Matthew 27, 11-66 The Cross

by | Dec 20, 2023 | Matthew, New Testament

When Jesus was tried by the religious rulers, they found Him guilty of blasphemy. (Matt. 26:63-65)
According to their laws, Jesus deserved to die.
The Jews did not have legal authority to carry out the death sentence.
They had to present Jesus to Pilate as one who was breaking Roman law.
They wanted Jesus dead, but needed to “use” Rome to carry out their desire.
They presented different charges to Pilate than what they had themselves come up with.

Also, Pilate would not have cared at all about their charge of blasphemy.
He would have seen that as a religious issue, and not under his jurisdiction.

Pilate asked Jesus, “Are You the King of the Jews?”
The Jewish rulers presented Jesus as a King who was in political opposition to Rome. (Luke 23:2)
They wanted Pilate to interpret that as sedition or rebellion, and as a political crime worthy of death.

Turn to John 18:28-38
Whatever kind of king Jesus was didn’t matter to Pilate, as long as Jesus wasn’t going against Rome.
That was why Pilate found no fault in Jesus.

Isaiah 53- As a sheep was silent before its shearers, so He opened not His mouth.

These rulers lied about Jesus, twisted His words and invented things to say against Him
Jesus knew that He had come to give His life as a sacrifice.
Jesus had no army, He had lived and taught publicly, and the accusations against Him were absurd.
They did not deserve an answer.
Though He could have defended Himself, there was no point to it.
Jesus only explained to Pilate and to the Jewish rulers Who he was.

so that the governor marveled greatly.
Jesus was unlike anyone Pilate had ever been asked to make a ruling on.
Some of the accusations against Jesus mentioned that He stirred up trouble in Galilee.
Galilee was the region where Jesus was from.

Luke 18 tells us…
When Pilate heard that Jesus was from Galilee, he sent Him to stand before Herod, who was ruler over that region.
Pilate was convinced that Jesus was innocent, and was trying to release himself from having to make a negative ruling against Jesus.
He probably hoped that Herod would make a final ruling either for or against Jesus.
Pilate was being backed into a corner re. Jesus, and was trying to get out of it.

This was probably done as a small concession by Rome to the Jews.
This might serve to release some of their favorite leaders, and make the Roman oppression a little less intolerable.

Barabbas had committed murder during an insurrection. (Luke 23:19)

Luke 23 tells us that Pilate believed Jesus to be innocent, but he tried to put himself in a neutral position.
He didn’t want to vote for or against Jesus.
He wanted the people to make the decision for him.
Pilate also knew that Jesus was popular among the commoners.
He hoped that their voices would bring freedom to Jesus.

Pilate also presented Jesus as the Christ.
Perhaps he was trying to sway the crowd, encouraging their Messianic desires.

Pilate was familiar with the wicked hearts of the religious rulers.
He knew that they were envious of Jesus, because the common people liked Jesus.
Pilate knew that Jesus was innocent, but it was the plan of God that Jesus would die.
Pilate would still be responsible for going against his conscience.

It is amazing that God would send a dream to this pagan woman re. Jesus.
It was another testimony of the innocence of Jesus.
A testimony from an unbelieving woman, to whom God sent a dream proclaiming the innocence of Jesus.

Hebrews 9:14 “…Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without spot to God…”

27:20, 21
The decision was to be made by the crowd, but we see the religious rulers influencing them.

27:22, 23
At this point, there is no logic to their demand.

Luke 23:13-18 13Then Pilate, when he had called together the chief priests, the rulers, and the people, 14said to them, “You have brought this Man to me, as one who misleads the people. And indeed, having examined Him in your presence, I have found no fault in this Man concerning those things of which you accuse Him; 15no, neither did Herod, for I sent you back to him; and indeed nothing deserving of death has been done by Him. 16I will therefore chastise Him and release Him” 17(for it was necessary for him to release one to them at the feast).

Luke tells us that Pilate asked the crowd three times about why Jesus deserved to die.
1. He knew that Jesus was innocent.
2. He was amazed at Jesus’ silence and lack of defense.
3. He had no legal reason to have Jesus killed.
4. He was afraid of popular opinion, and that the crowd might erupt in violence.
5. It was Pilate’s job to keep the peace and control the crowds.
6. He suggested that Jesus “just be scourged” and that he would then be released.
7. Pilate wanted to satisfy their lust for blood. Maybe then the crowd would “let Jesus go”.
8. He tried to get the crowd to make the decision for him.

This symbolic act was meant to show the crowd that Pilate released himself from any responsibility re. Jesus’ death.

This was an ancient law among some.
If people convicted a man of guilt, but he was found to be innocent, then they had o suffer the same penalty that the condemned man had suffered.

Less than 40 years later, Jerusalem was wiped out by the Roman army.
Over a million people died, many crucified.
According to Josephus, the crucifixions finally had to stop, for lack of crosses.

The Jews did indeed suffer for their rejection of Christ.

Scourging was done to inflict greater punishment and pain upon the victim.
It also brought death more quickly, as it severely weakened the victim before crucifixion.
Many victims never survived the scourging.
The scourging apparently took place outdoors near the Roman palace.

