Matthew 27

The important Jews take Jesus to stand in front of Pilate

1 Early the next morning, all the leaders of the priests and the important Jews met together. They decided how to make the Roman rulers kill Jesus. 2 They tied Jesus' hands and feet and then they took him to Pilate's house. They put him under the authority of Pilate, who was the Roman ruler.

27:2Pilate ruled over this part of the Roman world for Caesar. Caesar ruled the whole Roman world.

Judas dies

3 Judas heard that the Jewish leaders wanted the Roman rulers to kill Jesus. Judas was the man who had helped Jesus' enemies to take hold of him. Now he was very sorry about what he had done. So he took back the 30 silver coins to the leaders of the priests and the important Jews. 4 He said to them, ‘I have done the wrong thing. I helped you to take hold of a man who has done nothing wrong.’

They said to Judas, ‘That is not important to us. That is your problem.’

5 So Judas took the money and he threw it down on the floor in the temple. Then he went away. He hung himself from a rope so that he died.

6 The leaders of the priests picked up the coins. They said, ‘We used this money to catch and kill a man. So it is against our Law to use this same money for the temple.’ 7 They decided to use the money to buy a field. They wanted to use the field to bury foreign people who died in the city. The field had been called ‘The Pot-maker's Field’. 8 After this, it was called ‘The Field of Blood’. It is still called that even today. 9 So the words that the prophet Jeremiah wrote long ago now became true. He had said, ‘Then they took the 30 silver coins. It was the amount of money the people of Israel had agreed to pay for the man. 10 They used this money to buy the pot-maker's field. The Lord God had told me to do this.’

Pilate asks Jesus some questions

11 Now Jesus stood in front of the Roman ruler, Pilate. The ruler asked Jesus, ‘Are you the king of the Jews?’

Jesus replied, ‘You have said it.’

12 The leaders of the priests and the important Jews spoke against Jesus. They said that he had done many bad things. Jesus did not answer them. 13 So Pilate said to Jesus, ‘You hear what these men are saying against you. You should reply.’ 14 But Jesus did not reply to what the men were saying against him, not even to one thing. Pilate was very surprised about this.

15 Each year, at the time for the Passover festival, the Roman ruler would let one person go free out of the prison. The people could choose which person should go free. 16 At that time, there was a man called Barabbas in prison. Everyone knew about the bad things that he had done. 17 When the crowd came together at Pilate's house, Pilate asked them, ‘Who do you want me to let go free? Should Barabbas go free? Or should it be Jesus, who is called the Messiah?’ 18 Pilate knew why the Jewish leaders had brought Jesus to him. They were jealous because people liked Jesus so much.

19 Pilate was sitting on his special seat as a judge. Then his wife sent a message to him. She said, ‘Do not do anything to that man. He has done nothing wrong. Last night I had a dream about him. It gave me a lot of trouble in my mind.’

20 But the leaders of the priests and the important Jews talked to the crowds of people. They said, ‘You must ask Pilate to let Barabbas go free. Then he must tell the soldiers to kill Jesus.’

21 Pilate asked the people again, ‘Which of these two men should go free?’ The people answered, ‘Barabbas.’

22 Then Pilate asked the people, ‘So what should I do with Jesus, who is called the Messiah?’ The people all shouted, ‘Take him and kill him on a cross!’

23 So Pilate said, ‘Why should I kill him? What bad things has he done?’

But the people shouted even louder, ‘Kill him on a cross!’

24 Then Pilate knew that he could not do anything to make them quiet. He thought that the people would start to fight his soldiers. So he took a dish of water and he washed his hands in front of the people. He said, ‘It is not because of me that this man will die. You are the people who have caused it to happen.’

25 All the people answered Pilate, ‘Yes, God should punish us and our children, if we have done the wrong thing.’

26 Then Pilate let Barabbas go free, as the crowd wanted. But he said to his soldiers, ‘Hit Jesus many times with a whip. Then take him and fix him to a cross to die.’

27 Then Pilate's soldiers took Jesus into the yard of the ruler's house. All the other soldiers in their group were there. 28 They removed Jesus' clothes from him. They put a dark red coat on him. 29 They used some branches with thorns to make a crown for him. Then they put it on his head. They put a long stick in his right hand. They went down on their knees in front of him. They laughed at him and they said, ‘Hello, King of the Jews, you are great!’

27:29A crown is a special hat that a king wears on his head. The dark red coat was like a coat that a king would wear. Roman soldiers also wore red coats.

30 Then the soldiers spat into Jesus' face. They took the stick and they hit Jesus on his head with it many times. 31 After they had laughed at him, they took the special coat off him. They put his own clothes back on him. Then they took him out to the place where they would kill him on a cross.

