Matthew 27

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Matthew 27 is the 27th chapter in the Gospel of Matthew, part of the New Testament. It can be divided into the following subsections:

Overview[edit]

Matthew describes the trial, crucifixion and burial of Jesus.

Jesus is taken to Pontius Pilate, the Roman governor of Judea. At the same time, Judas Iscariot, who had betrayed Jesus, sees his former teacher and is overcome by remorse. Judas brings back the 30 pieces of silver which had been offered to him by the priests of Judea as recompense for identifying his master to Caiphas, throwing them down in the temple, and then leaves to commit suicide. Meanwhile, Jesus impresses Pilate, who is taken aback by Jesus's silent dignity at his questioning. Pilate begins to address the crowd, and asks them to choose between freeing a vindictive prisoner known as Barabbas, or Jesus. The crowd respond passionately, repeating "Let Him (Christ) be crucified"! Pilate, bewildered by this, asks the crowd for a reason for their choice. Instead, they continue to call ever more loudly for the crucifixion of Jesus.

Pontius comes to see that he cannot reason with the crowd. Instead, he tries to absolve himself of his responsibility in the case, washing his hands in a basin and saying to the crowd: "I am innocent of the blood of this just Person. You see to it."

Jesus is led away to Golgotha (place of a skull), he is offered wine mingled with gall, but does not drink it. The soldiers cast lots for his garments once he is crucified. Those who passed him deride him, taunting him to come down from the cross, saying "He trusts in God, let God deliver him now".

At three o'clock Jesus cries "My God, why have you forsaken me?", and starts to give up on his life. One passer-by offers Jesus some wine to drink but the group tell him "Wait, let us see if Elijah comes to save him". They misunderstand Jesus's pleas, as he is in tremendous physical pain. Jesus cries out once more, but eventually dies.

Suddenly, rocks start to split, and an earthquake occurs, and there follows, after Jesus' resurrection, a resurrection of the dead saints, who enter the holy city. This indicates how the earth has been shaken by the death of the Son of God. Centurions stare on at Jesus in disbelief, as do other bystanders.

On the night following Jesus's death, Joseph of Arimathea, a disciple of Jesus, asks for the body of Jesus. Pilate permits this, and Joseph, wrapping the body in a linen cloth, buries the body and rolls a stone against the entrance of the tomb, sealing it from looters and gravediggers.

Meanwhile, the priests and pharisees remember Jesus's remark that "After three days I will rise". The chapter concludes with Pilate sending a Roman detachment of troops to guard the tomb, in case of an invasion of the tomb by Christ's disciples.

Matthew's crucifixion story draws many parallels to Mark's crucifixion story. However, Matthew follows the recurring theme throughout his gospel by providing deeper descriptions than Mark.

Analysis[edit]

Matthew's crucifixion scene runs for only sixteen verses from 27:35 to 27:51, the same as in the Gospel of Mark, but one more than the Gospel of Luke, and three more than the Gospel of John. It is postulated that all writers wished to simply recall the facts surrounding Jesus's death, rather than engage in theological reflection.

Mark 15:24, Luke 23:33, John 19:18, Matthew 27:35 all share a succinct summary of the crucifixion, in that they all say, "They crucified Him". Only Mark and John, give an account of the time of Jesus's death ("The third hour" in Mark 15:25, and the "sixth hour" in John 19:14-15), whereas Luke, and Matthew himself do not.

There is disagreement between the Gospels as to what the last words of Jesus were. Matthew 27:46 and Mark 15:34 declares that Jesus's last words were: "Why have you forsaken me"?, disagreeing with Luke 23:46 ("Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit"), and John 19:30, ("It is finished").

Further contradictions are clear between the Gospels as to whether Jesus carried his own cross or not. In the Gospel of Matthew, Luke and Mark, Jesus gets assistance from Simon of Cyrene, whereas in the Gospel of John Jesus carries the cross by himself.

References[edit]


Preceded by
Matthew 26
Chapters of the New Testament
Gospel of Matthew
Succeeded by
Matthew 28