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Bible Commentaries

Gary H. Everett's Study Notes on the Holy Scriptures
Matthew 27

 

 

Verses 1-10

The Testimony of Judas Iscariot ( Mark 15:1, Luke 23:1-2, John 18:28-32, Acts 1:18-19) - Matthew 27:3-10 records the confession of remorse and death of Judas Iscariot. The story of Judas is a tragic one. We almost hoped that he would have gone to Jesus Christ and repented after his guilt surfaced. At this point, his mind was darkened and confused. Judas had been given the responsibility of carrying the moneybag. At some point in time, he gave place to the devil and began to steal out of the money ( John 12:6). After repeatedly giving place to the devil, Judas opened the door in his life for Satan to enter him ( Luke 22:3). At this point, Satan was able to control his thoughts and moved him to betray the Lord ( John 13:2).

John 12:6, "This he said, not that he cared for the poor; but because he was a thief, and had the bag, and bare what was put therein."

Luke 22:3, "Then entered Satan into Judas surnamed Iscariot, being of the number of the twelve."

John 13:2, "And supper being ended, the devil having now put into the heart of Judas Iscariot, Simon"s Song of Solomon , to betray him;"

Jesus' Appears before Pontus Pilate - Matthew 27:1-2 records Jesus' appearance before Pontus Pilate. It was the destiny of Jesus Christ to stand before Pilate in order that Paul the apostle could one day stand before Caesar. Within three hundred years, the Roman Empire would bow before the Gospel of Jesus Christ as Emperor Constantine is converted to the faith.

The Death of Judas Iscariot ( Acts 1:18-19) - Matthew 27:3-10 records the death of Judas Iscariot. The story of Judas is a tragic one. We almost hoped that he would have gone to Jesus Christ and repented after his guilt surfaced. At this point, his mind was darkened and confused. Judas had been given the responsibility of carrying the moneybag. At some point in time, he gave place to the devil and began to steal out of the money ( John 12:6). After repeatedly giving place to the devil, Judas opened the door in his life for Satan to enter him ( Luke 22:3). At this point, Satan was able to control his thoughts and moved him to betray the Lord ( John 13:2).

John 12:6, "This he said, not that he cared for the poor; but because he was a thief, and had the bag, and bare what was put therein."

Luke 22:3, "Then entered Satan into Judas surnamed Iscariot, being of the number of the twelve."

John 13:2, "And supper being ended, the devil having now put into the heart of Judas Iscariot, Simon"s Song of Solomon , to betray him;"

Demonic Influence- The series of events surrounding the death of Judas Iscariot reveals the way people become demon possessed without intending to do so from the beginning. Sin leads people down a path that may look appealing at first, but it ends in bondage, then condemnation and eventually destruction, as when Judas hanged himself out of guilt.

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."

The Remorse of Judas- It appears from Matthew 27:3-6 that Judas Iscariot became remorseful ( μεταμέλομαι) of his wicked deeds because of what he had observed during Jesus' Passion. At the arrest of Jesus, Judas kissed his Master on the cheek only to have Jesus look upon him in love. The Innocent One stood amidst extreme beatings and physical punishment without a fight; yet, Judas knew the power in which Jesus walked as the Son fo God. His words were pure when answering His accusers. It was a scene that any normal person would have turned his head is anguish at the sight of such intense evil displayed against someone absolutely pure and innocent. Judas knew that Jesus Christ was innocent. Yet he had allowed himself to obey the promptings of Satan and betray his Master. At this point Satan and the Jewish priest needed him no more. Neither did they care for his soul. Judas found no sympathy with the priests whom he showed his loyalty, but rather rebuke. Judas became overwhelmed with guilt and found no comforter. He had sold his soul for unrighteous mammon. He betrayed his Best Friend for the applause of men. His only way to escape such grief was to take his own life.

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.

Matthew 27:1-2Comments - Man Cannot Bind and Kill God - In Matthew 27:1-2 the Jews forcefully bind Jesus and lead Him to Pontius Pilate, the Roman governor. Man cannot "bind" God and lead Him against His own divine will and purpose and plan, and particularly attempt to put God to death. The very though is absurd; yet, this is what depraved humanity attempted to do in crucifying the Son of God. Jesus, who is God manifested in the flesh, had just told His disciples during His arrest in the garden that He could call twelve legions of angels to rescue Him ( Matthew 26:53). Therefore, Matthew 27:1-2 records Jesus as He willingly yields to the Father's will as the Jews prepare to kill Him.

Matthew 26:53, "Thinkest thou that I cannot now pray to my Father, and he shall presently give me more than twelve legions of angels?"

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 27:3 — Comments - Judas Iscariot knew of the suffering that Jesus was about to endure, particularly at the hands of the Romans; and this handover of Jesus to the Romans in Matthew 27:1-2 convicted him of his sinful deed of betraying an innocent man. Judas Iscariot, the thief of the money bag ( John 12:6), has not lost his interest in lust and greed for money.

John 12:6, "This he said, not that he cared for the poor; but because he was a thief, and had the bag, and bare what was put therein."

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 27:4 — "Saying, I have sinned in that I have betrayed the innocent blood" - Comments- Jesus is referred to here as the innocent blood.

Matthew 27:4 — "And they said, What is that to us? see thou to that" - Comments - The phrase "see thou to it means, "see to that yourself! That is your affair." (BDAG). In other words, "That's your problem, not ours. You take care of it." This phrase is similar to that found in Matthew 27:24 and Acts 18:15.

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."

Acts 18:15, "But if it be a question of words and names, and of your law, look ye to it; for I will be no judge of such matters."

Matthew 27:4Comments - The innocence of Jesus has shown as a bright light into the soul of Judas Iscariot and exposed his own wickedness. Judas thought that these Jewish leaders would have some measure of compassion and understanding at his repentance, and perhaps void this agreement. Instead, they condemned him, turning him away to pay for his own sins, something Jesus Christ was about to do for Judas and all of mankind that same day in redemptive history.

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

Matthew 27:5 — "And he cast down the pieces of silver in the temple" - Comments- Notice a similar Old Testament passage, in which some scholars suggest was a prophecy regarding this event:

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. 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."

Matthew 27:5 — "and went and hanged himself" - Comments- Acts 1:18-19 tells us the horrible story of Judas Iscariot's death by falling headlong and his bowels bursting. We find a parallel account of his death in Matthew 27:3-10. However, in this account we are told that he went out and hanged himself. Scholars have some difficulty in reconciling these two different descriptions. The traditional account says that he fell from the place that he hung himself, the rope may have broken, and burst open his bowels upon some rock or protruding object. John Lightfoot suggests that Satan, who dwelt in him, caught him up high, strangling him, and threw him down headlong; so that dashing upon the ground, he burst in the midst, and his guts issued out, and the devil went out in so horrid an exit." 675] Others suggest he may have died of a suffocating disease that also ruptured his body.

675] John Lightfoot, Horae Hebraicae et Talmudicae: Hebrew and Talmudical Exercitations Upon the Gospels, the Acts , Some Chapters of St. Paul's Epistle to the Romans and the First Epistle to the Corinthians, vol 2, ed. Robert Gandell (Oxford: The University Press, 1859), 138.

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."

