John Chapter 18
John Chapter 18
Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane
GEOGRAPHICAL PROFILE; KIDRON VALLEY A brook running north and south on the east side of ancient Jerusalem Separated the temple area from the Mount of Olives The site of the Garden of Gethsemane is thought to be just west of the Kidron Valley on the way to Bethany
PERSONAL PROFILE: ANNAS Served as high priest from A.D. 6 to 15 He also had four sons and a son-in-law who served, including Caiaphas from A.D. 18 to 36 Even when he was not actively the high priest, he served as the "godfather" of religious operations in Jerusalem
PERSONAL PROFILE: PILATE Appointed governor by the Emperor Tiberias in A.D. 26 and held the post for ten years Experienced difficult relationships with the Jewish population in Palestine Finally deposed in A.D. 36 by Vitellius, governor of Syria, and sent to Rome
PERSONAL PROFILE: BARABBAS Terrorist guilty of murder and revolution A notorious prisoner who was part of a revolutionary gang Convicted of rebellion against Rome Some believe his name indicates that his father may have been a rabbi In a Nutshell In April, about the time Jesus crossed from Jerusalem to Gethsemane, the Kidron became a roaring stream running south into the Valley of Hinnom. At Passover season it was often red with lamb's blood—a striking divide between the city and the wealthy mountain gardens to the east. To an olive grove in one of those gardens Jesus retired with his disciples, awaiting the arrest that would signal the events of the dark night. Four people occupy John's report in chapter 18—four people who saw Christ the night before his crucifixion and were forced to some decision about him.
Holman New Testament Commentary - John.
Commentary Four Witnesses—Four Decisions
MAIN IDEA: East of the city of Jerusalem one can see the Mount of Olives on which were located many elaborate gardens. To this place, at this time, Jesus took his disciples for the betrayal and arrest that would lead to the cross. A. Malchus: Impressions in a Garden (John 18:1-11)
SUPPORTING IDEA: The first witness of the events of this chapter was Malchus, servant of the high priest. A curious bystander during earlier events, he became actively involved when Peter swung his sword with good courage and poor aim. The Bible records no response by Malchus, but one can imagine some interesting explanations to Mrs. Malchus later that day Jesus healed the ear and told the disciples to stop their violent behavior.
Section 1. He Is Falsely Condemned (18:1-19:15) I. Jesus Was Arrested (John 18:1-12) A. His Departure (18:1) "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." The Kidron valley is a prominent feature of the topography of Jerusalem. It follows a winding course down to the Dead Sea. In a coming day a river will flow down this valley from a secret source in the millennial temple (Ezekiel 47:1; Zechariah 14:8). In Jesus' day the floor of the valley, as it ran by the temple, was two hundred feet below the pavement of the outer court. The mount of Olives rises to the east of the valley and on its lower slopes was the garden of Gethsemane. John is silent about the Lord's agony in the garden. He is silent about a great deal. He does not tell of the Lord's claim to have power to summon heaven's hosts to his aid. He is silent about the traitor's kiss, about the Lord's desertion by all the disciples, about the false witnesses, the adjuration, the great confession, about the examination before Herod, about Pilate's wife's message, about Pilate's handwashing, about the self-imposed curse of the Jews, about the impressment of Simon to carry the cross, about the mockery at Calvary, about the darkness, about the terrible orphan cry, about the earthquake, the rending of the veil, the confession of the centurion, about the repentance of one of the thieves. Although John could have written books about those things (20:30; 21:25), he passed over them. Matthew, Mark, and Luke had already said all that was necessary about them. John never intended his gospel to be just a historical supplement to the other gospels. His concern was to emphasize the person of Christ and especially the signs that underscored his deity. John Phillips Commentary Series, The - Exploring the Gospel of John: An Expository Commentary.
18:1-3. As he told his story, John wanted us to see that Jesus hid from no one. The availability of the fugitive became obvious, since we learn that Jesus had visited this garden often with his disciples. Certainly Judas would have known it well. In the fulfillment of prophecy and surely the clear anticipation by Jesus, Judas brought quite an entourage—certainly no fewer than two hundred soldiers (the word detachment is speira) and the "big wigs" from among the chief priests and Pharisees. Picture them entering that quiet sanctuary with their torches, lanterns and weapons. One wonders at this strange group that went out to meet Jesus. At first it looked like the usual religious antagonists and their uniformed guard. But the phrase a detachment of soldiers added a Roman group to this advance party in the garden. Bruce reminds us, "The fact that Roman troops were there as well as temple police implies that the Jewish authorities had already approached the military command, probably indicating that they expected armed resistance to the officers. That it was the Jewish authorities and not the Romans who took the initiative is shown by the fact that, after the arrest, the Jewish authorities were allowed to take Jesus into their custody. When Judas is described as 'taking' the cohort and the police to the place, all that is meant is that he acted as their guide" (Bruce, p. 340).
Holman New Testament Commentary - John.
John 18:1 (PasssionNTPsa) with notes
After Jesus finished this prayer; he left with his disciples and went across the Kidron Valley [a] The Kidron ravine is the path David took when he was forced to flee Jerusalem because of the betrayal of his son Absalom. David went up the Mount of Olives weeping. Jesus went up also in sorrow. David went up to save himself; Jesus went up to save the people of the world. - to a place where there was a garden.[b] This is the garden of Gethsemane, which means “olive press.” Jesus not only went to the garden to pray, but to be captured. He knew full well the Father’s plan. Just as Adam fell in a garden of paradise, Jesus stood faithful in a garden of betrayal.
John 18:1 (MSG)
1 Jesus, having prayed this prayer, left with his disciples and crossed over the brook Kidron at a place where there was a garden. He and his disciples entered it.
John 18:1 (NLT2) 1 After saying these things, Jesus crossed the Kidron Valley with his disciples and entered a grove of olive trees.
18:1 He went forth. Jesus’ supreme courage is seen in His determination to go to the cross, where His purity and sinlessness would be violated as He bore the wrath of God for the sins of the world (3:16; see note on 12:27). The time of “the power of darkness” had come (Lk 22:53; see notes on 1:5; 9:4; 13:30). ravine of the Kidron. The Kidron valley was between the temple mount on the E of Jerusalem and the Mt. of Olives further to the E. a garden. On the slopes of the Mt. of Olives, named for ever present olive groves, were many gardens. Matthew 26:36 and Mark 14:32 call this particular garden “Gethsemane,” which means “oil press.” entered. The wording here suggests a walled enclosure around the garden.
MacArthur, J. F., Jr. (2006). The MacArthur study Bible: New American Standard Bible. (Jn 18:1). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers.
2 Judas, the traitor, knew where this place was, for Jesus had gone there often with his disciples. John 18:2 (KJV)
2 And Judas also, which betrayed him, knew the place: for Jesus ofttimes resorted thither with his disciples.
John 18:2 (MSG) 2 Judas, his betrayer, knew the place because Jesus and his disciples went there often.
John 18:2 (NLT2) 2 Judas, the betrayer, knew this place, because Jesus had often gone there with his disciples.
John 18:2 (PassionNTPsa) 2 Judas, the traitor, knew where this place was, for Jesus had gone there often with his disciples.
3 The Pharisees and the leading priests had given Judas a large detachment [c] The Greek and Aramaic word used for this company of soldiers implies quite a large number, up to five to six hundred men sent to arrest Jesus. Even his enemies knew his power was great. - of Roman soldiers and temple police to seize Jesus. Judas guided them to the garden, all of them carrying torches and lanterns and armed with swords and spears. [d] The Greek word is “foot-soldiers’ weapons.” John 18:3 (MSG)
3 So Judas led the way to the garden, and the Roman soldiers and police sent by the high priests and Pharisees followed. They arrived there with lanterns and torches and swords.
John 18:3 (NLT2) 3 The leading priests and Pharisees had given Judas a contingent of Roman soldiers and Temple guards to accompany him. Now with blazing torches, lanterns, and weapons, they arrived at the olive grove.
John 18:3 (PassionNTPsa) 3 The Pharisees and the leading priests had given Judas a large detachment of Roman soldiers and temple police to seize Jesus. Judas guided them to the garden, all of them carrying torches and lanterns and armed with swords and spears.
