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365 Devotionals: The Good News!

Memory Verses: And above His head they put the accusation against Him which read, “THIS IS JESUS THE KING OF THE JEWS.” Matthew 27:37 AMP

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Listen to “Via Dolorosa” by Sandi Patty.

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Key People

Here is a list of key people – the who’s who of overcomers, found in today’s reading (in order of appearance) with bios from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

Jesus. Also referred to as Jesus of Nazareth or Jesus Christ, was a first-century Jewish preacher and religious leader. He is the central figure of Christianity, the world’s largest religion. Most Christians believe he is the incarnation of God the Son and the awaited Messiah (the Christ) prophesied in the Old Testament.

Judas. One of the original Twelve Apostles of Jesus Christ. According to all four canonical gospels, Judas betrayed Jesus to the Sanhedrin in the Garden of Gethsemane by kissing him and addressing him as “rabbi” to reveal his identity to the crowd who had come to arrest him.[1] His name is often used synonymously with betrayal or treason.

The Apostles. In Christian theology and ecclesiology, apostles, particularly the Twelve Apostles (also known as the Twelve Disciples or simply the Twelve), were the primary disciples of Jesus according to the New Testament. During the life and ministry of Jesus in the 1st century AD, the apostles were his closest followers and became the primary teachers of the gospel message of Jesus.


Today’s Devotional Reading: Matthew 27 – 28

Matthew 27 – Amplified Version (AMP)
Matthew 28 – Amplified Version (AMP)


Matthew 27 AMP

Judas’ Remorse

27 When it was morning, all the chief priests and the elders of the people (Sanhedrin, Jewish High Court) conferred together against Jesus, [plotting how] to put Him to death [since under Roman rule they had no power to execute anyone]; so they bound Him, and led Him away and handed Him over to Pilate the governor [of Judea, who had the authority to condemn prisoners to death].

When Judas, His betrayer, saw that Jesus was condemned, he was gripped with remorse and returned the thirty pieces of silver to the chief priests and the elders, saying, “I have sinned by betraying innocent blood.” They replied, “What is that to us? See to that yourself!” And throwing the pieces of silver into the temple sanctuary, he left; and went away and hanged himself. The chief priests, picking up the pieces of silver, said, “It is not lawful to put these in the treasury [of the temple], because it is the price of blood.” 

So after consultation they used the money to buy the Potter’s Field as a burial place for strangers. Therefore that piece of ground has been called the Field of Blood to this day. Then the words spoken by Jeremiah the prophet were fulfilled: “And they took the thirty pieces of silver, the price of Him on whom a price had been set by the sons of Israel; 10 and they gave them for the Potter’s Field, as the Lord directed me.”

Jesus before Pilate

11 Now Jesus stood before [Pilate] the governor, and the governor asked Him, “Are you the King of the Jews?” [In affirmation] Jesus said to him, “It is as you say.” 12 But when the charges were brought against Him by the chief priests and elders, He did not answer. 13 Then Pilate said to Him, “Do You not hear how many things they are testifying against You?” 14 But Jesus did not reply to him, not even to a single accusation, so that the governor was greatly astonished.

15 Now at the feast [of the Passover] the governor was in the habit of setting free any one prisoner whom the people chose. 16 And at that time they were holding a notorious prisoner [guilty of insurrection and murder], called Barabbas. 17 So when they had assembled [for this purpose], Pilate said to them, “Whom do you want me to set free for you? Barabbas, or Jesus who is called Christ?” 18 For Pilate knew that it was because of jealousy that the chief priests and elders had handed Jesus over to him.

19 While he was seated on the judgment seat, his wife sent him a message, saying, “Have nothing to do with that righteous and innocent Man; for last night I suffered greatly in a dream because of Him.” 20 But the chief priests and the elders persuaded the crowds to ask for Barabbas and to put Jesus to death. 21 The governor said to them, “Which of the two do you wish me to set free for you?” And they said, “Barabbas.” 22 Pilate said to them, “Then what shall I do with Jesus who is called Christ?” They all replied, “Let Him be crucified!” 23 And he said, “Why, what has He done that is evil?” But they continued shouting all the louder, “Let Him be crucified!”

24 So when Pilate saw that he was getting nowhere, but rather that a riot was breaking out, he took water and washed his hands [to ceremonially cleanse himself of guilt] in the presence of the crowd, saying, “I am innocent of this [righteous] Man’s blood; see to that yourselves.” 25 And all the people answered, “Let [the responsibility for] His blood be on us and on our children!” 26 So he set Barabbas free for them; but after having Jesus severely whipped (scourged), he handed Him over to be crucified.

Jesus Is Mocked

27 Then the governor’s soldiers took Jesus into the Praetorium, and they gathered the whole Roman cohort around Him. 28 They stripped him and put a scarlet robe on Him [as a king’s robe]. 29 And after twisting together a crown of thorns, they put it on His head, and put a reed in His right hand [as a scepter]. Kneeling before Him, they ridiculed Him, saying, “Hail (rejoice), King of the Jews!” 30 They spat on Him, and took the reed and struck Him repeatedly on the head. 31 After they finished ridiculing Him, they stripped Him of the scarlet robe and put His own clothes on Him, and led Him away to crucify Him. 32 Now as they were coming out, they found a man of Cyrene named Simon, whom they forced into service to carry the cross of Jesus.

The Crucifixion

33 And when they came to a place called Golgotha, which means [g]Place of a Skull, 34 they offered Him wine mixed with gall (myrrh, a bitter-tasting narcotic) to drink; but after tasting it, He refused to drink it.

35 And when they had crucified Him, they divided His clothes among them by casting lots. 36 Then sitting down there, they began to keep watch over Him [to guard against any rescue attempt]. 37 And above His head they put the accusation against Him which read, “THIS IS JESUS THE KING OF THE JEWS.”

38 At the same time two robbers were crucified with Jesus, one on the right and one on the left. 39 Those who passed by were hurling abuse at Him and jeering at Him, wagging their heads [in scorn and ridicule], 40 and they said [tauntingly], “You who would destroy the temple and rebuild it in three days, save Yourself [from death]! If You are the Son of God, come down from the cross.” 41 In the same way the chief priests also, along with the scribes and elders, mocked Him, saying, 42 “He saved others [from death]; He cannot save Himself. He is the King of Israel; let Him now come down from the cross, and we will believe in Him and acknowledge Him. 43 He trusts in God; let God rescue Him now, if He delights in Him; for He said, ‘I am the Son of God.’” 44 The robbers who had been crucified with Him also began to insult Him in the same way.

45 Now from the sixth hour (noon) there was darkness over all the land until the ninth hour (3:00 p.m.). 46 About the ninth hour Jesus cried out with a loud [agonized] voice, “Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani?” that is, “My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?” 47 When some of the bystanders there heard it, they began saying, “This man is calling for Elijah.” 48 Immediately one of them ran, and took a sponge, soaked it with sour wine and put it on a reed, and gave Him a drink. 49 But the rest said, “Let us see whether Elijah will come to save Him [from death].” 50 And Jesus cried out again with a loud [agonized] voice, and gave up His spirit [voluntarily, sovereignly dismissing and releasing His spirit from His body in submission to His Father’s plan].

51 And [at once] the veil [of the Holy of Holies] of the temple was [l]torn in two from top to bottom; the earth shook and the rocks were split apart. 52 The tombs were opened, and many bodies of the saints (God’s people) who had fallen asleep [in death] were raised [to life]; 53 and coming out of the tombs after His resurrection, they entered the holy city (Jerusalem) and appeared to many people. 54 Now the centurion, and those who were with him keeping guard over Jesus, when they saw the earthquake and the things that were happening, they were terribly frightened and filled with awe, and said, “Truly this was the Son of God!”

55 There were also many women there looking on from a distance, who had accompanied Jesus from Galilee, ministering to Him. 56 Among them was Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James and Joseph, and [Salome] the mother of Zebedee’s sons [James and John].

Jesus Is Buried

57 When it was evening, there came a rich man from Arimathea, named Joseph, who was also a disciple of Jesus. 58 He went to Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus [so that he might bury Him], and Pilate ordered that it be given to him59 And Joseph took the body and wrapped it in a clean linen cloth (burial wrapping), 60 and laid it in his own new tomb, which he had cut in the rock; and he rolled a large stone over the entrance of the tomb and went away. 61 And Mary Magdalene was there, and the other Mary, sitting opposite the tomb.

62 The next day, that is, the day after the [day of] preparation [for the Sabbath], the chief priests and the Pharisees assembled before Pilate, 63 and said, “Sir, we have remembered that when He was still alive that deceiver said, ‘After three days I will rise [from the dead].’ 64 Therefore, give orders to have the tomb made secure and safeguarded until the third day, otherwise His disciples may come and steal Him away and tell the people, ‘He has risen from the dead,’ and the last deception [the reporting of His resurrection] will be worse than the first [the reporting that He is the Messiah].” 65 Pilate said to them, “You have a guard [of soldiers]; go [with them], make the tomb as secure as you know how.” 66 So they went and made the tomb secure, and along with [stationing] a guard of soldiers [to be on watch] they set a seal on the stone.


Matthew 28 AMP

Jesus Is Risen!

28 Now after the Sabbath, near dawn of the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to look at the tomb. And a great earthquake had occurred, for an angel of the Lord descended from heaven and came and rolled away the stone [from the opening of the tomb], and sat on it. The angel’s appearance was like lightning, and his clothes were as white as snow.

