Matthew 27:32-61 (NKJV)
The King on a Cross
32 Now as they came out, they found a man of Cyrene, Simon by name. Him they compelled to bear His cross.
Four soldiers would walk in a square surrounding each prisoner, who would carry the cross beam, the upright already at the site of the crucifixion. The Via Dolorosa or Way of Suffering was long so that people would think twice before they risked offending and meeting the same punishment. Jesus had survived the beating ordered by Pilate, but may have been too weak to both walk and carry the weight of the cross. Roman soldiers could demand that Jews carry their loads for them or face arrest.
Luke wrote that as they came out of the city, Simon of Cyrene was just coming in from the country probably to celebrate Passover. He must have witnessed the crucifixion. Why did Mark tell us that the names of Simon’s children were Alexander and Rufus?
33 And when they had come to a place called Golgotha, that is to say, Place of the scull.
There is a hill today outside the wall of ancient Jerusalem that some say looks like a scull
34 they gave Him sour[a] wine mingled with gall to drink. But when He had tasted it, He would not drink.
William Barclay wrote that the wealthy women of Jerusalem provided condemned men a cup of wine and frankincense to deaden the pain. Jesus determined to endure His suffering to the end.
35 Then they crucified Him, and divided His garments, casting lots,[b] that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet:
“They divided My garments among them, Psalm 22: 18
Shoes, turban, girdle and inner garmet: Four items for four soldiers.
And for My clothing they cast lots.”[c]
They gambled for the more valuable seamless tunic. John 19: 23-24
36 Sitting down, they kept watch over Him there.
No disciples tried to rescue Jesus from the cross.
37 And they put up over His head the accusation written against Him:
THIS IS JESUS THE KING OF THE JEWS
Jesus may have had this sign in front of Him as He walked to Golgotha.
John 19: 19-22 said that it was in three languages: Aramaic, Latin and Greek.
The chief priests insisted that it should have read: “This man claimed to be King of the Jews.” Pilate answered, What I have written, I have written.”
38 Then two robbers were crucified with Him, one on the right and another on the left.
39 And those who passed by blasphemed Him, wagging their heads
40 and saying, “You who destroy the temple and build it in three days, save Yourself! If You are the Son of God, come down from the cross.”
41 Likewise the chief priests also, mocking with the scribes and elders,[d] said,
42 “He saved others; Himself He cannot save. If He is the King of Israel,[e] let Him now come down from the cross, and we will believe Him.[f]
43 He trusted in God; let Him deliver Him now if He will have Him; for He said, ‘I am the Son of God.’”
44 Even the robbers who were crucified with Him reviled Him with the same thing.
Luke wrote that one of the criminals told the other that they both deserved their punishments, and that Jesus had done nothing wrong. He asked Jesus to remember him when He came into His kingdom.
And Jesus said to him, “Assuredly, I say to you, today you will be with Me in Paradise.”
What evidence did the criminal have that this battered man at the point of death would reign over a coming eternal kingdom? And yet he believed. It is never too late to trust the Savior.
Jesus Dies on the Cross
45 Now from the sixth hour until the ninth hour there was darkness over all the land.
The sixth hour was Noon.
46 And about the ninth hour Jesus cried out with a loud voice, saying, “Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani?” that is, “My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?”[g]
Consider that in that moment the weight of the sin of the world fell upon Jesus.
That God turned His back on His own Son. We will find out that first day in heaven.
For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him. 2 Corinthians 5:21
47 Some of those who stood there, when they heard that, said, “This Man is calling for Elijah!”
48 Immediately one of them ran and took a sponge, filled it with sour wine and put it on a reed, and offered it to Him to drink.
49 The rest said, “Let Him alone; let us see if Elijah will come to save Him.”
50 And Jesus cried out again with a loud voice, and yielded up His spirit.
John heard Him say, It is finished. He didn’t say, “I’m finished.” Jesus came to earth to go all the way to the cross for us, it was here that He completed His work.
Even at this moment Jesus was in charge. He was not struggling for a last breath. He dismissed His spirit.
51 Then, behold, the veil of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom; and the earth quaked, and the rocks were split,
The veil in the temple separated the Holy of Holies from the people. Only the priest could enter to pray for the people. With the rending of the veil Jesus became our high priest.
It is He who intercedes with God the Father for us.
52 and the graves were opened; and many bodies of the saints who had fallen asleep were raised;
53 and coming out of the graves after His resurrection, they went into the holy city and appeared to many.
54 So when the centurion and those with him, who were guarding Jesus, saw the earthquake and the things that had happened, they feared greatly, saying, “Truly this was the Son of God!”
55 And many women who followed Jesus from Galilee, ministering to Him, were there looking on from afar,
56 among whom were Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James and Joses,[h] and the mother of Zebedee’s sons.
Jesus Buried in Joseph’s Tomb
57 Now when evening had come, there came a rich man from Arimathea, named Joseph, who himself had also become a disciple of Jesus.
58 This man went to Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus. Then Pilate commanded the body to be given to him.
59 When Joseph had taken the body, he wrapped it in a clean linen cloth,
60 and laid it in his new tomb which he had hewn out of the rock; and he rolled a large stone against the door of the tomb, and departed.
61 And Mary Magdalene was there, and the other Mary, sitting opposite the tomb.
- Matthew 27:34 NU-Text omits sour.
- Matthew 27:35 NU-Text and M-Text omit the rest of this verse.
- Matthew 27:41 M-Text reads with the scribes, the Pharisees, and the elders.
- Matthew 27:42 NU-Text reads He is the King of Israel!
- Matthew 27:42 NU-Text and M-Text read we will believe in Him.