Matthew 27

1 Early in the morning all the chief priests and the elders made their plans against Jesus to put him to death.
2 They put him in chains, led him off, and handed him over to Pilate, the Roman governor.
3 When Judas, the traitor, learned that Jesus had been condemned, he repented and took back the thirty silver coins to the chief priests and the elders. 1
4 "I have sinned by betraying an innocent man to death!" he said. "What do we care about that?" they answered. "That is your business!"
5 Judas threw the coins down in the Temple and left; then he went off and hanged himself.
6 The chief priests picked up the coins and said, "This is blood money, and it is against our Law to put it in the Temple treasury."
7 After reaching an agreement about it, they used the money to buy Potter's Field, as a cemetery for foreigners.
8 That is why that field is called "Field of Blood" to this very day.
9 Then what the prophet Jeremiah had said came true: "They took the thirty silver coins, the amount the people of Israel had agreed to pay for him, 2
10 and used the money to buy the potter's field, as the Lord had commanded me."
11 Jesus stood before the Roman governor, who questioned him. "Are you the king of the Jews?" he asked. "So you say," answered Jesus.
12 But he said nothing in response to the accusations of the chief priests and elders.
13 So Pilate said to him, "Don't you hear all these things they accuse you of?"
14 But Jesus refused to answer a single word, with the result that the Governor was greatly surprised.
15 At every Passover Festival the Roman governor was in the habit of setting free any one prisoner the crowd asked for.
16 At that time there was a well-known prisoner named Jesus Barabbas.
17 So when the crowd gathered, Pilate asked them, "Which one do you want me to set free for you? Jesus Barabbas or Jesus called the Messiah?"
18 He knew very well that the Jewish authorities had handed Jesus over to him because they were jealous.
19 While Pilate was sitting in the judgment hall, his wife sent him a message: "Have nothing to do with that innocent man, because in a dream last night I suffered much on account of him."
20 The chief priests and the elders persuaded the crowd to ask Pilate to set Barabbas free and have Jesus put to death.
21 But Pilate asked the crowd, "Which one of these two do you want me to set free for you?" "Barabbas!" they answered.
22 "What, then, shall I do with Jesus called the Messiah?" Pilate asked them. "Crucify him!" they all answered.
23 But Pilate asked, "What crime has he committed?" Then they started shouting at the top of their voices: "Crucify him!"
24 When Pilate saw that it was no use to go on, but that a riot might break out, he took some water, washed his hands in front of the crowd, and said, "I am not responsible for the death of this man! This is your doing!" 3
25 The whole crowd answered, "Let the responsibility for his death fall on us and on our children!"
26 Then Pilate set Barabbas free for them; and after he had Jesus whipped, he handed him over to be crucified.
27 Then Pilate's soldiers took Jesus into the governor's palace, and the whole company gathered around him.
28 They stripped off his clothes and put a scarlet robe on him.
29 Then they made a crown out of thorny branches and placed it on his head, and put a stick in his right hand; then they knelt before him and made fun of him. "Long live the King of the Jews!" they said.
30 They spat on him, and took the stick and hit him over the head.
31 When they had finished making fun of him, they took the robe off and put his own clothes back on him. Then they led him out to crucify him.
32 As they were going out, they met a man from Cyrene named Simon, and the soldiers forced him to carry Jesus' cross.
33 They came to a place called Golgotha, which means, "The Place of the Skull."
34 There they offered Jesus wine mixed with a bitter substance; but after tasting it, he would not drink it. 4
35 They crucified him and then divided his clothes among them by throwing dice. 5
36 After that they sat there and watched him.
37 Above his head they put the written notice of the accusation against him: "This is Jesus, the King of the Jews."
38 Then they crucified two bandits with Jesus, one on his right and the other on his left.
39 People passing by shook their heads and hurled insults at Jesus: 6
40 "You were going to tear down the Temple and build it back up in three days! Save yourself if you are God's Son! Come on down from the cross!" 7
41 In the same way the chief priests and the teachers of the Law and the elders made fun of him:
42 "He saved others, but he cannot save himself! Isn't he the king of Israel? If he will come down off the cross now, we will believe in him!
43 He trusts in God and claims to be God's Son. Well, then, let us see if God wants to save him now!" 8
44 Even the bandits who had been crucified with him insulted him in the same way.
45 At noon the whole country was covered with darkness, which lasted for three hours.
46 At about three o'clock Jesus cried out with a loud shout, ["Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?"] which means, "My God, my God, why did you abandon me?" 9
47 Some of the people standing there heard him and said, "He is calling for Elijah!"
48 One of them ran up at once, took a sponge, soaked it in cheap wine, put it on the end of a stick, and tried to make him drink it. 10
49 But the others said, "Wait, let us see if Elijah is coming to save him!"
50 Jesus again gave a loud cry and breathed his last.
51 Then the curtain hanging in the Temple was torn in two from top to bottom. The earth shook, the rocks split apart, 11
52 the graves broke open, and many of God's people who had died were raised to life.
53 They left the graves, and after Jesus rose from death, they went into the Holy City, where many people saw them.
54 When the army officer and the soldiers with him who were watching Jesus saw the earthquake and everything else that happened, they were terrified and said, "He really was the Son of God!"
55 There were many women there, looking on from a distance, who had followed Jesus from Galilee and helped him. 12
56 Among them were Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James and Joseph, and the wife of Zebedee.
57 When it was evening, a rich man from Arimathea arrived; his name was Joseph, and he also was a disciple of Jesus.
58 He went into the presence of Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus. Pilate gave orders for the body to be given to Joseph.
59 So Joseph took it, wrapped it in a new linen sheet,
60 and placed it in his own tomb, which he had just recently dug out of solid rock. Then he rolled a large stone across the entrance to the tomb and went away.
61 Mary Magdalene and the other Mary were sitting there, facing the tomb.
62 The next day, which was a Sabbath, the chief priests and the Pharisees met with Pilate
63 and said, "Sir, we remember that while that liar was still alive he said, "I will be raised to life three days later.' 13
64 Give orders, then, for his tomb to be carefully guarded until the third day, so that his disciples will not be able to go and steal the body, and then tell the people that he was raised from death. This last lie would be even worse than the first one."
65 "Take a guard," Pilate told them; "go and make the tomb as secure as you can."
66 So they left and made the tomb secure by putting a seal on the stone and leaving the guard on watch.

