God’s Saving Word: Hope
Matthew 27:1-26: Jesus is taken to Pilate, the Roman governor, where he is questioned. Pilate brings Jesus before a crowd and offers them the choice of freeing a criminal or freeing Jesus. The crowd calls for Jesus to be crucified, and Pilate sentences Jesus to death. Meanwhile, Judas hangs himself.
Jesus Is Taken to Pilate
27 Early in the morning all the chief priests and the elders made their plans against Jesus to put him to death. 2 They put him in chains, led him off, and handed him over to Pilate, the Roman governor.
The Death of Judas
3 When Judas, the traitor, learned that Jesus had been condemned, he repented and took back the thirty silver coins to the chief priests and the elders. 4 “I have sinned by betraying an innocent man to death!” he said.
“What do we care about that?” they answered. “That is your business!”
5 Judas threw the coins down in the Temple and left; then he went off and hanged himself.
6 The chief priests picked up the coins and said, “This is blood money, and it is against our Law to put it in the Temple treasury.” 7 After reaching an agreement about it, they used the money to buy Potter’s Field, as a cemetery for foreigners. 8 That is why that field is called “Field of Blood” to this very day.
9 Then what the prophet Jeremiah had said came true: “They took the thirty silver coins, the amount the people of Israel had agreed to pay for him, 10 and used the money to buy the potter’s field, as the Lord had commanded me.”
Pilate Questions Jesus
11 Jesus stood before the Roman governor, who questioned him. “Are you the king of the Jews?” he asked.
“So you say,” answered Jesus. 12 But he said nothing in response to the accusations of the chief priests and elders.
13 So Pilate said to him, “Don’t you hear all these things they accuse you of?”
14 But Jesus refused to answer a single word, with the result that the Governor was greatly surprised.
Jesus Is Sentenced to Death
15 At every Passover Festival the Roman governor was in the habit of setting free any one prisoner the crowd asked for. 16 At that time there was a well-known prisoner named Jesus Barabbas. 17 So when the crowd gathered, Pilate asked them, “Which one do you want me to set free for you? Jesus Barabbas or Jesus called the Messiah?” 18 He knew very well that the Jewish authorities had handed Jesus over to him because they were jealous.
19 While Pilate was sitting in the judgment hall, his wife sent him a message: “Have nothing to do with that innocent man, because in a dream last night I suffered much on account of him.”
20 The chief priests and the elders persuaded the crowd to ask Pilate to set Barabbas free and have Jesus put to death. 21 But Pilate asked the crowd, “Which one of these two do you want me to set free for you?”
“Barabbas!” they answered.
22 “What, then, shall I do with Jesus called the Messiah?” Pilate asked them.
“Crucify him!” they all answered.
23 But Pilate asked, “What crime has he committed?”
Then they started shouting at the top of their voices: “Crucify him!”
24 When Pilate saw that it was no use to go on, but that a riot might break out, he took some water, washed his hands in front of the crowd, and said, “I am not responsible for the death of this man! This is your doing!”
25 The whole crowd answered, “Let the responsibility for his death fall on us and on our children!”
26 Then Pilate set Barabbas free for them; and after he had Jesus whipped, he handed him over to be crucified.
Today’s Key Verse: Matthew 27:26b
After [Pilate] had Jesus whipped, he handed him over to be crucified.
Reread verse 24. Pilate washed his hands to claim that he was innocent of sentencing Jesus to death. He wanted to show that it was the people’s decision to put Jesus to death, not his, though the execution could not have happened without his final approval. Has there ever been a time when you failed to take responsibility for something you knew was wrong but allowed to happen anyway? If so, what was the circumstance?
Holy God, forgive me for the times when I have failed to take responsibility for my sins—for times when I looked to my own interests instead of what you would have me do. Embrace me with your love and grace and guide me in the way of your truth. Amen.
Matthew 27:27-56: Jesus is crucified.