(Mat 27:1 NASB) Now when morning had come, all the chief priests and the elders of the people took counsel against Jesus to put Him to death;
(Mat 27:2 NASB) and they bound Him, and led Him away, and delivered Him up to Pilate the governor.
Mat 27:2: The chief priests and elders took counsel against Yeshua. Apparently they found Him guilty, even though He was innocent of any evil. But this was necessary in order for prophecy to be fulfilled.
(Mat 27:3 NASB) Then when Judas, who had betrayed Him, saw that He had been condemned, he felt remorse and returned the thirty pieces of silver to the chief priests and elders,
(Mat 27:4 NASB) saying, “I have sinned by betraying innocent blood.” But they said, “What is that to us? See to that yourself!”
(Mat 27:5 NASB) And he threw the pieces of silver into the sanctuary and departed; and he went away and hanged himself.
Mat 27:5: This appears to be slightly different than the account given in Acts. In Acts the passage states that Judas fell headlong and burst in the middle and his bowels gushed out (Acts 1:17-19). Acts also states that Judas bought the field, not the Chief Priests as recorded in Matthew 27:6-7.
As the Believer’s Study Bible states: Judas’ purchase of the field was indirect, as it was bought with the money he returned to the priests (cf. Matt. 27:3-7). Matthew’s Gospel reports that Judas hanged himself. When the accounts of Matthew and Acts are compared, it is clear that after he hanged himself, Judas’ body later fell and “he burst open.”
(Mat 27:6 NASB) And the chief priests took the pieces of silver and said, “It is not lawful to put them into the temple treasury, since it is the price of blood.”
(Mat 27:7 NASB) And they counseled together and with the money bought the Potter’s Field as a burial place for strangers.
(Mat 27:8 NASB) For this reason that field has been called the Field of Blood to this day.
Mat 27:8: The field that Judas bought was named after the blood money from which it was purchased.
(Mat 27:9 NASB) Then that which was spoken through Jeremiah the prophet was fulfilled, saying, “AND THEY TOOK THE THIRTY PIECES OF SILVER, THE PRICE OF THE ONE WHOSE PRICE HAD BEEN SET by the sons of Israel;
(Mat 27:10 NASB) AND THEY GAVE THEM FOR THE POTTER’S FIELD, AS THE LORD DIRECTED ME.”
Mat 27:10: Most people say that this is actually a quote from Zechariah and that Matthew made a mistake. But that alleged passage in Zechariah the way it is given here does not seem to fit very well (Zech. 11:12-13). Shem Tov seems to state it more accurately: (Mat. 27:9 Shem Tov) Then was fulfilled the word of Zechariah the prophet: And I said to them: if it is good in your eyes, multiply my wages, but if (not) forbear. So they weighed for my wages thirty pieces of silver. Then Yahweh said to me: Cast it to the potter. This is from the man who forms clay,
(Mat. 27:10 Shem Tov) as Yahweh commanded.
The name of Jeremiah is omitted in some older manuscripts. It is omitted in two MSS. of the twelfth century, in the Syriac, later Persic, two of the Itala, and in some other Latin copies; and what renders it highly probable that the original reading was “by the prophet.” is that Matthew frequently omits the name of the prophet in his quotations.
(Mat 27:11 NASB) Now Jesus stood before the governor, and the governor questioned Him, saying, “Are You the King of the Jews?” And Jesus said to him, “It is as you say.”
(Mat 27:12 NASB) And while He was being accused by the chief priests and elders, He made no answer.
(Mat 27:13 NASB) Then Pilate said to Him, “Do You not hear how many things they testify against You?”
(Mat 27:14 NASB) And He did not answer him with regard to even a single charge, so that the governor was quite amazed.
Mat 27:14: Yeshua did not answer His accusers. This is according to prophecy (Isaiah 53:6-7).
(Mat 27:15 NASB) Now at the feast the governor was accustomed to release for the multitude any one prisoner whom they wanted.
(Mat 27:16 NASB) And they were holding at that time a notorious prisoner, called Barabbas.
