Matthew 27:1-66 - Outline of Matthew (MENU page)
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:
27:2 And when they had bound him,
they led [him] away, and delivered him to Pontius Pilate the governor.
{Psa 2:1,2}
The Sanhedrin reconvened, after day break, to legalize the previous night's proceedings.
They led Him to Pilate because the death penalty required Roman approval. cp. Joh 18:31
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,
27:4 Saying, I have sinned in that I have betrayed the innocent blood.
{ie., I have caused an innocent man to die. (cp. 'sin against innocent blood,' in 1Sam 19:5)}
And they said, What [is that] to us? see thou [to that].
27:5 And he cast down the pieces of silver in the temple, and departed,
and went and hanged himself.
Judas 'repented himself'- or, ''was seized with remorse'' (NIV); ''felt remorse'' (NASV).
Judas had regret and sorrow that his plans went out of control,
but his sorrow (unlike that of Peter, 26:75) did not involve turning from sin to God. cp. 2Cor 7:10
I have sinned...- an ineffective and self-serving acknowledgment, cp. Ex 10:16; 1Sam 15:24.
Judas' fleshly attempts to right his wrongs and assuage his guilt were futile.-
  • he turned to the priests. Whether he had hoped to obtain release for Jesus, or pardon for himself, the priests offered no help.
  • he returned the blood money. But could not reverse the fact that he had taken it.
  • he turned against himself. But his act of despair was not redemptive. cp. Mat 26:24; Acts 1:25b
But he did not turn to Christ, who even then would have forgiven him. cp. Joh 5:40
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.
27:7 And they took counsel, and bought with them the potter's field, to bury strangers in.
27:8 Wherefore that field was called, The field of blood, unto this day.
{Acts 1:19}
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;
27:10 And gave them for the potter's field, as the Lord appointed me.
{Zech 11:12,13}
it is not lawful... because it is the price of blood.-
What a mixture of religious scruples and hypocrisy! cp. Mat 23:24
  • They admit to having spent blood money. They are as guilty as Judas.
  • They could not return the money to the Temple treasurey, because it was tainted.
Their actions were in fulfillment of prophecy.
The quoted passage, from Zechariah, is attributed to Jeremiah (in v.9), probably because Jeremiah was the first book on the scroll of the prophets (which included the book of Zechariah).
Note: There is no conflict between v.5-8 and Acts 1:18,19.
Apparently, Judas hanged himself from a tree in the potter's field. A few days later, when the priests brought his money to purchase the field, his bloated body was discovered and cut down, bursting open where it fell.
27:11 And Jesus stood before the governor:
{Jesus before Pilate, cp. Mark 15:2-5; Luk 23:1-3; Joh 18:29-38}
and the governor asked him, saying, Art thou the King of the Jews?
And Jesus said unto him, Thou sayest.
{ie., It is as you say. cp. Joh 18:33-37}
27:12 And when he was accused of the chief priests and elders, he answered nothing.
27:13 Then said Pilate unto him,
Hearest thou not how many things they witness against thee?
27:14 And he answered him to never a word; insomuch that the governor marvelled greatly.
Are you the King of the Jews?
Because the charge of ''blasphemy'' (26:65,66) would not stand up in a Roman court, the religious leaders accuse Jesus of claiming to be a king (by implication, accusing Him of insurrection against Caesar).
Jesus acknowledged that He is the King of the Jews,
but He made no defense against their false charges. cp. Isa 53:7
He made no appeal to Caesar (as did Paul in Acts 25:11).
He entrusted His case to a Higher Court. 1Pet 2:23
Meanwhile, Pilate was on trial before the King of kings. cp. Jer 23:5
Would he exercise true judgment and justice?
27:15 Now at [that] feast the governor was wont to {ie., was accustomed to} release
unto the people a prisoner, whom they would.
27:16 And they had then a notable prisoner, called Barabbas.
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?
27:18 For he knew that for envy they had delivered him.
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.
27:20 But the chief priests and elders persuaded the multitude
that they should ask Barabbas, and destroy Jesus.
27:21 The governor answered and said unto them,
Whether of the twain
{ie., which of the two} will ye that I release unto you?
