Tuesday, March 29, 2016

The Gospel of Mark: A Serving Savior / Tulsa Bible Church Men's Bible study 2015-2016 / Lesson 21--“Christ Before Pilate”--Mark 15:1-23

Lesson 21--Christ Before Pilate”--Mark 15:1-23
ID: Inductive Questions (Asking the text questions like who, what, where, when, why, & how?”)
CR: Cross References (Comparing Scripture to Scripture, understanding the vague by the clear.)
WS: Word Study (Understanding definition, theological meaning, and usages in other passages.)
The WORD: What does the Bible say?
Context:  Read Mark 14:69-15:26 to help understand the context of this passage.  Read Mark 15:1-20 in a more literal or more dynamic version than you usually use.   
1.     ID: (15:1-15, 43-45)  Read through this account and make as many observations about Pilate as the text in Mark allows. 
CR: Going beyond:  Check to see if the other Gospel accounts (Matt. 27:1-2, 11–23; Luke 23:1–5, 13–23; John 18:28–19:15) contradict or support your observations.
2.     ID/WS/CR: (15:1-5)  What accusation(s) did Mark record the chief priests, etc. make against Jesus before Pilate?  What about Jesus made Pilate marvel (thaumazō)?  What other accusations do the other Gospels record?  (Matt. 27:1-2, 11–23; Luke 23:1–5, 13–23; John 18:28–19:15)
3.     ID: (15:6-10)  What was the governor’s custom at Passover?  Does the text give any hints why Pilate offered to turn Jesus loose?  Who else did Pilate also offer to release?
4.     ID: (15:11-15)  Why did the crowd chose to have the other prisoner released?  How did the crowd respond to Pilate offering to release Jesus?  What did Pilate do to gratify the crowd?
5.     ID: (15:16-20)  What happened to Jesus in the Praectorium?  Did any details catch your attention? 
6.     ID/CR: (15:21-23)  Who was “volunteered” to carry Jesus’ cross?  Who was he?  (Use a Bible dictionary.)  Where did they bring Jesus to be crucified?  (TripAdvisor pictures)
The WALK: What should I do?
1.     Have you ever had people falsely accuse you?  How did you respond?  Why?
2.     It is remarkable how the chief priests were able to whip the crowds into a frenzy.  How do we avoid getting caught up in a similar situation?
3.     Pilate knowingly and intentionally freed the guilty and condemned to innocent.  How do you think he justified it in his mind?  What are things that put pressure on you to make similar compromises?
4.     Can you think of Scriptures that indicate how (or why) Jesus was able to keep his composure through the stress of all the false accusations and unfair punishment?
5.     Where in this passage do we see Gospel truths about God, Man, Christ, and our response?  Have your sins been forgiven?
Going Beyond:  1.  What areas of theology are touched on in this passage?  q The Bible   q God  q God the Father  
q Jesus Christ    q The Holy Spirit    q Man   q Salvation   q The Church   q Angels & Satan   q Future Things –

International Standard Bible Encyclopedia (1915)
Eusebius, who lived in the 4th centuries, tells us (Historia Ecclesiastica, II) on the authority of certain Greek historians that Pilate fell into such calamities that he committed suicide.  Various apocryphal writings have come down to us, written from the 3rd to the 5th centuries, with others of a later date, in which legendary details are given about Pilate.  In all these a favorable view is taken of his character; hence, the Coptic church came to believe that he became a Christian, and enrolled him among the number of its saints.  His wife, to whom tradition gives the name of Claudia Procula, or Procla, is said to have been a Jewish proselyte at the time of the death of Jesus, and afterward to have become a Christian.  Her name is honored along with Pilate's in the Coptic church, and in the calendar of saints honored by the Greek church her name is found against the date October 27.
We find not unkindly references to Pilate in the discovered fragment of the Gospel of Peter, which was composed in the 2nd century.  In the so-called Gospel of Nicodemus, which belongs to the 4th or 5th century, we find in the first part, called the Acts of Pilate, a long account of the trial of Jesus.  It tells how the standards in the hall of judgment bowed down before Jesus, in spite of the efforts of the standard-bearers, and others who attempted it, to hold them erect. It tells also how many of those who had been healed by Jesus bore testimony to Him at the trial.  There has also come down to us, in various forms (e.g. in the Acts of Peter and Paul), a letter, supposed to be the report of Pilate to Tiberius, narrating the proceedings of the trial, and speaking of Jesus in the highest terms of praise.  Eusebius, when he mentions this letter, avers that Tiberius, on perusing it, was incensed against the Jews who had sought the death of Jesus (Historia Ecclesiastica, II, 2).  Elsewhere (Historia Ecclesiastica, IX, 5) he recounts that under Maximin forged Acts of Pilate, containing blasphemies against Christ, were circulated with consent of the emperor.  None of these, if they ever existed, have come down to us.  In the Paradosis Pilati we read that Caesar, being angry with Pilate for what he had done, brought him to Rome as a prisoner, and examined him.  When the Christ was named, all the gods in the senate-chamber fell down and were broken.  Caesar ordered war to be made on the Jews, and Pilate, after praying to Jesus, was beheaded.  The head was taken away by an angel, and Procla, seeing this, died of joy.  Another narrative, of late date, recounts that Pilate, at his trial, wore the seamless robe of Jesus; for this reason Caesar, though filled with anger, could not so much as say a harsh word to Pilate; but when the robe was taken off, he condemned Pilate to death.  On hearing this, Pilate committed suicide.  The body was sunk in the Tiber, but such storms were raised by demons on account of this that it was taken up and sunk in the Rhone at Vienne.  The same trouble recurred there, and the body was finally buried in the territory of Losania (Lausanne).  Tradition connects Mt. Pilatus with his name, although it is probable that the derivation is from pileatus, i.e. the mountain with a cloud-cap.
Philo (Legatio ad Caium, xxxviii) speaks of Pilate in terms of the severest condemnation.  According to him, Pilate was a man of a very inflexible disposition, and very merciless as well as obstinate.  Philo calls him a man of most ferocious passions, and speaks of 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 and most grievous inhumanity.  This is very highly colored and probably much exaggerated; certainly the instances given do not bear out this description of the man.  Much of what he says of Pilate is in direct opposition to what we learn of him in the Gospels.  There he appears to us as a man who, in spite of many undoubted faults, tries hard to conduct the trial with fairness.  Pilate had the ethics of his class, and obviously tried to act up to the standard which he had formed.  There was in him, however, no deep moral basis of character, as is shown by the utter skepticism of his question, "What is truth?"  When he found that the doing of strict justice threatened to endanger his position, he reluctantly and with a great deal of shame gave way to the demands of the Jews.  He sent Jesus to the cross, but not before he had exhausted every expedient for saving Him, except the simple and straightforward one of dismissing the case.  He had the haughtiness of the dominant race, and a profound contempt for the people over which he ruled.  This contempt, as we have seen, continually brought him into trouble. He felt deeply humiliated at having to give way to those whom he utterly despised, and, in the manner of a small mind, revenged himself on them by calling Christ their king, and by refusing to alter the mocking inscription on the cross.  It is certain that Pilate, in condemning Jesus, acted, and knew that he acted against his conscience.  He knew what was right, but for selfish and cowardly reasons refused to do it.  He was faced by a great moral emergency, and he failed. We rest on the judgment of our Lord, that he was guilty, but not so guilty as the leaders of the chosen people.

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Lesson 21:  Mark 15:1-23

1.  The idea here is to hone our observation skills so we can have all the details Mark offers.  It can be helpful to check with parallel passage to see whether we have made any incorrect assumptions beyond what the text says.
2.  When you look at accusations the other Gospels add, you should ask yourself the question, “Why did Mark mention the ones he did and not the others?”  What truth is being emphasized by his selection?
6. The link to TripAdvisor for pictures is a little unconventional, but they are good pictures and help to plant it into the real world.  Have any of your men been to Israel and seen Golgotha?

3. It bothers me how easy it is to justify just about anything we want to do.  I hope that it will bother you and your men too.  How can we make it more difficult for ourselves to do that?
4. Let’s zoom in on what our thinking should be in these circumstances.  I put a link to one to get you started, but your men should have some others that have been helpful to them.  This is a question that the older men should be able to share some wisdom on.
5.  Talk about the Gospel in this passage!  :o)

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