Bible Track
Search Bible commentaries for key words
Search for Bible Commentaries on scripture passages
This is a chronologically-ordered Bible site with commentary on each passage.
The daily summaries are written by Wayne D. Turner, Pastor of Fayette Bible Church in Fayetteville, Georgia

This is the June 22 reading. Select here for a new reading date:


BibleTrack Summary: June 22
<< Matt 27
<< Mark 15
<< Luke 23
<< John 19

For New King James text and comment, click here.

Matthew 27:45-66; Mark 15:33-47;    Listen Podcast
Luke 23:44-56; John 19:28-42

 

In this passage, we see the following in Jesus' ministry:

 

 

Darkness in the middle of the day! (Matthew 27:45-50; Mark 15:33-37; Luke 23:44-49; John 19:28-30)

Matthew 27
Mark 15
Luke 23
John 19
45 Now from the sixth hour there was darkness over all the land unto the ninth hour.
46 And about the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, saying, Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani? that is to say, My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?
47 Some of them that stood there, when they heard that, said, This man calleth for Elias.
48 And straightway one of them ran, and took a spunge, and filled it with vinegar, and put it on a reed, and gave him to drink.
49 The rest said, Let be, let us see whether Elias will come to save him.
50 Jesus, when he had cried again with a loud voice, yielded up the ghost.
33 And when the sixth hour was come, there was darkness over the whole land until the ninth hour.
34 And at the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, saying, Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani? which is, being interpreted, My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?
35 And some of them that stood by, when they heard it, said, Behold, he calleth Elias.
36 And one ran and filled a spunge full of vinegar, and put it on a reed, and gave him to drink, saying, Let alone; let us see whether Elias will come to take him down.
37 And Jesus cried with a loud voice, and gave up the ghost.
44 And it was about the sixth hour, and there was a darkness over all the earth until the ninth hour.
45 And the sun was darkened, and the veil of the temple was rent in the midst.
46 And when Jesus had cried with a loud voice, he said, Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit: and having said thus, he gave up the ghost.
47 Now when the centurion saw what was done, he glorified God, saying, Certainly this was a righteous man.
48 And all the people that came together to that sight, beholding the things which were done, smote their breasts, and returned.
49 And all his acquaintance, and the women that followed him from Galilee, stood afar off, beholding these things.
28 After this, Jesus knowing that all things were now accomplished, that the scripture might be fulfilled, saith, I thirst.
29 Now there was set a vessel full of vinegar: and they filled a spunge with vinegar, and put it upon hyssop, and put it to his mouth.
30 When Jesus therefore had received the vinegar, he said, It is finished: and he bowed his head, and gave up the ghost.

It is passover day, Nisan 14. See the discussion in the box to the right of this text for a full discussion of the significance of this day.

John doesn't mention the darkness in the middle of the day; Matthew, Mark and Luke do state that "there was darkness over the whole land." This darkness lasted from 12:00 noon (the sixth hour) until 3:00 p.m. How did they explain that? At the conclusion of the three hours of darkness, Jesus expresses the essence of the crucifixion when he took upon himself the sin debt of the whole world and says, "My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?" [Quoted by Jesus from Psalm 22:1, see notes] Jesus had taken our sins upon himself and was, at that moment, viewed by God as the greatest sinner to have ever lived - not for his own sins, but for ours. With one more statement from the cross recorded in Matthew 27:50, Mark 15:37, Luke 23:46 and John 19:30, Jesus "gives up the ghost." Matthew and Mark do not specify the last statement made by Jesus, but Luke records Jesus as saying, "into thy hands I commend my spirit" (taken from Psalm 31:5, see notes), and John further records Jesus saying, "It is finished." So, Jesus died around 3:00 p.m. on Nisan 14, the Passover day.

