Matthew 27:50

We cannot fathom the depths of the dark and mysterious experience of our Lord's last mortal agony. We must walk reverently, for here we stand on holy ground. It is only just to acknowledge that the great Sufferer must have had thoughts and feelings which pass beyond our comprehension, and which are too sacred and private for our inspection. Yet what is recorded is written for our instruction. Let us, then, in all reverence, endeavour to see what it means.

I. CHRIST AS A TRUE MAN SHARED IN THE FLUCTUATIONS OF HUMAN EMOTION. He quoted the language of a psalmist who had passed through the deep waters, and he felt them to be most tree in his own experience. Jesus was not always calm; certainly he was not impassive. He could be roused to indignation; he could be melted to tears. He knew the rapture of Divine joy; he knew also the torment of heart-breaking grief. There are sorrows which depend upon the inner consciousness more than on any external events. These sorrows Jesus knew and felt. We cannot command our phases of feeling. It is well to know that Jesus also, in his earthly life, was visited by very various moods. Dark hours were not unknown to him. Having experienced them, he can understand them in us, and sympathize with our depression of spirit.

II. CHRIST AS THE ATONEMENT FOR SIN FELT THE DARK HORROR OF ITS GUILT. He could not own himself to be guilty when he knew he was innocent. But he was so one with man that he felt the shame and burden of man's sin as though it had been his own. As the great Representative of the race, he took up the load of the world's sin, i.e. he made it his own by deeply concerning himself with it, by entering into its dreadful consequences, by submitting to its curse. Such feelings might blot out the vision of God for a season.

III. CHRIST AS THE HOLY SON OF GOD WAS UNUTTERABLY GRIEVED AT LOSING THE CONSCIOUSNESS OF HIS FATHER'S PRESENCE. There are men who live without any thought of God, and yet this is no trouble to them. On the contrary, they dread to see God, and it is fearful for them to think that he sees them. These are men who love sin, and therefore they do not love God. But Jesus lived in the love of his Father. To lose one whom we love with all our heart is a cause for heart-breaking anguish. Jesus seemed to have lost God. To all who have the love of God in their hearts any similar feeling of desertion must be an agony of soul.

IV. CHRIST AS THE BELOVED SON IN WHOM GOD WAS WELL PLEASED COULD NOT BE REALLY DESERTED BY GOD. Not only is God physically near to all men, because he is omnipresent, but he is spiritually near to his own people to sustain and save them, even when they are not conscious of his presence. The vision of God is one thing, and his presence is another. We may miss the first without losing the second. Our real state before God does not rest on the shifting sands of our moods of feeling. In the hour of darkness Jesus prayed. This is enough to show that he knew that he was not really and utterly abandoned by his Father. In spiritual deadness, when it is hard to pray at all, the one remedy is in prayer. Our cry can reach God through the darkness, and the darkness will not last forever; often it is the gate to a glorious light. - W.F.A.

Jesus, when He had cried again with a loud voice, yielded up the Ghost.
There were seven wonders which made the death of Christ exceedingly remarkable.

I. Over His head was written an inscription in Hebrew, and Greek, and Latin, "Jesus of Nazareth, the King of the Jews." That there should be a distinct recognition of His kingship over the Jewish people has ever been regarded as one of the most remarkable splendours of the Saviour's death. Typical of His sovereignty over the entire Church, which is but the prelude to His sovereignty over all worlds. Is He King in your heart?

II. The conversion of the thief (Luke 23.). See here the majesty of Christ as a Saviour, even in His misery as an atonement. What the thief saw about Christ let us all endeavour to see — His almighty power to save. God hath laid help upon One that is mighty. Trust Him only and fully.

III. The total darkness at noon-day made a fitting cavern into which Christ might retire. A picture of Christ's tremendous power. Your darkness is never so black as His.

IV. The rending of the veil. An eminent type of the departure of God from the symbolical dispensation. It was all over now. Now there was no veil between man and God. The dying Saviour rends away for ever every impediment which shuts us out from the Most High.

