What does Matthew 27:44 mean?
ESV: And the robbers who were crucified with him also reviled him in the same way.
NIV: In the same way the rebels who were crucified with him also heaped insults on him.
NASB: And the rebels who had been crucified with Him were also insulting Him in the same way.
CSB: In the same way even the criminals who were crucified with him taunted him.
NLT: Even the revolutionaries who were crucified with him ridiculed him in the same way.
KJV: The thieves also, which were crucified with him, cast the same in his teeth.
Verse Commentary:
Matthew has described the mockery of the crowds and the religious leaders as they pass by Jesus dying on the cross (Matthew 27:35–43). Their insults have a certain internal logic. If someone was truly the Son of God, why would He be so easily killed on a Roman cross? The idea of a sacrificial death is one they have not considered, so the only conclusion they have is that Jesus is not truly the Messiah. Nobody approaching the issue from their perspective could imagine the Son of God would willingly die on a Roman cross to pay for the sins of the world.

A detail given here highlights how ridiculous Jesus' claims must have seemed to His opponents. Even the criminals on either side of Jesus—men at that very moment dying in terrible agony—mocked Him in the same way as the observers. Luke shows one of these men later repented and acknowledged who Jesus was: "Do you not fear God, since you are under the same sentence of condemnation? And we indeed justly, for we are receiving the due reward of our deeds; but this man has done nothing wrong…Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom" (Luke 23:40–42). And Jesus did.
Verse Context:
Matthew 27:32–44 describes Jesus' march to the cross, aided by a man named Simon of Cyrene. Jesus is offered a numbing, bitter wine, but refuses it, and is nailed to the cross. Soldiers gamble for His clothes. A somewhat sarcastic sign above Him reads "the King of the Jews." Observers, including several Jewish religious leaders, mock Jesus for not being able to save Himself. Even the criminals being executed on either side of Jesus insult Him. Mark 15:20–32, Luke 23:36–43, and John 19:16–27 cover this same process.
Chapter Summary:
When Judas learns Jesus has been condemned, he regrets betraying the Lord. He throws down his ill-gotten money and hangs himself. Jesus is taken to Pilate, who finds nothing to charge Him with. Given the choice, the people shout for the release of a convicted murderer and insist on Jesus' death. Jesus is mocked by a battalion of soldiers and then taken to be crucified. On the cross, He is mocked for not being able to save Himself. After three hours of darkness, Jesus dies. He is buried by a rich follower in a new tomb. This location is tightly guarded to prevent anyone from stealing the body.
Chapter Context:
Matthew 27 begins with an official meeting of the Jewish ruling council. They affirm Jesus' condemnation from the previous night, described in chapter 26. Judas confesses his betrayal and hangs himself. Pilate tries to release Jesus, but the mob shouts for Jesus to be crucified. Jesus is humiliated by Roman soldiers and marched to be executed. On the cross, He is mocked by Jewish religious leaders and others. He dies and is buried in a never-used tomb. Extensive efforts to secure His body from being stolen only serve to prove the miraculous nature of His resurrection, which is detailed in chapter 28.
Book Summary:
The Gospel of Matthew clearly shows the influence of its writer's background, and his effort to reach a specific audience. Matthew was one of Jesus' twelve disciples, a Jewish man, and a former tax collector. This profession would have required literacy, and Matthew may have transcribed some of Jesus' words as they were spoken. This book is filled with references to the Old Testament, demonstrating to Israel that Jesus is the Promised One. Matthew also includes many references to coins, likely due to his former profession. Matthew records extensive accounts of Jesus' teaching, more than the other three Gospels.
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