By taking the accounts of all four Gospel writers, we are able to surmise this chronological order of events for those last three hours on the cross:

Scholars have researched extra-biblical documents to attempt to understand why Jesus was given the vinegar to drink at this point. Many have suggested that the "vinegar" was the cheap sour wine the legionnaires drank. While Jesus did receive this drink just seconds before his death, he had refused a similar offer earlier (Matthew 27:34, Mark 15:23 - see notes). That previous vinegar offering was mixed with other ingredients, presumably to lessen the suffering. We infer from that refusal that Jesus did not want to lessen the pain of his sacrificial suffering on the cross. However, just after receiving this drink, Jesus utters his last words and death follows immediately.

Naturally, the Jewish leaders were pleased to see Jesus disposed of at Roman hands. Since the trials had all taken place through the night, it is likely that most of the people who had listened to Jesus teach in the days leading up to the crucifixion thought that this crucifixion was completely a Roman project. The Roman centurion's reaction to the crucifixion in Luke 23:47 is noteworthy, "Now when the centurion saw what was done, he glorified God, saying, Certainly this was a righteous man." Moreover, we see others come to the cross in verse 48, "And all the people that came together to that sight, beholding the things which were done, smote their breasts, and returned." As they "smote their breasts," it was an indication of mourning as seen with the praying publican in Luke 18:13 (see notes) where it says of him, "And the publican, standing afar off, would not lift up so much as his eyes unto heaven, but smote upon his breast, saying, God be merciful to me a sinner."

That big ol' curtain in the temple ripped (Matthew 27:51-56; Mark 15:38-41)

Matthew 27
Mark 15
51 And, behold, the veil of the temple was rent in twain from the top to the bottom; and the earth did quake, and the rocks rent;
52 And the graves were opened; and many bodies of the saints which slept arose,
53 And came out of the graves after his resurrection, and went into the holy city, and appeared unto many.
54 Now when the centurion, and they that were with him, watching Jesus, saw the earthquake, and those things that were done, they feared greatly, saying, Truly this was the Son of God.
55 And many women were there beholding afar off, which followed Jesus from Galilee, ministering unto him:
56 Among which was Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James and Joses, and the mother of Zebedee’s children.
38 And the veil of the temple was rent in twain from the top to the bottom.
39 And when the centurion, which stood over against him, saw that he so cried out, and gave up the ghost, he said, Truly this man was the Son of God.
40 There were also women looking on afar off: among whom was Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James the less and of Joses, and Salome;
41 (Who also, when he was in Galilee, followed him, and ministered unto him;) and many other women which came up with him unto Jerusalem.

Between the Most Holy Place (aka Holy of Holies) and the Holy Place of the temple was a big thick curtain that separated them. At the death of Jesus, that curtain was supernaturally torn in half - presumably as a result of an earthquake at that moment. Actually, John makes no mention of this at all; Luke only mentions it in passing in verse 23:45. However Matthew and Mark specifically deal with this event along with the exact timing of when it took place. That's a very symbolic incident. You will recall that only the High Priest was allowed to go into the Holy of Holies. The ripping of that curtain down the middle completely into two halves represented the end of the Aaronic priesthood. Today, Jesus is our High Priest. Matthew goes on to make some comments about an incident that takes place after Christ's resurrection in 27:52-54. If you're interested, see the discussion about these verses by looking at the notes on Ephesians 4:1-16 - click here. The miracles surrounding the death of Jesus caused the Roman centurion looking on to say, "Truly this was the Son of God."

Incidentally, Caiaphas (the High Priest) had violated Mosaic Law earlier that day (Matthew 26:65, see notes) when he rent his garment in frustration at the questioning of Jesus. This was a violation of Leviticus 21:10 (see notes) regarding the High Priest, "And he that is the high priest among his brethren, upon whose head the anointing oil was poured, and that is consecrated to put on the garments, shall not uncover his head, nor rend his clothes;" Perhaps the two incidences together serve to demonstrate that Caiaphas' act declared the end to the Aaronic priesthood while the ripping of the curtain marks the beginning of the priesthood of Jesus Christ as our redeemer. Today the temple of God is not a physical structure of building materials, but is, instead, individual Believers (I Corinthians 3:16-17, see notes; I Corinthians 6:19-20, see notes).

