Today’s events come from Matthew 27:1-61. Let’s read it in full together.
Judas Hangs Himself
27 Early in the morning, all the chief priests and the elders of the people made their plans how to have Jesus executed. 2 So they bound him, led him away and handed him over to Pilate the governor.
3 When Judas, who had betrayed him, saw that Jesus was condemned, he was seized with remorse and returned the thirty pieces of silver to the chief priests and the elders. 4 “I have sinned,” he said, “for I have betrayed innocent blood.”
“What is that to us?” they replied. “That’s your responsibility.”
5 So Judas threw the money into the temple and left. Then he went away and hanged himself.
6 The chief priests picked up the coins and said, “It is against the law to put this into the treasury, since it is blood money.” 7 So they decided to use the money to buy the potter’s field as a burial place for foreigners. 8 That is why it has been called the Field of Blood to this day. 9 Then what was spoken by Jeremiah the prophet was fulfilled: “They took the thirty pieces of silver, the price set on him by the people of Israel, 10 and they used them to buy the potter’s field, as the Lord commanded me.”
Wow! Judas! Look at verse 4 with me, “I have betrayed _______________ blood.”
Judas knew Jesus was innocent the whole time, but he still betrayed him; read the verse before, “he was seized with remorse” that’s when he realized it went too far.
Remember, Judas was the one who was appointed his accuser. And in this passage he is telling the high priests that he is pulling his charges, he gives them the money back, but unfortunately, at this point it was too late.
Something I learned about this that really hit me was that in this time the high priests were the only way to God still, their job was to teach people about God and help them when they sinned. YET, when Judas comes asking them to help him find forgiveness for his sin against Jesus, they do nothing except tell Judas that it was on him. They’d completely lost sight of what they were called to be doing, simply because they wanted Jesus gone so badly.
Jesus Before Pilate
11 Meanwhile Jesus stood before the governor, and the governor asked him, “Are you the king of the Jews?”
“You have said so,” Jesus replied.
12 When he was accused by the chief priests and the elders, he gave no answer. 13 Then Pilate asked him, “Don’t you hear the testimony they are bringing against you?” 14 But Jesus made no reply, not even to a single charge—to the great amazement of the governor.
15 Now it was the governor’s custom at the festival to release a prisoner chosen by the crowd. 16 At that time they had a well-known prisoner whose name was Jesus Barabbas. 17 So when the crowd had gathered, Pilate asked them, “Which one do you want me to release to you: Jesus Barabbas, or Jesus who is called the Messiah?” 18 For he knew it was out of self-interest that they had handed Jesus over to him.
19 While Pilate was sitting on the judge’s seat, his wife sent him this message: “Don’t have anything to do with that innocent man, for I have suffered a great deal today in a dream because of him.”
20 But the chief priests and the elders persuaded the crowd to ask for Barabbas and to have Jesus executed.
21 “Which of the two do you want me to release to you?” asked the governor.
“Barabbas,” they answered.
22 “What shall I do, then, with Jesus who is called the Messiah?” Pilate asked.
They all answered, “Crucify him!”
23 “Why? What crime has he committed?” asked Pilate.
But they shouted all the louder, “Crucify him!”
24 When Pilate saw that he was getting nowhere, but that instead an uproar was starting, he took water and washed his hands in front of the crowd. “I am innocent of this man’s blood,” he said. “It is your responsibility!”
25 All the people answered, “His blood is on us and on our children!”
26 Then he released Barabbas to them. But he had Jesus flogged, and handed him over to be crucified.
This part is hard to read right? First, they bring Jesus to Pilate, the governor, BUT they know that blasphemy won’t count as a crime worth death to him, so they have to charge him with something else, so they decide that Jesus claiming himself a king would do because then he’d be considered a threat to their government. What gets me is that Pilate knew he was innocent. His conscience told him he was innocent, Roman law even said no innocent man should be put to death and his wife told him about her dream and that he should not touch Jesus! BUT he still allows this to happen to Jesus because of the pressure from the crowd.
Do you think that Pilate washing his hands really freed him from guilt of this death?
This is “a false sense of peace.” Have you ever reasoned with yourself something that you weren’t proud of, but made a way to find peace with it without repenting of it?
The Soldiers Mock Jesus
27 Then the governor’s soldiers took Jesus into the Praetorium and gathered the whole company of soldiers around him. 28 They stripped him and put a scarlet robe on him, 29 and then twisted together a crown of thorns and set it on his head. They put a staff in his right hand. Then they knelt in front of him and mocked him. “Hail, king of the Jews!” they said. 30 They spit on him, and took the staff and struck him on the head again and again. 31 After they had mocked him, they took off the robe and put his own clothes on him. Then they led him away to crucify him.
What do you see happening here?
These soldiers were just making fun of him, they dressed him up to look like a king and then beat him and spit on him.
What stands out to you in this part of the passage?
The Crucifixion of Jesus
32 As they were going out, they met a man from Cyrene, named Simon, and they forced him to carry the cross. 33 They came to a place called Golgotha (which means “the place of the skull”). 34 There they offered Jesus wine to drink, mixed with gall; but after tasting it, he refused to drink it. 35 When they had crucified him, they divided up his clothes by casting lots. 36 And sitting down, they kept watch over him there. 37 Above his head they placed the written charge against him: this is Jesus, the king of the Jews.
38 Two rebels were crucified with him, one on his right and one on his left. 39 Those who passed by hurled insults at him, shaking their heads 40 and saying, “You who are going to destroy the temple and build it in three days, save yourself! Come down from the cross, if you are the Son of God!” 41 In the same way the chief priests, the teachers of the law and the elders mocked him. 42 “He saved others,” they said, “but he can’t save himself! He’s the king of Israel! Let him come down now from the cross, and we will believe in him. 43 He trusts in God. Let God rescue him now if he wants him, for he said, ‘I am the Son of God.’” 44 In the same way the rebels who were crucified with him also heaped insults on him.
