James Gray - Concise Bible Commentary
When the morning was come, all the chief priests and elders of the people took counsel against Jesus to put him to death:Matthew 27:1-66
TRIAL AND CRUCIFIXION
This chapter opens with the delivery of Jesus to Pontius Pilate, the Roman governor (Matthew 27:1-2); then follows the account of Judas’ remorse (Matthew 27:3-10); Jesus is now questioned by Pilate (Matthew 27:11-14); Barabbas is released and Jesus is condemned (Matthew 27:15-26); He is crowned with thorns and crucified (Matthew 27:27-44); He dies (Matthew 27:45-46), and is buried (Matthew 27:57-66).
The account of Judas’ remorse (Matthew 27:3-10) seems to contain two discrepancies. For example, Matthew 26:5 compared with Acts 1:18, the explanation of which is that he fell after the hanging. Matthew 26:9-10 may allude to Jeremiah 18:1-4; Jeremiah 19:1-3, but if so, the application is remote, since Zechariah 11:12-13 fits the case more exactly. Perhaps this is a copyist’s mistake, although there is another explanation. In the Jewish canon the books of the prophets began with Jeremiah, and sometimes his name was given to the whole section of the prophets just as we use David’s name for any of the Psalms, or Solomon’s for the Proverbs, though there were other authors in each case.
Note that Jesus’ reply to Pilate, “Thou sayest” (Matthew 27:11) is equivalent to a declaration that He was what Pilate said, “The King of the Jews.”
Note Pilate’s testimony to the innocence of Jesus, and that according to Roman law He was condemned unjustly (Matthew 27:24).
Note Jesus’ consciousness to the end, as illustrated in his refusal to sip the stupefying drink (Matthew 27:34).
The inscription on the Cross is recorded differently by the evangelists, but this does not imply a contradiction or weaken the argument for the inspiration of their records. The inscription was in three different languages involving a different arrangement of the words in each case. Secondly, no one of the writers quotes the entire inscription. Thirdly, they all agree in emphasizing the one great fact that He was “the King of the Jews.” Fourth, their narratives combined give the full inscription as follows:
“This is Jesus, The King of the Jews”
“The King of the Jews”
“This the King of the Jews”
“Jesus of Nazareth, the king of the Jews”
It is consistent with the strictest view of the inspiration of the original autographs that the Holy Spirit may have had a purpose in causing the four different records to be written, and that the purpose was to bring out in relief the charge made against Jesus, as that charge was in itself the strongest testimony to His Messiahship and the fulfillment of the Word of God.
The words “yielded up the ghost” (Matthew 27:50) should not be passed over. They mean “dismissed His spirit,” and imply an act of His will. Christ did not die like other men who cannot help themselves, but because His work was done His life was laid down of His own volition. (Compare Mark 15:37; Luke 23:46; John 10:18; John 19:30.) This is an inferential testimony to the sacrificial character of His death.
The “veil of the temple” (Matthew 27:51) separated between the Holy Place and the Most Holy the latter that into which the High Priest alone entered once a year with the blood of atonement (Exodus 26:31; Leviticus 16). It was a type of the human body of Christ, and its rending signified that “a new and living way” was opened for believers into God’s presence (compare Matthew 9:1-8; Matthew 10:19-22).
The resurrection referred to (Matthew 27:52-53) was one of the most remarkable testimonies to the deity of Christ and the divinity of His work on the Cross. Did the bodies of these saints return to their graves? It is usual to imagine so, but they may have ascended to heaven with Jesus when He “led captivity captive” (Ephesians 4:8-10).
1. Name the seven chief events of this chapter.
2. Name the parallel Scriptures.
3. How would you harmonize Matthew 26:5 with Acts 1:18?
4. How would you explain the different reports of the writing on the Cross?
5. What evidence have we here to the voluntariness of Christ’s death?
6. What was the significance of the rending of the veil?
7. Have you read Ephesians 4:8-10?