Friday, March 16, 2018

Matthew 27:1-32 New King James Version (NKJV)

Jesus Handed Over to Pontius Pilate

27 When morning came, all the chief priests and elders of the people plotted against Jesus to put Him to death.

The 71 member Sanhedrin called for the death of Jesus for blasphemy. Only the Romans could inflict a sentence of death,
2 And when they had bound Him, they led Him away and delivered Him to Pontius[a] Pilate the governor.

They knew that Pilate wouldn’t execute Jews for the crime of blasphemy so they concocted three false political charges: Luke 23: 2 quotes them,

Judas Hangs Himself

3 Then Judas, His betrayer, seeing that He had been condemned, was remorseful and brought back the thirty pieces of silver to the chief priests and elders,

4 saying, “I have sinned by betraying innocent blood.”
And they said, “What is that to us? You see to it!”

5 Then he threw down the pieces of silver in the temple and departed, and went and hanged himself.

Matthew wrote that Judas was remorseful.  What were his options?

6 But the chief priests took the silver pieces and said, “It is not lawful to put them into the treasury, because they are the price of blood.”

7 And they consulted together and bought with them the potter’s field, to bury strangers in.

8 Therefore that field has been called the Field of Blood to this day.

9 Then was fulfilled what was spoken by Jeremiah the prophet, saying, “And they took the thirty pieces of silver, the value of Him who was priced, whom they of the children of Israel priced,

10 and gave them for the potter’s field, as the Lord directed me.[b]

Jesus Faces Pilate

11 Now Jesus stood before the governor. And the governor asked Him, saying, “Are You the King of the Jews?”
Jesus said to him, “It is as you say.”

Jesus’ answer was simple, but Pilate did not take the title seriously. He was not a friend of the Jews, but he realized that the leaders could complain to Rome and threaten his career. Jesus impressed him, and he did not wish to execute Him. He knew that Jesus was no revolutuinary.  

12 And while He was being accused by the chief priests and elders, He answered nothing.

13 Then Pilate said to Him, “Do You not hear how many things they testify against You?”

14 But He answered him not one word, so that the governor marveled greatly.

Luke wrote that Pilate needed a second opinion. He heard that his rival, Herod Antipas,  was in town from Galilee. This is not the same Herod who entertained the Wise Men in Matthew Chapter 2.   Possibly to buy time Pilate sent Jesus to see him.  Herod was hoping to see  this Jesus  perform some miracle or trick, and his men mocked Him and put a fancy robe on Him. Herod sent Jesus back to Pilate, and from then on they were friends.

Taking the Place of Barabbas

15 Now at the feast the governor was accustomed to releasing to the multitude one prisoner whom they wished.

Some Jews were imprisoned for their rebellion against Roman rule. Every Passover the government would release one of these political prisoners.  

16 And at that time they had a notorious prisoner called Barabbas.[c]

Barabbas may have been  a violent criminal as well as a threat to the Roman rule.

17 Therefore, when they had gathered together, Pilate said to them, “Whom do you want me to release to you? Barabbas, or Jesus who is called Christ?”

18 For he knew that they had handed Him over because of envy.

19 While he was sitting on the judgment seat, his wife sent to him, saying, “Have nothing to do with that just Man, for I have suffered many things today in a dream because of Him.”

20 But the chief priests and elders persuaded the multitudes that they should ask for Barabbas and destroy Jesus.

21 The governor answered and said to them, “Which of the two do you want me to release to you?”
They said, “Barabbas!”

22 Pilate said to them, “What then shall I do with Jesus who is called Christ?”

Pilate might have been added the words “who is called Christ” to distinguish him from Barabbas who was known as Jesus Barabbas.

They all said to him, “Let Him be crucified!”

23 Then the governor said, “Why, what evil has He done?”
But they cried out all the more, saying, “Let Him be crucified!”

24 When Pilate saw that he could not prevail at all, but rather that a tumult was rising, he took water and washed his hands before the multitude, saying, “I am innocent of the blood of this just Person.[d] You see to it.”

Pilate refused to take responsibility for his actions. He had the power to be true to his beliefs, but he not only had Jesus torchured, but he sent Him to death on the cross.

25 And all the people answered and said, “His blood be on us and on our children.”

26 Then he released Barabbas to them; and when he had scourged Jesus, he delivered Him to be crucified.

Barabbas had probably just requested his last meal and then he gets another chance at life.
Pilate ordered the Roman soldiers to whip Jesus knowing that many people did not survive such an ordeal. .

The Soldiers Mock Jesus

27 Then the soldiers of the governor took Jesus into the Praetorium and gathered the whole garrison around Him.

28 And they stripped Him and put a scarlet robe on Him.

29 When they had twisted a crown of thorns, they put it on 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!”

30 Then they spat on Him, and took the reed and struck Him on the head.

31 And when they had mocked Him, they took the robe off Him, put His own clothes on Him, and led Him away to be crucified.

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.

