John 18#Joh 18:1| CXXIII. GOING TO GETHSEMANE, AND AGONY THEREIN. (A garden between the brook Kidron and the Mount of Olives. Late Thursday night.) #Mt 26:30,36-46 Mr 14:26,32-42 Lu 22:39-46 Joh 18:1| When Jesus had spoken these words. The words contained in #John 14:1-17:26|. (TFG 685) #Joh 18:2| CXXIV. JESUS BETRAYED, ARRESTED, AND FORSAKEN. (Gethsemane. Friday, several hours before dawn.) #Mt 26:47-56 Mr 14:43-52 Lu 22:47-53 Joh 18:2-11| Now Judas also, who betrayed him, knew the place. See TFG "#Lu 21:37|" and see TFG "Lu 22:39". #Joh 18:3| Judas then, having received the band of soldiers, and officers from the chief priests and the Pharisees. See TFG "#Mr 14:43|". Cometh thither with lanterns and torches and weapons. They were well supplied with lights, for while the passover is always held when the moon is full, the moon at this time of night would be near setting, and the valley of the Kidron, in which Gethsemane lay, would be darkened by the shadow of the adjoining mountain. (TFG 689) #Joh 18:4| Jesus therefore, knowing all the things that were coming upon him, went forth, and saith unto them, Whom seek ye? John mentions the foreknowledge of Jesus to remind us that he could have avoided the arrest had he chosen to do so. Even the foreknowledge of Elisha was difficult to deal with (#2Ki 6:8-12|). Jesus asked, "Whom seek ye?" (1) To openly and manfully declare his identity; (2) to make the Jewish rulers fully conscious that they were arresting him, an innocent man; (3) to confine the arrest to himself and thus deliver his disciples. (TFG 690) #Joh 18:6| They went backward, and fell to the ground. The older commentators regard the falling to the ground as a miracle, but modern scholars look upon it as a result of sudden fear. Jesus merely manifested his dignity and majesty, and the prostration followed as a natural result. (TFG 690) #Joh 18:9| That the word might be fulfilled which he spake, Of those whom thou hast given me I lost not one. See #Joh 17:12|. #Joh 18:10| Simon Peter therefore having a sword drew it, and struck the high priest's servant, and cut off his right ear. See TFG "#Mr 14:47|". Now the servant's name was Malchus. John knew the household of the high priest (#Joh 18:16|). He knew Malchus by name, and he also knew his kindred (#Joh 18:26|). (TFG 691) #Joh 18:11| The cup which the Father hath given me, shall I not drink it? By using the word "cup" John gives us an echo of the agony in Gethsemane, which suggests that he expects his readers to be conversant with the other Gospels. See #Mt 26:39 Mr 14:36 Lu 22:42|. The other Evangelists, having shown that Jesus was fully resolved to drink the cup, do not regard it as necessary to repeat these words. (TFG 692) #Joh 18:12| CXXV. FIRST STAGE OF JEWISH TRIAL. EXAMINATION BY ANNAS. (Friday before dawn.) #Joh 18:12-14,19-23| #Joh 18:13| And led him to Annas first; for he was father in law to Caiaphas, who was high priest that year. For confusion in the priesthood, etc., see TFG "Lu 3:2" and see TFG "Joh 11:49". (TFG 694) #Joh 18:14| Now Caiaphas was he that gave counsel to the Jews, that it was expedient that one man should die for the people. See TFG "#Joh 11:49|". John restates this fact to remind the reader that Jesus was about to be tried by those who had prejudged him and decided upon his death. (TFG 694) #Joh 18:15| CXXVII. PETER THRICE DENIES THE LORD. (Court of the high priest's residence. Friday before and about dawn.) #Mt 26:58,69-75 Mr 14:54,66-72 Lu 22:54-62 Joh 18:15-18,25-27| Now Simon Peter followed Jesus. See TFG "#Mr 14:54|". And so did another disciple. This other disciple was evidently the apostle John, who thus speaks of himself impersonally. Now that disciple was known unto the high priest. John's acquaintanceship appears to have been with the household as well as with the high priest personally, for we find that it is used as a permit at the doorway. It is likely that the high priest knew John rather in a business way (#Ac 4:13|). (TFG 700) #Joh 18:16| And spake unto her that kept the door. It is still customary to have female porters at the houses of the great and rich. See #Ac 12:13|. And brought in Peter. John would have shown a truer kindness to Peter had he let him stay out. (TFG 700) #Joh 18:17| The maid therefore that kept the door saith unto Peter, Art thou also one of this man's disciples? He saith, I am not. The doorkeeper evidently recognized John as a disciple, and was therefore suspicious of Peter. The cowardly "I am not" of Peter is a sad