Matthew 27 Easy-to-Read Version (ERV)
Jesus Is Taken to Governor Pilate
27 Early the next morning, all the leading priests and older leaders of the people met and decided to kill Jesus. 2 They tied him, led him away, and handed him over to Pilate, the governor.
Judas Kills Himself
3 Judas saw that they had decided to kill Jesus. He was the one who had handed him over. When he saw what happened, he was very sorry for what he had done. So he took the 30 silver coins back to the priests and the older leaders. 4 Judas said, “I sinned. I handed over to you an innocent man to be killed.”
The Jewish leaders answered, “We don’t care! That’s a problem for you, not us.”
5 So Judas threw the money into the Temple. Then he went out from there and hanged himself.
6 The leading priests picked up the silver coins in the Temple. They said, “Our law does not allow us to keep this money with the Temple money, because this money has paid for a man’s death.” 7 So they decided to use the money to buy a field called Potter’s Field. This field would be a place to bury people who died while visiting in Jerusalem. 8 That is why that field is still called the Field of Blood. 9 This showed the full meaning of what Jeremiah the prophet said:
“They took 30 silver coins. That was how much the people of Israel decided to pay for his life. 10 They used those 30 silver coins to buy the potter’s field, as the Lord commanded me.”[a]
Governor Pilate Questions Jesus
11 Jesus stood before Pilate, the governor, who asked him, “Are you the king of the Jews?”
Jesus answered, “Yes, that’s right.”
12 Then, when the leading priests and the older Jewish leaders made their accusations against Jesus, he said nothing.
13 So Pilate said to him, “Don’t you hear all these charges they are making against you? Why don’t you answer?”
14 But Jesus did not say anything, and this really surprised the governor.
Pilate Tries but Fails to Free Jesus
15 Every year at Passover time the governor would free one prisoner—whichever one the people wanted him to free. 16 At that time there was a man in prison who was known to be very bad. His name was Barabbas.[b]
17 When a crowd gathered, Pilate said to them, “I will free one man for you. Which one do you want me to free: Barabbas or Jesus who is called the Messiah?” 18 Pilate knew that they had handed Jesus over to him because they were jealous of him.
19 While Pilate was sitting there in the place for judging, his wife sent a message to him. It said, “Don’t do anything with that man. He is not guilty. Last night I had a dream about him, and it troubled me very much.”
20 But the leading priests and older Jewish leaders told the people to ask for Barabbas to be set free and for Jesus to be killed.
21 Pilate said, “I have Barabbas and Jesus. Which one do you want me to set free for you?”
The people answered, “Barabbas!”
22 Pilate asked, “So what should I do with Jesus, the one called the Messiah?”
All the people said, “Kill him on a cross!”
23 Pilate asked, “Why do you want me to kill him? What wrong has he done?”
But they shouted louder, “Kill him on a cross!”
24 Pilate saw that there was nothing he could do to make the people change. In fact, it looked as if there would be a riot. So he took some water and washed his hands[c] in front of them all. He said, “I am not guilty of this man’s death. You are the ones who are doing it!”
25 The people answered, “We will take full responsibility for his death. You can blame us and even our children!”
26 Then Pilate set Barabbas free. And he told some soldiers to beat Jesus with whips. Then he handed him over to the soldiers to be killed on a cross.
Pilate’s Soldiers Make Fun of Jesus
27 Then Pilate’s soldiers took Jesus into the governor’s palace. All the soldiers gathered around him. 28 They took off Jesus’ clothes and put a red robe on him. 29 Then they made a crown from thorny branches and put it on his head, and they put a stick in his right hand. Then they bowed before him, making fun of him. They said, “We salute you, king of the Jews!” 30 They spit on him. Then they took his stick and kept hitting him on the head with it. 31 After they finished making fun of him, the soldiers took off the robe and put his own clothes on him again. Then they led him away to be killed on a cross.
Jesus Is Nailed to a Cross
32 The soldiers were going out of the city with Jesus. They saw a man from Cyrene named Simon, and they forced him to carry Jesus’ cross. 33 They came to the place called Golgotha. (Golgotha means “The Place of the Skull.”) 34 There the soldiers gave Jesus some wine mixed with gall.[d] But when he tasted it, he refused to drink it.
35 The soldiers nailed Jesus to a cross. Then they threw dice to divide his clothes between them. 36 The soldiers stayed there to guard him. 37 They put a sign above his head with the charge against him written on it: “ this is jesus, the king of the jews.”
38 Two criminals were nailed to crosses beside Jesus—one on the right and the other on the left. 39 People walked by and shouted insults at Jesus. They shook their heads 40 and said, “You said you could destroy the Temple and build it again in three days. So save yourself! Come down from that cross if you really are the Son of God!”
41 The leading priests, the teachers of the law, and the older Jewish leaders were also there. They made fun of Jesus the same as the other people did. 42 They said, “He saved others, but he can’t save himself! People say he is the king of Israel. If he is the king, he should come down now from the cross. Then we will believe in him. 43 He trusted God. So let God save him now, if God really wants him. He himself said, ‘I am the Son of God.’” 44 And in the same way, the criminals on the crosses beside Jesus also insulted him.
45 At noon the whole country became dark. The darkness continued for three hours. 46 About three o’clock Jesus cried out loudly, “Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?” This means “My God, my God, why have you left me alone?”[e]
47 Some of the people standing there heard this. They said, “He is calling Elijah.”[f]
48 Quickly, one of them ran and got a sponge. He filled the sponge with sour wine and tied the sponge to a stick. Then he used the stick to give the sponge to Jesus to get a drink from it. 49 But the others said, “Don’t bother him. We want to see if Elijah will come to save him.”
50 Again Jesus cried out loudly and then died.[g]
51 When Jesus died, the curtain in the Temple was torn into two pieces. The tear started at the top and tore all the way to the bottom. Also, the earth shook and rocks were broken. 52 The graves opened, and many of God’s people who had died were raised from death. 53 They came out of the graves. And after Jesus was raised from death, they went into the holy city, and many people saw them.
54 The army officer and the soldiers guarding Jesus saw this earthquake and everything that happened. They were very afraid and said, “He really was the Son of God!”
55 Many women were standing away from the cross, watching. These were the women who had followed Jesus from Galilee to care for him. 56 Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James and Joseph, and the mother of James and John[h] were there.
Jesus Is Buried
57 That evening a rich man named Joseph came to Jerusalem. He was a follower of Jesus from the town of Arimathea. 58 He went to Pilate and asked to have Jesus’ body. Pilate gave orders for the soldiers to give Jesus’ body to him. 59 Then Joseph took the body and wrapped it in a new linen cloth. 60 He put Jesus’ body in a new tomb that he had dug in a wall of rock. Then he closed the tomb by rolling a very large stone to cover the entrance. After he did this, he went away. 61 Mary Magdalene and the other woman named Mary were sitting near the tomb.
The Tomb of Jesus Is Guarded
62 That day was the day called Preparation day. The next day, the leading priests and the Pharisees went to Pilate. 63 They said, “Sir, we remember that while that liar was still alive he said, ‘I will rise from death in three days.’ 64 So give the order for the tomb to be guarded well for three days. His followers might come and try to steal the body. Then they could tell everyone that he has risen from death. That lie will be even worse than what they said about him before.”
65 Pilate said, “Take some soldiers and go guard the tomb the best way you know.” 66 So they all went to the tomb and made it safe from thieves. They did this by sealing the stone in the entrance and putting soldiers there to guard it.