V. The earthquake. Here we see Christ's lordship over the world. The Lord of Providence.

VI. The resurrection of certain of the saints. How I should like to know something about them l They were representative men; they arose as specimens of the way in which all the saints shall in their due time arise.

VII. The confession of the centurion. A picture of Christ's convincing power. I hope we have felt this convincing power — it lies in the doctrine of the cross. The unrecorded wonder connected with the cross of Christ is that when we hear of it our hearts do not break, and that our dead souls do not rise.

(C. H. Spurgeon.)


1. That this great event did take place we have abundant testimony —

(1)Profane testimony.

(2)The testimony of the early Christians.

(3)The testimony of the inspired writers.

2. The design of His death.

(1)To atone for the world (2 Corinthians 5:18, 19; Hebrews 10:12; John 1:29-36; Hebrews 7:27).

(2)To procure for the guilty, pardon of sin (Hebrews 9:22; Matthew 26:28; Romans 3:25). Withheld from the unforgiving, the unbelieving, the impenitent (Matthew 11:26; John 7:21, 24; Luke 13:2-5).

(3)To procure the Holy Ghost to quicken dead sinners, etc.

(4)To exhibit to the world the amazing love of God.

II. THE EMBLEMATICAL AND AWFUL PRODIGIES THAT ATTENDED THAT EVENT. Christ had been charged as an imposter; how important that this testimony should be borne just at this time!

1. The darkness. Dionysius, a heathen, who observed the darkness, declared that it portended something extraordinary, and exclaimed, "Either nature is deploring, or the God of nature suffers."

2. "The veil of the temple was rent." Signifies: The abolition of the Jewish economy; that the mysteries of that dispensation were now explained; that the way of access to God was open to all believers.

3. "The earth did quake." The shaking of the moral world then, since, now, etc.

4. "The rocks rent." Emblems of the hard hearts that should be broken by Christ's death.

5. "Graves were opened," &c, Signifying that the dead in sin should be raised to a life of righteousness; that Christ had won a victory over death; that the saints of the early ages had an interest in the work of Christ; that there shall be a general resurrection of the dead.


1. It claims our attention.

2. Our faith.

3. Our affections.

4. Our zeal.

(A. Weston.)

I. The CIRCUMSTANCES attendant on the Saviour's death claim our attention and they attest His Divine character. "The earth did quake." The death of Christ shook the moral world and shakes it still. "The rocks rent." Emblems of the hard flinty hearts that should be subdued by the power of Christ's death. "Graves were opened," as if to denote that the hidden things of darkness should be revealed.


1. They should confirm us in the dignity of His character.

2. We should reflect upon the power of His death.

3. We should search for these effects upon ourselves.

(Dr. Cope.)


1. Christ died according to the appointment of the Divine counsels.

2. This design of God was announced in prophecy.

3. The particular manner of our Lord's death.


1. Of the whole of them. So many testimonies to the Messiahship of Jesus, and approbations of His work.

1. "The veil of the temple was rent" —

(1)That the ceremonial arrangements of the Jewish economy were about to be abolished;

(2)That the way of access is opened to all believers in God;

(3)That the mysteries peculiar to the Mosaic economy were now displayed and explained.

2. "The earth did quake."

(1)Another emblem of the destruction of the Jewish system.

(2)How God expressed His wrath at the scenes now transacting.

3. "The graves were opened."

(1)It showed that Christ achieved a victory over death.

(2)That the saints of the early ages had an interest in the work of the Redeemer.

(3)That there should be a general resurrection of the dead.


1. Frequent contemplation on His death.

2. Pungent sorrow for the cause which produced His death.

3. Cordial faith in His merits.

4. Grateful thanksgiving to God for the scenes which have been unfolded.

(J. Parsons.)

I. Miracle evinced itself in the great victim of Calvary. In the voluntary surrender of His life. Christ had power over His own life; and, not depending on the operation of nature's laws, He could dismiss the spirit, or retain it at His pleasure.

