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37: The King’s Death and Burial (Mt 27:1-66)
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37: The King’s Death and Burial (Mt 27:1-66)

I.       The Basics

A.     Setting

The chief 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.

B.     Key Verse

            “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).

C.     Did You Know…?

1.       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

2.       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

3.       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

4.       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

5.       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

6.       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

7.       “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

8.       Joseph Arimathea (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

9.       Day of Preparation (27:62): Friday.

10.   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

II.    Observation

A.     Outline










B.     Key Words/Phrases

III. General Analysis

1. In this passage, what things did the priests and elders do that resulted in Jesus’ death?

2. Record the sufferings Jesus endured.

IV.  Segment Analysis

A.     27:3-10

1a. How was Judas fooled and betrayed?

1b. What can we learn here about the deceitfulness of sin?

B.     27:11-14

2. Why did Pilate ask Jesus, “Are you the king of the Jews?”?

C.     27:15-26

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 Jesus?

5. In what ways are we like Barabbas?

D.     27:27-31

6. What human depravity is seen in the soldier’s cruelty?

E.     27:32-44

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?

F.      27:45-56

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 you?

G.     27:57-60

12. How did Jesus’ burial fulfill the Scriptures?

13. What can we learn from the women mentioned in 55, 56 and 61?

H.    27:61-66

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?

I.       Final Thoughts

15.        Write down your feelings and reflections on Jesus’ suffering, death, and burial.

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