Matthew 27:5Comments - In Matthew 27:5 Judas Iscariot, under the weight of his own condemnation, inflicts upon himself what was due him, the penalty of death. In order to accomplish this, he went and hanged himself, dying for his own sins when the Son of God was about to pay the payment on Calvary. The truth is that to every man is due the penalty of death for his own sins.

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 27:6Word Study on "treasury" - Strong says the Greek word κορβᾶν (G 2878), which is of Hebrew and Aramaic origin, means, "a votive offering, and the offering, a consecrated present." He says the Hebrew word ( קָרְבָּן) (H 7133) means, "something brought near, a sacrificial present." He says the words κορβᾶν or κορβανᾶς later came to refer to the Temple treasury itself. The TDNT says κορβᾶν comes directly from the Hebrew word, while κορβανᾶς is its Grecian Aramaic derivative. BDAG tells us that the word refers to "a gift consecrated to God, to be used for religious purposes." BDAG says the word κορβανᾶς means, "the temple treasury." The word κορβᾶν is used only one time in the New Testament ( Mark 7:11) and κορβανᾶς is used once ( Matthew 27:6). We find the Greek word κορβᾶν used in the LXX ( Leviticus 2:1; Leviticus 2:4; Leviticus 2:12-13) when speaking of the gifts offered to the Sanctuary. In addition, Josephus uses the word κορβᾶν and κορβανᾶς in his writings:

"Let no one blaspheme those gods which other cities esteem such; nor may any one steal what belongs to strange temples, nor take away the gifts that are dedicated to any god." (Antiquities 4810)

"This is declared by Theophrastus, in his writings concerning laws; for he says that ‘the laws of the Tyrians forbid men to swear foreign oaths.' Among which he enumerates some others, and particularly that called Corban; which oath can only be found among the Jews, and declares what a man may call "A thing devoted to God." (Against Apion 122)

"After this he [Pilate] raised another disturbance, by expending that sacred treasure which is called Corban upon aqueducts, whereby he brought water from the distance of four hundred furlongs. At this the multitude had great indignation." (Wars 294)

Matthew 27:6Comments - The Law prohibited offers given from money that was gained by ungodly means. Scholars usually cite Deuteronomy 23:18 as the portion of the Law the chief priests would have made reference to in Matthew 27:6.

Deuteronomy 23:18, "Thou shalt not bring the hire of a whore, or the price of a dog, into the house of the LORD thy God for any vow: for even both these are abomination unto the LORD thy God."

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 27:8Comments - A parallel passage in Acts 1:19 reads, "And it was known unto all the dwellers at Jerusalem; insomuch as that field is called in their proper tongue, Aceldama, that is to say, The field of blood."

The phrase "unto this day" is frequently used throughout the Old Testament.

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;

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

Matthew 27:9-10Old Testament Quotes in the New Testament - Matthew 27:9-10 is a quote out of Zechariah 11:12-13, and not out of the book of Jeremiah , as the author states. However, it is clearly not a word for word quote, as are the other quotes in the Gospel of Matthew. Although Jeremiah 18:1-10 tells of Jeremiah"s visit to the potter"s house and Jeremiah 32:7-12 tells of his purchase of a field for the price of seventeen pieces of silver, these stories are considered to be unrelated to the prophecy recorded in Matthew 27:9-10.

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. 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."

(1) The Quote is Accurate Because the Three Divisions of the Hebrew Bible were Entitled by the First Book- One very good explanation to explain the logic of why Jeremiah"s name is used in this passage can be found in John Gill"s commentary. He notes that the Hebrew bible used by the Jews in the time of Jesus was divided into three parts, as seen in Luke 24:44. This means that the word "Psalm" refers to all of the books of the Writings. Thus, a Hebrew scholar quoting from any of the Writings, such as Job ,, Psalm ,, Proverbs , Ecclesiastes or Song of Solomon , would say that he is quoting from Psalm. This idea was used to the extent that the entire Old Testament, or Hebrew sacred writings were referred to as the Law. For example, when the Jews are speaking to Jesus in John 12:34, they refer to Psalm 89:36 by saying that the Law says such.

Luke 24:44, "And he said unto them, These are the words which I spake unto you, while I was yet with you, that all things must be fulfilled, which were written in the law of Moses, and in the prophets, and in the psalms, concerning me."

John 12:34, "The people answered him, We have heard out of the law that Christ abideth for ever: and how sayest thou, The Son of man must be lifted up? who is this Son of man?"

For another example is found John 15:25, where Jesus quotes from the book of Psalm , but calls it the law.

John 15:25, "But this cometh to pass, that the word might be fulfilled that is written in their law, They hated me without a cause."

Remember that the Hebrews named the books of the Old Testament by the first few words contained in the book.

Likewise, there is evidence that the book of Jeremiah came first in the group of books called the latter prophets. Thus, to quote from Jeremiah would refer to a quote from any of the sixteen or seventeen books of the latter prophets. Evidence of Jeremiah being the leading prophet is seen in Matthew 16:14.

Matthew 16:14, "And they said, Some say that thou art John the Baptist: some, Elias; and others, Jeremias, or one of the prophets."

Therefore, when Matthew quotes from Zechariah in this passage, he is collectively referring to the books of the latter prophets by using the name " Jeremiah ," the first book in this collection. This view is supported by John Lightfoot, who says:

"Whence it is very plain, that Jeremiah of old had the first place among the prophets: and hereby he comes to be mentioned above all the rest, Matt xvi 14, because he stood first in the volume of the prophets, therefore he is first named. When, therefore, Matthew produceth a text of Zechariah under the name of Jeremy, he only cites the words of the volume of the prophets under his name, who stood first in the volume of the prophets. Of which sort is that also of our Saviour Luke xxiv 44; ‘All things must be fulfilled which are written of Me in the law, and the prophets, and the Psalm ,' - ‘in the Psalm;' that Isaiah , in the Book of Hagiographa, in which the Psalm were placed first." 676]

676] John Lightfoot, The Whole Works of the Rev. John Lightfoot, D.D. Master of Catharine Hall, Cambridge, vol 11, ed. John Rogers Pitman (London: J. F. Dove, 1823), 344-345.

(2) Matthew's Quote Comes from a Lost Apocryphal Book of Jeremiah - A second explanation is given by Jerome. He claims that a lost apocryphal written by Jeremiah gives this quote in Matthew word for word. 677] Matthew Poole gives this translation from Jerome's comments, "I lately read in a Hebrew book, which a Hebrew of the Nazarene sect presented to me, an apocryphal writing of Jeremiah in which I found this passage written word for word." 678] Poole notes that Matthew does not provide a word for word quote from the book of Zechariah. This would explain why it is not improbable that the very same thing was prophesied by Jeremiah in an apocryphal work, and later recorded by the prophet Zechariah.

677] Jerome, Commentary in the Gospel of Matthew 427 (PL 26 Colossians 205B).

678] Matthew Poole, Annotations Upon the Holy Bible, vol 3 (New York: Robert Carter and Brothers, 1853), 135.

