The Hour Has Come: The Arrest and Priest's Trial of Jesus

From the Garden to Glory  •  Sermon  •  Submitted   •  Presented   •  29:38
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Discipling Turns to Drama

Beginning in John 13, we know that Jesus knew he was leaving his earthly ministry, and would no longer have opportunity to pour his teaching into his disciples.
John 13:1 “1a Before the Passover Festival, Jesus knew that his hour had come to depart from this world to the Father.
Did you hear? Jesus knew his hour had come, and not only did he know his hour had come to depart, Jesus also knew where he was going: Depart from this world to the Father.
And there is one more thing: John, in recalling this time, reflected on the love of Jesus to his friends, and how he was also sure of that love: Jn 13:1b: Having loved his own who were in the world, he loved them to the end.”
So Jesus, always loving, always serviing, never quits loving those who follow him.
In chapter 13, Jesus modelled his love and service to his disciples. We also read there that Jesus already knew who would betray him, and sent Judas away to complete his plot. He closed that time with the new command to love one another.
Peter asked where Jesus would be going, and proclaimed his loyalty and Jesus told Peter he wouldn’t keep that promise; in fact, before it was morning, Peter would deny he know Jesus.
In chapter 14, Jesus comforted the disciples about the grief of his leaving, promised the Holy Spirit and promised his answer to prayers in his name.
Then in chapter 15, Jesus taught about our need to live our lives in Him, and the importance of following his commands. That is what would produce fruit for his kingdom, and sustain them when persecutions would come to them.
And that same Holy Spirit would counsel them in truth.
In chapter 16 Jesus warned them about the trials and trouble they would face, then tells them that the Spirit would keep them in the Truth, for it all comes from the Father through Jesus.
After encouraging them once again to ask the Father what they need in prayer in order to fulfil the mission.
Jesus told them that even though they would leave him, still the Father will be with him, which Jesus knew he would need.
And, as we taught last Sunday, in Chapter 17, Jesus prayed for himself, his disciples, and even for us.
He began that prayer with this: Jn 17:1 “ Jesus spoke these things, looked up to heaven, and said, “Father, the hour has come. Glorify your Son so that the Son may glorify you,”
The hour has come. Glorify your Son.
Then he finished his prayer.
And this is just the place where the discipling was ending, and the great drama of the next 75 hours would begin.
This is the beginning of Chapter 18— where

Jesus Takes his Disciples to the Garden

For the last hours of their time together.
John 18:1 CSB
1 After Jesus had said these things, he went out with his disciples across the Kidron Valley, where there was a garden, and he and his disciples went into it.
And now, since the hour has come, we have, first,

The Drama of the Betrayal and Arrest

which is recorded in John 18:2-13
I find this chapter absolutely filled with a real sense of the drama of that night. John was no longer writing about the theological meaning of Jesus, instead he switched to a more emotional, dramatic retelling of the events of that night.
So, the hour had come, and Jesus went to the Garden of Gethsemane, knowing Judas, his betrayer would meet him there. Walking into the reality of his coming abuse and death, John skips the story of Jesus prayer, and how he and Peter and James had fallen asleep at the last, and then throws into the story of the arrest an amazing little detail of how his betrayers could not stand in the presence of the “I AM”, the name of the Father, and the true name of the Son.
So here we are at the Garden.
18:2: Judas, who betrayed him, also knew the place, because Jesus often met there with his disciples.
3 So Judas took a company of soldiers and some officials from the chief priests and the Pharisees and came there with lanterns, torches, and weapons.
John 18:4–6 CSB
4 Then Jesus, knowing everything that was about to happen to him, went out and said to them, “Who is it that you’re seeking?” 5 “Jesus of Nazareth,” they answered. “I am he,” Jesus told them. Judas, who betrayed him, was also standing with them. 6 When Jesus told them, “I am he,” they stepped back and fell to the ground.
The Drama Continues. . . but here where the details of the hours of prayer are left out, and the bitterness of the greeting kiss of betrayal is replaced simply with the statement that Judas was standing with the soldiers, officials, and Pharisees instead of with Jesus and his disciple-brothers.
7 Then he asked them again,
“Who is it that you’re seeking?”
“Jesus of Nazareth,” they said.
8 “I told you I am he,” Jesus replied. “So if you’re looking for me, let these men go.”
9 This was to fulfill the words he had said: “I have not lost one of those you have given me.”
…So, loving His disciples to the end, he wanted them protected until they could undertake their mission.
Peter just can’t let it stand, that Jesus would face his betrayer and these soldiers and go quietly into the night.

