The trial before Pilate.
- Trace through this passage the attempts made by Pilate to spare Jesus from death, and the steps taken by the Jews to counter his efforts. The full charge brought against Jesus is given in Luke 23:2. (Note the Jews’ use of both religious and political threats to overcome Pilate’s resistance; see 19:7, 12.) What features of the character of Pilate and of the Jews are revealed here? Could we be guilty of similar injustice?
- ‘The king of Jews.’ Note how this title forms the central interest from 18:33 to 19:22. What is the real nature of Jesus’ kingship? How does it differ from the world’s? How is Jesus’ royal dignity shown here? How does the use of the title reveal the sin of the Jews, and the glory of Jesus’ sacrifice?
- 18:28. ‘Palace of the Roman governor’ (‘praetorium’): the headquarters of the Roman governor.
- 18:31b. The Romans did not allow the Jews to inflict capital punishment. Hence Pilate’s words in 19:6 imply that there was no ground in Roman law for Jesus’ death. However, he spoke a deeper truth than he realized.
- The story of the crucifixion is told in seven incidents, namely verses 17-18, 19-22, 23-24, 25-27, 28-29, 30, 31-37. How does each incident manifest, some fresh aspect of the glory of the suffering Savior?
- Which scriptures are quoted in this portion as having found fulfillment in this hour? To which aspects of Jesus’ sufferings and of his saving work do they point?
- What made both Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus now come out into the open? With 19:38 cf. Luke 23:50, 51; and trace Nicodemus’ growing faith, 3:1-15; 7:45-52. Both were members of the Sanhedrin, the Council of the Jews that had condemned Jesus.
- 20:1-10. How do these verses show that the disciples were not expecting the resurrection of the Lord? What does the description of Peter and John’s visit to the tomb reveal about each of their respective temperaments? What was it that John believed?
- 19:39. ‘About seventy-five pounds’ weight’: an exceptionally lavish amount.
- 20:5, 7. The position of the clothes showed that they had not been unwound from Jesus’ body. He had gone out, just as later he came in, where the doors were shut, without the doors being opened (20:19, 26).
- Why was Mary so concerned that the body has gone from the tomb? What did Jesus convey to her when he said ‘Mary’? Why did he say, ‘Do not hold on to me’? Is it possible for us to miss the best in the Lord while holding on to the good?
- Does verse 19 show that the disciples were still doubting? What convinced them that Jesus was truly raised from the dead? Why as Thomas moved to make the complete avowal of faith, to which none of the others had yet attained? Was it only that he saw Jesus? How can one who has not seen him be led to faith in the risen Lord (verses 29-31)?
- In verses 21-23 the risen Christ commissions his apostles. By what authority, with what power and for what purpose, does he send them?
Verse 17. Note the distinction, ‘my Father and your Father’. Jesus never said of himself and his disciples, ‘Our Father’, as though their relation to God was the same as his. He is the only begotten Son; we are sons of God ‘in him’.
- Compare this passage with Luke 5:1-11, nothing the similarities and the differences. Why did the disciples take up their old work again? What did they learn from this experience?
- What did the Lord reveal here: (a) about himself, (b) about the work that the disciples were to do? How does this revelation of the risen Lord affect your own life and work?
Verse 14. ‘The third time’: first time, 20:19-23; second time, 20-24; third time, now in Galilee. See Mark 16:7. Probably the third recorded by this Gospel is meant here.
- What is the significance of: (a) Jesus’ use of the name ‘Simon’ in addressing Peter (cf. 1:42); (b) the phrase ‘more than these’ (verse 15; cf. Mark 10:28-30; 14:29); (c) Jesus asking Peter three times, ‘Do you love me?’ (cf. 13:38)?
- Though Peter had failed, Jesus re-commissioned him. What does this teach about: (a) the Lord’s nature, (b) Peter’s spiritual condition? Can you expect always to be restored after a fall? What does the Lord require from you?
- What can we learn from verses 18-23 about: (a) the different ways in which the Lord directs the life of each one of his people; (b) what our own main concern is to be?
- Verses 18, 19. According to tradition Peter died as a martyr in Rome.
- Verse 23. A statement introduced to correct a current misunderstanding of what the Lord had said about John.