Family Study: Matthew 27:15-44


Matthew 27:15-26 Breakdown

15During the feast the governor was accustomed to release one prisoner to the crowd, whomever they wanted. 16At that time they had in custody a notorious prisoner named Jesus Barabbas.

Notice that there were two men on trial named Jesus. One is innocent and the other is a murderer.

17So after they had assembled, Pilate said to them, “Whom do you want me to release for you, Jesus Barabbas or Jesus who is called the Christ?”

Rome was known for its justice and law. The blindfolded woman holding the two scales was a symbol of Rome’s law and justice. Pilate was a cheap politician. Instead of taking the reasonability of judgment upon himself, he allowed the crowd to make the decision. He was willing to sentence an innocent man to the cross in order to keep his political power.

18 For he knew that they had handed him over because of envy.

The religious leaders were jealous that all of their followers were flocking to Jesus instead of them. Pilate knew their motives and still condemned the God of the universe to the cross.

19As he was sitting on the judgment seat, his wife sent a message to him: “Have nothing to do with that innocent man; I have suffered greatly as a result of a dream about him today.”

Pilate’s wife was a superstitious pagan. Satan did not want Jesus crucified on Passover, because it would be a fulfillment of prophecy.

20But the chief priests and the elders persuaded the crowds to ask for Barabbas and to have Jesus killed.

The leaders of Israel persuaded the crowds to kill their own Messiah.

21The governor asked them, “Which of the two do you want me to release for you?” And they said, “Barabbas!”

This was not official Roman Law protocol. If Jesus was innocent, then He should have been released.

22Pilate said to them, “Then what should I do with Jesus who is called the Christ?” They all said, “Crucify him!”

The Jewish people had been waiting for the Messiah for centuries. Now that He had finally arrived they wanted Him crucified.

23He asked, “Why? What wrong has he done?” But they shouted more insistently, “Crucify him!”

Pilate could find nothing wrong that Jesus had done. He was caught in a political situation into which there was no escape. If he released Jesus, then possible riots could threaten his career. Rome did not tolerate weak leaders who could not control their province.

Jesus is Condemned and Mocked 24When Pilate saw that he could do nothing, but that instead a riot was starting, he took some water, washed his hands before the crowd and said, “I am innocent of this man’s blood. You take care of it yourselves!”

This was a superstitious pagan ritual. Pilate washing his hands would not clear him of sentencing an innocent man to death, especially when it was the god-man of the universe.

25In reply all the people said, “Let his blood be on us and on our children!”

The Jews demanded in mob action that the guilt of murdering their own Messiah be laid upon them and their children. They and their children will be destroyed in the Temple destruction of 70 A.D.

26Then he released Barabbas for them. But after he had Jesus flogged, he handed him over to be crucified.

Barabbas is Aramaic, meaning “Son of the Father.” This murderer was released while the true Son of the Father died in his place.

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