(Mat 27:17 NASB) When therefore they were gathered together, Pilate said to them, “Whom do you want me to release for you? Barabbas, or Jesus who is called Christ?”
Mat 27:17: Ironically, the name Barabbas means “son of the father.” The true “Son of the Father” was the one the people wanted.
Some say that Barabbas was a hated murderer. This is not exactly true. Barabbas was probably somewhat of a hero to the Jewish people. He apparently killed Romans during an insurrection of the Jewish people (Mark 15:7).
Therefore, let’s look at the choices the people had. They could release a war hero, or they could release the one that their religious leaders said committed blasphemy. Granted Yeshua had many followers, but most of them hid away in fear. The crowd was plagued with followers of the Pharisees who were their yes-men.
Pilate was apparently also on the side of the Chief Priests. He mockingly called Messiah “King of the Jews” to an antagonistic crowd and then had Yeshua scourged after he pronounced the death penalty on Him (Mark 15:8-15).
(Mat 27:18 NASB) For he knew that because of envy they had delivered Him up.
(Mat 27:19 NASB) And while he was sitting on the judgment seat, his wife sent to him, saying, “Have nothing to do with that righteous Man; for last night I suffered greatly in a dream because of Him.”
Mat 27:19: Pilate’s wife had bad dreams pertaining to Yeshua. It is interesting that she referred to Him as a “righteous man.” Pilate had apparently already told her that Yeshua was a righteous man and that he was going to crucify Him regardless. His wife said she had nightmares about this and this apparently affected his demeanor toward this man he was mocking. Pilate and his family were probably very superstitious people.
(Mat 27:20 NASB) But the chief priests and the elders persuaded the multitudes to ask for Barabbas, and to put Jesus to death.
(Mat 27:21 NASB) But the governor answered and said to them, “Which of the two do you want me to release for you?” And they said, “Barabbas.”
Mat 27:21: This particular crowd was feigning devotion to Caesar by calling for the death of a man who claims to be another king, but at the same time, they cry for the release of a man who led insurrections against the Romans and had killed Romans in doing so.
(Mat 27:22 NASB) Pilate said to them, “Then what shall I do with Jesus who is called Christ?” They all said, “Let Him be crucified!”
(Mat 27:23 NASB) And he said, “Why, what evil has He done?” But they kept shouting all the more, saying, “Let Him be crucified!”
(Mat 27:24 NASB) And when Pilate saw that he was accomplishing nothing, but rather that a riot was starting, he took water and washed his hands in front of the multitude, saying, “I am innocent of this Man’s blood; see to that yourselves.”
Mat 27:24: It would appear from this text that Pilate was having certain misgivings about killing this innocent man. He was probably spooked because of his wife’s dream. Regardless, he made only a feeble attempt and was quick to attempt to release himself from blame.
Why did he go through this meaningless hand washing ritual? This could reflect his superstition. Perhaps he wanted to appear innocent to the gods regarding this man’s death.
(Mat 27:25 NASB) And all the people answered and said, “His blood be on us and on our children!”
Mat 27:25: This is an interesting answer by the people. It came true. It is written in Torah that the blood of an innocent man cannot be expiated from the land until the ones responsible have their blood spilled (Num. 35:33).
That is exactly what happened. Both the blood of the Romans and the blood of the Jewish people was spilled there in a short time.
(Mat 27:26 NASB) Then he released Barabbas for them; but after having Jesus scourged, he delivered Him to be crucified.
Mat 27:26: It wasn’t the Jewish people who had Yeshua tortured before He was killed. It was Pilate. He very much wanted Yeshua killed also.
(Mat 27:27 NASB) Then the soldiers of the governor took Jesus into the Praetorium and gathered the whole Roman cohort around Him.
(Mat 27:28 NASB) And they stripped Him, and put a scarlet robe on Him.
(Mat 27:29 NASB) And after weaving a crown of thorns, they put it on His head, and a reed in His right hand; and they kneeled down before Him and mocked Him, saying, “Hail, King of the Jews!”
