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The Secret Codes in Matthew: Examining Israel’s Messiah, Part 22: Matthew 27:27-28:20, by Kevin M. Williams

From Pneuma Review Summer 2006

The final chapter in this unique commentary on the Gospel to the Hebrews. Messianic teacher Kevin Williams discusses the Roman execution of Messiah, the forsakenness of the sacrifice, changing the Sabbath, the Great Commission and other insights in this closing chapter.


Then the soldiers of the governor took Jesus into the Praetorium and gathered the whole Roman cohort around Him (Matthew 27:27).

It is important to note the lack of Jewish names and perpetrators in this verse, or those that follow. Those who cling onto the obscene notions of the Jewish population as “Christ killers,” and therefore worthy of not only God’s scorn but Christian oppression as well, should carefully note these violent and insufferable acts of the Gentiles.

As noted in part 21, the trail of Yeshua was a mockery, conducted by a handful of spiritually blinded Jewish leaders. They certainly passed a false sentence, but it was the Roman cohort that stripped, mocked, spat on, beat, and crucified Him. The horrific scenes made so vivid in Mel Gibson’s 2004 production of The Passion of the Christ, are guilts all mankind shares.

They gave Him wine to drink mingled with gall; and after tasting it, He was unwilling to drink (Matthew 27:34).

For some, this might contradict an earlier promise by Yeshua at the Passover: “But I say to you, I will not drink of this fruit of the vine from now on until that day when I drink it new with you in My Father’s kingdom” (Matthew 26:29). If the Messiah said he would not drink of the “fruit of the vine,” that is to say, wine, then why did he drink this wine/gall mixture?

First of all, Yeshua did not “drink,” He tasted. Once He tasted it, “He was unwilling to drink.” If there is an exact explanation to settle any disparity, this should suffice.

There may be a deeper spiritual significance beyond the words on the page, however. Proverbs 31:6 reads, “Give strong drink to him who is perishing, and wine to him whose life is bitter.” Within the Israeli religious culture of the day, that verse was interpreted thusly, “When a person is lead out to be executed he is given a glass of wine containing a grain of frankincense, in order to numb the senses, as it is written, ‘Give strong drink unto him who is perishing, wine to those bitter of soul.’” (Sanhedrin 43a).

For those witnesses there, the religious theology of Sanhedrin 43a may well have been the filter through which they processed the crucifixion. Yeshua had been offered the prescribed drink to “numb his senses” and to deaden a “bitter soul.” But Yeshua’s soul was not bitter, and from His perspective, death was not permanent. He wanted his senses to be as sharp as possible, for He was about the business of fulfilling God’s Plan.

“And about the ninth hour Jesus cried out with a loud voice, saying, ‘Eli, Eli, Lama Sabachthani?’ that is, ‘My God, My God, Why Hast Thou Forsaken Me?” (Matthew 27:46).

It should not be missed that this was “about the ninth hour” a very significant moment in the Temple, as well as throughout the Scripture: often referred to as the ninth hour, eventide, the evening oblation, or the evening sacrifice (see Joshua 7:6-10, I Kings 18:36, 38, Daniel 9:21, Ezra 9:5-6, and Acts 10:30-31. Editor’s Note: read Kevin William’s article “The Ninth Hour” from the Summer 2000 issue of the Pneuma Review). In the Hebrew it is known as the minchah as is still commemorated every day by observant Hebrews through the “evening” prayers at 3:00 p.m.

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Category: Biblical Studies, Fall 2006, Pneuma Review

About the Author: Kevin M. Williams, Litt.D., H.L.D. has served in Messianic ministries since 1987 and has written numerous articles and been a featured speaker at regional and international conferences on Messianic Judaism.

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