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Matthew Twenty Seven

by Dr. Henry M. Morris

(taken from the Defender's Study Bible)

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:

Matthew 27:2 And when they had bound him, they led him away, and delivered him to Pontius Pilate the governor.

Pontius Pilate the governor. The so-called “Pilate stone” was found in the remains of the amphitheater in Caesarea, naming Pilate as “the prefect” of Judaea at the time.

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,

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.

Matthew 27:5 And he cast down the pieces of silver in the temple, and departed, and went and hanged himself.

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.

Matthew 27:7 And they took counsel, and bought with them the potter's field, to bury strangers in.

Matthew 27:8 Wherefore that field was called, The field of blood, unto this day.

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;

spoken by Jeremy the prophet. This event seems to be a partial fulfillment of the prophecy in Zechariah 11:13, although the reference is only a general statement, rather than an actual quote. The main point of the reference is to explain the use of the money to buy the potter's field, a fact not prophesied by Zechariah (see Matthew 27:6-8, 10). Jeremiah, however, does mention buying a field for silver (Jeremiah 32:6-9), and Matthew conceivably could have had both passages in mind, giving Jeremiah priority for the general idea, since he was the major prophet of the two. Probably a better explanation, however, is to take literally the statement that this prophecy had been spoken (rather than written) by Jeremiah. Many years later, Zechariah could have adapted some of the same language, handed down from Jeremiah by oral transmission (both men were priests), into his own prophecy concerning the value of the payment price.

Matthew 27:10 And gave them for the potter's field, as the Lord appointed me.

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.

Matthew 27:12 And when he was accused of the chief priests and elders, he answered nothing.

Matthew 27:13 Then said Pilate unto him, Hearest thou not how many things they witness against thee?

Matthew 27:14 And he answered him to never a word; insomuch that the governor marvelled greatly.

never a word. Again Jesus refused to reply to false witnesses (Matthew 26:63; Isaiah 53:7).

Matthew 27:15 Now at that feast the governor was wont to release unto the people a prisoner, whom they would.

Matthew 27:16 And they had then a notable prisoner, called Barabbas.

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?

Matthew 27:18 For he knew that for envy they had delivered him.

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.

Matthew 27:20 But the chief priests and elders persuaded the multitude that they should ask Barabbas, and destroy Jesus.

Matthew 27:21 The governor answered and said unto them, Whether of the twain will ye that I release unto you? They said, Barabbas.

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.

Matthew 27:23 And the governor said, Why, what evil hath he done? But they cried out the more, saying, Let him be crucified.

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.

this just person. It is noteworthy that Judas, who betrayed Jesus, admitted he had betrayed “innocent blood” (Matthew 27:4); Pilate, who condemned Him to die, admitted he was condemning “this just person” (Matthew 27:24); and the centurion, who carried out the execution, admitted that Jesus was “the Son of God” (Matthew 27:54). Christ was, indeed, the spotless “Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world” (John 1:29).

Matthew 27:25 Then answered all the people, and said, His blood be on us, and on our children.

His blood be on us. This tragic invocation by those who were immediately responsible for contriving Jesus' execution has been answered by God in full measure for almost two thousand years, with more yet to come. When they chose a seditionist, robber, and murderer over their own Messiah and Redeemer, they made a costly mistake.

Matthew 27:26 Then released he Barabbas unto them: and when he had scourged Jesus, he delivered him to be crucified.

Matthew 27:27 Then the soldiers of the governor took Jesus into the common hall, and gathered unto him the whole band of soldiers.

Matthew 27:28 And they stripped him, and put on him a scarlet robe.

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!

Matthew 27:30 And they spit upon him, and took the reed, and smote him on the head.

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.

Matthew 27:32 And as they came out, they found a man of Cyrene, Simon by name: him they compelled to bear his cross.

Matthew 27:33 And when they were come unto a place called Golgotha, that is to say, a place of a skull,

Golgotha. Golgotha is the Aramaic word for “skull,” equivalent to the Latin-derived “Calvary.” The little hill still resembles a skull today.

