What Did the Cross Say? (Matthew 27:1-66)

August 2, 2015

Book: Matthew

What Did the Cross Say? (Matthew 27:1-66)
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Scripture: Matthew 27:1-66


What Did the CROSS Say?

Matthew 27:1-66 (Pastor Heo)

Judas Hangs Himself

1 Early in the morning, all the chief priests and the elders of the people came to the decision to put Jesus to death. 2 They bound him, led him away and handed him over to Pilate, the governor. 

3 When Judas, who had betrayed him, saw that Jesus was condemned, he was seized with remorse and returned the thirty silver coins to the chief priests and the elders. 4“I have sinned,” he said, “for I have betrayed innocent blood.” “What is that to us?” they replied. “That’s your responsibility.” 5 So Judas threw the money into the temple and left. Then he went away and hanged himself. 6 The chief priests picked up the coins and said, “It is against the law to put this into the treasury, since it is blood money.” 7 So they decided to use the money to buy the potter’s field as a burial place for foreigners. 8 That is why it has been called the Field of Blood to this day. 9 Then what was spoken by Jeremiah the prophet was fulfilled: “They took the thirty silver coins, the price set on him by the people of Israel, 10 and they used them to buy the potter’s field, as the Lord commanded me.”

Jesus Before Pilate
27:11-26pp — Mk 15:2-15; Lk 23:2,3,18-25; Jn 18:29-19:16

11 Meanwhile Jesus stood before the governor, and the governor asked him, “Are you the king of the Jews?” “Yes, it is as you say,” Jesus replied. 12 When he was accused by the chief priests and the elders, he gave no answer. 13 Then Pilate asked him, “Don’t you hear the testimony they are bringing against you?” 14 But Jesus made no reply, not even to a single charge–to the great amazement of the governor. 

15 Now it was the governor’s custom at the Feast to release a prisoner chosen by the crowd. 16 At that time they had a notorious prisoner, called Barabbas. 17 So when the crowd had gathered, Pilate asked them, “Which one do you want me to release to you: Barabbas, or Jesus who is called Christ?” 18 For he knew it was out of envy that they had handed Jesus over to him. 

19 While Pilate was sitting on the judge’s seat, his wife sent him this message: “Don’t have anything to do with that innocent man, for I have suffered a great deal today in a dream because of him.” 20 But the chief priests and the elders persuaded the crowd to ask for Barabbas and to have Jesus executed. 21 “Which of the two do you want me to release to you?” asked the governor. “Barabbas,” they answered. 22 “What shall I do, then, with Jesus who is called Christ?” Pilate asked. They all answered, “Crucify him!” 23 “Why? What crime has he committed?” asked Pilate. But they shouted all the louder, “Crucify him!” 

24 When Pilate saw that he was getting nowhere, but that instead an uproar was starting, he took water and washed his hands in front of the crowd. “I am innocent of this man’s blood,” he said. “It is your responsibility!” 25 All the people answered, “Let his blood be on us and on our children!” 26 Then he released Barabbas to them. But he had Jesus flogged, and handed him over to be crucified.

The Soldiers Mock Jesus
27:27-31pp — Mk 15:16-20

27 Then the governor’s soldiers took Jesus into the Praetorium and gathered the whole company of soldiers around him. 28 They stripped him and put a scarlet robe on him, 29 and then twisted together a crown of thorns and set it on his head. They put a staff in his right hand and knelt in front of him and mocked him. “Hail, king of the Jews!” they said. 30 They spit on him, and took the staff and struck him on the head again and again. 31 After they had mocked him, they took off the robe and put his own clothes on him. Then they led him away to crucify him.

The Crucifixion
27:33-44pp — Mk 15:22-32; Lk 23:33-43; Jn 19:17-24

32 As they were going out, they met a man from Cyrene, named Simon, and they forced him to carry the cross. 33 They came to a place called Golgotha (which means The Place of the Skull). 34 There they offered Jesus wine to drink, mixed with gall; but after tasting it, he refused to drink it. 35 When they had crucified him, they divided up his clothes by casting lots. 36 And sitting down, they kept watch over him there. 37 Above his head they placed the written charge against him: THIS IS JESUS, THE KING OF THE JEWS. 

38 Two robbers were crucified with him, one on his right and one on his left. 39 Those who passed by hurled insults at him, shaking their heads 40 and saying, “You who are going to destroy the temple and build it in three days, save yourself! Come down from the cross, if you are the Son of God!” 41 In the same way the chief priests, the teachers of the law and the elders mocked him. 42 “He saved others,” they said, “but he can’t save himself! He’s the King of Israel! Let him come down now from the cross, and we will believe in him. 43 He trusts in God. Let God rescue him now if he wants him, for he said, ‘I am the Son of God.’ “44 In the same way the robbers who were crucified with him also heaped insults on him.

