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SCRIPTURE REFERENCES FOR THIS SERMON:

Matthew 27:3-44

27:3 Now when Judas, who had betrayed him, saw that Jesus had been condemned, he regretted what he had done and returned the thirty silver coins to the chief priests and the elders, 4 saying, “I have sinned by betraying innocent blood!” But they said, “What is that to us? You take care of it yourself!” 5 So Judas threw the silver coins into the temple and left. Then he went out and hanged himself. 6 The chief priests took the silver and said, “It is not lawful to put this into the temple treasury, since it is blood money.” 7 After consulting together they bought the Potter’s Field with it, as a burial place for foreigners. 8 For this reason that field has been called the “Field of Blood” to this day. 9 Then what was spoken by Jeremiah the prophet was fulfilled: “They took the thirty silver coins, the price of the one whose price had been set by the people of Israel, 10 and they gave them for the potter’s field, as the Lord commanded me.”

11 Then Jesus stood before the governor, and the governor asked him, “Are you the king of the Jews?” Jesus said, “You say so.” 12 But when he was accused by the chief priests and the elders, he did not respond. 13 Then Pilate said to him, “Don’t you hear how many charges they are bringing against you?” 14 But he did not answer even one accusation, so that the governor was quite amazed.

15 During the feast the governor was accustomed to release one prisoner to the crowd, whomever they wanted. 16 At that time they had in custody a notorious prisoner named Jesus Barabbas. 17 So after they had assembled, Pilate said to them, “Whom do you want me to release for you, Jesus Barabbas or Jesus who is called the Christ?” 18 (For he knew that they had handed him over because of envy.) 19 As he was sitting on the judgment seat, his wife sent a message to him: “Have nothing to do with that innocent man; I have suffered greatly as a result of a dream about him today.” 20 But the chief priests and the elders persuaded the crowds to ask for Barabbas and to have Jesus killed. 21 The governor asked them, “Which of the two do you want me to release for you?” And they said, “Barabbas!” 22 Pilate said to them, “Then what should I do with Jesus who is called the Christ?” They all said, “Crucify him!” 23 He asked, “Why? What wrong has he done?” But they shouted more insistently, “Crucify him!”

24 When Pilate saw that he could do nothing, but that instead a riot was starting, he took some water, washed his hands before the crowd and said, “I am innocent of this man’s blood. You take care of it yourselves!” 25 In reply all the people said, “Let his blood be on us and on our children!” 26 Then he released Barabbas for them. But after he had Jesus flogged, he handed him over to be crucified. 27 Then the governor’s soldiers took Jesus into the governor’s residence and gathered the whole cohort around him. 28 They stripped him and put a scarlet robe around him, 29 and after braiding a crown of thorns, they put it on his head. They put a staff in his right hand, and kneeling down before him, they mocked him: “Hail, king of the Jews!” 30 They spat on him and took the staff and struck him repeatedly on the head. 31 When they had mocked him, they stripped him of the robe and put his own clothes back on him. Then they led him away to crucify him.

32 As they were going out, they found a man from Cyrene named Simon, whom they forced to carry his cross. 33 They came to a place called Golgotha (which means “Place of the Skull”) 34 and offered Jesus wine mixed with gall to drink. But after tasting it, he would not drink it. 35 When they had crucified him, they divided his clothes by throwing dice. 36 Then they sat down and kept guard over him there. 37 Above his head they put the charge against him, which read: “This is Jesus, the king of the Jews.” 38 Then two outlaws were crucified with him, one on his right and one on his left. 39 Those who passed by defamed him, shaking their heads 40 and saying, “You who can destroy the temple and rebuild it in three days, save yourself! If you are God’s Son, come down from the cross!” 41 In the same way even the chief priests – together with the experts in the law and elders – were mocking him: 42 “He saved others, but he cannot save himself! He is the king of Israel! If he comes down now from the cross, we will believe in him! 43 He trusts in God – let God, if he wants to, deliver him now because he said, ‘I am God’s Son’!” 44 The robbers who were crucified with him also spoke abusively to him.