The soldiers kill Jesus on a cross

32 When they were going to that place, they met a man called Simon. He came from the city of Cyrene. The Roman soldiers told Simon that he must carry Jesus' cross. 33 The soldiers took Jesus to the place that is called Golgotha. (Golgotha means the place of a skull. )

27:33A skull is the bone inside a person's head.

34 They tried to give Jesus some wine to drink. They had mixed some medicine into the wine. Jesus tasted it, but he would not drink it. 35 Then the soldiers fixed Jesus onto the cross. They took his clothes for themselves. They played a game to find out who would receive each piece of his clothes. 36 Then the soldiers sat down and they watched Jesus carefully. 37 Above his head they fixed a notice. This showed the reason why they were killing him. It said, ‘This man is Jesus, the king of the Jews.’ 38 Then the soldiers also fixed two robbers to crosses near to Jesus. One robber was at Jesus' right side, and one was at his left side.

39 The people who walked near there insulted Jesus. They laughed at him, 40 and they said, ‘You said that you could destroy the temple and then build it again in three days. If you really are the Son of God, save yourself. Come down from the cross.’

41 The leaders of the priests and the teachers of God's Law and the important Jews also laughed at him. 42 They said, ‘This man saved other people, did he? But he cannot save his own life! He says that he is the king of Israel. So he should come down from the cross now. Then we will believe in him. 43 He says that he trusts in God. So if God wants him, God should save him now. He did say that he is the Son of God.’ 44 Then the two robbers who were on the crosses next to Jesus also insulted him.

Jesus dies

45 It was now midday. The whole country became dark for three hours. 46 At about three o'clock in the afternoon, Jesus shouted loudly, ‘Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?’ That means, ‘My God, my God, why have you left me alone?’

47 Some people who were standing there heard him. They said to each other, ‘He is shouting to Elijah.’

48 One of these people ran quickly and he brought a piece of cloth. He poured cheap wine on it, and he put it on the end of a stick. He lifted it up to Jesus so that he could drink the wine from it. 49 The other people said, ‘Wait! Now we will see if Elijah comes to save him.’

50 Then Jesus shouted again with a loud voice, and after that he died.

51 At that moment, the curtain inside the temple tore completely into two parts. It tore from the top down to the bottom. The ground shook and rocks broke into pieces. 52 Places in the ground where people had buried dead bodies opened up. Many of God's people who had died now became alive again. 53 After Jesus became alive again, those people came up out of those places. They went into God's city, Jerusalem. Many people saw them there.

54 The captain and his soldiers had been watching Jesus. They saw the ground shaking. They saw everything that had happened. They were very frightened and they said, ‘It must be true! This man really was the Son of God.’

55 There were also many women there. They were standing a long way away and they were watching these events. They had come with Jesus from Galilee to help him. 56 Mary from Magdala was there. Mary the mother of James and Joses, and Mary the mother of Zebedee's sons, were also there.

Joseph from Arimathea buries Jesus' body

57 That evening a rich man who came from a town called Arimathea went to Pilate. The man's name was Joseph, and he had become a disciple of Jesus. 58 Joseph asked Pilate for the dead body of Jesus. Pilate told his soldiers to give Jesus' body to Joseph. 59 So Joseph took Jesus' body. He put a clean piece of linen cloth around it. 60 Then he put the body in a large hole in a rock. He had made the hole for his own body when he died. After he put Jesus' body there, he rolled a very big stone across the front of the hole to shut it. Then he went away. 61 Mary from Magdala and Mary the mother of James were there. They were sitting where they could see the hole in the rock where Joseph had put Jesus' body.

Soldiers watch the place where Joseph had buried Jesus

62 The next day was the Jewish day of rest. The leaders of the priests and the Pharisees met together with Pilate. 63 They said to him, ‘Sir, that man told lies. When he was still living, he said, “Three days after I die, I will become alive again.” We know that is what he said. 64 So you should tell some soldiers to watch the place where Joseph put Jesus' body. They should watch there for the next three days. Then his disciples cannot come to take his body away. If they did that, then they could say to the people, “God has caused Jesus to become alive again.” This will be worse than the lies that Jesus told when he was alive.’

65 Pilate said to them, ‘OK. You may take a group of soldiers to watch the place. Let them fix the rock well, so that nobody can open it.’ 66 So the Jewish leaders and the soldiers went to the place where Joseph had put Jesus' body. They fixed the big stone that closed the front of the hole with a seal. Then they would know if someone had moved it. The soldiers stayed there to watch the place very carefully.