The Death of Jesus
27:45-56pp — Mk 15:33-41; Lk 23:44-49; Jn 19:29-30

45 From the sixth hour until the ninth hour darkness came over all the land. 46 About the ninth hour Jesus cried out in a loud voice, “”Eloi, Eloi,” “lama” “sabachthani?””–which means,”My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” 47 When some of those standing there heard this, they said, “He’s calling Elijah.” 48 Immediately one of them ran and got a sponge. He filled it with wine vinegar, put it on a stick, and offered it to Jesus to drink. 49 The rest said, “Now leave him alone. Let’s see if Elijah comes to save him.” 50 And when Jesus had cried out again in a loud voice, he gave up his spirit. 

51 At that moment the curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom. The earth shook and the rocks split.52 The tombs broke open and the bodies of many holy people who had died were raised to life. 53 They came out of the tombs, and after Jesus’ resurrection they went into the holy city and appeared to many people. 

54 When the centurion and those with him who were guarding Jesus saw the earthquake and all that had happened, they were terrified, and exclaimed, “Surely he was the Son of God!” 55 Many women were there, watching from a distance. They had followed Jesus from Galilee to care for his needs. 56 Among them were Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James and Joses, and the mother of Zebedee’s sons.

The Burial of Jesus
27:57-61pp — Mk 15:42-47; Lk 23:50-56; Jn 19:38-42

57 As evening approached, there came a rich man from Arimathea, named Joseph, who had himself become a disciple of Jesus. 58 Going to Pilate, he asked for Jesus’ body, and Pilate ordered that it be given to him. 59 Joseph took the body, wrapped it in a clean linen cloth, 60 and placed it in his own new tomb that he had cut out of the rock. He rolled a big stone in front of the entrance to the tomb and went away. 61 Mary Magdalene and the other Mary were sitting there opposite the tomb.

The Guard at the Tomb

62 The next day, the one after Preparation Day, the chief priests and the Pharisees went to Pilate. 63 “Sir,” they said, “we remember that while he was still alive that deceiver said, ‘After three days I will rise again.’ 64 So give the order for the tomb to be made secure until the third day. Otherwise, his disciples may come and steal the body and tell the people that he has been raised from the dead. This last deception will be worse than the first.” 65 “Take a guard,” Pilate answered. “Go, make the tomb as secure as you know how.” 66 So they went and made the tomb secure by putting a seal on the stone and posting the guard.

Shall we read one more time? 10:00~


What did the cross say to human history?
What does the cross say to us each individually?

Honestly consider/ponder this question.

This is a very significant question.

I cannot repeat too many times this question: “What does the cross say to us each individually?”

A certain word/thing can be changed in its impression by a single event. Ex:

  1. Judas: original = “praise God” (at that time, MANY boys were named Judas)
    Because of THAT Judas, the name became = “betrayer” (nobody likes that name now – perhaps Judah is better?)
  2. Cross: original = “extreme shame, humiliation, pain, death”. Because of THAT cross = “victory, hope, life, future, forgiveness”

Now, we are proud of the cross.

Paul (Gal 6:14) “I have nothing to boast of except the cross…”

Last time, Jesus prayed so earnestly in anguish, his sweat was like blood falling to the ground. He arose, and voluntarily gave himself up for arrest. He was bound, judged (18 hours) (Wed night – Friday?)

He endured 6 trials:

  1. He was taken to Annas – the High Priest that year,
  2. then to Caiphas for a second hearing,
  3. then the Sanhedrin for a third hearing,
  4. then to Pilate for another hearing,
  5. then to Herod,
  6. then back to Pilate

He was hanged on the cross for 6 hours: (9am-3pm)

According to the title: What did the cross say to history? What does it say to us here and now?

There are 5 truths:

#1: Jesus = innocent

At that time, if a man was crucified, it said clearly, definitely – “he is EVIL”

The truth of the cross revealed that Jesus was absolutely innocent (irony #1)

According to the Bible, there are 5 (or more) witnesses (not Christians – they had no benefit to gain to support him – rather it seemed natural and good to stand against him) who testified that Jesus was sinless:

1: Pilate – the governor – the highest judge at that time

he was the champion to find the fault in a man – his main job was to find fault in Christ – but he repeatedly said (throughout the gospels) “I find no basis for a charge against this man – there are no grounds for the death penalty”

Imagine – Pilate = judge (above), Jesus = accused (below) – who should be afraid of whom? But Pilate was afraid of Christ – so much so that he washed his hands of the matter and confessed his innocence of this blood before the crowd. Pilate testified that Christ was sinless.

