37: The King’s Death and Burial (Mt 27:1-66)
priests and elders had condemned the Lord and decided to put Him to death.
Having no authority to execute anyone, they delivered Him to Pilate, the Roman
governor and forced Him to make an unjust ruling. After receiving the death
sentence, the Lord suffered even more torture and ridicule under the hands of
the Roman soldiers before they led Him to Golgotha. During the hours of
crucifixion, dramatic events happened. Even the soldiers and the Centurion said
with fear, “Truly this was the Son of God!” The Son of God had died and was
buried, but a greater miracle would soon take place.
“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’” (27:11).
Did You Know…?
Pontius Pilate (27:2): To get a
death sentence, they needed to take the case to Pilate, the governor, the
procurator of Judea and Samaria, A.D. 26-36 (cf. Luke 3:1)…Pilate’s home was in
Caesarea, but at this festival time, he was in his Jerusalem palace. 12/86
Barabbas (27:16) had taken part in a rebellion (Lk
23:19; Jn 18:40), presumably against the Romans. So
he would have been a folk hero among the Jews. 8/1484
Scourge (27:26): Among the
Jews, scourging was limited to forty lashes (Deut 25:3; cf. 2 Cor 11:24), but the Romans were restricted by nothing but
their strength and whim. The whip was the dreaded flagellum, made by plaiting
pieces of bone or lead into leather thongs. The victim was stripped and tied to
a post. Severe flogging not only reduced the flesh to bloody pulp but could
open up the body until the bones were visible and the entrails exposed…
Flogging as an independent punishment not infrequently ended in death. It was also
used to weaken the prisoner before crucifixion. Jesus’ flogging took place
before the verdict (cf. Luke 23:16, 22; John 19:1-5; …) and so was not repeated
after the verdict. Repetition would doubtless have killed him. 6/571-572
Praetorium (27:27): 1. The headquarters in a Roman camp, the tent of the
commander in chief. 2. The palace in which the governor or procurator of a
province resided (John 18:28, 33; 19:9; Acts 23:35). 10/1024
Scarlet robe (27:28): The robe
is probably the short red cloak worn by Roman military and civilian officials.
Mark and John describe it as purple, Matthew as scarlet. The purple calls to
mind the robes worn by vassal kings, and the scarlet shows what the garment
probably was-a trooper’s cloak. 6/573
Gall (27:34) can refer to various
substances that have a bitter taste. It may have been offered to Jesus as a
mild narcotic to deaden pain. Mark 15:23 identifies this substance as myrrh. 1/1468
“Eli, Eli, Lama Sabachthani” (27:46): The words were spoken in Aramaic (but
with some Hebrew characteristics), one of the languages commonly spoken in Palestine in Jesus’ day. 8/1526
(27:57): “a prominent member of the Council, who himself was waiting for the kingdom of God,” and was a secret disciple of
Jesus… Luke describes Joseph as “a good and righteous man” and adds that “he
had not consented to their plan and action,” i.e., of the Jewish authorities.
From this remark it seems to be evident that he was a member of the Sanhedrin. 10/710
Day of Preparation (27:62):
Sealing the tomb (27:66): Once
the stone was in place, soft wax was poured over the crevice between the stone
and the wall of the opening. The official Roman government seal was then
pressed into the wax. The penalty for breaking the seal was death. 1/1469
1. In this
passage, what things did the priests and elders do that resulted in Jesus’
2. Record the
sufferings Jesus endured.
1a. How was Judas fooled and betrayed?
1b. What can we learn here about the deceitfulness of sin?
2. Why did Pilate ask Jesus, “Are you the king of
3a. What various considerations influenced Pilate’s decision?
What consideration finally won?
3b. Have you
ever been in a dilemma like Pilate’s? How did you act?
4. In this story, who were condemned besides
5. In what ways are we like Barabbas?
6. What human depravity is seen in the soldier’s
7. Jesus was called “king of the Jews” three times
in this passage. How is this king very different from what we normally expect
of a king?
8a. What three groups of people hurled insults at Jesus?
8b. Compare the
insults in 40 and 43 with Satan’s temptation in 4:3.
8c. Why was the
cross a “stumbling block” to these people (cf. 1Cor 1:23)?
9. Is it possible for people of today to “crucify”
Jesus? If so, how?
10a. What miraculous signs occurred while Jesus was on the cross?
10b. What did these signs mean?
11a. How did
Jesus address God, and how was this unusual?
11b. Why was He forsaken by God? What does this have to do with
12. How did
Jesus’ burial fulfill the Scriptures?
13. What can we
learn from the women mentioned in 55, 56 and 61?
14a. Why were the Chief priests and Pharisees still worried that
the disciples might steal the body? What does this tell us about them?
14b. How did the sealing of the stone and guarding the tomb later
become important proofs that Jesus had indeed resurrected?
15. Write down your feelings and reflections
on Jesus’ suffering, death, and burial.