Matthew 27:1-31 (NRSV)
Jesus Brought before Pilate
When morning came, all the chief priests and the elders of the people conferred together against Jesus in order to bring about his death. 2They bound him, led him away, and handed him over to Pilate the governor.
The Suicide of Judas
3When Judas, his betrayer, saw that Jesus was condemned, he repented and brought back the thirty pieces of silver to the chief priests and the elders. 4He said, “I have sinned by betraying innocent blood.”
But they said, “What is that to us? See to it yourself.”
5Throwing down the pieces of silver in the temple, he departed; and he went and hanged himself.
In his unrepentant remorse and despair, Judas committed suicide.
6But the chief priests, taking the pieces of silver, said, “It is not lawful to put them into the treasury, since they are blood money.”
The hypocrisy of the chief priests was transparent. They didn’t want to defile themselves with blood money, even though it was a price that they themselves paid.
7After conferring together, they used them to buy the potter’s field as a place to bury foreigners. 8For this reason that field has been called the Field of Blood to this day. 9Then was fulfilled what had been spoken through the prophet Jeremiah, “And they took the thirty pieces of silver, the price of the one on whom a price had been set, on whom some of the people of Israel had set a price, 10and they gave them for the potter’s field, as the Lord commanded me.”
Pilate Questions Jesus
Various scholars on Pontius Pilate:
“Pilate was in fact appointed prefect or procurator by Tiberius Caesar in a.d. 26. Prefects governed small, troubled areas; and in judicial matters they possessed powers like those of the far more powerful proconsuls and imperial legates; in short, they held the power of life and death.”
–D. A. Carson
“The ordinary residence of procurators was Caesarea, on the sea coast, but it was their custom to be in Jerusalem at Passover time, with a detachment of soldiers, to watch over the public peace.”
–F. F. Bruce
“Philo, the ancient Jewish scholar from Alexandria, described Pilate: ‘His corruption, his acts of insolence, his rapine, his habit of insulting people, his cruelty, his continual murders of people untried and uncondemned, and his never-ending gratuitous and most grievous inhumanity.'”
11Now Jesus stood before the governor; and the governor asked him, “Are you the King of the Jews?”
Jesus said, “You say so.”
12But when he was accused by the chief priests and elders, he did not answer. 13Then Pilate said to him, “Do you not hear how many accusations they make against you?” 14But he gave him no answer, not even to a single charge, so that the governor was greatly amazed.
Barabbas or Jesus?
15Now at the festival the governor was accustomed to release a prisoner for the crowd, anyone whom they wanted. 16At that time they had a notorious prisoner, called Jesus Barabbas. 17So after they had gathered, Pilate said to them, “Whom do you want me to release for you, Jesus Barabbas or Jesus who is called the Messiah?” 18For he realized that it was out of jealousy that they had handed him over.
“Let it be remembered that malice as often originates from envy as it does from anger.”
19While he was sitting on the judgment seat, his wife sent word to him, “Have nothing to do with that innocent man, for today I have suffered a great deal because of a dream about him.”
“Most dreams we quite forget; a few we mention as remarkable, and only now and then one is impressed upon us so that we remember it for years. Scarcely have any of you had a dream which made you send a message to a magistrate upon the bench.”
–Charles Haddon Spurgeon
20Now the chief priests and the elders persuaded the crowds to ask for Barabbas and to have Jesus killed.
21The governor again said to them, “Which of the two do you want me to release for you?”
And they said, “Barabbas.”
22Pilate said to them, “Then what should I do with Jesus who is called the Messiah?”
All of them said, “Let him be crucified!”
23Then he asked, “Why, what evil has he done?”
But they shouted all the more, “Let him be crucified!”
Pilate Hands Jesus over to Be Crucified
24So when Pilate saw that he could do nothing, but rather that a riot was beginning, he took some water and washed his hands before the crowd, saying, “I am innocent of this man’s blood; see to it yourselves.”
Spurgeon marvels that Pilate could commit murder, and then disclaim it. Oh, the lies we tell ourselves about our own sins!
25Then the people as a whole answered, “His blood be on us and on our children!”
26So he released Barabbas for them; and after flogging Jesus, he handed him over to be crucified.
From the Apostles’ Creed:
He suffered under Pontius Pilate.
Hymn: “Go to Dark Gethsemane” (verse 2)
Follow to the judgment hall,
View the Lord of life arraigned.
Oh, the wormwood and the gall!
Oh, the pangs his soul sustained!
Shun not suffering, shame, or loss;
Learn from him to bear the cross.
–James Montgomery (1771-1854)
The Soldiers Mock Jesus
HERE is “O Sacred Head, Now Wounded” — Fernando Ortega, with verses of Scripture and pictures from the movie The Passion of Christ.
27Then the soldiers of the governor took Jesus into the governor’s headquarters, and they gathered the whole cohort around him. 28They stripped him and put a scarlet robe on him, 29and after twisting some thorns into a crown, they put it on his head. They put a reed in his right hand and knelt before him and mocked him, saying, “Hail, King of the Jews!” 30They spat on him, and took the reed and struck him on the head. 31After mocking him, they stripped him of the robe and put his own clothes on him. Then they led him away to crucify him.
The New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989 by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.