contrast to the strong "I am he" of Jesus (#Joh 18:8|). (TFG 700) #Joh 18:18| And Peter also was with them, standing and warming himself. See TFG "#Mr 14:54|". #Joh 18:19| The high priest therefore asked Jesus of his disciples, and of his teaching. We should note that John calls Annas high priest. The high priesthood was a life office. According to Moses, Annas was high priest, but the Romans had given the office to Caiaphas, so that Annas was high priest de jure, but Caiaphas was so de facto. As high priest, therefore, and as head of the Sadducean party, the people looked to Annas before Caiaphas, taking Jesus to him first. The influence of Annas is shown by the fact that he made five of his sons and sons-in-law high priests. Annas is said to have been about sixty years old at this time. He questioned Jesus for the purpose of obtaining, if possible, some material out of which to frame an accusation. (TFG 694) #Joh 18:20| I ever taught in synagogues. See TFG "#Mr 1:39|". And in secret spake I nothing. Jesus indeed spoke some things privately (#Mt 13:10,11|), but he did not do so for the purposes of concealment (#Mt 10:27|). Jesus was the light of the world; addressing his teachings to all flesh, he chose the most public places to utter them--places, however, dedicated to the worship of the true God. (TFG 695) #Joh 18:21| Why askest thou me? Ask them that have heard me, what I spake unto them: behold, these know the things which I said. He who had said that heaven and earth would pass away, but that his word would not pass away (#Lu 21:33|), did not suffer his teaching to be held in contempt; he did not permit it to be made matter for cross examination. On the contrary, it was to be taken cognizance of among the things universally known and understood. The very officers who had arrested him could tell about it (#Joh 7:45,46|). (TFG 695) #Joh 18:23| If I have spoken evil, bear witness of the evil: but if well, why smitest thou me? Jesus was then under arrest, and as the trial had not yet opened there was ample time to add new matter to the charges against him. If, in addressing the high priest, he had just spoken words worthy of punishment, the officer who struck him should, instead, have preferred charges against him and had him punished in a legal manner. If the officer could not do this (and the point is that he could not), he was doubly wrong in striking him. Thus the Lord calmly rebuked the wrong-doer. Compare his conduct with that of Paul under somewhat similar circumstances (#Ac 23:1-3|). Jesus exemplified his teaching at #Mt 5:39|. "Christ," says Luther, "forbids self-defense with the hand, not with the tongue." (TFG 695) #Joh 18:24| CXXVI. SECOND STAGE OF JEWISH TRIAL. JESUS CONDEMNED BY CAIAPHAS AND THE SANHEDRIN. (Palace of Caiaphas. Friday.) #Mt 26:57,59-68 Mr 14:53,55-65 Lu 22:54,63-65 Joh 18:24| Annas therefore sent him bound unto Caiaphas the high priest. Foiled in his attempted examination of Jesus, Annas sends him to trial. (TFG 696) #Joh 18:25| He denied it, and said, I am not. See TFG "#Mr 14:70|". #Joh 18:28| CXXVIII. THIRD STAGE OF JEWISH TRIAL. JESUS FORMALLY CONDEMNED BY THE SANHEDRIN AND LED TO PILATE. (Jerusalem. Friday after dawn.) #Mt 27:1,2 Mr 15:1 Lu 22:66-23:1 Joh 18:28| They lead Jesus therefore from Caiaphas into the Praetorium. See TFG "#Mr 15:1|". CXXIX. FIRST STAGE OF THE ROMAN TRIAL. JESUS BEFORE PILATE FOR THE FIRST TIME. (Jerusalem. Early Friday morning.) #Mt 27:11-14 Mr 15:2-5 Lu 23:2-5 Joh 18:28-38| And they themselves entered not into the Praetorium, that they might not be defiled, but might eat the passover. See TFG "#Mr 14:1|". (TFG 704) #Joh 18:30| If this man were not an evildoer, we should not have delivered him up unto thee. The Jewish rulers first attempt to induce Pilate to accept their verdict and condemn Jesus upon it, and execute him without a trial. If they had succeeded in this, Jesus would have been put to death as a blasphemer. But as Pilate had insisted upon trying Jesus, and as blasphemy was not a capital offense under the Roman law, Jesus was condemned and executed as the King of the Jews. (TFG 704) #Joh 18:31| Pilate therefore said unto them, Take him yourselves, and judge him according to your law. The Jews said unto him, It is not lawful for us to put any man to death. As the Jews insisted on their own verdict, Pilate bade them pronounce their own sentence, declining to mix jurisdictions by pronouncing a Roman sentence on a Sanhedrin verdict. The Jews responded that it is not