Matthew 27 Commentary

Chapter 27

Christ delivered to Pilate, The despair of Judas. (1-10) Christ before Pilate. (11-25) Barabbas loosed, Christ mocked. (26-30) Christ led to be crucified. (31-34) He is crucified. (35-44) The death of Christ. (45-50) Events at the crucifixion. (51-56) The burial of Christ. (57-61) The sepulchre secured. (62-66)

Verses 1-10 Wicked men see little of the consequences of their crimes when they commit them, but they must answer for them all. In the fullest manner Judas acknowledged to the chief priests that he had sinned, and betrayed an innocent person. This was full testimony to the character of Christ; but the rulers were hardened. Casting down the money, Judas departed, and went and hanged himself, not being able to bear the terror of Divine wrath, and the anguish of despair. There is little doubt but that the death of Judas was before that of our blessed Lord. But was it nothing to them that they had thirsted after this blood, and hired Judas to betray it, and had condemned it to be shed unjustly? Thus do fools make a mock at sin. Thus many make light of Christ crucified. And it is a common instance of the deceitfulness of our hearts, to make light of our own sin by dwelling upon other people's sins. But the judgment of God is according to truth. Many apply this passage of the buying the piece of ground, with the money Judas brought back, to signify the favour intended by the blood of Christ to strangers, and sinners of the Gentiles. It fulfilled a prophecy, ( Zechariah 11:12 ) . Judas went far toward repentance, yet it was not to salvation. He confessed, but not to God; he did not go to him, and say, I have sinned, Father, against heaven. Let none be satisfied with such partial convictions as a man may have, and yet remain full of pride, enmity, and rebellion.

