The Case Against Christ

 The world is heading to darkness, winter, and Covid chaos. Meanwhile our Bible studies head to the time of Christ's death and resurrection - darkness and chaos then too, but eternal hope, which is perhaps exactly what we need today as well. Join us!

(106) Time to Choose

When Jesus was brought to trial in front of Pilate, the world outside Judaism became involved. Pilate is neither convinced of who Jesus is, nor of the threat he poses—an independent observer, with power? Read John 18:28-38

1.       Verses 28-29. What does the leaders’ not going up the steps tell us about them?

2.       Verses 30-32. How does their behavior relate to their interpretation of the law? (And could they kill people?)

3.       Would their actions still be wrong if Jesus were who they think he is, instead of who we know he is?

4.       Verse 33. Jesus follows Pilate into the Praetorium. Does that mean Jesus is defiled? How willing are we to go where we’re not “supposed” to go, in God’s name?

5.       Verse 33-36. Is Jesus a king? Where is his kingdom? Should we fight to protect Jesus’ kingdom?

6.       Verse 37-38. What is truth?

What do you think of the case against Jesus at this point?

1.       Is he a threat to Judea’s political stability? (Jerusalem will be destroyed within a generation.)

2.       Is he a threat to the purity of the faith? (His interpretations of Scriptures disagree with those of the authorities.)

3.       Is he a threat to God’s plan for God’s people? (He’s not doing what those who interpret the plan think is right.)

Still trying for a better option, Pilate tries simply “punishing” Jesus, without killing him. Read Matthew 27:27-30, Mark 15:16-19, Luke 23:13-16, John 19:1-3

1.       What symbols do you see in the way Jesus is mocked?

2.       What symbols do you see in the way the world mocks him today?

3.       What’s the difference between mocking Jesus and mocking Jesus’ followers?

When this fails to placate the Jewish authorities, Pilate tries another solution. Read Matthew 27:15-26, Mark 15:6-15, Luke 23:17-25, John 18:39-40, 19:4-7

1.       Who said “Crucify him” first – the crowd or the priests?

2.       Why might the crowd prefer Barabbas?

3.       What types of people do modern crowds support?

Pilate’s still looking for a way out. Is he weak, dishonest, desperate…? Read John 19:7-16

1.       We asked what is truth before. This time let’s ask what is authority? And what is power?

2.       Where does Pilate’s authority come from, Caesar or God? And where does human authority come from today?

3.       We may not have a king (neither did the Romans) but we have leaders. Who do we owe allegiance to? And how do we distinguish our allegiance to, say, a flag or a political party from our allegiance to God? How does the world see us making that distinction?

And finally, what about Judas? Read Matthew 27:3-10, Acts 1:18-19, Zechariah 11:12-13, Jeremiah 32:6-10

1.       So… field, no field, Jeremiah, Zechariah…? How do you interpret this?

2.       Hanging, disemboweling…? We can reconcile the details, but how do we interpret Judas’ feelings at the time?

3.       Peter and Judas both felt they’d betrayed Jesus. What gives us hope?

4.       Read Matthew 27:31, Mark 15:20, Luke 23:25, John 19:16. Pilate has also betrayed Jesus. So have the religious leaders and the people. What about Christians throughout history? What gives us hope?

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