After Jewish leaders arrested and questioned Jesus, they took Him to Pilate to be tried and condemned. Pilate consented to Jesus’s Crucifixion even though he became convinced of His innocence. While on the cross, Jesus instructed the Apostle John to take care of His mother, Mary. After Jesus died, His body was placed in a tomb.
When is it most difficult for you to be concerned about the well-being of others?
In your scripture study journal, draw a line down the middle of a page to form two columns. Label one column Jesus Christ’s concerns and the other column Pilate’s concerns. During the Savior’s arrest, trial, and Crucifixion, Jesus and the Roman governor Pilate chose to value, or prioritize, different things. As you study John 18–19, look for truths you can learn from the examples of Jesus and Pilate that can help you know what concerns should take priority in your life. Write the truths you discover throughout this lesson in the appropriate columns in your scripture study journal.
We read in John 18:1–3 that after Jesus suffered in the Garden of Gethsemane, Judas Iscariot arrived with a group of officers who had come to arrest Jesus. If you knew that a band of armed officers was approaching to arrest you and ultimately put you to death, what might your reaction be?
We read in John 18:12–32 that Jesus allowed the officers to arrest Him. They took Him to Annas, the former high priest, who sent Jesus to be questioned by Caiaphas, Annas’s son-in-law (see John 18:13). Caiaphas was the appointed high priest at the time, and he had been trying to have Jesus put to death (see John 18:14). Peter and another disciple followed Jesus and watched Caiaphas question Him (see John 18:15–16). When three different people asked Peter whether he was one of Jesus’s disciples, Peter denied knowing Him each time (see John 18:17, 25, 26–27). After Caiaphas questioned Jesus, the Jewish leaders took Jesus, early in the morning, to Pilate, the Roman provincial governor of Judea, to be tried and sentenced (see John 18:28–30). Only the Romans had authority to carry out a death sentence in Jerusalem (see John 18:31).
Read John 18:33–35, looking for what Pilate wanted to know about Jesus.
The Jewish leaders accused Jesus of claiming to be the king of the Jews because if Jesus claimed to be a king, He could be found guilty of sedition, or treason, against the Roman government (see John 19:12) and could therefore be put to death.
Read John 18:36–37, looking for what Jesus explained to Pilate.
Read John 18:38, looking for what Pilate concluded about Jesus.
In John 18:39–19:5 we learn that Pilate offered to release Jesus in accordance with a Jewish custom of setting one prisoner free at the time of the Passover feast (see John 18:39). The chief priests and the officers chose to release the robber Barabbas instead (see John 18:40) and demanded that Jesus be crucified (see John 19:6). Pilate scourged (whipped) Jesus, and Roman soldiers put a crown of thorns on His head and mocked Him (see John 19:1–2), and then Pilate presented Jesus before the people.
Read John 19:4, 6, looking for what Pilate repeatedly told the Jews.
What did Pilate likely believe was the right thing to do?
According to John 19:7, the Jewish leaders told Pilate that Jesus claimed He was the Son of God. Read John 19:8–11, looking for Pilate’s response when he heard that Jesus had said He was the Son of God. Also look for what Jesus said to Pilate about Pilate’s power as governor.
If you were in Pilate’s position, how might you have felt after hearing Jesus say that you were powerless against Him “except [that power] were given thee from above” (John 19:11)?
Jesus’s statement in John 19:11 about the Jewish leaders having the “greater sin” indicated that if Pilate yielded to the multitude’s request and ordered Jesus to be crucified, Pilate would be guilty of sin—although not to the same degree as those who actively sought Jesus’s death.
Read Matthew 27:19, noticing what Pilate’s wife had counseled him to do. Then read John 19:12–15, looking for what Pilate tried to do regarding Jesus and how the Jews who sought to kill Jesus responded.
Notice in John 19:12 how the Jewish leaders threatened Pilate when they learned he wanted to release Jesus.
To place pressure on Pilate, the Jews reminded Pilate that if he released Jesus, he might be viewed as being disloyal to Caesar. If the Jews reported this disloyalty, Caesar might take away Pilate’s position and power as governor. At this point Pilate had to choose between seeking his own interests and releasing Jesus, whom he knew was innocent.
Read John 19:16, looking for what Pilate chose to do.
What do Pilate’s actions teach us about his primary concerns?
In your scripture study journal, in the column labeled “Pilate’s concerns,” write what Pilate was most concerned about.
From our study of Pilate’s concerns shown in John 18–19, we learn that placing our own interests ahead of doing what is right will lead us to sin. Write this principle in your scripture study journal in the column labeled “Pilate’s concerns.”
Answer the following questions in your scripture journal:
What are some situations in which we might be tempted to place our own interests ahead of doing what is right?
What are some things you can do to overcome the temptation to place your own interests ahead of doing what is right, even if it is unpopular?
We read in John 19:17–24 that Jesus carried His cross and went to Golgotha, where He was crucified at the third hour (see Mark 15:25; this would have been the third hour after sunrise). Read John 19:25–27, looking for who was near the cross when Jesus was crucified.
As He hung upon the cross, whom was Jesus concerned about?
The phrase “the disciple … whom [Jesus] loved” (John 19:26) refers to the Apostle John, also known as John the Beloved. When Jesus said to John, “Behold thy mother,” he was instructing John to take care of Mary, His mother, as if she were John’s own mother. In your scripture study journal, in the column labeled “Jesus Christ’s concerns,” write down whom these verses show Jesus was concerned about.
Based on the concerns identified during your study of John 18–19, how would you describe Jesus Christ’s character compared to Pilate’s character?
From our study of the Savior’s character shown in John 18–19, we learn that we can follow the Savior’s example by choosing to help others even when we are in need ourselves. Write this principle in your scripture study journal in the column labeled “Jesus Christ’s concerns.”
Elder David A. Bednar of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles taught: “Character is revealed … in the power to discern the suffering of other people when we ourselves are suffering; in the ability to detect the hunger of others when we are hungry; and in the power to reach out and extend compassion for the spiritual agony of others when we are in the midst of our own spiritual distress. Thus, character is demonstrated by looking and reaching outward when the natural and instinctive response is to be self-absorbed and turn inward. If such a capacity is indeed the ultimate criterion of moral character, then the Savior of the world is the perfect example of such a consistent and charitable character” (“The Character of Christ” [Brigham Young University–Idaho Religion Symposium, Jan. 25, 2003], byui.edu/devotionalsandspeeches).
Answer the following questions in your scripture study journal:
When have you seen someone follow the Savior’s example by choosing to help others even when he or she was in need?
How do you think we can develop this kind of Christlike character and seek to help others even when we are in need ourselves?
What will you do to follow the Savior’s example by choosing to help others even when you are in need yourself?
We learn in John 19:28–42 that after Jesus died at the ninth hour (see Mark 15:34), Joseph of Arimathaea asked Pilate for Jesus’s body. Joseph and Nicodemus then prepared the Savior’s body and placed it in a tomb that Joseph had donated.
Write the following at the bottom of today’s assignments in your scripture study journal:
I have studied John 18–19 and completed this lesson on (date).
Additional questions, thoughts, and insights I would like to share with my teacher: