John 18

* Christ taken in the garden. (1-12) Christ before Annas and

Caiaphas. (13-27) Christ before Pilate. (28-40)

1-12 Sin began in the garden of Eden, there the curse was

pronounced, there the Redeemer was promised; and in a garden

that promised Seed entered into conflict with the old serpent.

Christ was buried also in a garden. Let us, when we walk in our

gardens, take occasion from thence to mediate on Christ's

sufferings in a garden. Our Lord Jesus, knowing all things that

should come upon him, went forth and asked, Whom seek ye? When

the people would have forced him to a crown, he withdrew, ch.

#6:15|, but when they came to force him to a cross, he offered

himself; for he came into this world to suffer, and went to the

other world to reign. He showed plainly what he could have done;

when he struck them down he could have struck them dead, but he

would not do so. It must have been the effect of Divine power,

that the officers and soldiers let the disciples go away

quietly, after the resistance which had been offered. Christ set

us an example of meekness in sufferings, and a pattern of

submission to God's will in every thing that concerns us. It is

but a cup, a small matter. It is a cup that is given us;

sufferings are gifts. It is given us by a Father, who has a

father's authority, and does us no wrong; a father's affection,

and means us no hurt. From the example of our Saviour we should

learn how to receive our lighter afflictions, and to ask

ourselves whether we ought to oppose our Father's will, or to

distrust his love. We were bound with the cords of our

iniquities, with the yoke of our transgressions. Christ, being

made a sin-offering for us, to free us from those bonds, himself

submitted to be bound for us. To his bonds we owe our liberty;

thus the Son makes us free.
13-27 Simon Peter denied his Master. The particulars have been

noticed in the remarks on the other Gospels. The beginning of

sin is as the letting forth of water. The sin of lying is a

fruitful sin; one lie needs another to support it, and that

another. If a call to expose ourselves to danger be clear, we

may hope God will enable us to honour him; if it be not, we may

fear that God will leave us to shame ourselves. They said

nothing concerning the miracles of Jesus, by which he had done

so much good, and which proved his doctrine. Thus the enemies of

Christ, whilst they quarrel with his truth, wilfully shut their

eyes against it. He appeals to those who heard him. The doctrine

of Christ may safely appeal to all that know it, and those who

judge in truth bear witness to it. Our resentment of injuries

must never be passionate. He reasoned with the man that did him

the injury, and so may we.
28-32 It was unjust to put one to death who had done so much

good, therefore the Jews were willing to save themselves from

reproach. Many fear the scandal of an ill thing, more than the

sin of it. Christ had said he should be delivered to the

Gentiles, and they should put him to death; hereby that saying

was fulfilled. He had said that he should be crucified, lifted

up. If the Jews had judged him by their law, he had been stoned;

crucifying never was used among the Jews. It is determined

concerning us, though not discovered to us, what death we shall

die: this should free us from disquiet about that matter. Lord,

what, when, and how, thou hast appointed.
33-40 Art thou the King of the Jews? that King of the Jews who

has been so long expected? Messiah the Prince; art thou he? Dost

thou call thyself so, and wouldest thou be thought so? Christ

answered this question with another; not for evasion, but that

Pilate might consider what he did. He never took upon him any

earthly power, never were any traitorous principles or practices

laid to him. Christ gave an account of the nature of his

kingdom. Its nature is not worldly; it is a kingdom within men,

set up in their hearts and consciences; its riches spiritual,

its power spiritual, and it glory within. Its supports are not

worldly; its weapons are spiritual; it needed not, nor used,

force to maintain and advance it, nor opposed any kingdom but

that of sin and Satan. Its object and design are not worldly.

When Christ said, I am the Truth, he said, in effect, I am a

King. He conquers by the convincing evidence of truth; he rules

by the commanding power of truth. The subjects of this kingdom

are those that are of the truth. Pilate put a good question, he

said, What is truth? When we search the Scriptures, and attend

the ministry of the word, it must be with this inquiry, What is

truth? and with this prayer, Lead me in thy truth; into all

truth. But many put this question, who have not patience to

preserve in their search after truth; or not humility enough to

receive it. By this solemn declaration of Christ's innocence, it

appears, that though the Lord Jesus was treated as the worst of

evil-doers, he never deserved such treatment. But it unfolds the

design of his death; that he died as a Sacrifice for our sins.

Pilate was willing to please all sides; and was governed more by

worldly wisdom than by the rules of justice. Sin is a robber,

yet is foolishly chosen by many rather than Christ, who would

truly enrich us. Let us endeavour to make our accusers ashamed

as Christ did; and let us beware of crucifying Christ afresh.

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