Mat 27:29: Mark calls His robe “purple” instead of “scarlet.” Both are shades of red and can be almost interchangeable depending on the precise coloring (you can tell by this discrepancy that men wrote the Gospels). It is not uncommon for the two Greek words used to be interchanged.
(Mat 27:30 NASB) And they spat on Him, and took the reed and began to beat Him on the head.
(Mat 27:31 NASB) And after they had mocked Him, they took His robe off and put His garments on Him, and led Him away to crucify Him.
(Mat 27:32 NASB) And as they were coming out, they found a man of Cyrene named Simon, whom they pressed into service to bear His cross.
Mat 27:32: The torture that Yeshua suffered was great. As was prophesied, He was marred more than any man (Isaiah 52:13-14).
(Mat 27:33 NASB) And when they had come to a place called Golgotha, which means Place of a Skull,
(Mat 27:34 NASB) they gave Him wine to drink mingled with gall; and after tasting it, He was unwilling to drink.
Mat 27:34: Yeshua had taken a vow not to drink of the fruit of the vine until He returns in His kingdom (Matt. 26:26-29).
(Mat 27:35 NASB) And when they had crucified Him, they divided up His garments among themselves, casting lots;
(Mat 27:36 NASB) and sitting down, they began to keep watch over Him there.
Mat 27:36: The enemies of Yeshua indulged themselves in the vilest manner. They sat down in front of Him to watch Him die.
(Mat 27:37 NASB) And they put up above His head the charge against Him which read, “THIS IS JESUS THE KING OF THE JEWS.”
(Mat 27:38 NASB) At that time two robbers were crucified with Him, one on the right and one on the left.
(Mat 27:39 NASB) And those passing by were hurling abuse at Him, wagging their heads,
(Mat 27:40 NASB) and saying, “You who are going to destroy the temple and rebuild it in three days, save Yourself! If You are the Son of God, come down from the cross.”
Mat 27:40: The sign of Yeshua being “King of the Jews” was evidently done to mock Him even further, as well as aggravate the Pharisees. Pilate was staying in character. The two robbers being crucified with him were mocking Him also.
(Mat 27:41 NASB) In the same way the chief priests also, along with the scribes and elders, were mocking Him, and saying,
(Mat 27:42 NASB) “He saved others; He cannot save Himself. He is the King of Israel; let Him now come down from the cross, and we shall believe in Him.
(Mat 27:43 NASB) “HE TRUSTS IN GOD; LET HIM DELIVER Him now, IF HE TAKES PLEASURE IN HIM; for He said, ‘I am the Son of God.'”
Mat 27:43: The enemies of Yeshua were mocking Him with the Words of the Father at His baptism (Matt. 3:16-17).
(Mat 27:44 NASB) And the robbers also who had been crucified with Him were casting the same insult at Him.
(Mat 27:45 NASB) Now from the sixth hour darkness fell upon all the land until the ninth hour.
Mat 27:45: Some people claim that this was a solar eclipse, but that is not possible. There was a full moon at the time of Passover and a solar eclipse can only occur at the time of a New Moon.
This was purely a supernatural event. This event was recorded as having happened by others in that day:
Phlegon was a historian who lived in the first century. There are two books credited to his name: Chronicles and the Olympiads. Little is known about Phlegon but he made reference to Christ. The first two quotes are unique to Origen and the last quote below is recorded by Origen and Philopon.
Phlegon mentioned the eclipse which took place during the crucifixion of the Lord Jesus and no other (eclipse); it is clear that he did not know from his sources about any (similar) eclipse in previous times . . . and this is shown by the historical account of Tiberius Caesar. – De. opif. mund. II21
Thallus (circa AD 52) wrote a history about the Middle East from the time of the Trojan War to his own time. The work has been lost and the only record we have of his writings is through Julius Africanus (AD 221). Below Julius Africanus refers to Christ’s crucifixion and the darkness that covered the earth prior to his death.
