The Passion Translation
Jesus Condemned by the Religious Leaders
27 Before dawn that morning, all the chief priests and religious leaders resolved to take action against Jesus and decided that he should be executed. 2 So they bound him and led him away to Pilate, the Roman governor.
Judas Commits Suicide
3 Now, when Judas, the betrayer, saw that Jesus had been sentenced to death, remorse filled his heart. He returned the thirty pieces of silver to the chief priests and religious leaders, 4 saying, “I have sinned by betraying an innocent man.”
They replied, “Why are you bothering us? That’s your problem.”
5 Then Judas flung the silver coins inside the temple and went out and hanged himself.
6 The chief priests, picking up the pieces of silver, said, “We can’t keep this, for it’s unlawful to put blood money into the temple treasury.” 7 So after some deliberation, they decided to purchase the potter’s field of clay,[a] to use as a cemetery for burying strangers. 8 That’s why that land has been called “The Field of Blood.” 9 This fulfilled the prophecy of Zechariah:[b]
Jesus Brought before Pilate
11 As Jesus stood in front of the Roman governor, Pilate asked him, “So, you are the king of the Jews?”
Jesus answered, “You have just spoken it.” 12 Then he was accused by the chief priests and religious leaders, but he remained silent.
13 Pilate said, “Don’t you hear these allegations?” 14 But Jesus offered no defense to any of the charges, much to the great astonishment of Pilate.
15 Now, every year at Passover it was the custom of the governor to pardon a prisoner and release him to the people—anyone they wanted. 16 And at that time, Pilate was holding in custody a notorious criminal named Jesus Barabbas.[f] 17 So as the crowds of people assembled outside of Pilate’s residence, he went out and offered them a choice. He asked them, “Who would you want me to release to you today, Jesus who is called Barabbas, or Jesus who is called the Anointed One?” 18 (Now, Pilate was fully aware that the religious leaders had handed Jesus over to him because of their bitter jealousy.)
20 Meanwhile, the chief priest and the religious leaders were inciting the crowd to ask for Barabbas to be freed and to have Jesus killed. 21 So Pilate asked them again, “Which of the two men would you like me to release for you?”
They shouted, “Barabbas.”
22 Pilate asked them, “Then what would you have me to do with Jesus who is called the Anointed One?”
They all shouted back, “Crucify him!”
23 “Why?” Pilate asked. “What has he done wrong?”
But they kept shouting out, “Crucify him!”
Jesus Condemned to Death
24 When Pilate realized that a riot was about to break out and that it was useless to try to reason with the crowd, he sent for a basin of water. After washing his hands[i] in front of the people, he said, “I am innocent of the blood of this righteous man.[j] The responsibility for his death is now yours!”[k]
25 And the crowd replied, “Let his blood be on us and on our children!”
26 So he released Barabbas to the people. He ordered that Jesus be beaten with a whip of leather straps embedded with metal, and afterward be crucified. 27 Then the guards took him into their military compound, where a detachment of nearly six hundred soldiers surrounded him.
28 They stripped off his clothing[l] and placed a scarlet robe on him to make fun of him. 29 Then they braided a crown of thorns and forcefully shoved it onto his head. After placing a reed staff in his right hand, they knelt down before him and mocked him, saying, “Hail, king of the Jews!” 30 Then they spat in his face and took the reed staff from his hand and hit him repeatedly on his head, driving the crown of thorns deeper. 31 When they finished ridiculing him, they took off the scarlet robe and put his own clothes back on him and led him away to be crucified. 32 And as they came out of the city, they stopped an African man named Simon, from Libya,[m] and compelled him to carry the cross for Jesus.
33 They brought Jesus to Golgotha, which means “Skull Hill.”[n] 34 And there the soldiers offered him a mild painkiller, a drink of wine mixed with gall,[o] but after tasting it, he refused to drink it.
35 Then they crucified Jesus, nailing his hands and feet to the cross. The soldiers divided his clothing among themselves by rolling dice to see who would win them. 36 And the soldiers stood there to watch what would happen and to keep guard over him. 37 Above his head they placed a sign that read, “This is Jesus of Nazareth,[p] King of Israel.”
