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In the following passage from the Gospel of Matthew, we begin to see a very familiar scene unfold. The trials and crucifixion of Jesus should not be read in isolation from the rest of Scripture. Although the events of the crucifixion are unique, they are actually fulfillments of many prior events from Israel’s long history contained in the Old Testament. Theologians refer to events and people that foreshadow—or point to—other events and people as “types.” The fulfillment—or reality—of the type is referred to as the “antitype.” The Bible is loaded with these types and antitypes, and almost every type finds its fulfillment in the person and work of Jesus Christ. The events of the crucifixion are especially filled with antitypes, as we shall see in this passage.
As you read the gospel accounts of the death and resurrection of Christ, you should keep the story of Saul and Samuel in 1 Samuel 8-9 running through your mind. In this Old Testament story, Israel demands that Samuel "appoint a king for us to judge us like all the nations." In fact, the Bible tells us that it was "the elders of Israel [that] gathered together and came to Samuel." Grieved by this news, Samuel prays and asks God what he should do. "The Lord said to Samuel, ‘Listen to the voice of the people in regard to all that they say to you, for they have not rejected you, but they have rejected Me from being king over them’" (1 Sam. 8:4-7).
Recognize what is happening here: the elders of Israel reject God as their King and demand a human king, like all the other nations around them. Even after Samuel tells them what a king will require of them, they remain firm in their decision. "Nevertheless, the people refused to listen to the voice of Samuel, and they said, ‘No, but there shall be a king over us, that we also may be like all the nations, that our king may judge us and go out before us and fight our battles’" (1 Sam. 8:19-20). Notice this time it is "the people" who are demanding the king, not only the elders. Keep this in mind as you read.
Another interesting thing to note from the following passage in Matthew is the release of Barabbas, rather than Jesus. Barabbas means "son of a father." In other words, Barabbas was probably a bastard, a fatherless child. It was not known who Barabbas’ father was, and his name reflects his lack of genealogy. He is simply a son of some man. On the contrary, Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the Most High God. Jesus is God’s Son; Barabbas is some human man’s son. When the people cry "Give us Barabbas," they are once again rejecting a divine King for a human king. Note well what is said in verse 20 of the following passage from Matthew: "The chief Priests and the elders had persuaded the people that they should ask for Barabbas, and should destroy Jesus." So trusting are they of what the chief priests and the elders have persuaded them to say, the people then declare a solemn oath of self-condemnation: "Then answered all the people, and said, His blood be on us, and on our children."
When the Roman soldiers fashioned a crown of thorns and forced Jesus to carry His cross through the streets of Jerusalem, the people should have been shocked back to sanity. But the frenzy of the lynch mob had blinded their eyes to seeing Jesus as the antitype of Issac— the promised son of Abraham—carrying his own wood to the sacrifice. What Abraham was spared of doing, God did—sacrificing His Son, His only Son. Abraham found a ram caught in the thorn bushes to serve as the substitute sacrifice for Issac, his only son. Jesus, as the Ultimate Ram, the True Issac, also wore thorns on His head. "Abraham said, ‘God will provide for Himself the lamb for the burnt offering’" (Genesis 22:8). "They are not all Israel who are descended from Israel; nor are they all children because they are Abraham’s descendants, but: ‘THROUGH ISAAC YOUR DESCENDANTS WILL BE NAMED.’ That is, it is not the children of the flesh who are children of God, but the children of the promise are regarded as descendants" (Romans 9:6-8).
MATTHEW 27: 11-66 (1599 Geneva Bible)
11 And Jesus stood before the governor, and the governor asked him, saying, Art thou that King of the Jews? Jesus said unto him, Thou sayest it.
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 lay against thee?
14 But he answered him not to one word, insomuch that the governor marveled greatly.
15 Now at the feast the governor was wont to deliver unto the people a prisoner whom they would.
16 And they had then a notable prisoner called Barabbas.
17 When they were then gathered together, Pilate said unto them, Whether will ye that I let loose unto you Barabbas, or Jesus which is called Christ?
18 (For he knew well, that for envy they had delivered him.
19 Also when he was set down upon the judgment seat, his wife sent to him, saying, Have thou nothing to do with that just man: for I have suffered many things this day in a dream by reason of him.)
20 But the chief Priests and the elders had persuaded the people that they should ask Barabbas, and should destroy Jesus.
21 Then the governor answered, and said unto them, Whether of the twain will ye that I let loose unto you? And they said, Barabbas.