“This darkness Thallus, in the third book of his History, calls, as it appears to me without reason, an eclipse of the sun. For the Hebrews celebrate the Passover on the 14th day according to the moon, and the passion of our Savior falls on the day before the Passover; but an eclipse of the sun takes place only when the moon comes under the sun. And it cannot happen at any other time but in the interval between the first day of the new moon and the last of the old, that is, at their junction: how then should an eclipse occur when the moon is almost diametrically opposite the sun?”
Although they erroneously thought this event was an eclipse, these quotes by ancient historians definitely point to the event and attempts at describing and explaining it at or near the time it happened.
(Mat 27:46 NASB) And about the ninth hour Jesus cried out with a loud voice, saying, “ELI, ELI, LAMA SABACHTHANI?” that is, “MY GOD, MY GOD, WHY HAST THOU FORSAKEN ME?”
(Mat 27:47 NASB) And some of those who were standing there, when they heard it, began saying, “This man is calling for Elijah.”
Mat 27:47: Yeshua is quoting Psalm 22:1. Much of that Psalm gives a prophetic description of the crucifixion of Messiah.
Yeshua cried out in Aramaic “ELI, ELI, LAMA SABACHTHANI?” Apparently some in the crowd misunderstood His words as a cry to Eliyah (Elijah).
(Mat 27:48 NASB) And immediately one of them ran, and taking a sponge, he filled it with sour wine, and put it on a reed, and gave Him a drink.
(Mat 27:49 NASB) But the rest of them said, “Let us see whether Elijah will come to save Him.”
Mat 27:49: Luke tells us that offering Him sour wine was a part of the soldiers mocking Him (Luke 23:36). How was offering Him this sour wine on a sponge on a stick mocking Him? When we see what these sponges were used for, we see the degradation Yeshua was being put through.
The sponges on sticks were used communally as toilet paper in latrines in ancient Rome.
“”Here we had 12 to 60 people at once, going to the bathroom sitting next to each other. There were no dividers. There was no toilet paper. And there was one sponge stick for everyone to dip into the water and pass around.”
(Mat 27:50 NASB) And Jesus cried out again with a loud voice, and yielded up His spirit.
(Mat 27:51 NASB) And behold, the veil of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom, and the earth shook; and the rocks were split,
Mat 27:51: Why was the veil torn from top to bottom? The common Christian belief is that this was done to show that man can now stand in the presence of Elohim without a High Priest. That cannot be true. We DO need a High Priest and Yeshua is now our High Priest (Heb. 5:8-10). Regardless, the tearing of His flesh allows us in the Holy Place, not the Holy of Holies (Heb. 10:19-20). We can still only access the Father through Yeshua, our High Priest (John 14:6).
The veil leading to the Holy of Holies is spoken of here in this passage. The only time the veil to the Holy of Holies was opened was when the High Priest brought in the blood of the sacrifice of the scapegoat on Yom Kippur (the Day of Atonement). The tearing of this veil is telling us that the blood of Messiah satisfies the requirements of the Yom Kippur sin sacrifice made for all of Israel (Lev. 16:6-22).
(Mat 27:52 NASB) and the tombs were opened; and many bodies of the saints who had fallen asleep were raised;
(Mat 27:53 NASB) and coming out of the tombs after His resurrection they entered the holy city and appeared to many.
Mat 27:53: We do not know a lot about this passage other than what it says. This event of the earthquake, the resurrection of saints, and their appearance in Jerusalem is not recorded in the other Gospels, nor is it mentioned in any other place of the Apostolic Scriptures.
First of all, this passage is included in the earliest copies known of Matthew. Therefore it cannot be summarily dismissed as a later addition.
However, there are numerous problems with this passage. There are no historical accounts of any kind that record this tremendous event. There are other problems. The way the passage is reads in the Greek, it states that these saints were resurrected at the death of Messiah. That would mean that they were the “first fruits of the resurrection” and not Messiah.
Also, why wouldn’t these resurrected saints have joined the disciples, at least at the Pentecost? There is no record of them. We are not told who these “saints” are who were resurrected. We are not told who they are or how many there were. Remember that only 50 days later, Peter at the Feast of Pentecost said that David died almost 1000 years earlier and no reference is made to him walking around.
