BSF Study Questions John Lesson 25, Day 5: John 19:13-17

Summary of passage:  So Pilate brings Jesus out, placing him on the judgment seat, and the people demand he die so Pilate reneges. Jesus carries his cross to Golgotha.

Questions:

12)  God’s judgment is just; Pilate’s is unjust.

13)  God’s people are to sacrifice a lamb to commemorate God’s judgment on the Egyptians and their gods and their rescue out of Egypt.  Jesus will take away the sin of the world as the Sacrificial Lamb.  It will be the ultimate judgment on unbelievers and the ultimate salvation and justification with God.

14)  Personal Question.  My answer:  There are no words.  Worshipful.  In awe.  Eternally grateful.

Conclusions:  I think there is so much more to this we could have dived into.

End Notes:  Pilate caves to political pressure.  He sits Jesus on the judgment seat who is about to judge all of mankind.  The Lamb of God is ready for sacrifice on Passover. Pilate is the one actually on trial. He refuses to free an innocent man and condemns him to death based on the crowd.

Mark and John disagree on the time here. It is possible it’s a copyist error or John may have been using Roman time, which means Jesus was before Pilate at 6 am and crucified at 9 am.

Again, it was Roman custom to carry the crosspiece to the place of execution.

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BSF Study Questions John Lesson 25, Day 4: John 18:38-19:17

Summary of passage:  Pilate declares Jesus innocent and offers to release him as is the Jewish custom of Passover.  The Jews instead demand a rebel, Barabbas.  So Jesus was flogged and beaten and mocked.  Pilate again says Jesus is innocent.  The Jews again demand to crucify him and accuse him of disobeying their law.  Afraid of an uprising, Pilate questions Jesus again, probably looking for more reasons to set him free.  Jesus refuses to answer, saying all the power Pilate has over him is from God.

Still, Pilate tried to set Jesus free but the Jews kept insisting he die.  Finally, the Jews said Jesus is violating Roman law by claiming to be a king over Caesar.  So Pilate brings Jesus out and the people demand he die so Pilate reneges.  Jesus carries his cross to Golgotha.

Questions:

9)  Pilate ignores the truth in front of him.  Jesus explains how God is the one who has given him power over him.  Pilate chose instead to look out for himself.  He was afraid he’d lose his position.

10)  He ultimately condemns a man he knows to be innocent to death.  He’s afraid of a Jewish uprising.  He’s afraid he’ll lose his position.

11)  Personal Question.  My answer:  Many.  Unquestioningly.

Conclusions:  Not the best questions.  We all know Pilate was a coward and caved to political pressure.  Obeying God is our job.

End Notes:  Knowing Jesus was innocent, Pilate offers to release him, calling Jesus the King of the Jews in hopes of appealing to them.  The crowd condemns Jesus as Matthew tells us at the prompting of the religious leaders (Matthew 27:20; Mark 15:11).  The name Barabbas sounds like son of the father.  The people chose the antichrist instead, a choice that is still being made every day when Jesus is rejected.

Barabbas was probably involved in the local resistance movement against the Romans and would have been viewed as a hero.  He was accused of at least three crimes: Theft (John 18:40), insurrection (Mark 15:7), and murder (Mark 15:7).

Pilate ordered Jesus to be scourged.  Most think Pilate was trying to help Jesus–that this act would satisfy the crowd.  Scourging like crucifixion was a Roman practice.  It involved a whip (picture HERE) with many leather strands, each having sharp pieces of bone or metal at the ends, pummeling the back, redoing it to raw flesh.  Many died from its use.

Scourging had three purposes. It was used to punish prisoners, and to gain confessions of crimes from prisoners. Also, in cases of crucifixion scourging was used to weaken the victim so he would die more quickly on the cross.

Jesus was humiliated and mocked.  The crown of thorns cut into his head and purple was reserved only for royalty.

As a judge Pilate had both reason and responsibility to set Jesus free with no punishment instead of the humiliation and brutality that He endured.  Pilate made five attempts to release Jesus (Luke 23:4, 15, 20, 22; John 19:4, 12, 13).

