which the yearly atonement was only a type, had been offered and that the true High Priest had entered into the true Holy of Holies. And the earth did quake. A common event at Jerusalem, but now significant of the sympathy of nature with the great tragedy.

      52. The tombs were opened. The convulsions of the earth would naturally roll the stones from the doors of the sepulchers. The saints . . . were raised. Who is not stated, or whether their bodies returned to the grave again. Their rising was a testimony that the death of Christ is life to the saints.

      54. The centurion. The Roman officer in charge of the execution. Truly this was the Son of God. Rather, "a son of a god." He was a heathen soldier, believing in many gods, and the scenes of the cross had convinced him that Jesus was more than man.

      55, 56. Many women. The devoted women were still faithful, when the disciples had fled. Of the apostles we only know that John was near. Mary Magdalene. Mentioned first here, also in Luke 8:2 , before the resurrection. She had been healed by the Lord. Mary the mother of James and Joses. She was the wife of Clopas or Alphæus ( John 19:25 ). The mother of the sons of Zebedee. Salome. John ( John 19:25 ) mentions "his (Jesus') mother's sister," but does not name Salome, his own mother. Hence it is inferred that Salome was the sister of Mary, the mother of Jesus. Mary, the mother of Jesus, was also at the cross ( John 19:25 ).

      57. There came a rich man. On the burial, compare Mark 15:42-47 Luke 23:50-56 John 19:38-42 . Of Arimathæa. Its location is unknown. Joseph was a member of the Sanhedrim, who had not consented to the murder of Jesus ( Luke 23:50-51 Mark 15:43 ). Jesus' disciple. But "secretly for fear of the Jews" ( John 19:38 ). The death of Christ made him braver.

      58. Asked for the body of Jesus. Usually, the Romans suffered the crucified to remain unburied, but Joseph, to prevent this, or any abuse of the sacred body, begged it of Pilate. The latter consented readily, probably anxious for respect for the body of him whom he vainly sought to save from death.

      59. Joseph took the body. Carefully down from the cross. Wrapped it in a clean linen cloth. A winding sheet. Another Sanhedrist, Nicodemus, aided him ( John 19:39 ), and they enclosed spices in the winding sheet.

      60. Laid it in his own new tomb. A rock-hewn sepulcher, cut horizontally into the cliff. Rolled a great stone to the door. The usual method of closing the rock-hewn tombs. Thus Christ "was buried, according to the Scriptures" in a rich man's tomb, was "with the rich in his death" ( Isa. 53:9 ).

      61. The other Mary. The mother of James and Joses. These women saw where he was laid and returned there after the Sabbath with spices.

      62. The morrow. The Sabbath. After the day of preparation. "That is, the day before the sabbath" ( Mark 15:42 ).

      63. Sir, we remember. These dignitaries had not forgotten the predictions of Christ that he would rise on the third day, even if his own disciples had.

      64. Until the third day. That is, until Sunday morning. Friday would be the first day.

      65. Ye have a guard. That is, ye can have a guard. He granted them a guard of Roman soldiers.

      66. Sealing the stone. A cord was stretched across the stone door and sealed at each end with wax. The seal would have to be broken to remove the stone.

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