Matthew Chapter 27

1 Early in the morning all the chief priests and the Jewish authorities met to look for ways of putting Jesus to death.

2 They had him bound and led him away to be handed over to Pilate, the governor.

The death of Judas

3 When Judas, the traitor, realized that Jesus had been condemned, he was filled with remorse and returned the thirty pieces of silver to the chief priests and the elders,

4 saying, ¡°I have sinned by betraying an innocent man to death.¡± They answered, ¡°What does it matter to us? That is your concern.¡±

5 So, throwing the money into the Temple, he went away and hanged himself.

6 The priests picked up the money, and said, ¡°This money cannot be put into the Temple treasury, for this is the price of blood.¡±

7 So they met together and decided to buy the Potter¡¯s Field with the money and make it a cemetery for for eigners.

8 This is why that place has been called Field of Blood to this day.

9 So what the prophet Jeremiah said was fulfilled: They took the thirty pieces of silver, the price the sons of Israel set on him.

10 And they gave them for the Potter¡¯s Field, as the Lord commanded me.

Jesus before Pilate

11 Jesus stood before the governor who questioned him, ¡°Are you the King of the Jews?¡± Jesus answered, ¡°You say so.¡±

12 The chief priests and the Elders accused him, but he made no answer.

13 Pilate said to him, ¡°Do you hear all the charges they bring against you?¡±

14 But he did not an swer even a single question, so that the governor wondered.

15 It was customary for the governor to release any prisoner the people asked for on the occasion of the Passover.

16 Now there was a well-known prisoner called Barab bas.

17 As the peo ple had gathered, Pilate asked them, ¡°Whom do you want me to set free: Barabbas, or Jesus called the Messiah?¡±

18 For he realized that Jesus had been handed over to him out of envy.

19 As Pilate was sitting in court, his wife sent him this message, ¡°Have nothing to do with that holy man. Because of him I had a dream last night that disturbed me greatly.¡±

20 But the chief priests and the Elders stirred the crowds to ask for the release of Barabbas and the death of Jesus.

21 When the governor asked them again, ¡°Which of the two do you want me to set free?¡± they answered, ¡°Barabbas.¡±

22 Pilate said to them, ¡°And what shall I do with Jesus called the Messiah?¡± All answered, ¡°Crucify him!¡±

23 Pilate insisted, ¡°What evil has he done?¡± But they shouted louder, ¡°Crucify him!¡±

24 Pilate realized that he was getting nowhere and that instead there could be a riot. He then asked for water and washed his hands before the people, saying, ¡°I am not responsible for his blood. It is your doing.¡±

25 And all the people answered, ¡°Let his blood be upon us and upon our children.¡±

26 Then Pilate set Barabbas free, but had Jesus scourged, and handed him over to be crucified.

The way of the cross

27 The Roman soldiers took Jesus into the palace of the governor and the whole troop gathered around him.

28 They stripped him and dressed him in a purple military cloak.

29 Then, twisting a crown of thorns, they forced it onto his head, and placed a reed in his right hand. They knelt before Jesus and mocked him, saying, ¡°Long life to the King of the Jews!¡±

30 They spat on him, took the reed from his hand and struck him on the head with it.

31 When they had finished mocking him, they pulled off the purple cloak and dressed him in his own clothes again, and led him out to be crucified.

32 On the way they met a man from Cyrene called Simon, and forced him to carry the cross of Jesus.

33 When they reached the place called Golgotha (or Calvary) which means the Skull,

34 they offered him wine mixed with gall. Jesus tasted it but would not take it.

35 There they crucified him and divided his clothes among themselves, casting lots to decide what each should take.

36 Then they sat down to guard him.

37 The statement of his offense was displayed above his head and it read, ¡°This is Jesus, the King of the Jews.¡±

38 They also crucified two bandits with him, one on his right and one on his left.

39 People passing by shook their heads and insulted him,

40 saying, ¡°Aha! So you will destroy the Temple and build it up again in three days. Now save yourself and come down from the cross, if you are Son of God.¡±

41 In the same way the chief priests, the Elders and the teachers of the Law mocked him.

42 They said, ¡°The man who saved others cannot save himself. Let the King of Israel now come down from his cross and we will believe in him.

43 He trusted in God; let God rescue him if God wants to, since he himself said: I am the Son of God.¡±

44 Even the robbers who were crucified with him insulted him.

45 From midday darkness fell over the whole land until mid-afternoon.

46 At about three o¡¯clock, Jesus cried out in a loud voice, ¡°Eloi, Eloi, lamma Sabbacthani?¡± which means: My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?

47 As soon as they heard this, some of the bystanders said, ¡°He is calling for Elijah.¡±

48 And one of them went quickly, took a sponge and soaked it in vinegar and, putting it on a reed, gave him to drink.

49 Others said, ¡°Leave him alone, let us see whether Eli jah comes to his rescue.¡±

50 Then Jesus cried out again in a loud voice and gave up his spirit.

After the death of Jesus

51 Just then the curtain of the Temple sanctuary was torn in two from top to bottom, the earth quaked, rocks were split,

52 tombs were opened, and several holy peo ple who had died were raised to life.

53 They came out of the tombs after the resurrection of Jesus, en tered the Holy City and appeared to many.

54 The captain and the soldiers who guarded Jesus were greatly terrified when they saw the earthquake and all that had happened, and said, ¡°Truly, this man was a Son of God.¡±

55 There were also some women there who watched from a distance; they had followed Jesus from Galilee and saw to his needs.