Matthew 27:34 They gave him vinegar to drink mingled with gall: and when he had tasted thereof, he would not drink.

vinegar to drink. This drink was a drugged wine, given to those being crucified to partially stupefy them and thereby reduce the excruciating pain.

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.

cast lots. This unspeakable humiliation, stripping the Lord of His clothing, then gambling over His main garment, the last personal possession He owned, was in fulfillment of David's graphic and detailed crucifixion psalm (Psalm 22; see especially verses 17-18). This specific event is one of the relatively few described in all four gospels.

Matthew 27:36 And sitting down they watched him there;

watched him. These leering spectators are likened to ravenous beasts in Psalm 22:12-13, 16, 21. No doubt they will remember this scene forever in the fires of hell.

Matthew 27:37 And set up over his head his accusation written, THIS IS JESUS THE KING OF THE JEWS.

his accusation written. John adds the words “of Nazareth.” Although all four gospel writers mention this inscription, none give its complete form. By compiling the accounts, it may have been: “This is Jesus of Nazareth the King of the Jews” (see John 19:19).

Matthew 27:38 Then were there two thieves crucified with him, one on the right hand, and another on the left.

Matthew 27:39 And they that passed by reviled him, wagging their heads,

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.

Matthew 27:41 Likewise also the chief priests mocking him, with the scribes and elders, said,

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.

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.

let him deliver him now. These religious leaders, mocking Him, were unwittingly fulfilling Psalm 22:8, which had predicted just such a reaction.

Matthew 27:44 The thieves also, which were crucified with him, cast the same in his teeth.

Matthew 27:45 Now from the sixth hour there was darkness over all the land unto the ninth hour.

darkness. Jesus was “the light of the world” (John 8:12), but during these three hours of supernatural darkness (the time frame would not allow this to be explained by a solar eclipse!), the world's light was extinguished, while He was being “made sin for us” (2 Corinthians 5:21). This was the “night season” prophesied in Psalm 22:2. The gospels reveal nothing of what took place during those three hours of the darkness of hell itself. Christ, hanged on a tree, was being made the Curse for us (Galatians 3:13; Deuteronomy 21:23; Genesis 3:16-19). In order for Christ to suffer the full punishment for sin, He had to suffer the infinite agony equivalent to “everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and the glory of His power” (2 Thessalonians 1:8, 9).

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?

the ninth hour. The “ninth hour” was the time of the evening oblation, the time of sacrifice and prayer. Elijah sacrificed and prayed against the prophets of Baal at this time (1 Kings 18:29, 36). It was also when Daniel (Daniel 9:20-21) and Ezra (Ezra 9:4-5) prayed. Peter and John prayed at the ninth hour (Acts 3:1) and so did Cornelius (Acts 10:3-4). All were heard, and all their prayers marvelously answered, except that of Christ! God cannot “behold evil” (Habakkuk 1:13).

why. There are seven “words from the cross,” three before this (Luke 23:34; John 19:26, 27; Luke 23:43) and three after (John 19:28; John 19:30; Luke 23:46). This central word is the only one recorded by Matthew and Mark (Mark 15:34), and the middle word of this “central word” is “Why?” The answer as to why the only perfectly righteous Man should have to endure the very greatest sufferings can only be that He loved us. There was no other way to save us from our sins; any further meaning is hidden in “the mind of the Lord” (Romans 11:33-36) and “the ages to come” (Ephesians 2:7).

forsaken me. Because Christ was forsaken by His Father, God will never leave us or forsake us (Psalm 37:25; Hebrews 13:5).

Matthew 27:47 Some of them that stood there, when they heard that, said, This man calleth for Elias.

Matthew 27:48 And straightway one of them ran, and took a sponge, and filled it with vinegar, and put it on a reed, and gave him to drink.

Matthew 27:49 The rest said, Let be, let us see whether Elias will come to save him.

