Topic: Jesus Passage: Matthew 26:59–26:67, Matthew 27:11–27:23
1. Have you ever been rejected by someone? Especially someone you care very deeply for? Consider Christ in this situation. He came to His people Israel, a people He loved, and they are now entirely rejecting Him. They have beaten Him, spit on Him, found Him guilty and sentenced Him to death on a cross. Yet Christ will speak these words from the cross, “Father, forgive them, they know not what they do.” (Luke 23:34). Describe grace with this situation in mind.
2. The Jews expected a particular type of Messiah. Describe what they expected (Hint – they expected an earthly military leader to overthrow Rome and establish a united kingdom). Why did Christ not meet their expectations? Describe the greater conquest that Christ accomplished through His work on the cross. Christ stated that they would see “…the Son of Man seated at the right hand of Power and coming on the clouds of heaven.” When will this take place? (Hint – at Christ’s return)
3. In the passages we studied, we see Christ falls silent multiple times even while facing great accusation. This is not only fulfillment of Isaiah’s prophecy (Isaiah 53:7), but also shows how Christ faced His accusers. That silence astounded Pontius Pilate, why? What was it about Christ’s silence in times of accusation that caused Pilate great curiosity? What are you tempted to do when you are wrongfully accused like Christ was in this situation? Why are we so prone to defend ourselves in a negative way? How can we utilize silence as a defense like Christ did?
4. Barabbas, the notorious criminal, was scheduled to be crucified this particular Friday morning. Describe in your own words the process of him being released. How does the release of Barabbas and Christ taking his place speak to our own situation and salvation? Just for fun, discuss hypothetically, do you think Barabbas became a Christ follower? Why?
5. Read through and consider the parable that Christ spoke in Matthew 21:33-39. How does that parable mirror the unfolding of the history of salvation? What should the land owner do to those wicked tenants? This parable is speaking of Jerusalem and the lack of true “fruit” found there, how does this parable speak to the church? (i.e. When Christ returns will He find fruit?)