Matthew 27 / Mark 15 / Luke 23 / John 18-19
Pontius Pilate – Roman Governor –Procurator.
- He was in charge of appointing the high priest and controlling the Temple and funds.
- He had full control of the province.
- He had full powers of life and death as he could reverse capital sentences passed by Sanhedrin.
- He had a bad reputation with Jews and Samaritans.
- He was guilty of slander, robbery, violence and murder – and at least twice was called to account by the Roman imperial authority.
- Because people threatened Pilate, that they would inform the emperor that Pilate hadn’t eliminated a rebel against Rome, Pilate went against what he knew was right. He didn’t do the right thing.
- He was later removed from his office for unnecessary and brutal treatment of his subjects.
- Pagan historians only mention Pilate when mentioning his authorization of the death of Jesus (Tacitus).
- Historians documented that Pilate was forced to commit suicide during reign of Gaius (AD 37-41).
1) DISCOVER THE TRUTH – What is Truth?
Jesus told Pilate, “In fact, the reason I was born and came into the world is to testify to the truth” John 18:37 (NIV). The question that Pilate and many others have asked is “what is truth?” (v. 38 NIV). The Bible mentions the word “truth” over two hundred times. God revealed truth to us through Jesus. Jesus says in John 14:6 that He is “the way and the truth and the life” (NIV).
I believe absolute truth is God’s truth. The Bible is God’s Word and God’s Word is Truth. The Bible says that God cannot lie (Titus 1:2), which therefore means that He speaks only what is true. The Psalmist writes “Teach me your ways, O LORD, that I may live according to your truth” (Psalm 86:11a NLT). God is the source of all truth. I believe Jesus is “the way and the truth and the life” and I believe that Jesus is infinite, living Truth.
When we read the garden scene in Genesis 3, it is quite clear that God presents absolute truth with regard to this tree of knowledge of good and evil to Adam and Eve. Satan challenges God’s truth, and deceives Adam and Eve into questioning what God says as well. Even today, Satan attempts to get us to challenge God’s Truth, to ask “did God really say” when we encounter His Truth. God’s Truth does not change; though we may attempt to misrepresent or skew His Truth, it still remains as Truth, as absolute reality. We can choose to accept His Truth and live by it, or to deny it and live as a fool, lost and wandering in search for another alternative which just is not there.
Some people believe that there is truth and it can be found through science and logic. Anything claimed of God that has no scientific or logically basis is not seen as being true. Other people reject the idea of absolute truth and believe that what may be true for one person is not necessarily what is true for another person. Truth is what we make it to be and we each will find our own truth. That means one person can claim God to be God and that is seen as Truth for that person. Another person may claim that there are three gods and that is truth for that particular person.
Many people will spend their lives asking the same question as Pilate, and will never get the true answer because they are seeking for answers in the wrong place. I cling to the promise found in John 16:13, “But when he, the Spirit of Truth, comes, He will guide you into all the truth” (NIV). Only through a relationship with God, as a result of Christ’s redemption and the working of the Holy Spirit are we able to understand Truth. If only Pilate realized that he was speaking to the Truth, he would have seen the answer was right before him.
Truth is God’s Truth
Jesus is God’s Truth – John 1 says Jesus is full of grace and TRUTH.
God’s Word is Truth (John 17:17) – We find truth when we read & study the Bible. We need the belt of Truth in place (Ephesians 6:14)
We are to correctly handle/explain God’s Truth (2 Timothy 2:15)
To be a disciple of Christ, you must continue in His Word and you will KNOW the truth and the truth will SET YOU FREE. (John 8:32)
Pilate said, “So you are a king?” Jesus responded, “You say I am a king. Actually, I was born and came into the world to testify to the truth. All who love the truth recognize that what I say is true.“ – John 18:37 [NLT]
Every child of God knows the truth as Jesus, and is on the side of truth, and stands by it.
Pilate avoided the truth:
- Tried to get out of the situation? Sent Jesus to Herod (Luke 23:6-17)
- Tried to get someone to side with him?
- Tried to put responsibility on someone else – Told Jews “judge by your own law” – a mockery (John 18:31)
- Tried to escape – offer to release “criminal” (John 18:39)
- Tried to washed his hands – though it didn’t cancel guilt (Matthew 27:24)
- Tried to compromise – Had Jesus flogged (John 19:1-3)
- Tried to appeal to sympathy – Shall I kill your King? (John 19:15)
All this despite Pilate never having doubt of Jesus’ innocence – 3 x’s said NOT GUILTY!
2) DOING THE RIGHT THING EVEN WHEN IT COSTS EVERYTHING
When you know the Truth – then you must make a choice – what will you do with the Truth?