Peter Tries to Stop the Arrest

We find out immediately that Peter brought a sword to a prayer meeting. He felt it was his responsibility to keep Jesus safe. Acting a the Sargeant-at-arms for Jesus, here’s where Peter rushes in to try to settle the situation—well, really, he picks a fight with the priest’s servant:
John 18:10 CSB
10 Then Simon Peter, who had a sword, drew it, struck the high priest’s servant, and cut off his right ear. (The servant’s name was Malchus.)
Bold as he was, it was not Peter’s place to get in the way of what was transpiring. A little like when Jesus had to rebuke Peter for his telling Jesus he couldn’t go off and get killed, right after Peter confessed that Jesus was the Christ, the Son of the Living God.
I’m supposing that the words of Jesus which knocked them all to the ground a moment ago, kept them all from a full frontal attack against the disciples.
John 18:11 CSB
11 At that, Jesus said to Peter, “Put your sword away! Am I not to drink the cup the Father has given me?”
It was Jesus who put a stop to this, not the gathered soldiers, Jewish officials and Pharisees.
John says nothing about this servant’s ear being healed, but Peter apparently has no crime to be punished for, as he doesn’t behave as a wanted man.

Jesus Submits to Arrest

Jesus, the hero of our salvation, the hero of our story, who could have called the army of heaven to his defense, whose very words had floored his opponents a moment ago, simply submitted.
John 18:12 CSB
12 Then the company of soldiers, the commander, and the Jewish officials arrested Jesus and tied him up.
The Christ of God, through whom all things were made that have been made, the eternal Word who always existed, was now, in his incarnation as Jesus of Nazareth, fully man and fully God, was tied up and led away to a fate that each of us should have faced because of our own sin against him.

The Drama of the Jewish Trial

Now betrayed, bound, and arrested, in this hour set by the Father, which he knew would come, Jesus was led out of the Garden. From their he was brought down the side of the Mount of Olives and across the Kidron valley, back into Jerusalem, through the gate of the city and on to the place that was a palace for the High Priest, with enough room to hold court with some of the other clergy that came.
John 18:13 CSB
13 First they led him to Annas, since he was the father-in-law of Caiaphas, who was high priest that year.
Now technically, Annas had no authority according to the Romans, for the high priest was no longer a dynastic position that passed from father to son or for that matter was no longer even fully dependent on the Levite’s main clan.
We find out right away that John might have had an issue with this, for he doesn’t call Annas a high priest, even as he says Annas is honored above his son in-law, the appointed high priest “that year.”
John at least throws in a detail that God had allowed Caiaphas, who actually was the Roman-Appointed High Priest, by virtue of his position, to prophecy about the role Jesus would take in the coming Drama of the Cross.
John 18:14 CSB
14 Caiaphas was the one who had advised the Jews that it would be better for one man to die for the people.
Now, we read the story and infer from another statement that John knows this household. He is a relative of Caiaphas, or of someone in the household or at the gate, and so He has a way into the courtyard, and into the house.
Simon Peter, even though he had assaulted Malchus, is left alone outside, as he had followed the small crowd that came for Jesus, and his arrested Rabbi, up to the gate of the house. The disciple that is unnamed here we assume to be John, who doesn’t use his own name when he writes the Gospel. goes to the gatekeeper and Peter is let into the courtyard.
We only hear of John and Peter being bold enough, or crazy enough, to stay this close to Jesus.

The Drama of Peter’s Denials

begins almost instantly, and what happens outside is interwoven with the events going on inside.
First, it is the girl at the gate, who either knew John was a follower of Jesus or had seen the band of brothers who was with Jesus earlier in the week, who recognizes Peter in the light of the torches nearly.
So she is prompted to ply Peter with a question of his position:
John 18:17 CSB
17 Then the servant girl who was the doorkeeper said to Peter, “You aren’t one of this man’s disciples too, are you?” “I am not,” he said.
“I am not.” Peter could hardly believe what he heard himself say to the girl. Not so long ago he was brave, but now he was just one of the observers who didn’t want to step in to stop anything anymore.
Peter still could hardly believe that the priest’s guard had come with that scoundrel Judas to arrest Jesus.
“You aren’t one of this man’s disciples too, are you?” The girl must have known that John was, and she was now asking Peter.
“I am not.” That’s number one in the short list of Peter’s denials that he knew Jesus, the one he had vowed to protect.
Peter stayed with the ones who were left outside, surrounding the glowing coals that were warming the group but not providing much light.
Next the drama brings us inside, where