II. Miracle as it evinced itself in the circumstances attending the crucifixion.(1) The miraculous facts, darkness, earthquake, rent veil, graves burst open.(2) The design of this miraculous interposition.(a) These miracles constituted a Divine attestation to the Messiah, even in the hour of forsaking and death.(b) The prodigies of Calvary served to betoken the more dread conflict and terrifying darkness of the Saviour's soul in the hour of atonement.(c) In the rending of the veil we are taught that the Mosaic institutions were henceforth to be superseded, the objects which they symbolized being now accomplished.(d) We see in these miracles the trophies and the earnest of the Redeemer's triumphs.

(John Ely.)

It does not appear that the special agonies which the Saviour's mental sufferings created produced death prematurely; for there does not seem to have been a paroxysm producing convulsion, nor does death appear to have been the effect of mere exhaustion: the calm which succeeded the sufferer's exclamation under Divine forsakings forbids are former conclusion; the vigour of His dying shout forbids the latter.

(John Ely.)

In respect of —

1. The Sufferer dying.

2. The creatures obeying.

3. The Jews persecuting.

4. The women beholding.

5. The disciples forsaking.

(Thos. Adams.)

I. The dream of Pilate's wife.

II. The darkness of the sky.

III. The rending of the veil of the temple.

IV. The earthquake at Calvary.

V. The rising of the dead.

(N. Lardner.)

I. The place where this resurrection happened.

II. Who were raised.

III. The time when they were raised.

IV. To whom they appeared.

V. Whether they soon after ascended up to heaven, or died again.

VI. The truth of this history.

VII. The use of this extraordinary event. Reflections:

1. We may perceive a great agreement between the life and the death of Jesus.

2. It cannot but be pleasing to observe the mildness of all the wonderful works performed by Christ and done in His favour.

3. The testimonials given to Jesus should induce us to show Him all honour and reverence.

4. Let these meditations inspire us with courage and resolution in the profession of His name,

(N. Lardner.)

Barabbas, Eli, Elias, Elijah, Israelites, James, Jeremiah, Jeremias, Jeremy, Jesus, Joseph, Joses, Judas, Mary, Pilate, Simon, Zabdi, Zebedee
Arimathea, Cyrene, Field of Blood, Galilee, Golgotha, Jerusalem, Place of the Skull
Cried, Cry, Expired, Ghost, Loud, Spirit, Uttered, Voice, Yielded
1. Jesus is delivered bound to Pilate.
3. Judas hangs himself.
19. Pilate, admonished of his wife,
20. and being urged by the multitude, washes his hands, and releases Barabbas.
27. Jesus is mocked and crowned with thorns;
33. crucified;
39. reviled;
50. dies, and is buried;
62. his tomb is sealed and watched.

Dictionary of Bible Themes
Matthew 27:50

     2033   Christ, humanity
     2421   gospel, historical foundation
     5063   spirit, nature of
     5196   voice

Matthew 27:28-50

     2060   Christ, patience of

Matthew 27:39-50

     2412   cross, accounts of

Matthew 27:45-50

     5338   holiday

Matthew 27:48-50

     4536   vinegar

Matthew 27:50-53

     2530   Christ, death of

Matthew 27:50-56

     2412   cross, accounts of

The Blind Watchers at the Cross
'And sitting down they watched Him there.' --MATT. xxvii. 36. Our thoughts are, rightly, so absorbed by the central Figure in this great chapter that we pass by almost unnoticed the groups round the cross. And yet there are large lessons to be learned from each of them. These rude soldiers, four in number, as we infer from John's Gospel, had no doubt joined with their comrades in the coarse mockery which preceded the sad procession to Calvary; and then they had to do the rough work of the executioners,
Alexander Maclaren—Expositions of Holy Scripture

The Veil Rent
'Behold, the veil of the Temple was rent in twain from the top to the bottom.'--MATT. xxvii. 51. As I suppose we are all aware, the Jewish Temple was divided into three parts: the Outer Court, open to all; the Holy Place, to which the ministering priests had daily access to burn incense and trim the lamps; and the Holy of Holies, where only the High Priest was permitted to go, and that but once a year, on the great Day of Atonement. For the other three hundred and sixty-four days the shrine lay silent,
Alexander Maclaren—Expositions of Holy Scripture