(3) The Text of Matthew is Corrupted- A third explanation is that this is a corruption of the original text. The Greek forms of the names for Jeremiah and Zechariah were similar, resulting in Jeremiah"s name replacing the original text which read "Zechariah." Some scholars show that the change of a single letter in the original would transform Zechariah into Jeremiah , and it is supposed that some early copyist made the mistake (People"s New Testament Notes). For example, the Greek name for Jeremiah in a contracted form would read "І ριου." In comparison, the contracted form of Zechariah"s name in Greek would be " ζριου." Thus, in the LXX, if the Greek letter " ζ" were copied accidentally as an "І," then the name Jeremiah would be spelled instead of Zechariah in this ancient text. 679]

679] Albert Barnes, The Gospel According to Matthew , in Barnes" Notes, Electronic Database (Seattle, WA: Hendrickson Publishers Inc, 1997), in P.C. Study Bible, v 31 [CD-ROM] (Seattle, WA: Biblesoft Inc, 1993-2000), comments on Matthew 27:9.

(4) A Variant Reading- A fourth explanation explains how several ancient manuscripts read, "which was spoken by the prophet," thus omitting the name Jeremiah. Scholars who support this variant reading cite the fact that Matthew omitted the name of the prophets in Matthew 1:22; Matthew 2:5; Matthew 2:15; Matthew 13:35; and Matthew 21:4. However, these particular manuscripts are too few to support this variant reading as an original text.

(5) Matthew Makes a Mistake in His Quote- Finally, the suggestion that Matthew simply made a mistake in naming Jeremiah his quote has little scholarly support. The Gospel of Matthew is largely made up of Old Testament prophecies that support the fact that Jesus Christ is the Messiah. Matthew was accurate in every other quote in his Gospel. He was, therefore, very familiar with the Old Testament Scriptures and probably did not make a mistake in this passage either.


Verses 1-15

The Testimony of Prayer of Manasseh - Matthew 27:1 to Matthew 28:15 records the testimony of man regarding the Passion of Jesus Christ. The evangelist records two testimonies of the innocence of Jesus at His arrest ( Matthew 27:1-26), two testimonies of the deity of Jesus as His death ( Matthew 27:27-56), two testimonies of the burial of Jesus ( Matthew 27:57-66), and two testimonies of His resurrection ( Matthew 28:1-15). The evangelist organizes the testimonies of these four, key events regarding Jesus' Passion and Resurrection in pairs in order to contrast the views of those who are ungodly with those who are convicted of Christ's deity by these events. Both scenes work together to introduce the events of the Passion, reflecting the dual roles of divine providence and man's free will in God's plan of redemption.

The Theme - Matthew 27:1 to Matthew 28:15 contains literary evidence of the theme of crucifixion. The Greek word σταυρόω is used ten times throughout the Gospel of Matthew. Of the nine times this word refers directly to the crucifixion of Jesus Christ, seven of these uses are concentrated within Matthew 27:11 to Matthew 28:5. The other two uses are found in Matthew 20:19; Matthew 26:2 as predictions of His impending crucifixion. Matthew will insert one fulfillment quotation in this section that reflects the Old Testament prediction of the crucifixion of Jesus Christ ( Matthew 27:35).

Here is a proposed outline:

1. The Testimony of Jesus' Innocence at His Trial — Matthew 27:1-26

2. The Testimony of Jesus' Deity at His Death — Matthew 27:27-56

3. The Testimony of Jesus' Burial at the Tomb — Matthew 27:57-66

4. The Testimony of Jesus' Resurrection at the Tomb — Matthew 28:1-15


Verses 1-26

The Testimony of Jesus' Innocence at His Trial- During His arrest, Judas Iscariot declares the innocence of Jesus under the conviction of his sinful betrayal ( Matthew 27:1-10), followed by the same declaration of innocence by Pontus Pilate, who feels no remorse ( Matthew 27:11-26).

Here is a proposed outline:

1. The Testimony of Judas Iscariot — Matthew 27:1-10

2. The Testimony of Pontius Pilate — Matthew 27:11-26


Verses 11-26

The Testimony of Pontius Pilate ( Mark 15:2-15, Luke 23:3-5; Luke 23:13-25, John 18:33 to John 19:18) - In Matthew 27:11-26 Pontius Pilate declares the innocence of Jesus as He is under trial, yet without the remorse demonstrated by Judas Iscariot. As Jesus stands before Pontus Pilate, the focus of this passage is the development of a confession from the governor regarding the innocence of Jesus ( Matthew 27:14; Matthew 27:24). The governor marvels at Jesus' composure ( Matthew 27:14); his wife pleads has a dream regarding His innocence ( Matthew 27:19); the governor symbolically washes his hands and declares His innocence.

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 27:11 — "Art thou the King of the Jews" - Comments- Jesus is the King. This is the theme of the book of Matthew. But He is not the earthly king that many Jews believed that He would be. King Herod was greatly troubled at wise men's saying, which was a foreshowing these events.

Matthew 2:2-3, "Saying, Where is he that is born King of the Jews? for we have seen his star in the east, and are come to worship him. When Herod the king had heard these things, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him."

Matthew 27:11 — "And Jesus said unto him, Thou sayest" - Comments- In December 2002, I was station manager of a Christian television station in Uganda. One particular client wanted me to give him a large advertising campaign and let him pay after it was over. I knew that this person was not reliable, so I required him to pay up front. He called me after he was told this news and began to ask me to give him a change. When I did not, he began to accuse me of not trusting him, of considering him a liar and a dishonest person. As I listened to him, I realized that his own words condemned him, and that I did not have to say a word of explanation. This is how Jesus was responding to Pilate, who declared that Jesus was King of the Jews out of his own mouth.

Matthew 27:14Comments - Perhaps Pilate expected an insurrectionist to be vocal and defend his views. In contrast, Jesus offered no defense. Jesus did not behave as a typical Jewish rebel.

Matthew 27:19Comments- In her book Caught Up Into Heaven Marietta Davis devotes a chapter describing this particular dream that Pilate's wife dreamed. It says that she was caught up into Paradise beholding its beauty when an angel explained to her that Jesus Christ was the Son of God. The angel warned her to tell her husband named Pilate about this dream and warn him not to condemn this Just Man. 680]

680] Marietta Davis, Caught Up Into Heaven (New Kensington, Pennsylvania: Whitaker House, 1982), 136-9.

Matthew 27:24 — "he took water, and washed his hands before the multitude, saying, I am innocent" - Comments- Pilate was following Jewish tradition by washing his hands before the Jews as a method of declaring his innocence in a that they understood. The Jews clearly understood his message because the following they say in the following verse, "His blood be on us, and on our children." Note these Old Testament references to the washing of innocent hands:

Deuteronomy 21:6-7, "And all the elders of that city, that are next unto the slain Prayer of Manasseh , shall wash their hands over the heifer that is beheaded in the valley: And they shall answer and say, Our hands have not shed this blood, neither have our eyes seen it."

Psalm 26:6, "I will wash mine hands in innocency: so will I compass thine altar, O LORD:"

Psalm 73:13, "Verily I have cleansed my heart in vain, and washed my hands in innocency."

Josephus cites Deuteronomy 21:6-7.

