Matthew 27: Abandoned by God

October 27th, 2006

Throughout today’s reading, covering the trial of Jesus and his execution, Jesus says hardly anything. He makes one very brief reply to a question from the governor Pilate, and then when he has been up on the cross for several hours and is about to die he says something very strange: “My God, why have you forsaken me?” It is apparent from the preceding chapters that Jesus knew that he was destined to die and he did not take any steps to avoid it, but the true significance of his death only becomes clear when we notice that the sinless Jesus experienced separation from his Father on the cross as he took the punishment for the sins committed by everyone else.

Matthew’s Account of the Good News — Chapter 27
27:1 Morning arrived and all the senior priests and elders of the people discussed the best way to arrange for Jesus to be condemned to death. 27:2 They tied him up and delivered him to Pontius Pilate the governor. 27:3 Judas the betrayer was filled with remorse when he saw that Jesus was condemned, and brought back the thirty pieces of silver to the senior priests and elders, 27:4 saying, “I have sinned by betraying innocent blood.” But they said, “What do we care? That’s your problem.”

27:5 He threw down the pieces of silver in the temple and left, then went away and hanged himself. 27:6 The senior priests took the pieces of silver, and said, “It’s not lawful to put them into the treasury, because it is blood money.” 27:7 After discussing it they used the money to buy the potter’s field, as a burial place for strangers. 27:8 That field has been called “The Field of Blood” to this day. 27:9 This fulfilled the prediction of Jeremiah the prophet: “They took the thirty pieces of silver, the price set on him by some of the children of Israel, 27:10 and they gave them for the potter’s field, as the Lord commanded me.”

27:11 Jesus stood before the governor and the governor asked him, “Are you the King of the Jews?” Jesus answered, “They are your words, not mine.”

27:12 When he was accused by the senior priests and elders, he said nothing. 27:13 Pilate asked, “Don’t you hear how many things they testify against you?” 27:14 Jesus gave no answer, not even one word, so that the governor was amazed.

27:15 The governor’s custom at the Feast was to release to the crowd one prisoner; whoever they wanted. 27:16 There was a well-known prisoner called Barabbas, 27:17 so when the crowd assembled Pilate asked, “Who do you want me to release? Barabbas or Jesus who is called Christ?” 27:18 He knew that they had imprisoned Jesus because of envy.

27:19 His wife sent a message to him while he was sitting on the judgment seat, “Have nothing to do with that innocent man, because I have had an awful time in a dream today because of him.” 27:20 But the senior priests and elders persuaded the crowds to ask for Barabbas and to have Jesus done away with. 27:21 When the governor asked, “Which of the two do you want me to release to you?” they said, “Barabbas!”

27:22 Pilate asked, “What will I do to Jesus, who is called Christ?” They all said, “Crucify him!” 27:23 The governor asked, “Why? What harm has he done?” But they shouted even louder, “Crucify him!”
27:24 When Pilate saw that nothing was being gained, and instead a riot was starting, he took water, and washed his hands before the crowd, saying, “I am innocent of the blood of this innocent man. See to it yourselves.” 27:25 All the people answered, “His blood will be on us and on our children!”

27:26 Then he set Barabbas free, but he flogged Jesus and handed him over to be crucified. 27:27 The governor’s soldiers took Jesus into the Praetorium, and the whole group gathered around him. 27:28 They stripped him, and put a purple robe on him. 27:29 They wove a crown of thorns and put it on his head, and a reed in his right hand. They knelt down before him to mock him, “Hail, King of the Jews!” 27:30 They spat on him, and used the reed to strike him on the head. 27:31 When they had mocked him, they took the robe off him, put back his own clothes, and led him away to crucify him.

27:32 On the way out, they found a man from Cyrene named Simon and they forced him to go with them to carry the cross. 27:33 They came to a place called “Golgotha”, which translates as “The place of a skull”. 27:34 They gave Jesus sour wine to drink mixed with gall. When he had tasted it, he would not drink. 27:35 They crucified him and divided his clothing among them by casting lots, 27:36 and they sat and guarded him there. 27:37 They set up over his head the accusation against him reading, “THIS IS JESUS, THE KING OF THE JEWS.”

27:38 Two robbers were crucified with him, one on his right side and one on the left. 27:39 Passers by mocked him, wagging their heads 27:40 and saying, “You who were 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!”
27:41 The senior priests along with the religous lawyers, the Pharisees and the elders, also mocked him, 27:42 “He saved others, but he can’t save himself. If he is the King of Israel, he can come down from the cross now, and then we will believe in him. 27:43 He trusts in God. Let God deliver him now, if he wants him. He said, ‘I am the Son of God.'” 27:44 The robbers who were crucified with him also insulted him.

27:45 There was darkness over all the land from midday until 3pm. 27:46 About 3pm Jesus cried with a loud voice, “Eloi, Eloi, lema sabachthani?” That is, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” 27:47 Some people standing there heard it and said, “This man is calling Elijah.”

27:48 At once one of them ran and took a sponge, filled it with vinegar, put it on a reed and gave it to him as a drink. 27:49 The others said, “Leave him. Let’s see whether Elijah comes to save him.”
27:50 Jesus cried again with a loud voice, and released his spirit. 27:51 The veil of the temple split in half from top to bottom. The earth shook and rocks shattered. 27:52 Tombs opened, and the bodies of many saints who had fallen asleep were raised. 27:53 They came out of the tombs after his resurrection and they entered the holy city and appeared to many. 27:54 The centurion and those who were with him guarding Jesus wre terrified when they saw the earthquake and the things that happened, saying, “This really was the Son of God.”

27:55 Many women who had followed Jesus from Galilee and served him were watching from a distance. 27:56 Among them were Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James and Joses, and the mother of the sons of Zebedee. 27:57 When evening came, a rich man from Arimathaea named Joseph, who himself was also Jesus’s disciple, 27:58 went to Pilate to ask for Jesus’s body. Then Pilate ordered that the body be handed over. 27:59 Joseph took the body, wrapped it in a clean linen cloth, 27:60 and laid it in his own new tomb which he had carved out of the rock. He rolled a huge stone across the door of the tomb and left. 27:61 Mary Magdalene was there with the other Mary, sitting opposite the tomb. 27:62 The following day, which was the day after the Preparation Day, the senior priests and the Pharisees met together with Pilate, 27:63 saying, “Sir, we remember what that con man said while he was still alive: ‘After three days I will rise again.’ 27:64 So order that the tomb be guarded until the third day, in case his disciples come at night to steal him away, and tell the people, ‘He is risen from the dead,’ causing a greater deception than the original.”

27:65 Pilate said to them, “Take a guard. Go and make it as secure as you can.” 27:66 So they went with the guard and made the tomb secure, sealing the stone.

Entry Filed under: Trust

1 Comment Add your own

  • 1. » Itâ&hellip  |  June 28th, 2008 at 8:37 am

    […] events of Matthew chapter 27 have given rise to one of the classic symbols of denial of responsibility: the washing of hands: […]

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