The Sentence which Condemned the Judges
And Jesus stood before the governor: and the governor asked Him, saying, Art Thou the King of the Jews? And Jesus said unto him, Thou sayest. 12. And when He was accused of the chief priests and elders, He answered nothing. 13. Then said Pilate unto Him, Hearest Thou not how many things they witness against Thee? 14. And He answered him to never a word; insomuch that the governor marvelled greatly. 15. Now at that feast the governor was wont to release unto the people a prisoner, whom they would.
Alexander Maclaren—Expositions of Holy Scripture

The Crucifixion
'And when they were come unto a place called Golgotha, that is to say, a place of a skull, 34. They gave Him vinegar to drink mingled with gall: and when He had tasted thereof, He would not drink. 35. And they crucified Him, and parted His garments, casting lots: that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet, They parted My garments among them, and upon My vesture did they cast lots. 36. And sitting down they watched Him there; 37. And set up over His head His accusation written, THIS
Alexander Maclaren—Expositions of Holy Scripture

'See Thou to That!'
'I have sinned in that I have betrayed the innocent blood. And they said, What is that to us? See thou to that. 24. I am innocent of the blood of this just Person: see ye to it.'--MATT. xxvii. 4, 24. So, what the priests said to Judas, Pilate said to the priests. They contemptuously bade their wretched instrument bear the burden of his own treachery. They had condescended to use his services, but he presumed too far if he thought that that gave him a claim upon their sympathies. The tools of more
Alexander Maclaren—Expositions of Holy Scripture

Taunts Turning to Testimonies
'... The chief priests mocking Him ... said, 42. He saved others; Himself He cannot save. If He be the King of Israel, let Him now come down from the cross, and we will believe Him. 43. He trusted in God; let Him deliver Him now, if He will have Him.' --MATT. xxvii. 41-43. It is an old saying that the corruption of the best is the worst. What is more merciful and pitiful than true religion? What is more merciless and malicious than hatred which calls itself 'religious'? These priests, like many a
Alexander Maclaren—Expositions of Holy Scripture

The Fourth Word
"Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani."--ST. MATT. XXVII. 46; ST. MARK XV. 34. There are three peculiar and distinguishing features of this fourth word which our Saviour uttered from His Cross. 1. It is the only one of the Seven which finds a place in the earliest record of our Lord's life, contained in the matter common to St. Matthew and St. Mark. 2. It is the only one which has been preserved to us in the original Aramaic, in the very syllables which were formed by the lips of Christ. 3. It is the
J. H. Beibitz—Gloria Crucis

Let Him Deliver Him Now
It is very painful to the heart to picture our blessed Master in his death-agonies, surrounded by a ribald multitude, who watched him and mocked him, made sport of his prayer and insulted his faith. Nothing was sacred to them: they invaded the Holy of holies of his confidence in God, and taunted him concerning that faith in Jehovah which they were compelled to admit. See, dear friends, what an evil thing is sin, since the Sin-bearer suffers so bitterly to make atonement for it! See, also, the shame
Charles Haddon Spurgeon—Spurgeon's Sermons Volume 34: 1888

The Rent Veil
THE DEATH of our Lord Jesus Christ was fitly surrounded by miracles; yet it is itself so much greater a wonder than all besides, that it as far exceeds them as the sun outshines the planets which surround it. It seems natural enough that the earth should quake, that tombs should be opened, and that the veil of the temple should be rent, when He who only hath immortality gives up the ghost. The more you think of the death of the Son of God, the more will you be amazed at it. As much as a miracle excels
Charles Haddon Spurgeon—Spurgeon's Sermons Volume 34: 1888