They said, Barabbas.
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.
27:23 And the governor said, Why, what evil hath he done?
But they cried out the more, saying, Let him be crucified.
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].
27:25 Then answered all the people, and said, His blood [be] on us, and on our children.
27:26 Then released he Barabbas unto them:
and when he had scourged Jesus, he delivered [him] to be crucified.
Pilate, as the representative of Roman justice, and a keen politician...-
  1. recognized - (a) Jesus' innocence, and
    (b) the Jew's motivation: envy, v.18; cp. Mat 21:38; Joh 15:22-25; Rom 1:29
    (cp. also the picture of Christ in Joseph's rejection by his brothers, Gen 37:11).
  2. attempted a political maneuver to release Jesus, while retaining political favor for himself (v.21).
    By giving the decision to the people, he hoped to thwart the designs of the religious rulers, without suffering their wrath.
  3. asked the crowd to sentence Jesus. v.22
  4. delivered Jesus to crucifixion, though there was no judgment against Him.
    At the end of the proceedings, he is still asking: ''What evil has He done?'' (v.23),
    and identifies Him as ''this just {ie., righteous} person'' (v.24).
  5. declared himself innocent of Jesus' blood (v.24).
    Yet, Pilate stands condemned. It was his responsibility and power to ensure justice.
His blood be upon us...- v.25; cp. Deu 19:10; Mat 21:44; 23:29-38; Acts 5:28
This declaration has been fulfilled by the destruction of Jerusalem and centuries of dispersion.
Some have erroneously used this verse to label Jews as ''Christ killers.'' They forget that...
  1. Jews and Gentiles alike had a part in His death.
  2. Christ forgave those who crucified Him, while He was still on the cross. Luk 23:34
  3. ''Christ died for our sins...'' because we were all guilty. 1Cor 15:3
  4. Through His death, there is forgiveness for all who call upon Him in faith. Acts 2:22-24,36-38
27:27 Then the soldiers of the governor took Jesus into the common hall,
and gathered unto him the whole band [of soldiers].
27:28 And they stripped him, and put on him a scarlet robe.
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!
27:30 And they spit upon him, and took the reed, and smote him on the head.
{Isa 50:6}
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].
27:32 And as they came out, they found a man of Cyrene, Simon by name:
him they compelled to bear his cross.
Jesus was led away for crucifixion. cp. Mark 15:16-21; Luk 23:26-32; Joh 19:16,17
This marks the final and full rejection of Jesus as the King of the Jews.
He claimed David's throne. They gave Him a cross.
He claimed David's crown. They gave Him a crown of thorns.
He was scourged, smitten, crowned with thorns, spat upon... cp. Isa 52:14
Jesus was so weakened by this ordeal, that He could not carry His own cross.
Rejected by the Jews, He was mocked by the Gentiles.
Would I have joined in the mockery? cp. Isa 53:3,4
27:33 And when they were come unto a place called Golgotha,
that is to say, a place of a skull,
27:34 They gave him vinegar to drink mingled with gall:
{Psa 69:21}
and when he had tasted [thereof], he would not drink.
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.
{Psa 22:18}
27:36 And sitting down they watched him there;
27:37 And set up over his head his accusation written,
THIS IS JESUS THE KING OF THE JEWS.
Golgotha (HB), Calvary (GK=kranion)- the place of the skull.
The probable place is known today as 'Gordon's Calvary,' located outside the northwestern corner of Jerusalem's old city wall. The hill was partially excavated as a stone quarry giving it the appearance of a skull. The empty 'Garden Tomb,' located at the base of the hill, is the probable place of Jesus' burial.
and they crucified Him...- cp. Mark 15:22-32; Luk 23:33-43; Joh 19:17-24
In all four gospels, the narrative is reverently hushed. The violence and gore of crucifixion is muted.
Psalm 22, written about 1000 years prior to this event, paints the scene in vivid detail,
describing the physical agonies of crucifixion (at a time when crucifixion was unknown), and
revealing our Lord's emotional and spiritual agonies which far outweighed His physical pains.
(See the Book Notes studies on the Psalms of Messiah for Psalm 22.)