22 Pilate said unto them, What shall I do then with Jesus, which is called Christ? They all said to him, Let him be crucified.
23 Then said the governor, But what evil hath he done? Then they cried the more, saying, Let him be crucified.
24 When Pilate saw that he availed nothing, but that more tumult was made, he took water and washed his hands before the multitude, saying, I am innocent of the blood of this just man: look you to it.
25 Then answered all the people, and said, His blood be on us, and on our children.
26 Thus let he Barabbas loose unto them, and scourged Jesus, and delivered him to be crucified.
27 Then the soldiers of the governor took Jesus into the common hall, and gathered about him the whole [band],
28 And they stripped him, and put about him a scarlet robe,
29 And platted a crown of thorns, and put it upon his head, and a reed in his right hand, and bowed their knees before him, and mocked him, saying, God save thee, King of the Jews,
30 And spitted upon him, and took a reed, and smote him on the head.
31 Thus when they had mocked him, they took the robe from him, and put his own raiment on him, and let him away to crucify him.
32 And as they came out, they found a man of Cyrene, named Simon: him they compelled to bear his cross.
33 And when they came unto the place called Golgotha (that is to say, the place of dead men’s skulls)
34 They gave him vinegar to drink, mingled with gall: and when he had tasted thereof, he would not drink.
35 And when they had crucified him, they parted his garments, and did cast lots, that it might be fulfilled, which was spoken by the Prophet, They divided my garments among them, and upon my vesture did cast lots.
36 And they sat and watched him there.
37 They set up also over his head his cause written, THIS IS JESUS THE KING OF THE JEWS.
38 And there were two thieves crucified with him, one on the right hand, and another on the left.
39 And they that passed by, reviled him, wagging their heads,
40 And saying, Thou that destroyest the Temple, and buildest it in three days, save thyself: if thou be the Son of God, come down from the cross.
41 Likewise also the high Priests mocking him, with the Scribes, and Elders, and Pharisees, said,
42 He saved others, but he cannot save himself: if he be the king of Israel, let him now come down from the cross, and we will believe in him.
43 He trusted in God, let him deliver him now, if he will have him: for he said, I am the Son of God.
44 The self same thing also the thieves which were crucified with him, cast in his teeth.
45 Now from the sixth hour was there darkness over all the land, unto the ninth hour.
46 And about the ninth hour Jesus cried with loud voice, saying, Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani? that is, My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?
47 And some of them that stood there, when they heard it, said, This man calleth Elijah.
48 And straightway one of them ran, and took a sponge and filled it with vinegar, and put it on a reed, and gave him to drink.
49 Others said, Let be: let us see if Elijah will come and save him.
50 Then Jesus cried again with a loud voice, and yielded up the ghost.
51 And behold, the veil of the Temple was rent in twain, from the top to the bottom, and the earth did quake, and the stones were cloven.
52 And the graves did open themselves, and many bodies of the Saints, which slept, arose,
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53 And came out of the graves after his resurrection, and went into the holy city, and appeared unto many.
54 When the Centurion, and they that were with him, watching Jesus, saw the earth quake, and the things that were done, they feared greatly, saying, Truly this was the Son of God.
55 And many women were there, beholding him afar off, which had followed Jesus from Galilee, ministering unto him.
56 Among whom was Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James, and Joses, and the mother of Zebedee’s sons.
57 And when the even was come, there came a rich man of Arimathea, named Joseph, who had also himself been Jesus’ disciple.
58 He went to Pilate, and asked the body of Jesus. Then Pilate commanded the body to be delivered.
59 So Joseph took the body, and wrapped it in a clean linen cloth,
60 And put it in his new tomb, which he had hewn out in a rock, and rolled a great stone to the door of the sepulcher, and departed.
61 And there was Mary Magdalene, and the other Mary, sitting over against the sepulcher.
62 Now the next day that followed the Preparation of the Sabbath, the high Priests and Pharisees assembled to Pilate,
63 And said, Sir, we remember that that deceiver said, while he was yet alive, Within three days I will rise.
64 Command therefore, that the sepulcher be made sure until the third day, lest his Disciples come by night, and steal him away, and say unto the people, He is risen from the dead: so shall the last error be worse than the first.
65 Then Pilate said unto them, Ye have a watch: go, and make it sure, as ye know.
66 And they went, and made the sepulcher sure, with the watch, and sealed the stone.