Matthew picks up here talking about a man named Simon carrying the cross, the reason is that Jesus was so weak from the beatings his body just took that he couldn’t carry it himself.
Our application tells us something interesting about verse 34. Jesus was offered wine mixed with gall, this concoction was supposed to help him with the pain, “gall is generally understood to be a narcotic that was used to deaden pain.” But what happened after he tasted it?
He refused to drink it, that means Jesus felt everything, he was fully aware both physically and mentally of what was happening to him! This means every insult thrown at him, he was hearing, and yet he was choosing to be peaceful and not fire back at them.
How do you feel in this moment? Reading these words, these insults?
Our passage in Matthew doesn’t include a very important detail of what Jesus did before he died on the cross. Let’s look at just how much of Jesus’ character is revealed in this time in Luke 23:32-43:
32 Two other men, both criminals, were also led out with him to be executed. 33 When they came to the place called the Skull, they crucified him there, along with the criminals—one on his right, the other on his left. 34 Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.” And they divided up his clothes by casting lots.
35 The people stood watching, and the rulers even sneered at him. They said, “He saved others; let him save himself if he is God’s Messiah, the Chosen One.”
36 The soldiers also came up and mocked him. They offered him wine vinegar 37 and said, “If you are the king of the Jews, save yourself.”
38 There was a written notice above him, which read: this is the king of the jews.
39 One of the criminals who hung there hurled insults at him: “Aren’t you the Messiah? Save yourself and us!”
40 But the other criminal rebuked him. “Don’t you fear God,” he said, “since you are under the same sentence? 41 We are punished justly, for we are getting what our deeds deserve. But this man has done nothing wrong.”
42 Then he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.”
43 Jesus answered him, “Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in paradise.”
Even in Jesus’ weakest, most vulnerable moment, he was saving and loving others, wanting them to know who God was.
What part of this passage grabs your attention? How do these details impact Good Friday for you?
The Death of Jesus
45 From noon until three in the afternoon darkness came over all the land. 46 About three in the afternoon Jesus cried out in a loud voice, “Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?” (which means “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”).
47 When some of those standing there heard this, they said, “He’s calling Elijah.”
48 Immediately one of them ran and got a sponge. He filled it with wine vinegar, put it on a staff, and offered it to Jesus to drink. 49 The rest said, “Now leave him alone. Let’s see if Elijah comes to save him.”
50 And when Jesus had cried out again in a loud voice, he gave up his spirit.
51 At that moment the curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom. The earth shook, the rocks split 52 and the tombs broke open. The bodies of many holy people who had died were raised to life. 53 They came out of the tombs after Jesus’ resurrection and went into the holy city and appeared to many people.
54 When the centurion and those with him who were guarding Jesus saw the earthquake and all that had happened, they were terrified, and exclaimed, “Surely he was the Son of God!”
55 Many women were there, watching from a distance. They had followed Jesus from Galilee to care for his needs. 56 Among them were Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James and Joseph, and the mother of Zebedee’s sons.
Jesus calls out to God, we need to understand that Jesus is not questioning God here, when he cries out why have you forsaken me; rather he is expressing his anguish, our application tells us he is quoting the first line of Psalm 22. And this exact moment, this is THE moment Jesus prayed to God about in the garden just yesterday night.
Can you list out the four miraculous acts that happened after Jesus died?
Write down how you think Mary Magdalene, she was the one that anointed him days earlier. The other Mary here, the mother of James is also Jesus’ mom. How do you think she was feeling in this moment? Write down a couple things that come to mind, to help put this in a human perspective.
The Burial of Jesus
57 As evening approached, there came a rich man from Arimathea, named Joseph, who had himself become a disciple of Jesus. 58 Going to Pilate, he asked for Jesus’ body, and Pilate ordered that it be given to him. 59 Joseph took the body, wrapped it in a clean linen cloth, 60 and placed it in his own new tomb that he had cut out of the rock. He rolled a big stone in front of the entrance to the tomb and went away. 61 Mary Magdalene and the other Mary were sitting there opposite the tomb.
I love that we get to end here, a glimpse of goodness and love for Jesus. What this scripture doesn’t tell us is that this Joseph guy was actually a “secret disciple of Jesus. He was a religious leader, an honored member of the Sanhedrin.” But, he knew what was right and since all of Jesus’ public followers, his known disciples, left him to die, this man was courageous enough to go before Pilate and ask for Jesus’ body in order to properly burying him.
Not only this, but it’s to my understanding that Joseph had actually purchased this tomb for himself, and gave it to Christ in order to have a burial at all.
We see Joseph cover the hole of the tomb, with the two Mary’s watching the stone close Jesus in there.
What is something that you can take away from Joseph’s actions here to implement in your own life?
I want to have a time of worship today, too.
Lord, what a day this was, thank you for the scriptures that tells us this story about Jesus, your son. Thank you for sending him to die. We immediately see that after his death, we received direct relationship with you when that curtain was torn, we are so grateful for that piece alone. Thank you that you sacrificed your son so that we could be forgiven. In a time of unimaginable pain and anguish that we see Jesus suffering, help us to put that into perspective, that all of that was done for us, for our relationship with you and our forgiveness. What a gift you gave us on that day. What a sacrifice. Thank you for the example that Christ gave, even up to the moment he died, where he loved those mocking him and forgave the robber right there next to Him, as with every single story we have learned this week, I pray you help us to be more like Jesus here on Earth. It’s in your good and powerful name we pray, AMEN!