The text also states that they were resurrected at the death of Messiah but did not come out of their tombs until after the resurrection of Messiah. What were they doing in their tombs for three days and why would they stay there?
Another strange item in this passage is that it says “many bodies of the saints who had fallen asleep were raised.” There were people brought back to life in Scripture such as Lazarus and the son of the widow raised through Elijah, but it never says their “bodies” were resurrected. It says that person was resurrected.
It would appear that the passage may have been inserted into the text at a very early after it was initially written. It may have been trying to imply that “souls” of these saints came back into their bodies in order to perpetrate the myth of an eternal soul. But I have difficulty is seeing any other motive.
A strong point showing that it might have been inserted is that the flow of the passage reads well if those phrases are removed (Matt. 27:50-54).
While it is strange that a passage would be inserted soon after the writing of Matthew, it was proved to have happened in Matthew 28:18-20.
(Mat 27:54 NASB) Now the centurion, and those who were with him keeping guard over Jesus, when they saw the earthquake and the things that were happening, became very frightened and said, “Truly this was the Son of God!”
(Mat 27:55 NASB) And many women were there looking on from a distance, who had followed Jesus from Galilee, ministering to Him,
(Mat 27:56 NASB) among whom was Mary Magdalene, along with Mary the mother of James and Joseph, and the mother of the sons of Zebedee.
Mat 27:56: The darkness on the earth as well as the tearing of the veil signified the wrath of Elohim. Even His enemies recognized who Yeshua was at this time.
(Mat 27:57 NASB) And when it was evening, there came a rich man from Arimathea, named Joseph, who himself had also become a disciple of Jesus.
(Mat 27:58 NASB) This man went to Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus. Then Pilate ordered it to be given over to him.
Mat 27:58: The account of this given in Mark and Luke reaffirm that this was on the Preparation Day, the day before the First Day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread which is a Sabbath (Mark 15:42-43).
In John’s account, he tells us this was a “high” Sabbath. The word for “high” there is megas which actually means “great” or greater.”
(Mat 27:59 NASB) And Joseph took the body and wrapped it in a clean linen cloth,
(Mat 27:60 NASB) and laid it in his own new tomb, which he had hewn out in the rock; and he rolled a large stone against the entrance of the tomb and went away.
(Mat 27:61 NASB) And Mary Magdalene was there, and the other Mary, sitting opposite the grave.
Mat 27:61: It was prophesied that He would be buried in a rich man’s tomb (Isa. 53:9).
(Mat 27:62 NASB) Now on the next day, which is the one after the preparation, the chief priests and the Pharisees gathered together with Pilate,
(Mat 27:63 NASB) and said, “Sir, we remember that when He was still alive that deceiver said, ‘After three days I am to rise again.’
(Mat 27:64 NASB) “Therefore, give orders for the grave to be made secure until the third day, lest the disciples come and steal Him away and say to the people, ‘He has risen from the dead,’ and the last deception will be worse than the first.”
Mat 27:64: The Chief Priests and Pharisees met with Pilate on the First Day of Unleavend Bread. They did not want the disciples of Yeshua to steal His body and claim He resurrected.
(Mat 27:65 NASB) Pilate said to them, “You have a guard; go, make it as secure as you know how.”
(Mat 27:66 NASB) And they went and made the grave secure, and along with the guard they set a seal on the stone.
Mat 27:66: Everything possible was done to ensure that there would not be a phony resurrection of some sort. A big rock was rolled over the entrance of the tomb, the tomb was sealed, and guards were placed at the entrance. This was similar to how Daniel was treated when he was thrown into the lion’s den (Dan. 6:17). The only difference is that the tomb of Messiah was guarded.
These precautions against forgery are some of the best authentications of His resurrection. There is no record of an attempt to steal the body. There is no record of the seal being broken and the rock being rolled back into its place. There is no record of the guards falling asleep. For if they had fallen asleep, they would be put to death. The resurrection of Messiah was irrefutable to the people of that day.