MATTHEW 27
Enter subtitle here


4 Saying, I have sinned in that I have betrayed the innocent blood. And they said, What is that to us? see thou to that.

He had anxiously followed the course of events, evidently expecting that Jesus, would deliver himself from the hands of his captors by the power that he knew he possessed, and which he had seen him put forth in self-preservation on more than one occasion before. When he now saw that all hope in this direction was at an end, and that Jesus was a doomed victim of authority in the hands of those to 'whom he had betrayed him, his spirit sank under the remorse excited by the full sense of what he had done...

...In a frenzy of despair, he went back to the officials in the Temple, from whom he had received the money, and threw the money before them in an agony of self-accusation.

Nazareth Revisited Ch 57



19 When he was set down on the judgment seat, his wife sent unto him, saying, Have thou nothing to do with that just man: for I have suffered many things this day in a dream because of him.

There may have been nothing in the dream of Pilate's wife but the idle reflex of the current city-excitement. At the same time, there is nothing improbable in the supposition that it was something more -- that her dream was of divine origin with the object of influencing Pilate in Christ's favour, and leading him to proclaim the innocence of Christ, in a position from which his words would (afterwards) be heard by all the world.

It was a judicial vindication of Christ at the very moment of his condemnation, and threw the whole responsibility of that condemnation on "the Jews, his own nation," who have since tried in vain to get rid of it.

Nazareth Revisited Ch 57



23 And the governor said, Why, what evil hath he done? But they cried out the more, saying, Let him be crucified.

It is useless reasoning with hatred... Pilate felt he must make some concession, or there might be serious riot, for which he would be held responsible at headquarters. His desire to release Christ was not strong enough to withstand the pressure of personal danger. So he signified compliance with the demands of the crowd, and secured peace and infamy by one and the same act.

Nazareth Revisited Ch 57



26 Then released he Barabbas unto them: and when he had scourged Jesus, he delivered him to be crucified.

The first and ordinary preliminary to crucifixion was "scourging." To this Jesus was now subjected. Horror of horrors! Think of it ye who have been "bought with (such) a price." Hark at the resounding blows on that noble form!

If the usual practice was followed, which there is no reason to doubt, he was publicly stripped where he stood, and made to kneel down with his hands tied to a pillar, and many blows inflicted by a strong man on his bare back with a knotched and knotted bludgeon, which tore the flesh and drew blood at every stroke.

It is said that those subjected to this terrible torture frequently died under it. It would have been well for Jesus in a human sense if this had been his experience, for he survived it only to undergo more terrible sufferings.

Nazareth Revisited Ch 57



34 They gave him vinegar to drink mingled with gall: and when he had tasted thereof, he would not drink.

We may here understand why Jesus, the great antitypical Nazarite, refused, before crucifixion, to drink of the "vinegar, mingled with gall" (Matt. 27:34), which would have dulled pain, and enabled him to go through the ordeal of pain with an endurance not derived from faith, but from mere physical stupefaction.

Law of Moses Ch 30



46 And about the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, saying, Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani? that is to say, My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?

Some have a difficulty in understanding such words from the mouth of Christ. There need be none. The exhaustion of nature accounts for the momentary suspension of understanding. Consider the sleepless and terrible night he had come through; the buffetings; the scourging; and the six hours fierce agony of the cross; can we wonder at strength gone, understanding clouded, heart broken? The moment of release was at hand.

Nazareth Revisited Ch 58



47 Some of them that stood there, when they heard that, said, This man calleth for Elias.

Some of the bystanders, misunderstanding the Hebrew in which Jesus spoke, imagined he was calling for Elias



50 Jesus, when he had cried again with a loud voice, yielded up the spirit.

There was one long loud wail from the convulsed form on "the accursed tree" and then a few scarcely audible words:

"Father, into Thy hands I commend my spirit."

Again he said,

"It is finished."

The head then fell on the breast; the frame hung motionless All was over. Christ was dead.

Nazareth Revisited Ch 58



51 And, behold, the veil of the temple was rent in twain from the top to the bottom; and the earth did quake, and the rocks rent;

An earthquake sent its appalling tremors far and wide; with sharp, cracking sound, the rocky hills in the neighbourhood of Jerusalem were rent asunder in all directions; the graves were exposed; the veil of the temple that fenced off the holiest from human intrusion, was sharply torn open from top to bottom.

Dark, weird, and terrific, every aspect of nature combined to express the anger of God at a tragedy which, while His own pre-appointment for high and holy ends, was none the less the infamous triumph of human wickedness over the holy, the good, and divine.

