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Matthew  ◦   Chapter 27

1 In the early hours of the morning, before dawn, the senior pastors, theologians and local politicians who gathered to condemn Jesus came to a unanimous decision to put him to death.2 So they tied his hands and took him to Pilate, the Roman governor.

3 Judas, who betrayed him, had been watching; and when he saw Jesus didn't deliver himself but surrendered and was sentenced to death, he regretted that his scheme to force Jesus to take the throne didn't work. He gave the thirty silver coins back to the senior pastors and local politicians, telling them,4 "I was wrong! I betrayed an innocent man!"

But they looked at him with contempt and said, "Who cares! That's your problem!"

5 So Judas threw the money into the temple and fled. He then went and hanged himself.

6 The senior pastors collected the coins and said to each other, "We follow the law, and our law won't allow blood money to go into the temple treasury."7 So they used the money to buy a potter's field to use as a cemetery for foreigners.8 That is why, even to this day, it is called Blood Field.9 It was in fulfillment of what Jeremiah foretold: "They used thirty silver coins to buy the honor of him who could be bought with a price by some of Israel's descendants,10 and bought a potter's field, just as the Lord foretold."

11 When Jesus arrived before the Roman governor, the governor asked him, "Are you the king of the Jews?"

Jesus answered directly,
"Your words, not mine."

12 The senior pastors, theologians and local politicians shouted various accusations at Jesus, but he didn't respond to anything they said.13 So Pilate looked at him and asked, "Do you hear what they are saying about you, and the charges they are making against you?"14 But Jesus remained silent, not answering even one charge against him. The governor was stunned by his calm and dignified demeanor.

15 During Passover, it was the custom of the Roman governor to release one prisoner chosen by the people.16 At that time, they had a serial killer in prison, named Barabbas.17 Pilate had both Barabbas and Jesus brought before the mob that had gathered, and asked, "Which one do you want me to release: the serial killer Barabbas, or Jesus who is called Messiah?"18 Pilate did this because he knew that it was out of jealousy and petty envy that they'd brought Jesus to him, seeking his execution.

19 While Pilate was still deliberating his judgment, he received a message from his wife, saying: "Don't be tricked into judging this innocent man, for all night I have been distraught over a dream I had about him."

20 But the senior pastors, theologians and local leaders persuaded the mob to shout for Barabbas and demand that Jesus be executed.

21 "Which of these two men do you want released?" Pilate asked.

"Barabbas," they shouted.

22 "Then what would you have done with Jesus who is called Messiah?" the governor asked.

They screamed, "Crucify him!"

23 "Why? What has he done wrong?" Pilate asked.

But they screamed over and over again, "Crucify him!"

24 When Pilate saw the mob was not listening, their agitation was escalating, and that things were getting out of control, he took water and washed his hands in front of the crowd, saying: "I wash my hands of responsibility for the death of this man. Let his death be on you. It is your responsibility!"

25 All the people shouted, "Let the blame fall on us and on our children after us!"

26 So Pilate released Barabbas to the mob, and had Jesus flogged and handed over to be crucified.

27 The Roman soldiers shoved Jesus into the courtyard of the government building, and the entire garrison surrounded him.28 They stripped off his clothes and put a red-colored robe on him,29 and then made a crown out of thorns and crammed it onto his head. They put a rod in his right hand and then mocked him by kneeling down in front of him, saying, "Hail, O king of the Jews!"30 They spat in his face and beat him with the staff, striking him on the head repeatedly.31 After they made fun of him and derided him, they pulled off the robe, put his own clothes back on him and took him to be crucified.

32 When they were leaving the government house, they came across Simon from Cyrene, and the soldiers forced him to carry the cross.33 They arrived at Golgotha (which means "the hill that looks like a skull").34 They offered Jesus an anesthetic made of wine and gall, but after tasting it, he refused to drink it, as he didn't want anything to dull his mind.35 After they had nailed him to the cross, the soldiers threw dice to see who got his clothing,36 and then sat down to guard the area.37 On the cross, above his head, they placed a sign citing the charge against him: THIS IS JESUS, THE KING OF THE JEWS.38 Two thieves were crucified with him, one on each side.39 The people who passed by cursed him, called him names and ridiculed him,40 saying, "You thought you were going to destroy the temple and rebuild it in three days. Look at yourself: You can't even save your own life! Save yourself if you are so great! Come on, come down off the cross and show us how great you are. You are the Son of God, aren't you?"

41 The senior pastors, theologians, lawyers and local politicians mocked him in the same way:42 "He saved others, but look, he isn't anything special-He can't even save himself! If he's going to be Israel's king, then let him come down from the cross and we will believe him. Save yourself and we will believe you!43 He claims he trusts God; well then, let God rescue him now if God thinks he is innocent. Remember, this fellow had the audacity to say, 'I am the Son of God.'"44 And the thieves also verbally accosted him, cursed him and mocked him, tempting him to save himself.

45 From noon until three in the afternoon, a thick darkness fell over the countryside around the cross.46 Around three in the afternoon, Jesus cried out in a loud voice, "Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani?" (which means, "My God, my God, why have you let go of me and given me up?")

47 But some of those standing around the cross misunderstood what Jesus had said. They said, "He's calling for the God's spokesman Elijah."

48 One of the bystanders quickly soaked a sponge in the wine vinegar anesthetic and offered it to Jesus to drink.49 But the rest were more cruel and said, "Leave him alone! He called for Elijah; let's see if Elijah saves him."

50 But Jesus cried out one last time and gave up his life.

51 At that very moment, the inner curtain of the temple was ripped open from the top to the bottom. There was a great earthquake, and rocks broke apart.52 Graves ruptured open and the bodies of many people who trusted God were raised to life.53 They came out of the graves, alive, and after Jesus' resurrection, they went into Jerusalem and witnessed to many people.

54 When the captain of the Roman soldiers and those guarding Jesus saw the earthquake and all that happened, they were scared nearly to death. Trembling all over, they said, "He really was the Son of God!"

55 Some distance away, there was a group of women who had followed Jesus from Galilee in order to care for him.56 Among these were Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James and Joseph, and the mother of Zebedee's sons.

57 As sunset was approaching, Joseph of Arimathea — a rich man who had partaken of the Remedy and trusted Jesus — came to the cross.58 He went to Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus, and Pilate ordered that it be given to him.59 Joseph reverently wrapped the body in clean, white linen,60 and laid it in his own, brand new tomb he had carved in the rock. Then he rolled a large stone over the entrance and left.61 Mary Magdalene and the other Mary stayed by, sitting across from the tomb.

62 On Sabbath, the day after Preparation Day, the senior pastors and church lawyers went to Pilate.63 "Your honor," they said, "we just remembered that this conman said: 'I will arise from the dead on the third day.'64 We suspect his disciples will try to steal his body and claim to the people that he has risen from the dead, creating an even greater deception than his claim to be king. So, we request that you order a guard to secure the tomb until three days are past."

65 Pilate, disgusted with their political intrigue, said, "Fine! Take a guard and make the grave as secure as you know how."

66 So they posted a guard at the tomb and put a seal on the stone.