1. The Coming of Judas (18:2-3) "And Judas also, which betrayed him, knew the place; for Jesus ofttimes resorted thither with his disciples" (18:2). The Lord loved that quiet garden where all about him were reminders of the creative genius he had displayed long years before in planting the garden of Eden. Jesus had often met with his disciples in this spot, and Judas knew it well. Now that his intercessory prayer was over, Jesus made no attempt to hide from his foes. On the contrary he deliberately went to a place where Judas could expect to find him. Although all four gospel writers record the treachery of Judas, John particularly dwells on its wickedness and horror. Judas did not come to the garden alone: "Judas then, having received a band of men and officers from the chief priests and Pharisees, cometh thither with lanterns and torches and weapons." The transition in John from the holy of holies to this wasp's nest of rogues is startling. Even though Jesus had talked and prayed about what would soon come to pass, it still seemed remote and far away. Now suddenly, with this mention of Judas and the chief priests and the Pharisees, the world of evil has intruded. Judas made sure he had sufficient men to carry out his dark design. He had "a band of men," literally, a cohort, which in the Roman army numbered a thousand men, both infantry and cavalry. Judas had with him a detachment of Roman soldiers from the nearby garrison (the Antonia fortress) along with the commanding officer of the whole garrison (18:12). He also had some temple police provided by the Sanhedrin. So Jews and gentiles joined in this nefarious expedition led by Judas. Evidently the authorities were not at all sure now Jesus and his disciples would react. Perhaps he would resist arrest, and force would be required. Besides, the Jewish authorities stood in considerable awe of Christ's miracle working power. Jesus, however, had no intention of resisting arrest. John Phillips Commentary Series, The - Exploring the Gospel of John: An Expository Commentary.
18:3 the Roman cohort and officers from the chief priests and the Pharisees. A full auxiliary Roman cohort had the potential strength of 1,000 men (i.e., 760 foot soldiers and 240 cavalry led by a chiliarch or “leader of a thousand”). Usually, however, in practice a cohort normally numbered 600 men, but could sometimes refer to as little as 200 (i.e., a “maniple”). Roman auxiliary troops were usually stationed at Caesarea, but during feast days they were garrisoned in the Antonia Fortress, on the NW perimeter of the temple complex (in order to ensure against mob violence or rebellion because of the large population that filled Jerusalem). The second group designated as “officers” refers to temple police who were the primary arresting officers since Jesus’ destination after the arrest was to be brought before the High-Priest (vv. 12–14). They came ready for resistance from Jesus and His followers (“weapons”).
MacArthur, J. F., Jr. (2006). The MacArthur study Bible: New American Standard Bible. (Jn 18:3). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers.
John 18:4 (MSG)
4 Jesus, knowing full well what was about to happen, went out to the garden entrance to meet them. Stepping forward, he asked, “Who are you looking for?”
John 18:4 (MSG) 4 Jesus, knowing by now everything that was coming down on him, went out and met them. He said, "Who are you after?" They answered, "Jesus the Nazarene."
John 18:4 (NLT2) 4 Jesus fully realized all that was going to happen to him, so he stepped forward to meet them. “Who are you looking for?” he asked.
John 18:4 (PassionNTPsa) 4 Jesus, knowing full well what was about to happen, went out to the garden entrance to meet them. Stepping forward, he asked, “Who are you looking for?”
18:4 knowing all … things. John, in a matter-of-fact way, states that Jesus was omniscient, thus God.
MacArthur, J. F., Jr. (2006). The MacArthur study Bible: New American Standard Bible. (Jn 18:4). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers.
5 “Jesus of Nazareth,” [e] Or “Jesus, the Nazarene.” This is the Aramaic word nussraya, which means “victorious one,” or “heir of a powerful family.” The Hebrew word for “Nazareth” comes from the root word netzer, which means “branch.” See Isa. 4:2; 11:1. - they replied. (Now Judas, the traitor, was among them.) He replied, “I am he.”
John 18:5 (MSG)
5 He said, "That's me." The soldiers recoiled, totally taken aback. Judas, his betrayer, stood out like a sore thumb.
John 18:5 (NLT2) 5 “Jesus the Nazarene,” they replied. “I AM he,” Jesus said. (Judas, who betrayed him, was standing with them.)
John 18:5 (PassionNTPsa) 5 “Jesus of Nazareth,” they replied. (Now Judas, the traitor, was among them.) He replied, “I am he.”
2. The Comprehension of Jesus (18:4-9) Jesus knew perfectly well what was going on; his insight was supernatural (18:4-6). He heard the measured tramp of the soldiers, the upraised voices of the officers. The bobbing lanterns and lights and the glint of weapons had long been expected. John underlines his omniscience (18:4): "Jesus therefore, knowing all things that should come upon him, went forth, and said unto them, Whom seek ye?" He did that to protect his disciples. He put himself between them and danger, directing the attention of the intruders to himself. He spoke with quiet authority that was unmistakable. John underlines his omnipotence (18:5-6). We note, first, how Jesus confronted his foes (18:5): "They answered him, Jesus of Nazareth. Jesus saith unto them, I am he. And Judas also, which betrayed him, stood with them. Their answer reflected a measure of contempt: "Jesus of Nazareth." In Judean eyes it was bad enough to be a Galilean, but to be from Nazareth! To call him a Nazarene was intended as an insult. Jesus again answered with an I AM. The Greek is ego eimi The term is used nine times in John (4:26; 6:20; 8:24, 28, 58; 13:19; 18:5, 6, 8). The Lord clearly laid full claim to the divine, ineffable name. They said, "We seek Jesus the Nazarene." In other words, Jesus said, "I am—that is, I am Jehovah." John adds the note, "And Judas also, which betrayed him, stood with them." He was numbered with the wrong people. He was with them, fitting company for a traitor. He had made his choice. Now he stood aligned with the enemies of the great I AM. John Phillips Commentary Series, The - Exploring the Gospel of John: An Expository Commentary.
6 And the moment Jesus spoke the words, “I am he,” the mob fell backward to the ground! [f] This was a stunning event as the great I Am spoke his name before those who sought to seize him. It is obvious in the text that they did not trip over each other in surprise, for every one of these strong men fell backward to the ground by the power of God. Jesus was in charge that night as the captain of the host of the Lord. They could not seize him unless he permitted them to do so. What a wonderful Savior who willingly submitted to the hands of cruel men to bring us the gift of salvation.
John 18:6 (NLT2) 6 As Jesus said “I AM he,” they all drew back and fell to the ground!
John 18:6 (PassionNTPsa) 6 And the moment Jesus spoke the words, “I am he,” the mob fell backward to the ground!
John tells us immediately how Jesus confounded his foes (18:6): "As soon then as he said unto them, I am he, they went backward, and fell to the ground." He was in complete control of the situation. It was not without grounds that authorities were unsure whether they could arrest him. In vain was their Roman cohort. Had Caesar summoned all his legions from the remotest outposts of his empire and hurled them in iron ranks against that "Nazarene," the result would have been the same. They would have gone backward and fallen to the ground. The Lord had already declared, "No man taketh [my life] from me, but I lay it down of myself" (10:18). He now demonstrated that claim to be true. Had he so desired, he could have walked away from them as at other times before. Twelve legions of angels were poised on the battlements of heaven ready to come to his aid. But what need had he of aid? As it was, he simply wished to show them how helpless they were—swords and staves and spears and soldiers and all. John Phillips Commentary Series, The - Exploring the Gospel of John: An Expository Commentary.
John 18:7 (KJV) 7 Then asked he them again, Whom seek ye? And they said, Jesus of Nazareth.
John 18:7 (MSG) 7 Jesus asked again, "Who are you after?" They answered, "Jesus the Nazarene."
John 18:7 (PassionNTPsa) 7 So once more, Jesus asked them, “Who are you looking for?” As they stood up, they answered, “Jesus of Nazareth.”
John 18:8 (KJV) 8 Jesus answered, I have told you that I am he: if therefore ye seek me, let these go their way:
John 18:8 (MSG) 8 "I told you," said Jesus, "that's me. I'm the one. So if it's me you're after, let these others go."
John 18:8 (PassionNTPsa) 8 Jesus replied, “I told you that I am the one you’re looking for, so if you want me, let these men go home.” [g] “These men” were the eleven disciples who were with Jesus in the garden.
MacArthur Study Bible NASB Commentary John 18:4-8 Whom do you seek? By twice asking that question vv 4, 7), to which they replied, “Jesus the Nazarene” (vv. 5, 7), Jesus was forcing them to acknowledge that they had no authority to take His disciples. In Fact, He demanded that they let the disciples go (v. 8) The force of His demand was established by the power of His words. When He spoke, “I am He” (v.t), a designation He had used before to declare Himself God (8:28, 58, cf. 6:35; 8:12, 10:7, 9, 11, 14; 11:25; 14:6; 15:1, 5), they were jolted backward and to the ground (v. 6). This power display and the authoritative demand not to take the disciples were of immense significance, as the next verse indicates.
John 18:9 (KJV) 9 That the saying might be fulfilled, which he spake, Of them which thou gavest me have I lost none.
John 18:9 (MSG) 9 (This validated the words in his prayer, "I didn't lose one of those you gave.")
John 18:9 (NLT2) 9 He did this to fulfill his own statement: “I did not lose a single one of those you have given me.”
John 18:9 (PassionNTPsa) 9 He said this to fulfill the prophecy he had spoken, “Father, not one of those you have given me has been lost.” [h] See John 6:39; 17:12
18:4-9. John also wanted us to see that Jesus controlled this night. His response to the events was different than the reaction of the guards. Notice Judas came with them, electing almost total allegiance to those who could make him richer. We can hardly imagine what caused the guards to draw back and fall down. A miracle? The repetition of that familiar I am closely linked to the Lord God of the Old Testament? Parallel passages in the other Gospels (Matt. 26:36-46; Mark 14:32-42; Luke 22:39-46) do not help us much. This mob of armed officials displayed greater fear than the victim they were looking for. Twice Jesus asked the same question; twice he received the same answer. He surrendered himself and released the Eleven. John's commentary reviewed John 6:39, again fulfilling the prophecy that Jesus would lose none of those true believers whom the Father had given him. Throughout this Gospel we see reminders that Jesus died for us, what theologians call substitutionary (vicarious) atonement (John 1:29; 3:14-16; 10:11,15-18; 12:32; 17:19). In John 18:9 John offered another of his famous hermeneutical helps. He told us how Jesus requested the release of the disciples and then emphasized that this happened because of the prophecy of John 6:39. Surely it would have been easy to take Jesus' words purely in the physical realm. After all, he was the one they sought; let the other disciples escape. But not John. He saw the clear spiritual connection. Bruce puts it this way: But in Jesus thus stepping to the front and shielding the disciples by exposing himself, John sees a picture of the whole sacrifice and substitution of Christ. This figure of his Master moving forward to meet the swords and staves of the party remains indelibly stamped upon his mind as the symbol of Christ's whole relation to his people. That night in Gethsemane was to them all the hour and power of darkness; and in every subsequent hour of darkness John and the rest see the same divine figure stepping to the front, shielding them and taking upon himself all the responsibility. It is thus Christ would have us think of him—as our friend and protector, watchful over our interests, alive to all that threatens our persons, interposing between us in every hostile event (Bruce, pp. 268-69). Holman New Testament Commentary - John.
John tells us also of the scriptural (18:7-9). As always, the Lord was guided in what he did by the directives of God. By now his enemies were back on their feet. They appear to have been dazed. Before them they saw an unarmed man. They stood there hesitating. Again he put the question, only this time it was stronger. He demanded of them (eperotao), "Whom seek ye?" It was as though they still hung back in awe of him and he was recalling them to their duty. They gave the same answer, "Jesus of Nazareth." Were they now not so sure that this was the man they sought? They had come looking for a Galilean peasant masquerading as the Jewish messiah. They found a man who claimed to be God and whose words were enough to send them staggering backward to fall flat on the ground. By now the Lord's disciples had gathered around him. Somehow they had plucked up a measure of courage. Nonetheless, the Lord intended to prevent a showdown that would have been disastrous for them. He again answered his foes, drawing attention to himself: "I have told you that I am [he]: if therefore ye seek me, let these go their way" (18:8). He had come into the garden to be arrested, but he did not want the disciples arrested. There was a Scripture to be fulfilled, as he had reminded them (17:12). "That the saying [logos] might be fulfilled, which he spake, Of them which thou gavest me have I lost none" (18:9).
John Phillips Commentary Series, The - Exploring the Gospel of John: An Expository Commentary.
John 18:10 (KJV)
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.
John 18:10 (MSG) 10 Just then Simon Peter, who was carrying a sword, pulled it from its sheath and struck the Chief Priest's servant, cutting off his right ear. Malchus was the servant's name.
John 18:10 (NLT2) 10 Then Simon Peter drew a sword and slashed off the right ear of Malchus, the high priest’s slave.
John 18:10 (PassionNTPsa) 10 Suddenly, Peter took out his sword and struck the high priest’s servant, slashing off his right ear! [i] This event is a vivid picture of what happens when we act impetuously and in anger. We hinder people’s ability to hear our message (we cut off their ear) when we walk in angry offense toward others. - The servant’s name was Malchus. [j] Malchus’ name means “king.” Perhaps at the moment of healing his ear, Jesus personally revealed himself to Malchus in a supernatural way, the King who healed a king. Jesus is the true servant to the High Priest. We can imagine Jesus reaching out his hand to help Malchus up. And in an instant, Malchus believes. Malchus’ ears, both of them, are healed.
C. His Defender (18:10-12) 1. Peter's Fervor (18:10) Peter had a sudden flow of adrenalin. His impetuous nature flared up. He was carrying a sword and now made a clumsy attempt to defend the Lord. Slashing around inexpertly with it, he cut off the right ear of a man named Malchus, bondservant of the high priest. All the evangelists tell of the incident, but only John names Peter and Malchus. By the time John wrote, Peter was dead, Malchus had faded into oblivion, Jerusalem was no more. It now made no difference if everyone knew the names of those concerned. It would seem from the use of the definite article (the high priest's servant) by all four gospel writers that Malchus pushed to the fore to arrest the Lord. His prominent action apparently marked him out for Peter's attack. John Phillips Commentary Series, The - Exploring the Gospel of John: An Expository Commentary.
John 18:11 (KJV) 18:10 Simon Peter. He surely aimed for Malchus’ head, ready to start the battle in defense of His Lord, but his was an ignorant love and courage. Christ healed Malchus’ ear (Lk 22:51).
MacArthur, J. F., Jr. (2006). The MacArthur study Bible: New American Standard Bible. (Jn 18:10). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers.
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?
John 18:11 (MSG) 11 Jesus ordered Peter, "Put back your sword. Do you think for a minute I'm not going to drink this cup the Father gave me?"
John 18:11 (NLT2) 11 But Jesus said to Peter, “Put your sword back into its sheath. Shall I not drink from the cup of suffering the Father has given me?”
John 18:11 (PassionNTPsa)
11 Jesus ordered Peter, “Put your sword away! Do you really think I will avoid the suffering [k] Or “Shall I not drink the cup (of suffering) assigned me by the Father?” - which my Father has assigned to me?” Jesus Is Taken before Annas
18:10-11. Peter displayed admirable courage and loyalty but poor aim. He was a fisherman, not a swordsman. John did not record the healing of the ear, a detail reported by Luke. John's only reference to Jesus' final prayer came at the end of verse 11. We read more detail in Matthew 26, Mark 14, and Luke 22. Why did John not include more garden narrative as the other Gospels did? The answer seems to lie in his purpose—to focus on the words of Jesus, thereby showing him as the Son of God rather than detailing history of his life incident by incident. The last phrase of this section is important for us, since the rhetorical question gives the motive for Jesus' behavior on this occasion. The Father has given a cup of suffering and death. The Son, in obedience and subjection, will drink it. Holman New Testament Commentary -
18:11 cup … given Me … not drink it? Peter’s impetuous bravery in v. 10 was not only misguided, but exhibited failure to understand the centrality of the death that Jesus came to die. The “cup” in the OT is associated with suffering and especially judgment, i.e., the cup of God’s wrath (Ps 75:8; Is 51:17, 22; Jer 25:15; Eze 23:31–34; see notes on Mt 26:39; Mk 14:36; Lk 22:42; cf. Rev 14:10; 16:19).
 MacArthur, J. F., Jr. (2006). The MacArthur study Bible: New American Standard Bible. (Jn 18:11). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers.
SUPPORTING IDEA: The second person who dominates this chapter is Peter, who was warmin himself at the fire built by Jesus' enemies. The predicted denial now took shape as this confused and frightened disciple offered the wrong answers for the wrong reasons.
Holman New Testament Commentary - John.
John 18:12 (KJV) 12 Then the band and the captain and officers of the Jews took Jesus, and bound him,
John 18:12 (MSG) 12 Then the Roman soldiers under their commander, joined by the Jewish police, seized Jesus and tied him up.
John 18:12 (NLT2) 12 So the soldiers, their commanding officer, and the Temple guards arrested Jesus and tied him up.
2. Peter's Failure (18:11-12) But Peter's action now put himself and the other disciples in peril. The Lord stepped forward, told Peter to put up his sword, and explained: "The cup which my Father hath given me, shall I not drink it?" (18:11). If Peter had stayed awake in Gethsemane he would have known that (Matthew 26:38-45). Luke tells us that Jesus healed Malchus (Luke 22:50-51), an act that no doubt helped to defuse the situation. Peter's show of force brought the Roman soldiers into action: "Then the band and the captain and officers of the Jews took Jesus, and bound him" (18:12). The heavenly hosts must have drawn their swords at that. But the word for which they waited never came. "As a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so he opened not his mouth" (Isaiah 53:7). John Phillips Commentary Series, The - Exploring the Gospel of John: An Expository Commentary.