38 Two criminals were also crucified with Jesus, one on each side of him.[q] 39 And those who passed by shook their heads and ridiculed him, 40 saying, “We heard you boast that you could destroy the temple and rebuild it in three days! Why don’t you save yourself now? If you’re really God’s Son, come down from the cross!”
41 Even the ruling priests, with the Jewish scholars and religious leaders, joined in the mockery[r] 42 and kept on saying, “He saved others, but he can’t even save himself! Israel’s king, is he? He should pull out the nails and come down from the cross right now; then we’ll believe in him! 43 He puts his trust in God, so let’s see if it’s true, and see if God really wants to rescue him, for he said, ‘I am the Son of God.’ ”
44 Even the two criminals who were crucified with Jesus began to taunt him, hurling their insults on him.
The Death of the Savior
45 For three hours, beginning at noon, a sudden and unexpected darkness came over the earth.[s] 46 And at three o’clock Jesus shouted with a mighty voice in Aramaic, “Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?”[t]—that is, “My God, My God, why have you deserted me?”[u] 47 Some who were standing near the cross misunderstood and said, “He’s calling for Elijah.” 48 One bystander ran and got a sponge, soaked it with sour wine, then put it on a stick and held it up for Jesus to drink. 49 But the rest said, “Leave him alone! Let’s see if Elijah comes to rescue him.”[v]
50 Jesus passionately cried out,[w] took his last breath, and gave up his spirit.
51 At that moment the veil in the Holy of Holies was torn in two from the top to the bottom.[x] The earth shook violently, rocks were violently split apart, 52 and graves were opened. Then many of the holy ones who had died were brought back to life and came out of their graves. 53 And after Jesus’ resurrection,[y] they were seen by many people walking in Jerusalem.[z]
54 Now, when the Roman military officer and his soldiers witnessed what was happening and felt the powerful earthquake, they were extremely terrified. They said, “There is no doubt, this man was the Son of God!”
55 Watching from a distance were many of the women who had followed him from Galilee and given him support. 56 Among them were Mary Magdalene; Mary, the mother of Jacob and Joseph; and the mother of Jacob and John.
The Burial of Jesus
57 At the end of the day, a wealthy man named Joseph, a follower of Jesus from the village of Ramah,[aa] 58 approached Pilate and asked if he could take custody of the body of Jesus. So Pilate consented and ordered that the body be given to him. 59 Then Joseph wrapped the body in a shroud of fine linen and placed it in his own unused tomb, which had only recently been cut into the rock. 60 They rolled a large stone to seal the entrance of the tomb and left.
61 Sitting across from the tomb were Mary Magdalene and the other Marys,[ab] watching all that took place.
62 The next day, the day after Preparation Day for Passover, the chief priests and the Pharisees went together to Pilate. 63 They said to him, “Our master, we remember that this imposter claimed that he would rise from the dead after three days. 64 So please, order the tomb to be sealed until after the third day. Seal it so that his disciples can’t come and steal the corpse and tell people he rose from the dead. Then the last deception would be worse than the first!”
65 “I will send soldiers to guard the tomb,” Pilate replied. “Go with them and make the tomb as secure as possible.” 66 So they left and sealed the stone,[ac] and Pilate’s soldiers secured the tomb.
- 27:7 Implied in the historical context. This was the field owned by a potter, used for making clay vessels.
- 27:9 As translated from the Hebrew Matthew. See Zech. 11:12–13. The Greek manuscripts incorrectly identify the prophecy as from Jeremiah. There is no clear prophecy found in Jeremiah that is quoted here by Matthew. The Aramaic reads simply, “spoken of by the prophet.” The Hebrew Matthew correctly states, “spoken through Zechariah.”
- 27:9 Thirty pieces of silver is also the price someone owed if their ox killed a slave (Exod. 21:32).
- 27:9 As translated from the Aramaic.
- 27:10 Or “as the Lord directed me.”
- 27:16 As translated from the Hebrew Matthew and a few Greek manuscripts. Most Greek texts have only Barabbas. The name Barabbas is Aramaic and means “son of a father” or “son who is like his father.” He becomes a picture of every son of Adam, our father. Some believe this is a figure of speech, a nickname for one who was born an illegitimate son, with no known father. The true Son of the Father was crucified that day.
