John 18

 Jesus and disciples go to Gethsemane; Judas with Jews meet Him there 1
Jesus asks who they were seeking; they fall to the ground; disciples released 4
Peter cuts of the right ear of Malchus 10
Jesus taken before the high priest 12
Peter denies being a disciple of Jesus 15
Questioned by Annas 19
Peter denies Christ two more times 25
Jesus before Pilate 28
Jesus tells about His kingdom; Pilate finds no fault 36
Barabbas chosen instead of Christ 39
Text Comments
Prayer commitment in Gethsemane. Luke 22:40-53; Matt. 26:36-56; Mark 14:32; John 18:1-12.
.1 ¶ When Jesus had spoken these words, he went forth with his disciples over the brook Cedron, where was a garden, into the which he entered, and his disciples.
.2  And Judas also, which betrayed him, knew the place: for Jesus ofttimes resorted thither with his disciples.
.3  Judas then, having received a band of men and officers from the chief priests and Pharisees, cometh thither with lanterns and torches and weapons.
  1 - These words In the previous chapter is the mighty prayer of our Lord.
  1 - Went forth They had already left the upper room jn1431. Here they continue on their way to Gethsemane mr1432.
  1 - Cedron Known in the OT as Kidron 1ki0237.
  2 - Judas See on mr0319.
  3 - Band Greek speira, a group of Roman soldiers, a tenth of a legion. Compare mt2647.
.4  Jesus therefore, knowing all things that should come upon him, went forth, and said unto them, Whom seek ye?
.5  They answered him, Jesus of Nazareth. Jesus saith unto them, I am he. And Judas also, which betrayed him, stood with them.
.6  As soon then as he had said unto them, I am he, they went backward, and fell to the ground.
.7  Then asked he them again, Whom seek ye? And they said, Jesus of Nazareth.
.8  Jesus answered, I have told you that I am he: if therefore ye seek me, let these go their way:
9  That the saying might be fulfilled, which he spake, Of them which thou gavest me have I lost none.

  4 - Jesus therefore, knowing And He did it for you and me.
  Picture this amazing scene. We may assume that Jesus allowed some of His divine glory to be shown. Compare lu0928 and onward. The Jewish leaders and the tough mob they had gotten to come fell helpless. When the light disappeared, I imagine them staggering to their feet searching for their swords and torches. In v8 Jesus said "I have told you that I am he." Why did He do these things? I'll let you think about the answer.
  6 - Went backward ... fell What would make them fall down? An angel such as caused the same thing to happen to the soldiers at the resurrection mt2802ff.
.10  Then Simon Peter having a sword drew it, and smote the high priest's servant, and cut off his right ear. The servant's name was Malchus.
.11  Then said Jesus unto Peter, Put up thy sword into the sheath: the cup which my Father hath given me, shall I not drink it?
  10 - Having a sword Also mt2651. Apparently Peter planned to remove the servant's head but the man bent quickly to the side to save his life. The high priest was likely the real target but Malchus was defending him.
  11 - Cup ... shall I not drink Peter was using the method of corrupt humanity to enable Christ and the others to escape the mob. Escape that night would have cost our redemption had Christ avoided the cup mt2642. Remember we do not deserve the least of God's favor. This is the miracle of grace!
.12  Then the band and the captain and officers of the Jews took Jesus, and bound him,
.13 ¶ And led him away to Annas first; for he was father in law to Caiaphas, which was the high priest that same year.
.14  Now Caiaphas was he, which gave counsel to the Jews, that it was expedient that one man should die for the people.
.15  And Simon Peter followed Jesus, and so did another disciple: that disciple was known unto the high priest, and went in with Jesus into the palace of the high priest.
.16  But Peter stood at the door without. Then went out that other disciple, which was known unto the high priest, and spake unto her that kept the door, and brought in Peter.
.17  Then saith the damsel that kept the door unto Peter, Art not thou also one of this man's disciples? He saith, I am not.
.18  And the servants and officers stood there, who had made a fire of coals; for it was cold: and they warmed themselves: and Peter stood with them, and warmed himself.

  12 - Band See on v3.
  12 - Bound Him Because He permitted it v4. See is5307.
  13 - Annas See the following verses and lu0302, and mt2657.
  14 - Caiaphas ... gave counsel See on jn1149.
  15 - Peter followed See mt2658.
  15 - Another disciple John was very modest in writing about himself jn1323.
  15 - Palace Courtyard. See on mt2658.
  17 - I am not See mt2669f.
  18 - Fire Jerusalem is at about 2500 ft. (750 m.) elevation. Also mr1454, lu2254.
Illustration: Before Caiaphas
.19  The high priest then asked Jesus of his disciples, and of his doctrine.
.20  Jesus answered him, I spake openly to the world; I ever taught in the synagogue, and in the temple, whither the Jews always resort; and in secret have I said nothing.
.21  Why askest thou me? ask them which heard me, what I have said unto them: behold, they know what I said.
  19 - Of his disciples ... doctrine Why would they ask? They were trying to get a reason to get Roman approval for His execution for being a leader of rebellion against the government. On "doctrine" see jn0716.
  20 - Openly ... synagogue ... temple mt0423, jn0659, jn0714, jn1023. On "whither the Jews ... resort" They had already heard His doctrine.
  20 - Secret ... nothing That is, nothing of what they had in mind secret plotting. He had spoken privately to Nicodemus, for example jn03.
.22  And when he had thus spoken, one of the officers which stood by struck Jesus with the palm of his hand, saying, Answerest thou the high priest so?
.23  Jesus answered him, If I have spoken evil, bear witness of the evil: but if well, why smitest thou me?
.24  Now Annas had sent him bound unto Caiaphas the high priest.
  22 - High Priest Compare ex2228, ac2302.
Night trial before the Sanhedrin. John 18:25-27; Matt. 26:57-75; Mark 14-53-72; Luke 22:54-65.
.25  And Simon Peter stood and warmed himself. They said therefore unto him, Art not thou also one of his disciples? He denied it, and said, I am not.
.26  One of the servants of the high priest, being his kinsman whose ear Peter cut off, saith, Did not I see thee in the garden with him?
.27  Peter then denied again: and immediately the cock crew.
  The trial had apparently begun. More comments beginning at mt2657.
Illustration of Peter below 1899.
First trial before Pilate. Luke 23:1-5; Matt. 27:2, 11-14; Mark 15:2-5; John 18:28-38.
.28 ¶ Then led they Jesus from Caiaphas unto the hall of judgment: and it was early; and they themselves went not into the judgment hall, lest they should be defiled; but that they might eat the passover.

