Matthew 27: The Crucifixion of Jesus Christ

New Testament: Student Study guide, (2003), 36–37


Matthew 26 records how Jewish leaders condemned Jesus for blasphemy because He said He was the Son of God. Under the law of Moses, the penalty for blasphemy was death. But the Jews lived under Roman rule and could not execute anyone without Roman permission. Furthermore, blasphemy was not punishable by death under Roman law. Matthew 27 records how the Jews changed their charge when they took Jesus before Pilate. They accused Jesus of claiming to be king of the Jews, which was punishable by death as treason against the Roman government.Although the Resurrection of Jesus is of greatest importance as a witness that He is the Christ, Elder Gordon B. Hinckley, then a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, reminded us that “no member of this Church must ever forget the terrible price paid by our Redeemer who gave his life that all men might live—the agony of Gethsemane, the bitter mockery of his trial, the vicious crown of thorns tearing at his flesh, the blood cry of the mob before Pilate, the lonely burden of his heavy walk along the way to Calvary, the terrifying pain as great nails pierced his hands and feet, the fevered torture of his body as he hung that tragic day. …“… We must never forget it, for here our Savior, our Redeemer, the Son of God, gave himself a vicarious sacrifice for each of us” (in Conference Report, Apr. 1975, 137; or Ensign, May 1975, 93).While reading Matthew 27 you may want to mark the parts you want always to remember.

Understanding the Scriptures

Matthew 27

Took counsel (vv. 1, 7)Met together to decide 
Potter’s field (vv. 7, 10)Place where pottery makers dug for clay 
Jeremy (v. 9)Jeremiah 
To never a word (v. 14)Not a single word 
Could prevail nothing (v. 24)Could not change the people’s choice 
Scourged (v. 26)Beat with a whip; in those times the whip usually had pieces of bone, glass, or metal on the ends of it to tear the flesh 
Raiment (v. 31)Clothing 
Compelled (v. 32)Forced 
Vinegar … mingled with gall (v. 34)A drug-like mixture that would have helped numb the pain 
Vesture (v. 35)Clothing 
Cast lots (v. 35)Play a game of chance that determines a winner 
Reviled (v. 39)Mockingly spoke evil of and insulted 
Wagging (v. 39)Shaking 
Ministering unto him (v. 55)Taking care of his needs 
Hewn (v. 60)Cut 
Sepulchre (vv. 60, 64, 66)Tomb, or cave to bury the dead 
Watch (vv. 65–66)Guard 
tomb

“Sepulchre”

Matthew 27:11—What Did Jesus Say to Pilate?

When Pilate asked Jesus, “Art thou the King of the Jews?” Jesus answered, “Thou sayest.” A better translation of this phrase might be “It is as you say.” In other words, Jesus said He was indeed a king. See John 18:33–38 for more information about this conversation between Jesus and Pilate.

Studying the Scriptures

Do two of the following activities (A–D) as you study Matthew 27.

Activity A iconAgency, Sin, and Remorse

It was necessary for Jesus to die, but that does not mean Judas had to betray the Savior. President George Q. Cannon, who was a counselor in the First Presidency, said, “It was not foreordained that Judas should be a devil. He chose that part himself, in the exercise of his agency” (in Brian H. Stuy, comp., Collected Discourses, 5 vols. [1987–92], 1:236).

  1. 1.

    Look at Matthew 26:14–16, 20–25, 45–56 and describe the times when you think Judas had the opportunity to choose not to betray the Savior but instead chose to continue to serve the devil, who was tempting him.

  2. 2.

    Read Alma 30:60 and tell how it relates to Matthew 27:3–5?

  3. 3.

    How can we benefit from understanding the story of Judas?

Activity B iconJesus of Nazareth Sentenced to Death

Suppose you were a news reporter and had the chance to follow the events in Matthew 27:11–66. Write a news report of those events. Be sure to include the details your readers will want to know about, such as:

  • What did Jesus and Pilate say to each other?

  • What did Pilate think of Jesus?

  • Who was Barabbas, and what did he have to do with Jesus’ trial?

  • What happened before and during the Crucifixion?

  • What happened after Jesus died?

Activity C iconThe Fulfillment of Prophecy

One of the themes in Matthew was that Jesus fulfilled Old Testament prophecy. Identify and explain the verses in Matthew 27 that fulfill each of the following scriptures:

  1. 1.

    Psalm 22:1

  2. 2.

    Psalm 22:6–8

  3. 3.

    Psalm 22:18

  4. 4.

    Psalm 69:21

  5. 5.

    Psalm 109:25

  6. 6.

    Isaiah 50:6

  7. 7.

    Isaiah 53:4–9

  8. 8.

    Amos 8:9

Activity D iconWhy Did Jesus Do It?

It is difficult to imagine someone going through all that Jesus went through in Matthew 26–27.

  1. 1.

    Read 1 Nephi 19:9. Explain what Nephi said about why Jesus was able to endure what He did.

  2. 2.

    Write about how you feel knowing that Jesus suffered and endured all those things for you. Or write at least seven phrases from hymns that express your feelings about the Savior and what He endured in Matthew 26–27.