Thirdmill Study Bible

Notes on Matthew 27:45-66

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Matthew 27:45

Sixth hour darknessninth hour. According to the Roman method of time keeping, the sixth hour was 12 noon and the ninth hour was 3 in the afternoon. During this brightest time of the day darkness fell over the land of the Jews, possibly caused by an eclipse.

Matthew 27:46

"Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani". Jesus spoke in Aramaic and was here quoting from Psalm 22:1. This lament shows the depth of the pain that Jesus took upon himself to bear the wrath of God as a ransom for his people (Matt. 20:28). See WCF 8.4; WLC 49; WSC 27; BC 21.

Matthew 27:50

gave up his spirit. This is a poetic way of saying that Jesus breathed out his last breath and died.

Matthew 27:51

Curtain of the temple was split in two. Inside the temple there was a curtain that separated everyone from the inner place where God's presence was manifested, called the Holy of Holies. The tearing of the temple curtain at Jesus' death symbolizes both judgment on faithless Israel and especially, the replacement of the temple with Jesus himself as the place of access to God (John 4:21-24; Heb. 10:19-22), with Jesus as the presence of God now on earth (Matt. 1:23; 28:20).

The Saints Raised – Matthew 27:52-53

Many miracles accompanied Jesus' death and resurrection — darkness, an earthquake, the tearing of the temple curtain, and the resurrection from the dead of several faithful believers from earlier days. Matthew does not give us any more information than this, but the point of these signs is to indicate the importance of Jesus' death and resurrection. The raising of dead people is particularly important because of Jesus' own resurrection that changes human history.

Matthew 27:54

Centurion …"Truly this was the Son of God." The most important title to describe Jesus is that he is the Son of God (Matt. 3:17; 4:1-11; 11:25-27; 14:33; 17:5; 26:63), and this is reaffirmed here at Jesus' death. It is also significant that it is a Gentile (centurion) who recognizes and proclaims this (see Matt. 2:1-12; 8:10-12; 28:19).

Matthew 27:58

Asked for the body of Jesus. Joseph of Arimathea must have been wealthy and influential enough among the Jews to have access to Pilate, the Roman governor. As a disciple of Jesus, Joseph did not want Jesus' body to be dishonored. A poor, crucified criminal would not have been given a proper burial.

Matthew 27:61

Mary Magdalene and the other Mary. These were two of the many women who followed and supported Jesus (Luke 8:1-3). "Mary" was a common name in Jesus' day and these women were identified in other ways: Mary who was from Magdala (Luke 8:2), and the "other Mary" who was mentioned in 27:56 as the mother of James and Joseph, who was the wife of Clopas (John 19:25).

Matthew 27:66

They went and made the tomb secure. The Jewish leaders were afraid that Jesus' disciples would spread a rumor that Jesus had risen from the dead, so a Roman guard was placed to guard the tomb. The tomb was sealed, probably with ropes and a wax that bore the official sign of Pilate.

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