  Defiled ... eat the passover This places the ceremonial meal on Friday after the crucifixion where the synoptic gospels (the other three) describe the passover meal with the disciples as on Thursday night.
  Theologians have suggested a number of solutions none of which are satisfactory. Some of them question the fidelity of Scripture.
  Looking at the first Passover, we discover that the lamb was slain, cooked and eaten all on the night of the 14th day of the first month ex1206-10. Since the days began at sundown le2332, the celebration with the disciples and the death of our Lord were both on the day of Passover. Jesus died on Friday before sundown when the next day would begin jn1931, mt2746. The Jews who then must have been eager to demonstrate their holiness to the people may have eaten their meal before sundown or they may not have. John's reference is not to imply that they were celebrating Passover properly. See on jn0504.
  We also recall that, during His meal with the disciples, Jesus initiated a new celebration. It is what we call the Lord's supper and is not tied to a specific day 1co1126.
.29  Pilate then went out unto them, and said, What accusation bring ye against this man?
.30  They answered and said unto him, If he were not a malefactor, we would not have delivered him up unto thee.
  Went out To accommodate the proud Jews who refused to come in.
  What accusation? The proper question.
  If he were not These men had gotten Pilate to bend to their first demand. Now he bends more.
.31  Then said Pilate unto them, Take ye him, and judge him according to your law. The Jews therefore said unto him, It is not lawful for us to put any man to death:
.32  That the saying of Jesus might be fulfilled, which he spake, signifying what death he should die.
.33  Then Pilate entered into the judgment hall again, and called Jesus, and said unto him, Art thou the King of the Jews?
.34  Jesus answered him, Sayest thou this thing of thyself, or did others tell it thee of me?
.35  Pilate answered, Am I a Jew? Thine own nation and the chief priests have delivered thee unto me: what hast thou done?
  31 - Not lawful ... death They needed more power. They could have inflicted other punishments but the death penalty at that time was retained in the hands of Rome.
  32 - Fulfilled Jesus had indicated crucifixion as the manner of His death jn1232. If the Jews had killed Him directly as they probably would like to have done, it would likely have been by stoning jn0859, jn1031.
  33 - Art thou the King of the Jews? Pilate had already asked that question mt2711.
  34 - Of thyself? Jesus was inviting Pilate's personal interest. Sadly, Pilate evaded the question in the next verse.
36  Jesus answered, My kingdom is not of this world: if my kingdom were of this world, then would my servants fight, that I should not be delivered to the Jews: but now is my kingdom not from hence.
37  Pilate therefore said unto him, Art thou a king then? Jesus answered, Thou sayest that I am a king. To this end was I born, and for this cause came I into the world, that I should bear witness unto the truth. Every one that is of the truth heareth my voice.
38  Pilate saith unto him, What is truth? And when he had said this, he went out again unto the Jews, and saith unto them, I find in him no fault at all.
  36 - My kingdom Jesus had been asked if he was "King of the Jews" v33.
  36 - Not of this world Although its citizens were in the world jn1711. His was the kingdom of heaven a spiritual one mt0302, mt0502, mt2514.
  36 - Then would my servants fight Should Christians carry guns, ready to kill someone who threatens them? or those who disagree with their theology? Should they learn Karate or the Korean equivalent? Compare Peter's behavior in v10f.
  37 - To this end ... came Jesus clarifies that He lived before being born he1005.
  37 - Witness unto the truth What a gift to humanity. Truth is usually obscured by religious leaders. Those who want to know will hear His voice jn1027.
  38 - What is truth? ... he went out Pilate could have heard words of truth from the royalty of heaven. Many today turn from the source of light.
  38 - Find no fault Condemnation for the accusers.
Second trial before Pilate. Matt. 27:15-31a; Mark 15:6-19; Luke 23:13-25; John 18:39-19:16.
39  But ye have a custom, that I should release unto you one at the passover: will ye therefore that I release unto you the King of the Jews?
40  Then cried they all again, saying, Not this man, but Barabbas. Now Barabbas was a robber.
  A sad choice See mr1506 and onward.
Previous chapter
Next
John home
Commentary home