II. Jesus Was Arraigned (18:13-19:15) A. Before the Priests (18:13-27) In his account, John ignored the appearance before Herod and concentrated on the two trials. The trial before the Jewish Sanhedrin was illegal. According to the Mishnah: Capital offenses could be tried by a quorum of twenty-three. A case concerning a false prophet, however, had to be brought before the entire Sanhedrin of seventy-one members. The judges were to sit in a semicircle with the president in the middle, so that the faces of each judge might be seen by each of the others. The witnesses were to be strictly separated and examined individually. If the testimony of two agreed, it was taken as valid. When the case involved the death penalty, the witnesses were cautioned as to the consequences of their testimony. They were not allowed to inject their own conjectures or hearsay into the proceedings. In capital cases everything was done to give the accused the benefit or the doubt. Votes for acquittal were to be taken first. Although civil cases could be tried at night, decisions had to be returned during the day. Capital cases could be tried by day only. An acquittal could be pronounced on the day it was reached, but a sentence of condemnation leading to the death sentence could not be given until the next day, allowing time for a change of mind. Capital cases could not be tried on the eve of a sabbath or a feast. In cases of alleged blasphemy the witnesses were rigorously cross-examined to ascertain the exact words used by the accused. If blasphemy was established, the judges stood and rent their clothes. On the way to execution, further efforts were made to establish the prisoner's innocence. Four or five times opportunity was provided for the condemned to bring fresh pleas that might exonerate him. A herald went ahead of the procession proclaiming the name of the prisoner, the name of his father, the nature of his offense, and the names of the witnesses on whose testimony he was condemned. The herald urged anyone who could prove his innocence to step forward. The blasphemer was to be stoned. The witnesses, on whose testimony he had been condemned, were to cast the first stones. After stoning, the blasphemer's corpse was to be hung on a gibbet, taken down that same night, and buried in a common grave. John Phillips Commentary Series, The - Exploring the Gospel of John: An Expository Commentary.
John 18:13 (KJV) 13 And led him away to Annas first; for he was father in law to Caiaphas, which was the high priest that same year.
John 18:13 (MSG) 13 They took him first to Annas, father-in-law of Caiaphas. Caiaphas was the Chief Priest that year.
John 18:13 (NLT2) 13 First they took him to Annas, the father-in-law of Caiaphas, the high priest at that time.
John 18:13 (PassionNTPsa) 13 They took him first to Annas, [l] John is the only Gospel account that inserts this pre-trial meeting with Annas. He was the retired and illegal high priest. - as he was the father-in-law of Caiaphas, the high priest that year. [m] Or “close friend to the high priest.” The priesthood was corrupt in the time of Jesus. It was not proper for two men to hold the office of high priest at the same time, as it apparently was done in Jesus’ day. They both were called high priest in this narrative. See John 18:19, 24.
John 18:13 Note
High Priests in the NT
Annas - AD 6–15 Caiaphas AD 18–36
Ananias AD 47–58
Barry, J. D., Mangum, D., Brown, D. R., Heiser, M. S., Custis, M., Ritzema, E., … Bomar, D. (2012, 2016). Faithlife Study Bible (Jn 18:13). Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press.
18:13 Annas first. Annas held the High-Priesthood office from a.d. 6–15 when Valerius Gratus, Pilate’s predecessor, removed him from office. In spite of this, Annas continued to wield influence over the office, most likely because he was still regarded as the true High-Priest and also because no fewer than 5 of his sons, and his son-in-law Caiaphas, held the office at one time or another. Two trials occurred: one Jewish and one Roman. The Jewish phase began with the informal examination by Annas (vv. 12–14, 19–23), probably giving time for the members of the Sanhedrin to hurriedly gather together. A session before the Sanhedrin was next (Mt 26:57–68) at which consensus was reached to send Jesus to Pilate (Mt 27:1, 2). The Roman phase began with a first examination before Pilate (vv. 28–38a; Mt 27:11–14) and then Herod Antipas (“that fox”—Lk 13:32) interrogated Him (Lk 23:6–12). Lastly, Jesus appeared again before Pilate (vv. 38b–19:16; Mt 27:15–31)
 MacArthur, J. F., Jr. (2006). The MacArthur study Bible: New American Standard Bible. (Jn 18:13). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers.
John 18:14 (KJV) 14 Now Caiaphas was he, which gave counsel to the Jews, that it was expedient that one man should die for the people.
John 18:14 (MSG) 14 It was Caiaphas who had advised the Jews that it was to their advantage that one man die for the people.
John 18:14 (NLT2) 14 Caiaphas was the one who had told the other Jewish leaders, “It’s better that one man should die for the people.”
John 18:14 (PassionNTPsa) 14 Caiaphas was the one who had persuaded the Jewish leaders that it would be better off to have one person die for the sake of the people .[n] See John 11:49-51. Peter’s First Denial
John 18:12-14. We will bypass these three verses at this point since John introduces Annas and Caiaphas, focusing on Annas in verses John 18:19-24. But we can stop long enough to note that the garden contingent did not take Jesus to the high priest but to Annas, father-in-law of the high priest. This gave John one more opportunity to remind his readers of Caiaphas' famous prophetic announcement of substitutionary atonement back in John 11:49-50. Holman New Testament Commentary - John.
1. The Tribunal (18:13-14) John first draws attention to the trial before the priests. "And led him away to Annas first; for he was father in law to Caiaphas, which was the high priest that same year. Now Caiaphas was he, which gave counsel to the Jews, that it was expedient that one man should die for the people" (18:13-14). We need to look at these two evil men on whose shoulders rests full responsibility for the farce of the Jewish trial. Together they put such pressure on Pilate that he caved in to their demands. Annas had been appointed to the office of high priest by Quirinius, governor of Syria, in a.d. 6, about the time Judea was incorporated into the Roman empire as a minor province. Annas was deposed in a.d. 15 by Valerius Gratus, prefect of Judea. A skillful manipulator, he then exercised power through members of his family and it was he who really ran the high priesthood as head of the Sadducean party. Five sons, a grandson, and a son-in-law (Caiaphas) held that office. He is said to have been about sixty years old at this time. The Lord was taken to him first because his experience in the law would enable him to formulate a better charge against him. His son-in-law, Joseph Caiaphas, was the current high priest, having been appointed to that office by Valerius Gratus in a.d. 18. Caiaphas was high priest for eighteen years, longer than anyone else in New Testament times. When Gratus was replaced by Pontius Pilate, Caiaphas was allowed to continue in office. It is likely that Caiaphas made it worth his while not to remove him, either through a bribe or by coming to some other understanding. To govern Judea was no easy task for any Roman. Some under-the-table deal with Caiaphas that would work to their mutual benefit would have appealed to Pilate. They were both deposed in a.d. 36 by Lucius Vitellius, governor of Syria. John reminds us that it was Caiaphas who had made the cynical remark about Jesus that it would be better for one man to die for the people than that the whole nation perish (11:51). John restates this to remind his readers that Jesus was about to be tried by those who had already decided on his death. John Phillips Commentary Series, The - Exploring the Gospel of John: An Expository Commentary.
18:13, 14 Caiaphas. See notes on 11:49. The examination under Caiaphas was not reported by John (see Mt 26:57–68).
 MacArthur, J. F., Jr. (2006). The MacArthur study Bible: New American Standard Bible. (Jn 18:13). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers.
John 18:15 (KJV) 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.
John 18:15 (MSG) 15 Simon Peter and another disciple followed Jesus. That other disciple was known to the Chief Priest, and so he went in with Jesus to the Chief Priest's courtyard.
John 18:15 (NLT2) 15 Simon Peter followed Jesus, as did another of the disciples. That other disciple was acquainted with the high priest, so he was allowed to enter the high priest’s courtyard with Jesus.
John 18:15 (PassionNTPsa)
15 Peter and another disciple followed along behind them as they took Jesus into the courtyard of Annas’ palace. Since the other disciple was well known to the high priest, he entered in, [o] Although it is impossible to determine who exactly was this other disciple, some have surmised it was John himself, or Nicodemus. If it was Nicodemus, as a leader among the Pharisees, this would explain his inclusion into the proceedings taking place that night.
18:15 another disciple … that disciple. Traditionally this person has been identified with the “disciple whom Jesus loved” (13:23, 24), i.e., John the apostle who authored this gospel, but he never mentioned his own name (see Introduction: Author and Date).
18:16–18 Peter. Here is the record of the first of Peter’s predicted 3 denials (see note on 18:25–27).
 MacArthur, J. F., Jr. (2006). The MacArthur study Bible: New American Standard Bible. (Jn 18:15–18). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers.
John 18:16 (KJV) 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.
John 18:16 (MSG) 16 Peter had to stay outside. Then the other disciple went out, spoke to the doorkeeper, and got Peter in.
John 18:16 (NLT2) 16 Peter had to stay outside the gate. Then the disciple who knew the high priest spoke to the woman watching at the gate, and she let Peter in.
John 18:16 (PassionNTPsa) 16 but Peter was left standing outside by the gate. Then the other disciple came back out to the servant girl who was guarding the gate and convinced her to allow Peter inside. As he passed inside, the young servant girl guarding the gate took a look at Peter and said to him, “Aren’t you one of his disciples?” He denied it, saying, “No! I’m not!”
John 18:15-16. In John's narrative it becomes necessary to pick up two different segments of text to understand Peter's role on this fateful night. John first showed us how his friend was at the wrong place at the wrong time. The military and religious intruders had dismissed the eleven disciples, as Jesus asked. But Peter and another disciple followed their Lord and his captors. Almost every reputable scholar agrees this second disciple was John himself. His family had ties to the priesthood through Salome and Elizabeth. His influence allowed both men into the courtyard. Holman New Testament Commentary - John.
