Matthew 27:27-44

Matthew 27:27-44 … Here, Matthew’s words allow us to visit one of the darkest hours of human history. We visit because we must—not due to curiosity, but due to reverence and awe. This historical report of the crucifixion of God incarnate is of the utmost importance. There is a great hymn, “And Can It Be,” by Charles Wesley that captures some of the awe that ought to accompany our reading of these verses. The first verse reads: And can it be, that I should gain, An interest in the Savior’s blood? Died He for me, who caused His pain For me, who Him to death pursued? Amazing love! How can it be? That Thou, my God, should die for me?

The scourging was sadistic, cruel beyond words, and intended to inflict unbearable pain. In fact, many victims reportedly died from the scourging before reaching the cross. The scene is hard to contemplate. And if we could imagine it, the crucifixion was worse. None of the Gospels give details of the crucifixion itself. To both Romans and Jews it was too offensive to even think about.

The issue for any reader of the story is this: where do we fit into that picture? The answer of Scripture is that Jesus the Son of God bore the punishment for our sins. The sinless God/man was suffering for the sins of mankind, bearing the penalty we deserve, so that we can experience the salvation we don’t deserve. He took our sins upon Himself and gave us His righteousness. That is the great substitution and sacrifice that was the atonement and satisfaction for the wrath of God toward the sins of mankind. God brought all of these things to pass to make possible a reconciliation of sinners with a holy God. 2 Corinthians 5:19 (NASB) says it best: “God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not counting their trespasses against them.” These are holy words and cause for real worship.

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