James 1:23-24 speaks about person who stares in the mirror and walks away, forgetting what he looks like. The mirror becomes useless after you walk away from it. James was saying that if we simply hear the word but don’t act, it’s useless just like the mirror.
St. Augustine said, “Wrong is wrong even if everyone is doing it. Right is right even if no one is doing it.”
Right choice could mean
Social Rejection / Career Loss / Public Ridicule
“Teach me your ways, O LORD, that I may live according to your truth” (Psalm 86:11a NLT).
Here’s my heart, Lord
Speak what is true
Here’s my life, Lord
Speak what is true
You are not where you are supposed to be
Each of you is meant to be somewhere else
Yes, it’s true. God has made you for so much more. How do you get there? STRETCH!!
You cannot GROW unless you are STRETCHED!
No Easy Road
God promised He would be with you, not that it would be easy
David Livingstone – Africa missionary – received message from missionary group who wanted to join in his work. They sent letter that they had people who wanted to join and asked if there was an EASY access road to get where he was. His response – if you have people who only will come with good roads, I don’t want them. I want people who will come where there is no road at all.
Moses – Red Sea. During Exodus when Moses was to lead the people out of Egypt. When they actually were leaving, they went the LONG way (Exodus 3:17). Not only did they go the long way, then they reach the Red Sea and the Egyptians had chased after them. There they are – Egypt right there ready to get them and the Red Sea before them. God was with them. But they had to STRETCH. They had to trust in going the long way. They had to trust that God was with them. They had to trust He had everything under control. They had to trust He had a greater plan for His glory.
Exodus 14:21 “Then Moses stretched out his hand over the sea, and the LORD drove the sea back by a strong east wind all night and made the sea dry land, and the waters were divided.” [ESV]
Mark 3:1-5 The withered hand – “Stretch out your hand”
We respond to things by two things:
- What we SEE
- What we SEEK
Movement Means Loss
Matthew 8:28-34 Demons Invade Pigs. They wanted rid of the demons that possessed the two men but they lost their pigs. Those pigs were of great value to them. V. 34 “And behold, all the city came out to meet Jesus, and when they saw him, they begged him to leave their region.” [ESV]
Abraham – left his homeland, his family, everything he knew (Genesis 12)
Focus on the Person Not Result
“Let your roots grow down into him, and let your lives be built on him. Then your faith will grow strong in the truth you were taught, and you will overflow with thankfulness.” – Colossians 2:7 [NLT]
1 Peter 1:7 These have come so that the proven genuineness of your faith–of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire–may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed. [NIV]
Getting Started: Discussion of Count the Stars Simile
First tell children about some similes – brave as a lion, crazy like a fox, slow as molasses. Visual illustration: molasses poured out slowly.
Genesis 15 says “look up at the sky and count the stars… so shall your offspring be.” – As many people as stars.
Can you count the stars? Do you know how many stars there are in the sky? What does this mean? (You can also show your favorite constellation to intro to these questions).
Craft / Activity
Watered down glue / glitter / black or dark blue construction paper / brown or beige construction paper
Cut the brown / beige construction paper as a small land mass before class.
Spread the watered down glue on the papers. Put the land mass at the bottom of the paper. Sprinkle glitter on the paper. Be sure to have a small box to catch the glitter that falls from the paper.
On the land mass, write “Count the Stars” – Genesis 15:5
After doing the activity, begin digging deeper into the lesson (this allows for the papers to dry and for children to have another visual learning experience).
Genesis 12:1-5 – God’s promise to Abram
I will make you into a GREAT NATION
I will make your NAME GREAT
You will be A BLESSING
… ALL PEOPLES ON EARTH WILL BE BLESSED THROUGH YOU.
(New Home – Great Name – Family)
Abram (75 years old) – left Haran with Sarai and Lot.
Genesis 15:2-6 – Count the Stars
Abram asked what the Lord could give. He had no children. The Lord said, “Look up at the sky and count the stars –if indeed you can count them. So shall your offspring be.” Abram believed the LORD, and he credited it to him as righteousness.
Genesis 18:10-14 – Sarah Laughs
Three men visit Abraham and food is prepared. They explain that Sarah would have a son. Sarah laughed. Is anything too hard for the LORD?
Genesis 21:1-7 –Isaac born
The Lord did as He promised. Abraham and Sarah had a son, Isaac, God has brought me laughter. Abraham was 100 years old.
Discuss what this means to us. Discuss blessing. Discuss abundance.
Closing Verse: 2 Corinthians 9:8
“And God is able to bless you abundantly, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work.”
What does this mean? What are we promised?