Whatever pity the crowd might have had was drowned out when the religious leaders shouted:  “Crucify!”  Pure hatred this was plain and simple.

The Jews finally admitted they wanted Jesus dead because he claimed to be God.  Pilate was afraid because he did see something in Jesus.  The Romans believed their gods came to earth in human guise all the time.  Pilate probably did believe Jesus was some sort of divine being.

Pilate questions Jesus more, hoping for something to set him free.  Unfortunately, he asks Jesus the same questions he already answers so Jesus says nothing more.

Pilate is angry Jesus won’t beg for his life or answer someone as important as him.  Pilate claims to have power but he’s at the mercy of the religious leaders and the crowd.  Jesus tells him God is in charge and there are others more guilty than you.  These are Jesus’ last words to Pilate.

Pilate panics.  His wife had told him she dreamed Jesus should be set free (Matthew 27:19-20); yet he caves to the crowd.  Pilate was a weak, unremarkable man who only had his position because he married the granddaughter of the emperor. He was scared his position would suffer if he set Jesus free.

The Lamb of God is ready for sacrifice on Passover.  Pilate is the one actually on trial.  He refuses to free an innocent man and condemns him to death.

Mark and John disagree on the time here.  It is possible it’s a copyist error or John may have been using Roman time, which means Jesus was before Pilate at 6 am and crucified at 9 am.

Again, it was Roman custom to carry the crosspiece to the place of execution.

BSF Study Questions John Lesson 25, Day 3: John 18:33-38

Summary of passage:  Pilate went into his palace with Jesus and questioned him.  He decides there is no basis for charges against Jesus and tells the Jewish leaders.

Questions:

6)  “Are you the king of the Jews?”  Jesus says, “Is that your own idea or did others talk to you about me?”  “What is it you have done?”  Jesus says, “My kingdom is not of this world.  If it were, my servants would fight to prevent my arrest by the Jews.  But now my kingdom is from another place.”  In ch. 9, Pilate asks Jesus, “Where do you come from?”  Jesus says nothing.  “Don’t you realize I have power either to free you or to crucify you?”  Jesus says “You would have no power over me if it were not given to you from above.  Therefore, the one who handed me over to you is guilty of a greater sin.”

7)  He could have learned who Jesus truly was.

8 )  Part personal Question.  My answer:  God is in charge of all.  Jesus fulfilled prophecy with his death.  Death is a gateway to heaven for believers.  All the difference.  Comforting to know how God is in charge even during the bad.

Conclusions:  More evidence of Jesus’ innocence and man’s determination to kill him.  I do like how Pilate is reluctant to do it.  It’s as if he knows who Jesus is on some elementary level.  Or he just despises the Jewish leaders.  Pilate could have just condemned him.  Instead, he tries to find out the truth.  He just doesn’t discover the TRUTH.

End Notes:  This is the second questioning of Jesus.  John combines two appearances of Jesus before Pilate, separated by an appearance of Jesus before Herod Antipas (Luke 23:8-12). Pilate hoped to give this problem to Herod because he ruled over Galilee, where Jesus was from. Herod sent Jesus back to Pilate where this questioning begins.

Jesus didn’t look like a revolutionary or a criminal.  He certainly didn’t act like one.  Hence, Pilate’s doubt and questions.

Jesus asked Pilate if he was asking for himself or for the Jews.  Yes, he was the Messianic king of the Jews.  No, he wasn’t the political king.

Pilate, still trying to decide what to do with Jesus, asks him what he has done.  Augustine observed  that earthly kingdoms are based upon force, pride, the love of human praise, the desire for domination, and self interest – all displayed by Pilate and the Roman Empire.

The heavenly kingdom, exemplified by Jesus and the cross, is based on love, sacrifice, humility, and righteousness – and is to the Jews a stumbling block, and to the Gentiles foolishness (1 Corinthians 1:23).

“The obvious inference from his words would be that he came in to the world from another realm, that whoever did not listen to him would not be characterized by truth, and that if Pilate really wanted to know what truth was, he would give Jesus his earnest attention.” (Tenney)

Pilate is mocking Jesus who appeals to the Truth.  Pilate dismisses the Truth of a heavenly kingdom, having obtained his answer that Jesus is no revolutionary and is innocent.  Teaching the truth was not a criminal offense (John 19:4, 6).  He reports this to the Jews.