Luke wrote that as they came out of the city, Simon of Cyrene was just coming in from the country. Jesus had survived the scouraging, 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.
Why did Mark tell us that the names of Simon’s children were Alexander and Rufus?
In Romans 16: 13 Paul salutes “Rufus, chosen in the Lord and his mother…”  Did the man who carried the cross of Jesus come to know Him and become a  future laborer with Paul.

Watch the Lamb by Ray Boltz tells how it might have been to carry the cross of Jesus to Golgotha.

Jesus commands us to take up our own crosses and to follow Him.  


  1. Matthew 27:2 NU-Text omits Pontius.
  2. Matthew 27:16 NU-Text reads Jesus Barabbas.
Matthew 27:24 NU-Text omits just.

Saturday, March 10, 2018

Jesus Faces the Sanhedrin

Matthew 26
57 And those who had laid hold of Jesus led Him away to Caiaphas the high priest, where the scribes and the elders were assembled.

The Temple police and thugs took Jesus to the palace of the high priest.
John wrote that they first brought Him to Annas, father in law to Caiaphas.
The hastily convened leaders  needed to trump up charges to justify putting Jesus to death.

58 But Peter followed Him at a distance to the high priest’s courtyard. And he went in and sat with the servants to see the end.

According to the Bible, the only Disciples to follow Jesus to His trials were Peter and John.
All of them must have realized that they might also be subject to arrest.

59 Now the chief priests, the elders,[a] and all the council sought false testimony against Jesus to put Him to death,

60 but found none. Even though many false witnesses came forward, they found none.[b] But at last two false witnesses[c] came forward

61 and said, “This fellow said, ‘I am able to destroy the temple of God and to build it in three days.’”

Jesus had previously predicted the destruction of the temple but not by Himself.
He did foretell that He would be killed and would rise the third day.

62 And the high priest arose and said to Him, “Do You answer nothing? What is it these men testify against You?”

Even then Jesus could  have defended Himself, but He knew that His words would be twisted. . We can describe the position of the religious leaders as: We’ve already made up our minds so don’t confuse us with the facts.

63 But Jesus kept silent. And the high priest answered and said to Him, “I put You under oath by the living God: Tell us if You are the Christ, the Son of God!”

The high priest demanded that the Son of God sware by the living God that He is the Son of God.

64 Jesus said to him, “It is as you said. Nevertheless, I say to you, hereafter you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of the Power, and coming on the clouds of heaven.”

Jesus spoke clearly. He knew what awaited Him then, but He also knew the rest of the story:
Jesus is interceding for us before the throne of God and is coming back to conquer the forces of evil. .

65 Then the high priest tore his clothes, saying, “He has spoken blasphemy! What further need do we have of witnesses? Look, now you have heard His blasphemy!

66 What do you think?”

They answered and said, “He is deserving of death.”  

The vote was not one hundred per cent. John wrote that Joseph of Arimathea did not consent.
The next day he and Nicodemus took Jesus down from the Cross and buried Him.

67 Then they spat in His face and beat Him; and others struck Him with the palms of their hands,

68 saying, “Prophesy to us, Christ! Who is the one who struck You?”

Luke wrote that  the meeting in the middle of the night was followed by a formal morning meeting of the elders, the chief priests and the scribes.  If this was the 71 member Sanhedrin,
their meeting was against their own rules. All criminal trials were to be conducted during the day. Only if the verdict was not guilty, could a trial be completed in one day. Criminal trials were  not to occur during Passover.  The Sanhedrin had to meet in the Hall of Hewn Stone in the Temple. They were to examine witnesses separately. (Barclay)  Leviticus 21: 10 specifies that the high priest was not allowed to rend his clothes.

Why were they so determined to do away with Jesus?  

Peter Denies Jesus, and Weeps Bitterly

69 Now Peter sat outside in the courtyard. And a servant girl came to him, saying, “You also were with Jesus of Galilee.”

70 But he denied it before them all, saying, “I do not know what you are saying.”

Just a few hours earlier in the evening Peter insisted to Jesus that he would go with Him even unto death.  Now, he was afraid of a servant girl.

71 And when he had gone out to the gateway, another girl saw him and said to those who were there, “This fellow also was with Jesus of Nazareth.”

72 But again he denied with an oath, “I do not know the Man!”

73 And a little later those who stood by came up and said to Peter, “Surely you also are one of them, for your speech betrays you.”

Eleven of the disciples and Jesus had  Galilean accents, and they recognized him from the arrest in the Garden.

74 Then he began to curse and swear, saying, “I do not know the Man!”

Immediately a rooster crowed.

75 And Peter remembered the word of Jesus who had said to him, “Before the rooster crows, you will deny Me three times.” So he went out and wept bitterly.

Luke wrote that Jesus looked across the court yard at Peter at that very instant.
How would we have responded to the arrest in the Garden and the half a dozen trials to follow?

The Sanhedrin convicted Jesus of blasphemy, but Roman law did not allow them to carry out a death sentence. The next stop was Governor Pilate.

Matthew 26:59 NU-Text omits the elders.
Matthew 26:60 NU-Text puts a comma after but found none, does not capitalize Even, and omits they found none.
Matthew 26:60 NU-Text omits false witnesses.