2: Pilate’s wife (v. 19)

While he was sitting on the judgment seat, his wife sent him a message saying that she suffered a great deal because of him. Actually, she did not even see Christ face-to-face, but she sent this message to her husband.

3: The crucifying Centurion before the cross (v. 54)

The main job of this centurion was to crucify people – they were generally quite cruel.

When he saw the earthquake and the other Roman soldiers were terrified of Christ when the earthquake struck and cried out “Surely, he was a righteous man. Surely, he was the Son of God.” Even a “bad” man testified for Jesus in this way.

4: Jesus’ neighbor on the cross

He was notoriously wicked – that’s why he was crucified with Christ at the same time. He confessed “this man, has done nothing wrong.” Then he said to Christ, “remember me when you come into your kingdom.”

5: Judas’ own testimony – the betrayer (v. 3-5)

He betrayed him for (small) money (30 silver coins). He was so remorseful, he confessed his sin and returned the money. Then he committed suicide. This was not good, but it clearly shows that Jesus was perfect, innocent, blameless, infallible.

#2: Jesus = strong/powerful

If a man was crucified at that time, it said, “He was desperately hopeless, powerless, and weak”

The cross said Jesus = omnipotent/and ultimately powerful (”Surely, I say to you, you’ll be with me today in paradise.” Also from 12pm-3pm, the day became DARK – and earthquake split the temple veil in two (this destroyed ALL barriers between God and man, man and woman, slave and free), dead bodies were resurrected and walked into the town, rocks cracked in half) – (irony #2)

  • Col 1:3? “The cross made it possible for all to be reconciled to God.”
  • 1 Cor “the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to we who are being saved, it is the POWER of God.”

What kind of power? Life-giving, creating, changing, transformational power.

#3: Jesus = absolutely unselfish and sacrificial

At that time, the cross meant the man was selfish, greedy, stole from/murdered others, etc

Yet even on the cross (while hanging) he GAVE unconditional forgiveness “Father, forgive them…” and blessings/mercy “You will be with me in paradise” and LOVE to those who hated him.

Eph 2:8 “Jesus Christ humbled himself even to the point of death…”

He was hanged for 6 hours totally nakedly. At the same time, under the cross, the soldiers divided his clothes by casting lots.

Jesus gave ALL – not only spiritually, but even physically – his love, eternal life, salvation, submission, obedience, even clothes. He fulfilled the requirements of all laws on the cross.

#4: Jesus = God

If a man was crucified, he was “just a man”. (Paradox). Yes, Christ was fully Man, but at the same time, fully God. For what charge was he crucified? Saying, “I’m God.”

So, there were two ways for Jesus to NOT be crucified.

  1. Confess “Sorry, I’m actually not God, fellas. Joking.~~” He would not have been crucified. But he never said “I’m NOT God.” He didn’t open his mouth, nor try to defend himself. You know, even if he’d have just said that SINGLE SENTENCE, he could have escaped death.
  2. There must be one reliable witness that had authority to testify that Jesus was NOT God. If there was even ONE witness who had public official authority to testify that Jesus was NOT God, he would have been proved wrong and NOT been crucified. Who would be this kind of witness.

As we read, could you imagine this situation? Jesus own MOTHER watched under the cross. She witnessed the ENTIRE thing and didn’t open her mouth to say “He’s not.”

Since the beginning of the world, Mary was the only one person who knew perfectly the secret of conception of the birth of Christ, and how he grew up and spent his childhood. She KNEW all about him, his entire life story – through her own experience. This was her son – she did not want him to die like this. If she had only opened her mouth and shouted, “Oh no! Jesus is only my silly son! He’s not God! I conceived him 33 years ago by my husband Joseph! Please, check his DNA!”

He would not have been crucified like this. But, Mary just stood under the cross and cried to see her own son dying. She did not open her mouth – she was speechless from first to last. What did her silence say? Sometimes our silence is more powerful than any powerful words. Her silence standing under the cross, witnessing the crucifixion of her own son loudly declares that Jesus is God. She could not deny it.

#5: To be concluded…

  1. Cross = sinful man vs. Jesus (innocent)
  2. Cross = powerless vs. Jesus (ultimately powerful)
  3. Cross = selfish vs. Jesus (selfless)
  4. Cross = man vs. Jesus (God)
  5. (Next time)

Let’s pray.