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Read Matthew 27:11-14

Now Jesus was standing before Pilate, the Roman governor. “Are you the king of the Jews?” the governor asked him. Jesus replied, “You have said it.” 12But when the leading priests and the elders made their accusations against him, Jesus remained silent. 13“Don’t you hear all these charges they are bringing against you?” Pilate demanded. 14But Jesus made no response to any of the charges, much to the governor’s surprise.

  • Compare and contrast Rome’s power represented by Pilate to God’s Power represented by Jesus in this moment. What are the striking differences?

  • What is Pilate trying to understand about Jesus?

  • What is the significance of of him asking if Jesus is King?

  • How does Jesus answer the question?

  • Why do you think Jesus doesn’t respond when the leading priests begin to make accusations?

  • What are some warranted or un-warranted accusations that have been made against you?

  • What is your typical response?

  • What do you think Jesus is modeling for us in this moment in how we respond to our accusers, or unbelievers who seem to be exerting power over us?

  • Why do you think the governor was surprised at Christ’s lack of response?

  • What power does Pilate have over Jesus?

Read Isaiah 53:3-8

3He was despised and rejected— a man of sorrows, acquainted with deepest grief. We turned our backs on him and looked the other way. He was despised, and we did not care. 4Yet it was our weaknesses he carried; it was our sorrows that weighed him down. And we thought his troubles were a punishment from God, a punishment for his own sins! 5But he was pierced for our rebellion, crushed for our sins. He was beaten so we could be whole. He was whipped so we could be healed. 6All of us, like sheep, have strayed away. We have left God’s paths to follow our own. Yet the Lord laid on him the sins of us all. 7He was oppressed and treated harshly, yet he never said a word. He was led like a lamb to the slaughter. And as a sheep is silent before the shearers, he did not open his mouth. 8Unjustly condemned, he was led away. No one cared that he died without descendants, that his life was cut short in midstream. But he was struck down for the rebellion of my people.

  • When was this written and how does Jesus fulfill this prophecy?

  • How can this be a proof to others that Christ was who He said He was?

  • How does this help prove the Bible is authored by God and is true?

Read Matthew:27:15-21

15Now it was the governor’s custom each year during the Passover celebration to release one prisoner to the crowd—anyone they wanted. 16This year there was a notorious prisoner, a man named Barabbas. [The governor would release one of the Jewish prisoners during Passover as a gift from the Roman government to the Jews.] 17As the crowds gathered before Pilate’s house that morning, he asked them, “Which one do you want me to release to you—Barabbas, or Jesus who is called the Messiah?” 18(He knew very well that the religious leaders had arrested Jesus out of envy.) [Pilate was giving the people the choice. Barabbas was a notorious criminal so Pilate was thinking, well they will surely ask for Jesus to be released so that Barabbas will be punished. Pilate was trying to force others to make the right decision so that he wouldn’t have to make the uncomfortable decision. I know in my own life, I’ve noticed that I can have a tendency to avoid things that make me feel uncomfortable—even when I know it may be the right thing to do.

19Just then, as Pilate was sitting on the judgment seat, his wife sent him this message: “Leave that innocent man alone. I suffered through a terrible nightmare about him last night.”

20Meanwhile, the leading priests and the elders persuaded the crowd to ask for Barabbas to be released and for Jesus to be put to death. 21So the governor asked again, “Which of these two do you want me to release to you?” The crowd shouted back, “Barabbas!”

  • Does Pilate believe Jesus is guilty?

  • Why does Pilate give the people a choice if he doesn’t believe Jesus to be guilty?

  • What does it show us about the state of the hearts of the people that they would choose a criminal like Barabbas to be released in place of Jesus?

  • How is our culture different today, or is it?

  • What are some examples were we as a culture accept and even embrace evil because it has become popular by the majority?

  • What do we see about Pilate’s character?

  • How does God warn Pilate, and why do you think that matters?

  • Discuss a time when God has given a warning sign(s) in order to show how to be obedient to Him, but it was ignored.

  • How does God reveal these warnings to us when we are close to sin?

  • What are some of the barriers to Pilate listening?

  • What are the barriers to us listening to the voice of God?

Read Matthew:27:22-24

22Pilate responded, “Then what should I do with Jesus who is called the Messiah?” They shouted back, “Crucify him!”23“Why?” Pilate demanded. “What crime has he committed?” But the mob roared even louder, “Crucify him!” 24Pilate saw that he wasn’t getting anywhere and that a riot was developing. So he sent for a bowl of water and washed his hands before the crowd, saying, “I am innocent of this man’s blood. The responsibility is yours!”

  • Why did the poeple reject Jesus?

  • Why does Pilate?

  • Why do people today reject Him? Discuss a time when God has given a warning sign(s) in order to show how to be obedient to Him, but it was ignored.

  • Is Pilate justified in His washing of his hands?

  • Does this eliminate His guilt before God?

  • Discuss a time when perhaps we’ve behaved similarly – out of a lack of courage we have dismissed sin, and did nothing to stop it when it was in our power?

Read Matthew:27:25-26

25And all the people yelled back, “We will take responsibility for his death—we and our children!” 26So Pilate released Barabbas to them. He ordered Jesus flogged with a lead-tipped whip, then turned him over to the Roman soldiers to be crucified.

  • How are people today like the crowd at the time of Jesus?

  • What remorse is shown here?

  • What could have been done differently?

  • What is a situation right now where because of your lack of courage or silence the crowd continues to demand evil. Would being bold or speaking a different narrative produce a different outcome?

Think on This…

When is it right to do right? Should a person stand for righteousness whether or not the crowd listens? Should a person stand for righteousness regardless of whether it will change the outcome?

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