"…then the priests and Levites, and the senate of that city, shall take water and wash their hands over the head of the heifer; and they shall openly declare that their hands are innocent of this murder, and that they have neither done it themselves, nor been assisting to any that did it." (Antiquities 4816)

The Talmud makes a reference to this ceremony:

"They then break its neck with a hatchet from behind. The site may never be sown or tilled, but it is permitted to card flax and chisel stones there. The elders of that city then wash their hands with water in the place where the heifer's neck was broken and declare, our hands have not shed this blood, neither have our eyes seen it." (Sotah folio 45b) 681]

681] Isidore Epstein, ed, Contents of the Soncino Babylonian Talmud, trans. Jacob Shachter and H. Freedman (London: The Soncino Press) [on-line]; accessed 3July 2010; accessed from http://www.come-and-hear.com; Internet.

However, it is important to note that there are numerous examples of ceremonial washings in classical literature, which means it was an ancient tradition outside of Judaism.

"Now while Croesus was busied about the marriage of his Song of Solomon , there came to Sardis a Phrygian of the royal house, in great distress and with hands unclean. This man came to Croesus" house, and entreated that he might be purified after the custom of

the country; so Croesus purified him (the Lydians use the same manner of purification as do the Greeks)…" (Herodotus ) 682]

682] A. D. Godley, Herodotus, vol 1, in The Loeb Classical Library, eds. T. E. Page, E. Capps, and W. H. D. Rouse (London: William Heinemann, c 1920, 1975), 43.

"But I go my way

To the sea baths and meadows by the beach,

That I may there assoil me and assuage

The wrathful goddess, having purged my sin." (Sophocles, Ajax 654-656) 683]

683] F. Storr, Sophocles, vol 2, in The Loeb Classical Library, eds. T. E. Page, E. Capps, and W. H. D. Rouse (London: William Heinemann, c 1913), 57.

"For me, retreating from so great a war

And recent blood, to touch them were a crime,

‘Till I have lav"d me in the living stream." (Virgil, Aeneid 2999-1001) 684]

684] Rann Kennedy and Charles Rann Kennedy, trans, The Works of Virgil, vol 1 (London: Stevens and Co, 1849), 239.

"The son of Amphiaraus said to the Naupactan Achelous, ‘absolve me of my guilt.' Whereupon he did absolve him of his guilt. Ah! too credulous mortals, who imagine that the guilt of bloodshed can be removed by the waters of the stream." (Ovid, The Fasti 242-46) 685]

685] Henry T. Riley, trans, The Fasti, Tristia, Pontic Epistles, Ibis, and Halieuticon of Ovid (London: George Bell and Sons, 1881), 48.

Matthew 27:24 — "see ye to it" - Comments- That Isaiah , "you take care of the matter yourself."

Matthew 27:24Comments- It is interesting to note that Eusebius tells us that Pilate eventually committed suicide. Perhaps this was an omen of his lack of innocence in this crime.

"It is worthy of note that Pilate himself, who was governor in the time of our Saviour, is reported to have fallen into such misfortunes under Caius, whose times we are recording, that he was forced to become his own murderer and executioner; and thus divine vengeance, as it seems, was not long in overtaking him. This is stated by those Greek historians who have recorded the Olympiads, together with the respective events which have taken place in each period." (Ecclesiastical History 27)

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

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

Matthew 27:26 — "and when he had scourged Jesus" - Comments- Why did Jesus go to the whipping post before a crucifixion? So that we might have healing. The same faith and confession in Calvary that brings salvation also works with Jesus" scourging. When we believe and confess that we have healing and health by His scourging, we receive healing, just the same way we received salvation, by our confession of faith. Note:

1 Peter 2:24, "Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed."


Verses 27-44

The Soldiers and People Mock Jesus ( Mark 15:16-32, Luke 23:26-43, John 19:2-3; John 19:17-27) - Matthew 27:27-44 records the crucifixion of the Lord Jesus Christ. During this event, the evangelist records the intense mockings that He endured before and during His Crucifixion.

Crucifixion in the Ancient World- Matthew 27:32-44 records the crucifixion of the Lord Jesus Christ. This has to be the most touching story in the Scriptures. He could have called ten thousand angels, but He chose to suffer and die for you and me.

References to impalement and crucifixion in ancient history are too numerous to mention them all. These most cruel forms of punishment were used for perhaps a thousand years, from the sixth century B.C. by the Persians until fourth century A.D. when Constantine abolished its practice throughout the Roman Empire. Perhaps the earliest references to crucifixion and impalement as a form of capital punishments are recorded by the Greek historian Herodotus (484-425 B.C.), who says the Persians practiced it against their enemies and other condemned of crimes. Although the Persians may have not have been the first to use this cruel form of punishment, they certainly appear to be the first to use it extensively. Herodotus makes numerous references to the Persian practice of impalement and crucifixion, with most gruesome event taking place when King Darius of Persian subdued the Babylonians a second time in 519 B.C. by crucifying three thousand chief men among them on one occasion (3159). 686]

686] "Crucifixion," in Encyclopdia Britannica [on-line]; accessed December 21, 2011; available at http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/144583/crucifixion; Internet.

"…and with that he took the Magians who interpreted dreams and had persuaded him to let Cyrus go free, and impaled [ ἀνασκολοπίζω] them." (Herodotus 1128) 687]

687] Herodotus I, trans. A. D. Godley, in The Loeb Classical Library, eds. T. E. Page, E. Capps, and W. H. D. Rouse (London: William Heinemann, c 1920, 1975), 167.

"Having killed him (in some way not worth the telling) Oroetes then crucified [ ἀνασταυρόω] him." (Herodotus 3125) 688]

688] Herodotus II, trans. A. D. Godley, in The Loeb Classical Library, eds. T. E. Page, E. Capps, and W. H. D. Rouse (London: William Heinemann, c 1928), 155.

"When the Egyptian chirurgeons who had till now attended on the king were about to be impaled [ ἀνασκολοπίζω] for being less skilful than a Greek, Democedes begged their lives of the king and saved them." (Herodotus 3132) 689]

689] Herodotus II, trans. A. D. Godley, in The Loeb Classical Library, eds. T. E. Page, E. Capps, and W. H. D. Rouse (London: William Heinemann, c 1928), 163.

"For he had raped the virgin daughter of Zopyrus son of Megabyzus; and when on this charge he was to be impaled [ ἀνασκολοπίζω] by King Xerxes…But Xerxes did not believe that Sataspes spoke truth, and as the task appointed Mas unfulfilled he impaled [ ἀνασκολοπίζω] him, punishing him on the charge first brought against him." (Herodotus 443) 690]

690] Herodotus II, trans. A. D. Godley, in The Loeb Classical Library, eds. T. E. Page, E. Capps, and W. H. D. Rouse (London: William Heinemann, c 1928), 241-243.

"Artaphrenes, viceroy of Sardis and Harpagus who had taken Histiaeus, impaled [ ἀνασκολοπίζω] his body on the spot, and sent his head embalmed to king Darius at Susa." (Herodotus 630) 691]

691] Herodotus III, trans. A. D. Godley, in The Loeb Classical Library, eds. T. E. Page, E. Capps, and W. H. D. Rouse (London: William Heinemann, c 1938), 175-177.

