Easter Sunday (Matthew 27:15-28:15)

Stephen Walton, Sunday, April 12, 2020
Part of the Lent series, preached at a Family Service service

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Matthew 27:15-28:15, NLT

15Now it was the governor’s custom each year during the Passover celebration to release one prisoner to the crowd—anyone they wanted. 16This year there was a notorious prisoner, a man named Barabbas.*27:16 Some manuscripts read Jesus Barabbas; also in 27:17. 17As the crowds gathered before Pilate’s house that morning, he asked them, “Which one do you want me to release to you—Barabbas, or Jesus who is called the Messiah?” 18(He knew very well that the religious leaders had arrested Jesus out of envy.)

19Just then, as Pilate was sitting on the judgment seat, his wife sent him this message: “Leave that innocent man alone. I suffered through a terrible nightmare about him last night.”

20Meanwhile, the leading priests and the elders persuaded the crowd to ask for Barabbas to be released and for Jesus to be put to death. 21So the governor asked again, “Which of these two do you want me to release to you?”

The crowd shouted back, “Barabbas!”

22Pilate responded, “Then what should I do with Jesus who is called the Messiah?”

They shouted back, “Crucify him!”

23“Why?” Pilate demanded. “What crime has he committed?”

But the mob roared even louder, “Crucify him!”

24Pilate saw that he wasn’t getting anywhere and that a riot was developing. So he sent for a bowl of water and washed his hands before the crowd, saying, “I am innocent of this man’s blood. The responsibility is yours!”

25And all the people yelled back, “We will take responsibility for his death—we and our children!”*27:25 Greek “His blood be on us and on our children.”

26So Pilate released Barabbas to them. He ordered Jesus flogged with a lead-tipped whip, then turned him over to the Roman soldiers to be crucified.

The Soldiers Mock Jesus

27Some of the governor’s soldiers took Jesus into their headquarters*27:27 Or into the Praetorium. and called out the entire regiment. 28They stripped him and put a scarlet robe on him. 29They wove thorn branches into a crown and put it on his head, and they placed a reed stick in his right hand as a scepter. Then they knelt before him in mockery and taunted, “Hail! King of the Jews!” 30And they spit on him and grabbed the stick and struck him on the head with it. 31When they were finally tired of mocking him, they took off the robe and put his own clothes on him again. Then they led him away to be crucified.

The Crucifixion

32Along the way, they came across a man named Simon, who was from Cyrene,*27:32 Cyrene was a city in northern Africa. and the soldiers forced him to carry Jesus’ cross. 33And they went out to a place called Golgotha (which means “Place of the Skull”). 34The soldiers gave Jesus wine mixed with bitter gall, but when he had tasted it, he refused to drink it.

35After they had nailed him to the cross, the soldiers gambled for his clothes by throwing dice.*27:35 Greek by casting lots. A few late manuscripts add This fulfilled the word of the prophet: “They divided my garments among themselves and cast lots for my robe.” See Ps 22:18. 36Then they sat around and kept guard as he hung there. 37A sign was fastened above Jesus’ head, announcing the charge against him. It read: “This is Jesus, the King of the Jews.” 38Two revolutionaries*27:38 Or criminals; also in 27:44. were crucified with him, one on his right and one on his left.

39The people passing by shouted abuse, shaking their heads in mockery. 40“Look at you now!” they yelled at him. “You said you were going to destroy the Temple and rebuild it in three days. Well then, if you are the Son of God, save yourself and come down from the cross!”

41The leading priests, the teachers of religious law, and the elders also mocked Jesus. 42“He saved others,” they scoffed, “but he can’t save himself! So he is the King of Israel, is he? Let him come down from the cross right now, and we will believe in him! 43He trusted God, so let God rescue him now if he wants him! For he said, ‘I am the Son of God.’” 44Even the revolutionaries who were crucified with him ridiculed him in the same way.