Not many years afterwards, there was a fearful retribution on the same spot, when by the order of Titus, to deter the inhabitants of the beleagured city from escaping into his camp, Jerusalem was surrounded with a long line of crosses on each of which an escaped Jew was transfixed in writhing agony. If we could know, we should probably discover that the victims on that occasion, though taken at haphazard by the Romans, were probably selected by the hand of Providence with reference to the guilt of Calvary.

Nazareth Revisited Ch 58



52 And the graves were opened; and many bodies of the saints which slept arose,

53 And came out of the graves after his resurrection, and went into the holy city, and appeared unto many.

The statement occurs in connection with the description of the crucifixion, and the first impression it makes on the mind is that it occurred at the same time that terrible day when "the earth did quake and the rocks rent." But reading again, it appears that only the opening of the graves happened in connection with the earthquake. The vivifying of the bodies thus exposed and ready for liberty, did not take place till the morning that saw the Lord himself "arise triumphant from the tomb."

There is something fitting in the idea that the effluence of life-power, employed in restoring the Lord to life, should extend its healing effects to the Lord's recently-interred friends. We may infer they were recently interred from the circumstance of their entering Jerusalem and "appearing unto many." Strangers would not have been recognised.

Did they die again? or did they survive in the Elias and Enoch state? The question has been asked. It cannot be answered. There is no information. It matters nothing. The circumstance of their return to life at the Lord's resurrection is interesting: and no doubt it would greatly tend to establish that faith in the event which all the opposition and unbelief of the enemy was not able to eradicate.

Nazareth Revisited Ch 60



54 Now when the centurion, and they that were with him, watching Jesus, saw the earthquake, and those things that were done, they feared greatly, saying, Truly this was the Son of God.

And all the people that came together to that sight, beholding the things which were done, smote their breasts, and returned. -Luke 23: 48

Solemnly they exchanged remarks with the emphatic gesture and breast-smitings of Orientals.

But one of the soldiers with a spear pierced his side - John 19: 34

see accompanying notes.



55 And many women were there beholding afar off, which followed Jesus from Galilee, ministering unto him:

We can hardly interpret "many" as much less than fifteen or twenty, and it would seem to imply more. Let us try to get the picture. Besides these women, as Jesus travelled about, there were the twelve disciples, and a certain number of others. We know there were at least more than two others, and probably many more, for in Acts 1, Peter says --

"Of these men which have companied with us all the time the Lord Jesus went in and out among us ... must one be ordained a witness."

And of this group they appointed two to be chosen between by lot to fill Judas' place...

Ministering unto him:


...He did not work. He did not support himself. He allowed these (as it would seem) infatuated women to minister to him of their substance.

We remember his first temptation -- "Make these stones bread." He had all the power at his command. He did not need to humiliate himself, and give such an appearance to the world by depending upon the ministrations and possessions of the simple women who followed him.

Only two classes could possibly be attracted to him -- the very simple, and those with deep spiritual discernment who could see through all the externals to the reality within.

How beautiful it was that he who had all the power at his command must not use it for his own simplest needs, but must embarrassingly depend upon devoted women who had left their households and who followed and ministered to him with loving care! How beautiful that he should be permitted to need them and depend upon them! -- He -- the Son of God, the potential Lord of Heaven and Earth!

How strange and beautiful are the ways of God! How utterly and refreshingly different from the ways of men!

And so "many" loving and devoted women were there at the cross, but -- as far as we have any record -- only one man, "the disciple whom Jesus loved."

Bro Growcott - Woman, Why Weepest Thou



57 When the even was come, there came a rich man of Arimathaea, named Joseph, who also himself was Jesus' disciple:

a counsellor; and he was a good man, and a just: (The same had not consented to the counsel and deed of them;) he was of Arimathaea, a city of the Jews: who also himself waited for the kingdom of God - Luke 23: 50,51.

Another point had now to be secured. The body of the Lord was in danger of being cast as a dishonoured carcase among the rubbish and defilement of the local town waste. This was the customary way of disposing of the corpses of crucified criminals; and such he was in the eye of human law at this moment. This needless dishonour of God's Holy One was to be prevented, and also the doubt as to his resurrection, which would in some measure have arisen if his body had been thrown out into an unidentifiable spot.

"An honourable man and a councillor" was providentially brought to the rescue -- a member of the Sannhedrin who "had not consented to the counsel and deed of them" -- Joseph, of Arimathea, -- "a good man and a just," who also himself waited for the Kingdom of God, and who had in fact been secretly a disciple of Jesus.

He now threw aside his secrecy, and went openly and boldly to Pilate, and begged that he might be allowed to take possession of the body of Jesus. This was an act of great courage. It was to identify himself with an executed criminal, and incur the reproach of his name at a time when as yet there was nothing to lighten the stigma like the circumstances that developed themselves in connection with his resurrection.