"Their captain was the viceroy from Cyme in Aeolia, Sandoces son of Thamasius; he had once before this, being then one of the king"s Judges , been taken and crucified [ ἀνασταυρόω] by Darius because he had given unjust judgment for a bribe." (Herodotus 7194) 692]

692] Herodotus III, trans. A. D. Godley, in The Loeb Classical Library, eds. T. E. Page, E. Capps, and W. H. D. Rouse (London: William Heinemann, c 1938), 511.

"Thus was Babylon the second time taken. Having mastered the Babylonians, Darius destroyed their walls and reft away all their gates, neither of which things Cvrus had done at the first taking of Babylon; moreover he impaled [ ἀνασκολοπίζω] about three thousand men that were chief among them." (Herodotus 3159) 693]

693] Herodotus II, trans. A. D. Godley, in The Loeb Classical Library, eds. T. E. Page, E. Capps, and W. H. D. Rouse (London: William Heinemann, c 1928), 193-195.

The Greek historian Thucydides (460-396 B.C.) records the use of impalement during the Peloponnesian War (431-404 B.C.) by the Persians, which suggests the introduction of this form of punishment to the Greek by the Persians.

"…for the Persians were unable to capture him, both on account of the extent of the marsh and because the marsh people are the best fighters among the Egyptians. Inaros, however, the king of the Libyans, who had been the originator of the whole movement in Egypt, was taken by treachery and impaled." (Thucydides 1110) 694]

694] Thucydides, vol 1, trans. Charles Forster Smith, in The Loeb Classical Library, eds. T. E. Page, E. Capps, and W. H. D. Rouse (London: William Heinemann, c 1956), 185.

The Greek general Alexander the Great adopted crucifixion as a form of punishment against his enemies in his conquests. The Roman historian Curtius Rufus (flourished A.D 41-54) says Alexander the Great crucified two thousand citizens of Tyre along the shore of the Mediterranean Sea after having conquered them.

"Then a sorrowful spectacle to the victors caused by the wrath of the king, two thousand suffering (his) madness which were killed, fixed to a cross [crux] along the enormous distance of the seashore. He spared the ambassadors of the Carthaginians…" (author's translation) (Quintus Curtius Rufus, Life and Exploits of Alexander the Great 4418) 695]

695] Quintus Curtius Rufus, Life and Exploits of Alexander the Great, trans. William Henry Crosby (New York: D. Appleton and Company, 1969), 45.

The Romans adopted crucifixion into their judicial system. The Roman statesman Cicero (106-43 B.C.) describes crucifixion as the worst form of capital punishment that should be reserved for all but Roman citizens, and he condemns those Roman officials who performed it upon their own citizens.

"The Roman people will give credit to those Roman knights who, when they were produced as witnesses before you originally, said that a Roman citizen, one who was offering honourable men as his bail, was crucified by him in their sight." (Cicero, Against Verrem 15) 696]

696] C. D. Yonge, The Works of Philo Judaeus, the Contemporary of Josephus, vol 1 (London: Henry G. Bohn, 1854), 137.

"The punishments of Roman citizens are driving him mad, some of whom he has delivered to the executioner, others he has put to death in prison, others he has crucified while demanding their rights as freemen and as Roman citizens." (Cicero, Against Verrem 213) 697]

697] C. D. Yonge, The Works of Philo Judaeus, the Contemporary of Josephus, vol 1 (London: Henry G. Bohn, 1854), 154.

"I will produce, also, citizens of Cosa, his fellow-citizens and relations, who shall teach you, though it is too late, and who shall also teach the Judges , (for it is not too late for them to know them,) that that Publius Gavius whom you crucified was a Roman citizen, and a citizen of the municipality of Cosa, not a spy of runaway slaves." (Cicero, Against Verrem 2563) 698]

698] C. D. Yonge, The Works of Philo Judaeus, the Contemporary of Josephus, vol 1 (London: Henry G. Bohn, 1854), 535.

"Then you might remit some part of the extreme punishment. Did he not know him? Then, if you thought fit, you might establish this law for all people, that whoever was not known to you, and could not produce a rich man to vouch for him, even though he were a Roman citizen, was still to be crucified." (Cicero, Against Verrem 2565) 699]

699] C. D. Yonge, The Works of Philo Judaeus, the Contemporary of Josephus, vol 1 (London: Henry G. Bohn, 1854), 537.

The Romans appear to have taken crucifixion to its fullest extent of torment. The Greek historian Dionysius of Halicarnasus (60-7 B.C.) tells us that the Romans combined scourging and various forms of torture as a prerequisite to crucifixion.

"And straightway all those whom the informers declared to have been concerned in the conspiracy were either seized in their houses or brought in from the country, and after being scourged and tortured they were all crucified." (Dionysius of Halicarnasus, Roman Antiquities 5513) 700]

700] Dionysius of Halicarnasus, The Roman Antiquities of Dionysius of Halicarnasus, vol 3, trans. Earnest Cary, in The Loeb Classical Library, eds. T. E. Page, E. Capps, and W. H. D. Rouse (London: William Heinemann, c 1940), 153.

"When the plot was revealed, the ringleaders were arrested and after being scourged were led away to be crucified." (Dionysius of Halicarnasus, Roman Antiquities 1267) 701]

701] Dionysius of Halicarnasus, The Roman Antiquities of Dionysius of Halicarnasus, vol 7, trans. Earnest Cary, in The Loeb Classical Library, eds. T. E. Page, E. Capps, and W. H. D. Rouse (London: William Heinemann, c 1950), 221.

The Roman philosopher Seneca (4 B.C. to A.D 65) tells us that the Romans experimented with a variety of methods for crucifying men in an effort to inflict maximum suffering.

"I see before me crosses not all alike, but differently made by different peoples: some hang a man head downwards, some force a stick upwards through his groin, some stretch out his arms on a forked gibbet." (Dialogues 6, To Marcia, On Consolations) 702]

702] Aubrey Stewart, L. Anneaus Seneca: Minor Dialogues (London: George Bell and Sons, 1889), 192.

The Roman historian Appian (A. D 95-165) tells us that the Roman general Crassus crucified six thousand men in 71 B.C. after crushing a slave rebellion led by Spartacus. He stretched these crosses along the main road leading to Rome so that everyone may see and fear the Romans. 703]

703] William Bodham Donne, "Spartacus," in Dictionary of Greek and Roman Biography and Mythology, vol 3, ed. William Smith (Boston: Charles C. Little and James Brown, 1849), 892.

"They divided themselves in four parts, and continued to fight until they all perished except 6000, who were captured and crucified along the whole road from Capua to Rome." (The Civil Wars 1120) 704]

704] Appian's Roman History, vol 3, trans. Horace White, in The Loeb Classical Library, eds. T. E. Page, E. Capps, and W. H. D. Rouse (London: William Heinemann, 1964), 223-225.

The Assyrian satirist Lucian (A.D 125-180) reflects the Roman's passion for the most extreme forms of punishment in his work The Fisherman.

"But how are we to punish him, to be sure? Let us invent a complex death for him, such as to satisfy us all; in fact he deserves to die seven times over for each of us. PHILOSOPHER I suggest he be crucified. ANOTHER Yes, by Heaven; but flogged beforehand. ANOTHER Let him have his eyes put out long beforehand.. ANOTHER Let him have that tongue of his cut off, even longer beforehand." (Lucian, The Fisherman 2) 705]

705] Lucian, vol 3, trans. A. M. Harmon, in The Loeb Classical Library, eds. T. E. Page, E. Capps, and W. H. D. Rouse (London: William Heinemann, 1960), 5.