18:16 known to the high priest. Apparently, John was more than just an acquaintance, because the term for “known” can mean a friend (Lk 2:44). The fact that he mentioned Nicodemus (3:1) and Joseph (19:38) may indicate his knowledge of other prominent Jews.
 MacArthur, J. F., Jr. (2006). The MacArthur study Bible: New American Standard Bible. (Jn 18:16). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers.
John 18:17 (KJV) 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.
John 18:17 (MSG) 17 The young woman who was the doorkeeper said to Peter, "Aren't you one of this man's disciples?" He said, "No, I'm not." John 18:18 (KJV) 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.
John 18:18 (MSG) 18 The servants and police had made a fire because of the cold and were huddled there warming themselves. Peter stood with them, trying to get warm.
John 18:18 (NLT2) 18 Because it was cold, the household servants and the guards had made a charcoal fire. They stood around it, warming themselves, and Peter stood with them, warming himself.
John 18:18 (PassionNTPsa) 18 Now because it was cold, the soldiers and guards made a charcoal fire and were standing around it to keep warm. So Peter huddled there with them around the fire. Jesus Interrogated by Annas
John 18:17-18. The girl at the door asked what appears to be a rhetorical question, calling for a simple negative response. Peter took the bait and joined the crowd around the fire (anthrakian), probably made of charcoal. John told the story straight: Peter also was standing with them. Having followed too far behind, he now joined a group of the Lord's enemies. Leon Morris puts it well: "This was the last place where one might expect to find one of Jesus' followers" (Morris, p. 759). Holman New Testament Commentary - John.
2. The Trial (18:15-27) We look first at the disciples (18:15-18). Here, two identification problems have been the subject of frequent discussion. Who is the high priest mentioned in these verses, and who is the disciple whose influence was sufficient to secure Peter's entry into the precincts of the official residence? It would seem that after the initial panic and flight some of the disciples took courage (Matthew 26:56, 58) and came back, notably John and Peter. Trailing the procession now marching Jesus through the night we can see Peter. He finds himself at last outside the high priest's palace, presumably that of Caiaphas, although it is likely that Annas had rooms there too. Coming to the gate, Peter was stopped. "Another disciple," John says, also "followed Jesus" through the darkness (18:15). This other disciple had some sort of influence both with the high priest and with members of his staff. The text says that he "was Known" to the high priest. The word used is gnostos, suggesting more than a nodding acquaintance. Some commentators have decided that it was someone of considerable influence, like Nicodemus or Joseph of Arimathaea, both of whom were members of the Sanhedrin. On the other hand, we should not be too quick to dismiss John. Textual scholar B. F. Westcott remarks, "The reader cannot fail to identify the disciple with St. John." Although we do not know what connections John's family had in Jerusalem, certainly he writes almost as an eyewitness of what follows. But whoever the other disciple was, he was able to enter unchallenged and, perhaps, seeing Peter standing forlornly at the gate, he went back out, had a word with the servant girl in charge of the gate, and secured Peter's admission. John tells us about Peter's false profession (18:17): "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." The way the question was put to him, in the negative, expressed surprise that he would show up there. There was also a note of contempt: "You are not one of this fellow's disciples, are you?" Feeling suddenly vulnerable, Peter caved in at once. "I am not," he said. We are now shown Peter's false position (18:18): "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." "Peter stood with them." We have met those words before. Right after telling us how Jesus boldly proclaimed himself as the I AM to the arresting officers and their men, John says, "And Judas... stood with them" (18:5). Now we read: "Peter stood with them." It was a dishonorable position for a disciple. It is always dangerous for the Lord's people to put themselves in compromising positions, always dangerous to stand and warm one's hands at the world's fire. Mention of that charcoal fire suggests that here we have the story of an eyewitness to the sad incident. Who more likely than John? That charcoal fire was only incidental but it evidently made an impression on someone. The Roman soldiers seem to have gone back to their barracks. Peter was surrounded by the most hostile people of all: the servants and officers of the high priest. There Jesus leaves him for a while, warming his hands, in dire spiritual peril, protected by the words of the Lord he had already denied: "I have prayed for thee." John Phillips Commentary Series, The - Exploring the Gospel of John: An Expository Commentary.
John 18:19 (KJV) 19 The high priest then asked Jesus of his disciples, and of his doctrine.
John 18:19 (MSG) 19 Annas interrogated Jesus regarding his disciples and his teaching.
John 18:19 (NLT2) 19 Inside, the high priest began asking Jesus about his followers and what he had been teaching them.
John 18:19 (PassionNTPsa) 19 The high priest interrogated Jesus concerning his disciples [p] It is interesting that Annas was concerned about Jesus’ disciples. The religious spirit is always concerned with impressive numbers and influence. Jesus only had twelve disciples who were always with him. - and his teachings.
C. Annas: Questions in an Apartment (18:19-24) SUPPORTING IDEA: No longer high priest himself, this powerful man still controlled Jerusalem politics through his son-in-law, Caiaphas. Any Jew of that day knew about the bazaars of Annas where sacrifices were sold for twenty times the honest price.
In verses 19-24, Jesus asked two key questions while being questioned himself. Although John does not mention blasphemy in this paragraph, Annas tried to establish subversion and revolution on the part of Jesus. But Jesus emphasized the openness of his ministry and asked, Why question me? There was a good bit of switching from house to house as Annas sent Jesus to Caiaphas and Caiaphas then sent him to Pilate. Interpreters find a bit of a curiosity regarding the number of bindings, although that is not the central point of the passage from John's viewpoint. Godet tries to clear it up: "Jesus had undoubtedly been unbound during the examination; after this scene, Annas causes him to be bound again, in order to send him to the house of Caiaphas. Probably he was unbound a second time during the session of the Sanhedrin. This explains why in Matthew xxxvii. 2 and Mark xv. 1, he is bound anew at the time of leading him away to Pilate" (Godet, p. 362). Holman New Testament Commentary - John.
18:19 At the core of their concern was Jesus’ claim that He was the Son of God (19:7). In a formal Jewish hearing, to question the defendant may have been illegal because a case had to rest on the weight of the testimony of witnesses (see note on 1:7). If this was an informal interrogation before the High-Priest emeritus and not before the Sanhedrin, Annas may have thought that he was not bound by such rules. Jesus, however, knew the law and demanded that witnesses be called (vv. 20, 21). An official knew Jesus was rebuking Annas and retaliated (v. 22).
 MacArthur, J. F., Jr. (2006). The MacArthur study Bible: New American Standard Bible. (Jn 18:19). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers.
John 18:20 (KJV) 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.
John 18:20 (MSG) 20 Jesus answered, "I've spoken openly in public. I've taught regularly in meeting places and the Temple, where the Jews all come together. Everything has been out in the open. I've said nothing in secret.
John 18:20 (NLT2) 20 Jesus replied, “Everyone knows what I teach. I have preached regularly in the synagogues and the Temple, where the people gather. I have not spoken in secret.
John 18:20 (PassionNTPsa) 20 Jesus answered Annas’ questions by saying, “I have said nothing in secret. At all times I have taught openly and publicly in a synagogue, in the temple courts, and wherever the people assemble.
21 Why would you ask me for evidence to condemn me? Ask those who have heard what I’ve taught. They can tell you.”
John 18:19-21. While Peter stood by the fire, Jesus was taken to Annas, the godfather and power behind the high priestly throne. His residence was close to the wall on the south side of Jerusalem. He had served as high priest from A.D. 6 to 15, and then in predominant nepotism watched four sons and a son-in-law (Caiaphas) hold the office. John remembered one good point about Caiaphas: he predicted the substitutionary atonement of Jesus (11:49-50). Holman New Testament Commentary - John.
22 Just then one of the guards standing near Jesus punched him in the face with his fist [q] The Greek is simply “struck him.” This could have been with a rod, for the verb has an etymological connection to the word for “rod.” Most translators have chosen to use, “struck [or “slapped”] with his hand.” Regardless, Jesus was beaten everywhere he went that night and the next morning until he was finally crucified. - and said, “How dare you answer the high priest like that!”
23 Jesus replied, “If my words are evil, then prove it. But if I haven’t broken any laws, then why would you hit me?
18:23 In essence, Jesus was asking for a fair trial, while His opponents, who had already decided on the sentence (see 11:47–57), had no intention of providing one.
24 Then Annas sent Jesus, still tied up, across the way to the high priest Caiaphas. Peter’s Second and Third Denials
John 18:22-24. What a lesson these verses contain. Christianity is not a secret sect or a covert cult. Jewish law prohibited self-incrimination (a precursor to the Fifth Amendment). If Annas wanted to find out what Jesus had been teaching, hundreds of people could verify his message. For his defense, Jesus received a blow on the face. Whether this was ordered by Annas or not we do not know. The Lord called for the appropriate application of Jewish law (calling defense witnesses first), and asked the second question, Why did you strike me? John carried the narrative no further at this point, but showed us that Annas sent Jesus to his son-in-law Caiaphas, who would have occupied another office in the same building. Holman New Testament Commentary - John.
