Saturday, March 24, 2018

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.

Footnotes:

  1. Matthew 27:34 NU-Text omits sour.
  2. Matthew 27:35 NU-Text and M-Text omit the rest of this verse.
  3. Matthew 27:41 M-Text reads with the scribes, the Pharisees, and the elders.
  4. Matthew 27:42 NU-Text reads He is the King of Israel!
  5. Matthew 27:42 NU-Text and M-Text read we will believe in Him.
Matthew 27:56 NU-Text reads Joseph.

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.  


Footnotes:

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