The full accusation (ie., a composite of the four accounts) reads:
''This is Jesus of Nazareth the King of the Jews.''
Consider this title in the light of Psa 2:1-6 --
  1. The kings of the earth {Gentile authorities} and the rulers {Jewish leaders} took counsel against the LORD and His Anointed {ie., the Messiah, the Christ}. They rejected Him, and condemned Him to death.
  2. In response, the LORD declares: ''Yet, have I set my King upon my holy hill of Zion.''
    The HB word for ''set'' means (a) ''to anoint,'' (b) ''to pour out'' -
    1. Some day God's Anointed One will reign as King from Mount Zion {ie., Jerusalem}.
    2. This day, God's Anointed One was poured out for our sins, on Mt. Zion. cp. Isa 53:12
    (See the Book Notes studies on the Psalms of Messiah for Psalm 2.)
The order of events at the crucifixion (a composite of the four accounts) is:
  1. The arrival at Golgotha. v.33; Mark 15:22; Luk 23:33; Joh 19:17
  2. The offer of the stupefying drink refused. v.34; Mark 15:23
  3. Jesus is crucified between two thieves. v.35-38; Mark 15:24-28; Luk 23:33-38; Joh 19:18-24
  4. The first cry from the cross: 'Father forgive...' Luk 23:34
  5. The soldiers part His garments. v.35; Mark 15:24; Luk 23:34; Joh 19:23
  6. The Jews mock Jesus. v.39-44; Mark 15:29-32; Luk 23:35-38
  7. The thieves rail at Him, but one repents. v.44; Mark 15:32; Luk 23:39-43
  8. The second cry from the cross: 'Today shalt thou be with me...' Luk23:43
  9. The third cry: 'Woman, behold thy son.' Joh 19:26,27
  10. The darkness. v.45; Mark 15:33; Luk 23:44
  11. The fourth cry: 'My God, My God...' v.46,47; Mark 15:34-36
  12. The fifth cry: 'I thirst.' Joh 19:28,29
  13. The sixth cry: 'It is finished!' Joh 19:30
  14. The seventh cry: 'Father, into thy hands...' Luk 23:46
  15. Our Lord dimisses His spirit. v.50; Mark 15:37; Luk 23:46; Joh 19:30
    [This order of events was adapted from ScofRB.]
27:38 Then were there two thieves crucified with him,
one on the right hand, and another on the left.
27:39 And they that passed by reviled him, wagging their heads,
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.
27:41 Likewise also the chief priests mocking [him], with the scribes and elders, said,
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.
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.
27:44 The thieves also, which were crucified with him, cast the same in his teeth.
they... reviled Him...- 'reviled' is GK=blasphemeo, to blaspheme, to rail on.
Compare their mockery with that prophecied in Psa 22:7,8.
Question - What would have happened if Jesus had come down from the cross,
and if these mockers had then believed in Him? (v.42)
Answer - They would have died in their sins!
Because, in order to save others, He could not save Himself, but must die for their sins.
It was not possible for Him to come down from the cross and still fulfill His mission.
cp. Mat 26:39; Joh 3:14,15; 12:23,24
27:45 Now from the sixth hour there was darkness over all the land unto the ninth hour.
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?
{Psa 22:1-3}
27:47 Some of them that stood there, when they heard [that], said,
This [man] calleth for Elias.
{ie., Elijah}
They misunderstood Him. 'Eli' {HB=Eloi} means 'My God.' Mark 15:34}
The name 'Elijah' means 'My God is Jehovah.'
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.
27:49 The rest said, Let be, let us see whether Elias will come to save him.
{cp. Mal 4:5; Mat 11:13,14}
from the sixth... to the ninth hour there was darkness...- ie., between noon and 3 p.m.
'The Lord Jesus Christ was put on the cross at nine in the morning. By noon, man had done all he could do to Him. For the next three hours, the cross was veiled in darkness as the Lamb of God offered Himself, for the sins of the world.' [adapted from JVMcGee]
cp. Isa 53:10; 2Cor 5:21; 1Pet 2:24
27:50 Jesus, when he had cried again with a loud voice, {cp. Joh 19:30; Luk 23:46}
yielded up the ghost
{ie., the spirit}.