Breaking their legs (John 19:31-37)

John 19
31 The Jews therefore, because it was the preparation, that the bodies should not remain upon the cross on the sabbath day, (for that sabbath day was an high day,) besought Pilate that their legs might be broken, and that they might be taken away.
32 Then came the soldiers, and brake the legs of the first, and of the other which was crucified with him.
33 But when they came to Jesus, and saw that he was dead already, they brake not his legs:
34 But one of the soldiers with a spear pierced his side, and forthwith came there out blood and water.
35 And he that saw it bare record, and his record is true: and he knoweth that he saith true, that ye might believe.
36 For these things were done, that the scripture should be fulfilled, A bone of him shall not be broken.
37 And again another scripture saith, They shall look on him whom they pierced.

The Feast of Unleavened Bread begins at sundown. It's 3:00 p.m., and the Jews are concerned with having Jesus off the cross and buried before the High Sabbath begins. Many people have mistakenly thought that the Sabbath day that followed the crucifixion was the regular Saturday sabbath, but verse 31 specifically states that it was "an high day," a reference to the special Sabbath of the Jewish festival which begins at sundown on Nisan 15. Therefore, contrary to traditional thought, Jesus was crucified on a Thursday - not Friday. So, here's the sequence: Thursday was the Passover day, Nisan 14. In Judaism, Nisan 14 was a regular work day and Christ was crucified on Passover day. Jesus and his disciples had observed the Passover meal the night before after sundown at the beginning of Nisan 14. On Thursday (still Nisan 14, Passover day) Jesus was crucified. Jesus must be removed from the cross before the special Sabbath day which begins on Nisan 15, the Feast of Unleavened Bread (Leviticus 23:6, see notes). Jesus had prophesied in Matthew 12:40 (see notes), "For as Jonas was three days and three nights in the whale’s belly; so shall the Son of man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth." Therefore, it is obvious and indisputable that Jesus was not crucified on Friday. A Friday crucifixion ignores the Feast of Unleavened Bread and only gives Jesus two nights before his resurrection.

The breaking of the legs (recorded by John only) was probably to keep those being crucified from lifting themselves up with their legs so that they could expand their lungs for air intake. It was not necessary to break the legs of Jesus when they saw that he was already dead. John relates it with Old Testament prophecy. The bones of the Passover lamb were left unbroken (Exodus 12:46, see notes). The prophetic significance of the pierced side is referred to in Zechariah 12:10 (see notes), where it is related to the final manifestation of the Lord to Israel.

Regarding the piercing of Jesus' side with a spear, the Expositor's Bible Commentary explains:

One of the soldiers pierced Jesus’ side with his spear, probably to see whether there would be any reaction. The flow of “blood and water” has been variously explained. Ordinarily dead bodies do not bleed because there is no action of the heart to produce arterial pressure. One suggestion is that since the body was erect, the flow was due to gravity and that the crassamentum (the heavy, red corpuscles) and the serum (the yellowish white aqueous part) of the blood had already begun to separate. Another is that either the stomach or the lungs contained water that flowed with the blood.

Jesus is buried (Matthew 27:57-61; Mark 15:42-47; Luke 23:50-56; John 19:38-42)