The Death of Jesus

45At noon, darkness fell across the whole land until three o’clock. 46At about three o’clock, Jesus called out with a loud voice, “Eli, Eli,*27:46a Some manuscripts read Eloi, Eloi. lema sabachthani?” which means “My God, my God, why have you abandoned me?”*27:46b Ps 22:1.

47Some of the bystanders misunderstood and thought he was calling for the prophet Elijah. 48One of them ran and filled a sponge with sour wine, holding it up to him on a reed stick so he could drink. 49But the rest said, “Wait! Let’s see whether Elijah comes to save him.”*27:49 Some manuscripts add And another took a spear and pierced his side, and out flowed water and blood. Compare John 19:34.

50Then Jesus shouted out again, and he released his spirit. 51At that moment the curtain in the sanctuary of the Temple was torn in two, from top to bottom. The earth shook, rocks split apart, 52and tombs opened. The bodies of many godly men and women who had died were raised from the dead. 53They left the cemetery after Jesus’ resurrection, went into the holy city of Jerusalem, and appeared to many people.

54The Roman officer*27:54 Greek The centurion. and the other soldiers at the crucifixion were terrified by the earthquake and all that had happened. They said, “This man truly was the Son of God!”

55And many women who had come from Galilee with Jesus to care for him were watching from a distance. 56Among them were Mary Magdalene, Mary (the mother of James and Joseph), and the mother of James and John, the sons of Zebedee.

The Burial of Jesus

57As evening approached, Joseph, a rich man from Arimathea who had become a follower of Jesus, 58went to Pilate and asked for Jesus’ body. And Pilate issued an order to release it to him. 59Joseph took the body and wrapped it in a long sheet of clean linen cloth. 60He placed it in his own new tomb, which had been carved out of the rock. Then he rolled a great stone across the entrance and left. 61Both Mary Magdalene and the other Mary were sitting across from the tomb and watching.

The Guard at the Tomb

62The next day, on the Sabbath,*27:62 Or On the next day, which is after the Preparation. the leading priests and Pharisees went to see Pilate. 63They told him, “Sir, we remember what that deceiver once said while he was still alive: ‘After three days I will rise from the dead.’ 64So we request that you seal the tomb until the third day. This will prevent his disciples from coming and stealing his body and then telling everyone he was raised from the dead! If that happens, we’ll be worse off than we were at first.”

65Pilate replied, “Take guards and secure it the best you can.” 66So they sealed the tomb and posted guards to protect it.

Matthew 28

The Resurrection

1Early on Sunday morning,*28:1 Greek After the Sabbath, on the first day of the week. as the new day was dawning, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went out to visit the tomb.

2Suddenly there was a great earthquake! For an angel of the Lord came down from heaven, rolled aside the stone, and sat on it. 3His face shone like lightning, and his clothing was as white as snow. 4The guards shook with fear when they saw him, and they fell into a dead faint.

5Then the angel spoke to the women. “Don’t be afraid!” he said. “I know you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. 6He isn’t here! He is risen from the dead, just as he said would happen. Come, see where his body was lying. 7And now, go quickly and tell his disciples that he has risen from the dead, and he is going ahead of you to Galilee. You will see him there. Remember what I have told you.”

8The women ran quickly from the tomb. They were very frightened but also filled with great joy, and they rushed to give the disciples the angel’s message. 9And as they went, Jesus met them and greeted them. And they ran to him, grasped his feet, and worshiped him. 10Then Jesus said to them, “Don’t be afraid! Go tell my brothers to leave for Galilee, and they will see me there.”

The Report of the Guard

11As the women were on their way, some of the guards went into the city and told the leading priests what had happened. 12A meeting with the elders was called, and they decided to give the soldiers a large bribe. 13They told the soldiers, “You must say, ‘Jesus’ disciples came during the night while we were sleeping, and they stole his body.’ 14If the governor hears about it, we’ll stand up for you so you won’t get in trouble.” 15So the guards accepted the bribe and said what they were told to say. Their story spread widely among the Jews, and they still tell it today.

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