Questions over Pontius Pilate
Questions from Matthew
1. After concluding Jesus was to be put to death, what did the chief priests and elders decide to do?
Why did they had him over to Pilate?
Who was Pilate and what were his responsibilities?
2. What question does Pilate ask Jesus?
Why do you think he asked Jesus this question?
What was Jesus’ answer?
3. What was Pilate’s reaction when Jesus refused to respond to the accusations made by the chief priests and elders?
How difficult would it be for you to remain silent?
Why would Jesus’ silence amaze Pilate?
4. Verse 17 tells us that a crowd had gathered. Why would this be significant to Pilate?
What does Pilate ask the crowd?
Why does Pilate ask them this (see v. 18)?
5. Pilate does not believe Jesus is guilty. What made him reach this conclusion?
What do you think his wife meant when she said she had suffered a great deal because of Jesus?
If he believed Jesus was innocent, why did he not set Jesus free?
Can you think of a time when you felt pressure to please people?
What does it tell you about Pilate that he listened more to the crowd than to the evidence?
Do you think this is still a problem within the church? Our nation?
6. Why do you think Pilate continues to “ask” the people what they want?
As the crowd grew lauder and louder, what did Pilate do?
According to his own thinking, why did Pilate think he was innocent of Jesus’ blood?
Do you agree or disagree? Please explain.
7. Why do you think Pilate released Barabbas?
What can you learn about this prisoner?
What did Pilate have done to Jesus?
If Pilate knew Jesus was innocent, why did he have Jesus flogged?
Why have Jesus flogged if you were going to crucify Him?
What can you learn about Pilate from his actions?
8. What question does Joseph of Arimathea ask Pilate?
What is Pilate’s answer?
Why do you think Pilate agreed to give Joseph Jesus’ body?
9. Even though Jesus is dead, the chief priests and the Pharisees are not through. They go to Pilate one more time. What do they ask him?
Do you think Pilate believed Jesus would rise?
Why do you think Pilate ordered his guards to secure the tomb?
Questions from Mark
10. Verse 44 tells us that Pilate was surprised that Jesus was already dead. Why do you think he was surprised?
What can you learn about crucifixion?
Questions from Luke
11. We learn that Pilate was governor of Judea. What can you learn about Judea?
To whom was Pilate accountable?
What was Pilate’s main responsibility as governor of Judea?
Further, what can you learn about the way Pilate treated the Jews?
What type of relationship did he have with the Jews?
How do you think Pilate reacted to these charges?
14. Again, upon further examination, Pilate finds Jesus innocent, but the people insist. In this exchange, Pilate asks if Jesus is a Galilean. What does Pilate then do?
Is it common for people to try to pass a problem on to someone else?
15. Who was Herod?
How did he treat Jesus?
What type of relationship did Pilate have with Herod before this incident with Jesus?
Read verse 12 carefully. What does this verse mean to you?
Can you think of an issue today where opposing sides have found “common ground”?
16. In Luke’s account, we read that Pilate wanted to punish Jesus and then release him (see verse 22). What do you think are his motives?
Why does he not do this?
Questions from John
17. John relates an interesting detail about Pilate and the Jews. When the Jews went to visit Pilate, why did they not go inside the palace?
What can you learn about “ceremonial uncleanness” during Passover?
Based upon this fact, what do you suppose was the relationship between the Jews and Pilate?
18. If you were Pilate, how would you feel about having to come out of your palace to speak to theses Jewish leaders?
Why do you think he did this?
Pilate wants to know the charges against Jesus. How do the Jews respond?
When Pilate tells them to judge Jesus themselves, what do they answer?
19. What happens next is very interesting. Pilate goes back inside and sends for Jesus. This alone would make Jesus unclean in the eyes of the Jewish leaders. Meanwhile, they remain outside that they might remain clean. How would you describe what was wrong with this line of thinking?
Do we still have this problem of people trying to keep the law while ignoring the spirit of the law?
20. We now get a closer look at Pilate’s conversation with Jesus. What does Pilate first ask Jesus?
What does Jesus answer?
What do you think Pilate meant when he responded, “Am I a Jew?”
21. After Jesus tells Pilate that He really is a king, but not of this world, Pilate asks, “What is truth?”
How would you answer this question?
Suppose you witness to someone about Jesus, and you tell him or her the truth about Him. They turn to you and ask, “What is truth?” How would you respond?
What does Pilate want the Jews to do?
The Jews respond that they have a law, and according to that law, Jesus must die. About what law are they talking?
What is Pilate’s reaction to this statement?
Why do you think he was afraid?
23. When Pilate presents Jesus to the crowd, how does he refer to Him?
What sign did Pilate have placed on the cross?
Why do you think he did this?
What is the significance of Pilate’s statement in verse 21?