Matthew 27
Mark 15
Luke 23
John 19
57 When the even was come, there came a rich man of Arimathaea, named Joseph, who also himself was Jesus’ disciple:
58 He went to Pilate, and begged the body of Jesus. Then Pilate commanded the body to be delivered.
59 And when Joseph had taken the body, he wrapped it in a clean linen cloth,
60 And laid it in his own new tomb, which he had hewn out in the rock: and he rolled a great stone to the door of the sepulchre, and departed.
61 And there was Mary Magdalene, and the other Mary, sitting over against the sepulchre.
42 And now when the even was come, because it was the preparation, that is, the day before the sabbath,
43 Joseph of Arimathaea, an honourable counsellor, which also waited for the kingdom of God, came, and went in boldly unto Pilate, and craved the body of Jesus.
44 And Pilate marvelled if he were already dead: and calling unto him the centurion, he asked him whether he had been any while dead.
45 And when he knew it of the centurion, he gave the body to Joseph.
46 And he bought fine linen, and took him down, and wrapped him in the linen, and laid him in a sepulchre which was hewn out of a rock, and rolled a stone unto the door of the sepulchre.
47 And Mary Magdalene and Mary the mother of Joses beheld where he was laid.
50 And, behold, there was a man named Joseph, a counsellor; and he was a good man, and a just:
51 (The same had not consented to the counsel and deed of them;) he was of Arimathaea, a city of the Jews: who also himself waited for the kingdom of God.
52 This man went unto Pilate, and begged the body of Jesus.
53 And he took it down, and wrapped it in linen, and laid it in a sepulchre that was hewn in stone, wherein never man before was laid.
54 And that day was the preparation, and the sabbath drew on.
55 And the women also, which came with him from Galilee, followed after, and beheld the sepulchre, and how his body was laid.
56 And they returned, and prepared spices and ointments; and rested the sabbath day according to the commandment.
38 And after this Joseph of Arimathaea, being a disciple of Jesus, but secretly for fear of the Jews, besought Pilate that he might take away the body of Jesus: and Pilate gave him leave. He came therefore, and took the body of Jesus.
39 And there came also Nicodemus, which at the first came to Jesus by night, and brought a mixture of myrrh and aloes, about an hundred pound weight.
40 Then took they the body of Jesus, and wound it in linen clothes with the spices, as the manner of the Jews is to bury.
41 Now in the place where he was crucified there was a garden; and in the garden a new sepulchre, wherein was never man yet laid.
42 There laid they Jesus therefore because of the Jews’ preparation day; for the sepulchre was nigh at hand.

A rich man of Arimathaea named Joseph went to Pilate and begged for Jesus' body. We don't know very much about Joseph, but Matthew and John tell us that he was rich while Mark and Luke tell us that he was a "counselor," indicating that he was a member of the Jewish Sanhedrin, a point further substantiated by Luke when he says in verse 51, "The same had not consented to the counsel and deed of them..." That would indicate that he did not support the Sanhedrin decision to turn Jesus over to the Romans for crucifixion. He may not have even been notified during the night of the illegal trials that were being held. Joseph buried him in his own sepulcher. Nicodemus (a prominent Jewish leader from John 3, see notes) came also and brought the embalming materials. Nicodemus is mentioned favorably also in John 7:50 (see notes); he only gets named in John's Gospel. They bound Jesus in burial linen and placed him in the tomb. It's worth noting here that Isaiah had prophesied the burial of Jesus in the tomb of a man of wealth in Isaiah 53:9 (see notes), "And he made his grave with the wicked, and with the rich in his death; because he had done no violence, neither was any deceit in his mouth."

You just can't be too careful (Matthew 27:62-66)

Matthew 27
62 Now the next day, that followed the day of the preparation, the chief priests and Pharisees came together unto Pilate,
63 Saying, Sir, we remember that that deceiver said, while he was yet alive, After three days I will rise again.
64 Command therefore that the sepulchre be made sure until the third day, lest his disciples come by night, and steal him away, and say unto the people, He is risen from the dead: so the last error shall be worse than the first.
65 Pilate said unto them, Ye have a watch: go your way, make it as sure as ye can.
66 So they went, and made the sepulchre sure, sealing the stone, and setting a watch.

Only Matthew records the actions of the Jewish leaders after the burial. They were afraid that the disciples might come and take the body of Jesus away, thus creating the impression that he had resurrected. Therefore, they wanted guards posted around the tomb to make certain of its security. Pilate declines their request for Roman guards, but allows them to use their own Temple guards for the task.


For commentary on another passage, click here.


Copyright 2003-2011 by Wayne D. Turner