The Jewish historian Josephus (A.D 37-100) makes many references to the Roman practice of crucifixion against the Jewish people. His description of the thousands of crucifixions that the Romans performed upon the Jews during the siege of Jerusalem is perhaps the most horrific of his many references.

"…after they had fought, they thought it too late to make any supplications for mercy; so they were first whipped, and then tormented with all sorts of tortures before they died, and were then crucified before the wall of the city. This miserable procedure made Titus greatly to pity them, while they caught every day five hundred Jews; nay, some days they caught more…So the soldiers out of the wrath and hatred they bore the Jews, nailed those they caught, one after one way, and another after another, to the crosses, by way of jest; when their multitude was so great, that room was wanting for the crosses, and crosses wanting for the bodies." (Josephus, Wars 5111)

"Whereupon Eleazar besought them not to disregard him, now he was going to suffer a most miserable death, and exhorted them to save themselves, by yielding to the Roman power and good fortune, since all other people were now conquered by them." (Josephus, Wars 764)

The Roman philosopher Seneca (4 B.C. to A.D 65) gives one of the most vivid descriptions of what a person suffers during a crucifixion in ancient literature:

"But what sort of life is a lingering death? Can anyone be found who would prefer wasting away in pain dying limb by limb, or letting out his life drop by drop, rather than expiring once for all? Can any man by found willing to be fastened to the accursed tree, long sickly, already deformed, swelling with ugly tumors on chest and shoulders, and drawing the breath of life amid long drawn-out agony? I think he would have many excuses for dying even before mounting the cross!" (Epistle 10114). 706]

706] Seneca, vol 4, Ad Lucilium Epistulae Morales, vol 3, trans. Richard M. Gumere, in The Loeb Classical Library, eds. T. E. Page, E. Capps, and W. H. D. Rouse (London: William Heinemann, 1971), 167.

The Roman jurist Julius Paulus (2nd to 3rd c. A.D.) considered crucifixion as the most extreme of all punishments.

"Every one should abstain not only from divination but also from the books teaching that science. If slaves consult a soothsayer with reference to the life of their master, they shall be subjected to extreme punishment, that is to say, to crucifixion; and if those who are consulted give any answer, they shall either be sentenced to the mines, or deported to an island." (The Civil Law 5214) 707]

707] S. P. Scott, The Civil Law (Cincinnati, Ohio: The Central Trust Company 1932) [on-line]; accessed 17 January 2011; available at http://webu 2.upmf-grenoble.fr/Haiti/Cours/Ak/Anglica/Paul 5_Scott.htm#21; Internet.

The legal reforms of Constantine led to the abolishment of crucifixion and replaced it more humane forms of capital punishment (Eusebius, Life of Constantine 426) (PG 20, cols 1173-1178). 708]

708] Albert de Broglie, "The First Christian Emperors," (130-190). in The Christian Remembrancer (vol 50 July-December) (London: J. and C. Mozley, 1860), 169; Philip Schaff, History of the Christian Church, vol 3 (New York, Charles Scribner's Sons, 1891), 108.

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 27:27 — "Then the soldiers of the governor took Jesus into the common hall" - Comments- The Greek word "praetorium" ( πραιτώ ριον) (G 4232) is translated "judgment hall" in the KJV in Acts 23:35. The Enhanced Strong says this word is used 8 times in the New Testament, being translated in the KJV as, "judgment hall 4, hall of judgment 1, common hall 1, praetorium 1, palace 1." The word "praetorium" is of Latin origin, and according to Lightfoot it properly means, "the general's tent," or "the head-quarters in a camp." 709] BDAG says it originally referred to "the praetor's tent in camp, with its surroundings," but that this word was later used to refer to the residence of Roman governor, who presided over a province. The ISBE says that the Romans customarily seized the existing palaces of local kings or princes and made it into their official "praetorium." According to BDAG, the "praetorium" mentioned in the Gospels where Jesus was tried refers either to Herod's palace located in the western part of the city of Jerusalem, or "to the fortress Antonia" located "northwest of the temple area." (see Matthew 27:27, Mark 15:16, John 18:28 a,b, 33; Matthew 19:9) In Acts 23:35 Paul's trial would have taken place in Herod's palace in Caesarea, which was used as the residence of the Roman governor. Thus, these palaces were used to hear disputes by the governor and pass judgment. Regarding the use of this word in Philippians 1:13, since Paul's imprisonment is generally believed to be in Rome, Lightfoot supports the popular view that the word "praetorium" refers more specifically to "the imperial guard," rather than to a building. Lightfoot believes that "in Rome itself a ‘praetorium' would not have been tolerated." He thus translates this word as "the imperial guards." 710]

709] J. B. Lightfoot, Paul's Epistle to the Philippians (London: MacMillan and Co, c 1868, 1903), 99.

710] J. B. Lightfoot, Paul's Epistle to the Philippians (London: MacMillan and Co, c 1868, 1903), 101-102.

Matthew 27:29 — "when they had platted a crown of thorns, they put it upon his head" - Word Study on "platted" - The Greek verb πλέκω (G 4120) which means, "to twine, braid." This word is only used three times in the New Testament, and only in reference to this crown of thorns. The other two uses of this verb are:

Mark 15:17, "And they clothed him with purple, and platted a crown of thorns, and put it about his head,"

John 19:2, "And the soldiers platted a crown of thorns, and put it on his head, and they put on him a purple robe,"

From this verb comes the noun πλέγμα (G 4117), which means, "anything entwined, woven, braided" (BDAG). This word can be used to describe a net, or woven hear. For example, it is used to describe the basket in which the infant Moses was laid (Josephus, Antiquities 294).

Comments- The noun πλέγμα describes the shape of the crown of thorns that the Shroud of Turin reveals, which is believed to be the actual burial cloth of the Lord Jesus Christ, reveals a man who has been crucified. On this person"s head are cuts that indicate an object such as a matt of thorns was pressed into the scalp. The marks in the shroud that the thorns were gathered into a round matt rather than being rolled into a circle with an opening at the top. This is because punctures are indicated over the entire scalp area, and not just on the sides of the scalp, as many artists depict the crown"s position. 711]

711] Grant R. Jeffery, "The Mysterious Shroud of Turin," [on-line]; accessed 1September 2009; available from http://www.grantjeffrey.com/article/shroud.htm; Internet.

Matthew 27:34Comments- Vinegar was a type of sour wine. E. W. G. Masterman says gall was a bitter plant mixed with the wine in order to relieve suffering. 712]

712] E. W. G. Masterman, "Gall," in International Standard Bible Encyclopedia, ed. James Orr (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co, c 1915, 1939), in The Sword Project, v 1511 [CD-ROM] (Temple, AZ: CrossWire Bible Society, 1990-2008).

Mark 15:23, "And they gave him to drink wine mingled with myrrh: but he received it not."

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.