in their power to pronounce the sentence for which their verdict called, since they could not put to death. Jesus could only be sentenced to death by the Roman court, and crucifixion was the mode by which its death sentence was executed. (TFG 705) #Joh 18:32| That the word of Jesus might be fulfilled, which he spake, signifying by what manner of death he should die. Jesus had predicted all this in the simple statement that he should die by crucifixion (#Joh 12:33,34|), but he also gave the details of his trial (#Mt 20:18,19 Mr 10:33,34|). (TFG 705) #Joh 18:33| Pilate therefore entered again into the Praetorium, and called Jesus. See TFG "#Mt 27:11|". And said unto him, Art thou the King of the Jews? See TFG "#Mr 15:2|". #Joh 18:34| Sayest thou this of thyself, or did others tell it thee concerning me? Using the Hebrew form of affirmative reply (see TFG "Mr 14:62"), Jesus admits that he is a king, but asks a question which forms the strongest negation that he is a king in the sense contained in the Jewish accusation. Had he been a king in that sense, Pilate would have been the one most likely to know it. The question also, by an indirect query as to the accuser, reveals to Pilate's mind that no Roman had accused him. He was accused of the Jews, and when he had that restless, rebellious people ever found fault with a man who sought to free them from the galling Roman yoke? (TFG 706) #Joh 18:35| Am I a Jew? The strong, practical mind of the Roman at once caught the drift of Christ's question, and perceived that the title "King of the Jews" had in it a double meaning, so that it might be construed in some unpolitical sense. What this sense was he could not tell, for he was not a Jew. The mysteries of that nation were of no interest to him save where his office compelled him to understand them. Thine own nation and the chief priests delivered thee unto me: what hast thou done? Pilate concedes that the accusation against Jesus comes from an unexpected and suspicious source. Pilate asks Jesus to tell him plainly by what means he had incurred the enmity of the leaders of his people. (TFG 706) #Joh 18:36| My kingdom is not of this world. Jesus answers Pilate's question indirectly. He had done something to incur the enmity of the rulers, and that was to have authority with and exercise influence over the people (#Joh 12:19|). They objected to his kingly claims (#Mt 21:15,16 Lu 19:38,39|), but Jesus shows Pilate that these kingly claims, however distasteful to the Jews, were no offense to or menace against the authority of Rome. Further than this, Jesus did not define his kingdom, for Pilate had no concern in it beyond this. It was sufficient to inform him that it made no use of physical power even for purposes of defense. Such a kingdom could cause no trouble to Rome, and the bare fact stated by Jesus proved that it was indeed such a kingdom. (TFG 706-707) #Joh 18:37| Thou sayest that I am a king. See TFG "#Mr 14:62|". To this end have I been born, and to this end am I come into the world, that I should bear witness unto the truth. Jesus here enlightens Pilate as to the nature of his kingdom. He, the King, was the incarnation of truth, and all those who derive the inspiration of their life from truth were his subjects. For the purpose of thus bearing witness to and revealing truth Jesus had been born, thus entering a new state of being, and he had come into the world in this changed condition, thus entering a new sphere of action. The words clearly imply the pre-existence of Christ and no doubt aroused that state of uneasiness or fear which was increased by the words of the Jewish rulers (#Joh 19:7,8|). (TFG 707) #Joh 18:38| What is truth? This question has been regarded as an earnest inquiry (Chrysostom), the inquiry of one who despaired (Olshausen), a scoffing question (Alford), etc. But it is evident that Pilate asked it intending to investigate the case of Jesus further, but, suddenly concluding that he already knew enough to answer his purpose as a judge, he stifles his curiosity as a human being and proceeds with the trial of Jesus, leaving the question unanswered. I find no crime in him. See TFG "#Lu 23:4|". (TFG 708) #Joh 18:39| CXXXI. THIRD STAGE OF THE ROMAN TRIAL. PILATE RELUCTANTLY SENTENCES HIM TO CRUCIFIXION. (Friday. Toward sunrise.) #Mt 27:15-30 Mr 15:6-19 Lu 23:13-25 Joh 18:39-19:16| But ye have a custom, that I should release unto you one at the passover. See TFG "#Mr 15:8|".
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