God’s Saving Word: Hope
Matthew 27:27-56: Soldiers mock Jesus, nail him to a cross, and then gamble for his clothes.
Passersby jeer and yell, and even the criminals crucified on either side of Jesus scorn him. Jesus cries out that he has been completely abandoned. At his death, the curtain in the Temple is torn in two and the earth shakes. The women who had followed Jesus look on from a distance.
The Soldiers Make Fun of Jesus
27 Then Pilate’s soldiers took Jesus into the governor’s palace, and the whole company gathered around him. 28 They stripped off his clothes and put a scarlet robe on him. 29 Then they made a crown out of thorny branches and placed it on his head, and put a stick in his right hand; then they knelt before him and made fun of him. “Long live the King of the Jews!” they said. 30 They spat on him, and took the stick and hit him over the head. 31 When they had finished making fun of him, they took the robe off and put his own clothes back on him. Then they led him out to crucify him.
Jesus Is Crucified
32 As they were going out, they met a man from Cyrene named Simon, and the soldiers forced him to carry Jesus’ cross. 33 They came to a place called Golgotha, which means, “The Place of the Skull.” 34 There they offered Jesus wine mixed with a bitter substance; but after tasting it, he would not drink it.
35 They crucified him and then divided his clothes among them by throwing dice. 36 After that they sat there and watched him. 37 Above his head they put the written notice of the accusation against him: “This is Jesus, the King of the Jews.” 38 Then they crucified two bandits with Jesus, one on his right and the other on his left.
39 People passing by shook their heads and hurled insults at Jesus: 40 “You were going to tear down the Temple and build it back up in three days! Save yourself if you are God’s Son! Come on down from the cross!”
41 In the same way the chief priests and the teachers of the Law and the elders made fun of him: 42 “He saved others, but he cannot save himself! Isn’t he the king of Israel? If he will come down off the cross now, we will believe in him! 43 He trusts in God and claims to be God’s Son. Well, then, let us see if God wants to save him now!”
44 Even the bandits who had been crucified with him insulted him in the same way.
The Death of Jesus
45 At noon the whole country was covered with darkness, which lasted for three hours. 46 At about three o’clock Jesus cried out with a loud shout, “Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?” which means, “My God, my God, why did you abandon me?”
47 Some of the people standing there heard him and said, “He is calling for Elijah!” 48 One of them ran up at once, took a sponge, soaked it in cheap wine, put it on the end of a stick, and tried to make him drink it.
49 But the others said, “Wait, let us see if Elijah is coming to save him!”
50 Jesus again gave a loud cry and breathed his last.
51 Then the curtain hanging in the Temple was torn in two from top to bottom. The earth shook, the rocks split apart, 52 the graves broke open, and many of God’s people who had died were raised to life. 53 They left the graves, and after Jesus rose from death, they went into the Holy City, where many people saw them.
54 When the army officer and the soldiers with him who were watching Jesus saw the earthquake and everything else that happened, they were terrified and said, “He really was the Son of God!”
55 There were many women there, looking on from a distance, who had followed Jesus from Galilee and helped him. 56 Among them were Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James and Joseph, and the wife of Zebedee.
Today’s Key Verse: Matthew 27:54b
They were terrified and said, “He really was the Son of God!”
God’s entrance into the world through Jesus was a way for God to be fully present with us and understand human suffering, abandonment, and loneliness. At his death, in verse 46, Jesus cried out to God, quoting from Psalm 22:1. Whenever you feel most alone, in what ways do you experience a sense of trust that God is with you?
Loving God, thank you for your steadfast love and presence in my life, even in my darkest moments. Heighten my awareness of your grace amid my struggles. Amen.
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Matthew 27:57-66: Jesus is buried.