The guards shook, paralyzed with fear [at the sight] of him and became like dead men [pale and immobile]. But the angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid; for I know that you are looking for Jesus who has been crucified. He is not here, for He has risen, just as He said [He would]. Come! See the place where He was lying. Then go quickly and tell His disciples that He has risen from the dead; and behold, He is going ahead of you into Galilee [as He promised]. There you will see Him; behold, I have told you.”

So the women left the tomb quickly with fear and great joy, and ran to tell [the good news to] the disciples. And as they went, suddenly, Jesus met them, saying, “Rejoice!” And they went to Him and took hold of His feet [in homage] and worshiped Him [as the Messiah]. 10 Then Jesus said to them, “Do not be afraid; go and tell My brothers to leave for Galilee, and there they will see Me [just as I promised].”

11 While they were on their way, some of the [Roman] guards went into the city and reported to the chief priests everything that had happened. 12 And when the chief priests had gathered with the elders and had consulted together [to develop a plan of deception], they gave a sufficient sum of money [as a bribe] to the soldiers, 13 and said, “You say this, ‘His disciples came at night and stole Him while we were sleeping.’ 14 And if the governor (Pilate) hears about it, we will calm him down and keep you out of trouble.” 15 So they took the money [they were paid for lying] and did as they were instructed; and this [fabricated] story was widely spread among the Jews, and is to the present day.

The Great Commission

16 Now the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain which Jesus had designated. 17 And when they saw Him, they worshiped Him; but some doubted [that it was really He]. 18 Jesus came up and said to them, “All authority (all power of absolute rule) in heaven and on earth has been given to Me. 19 Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations [help the people to learn of Me, believe in Me, and obey My words], baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe everything that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always [remaining with you perpetually—regardless of circumstance, and on every occasion], even to the end of the age.”


Reflection

From Matthew Henry’s Commentary on Matthew 27… It is a very affecting story which is recorded in this chapter concerning the sufferings and death of our Lord Jesus. Considering the thing itself, there cannot be a more tragical story told us; common humanity would melt the heart, to find an innocent and excellent person thus misused. But considering the design and fruit of Christ’s sufferings, it is gospel, it is good news, that Jesus Christ was thus delivered for our offences; and there is nothing we have more reason to glory in than the cross of Christ.

In this chapter, observe, I. How he was prosecuted. 1. The delivering of him to Pilate, Matt. 27:1, 2. 2. The despair of Judas, Matt. 27:3-10. 3. The arraignment and trial of Christ before Pilate, Matt. 27:11-14. 4. The clamours of the people against him, Matt. 27:15-25. 5. Sentence passed, and the warrant signed for his execution, Matt. 27:26. II. How he was executed. 1. He was barbarously used, Matt. 27:27-30. 2. Led to the place of execution, Matt. 27:31-33. 3. There he had all possible indignities done him, and reproaches cast upon him, Matt. 27:34-44. 4. Heaven frowned upon him, Matt. 27:45-49. 5. Many remarkable things attended his death, Matt. 27:50-56. He was buried and a watch set on his grave, Matt. 27:57-66.

From Matthew Henry’s Commentary on Matthew 28

In the foregoing chapters, we saw the Captain of our salvation engaged with the powers of darkness, attacked by them, and vigorously attacking them; victory seemed to hover between the combatants; nay, at length, it inclined to the enemies’ side, and our Champion fell before them; behold, God has delivered his strength into captivity, and his glory into the enemies’ hand. Christ in the grave is like the ark in Dagon’s temple; the powers of darkness seemed to ride masters, but then the Lord awaked as one out of sleep, and like a mighty man that shouteth by reason of wine, Ps. 78:61, 65.

The prince of our peace is in this chapter rallying again, coming out of the grave, a Conqueror, yea, more than a conqueror, leading captivity captive; though the ark be a prisoner, Dagon falls before it, and it proves that none is able to stand before the holy Lord God. Now the resurrection of Christ being one of the main foundations of our religion, it is requisite that we should have infallible proofs of it; four of which proofs we have in this chapter, which are but a few of many, for Luke and John give a larger account of the proofs of Christ’s resurrection than Matthew and Mark do. Here is, I. The testimony of the angel to Christ’s resurrection, Matt. 28:1-8. II. His appearance himself to the women, Matt. 28:9, 10. III. The confession of the adversaries that were upon the guard, Matt. 28:11-15. IV. Christ’s appearance to the disciples in Galilee, and the commission he gave them, Matt. 28:16-20.


References

« Matthew Henry’s Commentary
« The Amplified Bible
« The King James Bible
« Wikipedia: Jesus
« Wikipedia: Judas

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Image Source: 365 Seeds of Promise by Shenica R. Graham.

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