Now comes the defense (18:19-24). The question was asked (18:19): "The high priest then asked Jesus of his disciples, and of his doctrine." Opinions are divided as to whether the question was asked by Annas or by Caiaphas. If we connect it with verse 24, it was Annas. Probably this was a private, unofficial interrogation during which Caiaphas was present but Annas took the lead. Annas was looking for something on which to build a case. The entire proceeding was illegal. The first part of the question had to do with the Lord's disciples. What did the high priest want to know about them? How many were there? What kind of threat did they pose? The Lord ignored the question, determined to shield them. They were no threat to the establishment. They were, for the most part, totally disorganized and demoralized. One of them would repeatedly deny him right outside in the courtyard. The high priest already had Judas in his pocket. There was no conspiracy. As for Jesus' doctrine, there was no secret about that. He said (using emphatic pronouns): "I spake openly to the world; I even taught in the synagogue and in the temple, whither the Jews always resort; and in secret have I said nothing. Why askest thou me? ask them which heard me, what I have said unto them: behold, they know what I said." Thus the question was answered (18:20-24), and the rebuttal (18:20-21) was bold and to the point. The Lord's teaching had been open. During the past week he had been teaching in the temple. His teaching in the synagogues throughout the country was well known. The openness of his teaching contrasted with the secretive plots of Annas, Caiaphas, and the rest of them. As for the Lord's private instruction to his disciples in the upper room, there was no need to tell the authorities about that. What he had said there was not subversive, it had violated no law, and, even if he had repeated it to the priests, they would neither have understood it nor had the patience to listen to it. The reaction (18:22) was swift: "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?" The man who did that was a Jew, one of the temple police. He did not know it, but he had smitten his maker. If he never afterward repented, one day, at the great white throne, he will stand, before this very one, vainly trying to hide that deed. Or if after the resurrection and Pentecost, he finally found his way in repentance to Jesus, then one day Jesus will welcome him home. But for as long as he lived, he would carry with him a hand that had once been violently laid across the cheek of God incarnate. John Phillips Commentary Series, The - Exploring the Gospel of John: An Expository Commentary.
John records the response (John 18:23-24): "Jesus answered him, If I have spoken evil, bear witness of the evil: but if well, why smitest thou me? Now Annas had sent him bound unto Caiaphas the high priest." Jesus turned to the man who had so abused him, challenging him to bring charges in a legal manner and thus bear proper witness against him, rather than resort to brute force. The word for "smitest" is dero, which occurs fifteen times, and elsewhere is always rendered "beat." It says something too about the high priest, that he did not rebuke the officer. The blow ended this part of the proceeding. This private interrogation at which Caiaphas was present yielded nothing, so Annas had Jesus rebound and went through the formality of transferring the proceeding officially to Caiaphas, the legal high priest. John does not describe the trial before Caiaphas. Instead he takes us back to Peter, still in the courtyard and in the company of a hostile group of people. We have now the denial (18:25-27). We again note where Peter stood (18:25a): "And Simon Peter stood and warmed himself." He should have remembered the first psalm in the Hebrew hymn book: "Blessed is the man that... standeth [not] in the way of sinners." He should have remembered Psalm 2 as he thought of his Lord in there, surrounded by his foes: "The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the Lord, and against his anointed" (Psalm 2:2). Then he should have either stood up boldly for his Lord, or excused himself and gone home. But few of us have not badly compromised our testimonies at some time or another, as Peter did, and for similar reasons. The world's fire seemed to offer Peter some comfort, but he was about to be badly burned. John Phillips Commentary Series, The - Exploring the Gospel of John: An Expository Commentary.
18:24 Annas recognized that he was not getting anywhere with Jesus and sent Him to Caiaphas because, if Jesus was to be brought before Pilate for execution, the legal accusation must be brought by the current reigning High-Priest (i.e., Caiaphas) in his capacity as chairman of the Sanhedrin (see also note on v. 13). MacArthur Study Bible NASB
25 Meanwhile, Peter was still standing in the courtyard by the fire. And one of the guards standing there said to him, “Aren’t you one of his disciples? I know you are!” Peter swore [r] As translated from the Aramaic. This is a very strong word that can also be translated “blasphemed.” God’s loving grace forgave Peter’s sin—and our sin. - and said, “I am not his disciple!”
We note what Peter said (18:25b): "They said therefore unto him, Art not thou also one of his disciples? He denied it, and said, I am not." These members of the household staff and some of the temple police echoed the words of the woman doorkeeper. By now, Peter was thoroughly intimidated. Again he flatly denied being one of the Lord's disciples. John Phillips Commentary Series, The - Exploring the Gospel of John: An Expository Commentary.
26 But one of the servants of the high priest, a relative to the man whose ear Peter had cut off, looked at him and said, “Wait! Didn’t I see you out there in the garden with Jesus?”
We note whom Peter saw (John 18:26): "One of the servants of the high priest, being his kinsman whose ear Peter cut off [a kinsman of the man whose ear Peter had cut off], saith, Did not I see thee in the garden with him?" Peter now saw a man looking at him with particular attention, and John adds a detail that shows specific knowledge of the household staff. The man was a relative of Malchus, the man whose ear Peter had cut off a short while before. He had been putting two and two together, and now the light dawned. "I know you," he thought. "You're the man who had the sword. You cut off the ear of my kinsman Malchus." He made his thrust: "Didn't I see you in the garden?" he demanded. "You were with him, weren't you?" John Phillips Commentary Series, The - Exploring the Gospel of John: An Expository Commentary.
27 Then Peter denied it the third time and said, “No!”—and at that very same moment, a rooster crowed nearby.
John 18:25-27. Once again we do a bit of juggling in the text to get the Peter segment all together. Notice how the first two questions were rhetorical, "Surely you are not another of his disciples?" And the third got more personal, Didn't I see you with him in the olive grove? We have already seen this in verse 17, but here it is again. Warming himself at an alien fire, Peter heard the same kind of question and he gave the exact same answer. But the heat increased (someone has said that Peter's ministry career could be summarized in three stages—at the fire, under fire, and on fire). This time a relative of the servant whom Peter had wounded got too specific for comfort: Didn't I see you with him in the olive grove? For the third time Peter denied Christ, and the prophetic rooster began to crow (13:38). One legend that grew up around this event indicates that wherever Peter went for years after this night, people would make the sound of a rooster to harass and humiliate him. Theologians and interpreters argue for endless pages about how many rooster crowings the Bible records. The prediction is quoted in all four Gospels (Matt. 26:34,75; Mark 14:30,72; Luke 22:34,61; John 13:38). From the available information, some have suggested three denials before one crowing of the rooster, but a variety of other numbers have been put forth as well. We should not get caught up in that kind of banter, since the gist of the incident indicates a threefold betrayal before a rooster began to crow. No serious scholar believes that God miraculously manipulated this rooster to crow at this particular time. This is a general time notation for early morning, similar to our common observation, "getting up with the chickens." Before the night was over, before the roosters began their morning announcements, Peter denied Jesus three times. Holman New Testament Commentary - John.
Pilate Questions Jesus’ Arrest
D. Pilate: Confrontation in a Palace (18:28-40) SUPPORTING IDEA: Pilate entered the saga ready to play the role that has kept his name notorious for almost two thousand years. This weak man learned that he confronted a king and that he had an opportunity to defend truth rather than protect the fragile political peace of Israel. But he failed, caving in to the screaming crowds stirred up by agents of the high priest Holman New Testament Commentary - John.
That was when Peter sinned (John 18:27): "Peter then denied again: and immediately the cock crew." It was the knell of doom. The familiar sound of a rooster crowing smote Peter's soul with grief and despair. John Phillips Commentary Series, The - Exploring the Gospel of John: An Expository Commentary.
18:25–27 Simon Peter. Here was the final fulfillment of Jesus’ prediction that Peter would deny Him 3 times (cf. Mt 26:34).
MacArthur Study Bible NASB
28 Before dawn they took Jesus from his trial before Caiaphas to the Roman governor’s palace. [s] The Greek is Praetorium, which is the transliteration of the Latin word meaning “general’s tent.” It became used for the Roman governor’s official residence. - Now the Jews refused to go into the Roman governor’s residence to avoid ceremonial defilement before eating the Passover meal.