Lama Sabachthani?
Our Lord was then in the darkest part of his way. He had trodden the winepress now for hours, and the work was almost finished. He had reached the culminating point of his anguish. This is his dolorous lament from the lowest pit of misery--"My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?" I do not think that the records of time or even of eternity, contain a sentence more full of anguish. Here the wormwood and the gall, and all the other bitternesses, are outdone. Here you may look as into a vast abyss;
Charles Haddon Spurgeon—Spurgeon's Sermons Volume 36: 1890

Our Lord's Solemn Enquiry
"Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani? That is to say, My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?"--Matthew 27:46. IF any one of us, lovers of the Lord Jesus Christ had been anywhere near the cross when he uttered those words, I am sure our hearts would have burst with anguish, and one thing is certain--we should have heard the tones of that dying cry as long as ever we lived. There is no doubt that at certain times they would come to us again, ringing shrill and clear through the thick darkness. We should
Charles Haddon Spurgeon—Spurgeon's Sermons Volume 62: 1916

The Eloi.
"My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?"--ST MATTHEW xxvii. 46. I do not know that I should dare to approach this, of all utterances into which human breath has ever been moulded, most awful in import, did I not feel that, containing both germ and blossom of the final devotion, it contains therefore the deepest practical lesson the human heart has to learn. The Lord, the Revealer, hides nothing that can be revealed, and will not warn away the foot that treads in naked humility even upon the
George MacDonald—Unspoken Sermons

Third Stage of Jewish Trial. Jesus Formally Condemned by the Sanhedrin and Led to Pilate.
(Jerusalem. Friday After Dawn.) ^A Matt. XXVII. 1, 2; ^B Mark XV. 1; ^C Luke XXII. 66-23:1; ^D John XVIII. 28. ^a 1 Now when morning was come, ^c 66 And as soon as it was day, ^b straightway ^c the assembly of the elders of the people was gathered together, both chief priests and scribes; and they led him away into their council, ^a all the chief priests and { ^b with} the elders ^a of the people ^b and scribes, and the whole council, held a consultation, and ^a took counsel against Jesus to put
J. W. McGarvey—The Four-Fold Gospel

First Stage of the Roman Trial. Jesus Before Pilate for the First Time.
(Jerusalem. Early Friday Morning.) ^A Matt. XXVII. 11-14; ^B Mark XV. 2-5; ^C Luke XXIII. 2-5; ^D John XVIII. 28-38. ^d and they themselves entered not into the Praetorium, that they might not be defiled, but might eat the passover. [See p. 641.] 29 Pilate therefore went out unto them, and saith, What accusation bring ye against this man? 30 They answered and said unto him, If this man were not an evildoer, we should not have delivered him up unto thee. [The Jewish rulers first attempt to induce
J. W. McGarvey—The Four-Fold Gospel

Third Stage of the Roman Trial. Pilate Reluctantly Sentences Him to Crucifixion.
(Friday. Toward Sunrise.) ^A Matt. XXVII. 15-30; ^B Mark XV. 6-19; ^C Luke XXIII. 13-25; ^D John XVIII. 39-XIX 16. ^a 15 Now at the feast [the passover and unleavened bread] the governor was wont { ^b used to} release unto them ^a the multitude one prisoner, whom they would. { ^b whom they asked of him.} [No one knows when or by whom this custom was introduced, but similar customs were not unknown elsewhere, both the Greeks and Romans being wont to bestow special honor upon certain occasions by releasing
J. W. McGarvey—The Four-Fold Gospel

Remorse and Suicide of Judas.
(in the Temple and Outside the Wall of Jerusalem. Friday Morning.) ^A Matt. XXVII. 3-10; ^E Acts I. 18, 19. ^a 3 Then Judas, who betrayed him, when he saw that he was condemned [Judas, having no reason to fear the enemies of Jesus, probably stood in their midst and witnessed the entire trial], repented himself, and brought back the thirty pieces of silver to the chief priests and elders, 4 saying, I have sinned in that I betrayed innocent blood. [There are two Greek words which are translated "repented,"
J. W. McGarvey—The Four-Fold Gospel