56 Among them were Mary Magda lene, Mary the mother of James and Joseph, and the mo ther of Zebedee¡¯s sons.

The burial

57 It was now evening and there arrived a wealthy man from Arima thea, named Joseph, who was also a disciple of Jesus.

58 He went to Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus, and the governor ordered that the body be given him.

59 So Joseph took the bo dy of Jesus, wrapped it in a clean linen sheet

60 and laid it in his own new tomb which had been cut out of the rock. Then he rolled a huge stone across the entrance of the tomb and left.

61 Mary Magdalene and the other Ma ry remained sitting there in front of the tomb.

The guards at the tomb

62 On the following day (the day after the Preparation for the Pass over), the chief priests and the Pharisees went to Pilate

63 and said to him, ¡°Sir, we remember that when that impostor was still alive, he said: I will rise after three days.

64 There fore, have his tomb secured until the third day, lest his disciples come and steal the body and say to the people: He was raised from the dead. This would be a worse lie than the first.¡±

65 Pilate answered them, ¡°You have soldiers, go and take all the necessary pre cautions¡±.

66 So they went to the tomb and secured it, sealing the stone and placing it under guard.


Comments Mathew, Chapter 27

• 27.1 Why this second appearance of Jesus before the Supreme Council or San hedrin? It is difficult to find agreement on this point in the Gospels.

It would seem that during the night Jesus was presented to Annas, ex-high priest, (succeeded by five sons and son-in-law Caiap has). He retained real authority among the great priestly families. The Sanhedrin was not complete: the seventy-one members could not be accommodated in the house of Caiaphas. Besides, the Council could not legally hold a session during the night; so it met in the morning.

For the enemies of Jesus this private interrogation was the most important, and that is why Matthew and Mark place there all that they know of the trial of Jesus (Mt 26:57-64).

• 3. Judas, as soon as he betrays Jesus, di s ap pears from the scene and dies. We do not even know what happened with the thirty coins: see Acts 1:18.

• 15. According to very old texts of the Gospel of Matthew the name of the troublemaker was Jesus, his nickname being Barab bas. Pilate proposes to the people a choice between Jesus called Barabbas and Jesus called the Messiah.

• 24. Pilate asked for water¡­ (v. 24). The Jews understood this gesture as a clear expression of his refusal to become the judge or accuser of Jesus (see Dt 21:6; Ps 26:6).

• 27. In the inner yard called the Preto rium, the soldiers make fun of Jesus in full view of Pilate and all the peo ple employed in the palace.

Twisting a crown of thorns, they forced it onto his head (v. 29). In all probability, local reed was woven in the form of a cap and entwined with long thorns.

The soldiers enjoy the game of the fallen king. In many cultures the king was a divine character and, at the same time, often became the victim responsible for all evils. Therefore, the game of the king was known in many places. One engraved tile that was a soldiers¡¯ game has been found in Jerusalem. On it is seen the journey of the king through many trials ending with his assassination.

The soldiers made this game a reality, without realizing how true it actually was. A triumphal Procession with Palms led to the arrest of Jesus, but the humiliation of Jesus prepared him to be the king, the Savior of all, as told in the story of Joseph (Gen 37¨C44), or more vividly described by the Prophet Isaiah (52:13).

Jesus is Savior, because he is the victim. He broke the mechanism of violence, because he suffered the greatest violence without becoming violent himself. In his humiliation, Jesus shows the greatness and the power of God. He took upon himself all the humiliations of the defenseless, the dejected, the victims on whom were heaped the mindless violence of peoples and their leaders. Jesus bears the sin of the world, as announced by Isaiah. In the future, no one will be able to look at him without discovering their own wickedness, and mourn ing for him who was their victim (Zec 12:12). From this encounter with God, hated and killed, (and so different from the God worshiped in heaven) will gush waters of pardon and purification (Zec 13:1).

They offered him wine mixed with gall (v. 34). According to Mark, they gave him bittersweet wine, a drink of the soldiers, mixed with myrrh, to dull the pain. This drink had probably been prepared according to custom by the charitable women of Jerusalem, perhaps the same mentioned by Luke in 23:28. Matthew speaks of wine with bile (a detestable drink) to give us an inkling of all the bitterness that Jesus had to swallow, and also to recall Psalm 69:22.  

They also crucified two bandits with him (v. 38). Perhaps they were, like Barabbas, nationalist terrorists opposed to the Romans. They could have been the companions of Barabbas, and their execution enhanced the favor done to Ba rabbas. If so, they would have to die along with Jesus instead of Barabbas. They could also have belonged to a group of bandits who assaulted and robbed pilgrims in the hills of Palestine.

This is Jesus, the king of the Jews (v. 37). For Pilate and the people in general, this expression signified a nationalist leader in the movement for liberation from the Roman yoke.

The Jews are the people of God and the Father arranged that they would be associated, in a very special way, with the salvation Christ brings. In fact, they were later subjected to many trials and persecutions. Many Jews have suffered like Jesus without believing in him, but confident in the promises of God and in the kingdom of Justice. Jesus is really their king.

In Latin, the letters I.N.R.I. (that we read on crucifixes) are the initial letters of Jesus of Nazareth, King of the Jews.

• 51. This paragraph declares in apocalyptic style that the death of Jesus marked the completion of definitive salvation. Some ap paritions of dead persons were interpreted as a sign of fulfillment of the prophecies of Daniel (12:2) referring to the Day of Salvation. The open tombs signify that the Risen Christ conquers the kingdom of the dead.