Jesus’ movements again HERE and HERE

BSF Study Questions John Lesson 25, Day 2: John 18:28-32

Summary of passage:  Jesus was taken to Pontius Pilate’s house and addressed outside so his Jewish captors could remain clean.  They took him there to be tried under Roman law because Roman law allowed executions.

Questions:

3)  They would become unclean if they entered Pilate’s palace and they wanted to eat the Passover meal.  More concerned about food than the life of a man.  Hypocrites.

4)  Jewish law does not allow executions but Roman law does.  Pilate tried to have the Jews try him.  He will be crucified and flogged.

5)  Personal Question.  My answer:  I’m not one for excuses and I try to do what is right.

Conclusions:  We’re marching along with Jesus to his death and are seeing everything people will do to kill him–doing things they normally wouldn’t do probably.  The sad thing is man hasn’t changed.

End Notes:  John leaves out how Jesus was first presented before the council recorded in Matthew 26:57-68 and the official, daylight meeting of the Sanhedrin in Luke 22:66.  Thus, the Jews have condemned Jesus to death and now need the Romans to carry it out.

The palace or praetorium was likely at the Roman Fortress Antonia, where Pilate held court and conducted public business.  It was the commander’s headquarters.  The word is better translated judgment hall.  Palace is a misnomer.

We see the hypocrisy here as the Jews refused to break relatively small commands regarding ceremonial defilement, but broke much greater commands in rejecting God’s Messiah and condemning an innocent man to death.  The law stated they couldn’t come into contact with unclean Gentiles or enter an unclean home with leaven.

“Eat the Passover”:  This statement introduces a controversy, namely this – was the Last Supper a Passover meal, and was Jesus crucified on the Passover or the day following? This statement in John 18:28 seems to indicate that Passover was the coming day, the day Jesus would be crucified and that the Last Supper was the day before Passover. Yet several passages seem to indicate that the Last Supper was a Passover meal (Matthew 26:18, Mark 14:12, 14:16, Luke 22:15). The best solution to this difficult chronological problem seems to be that Jesus was crucified on the Passover, and the meal they had the night before was as Passover meal, held after sunset (the start of the day in Jewish reckoning). We can speculate that Passover lambs were sacrificed on both days, a necessity due to the massive number of lambs sacrificed in Jerusalem at the temple on Passover (later described by Josephus as being more than 200,000).–Taken from enduringword.com

It was early, perhaps before 6 am and we see Pilate’s irritation.  The religious leaders did not expect objections from Pilate.  He was a ruthless man, known for his corruption, his acts of insolence, his rapine, his habit of insulting people, his cruelty, his continual murders of people untried and uncondemned, and his never-ending gratuitous and most grievous inhumanity.  The Jews are evasive cause they know the charges are trumped up and false.  Luke 23:2 does have a more specific answer.

Josephus tells us, that it was not lawful to hold a court of judgment in capital cases, without the consent of the Procurator.  Besides, Jewish law allowed for death by stoning.  Only the Romans could crucify.

The Jews were the ones who wanted Jesus dead.  He wasn’t really on the radar as an enemy of Rome.  The Jews were the ones who made him so.  Tragic.

Who was Pontius Pilate?  Pilate was the Roman procurator or regional ruler for Judea at the time of Jesus’ death from 26-36 AD.  His early life is unknown and most of what we know before Jesus is speculation like how he came to be governor.  Some say it was punishment.  Others say it was political connections.  Governors were mainly in charge of tax and financial matters but because Judea was so difficult and troublesome a province the governor there answered directly to the emperor and had authority over judicial matters as well.

Most governors hated being posted to so distant a post but Pilate seems to enjoy it.  He was cruel to them as he tried to force Rome upon them.  Pilate was in Jeruasalem to keep the peace during Passover.  He was staying at Herod’s Palace near the temple.  He didn’t want to offend the Jews nor condemn an innocent man so he kept trying to get Jesus set free.  Eventually, he succumbed to politics and sentenced Jesus to death.

