Sermon Based Small Groups

Search Party – Part 3 – Pilate: Wrestling with the Truth

By March 25, 2018 No Comments

Sermon Based Group Homework

For the message on March 25, 2018
Passage: John 18:28-19:15


1. What was your involvement with church growing up? If you went to church, did that experience draw you closer to Christ or push you away from Him? Explain.

2. In this study, we will look at the things that Pilate wrestled with as he sought to come to grips with Jesus’ identity. Before coming to know Christ, what were some of the barriers to faith that you would eventually overcome in coming to faith?

3. Looking back at your notes from this week’s message, was there anything you heard for the first time or that caught your attention, challenged, or confused you?


1. Mike explained this Sunday that Jesus was brought before Pilate by Jewish leaders who were more concerned about participating in a religious meal than murdering an innocent man. These religious leaders exhibited an empty religion characterized by external rituals and acts that neglected matters of the heart. The Apostle Paul gives us a detailed look at what empty religion looks like in 2 Timothy 3:1-9.  Read his description and answer the questions below.

2 Timothy 3:1-9 (ESV)
1  But understand this, that in the last days there will come times of difficulty. 2  For people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, proud, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, 3  heartless, unappeasable, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not loving good, 4  treacherous, reckless, swollen with conceit, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, 5  having the appearance of godliness, but denying its power. Avoid such people. 6  For among them are those who creep into households and capture weak women, burdened with sins and led astray by various passions, 7  always learning and never able to arrive at a knowledge of the truth. 8  Just as Jannes and Jambres opposed Moses, so these men also oppose the truth, men corrupted in mind and disqualified regarding the faith. 9  But they will not get very far, for their folly will be plain to all, as was that of those two men.

  • How is it possible to possess the characteristic found in verse 5 while, at the same time, possessing all the characteristics listed in the preceding four verses?
  • Why do you think Paul wants us to avoid such people? Does this mean that we should look to get involved with a church without hypocrites?
  • What warning should active church goers and Bible study participants heed from verse 7?

2. Pilate believed that Jesus was likely a good teacher who was not guilty of all that the Jewish leaders were accusing Him of. On the other hand, the Jewish leaders thought Jesus was a fraud who falsely claimed to be the Son of God. In our world today, most everyone has a perception about Jesus. Whatever our human perception may be about Jesus, the Bible is clear that the only way we can understand and embrace the true identity of Jesus is through the enlightening work of the Holy Spirit in one’s heart. What do the following verses teach us about the Holy Spirit’s role in helping us know the truth?

1 Corinthians 2:14-16 (ESV)
14  The natural person does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned. 15  The spiritual person judges all things, but is himself to be judged by no one. 16  “For who has understood the mind of the Lord so as to instruct him?” But we have the mind of Christ.

John 6:44 (ESV)
44  No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him. And I will raise him up on the last day.

John 16:5-16 (ESV)
5  But now I am going to him who sent me, and none of you asks me, ‘Where are you going?’ 6  But because I have said these things to you, sorrow has filled your heart. 7  Nevertheless, I tell you the truth: it is to your advantage that I go away, for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you. But if I go, I will send him to you. 8  And when he comes, he will convict the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgment: 9  concerning sin, because they do not believe in me; 10  concerning righteousness, because I go to the Father, and you will see me no longer; 11  concerning judgment, because the ruler of this world is judged. 12  “I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. 13  When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth, for he will not speak on his own authority, but whatever he hears he will speak, and he will declare to you the things that are to come. 14  He will glorify me, for he will take what is mine and declare it to you. 15  All that the Father has is mine; therefore I said that he will take what is mine and declare it to you. 16  “A little while, and you will see me no longer; and again a little while, and you will see me.”

  • Do you think the Spirit will ever lead you to do something or believe something that clearly contradicts the Word of God? Explain.
  • When did the Spirit first open your heart as an unbeliever to faith in Jesus? Looking back, what makes you think this was the work of the Holy Spirit?

3. Pilate also wrestled with fear. He feared the crowds, Caesar, and Jesus Himself. Pilate couldn’t conquer his fears but instead, he allowed his fears to conquer him. How could you use the following verses in helping someone overcome their fears about fully committing to Christ?

Proverbs 29:25 (ESV)
The fear of man lays a snare, but whoever trusts in the LORD is safe. 

Matthew 10:28 (ESV)
And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell.

Hebrews 13:6 (ESV)
So we can confidently say, “The Lord is my helper; I will not fear; what can man do to me?”

  • What fears are keeping you from moving forward in your walk with the Lord?
  • How can this group help your pray through those fears?


1. Looking back at this week’s teaching and study, is there one thing you’d especially like to remember or change this week?

2. Do you have any prayer requests for your group?

Prayer Requests:

Sundays: 9:30 & 11:00AM