Online Sunday School. The Gospel of Matthew, God with Us,. Kerygma materials, Chapter 12. Matthew, Chapter 26-27. Jesus is abused and killed

47 While he was still speaking, Judas, one of the twelve, arrived; with him was a large crowd with swords and clubs, from the chief priests and the elders of the people.  . . . Then the high priest said to him, “I put you under oath before the living God, tell us if you are the Messiah,[f] the Son of God.” 64 Jesus said to him, “You have said so. But I tell you, From now on you will see the Son of Man seated at the right hand of Power     and coming on the clouds of heaven.” 65 Then the high priest tore his clothes and said, “He has blasphemed! Why do we still need witnesses? You have now heard his blasphemy. 66 What is your verdict?” They answered, “He deserves death.” 67 Then they spat in his face and struck him; and some slapped him, 68 saying, “Prophesy to us, you Messiah![g] Who is it that struck you?” 15 Now at the festival the governor was accustomed to release a prisoner for the crowd, anyone whom they wanted. 16 At that time they had a notorious prisoner, called Jesus] Barabbas. 17 So after they had gathered, Pilate said to them, “Whom do you want me to release for you, Jesus[h] Barabbas or Jesus who is called the Messiah?”[i] 18 For he realized that it was out of jealousy that they had handed him over. 19  . . .” And they said, “Barabbas.” 22 Pilate said to them, “Then what should I do with Jesus who is called the Messiah?”[j]All of them said, “Let him be crucified!” 23 Then he asked, “Why, what evil has he done?” But they shouted all the more, “Let him be crucified!” 24 So when Pilate saw that he could do nothing, but rather that a riot was beginning, he took some water and washed his hands before the crowd, saying, “I am innocent of this man’s blood;[k] see to it yourselves.” 25 Then the people as a whole answered, “His blood be on us and on our children!” 26 So he released Barabbas for them; and after flogging Jesus, he handed him over to be crucified. 27 Then the soldiers of the governor took Jesus into the governor’s headquarters,[l] and they gathered the whole cohort around him. 28 They stripped him and put a scarlet robe on him, 29 and after twisting some thorns into a crown, they put it on his head. They put a reed in his right hand and knelt before him and mocked him, saying, “Hail, King of the Jews!” 30 They spat on him, and took the reed and struck him on the head. 31 After mocking him, they stripped him of the robe and put his own clothes on him. Then they led him away to crucify him.    

  1. Much of the Bible clearly happened in ancient times, but this story could be straight from today’s headlines. An occupying army, a police department in a minority neighborhood, a lynching, a prison. With somewhat less physical violence it could happen at any job site.
  2. Abuse, bullying, treating people as less than human have been very much part of the human experience. Think of times you have been on the giving end. The receiving end. Why?
  3. In the Sermon in the Mount, Jesus tells his followers to do good to those who do harm to them. Few of us believe this is wise, although there have been exceptions such as Dr. Martin Luther King. More people believe in winning by doing more harm than the adversary. What arguments can be made for either side.
  4. Rome had conquered Palestine by force and Pilate was in charge of administering that conquest. While historians report that Pilate was notorious for his cruelty, in Matthew Pilate understands that the priests are acting out of envy or jealousy and seeks to finagle his way out of killing Jesus. However the priests arouse the crowd so much that to avoid a riot, Pilate “washes his hands” and has Jesus killed. What does this say about how people exercise power over each other? How should they, and you?
  5. The crowd says “his blood be on us and on our children”. This passage has contributed to a violent history towards Jews. Whose “blood” is Jesus on? The crowd? Their children? Their descendants? Everyone? Why?
  6. Jesus was betrayed by one disciple, deserted by the rest, and abused and killed by others who were strangers to him. Yet Jesus was among the most virtuous of people and to his past and present followers, had a special connection to God if not actually being God. What does it mean that people were so willing to abuse him and kill him?
  7. Would any of us have done any differently if we had been in the crowd? Do we do any differently today? Why or why not?
  8. Consider Matthew 25, 31-46. In this parable, the people ask “when did we see you Jesus and not take care of you.” Jesus says to look at how they treated those who have the least status. In Jesus’ time, crucifixion was reserved for those with the least status.
  9. What does this story say about God and his relationship with people?