NOTE- scourging was often done to solicit confessions to unsolved crimes.
If he victim confessed, the scourging would be lighter.
If no confessions came, the blows were more severe.
Jesus had nothing to confess. He had committed no crimes.

The trial of Jesus by Pilate had been held outdoors, where the crowd could shout out their preference.
Jesus was now taken back into the Roman palace.

John 18:28 tells us that the Jews would not follow Him into the Roman building.
They had an intense hatred of the Romans, and probably considered their buildings as defiling.

Garrison- 1/10 of a legion. Probably about 600 men.

Scarlet was the color of royalty.
The soldiers did this as a mockery to Jesus, since Jesus claimed to be a king.
Apparently, Jesus has been scourged with his own garments on.
They were now pulled off his bleeding body, and this robe was put on the open wounds.

Isaiah 1:18 18 “Come now, and let us reason together,” Says the LORD,
“Though your sins are like scarlet, They shall be as white as snow;
Though they are red like crimson, They shall be as wool.

God described sin as being so staining and permanent, that it marked you like scarlet dye.
Jesus was clothed with the color of sin.

2 Corinthians 5:21 For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.

The thorns used were strong enough to be woven into a crown and them pressed into the scalp of Jesus.
This was to mock His claim of being a king, and to inflict additional pain into this head and face.
They mocked His kingship by putting a scepter in His hand.

Genesis 3:17, 18a 17Then to Adam He said, “Because you have heeded the voice of your wife, and have eaten from the tree of which I commanded you, saying, ‘You shall not eat of it’:
“Cursed is the ground for your sake; In toil you shall eat of it All the days of your life.
Both thorns and thistles it shall bring forth for you,

Jesus was crowned with the symbol of sin- thorns.
He was clothed in the color of sin- scarlet.

Spitting was an incredible insult.
Striking Jesus on the head drove the thorns deeper into His flesh.

27:31, 32
John 19 tells us that Jesus bore His own cross.
The other gospels tell us that Simon bore Jesus’ cross.
Jesus probably bore the cross for a time, but was too weak, and Simon was compelled to help.

By this time…
Jesus had gone all night without sleep.
He had agonized in the Garden of Gethsemane.
He had been beaten by the Jewish Temple guards.
He had been scourged and beaten by the Roman guards.
His body was severely traumatized, and beginning to fail.

Golgotha/Calvary- Hebrew and Latin for “the place of the skull”.
This is where executions took place, & there may have been numerous skeletal remains there.
There is a hill outside the city of Jerusalem, the side of which resembles a human skull.
It is believed that ancient Golgotha was outside the city walls of Jerusalem.

Numbers 15:35 Then the LORD said to Moses, “The man must surely be put to death; all the congregation shall stone him with stones outside the camp.”

This particular drink was offered to the victims of crucifixion in order to dull the pain.
Jesus refused their offer.
Jesus chose to have a clear head while on the cross.
He would go on to say seven very important things from the cross.
He did not want to be impaired in His thinking, and chose to feel the full force of the pain so that He might have a clear head.

27:35, 36
Albert Barnes- And they crucified him—to put to death on a cross.

The word excruciating means “out from the cross”

The usual manner of the crucifixion was as follows: After the criminal had carried the cross…to the place of execution, a hole was dug in the earth to receive the foot of it. The cross was laid on the ground; the person condemned to suffer was stripped and was extended on it, and the soldiers fastened the hands and feet either by nails or thongs. After they had driven the nails deeply in the wood, they elevated the cross with the agonizing sufferer on it, and, in order to fix it more firmly in the earth, they let it fall violently into the hole which they had dug to receive it.

This sudden fall gave to the person that was nailed to it a violent and convulsive shock, and greatly increased his sufferings. The crucified person was then suffered to hang, commonly, until pain, exhaustion, thirst, and hunger ended his life. Sometimes the sufferings continued for days; and when friendly death terminated the life, the body was often suffered to remain—a loathsome object, putrefying in the sun or devoured by birds.

This punishment was deemed the most disgraceful and ignominious that was practiced among the Romans. It was the way in which slaves, robbers, and the most notorious and abandoned wretches were commonly put to death. It was this, among other things, that exposed those who preached the gospel to so much shame and contempt among the Greeks and Romans. They despised everything that was connected with the death of one who had been put to death as a slave and an outlaw.

Since it was the most ignominious punishment known, so it was the most painful. The following circumstances made it a death of special pain:
1. The position of the arms and the body was unnatural, the arms being extended back and almost immovable. The least motion gave violent pain in the hands and feet, and in the back, which was lacerated with stripes.
2. The nails, being driven through the parts of the hands and feet which abound with “nerves,” created the most exquisite anguish.
3. The exposure of so many wounds to the air brought on a violent inflammation, which greatly increased the poignancy of the suffering.
4. The free circulation of the blood was prevented. More blood was carried out in the arteries than could be returned by the veins. The consequence was, that there was a great increase of blood in the veins of the head, producing an intense pressure and violent pain. The same was true of other parts of the body. This intense pressure in the blood-vessels was the source of inexpressible misery.
5. The pain gradually increased. There was no relaxation and no rest. There was no prospect but death. The sufferer was commonly able to endure it until the third, and sometimes even to the seventh day. The intense sufferings of the Saviour, however, were sooner terminated. This was caused, perhaps, in some measure, by his previous fatigue and exhaustion, but still more by the intense sufferings of his soul in bearing our griefs and carrying our sorrows in making an atonement for the sins of the world.