Jesus is Questioned by Annas

whom John offhandedly names here as high priest. We don’t know exactly what the questions were, only that they were “about his disciples and about his teaching,” but Jesus doesn’t try to explain himself or make excuse.
John 18:20 CSB
20 “I have spoken openly to the world,” Jesus answered him. “I have always taught in the synagogue and in the temple, where all the Jews gather, and I haven’t spoken anything in secret.
John 18:21 CSB
21 Why do you question me? Question those who heard what I told them. Look, they know what I said.”
Here’s where one of the people protecting the priest felt that Jesus was being impudent, and showed his support for Annas as priest by doing a Will Smith move against Jesus:
John 18:22 CSB
22 When he had said these things, one of the officials standing by slapped Jesus, saying, “Is this the way you answer the high priest?”
Jesus was just as snappy to this man as the man was to Jesus.
John 18:23 CSB
23 “If I have spoken wrongly,” Jesus answered him, “give evidence about the wrong; but if rightly, why do you hit me?”
Truth is truth, but this trial was not about truth. Truth itself was on trial.
We get no answer for the assault on Jesus.
We read only...
John 18:24 CSB
24 Then Annas sent him bound to Caiaphas the high priest.
Yes, it says the high priest sent Jesus to the high priest.
Annas was recognized by these Jewish leaders as the high priest according to their custom, but now Jesus was sent to Caiaphas, the appointed priest that Pilate would recognize in this position.
Then before the assembly went out to Caiaphas, the Drama of the Denials of Peter proceeds as the Gospel of John records what the other Gospel writers also noted, as Peter acts out the prophecy of his self-protection in the face of opportunities to stand for his Savior and instead...

Twice More Peter Denies Jesus

which happens around the charcoal. In John’s Gospel, the second denial comes when others around him ask Peter,
“You aren’t one of his disciples too, are you?” which is the same question the girl at the gate asked him. and the answer from Peter comes back the same, too.
He denied it and said, “I am not.”
That’s number two.
Now Peter is pointedly asked to identify himself:
John 18:26 CSB
26 One of the high priest’s servants, a relative of the man whose ear Peter had cut off, said, “Didn’t I see you with him in the garden?”
There’s a connection here that shouldn’t be missed. This is a relative of the man who suffered the severance of his ear. And he would have had an emotionally seared memory:
“Didn’t I see you with him in the garden?”
Peter had one more opportunity to bravely confess his connection to Jesus, but the scripture says,
John 18:27 CSB
27 Peter denied it again. Immediately a rooster crowed.
and the prophecy of Peter’s protective desertion is pronounced fulfilled in the familiar early-morning voice of a common male chicken.
Peter was now left on his own to deal with his denials, and Jesus is shuffled off to Caiaphas.

The Drama of the Handover to Pagans

John says absolutely nothing about the conduct of the council of the Jews led by Caiaphas. I must assume that John was not allowed in those chambers. In the courtyard of Annas, John was known. But where the Appointed High Priest held court, John was outside.
But we do know this: Jesus’ predictions, repeated at least three times in the Gospels, are coming true as the story unfolds:
John 18:28 CSB
28 Then they led Jesus from Caiaphas to the governor’s headquarters. It was early morning. They did not enter the headquarters themselves; otherwise they would be defiled and unable to eat the Passover.
So worried that they would be excluded from the Passover celebration because of the defilement of entering the pagan courts, they stood outside the governor’s headquarters.
Still early. The rooster had just crowed, which some of you know happens a bit before sunrise.
The trial of truth before Caiaphas must have led to conviction for blasphemy, as the other Gospels record, but here we have our first introduction to the next character in the drama.
John 18:29 CSB
29 So Pilate came out to them and said, “What charge do you bring against this man?”
and without much explanation, the representatives of the priest, probably the same group that arrested Jesus at the Garden, say,
John 18:30 CSB
30 They answered him, “If this man weren’t a criminal, we wouldn’t have handed him over to you.”
and we find out that Pilate doesn’t really want to get involved in a religious dispute:
John 18:31 CSB
31 Pilate told them, “You take him and judge him according to your law.” “It’s not legal for us to put anyone to death,” the Jews declared.
and here we hear the conviction from Caiaphas. The sentence would be death. And they didn’t want to dirty themselves with the community execution that happens with a stoning. They wanted Jesus to face the humiliation of the execution by the Roman occupiers against any rebels in Judea. They wanted curcifixion.
And so

Jesus Prophecy of His Death is Made Sure

John 18:31 CSB
31 Pilate told them, “You take him and judge him according to your law.” “It’s not legal for us to put anyone to death,” the Jews declared.

The Drama is Here for Us to Face Our Own Fears

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