The Crucifixion.
Subdivision A. On the Way to the Cross. (Within and Without Jerusalem. Friday Morning.) ^A Matt. XXVII. 31-34; ^B Mark XV. 20-23; ^C Luke XXIII. 26-33; ^D John XIX. 17. ^a 31 And when they had mocked him, they took off from him the ^b purple, ^a robe, and put on him his garments [This ended the mockery, which seems to have been begun in a state of levity, but which ended in gross indecency and violence. When we think of him who endured it all, we can not contemplate the scene without a shudder. Who
J. W. McGarvey—The Four-Fold Gospel

The Morning of Good Friday.
The pale grey light had passed into that of early morning, when the Sanhedrists once more assembled in the Palace of Caiaphas. [5969] A comparison with the terms in which they who had formed the gathering of the previous night are described will convey the impression, that the number of those present was now increased, and that they who now came belonged to the wisest and most influential of the Council. It is not unreasonable to suppose, that some who would not take part in deliberations which were
Alfred Edersheim—The Life and Times of Jesus the Messiah

Crucified, Dead, and Buried. '
It matters little as regards their guilt, whether, pressing the language of St. John, [6034] we are to understand that Pilate delivered Jesus to the Jews to be crucified, or, as we rather infer, to his own soldiers. This was the common practice, and it accords both with the Governor's former taunt to the Jews, [6035] and with the after-notice of the Synoptists. They, to whom He was delivered,' led Him away to be crucified:' and they who so led Him forth compelled' the Cyrenian Simon to bear the Cross.
Alfred Edersheim—The Life and Times of Jesus the Messiah

Jesus in the Tomb.
It was about three o'clock in the afternoon, according to our manner of reckoning,[1] when Jesus expired. A Jewish law[2] forbade a corpse suspended on the cross to be left beyond the evening of the day of the execution. It is not probable that in the executions performed by the Romans this rule was observed; but as the next day was the Sabbath, and a Sabbath of peculiar solemnity, the Jews expressed to the Roman authorities[3] their desire that this holy day should not be profaned by such a spectacle.[4]
Ernest Renan—The Life of Jesus

The vicariousness of Prayer
The Vicariousness of Prayer I The work of the ministry labours under one heavy disadvantage when we regard it as a profession and compare it with other professions. In these, experience brings facility, a sense of mastery in the subject, self-satisfaction, self-confidence; but in our subject the more we pursue it, the more we enter into it, so much the more are we cast down with the overwhelming sense, not only of our insufficiency, but of our unworthiness. Of course, in the technique of our work
P. T. Forsyth—The Soul of Prayer

The Fifth Word from the Cross
The fourth word from the cross we looked upon both as the climax of the struggle which had gone on in the mind of the divine Sufferer during the three hours of silence and darkness which preceded its utterance and as the liberation of His mind from that struggle. This view seems to be confirmed by the terms in which St. John introduces the Fifth Word--"After this, Jesus, knowing that all things were now accomplished,[2] that the Scripture might be fulfilled, saith, I thirst." The phrase, "that the
James Stalker—The Trial and Death of Jesus Christ

The Love of the Holy Spirit in Us.
"O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not."--Matt. xxvii. 37. The Scripture teaches not only that the Holy Spirit dwells in us, and with Him Love, but also that He sheds abroad that Love in our hearts. This shedding abroad does not refer to the coming of the Holy Spirit's Person, for a person can not be shed abroad. He comes, takes possession, and dwells in us; but that which is shed abroad
Abraham Kuyper—The Work of the Holy Spirit

Lastly; they who Will Not, by the Arguments and Proofs Before Mentioned,
be convinced of the truth and certainty of the Christian religion, and be persuaded to make it the rule and guide of all their actions, would not be convinced, (so far as to influence their practice and reform their lives,) by any other evidence whatsoever; no, not though one should rise on purpose from the dead to endeavour to convince them. That the evidence which God has afforded us of the truth of our religion is abundantly sufficient. From what has been said, upon the foregoing heads, it is
Samuel Clarke—A Discourse Concerning the Being and Attributes of God

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