By His 'loud voice' we know that He was not yet weakened to the point of death. cp. Joh 10:17,18
27:51 And, behold, the veil of the temple was rent in twain {ie., torn in two} from the top to the bottom;
and the earth did quake, and the rocks rent
{ie., split}; {cp. Psa 18:4-7}
27:52 And the graves were opened; and many bodies of the saints which slept arose,
27:53 And came out of the graves after his resurrection,
{cp. Eph 4:8}
and went into the holy city, and appeared unto many.
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.
27:55 And many women were there beholding afar off,
which followed Jesus from Galilee, ministering unto him:
27:56 Among which was Mary Magdalene,
and Mary the mother of James and Joses, and the mother of Zebedee's children.
behold, the veil of the Temple was torn in two...-
The veil separated men from the Holy of Holies (ie., from the presence of God). Lev 16:2; Heb 9:1-8
By His death, He tore away that which separates, and became the Way of access. cp. Heb 10:19-22; Eph 2:13-18; 1Tim 2:5
27:57 When the even was come, there came a rich man of Arimathaea, named Joseph,
who also himself was Jesus' disciple:
27:58 He went to Pilate, and begged the body of Jesus.
Then Pilate commanded the body to be delivered.
27:59 And when Joseph had taken the body, he wrapped it in a clean linen cloth,
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.
27:61 And there was Mary Magdalene, and the other Mary, sitting over against the sepulchre.
Jesus was buried... - cp. Mark 15:42-47; Luk 23:50-56; Joh 19:38-42
...by Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus. These men, who were both Jewish rulers, were secret disciples of Jesus. The crisis that had caused the other disciples to forsake Him and flee, brought these out into the open. They anointed His body for burial. Joh 19:38-40
Arimathea - Joseph's city is identified in all four accounts.
'Arimathea' (in the NT) is the same as 'Ramah' (in the OT).
Note the subtle encouragement at the death and burial of the King.-
  1. Ramah was associated with Samuel, as the place of his birth (1Sam 1:1,19,20) and as his home during his prophetic ministry (1Sam 8:4). It was here that Israel's first request for a king was registered (1Sam 8:5), and here, Saul was anointed as their first king. But after God rejected Saul, He called Samuel from Ramah to Bethlehem with the message: ''I have provided Me a King...'', and instructed him to anoint one of Jesse's sons (1Sam 15:34 -16:1). Thus, Samuel anointed David as king, long before he received the kingdom, and while he was hated and rejected by the reigning power.
        So, Joseph from Ramah, in the act of anointing His body for burial, reminds us that, even in death, Jesus is still God's Anointed (Psa 2:1,2,6).
  2. Ramah was also associated with a prophecy of Israel's judgment and future restoration.
        Just prior to Jerusalem's fall to Babylon, the Lord comforted the nation with a promise of future joy (cp. Jer 31:15-17), which will be realized under the New Covenant (Jer 31:31-34).
        Early in Jesus' earthly life, a time of sorrow brought this passage to mind (Mat 2:16-18). So, here, at His death, "the New Covenant in my blood" secures the promised future rejoicing, for all believers (Joh 16:20), and for the remnant of Israel (Jer 31:1-40).
27:62 Now the next day, that followed the day of the preparation,
the chief priests and Pharisees came together unto Pilate,
27:63 Saying, Sir, we remember that that deceiver said, while he was yet alive,
After three days I will rise again.
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.
27:65 Pilate said unto them, Ye have a watch
{ie., a guard detail, a group of soldiers}:
go your way, make [it] as sure as ye can.
27:66 So they went, and made the sepulchre sure,
sealing the stone, and setting a watch.
{ie., posting a group of guards}
we remember... - Jesus' enemies feared the frequently repeated prophecy,
that was such a mystery to His disciples. eg., Luk 18:33,34
ye have a guard... make it as secure as you can.-
''The zeal of the enemy actually gave confirmation of His resurrection'' and undermines their official explanation for the empty tomb. cp. Mat 28:12-14 [JVMcGee]
The King, though sealed in the tomb, and guarded by His enemies, would keep His Word.

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