1. In your years as a student, name one teacher who commanded the most authority. What made him or her such an intimidating figure?


  1. You walk into a classroom and another student is hiding behind the door. When you enter the student sneaks up and grabs you in a bear hug. As you struggle to get free the principal walks in and says, “You two, my office, now!” What is your defense?
    • You protest your innocence in hopes that he will let you go.
    • You appeal to the other student’s conscience to tell the truth about what happened.
    • You threaten to beat the snot out of the other student after school if he doesn’t fess up.
    • You tell your dad about the principal’s unjust actions.
    • You recognize a no-win situation, so remain silent and accept the punishment.
    • You use another defense, one that stems from an experience: _________.



Jesus has been arrested on false and conflicting testimonies. When he confesses to being the Messiah before the Jewish leaders, he confirms for them the threat they believed he posed to Israel and its relationship with Roman authority. They send him to Pilate, the Roman governor, to be tried and executed. Throughout the two trials, Jesus remains silent when confronted with the evidence against him. Pilate refuses to accept responsibility for putting Jesus to death and leaves the decision to the crowd by way of a festival tradition. The crowds call for Jesus to be crucified.


God’s Story

Have one person read aloud Mark 15: 1-15.


Finding My Story in God’s Story

  1. Imagine you are recording these proceedings for fans back home. Who in this trial would capture your immediate attention? Which one(s) warrants a follow-up interview? Why?
    • Pilate—for pleasing people instead of standing on principle.
    • Jesus—for standing firm on principle, silently enduring an unjust system.
    • The Crowd—especially those easily swayed and eager for a spectacle.
    • Barabbas—feeling guilty, yet glad to be released and ready to tell his story.
    • The Disciples—if you could find any, since they’re all ducking the spotlight.
    • Other __________.


  1. If you were a Jesus follower on the fringe of this trial, what might you be thinking?
    • OMG, what if I’m identified with Jesus? I could be next!
    • A silent Jesus is “pleading the fifth,” hoping an Advocate gets him off the hook.
    • Jesus must have some escape plan, so I’ll create a diversion.
    • I’m taking notes, so I can tell the true story later.
    • Other __________.


  1. So, as an eyewitness to this story, when you are later interviewed by some after-action reporter named Mark, how will you slant the news? Remember what you’ve seen, heard, and experienced.


  1. In your version of these events, tabulate the winners and losers. Based on what you’ve observed so far in this trial, who is the biggest winner? The biggest loser? And why?


  1. This is a story about preserving the status quo and exerting the necessary peer pressure to maintain it. When have you witnessed peer pressure to maintain the status quo?
    • At church, when someone asked for a live band to be part of worship.
    • At home, when I asked if I could grow my hair long, get a tattoo, or pierce an ear.
    • At school, when:
    • At work, when:
    • In civic government, when:
    • Other __________.


Our Story


  1. The next time you are faced with pressure to do what’s convenient or popular, how will you try to decide the right thing to do?
    • Study my Bible and ask for God’s guidance.
    • Ask who benefits the most and suffers the most by the choice before me.
    • I always turn to my _______________ when making tough decisions that are potentially divisive.
    • That’s what my small group is for, to help guide me.
    • Other __________.


  1. In our highly polarized world, who do you know that needs you to stand up for them? Why is it important for you to act now? Share with the group what you think your first step should be if you’re going to do the “right thing?”

    After each person shares, let the group speak brief affirmations, to help that person take the first step.


  1. End your time together by praying for the courage and spiritual insight to do what’s right and defend the innocent, rather than what is popular or convenient.