B. Before the Procurator (18:28-19:15) John devotes a comparatively large amount of space to the Lord's trial before Pilate, Roman procurator of Judea. We can divide this important section into four parts. 1. The Accusation (18:28-32) In detailing the accusation, John tells us first of the scruples of the priests (18:28). We note their spiritual bondage (18:28a): "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." John omits the formal trial before the Sanhedrin recorded in Matthew (26:58-27:2) and parallel passages. The place chosen for this gentile trial is called "the judgment hall," the praetorium. Normally the Roman governor of Judea held court at the Roman city of Caesarea, where the palace that Herod the Great had built for himself was used as the headquarters. When the pressure of events brought the governor to Jerusalem, wherever he took up residence became his temporary praetorium. At this time it seems to have been the fortress of Antonia, located on the northwest end of the temple area. It had been rebuilt by Herod the Great on the site of an earlier Hasmonean fortress and was named for Herod's friend Mark Antony. Having already condemned Jesus to death, the Jewish authorities now led him to Pilate so that the Roman governor might examine him and ratify their sentence. It was Passover time. The Jews had their sacrificial lambs ready. They had rid their houses of leaven. They had performed the rituals so that they were ceremonially clean. They would be required to kill their Passover lambs that very afternoon and keep the feast immediately after sunset. They had no intention of risking ceremonial defilement by entering a gentile place of residence where there would be leaven. Further, a praetorium would be under the protection of Roman tutelary gods and, although it is unlikely that Pilate would risk displaying them openly in Jerusalem, the priests were not taking any chances. They had no intention of contracting ritual defilement. Their religion demanded its ritual dues and the priests were scrupulous to observe these, even while plotting cold blooded murder. We can sense John's touch of sarcasm in the way he records these things. He mentions not only their bondage to the forms and ceremonies of a dead religion but also their spiritual blindness (18:28b). They were scrupulous about the rituals, "that they might eat the passover," he says. Little did they know that Christ was the true Passover lamb, and that they were about to kill him in that capacity. John Phillips Commentary Series, The - Exploring the Gospel of John: An Expository Commentary.
18:28–19:16 This section deals with Jesus’ trial before Pilate. Although Pilate appears in every scene here, Jesus Himself and the nature of His kingdom occupy center stage.
Macarthur Study Bible NASB
29 So Pilate came outside where they waited and asked them pointedly, “Tell me, what exactly is the accusation [t] The Aramaic word for “accusation” is similar to the word devil (“accuser”). Pilate is saying, “What the devil do you have against this man?” - that you bring against this man? What has he done?”
30 They answered, “We wouldn’t be coming here to hand over [u] The Aramaic word for “hand over” can also be translated “betray.” - this ‘criminal’ to you if he wasn’t guilty of some wrongdoing!”
John now tells us about the sarcasm of the priests (John 18:29-30). "Pilate then went out unto them." The governor had learned by bitter experience how fiercely the Jews opposed any semblance of violation of their religious scruples. So, in order to accommodate their taboos, he went out to where they were. Pilate was not about to squabble with them over that, at least not on this occasion. Throughout John's account of this Roman trial we see Pilate going in and out repeatedly. We see him: John Phillips Commentary Series, The - Exploring the Gospel of John: An Expository Commentary.
31 Pilate said, “Very well, then you take him yourselves and go pass judgment on him according to your Jewish laws!” But the Jewish leaders complained and said, “We don’t have legal authority to put anyone to death. You should have him crucified!” [v] Implied in the context and made explicit to clarify the illegality of the Jews to crucify Jesus. The Jewish law permitted death by stoning, not by crucifixion. The Scriptures had prophesied that he would be pierced and crucified. This was the cruel manner of death used by the Romans to execute the worst of criminals. For this reason they wanted Pilate to order his crucifixion. See John 12:32-34.
32 (This was to fulfill the words of Jesus when he predicted the manner of death that he would die.) Pilate Interrogates Jesus
Outside (John 18:28-32) to hear the Jews demand the ratification of their death sentence John Phillips Commentary Series, The - Exploring the Gospel of John: An Expository Commentary.
33 Upon hearing this, Pilate went back inside his palace and summoned Jesus. Looking him over, Pilate asked him, “Are you really the king of the Jews?”
34 Jesus replied, “Are you asking because you really want to know, [w] The Aramaic is “Have you spoken this from your soul?” - or are you only asking this because others have said it about me?”
35 Pilate responded, “Only a Jew would care about this; do I look like a Jew? It’s your own people and your religious leaders that have handed you over to me. So tell me, Jesus, what have you done wrong?”
36 Jesus looked at Pilate and said, “The royal power of my kingdom realm doesn’t come from this world. If it did, then my followers would be fighting to the end to defend me from the Jewish leaders. My kingdom realm authority is not [x] The Aramaic is “not yet from here.” - from this realm.” [y] The Greek text is not “world,” but literally “this side,” or “this realm.” The Aramaic word used here can be translated “not of this age.”
37 Then Pilate responded, “Oh, so then you are a king?”“You are right.” Jesus said, “I was born a King, and I have come into this world to prove what truth really is. And everyone who loves the truth [z] Or “everyone who is not deaf to the truth.” The Aramaic is “everyone who came from the truth.” - will receive my words.”
18:33-37. The incredulous Pilate could not imagine this broken and beaten man before him was the king of the Jews. But Jesus would not give him the satisfaction of claiming or disclaiming such an office. All this turned Pilate's disdain for the Jews up another notch in verse 35. He characterized this entire trial as petty religious bickering among these Jews whom he was authorized to control. Verses 36-37 offer poignant truth from the lips of the Lord. All earthly kingdoms find their source with sinful humanity, but Jesus' kingdom is not of this world. It needs no human defense. Jesus was not referring to the ultimate millennial kingdom; his spiritual kingdom of truth represents the lordship of the King over the lives of his people. Who forms this kingdom? Everyone on the side of truth listens to me, said Jesus. Once again Jesus set truth as the dividing standard for right and wrong. But if truth was all he cared about, he posed no threat to Rome. Pilate would have to weasel out of this situation in some other way. Holman New Testament Commentary - John.
38 Pilate looked at Jesus and said, “What is truth?” [aa] The Aramaic could be translated “Who is truth?” or, “Who is the true prince?” This skepticism is still voiced today in postmodernism. - As silence filled the room, Pilate went back out to where the Jewish leaders were waiting and said to them, “He’s not guilty. I couldn’t even find one fault with him. [ab] As translated from the Aramaic.
Inside (John 18:33-38a) to hear Christ's own testimony to his kingship John Phillips Commentary Series, The - Exploring the Gospel of John: An Expository Commentary.
39 Now, you do know that we have a custom that I release one prisoner every year at Passover—shall I release your king—the king of the Jews?” [ac] Pilate was not a saint. He was considered to be a corrupt and violent leader who would execute people without a trial. (Philo, De Legatione ad Caium, ed. Mangey, ii.590). He stole money from the temple treasury and brought pagan statues into Jerusalem, which caused riots and death to many. It was reported by the church father, Eusebius, (History Eccl. ii 7) that he was later banished to Vienna in Gaul, where he committed suicide.
40 They shouted out over and over, “No, not him! Give us Barabbas!” [ad] Barabbas is an Aramaic name that means “son of the father.” He becomes a picture of every son of Adam, our father. Some believe this is a figure of speech, a nickname for one who has no known father, an illegitimate son. Both in Greek and Aramaic the word for “thief” or “robber” can also mean one who leads an insurrection. - - (Now Barabbas was a robber and a troublemaker.)
John 18:38-40. In effect, Pilate declared Jesus innocent: I find no basis for a charge against him. Nevertheless, to appease the Jews, he let them select a prisoner of choice for release at the Passover. He seemed to be saying, "Let's be done with all this foolishness. You don't seem to care much for this king of the Jews fellow, but you certainly don't want Barabbas back out on the streets, so let's make that choice and get on with life." But one should never underestimate the popularity of a folk hero, even a guerrilla who had participated in a rebellion against Rome. Pilate got caught in his own trap. In this chapter we see intelligent and religious people warped by hate, much like the Nazis and neo-Nazis perverted the minds of their followers. We also see a fascinating play on the name Bar-Abbas, which means "son of the father." One son of a father was released, and the other, Son of the Father, went to death row. As we look at these four characters, we may ask ourselves where we find a personal likeness. Do we see ourselves in Malchus, an innocent bystander watching the proceedings? Like Peter, who denied the Savior and warmed himself at the enemies' fire? Like Annas, who illegally put Jesus on trial? Or like Pilate, confused and wanting to be rid of religious hassles as quickly as possible? One thing is clear from these four witnesses and their four decisions: there is no place to hide when it comes to Jesus. We either decide for him or against him.
Outside (John 18:38b-40) to make his first declaration of Christ's innocence and to offer them the choice between Jesus and Barabbas John Phillips Commentary Series, The - Exploring the Gospel of John: An Expository Commentary.
18:28–19:16 This section deals with Jesus’ trial before Pilate. Although Pilate appears in every scene here, Jesus Himself and the nature of His kingdom occupy center stage.
18:28 Praetorium. The headquarters of the commanding officer of the Roman military camp or the headquarters of the Roman military governor (i.e., Pilate). Pilate’s normal headquarters was in Caesarea, in the palace that Herod the Great had built for himself. However, Pilate and his predecessors made it a point to be in Jerusalem during the feasts in order to quell any riots. Jerusalem became his praetorium or headquarters. early. The word is ambiguous. Most likely, it refers to around 6:00 a.m. since many Roman officials began their day very early and finished by 10:00 or 11:00 a.m. not be defiled. Jewish oral law gives evidence that a Jew who entered the dwelling places of Gentiles became ceremonially unclean. Their remaining outside in the colonnade avoided that pollution. John loads this statement with great irony by noting the chief priests’ scrupulousness in the matter of ceremonial cleansing, when all the time they were incurring incomparably greater moral defilement by their proceedings against Jesus.
