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Chapter 27

Matthew 27 Commentary

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Matthew 27:1-2 meaning

Matthew summarizes Jesus's third, and official, religious trial. He says it took place in the morning and tells us that it resulted in condemning Jesus to death. After the predetermined trial concluded, Jesus was immediately brought to Pilate, the Roman governor. This event is known as Jesus's Sunrise Trial.

Matthew 27:3-5 meaning

Judas's Remorse: After Jesus was condemned, Judas regrets his betrayal, and he tries to return the thirty pieces of silver. The chief priests refuse to accept it. Judas throws it at their feet and runs away before killing himself.

Matthew 27:6-10 meaning

Matthew reports what the priest's did with the bribe money that Judas left in the temple. Because it was unlawful for the priests to put Judas's returned blood money into the Temple treasury, they used it to buy the Potter's Field, which becomes a burial place for strangers. Matthew explains how the priest's purchase of "the Potter's Field" with the returned blood money originally paid to Judas for betraying Jesus, the Messiah, fulfills four prophecies concerning the destruction of Jerusalem. 

Matthew 27:11-14 meaning

Pilate's First Interview with Jesus and his First Declaration of Innocence: Not permitted to execute Jesus themselves, the Sanhedrin brings Jesus to Pilate early in the morning for His Roman (or Civil) Trial. Pilate investigates whether or not Jesus is guilty of insurrection. When Pilate askes Him, if He is the King of the Jews, Jesus answers "It is as you say." The Jews continue to press charges, which Jesus does not respond to. Jesus's silence amazes Pilate. This event is part of the first phase of Jesus's Civil Trial. It is known as Jesus's Arraignment before Pilate.

Matthew 27:15-16 meaning

Matthew interjects to inform his readers about a custom the Roman governor performed for the Jews each Passover. The custom was to release a prisoner. Matthew mentions that at that time Rome had a notorious prisoner called Barabbas. Pilate will later use this custom and the prisoner Barabbas as a bargaining chip in his attempts to release Jesus, whom the governor knows is innocent. Matthew's interjection divides his narration of the first phase of Jesus's Civil Trial, which is called: "Jesus's Arraignment before Pilate," from the third phase of Jesus's Civil Trial. The third phase is called: "Pilate's Judgment."

Matthew 27:17-18 meaning

"The Passover Pardon": Pilate's Second Attempt to Release Jesus. Pilate offers the crowd a choice as to which prisoner he will customarily release: the notorious prisoner Barabbas or Jesus, called Christ. Matthew points out that Pilate did this because he knew the Jews accused Jesus out of envy. Matthew 27:17-18 begins Matthew's account of the third phase of Jesus's Civil Trial. This phase is called: "Pilate's Judgment."

Matthew 27:19 meaning

Pilate's Wife's Troubling Dream: Pilate's wife sends him a message during the middle of Jesus's civil trial. The Roman governor receives it while he is sitting in the seat of judgment. The message is for Pilate to have no part in Jesus's conviction or execution, because his wife suffered a terrible dream about this righteous Man the night before. This event is part of the third phase of Jesus's Civil Trial. This phase is called: "Pilate's Judgment."

Matthew 27:20-22 meaning

The Crowd Chooses Barabbas: The crowd responds to Pilate's offer to use the governor's "Passover Pardon" on Jesus by shouting at Him to give them Barabbas instead. Barabbas had been imprisoned for insurrection and murder. Pilate wanted to release Jesus and tries to persuade the crowd again, but they kept on calling out—"Crucify, crucify Him!" This event is part of the third phase of Jesus's Civil Trial. This phase is called: "Pilate's Judgment."

Matthew 27:23 meaning

The Crowd Wears Pilate Down: As the crowd was shouting "Crucify Him!" Pilate asks them two questions to recall them from their frenzied obsession with killing Jesus. Pilate asks them: "Why He should be crucified? What evil has He done deserving of such a punishment?" The crowds ignore his questions and keep shouting all the more—"Crucify Him!" This event is part of the third phase of Jesus's Civil Trial. This phase is called: "Pilate's Judgment." 

Matthew 27:24-25 meaning

Pilate Washes His Hands: Pilate's Sixth Attempt to Release Jesus: Pilate comes to the conclusion that he cannot win and that a riot is about to break out. But he is very troubled about crucifying Jesus, whom he firmly believes to be an innocent Man. He tries to publicly absolve himself of any wrong doing by washing his hands in water and declaring himself to be innocent. For their part, the Jews are quick to reassure the governor that Jesus's blood will not be on Pilate, but on them and their children. This event is part of the third phase of Jesus's Civil Trial. This phase is called: "Pilate's Judgment."

Matthew 27:26 meaning

Pilate's Verdict: Matthew summarizes the three main outcomes of Jesus's civil trial. They are: Barabbas was released; Jesus was scourged; and Jesus was handed over to the crowd's demands that He be crucified.This passage is Matthew's summary-conclusion to his narration of the judicial proceedings of the third phase of Jesus's Civil Trial. This phase is called: "Pilate's Judgment."

Matthew 27:27-30 meaning

The Scourging and Mocking of Jesus: Pilate's Third Attempt to Release Jesus: Matthew records how the Roman soldiers physically abused and cruelly mocked Jesus during His civil trial. After they scourged Him, the soldiers dress Him up as a ridiculous king, complete with a robe, a crown of thorns, and reed for a scepter. They act out a charade of paying homage to "the King of the Jews" and beat Him with the "scepter" and spit on Him. This passage is Matthew's account of the Roman Soldiers physical and social abuse of Jesus. It occurred within the third phase of Jesus's Civil Trial. This phase is called: "Pilate's Judgment."