Judea was a source of turmoil as the Jews hated Rome.  He didn’t want to deal with Jesus and tried sending him to Herod instead.  He asked, “What is truth?” and didn’t see truth right in front of him.

He condemned Jesus to be rid of him and keep the peace between Rome and the Jews.  Pilate would be out of power a few years later for massacring Samaritans and after that he disappears from history with only unsubstantiated claims he killed himself.

BSF Study Questions John Lesson 24, Day 5: John 18:13-27

Summary of passage: Jesus was arrested and taken to Annas, Caiaphas’ father-in-law. Peter and John followed Jesus. John went with Jesus while Peter waited outside. When asked by a little girl if he was one of the disciples, Peter denies Jesus for the first time.

Annas questions Jesus who is struck by a soldier. He’s shipped off to Caiaphas. Meanwhile, Peter denies Jesus a second and third time. A rooster crows.

Questions:

11)  Part personal Question.  My answer:  Fear.  Shame.  In what I accomplish.  I don’t say things are God things when I should and I know they are in front of others.  God does arrange everything. Nothing is coincidence but I omit saying it and am guilty of giving God the credit for it.  A strong faith helps us avoid being like Peter.  Reading the Word more.  Praying. Drawing closer to Jesus.  Like Jesus, pray for my protection more from the devil and his ways and for God’s light more in my life.

12)  Personal Question.  My answer:  I’m alone in my work as a believer.  I try to impart words of wisdom and fate to my colleagues.

13)  Part personal Question.  My answer:  Well, they are happening at the same time so it follows chronologically.  We see Jesus’ trials alongside Peter’s.  We see Jesus strong and Peter weak.  We see Jesus’ faith in God and Peter’s lack of faith in God.  We see Jesus’ love and Peter’s lack of love.  We see Jesus’ sacrifice and Peter’s self-preservation.  By contrasting both, we see how you are supposed to act and what happens when you don’t act like Jesus.

Conclusions:  Good questions.  Convicting on how we need to stand up for Christ and give him the glory and how fear holds us back from doing so.  We must pray for protection in this world for the devil is sneaky and cause us to do things we normally wouldn’t because fear grasps our hearts.

End Notes:  Annas was the power behind the throne in Jerusalem. He himself had been High Priest from AD 6 to 15. Four of his sons had also held the high priesthood and Caiaphas was his son-in-law. His name meant “Yahweh is gracious”. He is still called the high priest in Acts 4:6 when Peter and John are arrested.

One reason John reminds us of what Caiaphas said in John 11:49-52 is to show that the judgment against Jesus was already decided. It would not be a fair trial. He would die for the people.

John who had the connections is the reason they had access to the high priest’s house and the reason we know what went on there.

A mere girl scares Peter enough to deny Christ and then he tries to blend into the crowd and shrink himself by standing around a fire with others. How tragic!

Annas means merciful. Ironic.

Jesus was not going to throw his disciples under the bus. He never mentions them. He asks for evidence in asking for others to testify to his words. This should have been the first step Annas should have taken for one accused of crimes. But there would be no fairness here for Jesus. He was a threat that had to be annihilated.

The first blow is laid upon Jesus be an unnamed official. Jesus calls the man out and having no answer, Annas sends Jesus on, still bound.

Luke 22:61 indicates that Peter could see Jesus and see him being slapped. No doubt his fear increased and he lied twice more. John is also present and Peter lied in front of John. The same question is asked in the same way, using the negative. The questioners expected the answer “No”, not expecting a follower of Jesus amongst them. The questioner is identified differently in all Gospels (Matthew 26:71; Mark 14:69; Luke 22:58).

John would know Malchus’ relative and a relative would be eager to know if this was the man who cut off his relative’s ear. Matthew 26:74 tells us Peter cursed this denial. He was adamant and he was a coward.

The rooster crowing fulfilled what Jesus said in John 13:38, and would have immediately reminded Peter of the prediction Jesus made in the upper room. And I would imagine shame would have flooded Peter.