 MacArthur, J. F., Jr. (2006). The MacArthur study Bible: New American Standard Bible. (Jn 18:28–19:16). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers. MAIN IDEA REVIEW: East of the city of Jerusalem one can see the Mount of Olives on which were located many elaborate gardens. To this place, at this time, Jesus took his disciples for the betrayal and arrest that would lead to the cross. Holman New Testament Commentary - John.
III. Conclusion The Son of the Father One day a poor Scottish farmer by the name of Fleming was working in his bog trying to make a living for his family when he heard a cry for help from a nearby bog. He dropped his tools and ran to find a terrified boy, mired to the waist in black muck. Farmer Fleming saved the lad from what would have been a slow and terrifying death. The next day a fancy carriage pulled up to the Scotsman's farm. Out stepped an elegantly dressed nobleman who introduced himself as the father of the boy whom Fleming had saved. "I want to repay you," said the nobleman. "You saved my son's life." Fleming waved off the offer and declined payment. At that time his own son came to the door and was noticed immediately by the nobleman. "Is that your son?" he asked. Fleming affirmed that he was. The nobleman said, "I'll make you a deal. Let me take him and get him a good education. If the lad is anything like his father, he'll grow to be a man you can be proud of." And that is just what happened. Farmer Fleming's son graduated from Saint Mary's Hospital Medical School in London and went on to become known throughout the world as the celebrated Sir Alexander Fleming, the discoverer of penicillin. Years later, the nobleman's same son was stricken with pneumonia. To save his life, doctors treated him with penicillin. That nobleman was Lord Randolph Churchill, and his son who had been saved from the bog by Farmer Fleming was Sir Winston Churchill. Throughout this Gospel Jesus emphasized his relationship with the Father, and we see him making his way to the cross—the first step in glorification. It must have been apparent to his disciples that he was mired in the bog, unsavable and without a chance of fulfilling the messianic dreams they had treasured for three and one-half years. But in spite of betrayal, denial, and an illegal trial, the Son of the Father will arise victorious. PRINCIPLES Jesus was in control of all events related to his death and resurrection. Jesus does not need us to defend him in any way. Christians should never expect a completely fair trial in the courts of this world. APPLICATIONS Never be caught warming yourself at the fire of Jesus' enemies. Show that you are committed to truth by obeying Jesus' words. Remember that all the events surrounding the death of Christ were prophesied in the Old Testament. IV. Life Application "Dr. Williams Is Upstairs" A doctor who had devoted his life to helping the underprivileged lived over a liquor store in the poor section of a large city. In front of the store was a small sign reading "DR. WILLIAMS IS UPSTAIRS." Patients knew the place by the big neon sign, and they were directed to the location by the small sign at the bottom of the stairway. When the doctor died, he had no relatives and left no money for his burial. He had never asked payment from his patients, so friends scraped together enough money to bury him. But they had insufficient funds for a tombstone. For a time it appeared that his grave would be unmarked, and then someone came up with a great idea. They took the old sign from the front of the liquor store and nailed it to a post over his grave. There it remained as an appropriate epitaph: "DR. WILLIAMS IS UPSTAIRS." In this chapter Jesus was rapidly moving "upstairs." In spite of the confusion of the disciples and the interference of people like Annas, Caiaphas, and Pilate, the plan of the Father unfolded in his perfect timing. Jesus heads for the cross, the empty tomb, and the ascension. In this chapter four people had opportunity to respond to the Lord correctly—five if we count Caiaphas. Yet there is no record that any but Peter changed from a negative lifestyle to a positive commitment to the Son of God. Everyone who reads this record stands in the same position as these witnesses. We have the opportunity to see Jesus through John's words. He calls us to respond to what he has written—to believe and obey. V. Prayer Father, thank you for bringing your Son through the agonies of these final days to the place of glory and honor in heaven where we will see him some day. Amen. VI. Deeper Discoveries A. I Am (18:5) Throughout our study we have drawn attention to this reappearing phrase ego eimi used numerous times throughout the Gospel. Here it has a surprising effect on this interesting and varied group of people who came to capture Jesus in the garden. We lose something of the impact when we read "I am he," though John clearly intended us to sense the impact of that statement when he told us that upon hearing it they "drew back and fell to the ground." As Bruce puts it, "In an appropriate setting ego eimi is more than that; it is a word of power, the equivalent of the God of Israel's self-identifying affirmation 'I Am He.' On the lips of Jesus it has already had something approaching this force in the Gospel of John (cf. 8:24,28); and that it has this force here is plain from the retreat and prostration of those addressed" (Bruce, p. 341). This expression is used only eleven times in the New Testament, and nine of them appear in this Gospel. We saw it in 4:26 when Jesus identified himself to the woman at the well in Samaria. And in 13:19 as well as other places. Most evangelical scholars agree that Jesus intended to identify himself with Jehovah of the Old Testament and therefore to firmly establish his deity. I have repeatedly emphasized that Jesus controlled every event throughout this dramatic chapter. His response in the garden is a good example of this. Hughes notes, "Jesus' answer was one of his last uses of the power by which he calmed the seas, stilled the winds, and healed the sick. The cohort didn't arrest Jesus—he arrested them. His words were a gracious warning that they were in over their heads. Christ was not caught on the wheel of history. Rather, he is the axis of history" (Hughes, pp. 129-30). B. Pontius Pilate (18:29) There is an old story about a group of Sunday school children who were asked to draw pictures of the Christmas story. Some drew the shepherds, others drew angels, and many drew the traditional manger scene. But one boy drew a picture of an airplane in which the teacher could make out four people. When asked about the drawing, the boy indicated it was a picture of the "flight to Egypt" with Joseph, Mary, and Jesus. "But," the teacher asked, "who is the fourth person in the airplane?" To which the boy responded, "That's Pontius—the pilot." Actually, we do not know a great deal more about Pilate than that boy. But Pilate was such a prominent figure in first-century Israel that John introduced him by referring to "the palace of the Roman governor" (v. 28). During this time Galilee was still under the control of Herod Antipas, the murderer of John the Baptist, but Archelaus, the former tetrarch of Judea had been deposed and even banished. Affairs in Jerusalem were administered as part of the Roman province of Syria, controlled by procurators with headquarters in Caesarea. Pilate was the sixth of such governors and stayed in office for about ten years. Many interpreters believe that the occasion of chapters 18 and 19 occurred during a visit by Pilate from Caesarea to Jerusalem for the Passover feast. One could hardly say that Pilate was famous, since infamous would be a better word. John need not worry that his readers would not remember the cruelty of this man. Edersheim tells us that earlier governors had been guilty of "grievous fiscal oppressions," but in general they respected the religious surroundings of Jerusalem. As Edersheim puts it: The exactions, and the reckless disregard of all Jewish feelings and interests, might have been characterised as reaching the extreme limit, if worse had not followed when Pontius Pilate succeeded the procuratorship. Venality, violence, robbery, persecutions, wanton malicious insults, judicial murders without even the formality of a legal process, and cruelty—such are the charges brought against his administration. If former governors had, to some extent, respected the religious scruples of the Jews, Pilate set them purposely at defiance; and this not only once, but again and again, in Jerusalem, in Galilee, and even in Samaria, until the Emperor himself interposed (Edersheim, I, p. 262). VII. Teaching Outline A. INTRODUCTION 1. Lead Story: Facing Death at Columbine 2. Context: Jesus was now in an olive grove on the east side of the Kidron Valley, having crossed the brook after the Lord's prayer in John 17. This is generally thought of as the Garden of Gethsemane, although that name is not actually mentioned in this chapter. 3. Transition: John hits us with a staccato delivery of the betrayal, arrest, denial, and trial in this chapter and without break will continue with the trial before Pilate into chapter 19. B. COMMENTARY 1. Malchus: Impressions in a Garden (18:1-11) a. Availability of the fugitive (18:1-3) b. Reaction of the guards (18:4-9) c. Healing of the ear (18:10-11) 2. Peter: Denial by a Fire (18:12-18,25-27) a. The wrong place at the wrong time (18:12-16,18) b. The wrong answer for the wrong reasons (18,25-27) 3. Annas: Questions in an Apartment (18:19-24) a. "Why question me?" (18:19-21) b. "Why did you strike me?" (18:22-24) 4. Pilate: Confrontation in a Palace (18:28-40) a. The charges (18:28-32) b. The claim (18:33-37) c. The choice (18:38-40) C. CONCLUSION: "DR. WILLIAMS IS UPSTAIRS" VIII. Issues for Discussion 1. Can you think of any way that Christians today could deny Jesus? 2. Why would the Father allow Jesus to go through so much humiliation and pain even before the cross? 3. What are the implications in our world of Jesus' words, "Everyone on the side of truth listens to me"? Holman New Testament Commentary - John.