Matthew 27

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Matthew 27
P105-Mat-27 62-64-POxy4406-V-VI.jpg
Gospel of Matthew 27:62-64 on Papyrus 105, from 5th/6th century.
Book Gospel of Matthew
Bible part New Testament
Order in the Bible part 1
Category Gospel

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



Matthew describes the trial, crucifixion and burial of Jesus.

Jesus is taken to Pontius Pilate, the Roman governor (procurator) of Judea.[2] At the same time, Judas Iscariot, who had betrayed Jesus, sees that his former teacher has been condemned,[3] and is overcome by remorse: in the words of the King James Version, he "repented himself". The word translated as "repented" (Greek: μεταμεληθεις, metamelētheis) is not the same as the word for repentance which John the Baptist and Jesus himself used in their ministry (Greek: μετανοειτε, metanoeite);[4] the Cambridge Bible for Schools and Colleges notes that "it implies no change of heart or life, but merely remorse or regret".[5]

Judas brings back the 30 pieces of silver which had been given 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' silent dignity at his questioning. Pilate begins to address the crowd, and knowing (or "shrewdly suspecting")[6] that the chief priests had handed Jesus over because they were jealous of his popularity, asks the crowd to choose between freeing a notorious prisoner known as Barabbas, or Jesus. The crowd, persuaded by the chief priests and elders, 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.

Pilate comes to see that he cannot reason with the crowd. His wife has had a disturbing dream and asks him to have "nothing to do with that just man".[7] 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 the Praetorium of the Governor's Residence, where Pilate's guard and the praetorian guard mock him, giving him a scarlet robe in place of his own clothes, a reed to hold as a sign of his "kingship" and a crown made of twisted thorns. The soldiers then replace the robe with Jesus' own clothes and lead him to Golgotha (the "place of a skull"); in Luke's Gospel this journey is recorded with "several particulars of what happened on the way to Golgotha, omitted in the other Gospels: the great company of people and of women who followed Him; the touching address of Jesus to the women; the last warning of the coming sorrows; the leading of two malefactors with Him".[8] A man named Simon, from Cyrene, is compelled to carry Jesus' cross. At Golgotha 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' 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' 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' remark that "After three days I will rise".[9] The chapter concludes with Pilate authorising a detachment of troops to guard the tomb, in case the disciples come to remove the body.


Matthew's crucifixion story has many parallels with Mark's crucifixion story. However, Matthew follows the recurring theme throughout his gospel by providing deeper descriptions than Mark. Matthew's crucifixion scene runs for only sixteen verses from 27:35 to 27:51, the same number of verses 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' death, rather than engage in theological reflection.[citation needed]

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' 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' 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 differences can be found in the Gospels as to whether Jesus carried his own cross or not. In the Gospels of Matthew, Luke and Mark, Jesus receives assistance from Simon of Cyrene, whereas in the Gospel of John Jesus carries the cross by himself.

See also


  1. ^ List of manuscripts „Fortsetzung der Liste der Handschriften“ Institut für Neutestamentliche Textforschung, Universität Münster. (PDF-file; 147 kB)
  2. ^ Cambridge Bible for Schools and Colleges on Matthew 27, accessed 2 March 2017
  3. ^ Matthew 27:3
  4. ^ Matthew 3:2; 4:17
  5. ^ Cambridge Bible for Schools and Colleges on Matthew 27, accessed 2 March 2017
  6. ^ Expositor's Greek Testament on Matthew 27, accessed 3 March 2017
  7. ^ Matthew 27:19
  8. ^ Luke 23:27-32; Cambridge Bible for Schools and Colleges on Matthew 27, accessed 2 March 2017
  9. ^ See Matthew 12:40, the Sign of Jonah and Matthew 16:21, Jesus' private teaching to his disciples

Further reading

  • Commentary on the Gospel of Matthew.
  • Contradictions in the Gospel accounts of Jesus' crucifixion.

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