BSF Study Questions John Lesson 24, Day 4: John 18:13-27

Summary of passage:  Jesus was arrested and taken to Annas, Caiaphas’ father-in-law. Peter and John followed Jesus. John went with Jesus while Peter waited outside. When asked by a little girl if he was one of the disciples, Peter denies Jesus for the first time.

Annas questions Jesus who is struck by a soldier. He’s shipped off to Caiaphas. Meanwhile, Peter denies Jesus a second and third time. A rooster crows.

Questions:

9)  He just starts questioning Jesus, blatantly disregarding Jewish law and trying to get Jesus to incriminate himself.  He feels he is above the law.  He allows Jesus to be struck.  He doesn’t care about human dignity or abuse. He ships him off to Caiaphas when he’s done with him with not a care in the world about what will happen to Jesus.

10)  Personal Question.  My answer:  He always maintains his composure.  He throws the law into both Caiaphas’ face and the unknown official who struck him.  He protects his disciples by refusing to mention them.  He doesn’t panic.  He submits but always letting his captors know they are in the wrong.

Conclusions:  We all know this trial won’t be fair and it starts here from the beginning.  Jewish law states witnesses must be called forth first, beginning with the defense.  The Talmud states, “Criminal processes can neither commence nor terminate, but during the course of the day. If the person be acquitted, the sentence may be pronounced during that day; but, if he be condemned, the sentence cannot be pronounced till the next day. But no kind of judgment is to be executed, either on the eve of the Sabbath, or the eve of any festival.”  It’s the dead of night here.  People corrupted by power known no bounds and care not for law and order.

End Notes:  Annas was the power behind the throne in Jerusalem. He himself had been High Priest from AD 6 to 15. Four of his sons had also held the high priesthood and Caiaphas was his son-in-law. His name meant “Yahweh is gracious”. He is still called the high priest in Acts 4:6 when Peter and John are arrested.

One reason John reminds us of what Caiaphas said in John 11:49-52 is to show that the judgment against Jesus was already decided. It would not be a fair trial. He would die for the people.

John who had the connections is the reason they had access to the high priest’s house and the reason we know what went on there.

A mere girl scares Peter enough to deny Christ and then he tries to blend into the crowd and shrink himself by standing around a fire with others. How tragic!

Annas means merciful. Ironic.

Jesus was not going to throw his disciples under the bus. He never mentions them. He asks for evidence in asking for others to testify to his words. This should have been the first step Annas should have taken for one accused of crimes. But there would be no fairness here for Jesus. He was a threat that had to be annihilated.

The first blow is laid upon Jesus be an unnamed official. Jesus calls the man out and having no answer, Annas sends Jesus on, still bound.

Luke 22:61 indicates that Peter could see Jesus and see him being slapped. No doubt his fear increased and he lied twice more. John is also present and Peter lied in front of John. The same question is asked in the same way, using the negative. The questioners expected the answer “No”, not expecting a follower of Jesus amongst them. The questioner is identified differently in all Gospels (Matthew 26:71; Mark 14:69; Luke 22:58).

John would know Malchus’ relative and a relative would be eager to know if this was the man who cut off his relative’s ear. Matthew 26:74 tells us Peter cursed this denial. He was adamant and he was a coward.

The rooster crowing fulfilled what Jesus said in John 13:38, and would have immediately reminded Peter of the prediction Jesus made in the upper room. And I would imagine shame would have flooded Peter.

BSF Study Questions John Lesson 24, Day 3: John 18:1-12

Summary of passage: Jesus and his disciples left the upper room, crossed the Kidron Valley, and stopped in an olive grove. Judas shows up with officials and soldiers armed with weapons. They ask for Jesus who declares himself. Peter drew his sword to defend Jesus and cut off the ear of a servant named Malchus. Jesus chastises Peter, telling him this is his destiny.

Jesus was arrested and bound.

Questions:

6)  He does everything he can to protect his disciples.  He calls attention to himself.  He stuns everyone with his declarative power.  He asks for his disciples to go free.  He stops Peter from defending him so he can fulfill God’s plan for us.  He reminds us this is the cup/plan the Father has given him.  He submits to the soldiers, not fighting or escaping.