This was a misquotation of something that Jesus had said.
He had said, “Destroy this Temple and in three days I will raise it up”, but He spoke of the temple of His body.
Jesus could have come down from the cross, and with a healed and uninjured body.
He could have answered their sarcastic and condemning accusations.
But then mankind would have been lost.

In faith & obedience, Jesus remained on the cross, obeying the will of His Father, instead of sparing Himself.

1. They didn’t believe in Jesus when He did other miracles. In fact, they had attributed some of Jesus’ miracles to the power of Satan. If Jesus had come down, they still wouldn’t believe in Him.
2. Here they even make a mockery of God the Father, challenging Jehovah to save His son. The Father had sent the Son to die for the sins of the world, including these men.
3. They were suggesting that Jesus undo the very thing that would provide salvation for them.
4. Such is the so-called wisdom of sinful men.

Later on, one of the thieves had a change of heart, and expressed faith in Jesus.
Jesus assured him that upon death, that thief would be with Jesus in Paradise.

From 12 noon until 3 p.m.
There was darkness—This could not have been an eclipse of the sun, for the Passover was celebrated at the time of the full moon, when the moon is opposite to the sun.
Luke says Luke 23:45 that “the sun was darkened,” but it was not by an eclipse.

This darkness was noticed by one at least of the pagan writers.
Phlegon, a Roman astronomer,…says “that the greatest eclipse of the sun that was ever known happened then, for the day was so turned into night that the stars appeared.”

These words are difficult to understand.
The Father was not disappointed or angry at the Son. The Son had no sin or disobedience.
He himself said that this was “the power of darkness,” Luke 22:53.
It was the time when his enemies, including the Jews and Satan, were suffered to do their utmost. It was said of the serpent that he should bruise the heel of the seed of the woman, Gen. 3:15. By that has been commonly understood to be meant that, though the Messiah would finally crush and destroy the power of Satan, yet he should himself suffer “through the power of the devil.” When he was tempted Luke 4, it was said that the tempter “departed from him for a season.” There is no improbability in supposing that he might be permitted to return at the time of his death, and exercise his power in increasing the sufferings of the Lord Jesus. In what way this might be done can be only conjectured. It might be by horrid thoughts; by temptation to despair, or to distrust God, who thus permitted his innocent Son to suffer; or by an increased horror of the pains of dying.
3. The sins of the world were put upon Jesus. The Father’s wrath against sin was poured out upon Jesus. The fellowship which had eternally existed was now gone.

Jesus didn’t call for Elijah, but for the Father.
This was misunderstood, or used as a point for mocking.
Perhaps their thought was since God didn’t save Jesus, now He was going down His list.
Who might Jesus call back from the dead to help Him with His suffering?

Let Him alone- Don’t give Him anything to drink, let Him keep calling out, it’s funny, it’s stupid…

NOTE– This sour wine was a common drink, not meant to dull the senses, but to quench the thirst.
Dehydration was a part of the suffering of crucifixion.
Jesus would drink this wine because of the things He would say from the cross.

He cried, “It is finished,” John 19:30.
It finished the work of atonement, made the way of salvation possible, rolled away the curse from guilty people, and opened the kingdom of heaven to all true believers.

Veil from top to bottom- The hand of God, not the hand of man.
What it was for…
Holy of holies- representation of Heaven
Priest would have been in the H of H burning incense during this time.
Probably witnessed this.
This tomb would be heavily guarded, and have only one access, which Roman guards would watch.

Guard- guard: used of Roman soldiers guarding the sepulcher of Christ.

A Roman guard was made up of four to sixteen solders.
In combat, they would form a square, and were able to hold off a much larger force.

Pilate referred to the “watch” that attended the crucifixion—the whole “band” that had been appointed for that.
As the torments of crucifixion sometimes lasted many days, the band had been probably granted to them during that time, and they were therefore still at the direction of the chief priests.

Albert Barnes- We cannot but be struck with the wisdom of God in ordering the circumstances of the Saviour’s burial in such a manner as to avoid the possibility of deception. Had all this been done by his “friends,” it might have been said that they only pretended to secure the tomb, and only pretended that he was dead. But he was adjudged to be dead “by the Jews themselves;” Pilate was satisfied that that was the fact; they had their own way about his burial; he was buried alone; the place of his sepulchre was made sure, “expressly to prevent his being removed;” and they placed around him a guard, in their own judgment large enough to prevent his being taken away by force or strength. His very enemies, therefore, took every possible precaution to place his resurrection beyond the possibility of suspicion of fraud and imposture, and those precautions were the very means of furnishing the most striking proof that his death, burial, and resurrection were not impositions, but most affecting, awful, and yet cheering realities.