Verses 11-25 Having no malice against Jesus, Pilate urged him to clear himself, and laboured to get him discharged. The message from his wife was a warning. God has many ways of giving checks to sinners, in their sinful pursuits, and it is a great mercy to have such checks from Providence, from faithful friends, and from our own consciences. O do not this abominable thing which the Lord hates! is what we may hear said to us, when we are entering into temptation, if we will but regard it. Being overruled by the priests, the people made choice of Barabbas. Multitudes who choose the world, rather than God, for their ruler and portion, thus choose their own delusions. The Jews were so bent upon the death of Christ, that Pilate thought it would be dangerous to refuse. And this struggle shows the power of conscience even on the worst men. Yet all was so ordered to make it evident that Christ suffered for no fault of his own, but for the sins of his people. How vain for Pilate to expect to free himself from the guilt of the innocent blood of a righteous person, whom he was by his office bound to protect! The Jews' curse upon themselves has been awfully answered in the sufferings of their nation. None could bear the sin of others, except Him that had no sin of his own to answer for. And are we not all concerned? Is not Barabbas preferred to Jesus, when sinners reject salvation that they may retain their darling sins, which rob God of his glory, and murder their souls? The blood of Christ is now upon us for good, through mercy, by the Jews' rejection of it. O let us flee to it for refuge!

Verses 26-30 Crucifixion was a death used only among the Romans; it was very terrible and miserable. A cross was laid on the ground, to which the hands and feet were nailed, it was then lifted up and fixed upright, so that the weight of the body hung on the nails, till the sufferer died in agony. Christ thus answered the type of the brazen serpent raised on a pole. Christ underwent all the misery and shame here related, that he might purchase for us everlasting life, and joy, and glory.

Verses 31-34 Christ was led as a Lamb to the slaughter, as a Sacrifice to the altar. Even the mercies of the wicked are really cruel. Taking the cross from him, they compelled one Simon to bear it. Make us ready, O Lord, to bear the cross thou hast appointed us, and daily to take it up with cheerfulness, following thee. Was ever sorrow like unto his sorrow? And when we behold what manner of death he died, let us in that behold with what manner of love he loved us. As if death, so painful a death, were not enough, they added to its bitterness and terror in several ways.

Verses 35-44 It was usual to put shame upon malefactors, by a writing to notify the crime for which they suffered. So they set up one over Christ's head. This they designed for his reproach, but God so overruled it, that even his accusation was to his honour. There were crucified with him at the same time, two robbers. He was, at his death, numbered among the transgressors, that we, at our death, might be numbered among the saints. The taunts and jeers he received are here recorded. The enemies of Christ labour to make others believe that of religion and of the people of God, which they themselves know to be false. The chief priests and scribes, and the elders, upbraid Jesus with being the King of Israel. Many people could like the King of Israel well enough, if he would but come down from the cross; if they could but have his kingdom without the tribulation through which they must enter into it. But if no cross, then no Christ, no crown. Those that would reign with him, must be willing to suffer with him. Thus our Lord Jesus, having undertaken to satisfy the justice of God, did it, by submitting to the punishment of the worst of men. And in every minute particular recorded about the sufferings of Christ, we find some prediction in the Prophets or the Psalms fulfilled.

Verses 45-50 During the three hours which the darkness continued, Jesus was in agony, wrestling with the powers of darkness, and suffering his Father's displeasure against the sin of man, for which he was now making his soul an offering. Never were there three such hours since the day God created man upon the earth, never such a dark and awful scene; it was the turning point of that great affair, man's redemption and salvation. Jesus uttered a complaint from ( Psalms 22:1 ) . Hereby he teaches of what use the word of God is to direct us in prayer, and recommends the use of Scripture expressions in prayer. The believer may have tasted some drops of bitterness, but he can only form a very feeble idea of the greatness of Christ's sufferings. Yet, hence he learns something of the Saviour's love to sinners; hence he gets deeper conviction of the vileness and evil of sin, and of what he owes to Christ, who delivers him from the wrath to come. His enemies wickedly ridiculed his complaint. Many of the reproaches cast upon the word of God and the people of God, arise, as here, from gross mistakes. Christ, just before he expired, spake in his full strength, to show that his life was not forced from him, but was freely delivered into his Father's hands. He had strength to bid defiance to the powers of death: and to show that by the eternal Spirit he offered himself, being the Priest as well as the Sacrifice, he cried with a loud voice. Then he yielded up the ghost. The Son of God upon the cross, did die by the violence of the pain he was put to. His soul was separated from his body, and so his body was left really and truly dead. It was certain that Christ did die, for it was needful that he should die. He had undertaken to make himself an offering for sin, and he did it when he willingly gave up his life.