- 27:19 Or “sat on the judgment seat.”
- 27:19 As translated from the Aramaic.
- 27:24 See Deut. 21:6–7.
- 27:24 As translated from the Hebrew Matthew and the Aramaic.
- 27:24 The Aramaic is “You do as you please!”
- 27:28 The Greek word ekduo means “to fully undress.” This was an act meant to shame and humiliate.
- 27:32 Or “from Cyrene,” which is present-day Tripoli, Libya.
- 27:33 The Aramaic word Golgotha is, in Latin, calvaria, or Calvary. Origen, an early church father (185–253 AD), recorded that Jesus was crucified at the place where Adam was buried and where his skull was found. David brought Goliath’s head (Goliath and Golgotha are taken from the same root word) and buried it outside of Jerusalem. Some believe this is where it got its name, Golgotha (the place of the skull). The cross has to pierce the place of the skull for our minds to submit to the revelation of the cross.
- 27:34 See Ps. 69:21. Jesus was twice offered a painkiller on the cross and did not drink it. He knew he was to drink the cup of suffering the Father had given him. He did that for you.
- 27:37 As translated from the Hebrew Matthew. See John 19:20. The sign was written in Aramaic, Latin, and Greek. Aramaic was the language of the common people in Israel. Hebrew ceased to be their spoken language after 450 BC, when the Jews returned from Babylon. Aramaic remained the language of Israel for nearly one thousand years. Latin was the official language of the Roman Empire. The inscription was also in Greek, for the Alexandrian Jews who had come to observe the Passover in Jerusalem would be unable to read Aramaic. The words were “Jesus, the Nazarene, King of the Jews.” The first letters of each of the four words written on the sign in Aramaic (Hebrew) were Y-H-W-H (Y’shua Hanozri Wumelech a Yehudim). To write these letters, YHWH (also known as the Tetragrammaton), was the Hebrew form of writing the sacred name “Yahweh.” No wonder the chief priests were so offended by this sign and insisted that Pilate change it. This was a sign given to Israel, for over Jesus’ head on the cross was written “Y-H-W-H! God, the Savior, bled to death for you.”
- 27:38 See Isa. 53:12.
- 27:41 See Pss. 22:17; 109:25; Lam. 2:15.
- 27:45 Or “the land.”
- 27:46 The last words of Jesus were spoken in Aramaic. Every Greek text gives a transliteration of the Aramaic words and then translates them back into Greek.
- 27:46 See Pss. 22:1; 42:9. The Aramaic can be translated “for this purpose you have spared me.”
- 27:49 A few Greek manuscripts have an additional sentence: “A soldier took a lance and pierced him in the side and blood and water poured out.” It is not found in the Aramaic and many Greek texts of Matthew. If included, it would mean the soldier took Jesus’ life with his lance. However, Jesus said that no man could take his life from him. The evidence is compelling that it was not part of the original text, but was taken from John 19:34 and added here.
- 27:50 See Luke 23:46 and John 19:30 to read the words he shouted out at death.
- 27:51 It was obviously the hand of God that tore the veil from top to bottom. In Matthew 26:56 it was the High Priest who tore his clothes in the presence of Jesus. Now God tears his veil in the presence of the High Priest offering the Passover blood in the Holy of Holies.
- 27:53 The Aramaic reads “after their rising.”
- 27:53 Perhaps one was Joseph, for he had asked that his bones be buried in the promised land. He saw a resurrection coming and didn’t want to be left out. See Heb. 11:22. Jesus’ resurrection was so powerful that many were instantly raised back to life again along with him.
- 27:57 As translated from the Aramaic. Ramah (formerly Ramathaim Zophim) was the village of Samuel, situated on a hill overlooking Jerusalem. The Greek is “Joseph of Arimathea.” Luke tells us that he was a member of the Sanhedrin. See Luke 23:50–51. It is possible that Joseph may have lost a son the age of Jesus when Herod killed the infants.
- 27:61 As translated from the Hebrew Matthew. See v. 56 and 28:1.
- 27:66 This official seal, if broken, would bring the death penalty to the offender.