Matthew 27:35 — "and parted his garments" - Comments - The ancient practice of casting lots was not restricted to the Jewish culture under the Mosaic Law. The books Joel ,, Obadiah ,, Jonah , and Nahum provide us with references in the Old Testament Scriptures to the custom of casting of lots by someone other than the people of Israel, being practiced among the Babylonians ( Obadiah 1:11), the Ninevites ( Nahum 3:10), and among the sailors ( Jonah 1:7), which Adam Clarke suggests to be Phoenicians based on Ezekiel 27:12. 713]

713] Adam Clarke, The Book of the Prophet Jonah , in Adam Clarke"s Commentary, Electronic Database (Seattle, WA: Hendrickson Publishers Inc, 1996), in P.C. Study Bible, v 31 [CD-ROM] (Seattle, WA: Biblesoft Inc, 1993-2000), notes on Jonah 1:3.

Joel 3:3, "And they have cast lots for my people; and have given a boy for an harlot, and sold a girl for wine, that they might drink."

Obadiah 1:11, "In the day that thou stoodest on the other side, in the day that the strangers carried away captive his forces, and foreigners entered into his gates, and cast lots upon Jerusalem, even thou wast as one of them."

Nahum 3:10, "Yet was she carried away, she went into captivity: her young children also were dashed in pieces at the top of all the streets: and they cast lots for her honourable men, and all her great men were bound in chains."

Jonah 1:7, "And they said every one to his fellow, Come, and let us cast lots, that we may know for whose cause this evil is upon us. So they cast lots, and the lot fell upon Jonah."

Ezekiel 27:12, "Tarshish was thy merchant by reason of the multitude of all kind of riches; with silver, iron, tin, and lead, they traded in thy fairs."

The Roman soldiers who crucified Jesus Christ cast lots at the foot of the Cross ( Matthew 27:35, Mark 15:24, Luke 23:34, John 19:24). The Roman statesman Cicero (106-43 B.C.) makes numerous references to the widespread practice of casting lots among the ancient cultures in his work de divination. 714] The Jewish historian Josephus (A.D 37-100) mentions the practice of casting lots among the Roman soldiers who had encompassed the city of Jerusalem under Titus. 715] The Roman historian Suetonius (A.D 70-130) mentions this ancient practice among Roman leaders by appointing men to tasks by casting lots, as well as casting lots as a form of divination. 716]

714] For example, Cicero writes, "But what nation is there, or what state, which is not influenced by the omens derived from the entrails of victims, or by the predictions of those who interpret prodigies, or strange lights, or of augurs, or astrologers, or by those who expound lots (for these are about what come under the head of art); or, again, by the prophecies derived from dreams, or soothsayers (for these two are considered natural kinds of divination)?" (de divination 16) Cicero also writes, "What, now, is a lot? Much the same as the game of mora, or dice, l and other games of chance, in which luck and fortune are all in all, and reason and skill avail nothing. These games are full of trick and deceit, invented for the object of gain, superstition, or error." (de divination 241) See Cicero, The Treatises of M. T. Cicero on the Nature of the Gods; on Divination; on Fate; on the Republic; on the Laws; and on Standing for the Consulship, trans. C. D. Yonge (London: Henry G. Bohn, 1853), 146-147, 235.

715] Josephus writes, "They also cast lots among themselves who should be upon the watch in the nighttime, and who should go all night long round the spaces that were interposed between the garrisons." (Wars 5122)

716] For example, Suetonius writes, "When later, on his way to Illyricum, he [Tiberius] visited the oracle of Geryon near Patavium, and drew a lot which advised him to seek an answer to his inquiries by throwing golden dice into the fount of Aponus, it came to pass that the dice which he threw showed the highest possible number and even to-day those very dice may be seen under the water." (Lives of the Twelve Caesars: Tiberius) Suetonius, The Lives of the Twelve Caesars by Suetonius, trans. Joseph Gavorse (New York: Modern Library, 1931), 130-131.

Matthew 27:35 — "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" - Comments- A tenth Matthean ἵνα πληρωθῇ formula can be found in Matthew 27:35 in the KJV. However, the rules of modern textual criticism require the omission this phrase from the UBS4 because it is not found in the earliest Greek manuscripts. Thus, modern English commentaries generally omit this phrase.

Matthew 27:35Scripture Reference - Note John 19:24, "They said therefore among themselves, Let us not rend it, but cast lots for it, whose it shall be: that the scripture might be fulfilled, which saith, They parted my raiment among them, and for my vesture they did cast lots. These things therefore the soldiers did."

Matthew 27:39Comments- The wagging of heads was a form of scorn by shaking the head.

Matthew 27:44Comments - To "cast the same in his teeth" means to cast the same insults at Him.


Verses 27-56

The Testimony of Jesus' Deity at His Death - Matthew 27:27-56 records the testimony of Jesus' deity at His death. While the soldiers and people mock Jesus ( Matthew 27:27-44), the centurion was convicted of His deity through the signs that accompanied His death ( Matthew 27:45-56).

Here is a proposed outline:

1. The Soldiers and People Mock Jesus — Matthew 27:27-44

2. The Testimony of the Centurion Regarding Jesus' Deity — Matthew 27:45-56


Verses 45-56

The Testimony of the Centurion Regarding Jesus' Deity ( Mark 15:33-41, Luke 23:44-49, John 19:28-30) - Matthew 27:45-56 records the testimony of the centurion regarding Jesus' deity.

The Supernatural Events that Accompanied the Death of Jesus - The Synoptic Gospels record a number of supernatural events that accompanied the death of Jesus. All three record the tearing of the veil of the Temple. Matthew and Luke record the unique account of darkness covering the earth. Matthew alone describes the earth quake and rocks splitting, and the resurrection of the saints, who enter the Holy City to testify of the resurrection from the dead. These events testified of the deity of Jesus Christ, as those who were guarding Jesus declared that He was truly the Son of God in fear and trembling.

Jewish literature in this period of history records similar events. For example, Josephus records celestial events, shining lights and other supernatural events that served as omens of the pending destruction of Jerusalem (Wars 653). The Babylonian Talmud records supernatural events that occurred during the forty years prior to the destruction of Jerusalem (Yoma 39b).

Matthew 27:46Comments - After three hours of darkness, the Son of God spoke, crying out from the Cross with the same power that created the heavens and the earth. His words penetrated the darkness and brought it to an end, restoring light upon the world.

Jesus did not say, "My Father," as God had now become His Judge on the Cross. Thus, He says, "My God, My God." Throughout His earthly ministry, Jesus referred to God as His Father. This is the first time that Jesus calls His Father "God." It was at this time that God forsook His Son for a moment as Jesus felt the weight of the sins of mankind upon Him. Thus, Jesus testifies to the world by this statement that He was being judged for the sins of mankind as God forsook Him. Note these insightful words from Frances J. Roberts regarding this verse.

"I (Jesus) suffered in all ways as ye suffer, but ye shall never suffer as I suffered; for I experienced one awful moment of separation from the Father; but I have promised that I will never forsake thee, and I will never leave thee." 717]

717] Frances J. Roberts, Come Away My Beloved (Ojai, California: King's Farspan, Inc, 1973), 170.