Matthew 27:50 Jesus, when he had cried again with a loud voice, yielded up the ghost.

a loud voice. The “loud voice” was undoubtedly the great victory cry: “It is finished!” (John 19:30). He had not only suffered the terrible physical pain, but also the essence of hell itself. Thus, He could now merely commit His Spirit into the hands of His Father (Luke 23:46).

the ghost. The death of Christ was uniquely volitional. No other man or woman can simply decide to die and then yield up the ghost, but He did. “No man taketh it from me,” He said, “but I lay it down of myself” (John 10:18).

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;

veil of the temple. This veil was a heavy curtain separating the Holy Place in the temple from the Holy of Holies, behind which the glory of God met with the high priest just once each year on the Day of Atonement. For it to be torn in two, especially from top to bottom, even in an earthquake, would seem to require a miracle, possibly by an unseen angelic hand. Symbolically, this tearing of the veil would mean that Christ had now opened the way for all to enter directly into the presence of God. We now may have “boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus, By a new and living way, which He hath consecrated for us, through the veil, that is to say, His flesh” (Hebrews 10:19-20).

Matthew 27:52 And the graves were opened; and many bodies of the saints which slept arose,

saints which slept arose. Not only had “the light of the world gone out” but also the earth's great foundation Rock had been smitten (Exodus 17:6). The veil had been rent and the graves of the saints were opened. The saints whose bodies were raised could only have been the men and women who had died in faith before the first coming of Christ. Until Christ set them free, their souls had been resting in that division of Hades called “Abraham's bosom” (Luke 16:22). However, when “He ascended up on high, He led captivity captive” after He had “descended first into the lower parts of the earth” (Ephesians 4:8-9).

Matthew 27:53 And came out of the graves after his resurrection, and went into the holy city, and appeared unto many.

after his resurrection. The Old Testament saints could only receive their glorified resurrection bodies after Christ had been raised, for Christ must “become the firstfruits of them that slept” (1 Corinthians 15:20). Although this is apparently the only specific reference to the resurrection of these pre-Christian-era believers, no other interpretation seems plausible. Evidently their new bodies were seen by people on the earth during the brief period between Christ's resurrection and His initial ascent to heaven (John 20:17).

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.

Matthew 27:55 And many women were there beholding afar off, which followed Jesus from Galilee, ministering unto him:

Matthew 27:56 Among which was Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James and Joses, and the mother of Ze bedee's children.

Matthew 27:57 When the even was come, there came a rich man of Arimathaea, named Joseph, who also himself was Jesus' disciple:

Matthew 27:58 He went to Pilate, and begged the body of Jesus. Then Pilate commanded the body to be delivered.

Matthew 27:59 And when Joseph had taken the body, he wrapped it in a clean linen cloth,

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.

his own new tomb. There is more here than meets the eye. Joseph was a rich man who lived in Arimathea, so why would he build a new tomb in Jerusalem, especially one in the rock on a hillside close to Golgotha, within easy earshot of the cries of crucified criminals? It could hardly have been planned for himself; all indications point to his having prepared it ahead of time to receive the body of Jesus. See also Mark 15:42-47; Luke 23:50-56; John 19:38-42.

Matthew 27:61 And there was Mary Magdalene, and the other Mary, sitting over against the sepulchre.

Matthew 27:62 Now the next day, that followed the day of the preparation, the chief priests and Pharisees came together unto Pilate,

Matthew 27:63 Saying, Sir, we remember that that deceiver said, while he was yet alive, After three days I will rise again.

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.

Matthew 27:65 Pilate said unto them, Ye have a watch: go your way, make it as sure as ye can.

Matthew 27:66 So they went, and made the sepulchre sure, sealing the stone, and setting a watch.

the sepulchre sure. The chief priests and Pharisees evidently took the Lord's promise to rise on the third day more seriously than His disciples (Matthew 27:63-64). However, they did not believe this was possible (especially the Sadducean priests), so they must have assumed the disciples would try to steal the body. Their paranoia, however, served only to strengthen the evidence for the resurrection, for their firm preparations to prevent the theft of the body merely eliminated that possibility as a plausible explanation for the empty tomb three days later!