When a man is necessary, God provides him. An ordinary man would not have had influence enough with Pilate to get such a request granted. Joseph of Arimathea was no ordinary man. He was not only a man of exceptional character, but as a member of the council, he would carry all the weight of a modern member of Parliament.

Nazareth Revisited Ch 58



59 And when Joseph had taken the body, he wrapped it in a clean linen cloth,

And there came also Nicodemus, which at the first came to Jesus by night, and brought a mixture of myrrh and aloes, about an hundred pound weight - John 19: 39

Nicodemus brought with him about a hundred-weight of the spices in which it was customary for the Jews to enswathe their beloved dead before committing them to the tomb. Nicodemus must have made this preparation during the day, in the full knowledge of Christ's condemnation, and in anticipation of his death.

Possibly he and Joseph agreed together that they should ask Pilate for custody of the body when death should be certified. Probably they were among the crowds that came out to witness the crucifixion and saw the end. At all events, here they were together at the cross, with the full authority of the governor to take possession of the body, and armed with the needful appliances for affectionate interment.

Nazareth Revisited Ch 58

 And they returned, and prepared spices and ointments; and rested the sabbath day according to the commandment- Luke 23: 56



62 Now the next day, that followed the day of the preparation, the chief priests and Pharisees came together unto Pilate,

63 Saying, Sir, we remember that that deceiver said, while he was yet alive, After three days I will rise again.

64 Command therefore that the sepulchre be made sure until the third day, lest his disciples come by night, and steal him away, and say unto the people, He is risen from the dead: so the last error shall be worse than the first.

...how unreasonable and impossible were the views of the case entertained by the destroyers of Jesus.

Here was a body of soldiers at his grave side by their request -- to prevent what? His resurrection? Oh, no; they could not admit that. Jesus was "that deceiver." Though he said he would rise in three days, of course he would do no such thing. What then were the soldiers for? To prevent the disciples stealing the body, and saying Jesus had risen. To prevent the disciples stealing and lying? Why should they steal and lie in the case? When men steal and lie, it is with an object -- invariably. What object could there be in this case?

The possession of Christ's dead body would be the surest evidence to the disciples that he was not what they believed him to be. With such fatal proof that he was dead, and not alive, why should they wish to say he had risen? What had they to gain by it -- for themselves or others?

We could understand their getting up a story that was to work to advantage in some way; but where was the advantage in preaching a lie in the face of opposition, imprisonment and death? If Christ rose, we can understand it. If he did not, the procedure of the apostles is inexplicable on any known principle of human action, and their success still more so.

How overpowering do these considerations become when we come to study the actual inducements afterwards offered by the disciples to the people in connection with faith in his resurrection:

"Through this man is preached unto you the forgiveness of sins! Repent and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord, and God shall send Jesus Christ whom the heavens must receive until -- &c."

That men should steal a dead body and proclaim a lie that they might preach such doctrines and present such considerations, is a moral impossibility. Yet such was the puerile suggestion on which the chief priests asked Pilate to safe-guard the grave of Jesus of Nazareth.

It bears its own condemnation on its face. However, it was a useful piece of folly. It turned the very murderers of Christ into witnesses of his resurrection. By placing a guard at the tomb, they were placed under the obligation of admitting before the whole world that "after three days;" the tomb was empty; and the very story they put into circulation to explain the emptiness -- (current among the Jews to this very day) -- became, by its lameness and self-evident absurdity, one of the principal evidences of that very resurrection which they invented it to deny.

Nazareth Revisited Ch 58



66 So they went, and made the sepulchre sure, sealing the stone, and setting a watch.

How extraordinary a man must be to have soldiers posted at his grave -- on whatever plea the soldiers are placed there. The chief priests and Pharisees were uneasy about the occupant of that grave.

...Behold, then, a squad of Roman soldiers march into the garden, and set themselves down before a quiet stone chamber, containing a dead man! Was ever such a thing seen before? How suggestive is the incident every way when thought over.

How fruitful of evidence of the truth. It proves (out of the mouth of Christ's enemies) that Christ had predicted his own death; for how otherwise could the idea of rising again in three days have arisen? And if he predicted his own death, the presence of his dead body in that cold soldier-guarded chamber is proof of his having been a true prophet in that particular. And if a true prophet in that particular, why not in the other particular also, that

"in three days he would rise again?"

It proves also that Christ was a doer of mighty works "before God and all the people;" for if he were not, how came the Pharisees to take such trouble to prevent the idea of his resurrection from arising. The Pharisees themselves are witnesses to the mighty works -- the curing of multitudes by his word. The very explanation they gave of them is evidence of their occurrence.

"He casteth out demons by the prince of demons."

If he performed these mighty works, what explanation is there of them but the one he gave himself:

"The works that I do bear witness of me that the Father hath sent me."

Nazareth Revisited Ch 58