Finally, as Jesus was giving up His spirit, He again addresses His Father, saying, "And when Jesus had cried with a loud voice, he said, Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit: and having said thus, he gave up the ghost." ( Luke 23:46)

Matthew 27:47Comments - The Hebrew words ילא (My God) and הילא (Elijah) are very close in pronunciation and spelling. Thus, the bystanders could have easily heard the word "Elijah" by mistake. The name Elijah means, "the Lord is God" (Strong).

Matthew 27:50Scripture Reference- Note:

Luke 23:46, "And when Jesus had cried with a loud voice, he said, Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit: and having said thus, he gave up the ghost."

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;

Matthew 27:51 — "And, behold, the veil of the temple was rent in twain from the top to the bottom" - Comments- Josephus describes the temple of Herod with great accuracy. In this book, he gives the dimensions of the curtain, which hung before the Holy of Holies. It was fifty-five cubits tall and sixteen cubits wide.

"But then this house, as it was divided into two parts, the inner part was lower than the appearance of the outer, and had golden doors of fifty-five cubits altitude, and sixteen in breadth; but before these doors there was a veil of equal largeness with the doors. It was a Babylonian curtain, embroidered with blue, and fine linen, and scarlet, and purple, and of a contexture that was truly wonderful." (Wars 554)

This miraculous ripping of the veil beginning at the top of the curtain until the bottom was a sign that God ripped the curtain, for man could not perform such a feat. God has opened the Holy of Holies obtaining eternal redemption for us, something which man could not do.

Matthew 27:51 — "and the earth did quake, and the rocks rent" - Comments- It is interesting to note that there was an earthquake at Jesus' death ( Matthew 27:51) as well as at His resurrection ( Matthew 28:2), when he descended into Hell and when He ascended out of it.

Matthew 28:2, "And, behold, there was a great earthquake: for the angel of the Lord descended from heaven, and came and rolled back the stone from the door, and sat upon it."

Matthew 27:51Comments- Hebrews 10:19-20 shows us that we now can have boldness to enter into the Holy of Holies.

Hebrews 10:19-20, "Having therefore, brethren, 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;"

See parallel passages in:

Mark 15:38, "And the veil of the temple was rent in twain from the top to the bottom."

Luke 23:45, "And the sun was darkened, and the veil of the temple was rent in the midst."

Matthew 27:53Comments - On eleven occasions Matthew uses the proper name "Jerusalem." However, he uses the phrase "the holy city" on two occasions in his Gospel ( Matthew 4:5; Matthew 27:53) and both of these passages are characterized by supernatural events. In the wilderness temptation, Satan appears to Jesus and takes Him to the holy city ( Matthew 4:5). Also, at Jesus' resurrection, many saints of God who were asleep also rise from the dead and enter the holy city to testify of eternal life through faith in the Son of God ( Matthew 27:53).

Matthew 27:52-53Comments - The Resurrection of the Saints- Why did the saints resurrection from the grave? Perhaps to show that there will be an eternal resurrection for us, as believers, also.


Verses 57-66

The Testimony of Jesus' Burial at the Tomb - Matthew 27:57-66 records the testimony of Jesus' burial at the tomb. While the women verify the burial of Jesus ( Matthew 27:57-61), Pontius Pilate assigns a guard to ensure this burial ( Matthew 27:62-66).

Here is a proposed outline:

1. The Women Watch the Tomb — Matthew 27:57-61

2. Pilate's Guards Watch the Tomb — Matthew 27:62-66

Matthew 27:57-61 — The Women Watch the Tomb ( Mark 15:42-47, Luke 23:50-56, John 19:38-42) - Matthew 27:57-61 records the burial of the Lord Jesus Christ.

Matthew 27:59-60Comments - Jesus' Birth and Death- Jesus was born of a virgin birth and laid in a manger, wrapped in swaddling clothes. At His death, He was laid in a virgin tomb, and wrapped in clean, linen burial clothes. He was born from a virgin womb and laid in a virgin tomb.

Luke 23:53, "And he took it down, and wrapped it in linen, and laid it in a sepulchre that was hewn in stone, wherein never man before was laid."

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

Matthew 27:61Comments - The parallal passages in the Gospel of Mark identify the other Mary as the mother of James ( Mark 16:1) and Joses ( Mark 15:47); thus, Matthew is reflecting back on his statement in Matthew 27:56, "Among which was Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James and Joses, and the mother of Zebedee"s children."

Mark 15:47, "And Mary Magdalene and Mary the mother of Joses beheld where he was laid."

Mark 16:1, "And when the sabbath was past, Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James , and Salome, had bought sweet spices, that they might come and anoint him."

Matthew 27:62-66 — Pilate's Guards Watch the Tomb - Matthew 27:62-66 is unique in recording the story of how Pilate ordered a guard to be set at the tomb of Jesus Christ.

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

Matthew 27:62Comments - The day of preparation was a Friday in which the Jews prepared meals for the Passover celebration on the Sabbath day ( Mark 15:42). Matthew 27:62 describes the day after preparation, which is on the Sabbath.

Mark 15:42, "And now when the even was come, because it was the preparation, that Isaiah , the day before the sabbath,"

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

Matthew 27:62-63Comments - Jesus Spoke of His Resurrection- How could such wicked men as these chief priests and Pharisees understand that Jesus clearly spoke of His resurrection; because they did not want to believe in it. Yet, Jesus" disciples, especially Thomas, had such a hard time accepting it as real. Note that it required faith for the disciples of Jesus to believe in the resurrection, but it did not require faith for the Pharisees and chief priests to speak of it.

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 27:64Comments - Many knew that Jesus said He would rise from the dead. See:

Matthew 16:21, "From that time forth began Jesus to shew unto his disciples, how that he must go unto Jerusalem, and suffer many things of the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised again the third day."

Matthew 27:66Comments - The act of sealing a stone was an ancient practice, being testified in Daniel 6:17, "And a stone was brought, and laid upon the mouth of the den; and the king sealed it with his own signet, and with the signet of his lords; that the purpose might not be changed concerning Daniel."

Commentators tell us that the Romans sealed stones by pulling a string across the stone securing it to wax at each end that may have been pressed into the crack of the wall and stamped with an official seal. 718]

718] John Peter Lange, The Gospel According to Matthew Together with a General Theological and Homiletical Introduction to the New Testament, in A Commentary on the Holy Scriptures: Critical, Doctrinal, and Homilectical, with Special Reference to Ministers and Students, ed. John Peter Lange, trans. Philip Schaff (Edinburgh: T & T Clarke, 1872), 537; David L. Turner, The Gospel of Matthew , in Cornerstone Biblical Commentary, vol 11, ed. Philip W. Comfort (Carol Stream, Illinois: Tyndale House Publishers, Inc, 2005), in Libronix Digital Library System, v 30b [CD-ROM] (Bellingham, WA: Libronix Corp, 2004), comments on Matthew 27:66.

 


Copyright Statement
These files are copyrighted by the author, Gary Everett. Used by Permission.
No distribution beyond personal use without permission.

Bibliography Information
Everett, Gary H. "Commentary on Matthew 27:4". Gary H. Everett's Study Notes on the Holy Scriptures. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/ghe/matthew-27.html. 2013.

Lectionary Calendar
Monday, September 23rd, 2019
the Week of Proper 20 / Ordinary 25
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