September 10–16, 2017
“He was oppressed, and He was afflicted, yet He opened not his mouth: He is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so He openeth not His mouth” (Isaiah 53:7).
Study Help: The Desire of Ages, 698–715; Ibid., 723–740.
“Christ did not fail, neither was He discouraged, and His followers are to manifest a faith of the same enduring nature. They are to live as He lived, and work as He worked, because they depend on Him as the great Master Worker.” The Desire of Ages, 679.
1 JESUS BEFORE ANNAS AND CAIAPHAS
- After His arrest in Gethsemane, before whom was Jesus violently taken? John 18:12–14; Matthew 26:57.
- Which disciples watched Christ’s trial from a distance? John 18:15, 16.
- What question did Annas direct to Jesus, and what answer did He give? John 18:18–21.
- What did one of Annas’ servants do upon seeing his master reduced to complete silence? John 18:22.
Note: “Annas was silenced by the decision of the answer. Fearing that Christ would say something regarding his course of action that he would prefer to keep covered up, he said nothing more to Him at this time. One of his officers, filled with wrath as he saw Annas silenced, struck Jesus on the face, saying, ‘Answerest Thou the high priest so?’ (John 18:22).” The Desire of Ages, 700.
2 JESUS BEFORE PILATE
- After the trial by the Sanhedrin, where was Jesus taken? John 18:28, first part; Mark 15:1.
- What hypocritical and contradictory attitude did the Jewish leaders now assume? John 18:28, last part.
- What embarrassing question did Pilate put to the Jewish leaders, and what arrogantly evasive answer did he receive? John 18:29, 30.
- What declaration of Pilate made the situation of the priests even more difficult? John 18:31.
- Returning to the judgment hall, what question did Pilate ask Jesus, and how did he react to the response? John 18:33–35.
- How did Jesus clearly identify Himself to Pilate? John 18:36–38.
Note: “Pilate’s golden opportunity had passed. Yet Jesus did not leave him without further light. While He did not directly answer Pilate’s question, He plainly stated His own mission. He gave Pilate to understand that He was not seeking an earthly throne. …
“Pilate had a desire to know the truth. His mind was confused. He eagerly grasped the words of the Saviour, and his heart was stirred with a great longing to know what it really was, and how he could obtain it. ‘What is truth?’ he inquired. But he did not wait for an answer. The tumult outside recalled him to the interests of the hour; for the priests were clamorous for immediate action. Going out to the Jews, he declared emphatically, ‘I find in Him no fault at all’ (John 18:38).” The Desire of Ages, 727.
3 JESUS BEFORE HEROD
- Trying to evade responsibility for Christ’s condemnation, what did Pilate do? Luke 23:5–7.
- How did Herod feel and what were his thoughts when he saw Jesus? Luke 23:8.
- What was Jesus attitude in Herod’s presence? Luke 23:9, 10.
- How did Herod react when he realized that he could not condemn Jesus? Luke 23:11.
Note: “ ‘Herod with his men of war set Him at nought, and mocked Him, and arrayed Him in a gorgeous robe’ (Luke 23:11). The Roman soldiers joined in this abuse. All that these wicked, corrupt soldiers, helped on by Herod and the Jewish dignitaries, could instigate was heaped upon the Saviour. Yet His divine patience failed not.
“Christ’s persecutors had tried to measure His character by their own; they had represented Him as vile as themselves. But back of all the present appearance another scene intruded itself—a scene which they will one day see in all its glory. There were some who trembled in Christ’s presence. While the rude throng were bowing in mockery before Him, some who came forward for that purpose turned back, afraid and silenced. Herod was convicted. The last rays of merciful light were shining upon his sin-hardened heart. He felt that this was no common man; for divinity had flashed through humanity. At the very time when Christ was encompassed by mockers, adulterers, and murderers, Herod felt that he was beholding a God upon His throne.
“Hardened as he was, Herod dared not ratify the condemnation of Christ. He wished to relieve himself of the terrible responsibility, and he sent Jesus back to the Roman judgment hall.” The Desire of Ages, 731.
4 PILATE’S WEAKNESS
- When Jesus was brought back to the court of Pilate, what argument did Pilate present in favor of Jesus? Luke 23:13–15.
- How did Pilate manifest his weakness and inconsistency in dealing with an innocent man? Luke 23:16.
Note: “[Luke 23:16 quoted.]
“Here Pilate showed his weakness. He had declared that Jesus was innocent, yet he was willing for Him to be scourged to pacify His accusers. He would sacrifice justice and principle in order to compromise with the mob. This placed him at a disadvantage. The crowd presumed upon his indecision, and clamored the more for the life of the prisoner. If at the first Pilate had stood firm, refusing to condemn a man whom he found guiltless, he would have broken the fatal chain that was to bind him in remorse and guilt as long as he lived. Had he carried out his convictions of right, the Jews would not have presumed to dictate to him. Christ would have been put to death, but the guilt would not have rested upon Pilate. But Pilate had taken step after step in the violation of his conscience. He had excused himself from judging with justice and equity, and he now found himself almost helpless in the hands of the priests and rulers. His wavering and indecision proved his ruin.” The Desire of Ages, 731, 732.
- What other opportunity for enlightenment did God give Pilate? Matthew 27:19.
- Still thinking to free Jesus, what proposal did Pilate present to the mob? Mark 15:6–10.
- What did the priests do to ensure Christ’s condemnation? Matthew 27:20.
- What final choice did the multitude make, and what did Pilate proceed to do? John 18:39, 40; 19:1; Matthew 27:21–23.
How did the Roman soldiers contribute to the Saviour’s torture, and how did He respond? John 19:2, 3; Mark 15:16–19.
- Having wounded Christ before the people, what announcement did Pilate make? John 19:4, 5.
- What inconsistent proposal did Pilate make to the Jews? John 19:6.
- What declaration of the Jews filled Pilate with fear? John 19:7, 8.
- How did Pilate finally yield to the demands of the Jewish leaders? John 19:9–16.
Note: “The greatest guilt and heaviest responsibility belonged to those who stood in the highest places in the nation, the depositaries of sacred trusts that they were basely betraying. Pilate, Herod, and the Roman soldiers were comparatively ignorant of Jesus. They thought to please the priests and rulers by abusing Him. They had not the light which the Jewish nation had so abundantly received. Had the light been given to the soldiers, they would not have treated Christ as cruelly as they did.” The Desire of Ages, 737.
PERSONAL REVIEW QUESTIONS
1 How can I apply in my life the lesson learned from the blindness of the Jews concerning defilement? 2 What did the Jews expect of Pilate? 3 What can I learn from the decision of Jesus to remain silent as He did before Herod? 4 What characteristic of Pilate am I in danger of imitating? 5 Who is to blame for the death of the Son of God?