Verses 51-56 The rending of the veil signified that Christ, by his death, opened a way to God. We have an open way through Christ to the throne of grace, or mercy-seat now, and to the throne of glory hereafter. When we duly consider Christ's death, our hard and rocky hearts should be rent; the heart, and not the garments. That heart is harder than a rock that will not yield, that will not melt, where Jesus Christ is plainly set forth crucified. The graves were opened, and many bodies of saints which slept, arose. To whom they appeared, in what manner, and how they disappeared, we are not told; and we must not desire to be wise above what is written. The dreadful appearances of God in his providence, sometimes work strangely for the conviction and awakening of sinners. This was expressed in the terror that fell upon the centurion and the Roman soldiers. We may reflect with comfort on the abundant testimonies given to the character of Jesus; and, seeking to give no just cause of offence, we may leave it to the Lord to clear our characters, if we live to Him. Let us, with an eye of faith, behold Christ and him crucified, and be affected with that great love wherewith he loved us. But his friends could give no more than a look; they beheld him, but could not help him. Never were the horrid nature and effects of sin so tremendously displayed, as on that day when the beloved Son of the Father hung upon the cross, suffering for sin, the Just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God. Let us yield ourselves willingly to his service.

Verses 57-61 In the burial of Christ was nothing of pomp or solemnity. As Christ had not a house of his own, wherein to lay his head, while he lived, so he had not a grave of his own, wherein to lay his body, when he was dead. Our Lord Jesus, who had no sin of his own, had no grave of his own. The Jews designed that he should have made his grave with the wicked, should have been buried with the thieves with whom he was crucified, but God overruled it, so that he should make it with the rich in his death, ( Isaiah 53:9 ) . And although to the eye of man the beholding a funeral may cause terror, yet if we remember how Christ by his burial has changed the nature of the grave to believers, it should make us rejoice. And we are ever to imitate Christ's burial in being continually occupied in the spiritual burial of our sins.

Verses 62-66 On the Jewish sabbath, the chief priests and Pharisees, when they should have been at their devotions, were dealing with Pilate about securing the sepulchre. This was permitted that there might be certain proof of our Lord's resurrection. Pilate told them that they might secure the sepulchre as carefully as they could. They sealed the stone, and set a guard, and were satisfied that all needful care was taken. But to guard the sepulchre against the poor weak disciples was folly, because needless; while to think to guard it against the power of God, was folly, because fruitless, and to no purpose; yet they thought they dealt wisely. But the Lord took the wise in their own craftiness. Thus shall all the rage and the plans of Christ's enemies be made to promote his glory.

Cross References 13

  • 1. 27.3-8Acts 1.18, 19.
  • 2. 27.9, 10Zechariah 11.12, 13.
  • 3. 27.24Deuteronomy 21.6-9.
  • 4. 27.34Psalms 69.21.
  • 5. 27.35Psalms 22.18.
  • 6. 27.39Psalms 22.7; 109.25+2Ben Sira 12.17, 18; 13.7.
  • 7. 27.40Matthew 26.61;John 2.19.
  • 8. 27.43Psalms 22.8+2Wisdom 2.18-20.
  • 9. 27.46Psalms 22.1.
  • 10. 27.48Psalms 69.21.
  • 11. 27.51Exodus 26.31-33.
  • 12. 27.55, 56Luke 8.2, 3.
  • 13. 27.63Matthew 16.21; 17.23; 20.19;Mark 8.31; 9.31; 10.33, 34;Luke 9.22; 18.31-33.

Matthew 27 Commentaries