7)  John leaves out the entire saga of Jesus asking God for the cup to be taken from him and the disciples falling asleep in the Garden.  He leaves out Judas’ betrayal with a kiss.  He leaves out some of Jesus’ words and how the disciples fled.  He leaves out the healing of the ear.  John keeps it very simple and focuses on Jesus protecting the disciples and fulfilling God’s plan for his life and humanity.

8 )  Personal Question.  My answer:  Jesus loves us so much to suffer and die for us and I need to love him as much–or at least as much as is humanly possible here on earth.  Seeing God’s plan being fulfilled helps me to know God will fulfill His plans for my life as well.

Conclusions:  Good to read the other accounts and see the differences.  I love how all taken together gives us the whole picture of that night.  It would have been amazing to have been there!

End Notes:  The Kidron was a small stream that was the drainage from the temple, and would be reddish from the blood of thousands of Passover lambs. This would have been a vivid reminder to Jesus of His soon sacrifice.  Info on Kidron Valley HERE  Cool maps of Jesus’ last 24 hours HERE and HERE

John did not name this as the Garden of Gethsemane, but the other Gospel writers did (Matthew 26:36 and Mark 14:32). Jesus often met there with His disciples, perhaps to sleep for the night under the shelter of the olive trees or in a nearby cave. Hence, why Judas knew Jesus would be there that night and why Jesus went–so Judas could easily find him knowing he was searching for him.

John does not go into detail in the Garden, leaving that to the other apostles to do so.

Judas came with many soldiers, expecting a struggle. How he didn’t know our Lord! Jesus could have wiped them out with a word. This harkens to the Garden of Eden. Man lost that round. He would win this round!

Jesus speaks first for 2 reasons: 1) He wanted any potential violence to be directed to Him and not to His disciples. 2) Jesus wanted Judas and the detachment of troops to announce their evil intention.

IMPORTANT NOTE: I am: Jesus answered them with two words in both English and in the Greek (ego eimi). He did not say, “I am he”–that was added by translators and not in the original text. Jesus was consciously proclaiming himself God, just like he did throughout his testimony on earth (John 8:58; 6:48, 8:12, 9:5, 10:9, 10:11-14, 10:36, 11:25, 14:6).

This explains why all fell back. When Jesus proclaims himself “I am” the power and presence of God overwhelms the soldiers and they are afraid. We’re talking probably upwards of 500 soldiers sent to arrest Jesus and all were petrified. Jesus could have escaped then, but he didn’t. For our sakes.

Jesus asks them again who he is in order to shock them back to reality. He repeats I am but with less force. He willingly gives himself up and asks for his disciples to go free. Sacrificial love. The show of power was to protect them as well. This was a command to let them go. He promised the Father he would protect them (John 17:12). There would be no harm to his disciples as long as Jesus was there! This was also the signal for the disciples to slip away, which they did all except Peter and John.

John is the only writer to identify Peter as the one with the sword. Peter was fulfilling his promise to protect Jesus (Matthew 26:35).

Cutting off the right ear is significant. Scholars say this meant Peter, holding the sword in his right hand, must have attacked the high priest’s servant from behind, because it would be near impossible to cut off his right ear if he was facing the servant Malchus. It is entirely possible that Peter deliberately chose a non-solider, and attacked him from behind. This was not a shining display of courage. And given the fact we know Peter is about to deny Jesus 3 times, this was probably an impulsive display that was safe for him.

Why is the servant mentioned by name here? Scholars speculate that Malchus may have eventually become a Christian and would have been known to the early Christian community at the time of this writing. This is a pattern we see throughout the rest of the Gospels and Acts.

Peter’s thoughtless action may have erupted into violence and the disciples getting hurt. Jesus stops Peter for his own good and for the disciples. And so he could die on the cross. John leaves out how Jesus healed the man’s ear (Luke 22:51).

The cup signifies suffering and the wrath of God. It came from the Father. God is in control.

The captain was a Roman and the others were Jews. Both were complicit in Jesus’ death. Jesus consented to be bound. He could break those easily.