Early in the morning,
all the top priests and elders worked out their plans for killing Jesus. They tied Jesus and took him to Pilate.
When Judas, who betrayed Jesus, saw that the Jews had condemned Jesus to death, he became consumed with regret. He took back the reward that the top priests and elders gave him, 30 silver coins. He told them, “I did something terrible. An innocent man is going to die because of me. I’m the one who betrayed him.”
Jewish leaders answered, “What’s that to us? It’s your problem.” Judas threw the silver coins into the Temple. Then he went and hanged himself.
The top priests picked up the coins and said, “We can’t put this blood money into the treasury.” They talked about what they could do with the money, and they decided to use it to buy some land a potter owned. They would turn that plot of land into a cemetery for foreigners. That’s why people still call it Blood Field.
This action fulfilled the prophecy in Jeremiah:
They took 30 pieces of silver,
the price on his head,
set by some Jews.
They used it to buy a potter’s field,
just as the Lord instructed.
Jesus stood before the governor, Pilate, who asked him, “Are you the king of the Jews?”
Jesus said, “You said it.” But when the top Jewish priests and elders bombarded him with accusations, he didn’t answer.
Pilate turned to Jesus and said, “Don’t you hear all these charges they are bringing against you?”
Jesus didn’t answer. Not a word. This astonished Pilate.
JESUS SENTENCED TO DEATH
During the religious festival of Passover, the governor had developed a custom of releasing one prisoner. He would release whichever prisoner the crowd of people wanted most.
One of the prisoners the Romans held at that time was a notorious criminal named Barabbas. So when a crowd gathered, Pilate asked the people, “Which one of the prisoners do you want me to release? Barabbas? Or Jesus, who’s called the Messiah?” Pilate knew what was going on. He realized that the Jewish leaders arrested Jesus because they envied his popularity.
Pilate’s wife sent him a message while he was still presiding over the case. She told him, “Don’t do anything to this good man. I had a nightmare about him today.”
But the top Jewish priests and elders started working the crowd. They were persuading the people to ask Pilate to free Barabbas and execute Jesus.
Pilate asked the people, “Which one of these two men do you want me to release?”
The people said, “Barabbas.”
Pilate said, “Well then, what do you want me to do with Jesus, the man called Messiah?”
In one loud voice they shouted, “Crucify him!”
Pilate asked, “Why? What crime has he committed?”
The crowd yelled louder than ever, “Crucify him!”
Pilate realized he was getting nowhere. Worse than that, it was starting to look like a riot was in the works. So with the crowd watching, Pilate took some water; washed his hands; and told the crowd, “I’m washing my hands of this. His blood is on you.”
People in the crowd answered, “We take responsibility for this. So do our children. This man’s blood is on us!”
Pilate released Barabbas. He had Jesus beaten in public and then handed over to the executioners for crucifixion.
SOLDIERS ABUSE JESUS
Pilate’s soldiers took Jesus into the military headquarters and assembled the rest of the soldiers stationed there.
They stripped Jesus. Then they draped a scarlet cloak on him. They twisted some thorn branches into a crown and put it on his head. They made him hold a staff in his right hand. And then they dropped to their knees and mocked him with a cheer, “Hoorah, king of the Jews!” They spit on him. Then they grabbed the staff away from him and beat him over the head with it many times.
When the soldiers finished taunting Jesus, they took the cloak off of him and put his own clothes back on him. Then they took him out to crucify him.
JESUS HANGS ON A CROSS
As they walked toward the crucifixion site, they came across a man named Simon, from the city of Cyrene. They drafted him for the temporary duty of carrying the cross. They reached the place called Golgotha, which means Skull Place.
Someone gave Jesus wine mixed with something bitter. When he got a taste of it, he refused to drink it. After they crucified him, they divvied up his clothes by throwing dice. Then they sat down to keep an eye on him. Above his head they posted a sign, so folks could see the charge against him: “This is Jesus, the king of the Jews.”
Two thieves were crucified with him. One to the right of him. And one to the left.
People passing by yelled insults at him. Some shook their heads. They said, “Hey! You’re the guy who was going to tear down the Temple and rebuild it in three days. Save yourself. If you’re the Son of God, come on down from the cross.”
Top Jewish leaders all insulted him the same way—priests, elders, and scholars known as scribes. They said, “He saved others, but for some reason he just can’t seem to save himself. If he could climb on down from that cross, we would believe in him. He trusts God. And he said, ‘I’m the Son of God.’ So God will rescue him if he wants to.”
The robbers beside him got in on the act too. They picked up some of the same lines they heard and spit them back out at him.
At noon, the sky went dark. It stayed that way for the next three hours. That’s when, at about 3 o’clock in the afternoon, Jesus screamed in Aramaic, “My God, my God. Why have you left me?”
Some people standing nearby heard Jesus and said, “This man is calling Elijah.”
One of them ran and got a sponge and soaked it in old wine that had soured into vinegar. They attached it to a stick and lifted it so he could take a drink. But some of the others said, “Don’t do that yet. Let’s wait and see if Elijah will come and save him.”
Jesus screamed his last breath and died.
Matthew 27:1-50, Casual English Bible
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