John 18

1 After Yeshua had said all this, he went out with his talmidim across the stream that flows in winter through the Vadi Kidron, to a spot where there was a grove of trees; and he and his talmidim went into it.
2 Now Y'hudah, who was betraying him, also knew the place; because Yeshua had often met there with his talmidim.
3 So Y'hudah went there, taking with him a detachment of Roman soldiers and some Temple guards provided by the head cohanim and the P'rushim; they carried weapons, lanterns and torches.
4 Yeshua, who knew everything that was going to happen to him, went out and asked them, "Whom do you want?" "Yeshua from
5 Natzeret," they answered. He said to them, "I AM." Also standing with them was Y'hudah, the one who was betraying him.
6 When he said, "I AM," they went back ward from him and fell to the ground.
7 So he inquired of them once more, "Whom do you want?" and they said, "Yeshua from Natzeret."
8 "I told you, `I AM,'" answered Yeshua, "so if I'm the one you want, let these others go."
9 This happened so that what he had said might be fulfilled, "I have not lost one of those you gave me."
10 Then Shim`on Kefa, who had a sword, drew it and struck the slave of the cohen hagadol, cutting off his right ear; the slave's name was Melekh.
11 Yeshua said to Kefa, "Put your sword back in its scabbard! This is the cup the Father has given me; am I not to drink it?"
12 So the detachment of Roman soldiers and their captain, together with the Temple Guard of the Judeans, arrested Yeshua, tied him up,
13 and took him first to `Anan, the father-in-law of Kayafa, who was cohen gadol that fateful year.
14 (It was Kayafa who had advised the Judeans that it would be good for one man to die on behalf of the people.)
15 Shim`on Kefa and another talmid followed Yeshua. The second talmid was known to the cohen hagadol, and he went with Yeshua into the courtyard of the cohen hagadol;
16 but Kefa stood outside by the gate. So the other talmid, the one known to the cohen hagadol, went back out and spoke to the woman on duty at the gate, then brought Kefa inside.
17 The woman at the gate said to Kefa, "Aren't you another of that man's talmidim?" He said, "No, I'm not."
18 Now the slaves and guards had lit a fire because it was cold, and they were standing around it warming themselves; Kefa joined them and stood warming himself too.
19 The cohen hagadol questioned Yeshua about his talmidim and about what he taught.
20 Yeshua answered, "I have spoken quite openly to everyone; I have always taught in a synagogue or in the Temple where all Jews meet together, and I have said nothing in secret;
21 so why are you questioning me? Question the ones who heard what I said to them; look, they know what I said."
22 At these words, one of the guards standing by slapped Yeshua in the face and said, "This is how you talk to the cohen hagadol?"
23 Yeshua answered him, "If I said something wrong, state publicly what was wrong; but if I was right, why are you hitting me?"
24 So `Anan sent him, still tied up, to Kayafa the cohen hagadol.
25 Meanwhile, Shim`on Kefa was standing and warming himself. They said to him, "Aren't you also one of his talmidim?" He denied it, saying, "No, I am not."
26 One of the slaves of the cohen hagadol, a relative of the man whose ear Kefa had cut off, said, "Didn't I see you with him in the grove of trees?"
27 So again Kefa denied it, and instantly a rooster crowed.
28 They led Yeshua from Kayafa to the governor's headquarters. By now it was early morning. They did not enter the headquarters building because they didn't want to become ritually defiled and thus unable to eat the Pesach meal.
29 So Pilate went outside to them and said, "What charge are you bringing against this man?"
30 They answered, "If he hadn't done something wrong, we wouldn't have brought him to you."
31 Pilate said to them, "You take him and judge him according to your own law." The Judeans replied, "We don't have the legal power to put anyone to death."
32 This was so that what Yeshua had said, about how he was going to die, might be fulfilled.
33 So Pilate went back into the headquarters, called Yeshua and said to him, "Are you the king of the Jews?"
34 Yeshua answered, "Are you asking this on your own, or have other people told you about me?"
35 Pilate replied, "Am I a Jew? Your own nation and head cohanim have handed you over to me; what have you done?"
36 Yeshua answered, "My kingship does not derive its authority from this world's order of things. If it did, my men would have fought to keep me from being arrested by the Judeans. But my kingship does not come from here."
37 "So then," Pilate said to him, "You are a king, after all." Yeshua answered, "You say I am a king. The reason I have been born, the reason I have come into the world, is to bear witness to the truth. Every one who belongs to the truth listens to me."
38 Pilate asked him, "What is truth?" Having said this, Pilate went outside again to the Judeans and told them, "I don't find any case against him.
39 However, you have a custom that at Passover I set one prisoner free. Do you want me to set free for you the `king of the Jews'?" But
40 they yelled back, "No, not this man but Bar-Abba!" (Bar-Abba was a revolutionary.)

John 18 Commentary

Chapter 18

Christ taken in the garden. (1-12) Christ before Annas and Caiaphas. (13-27) Christ before Pilate. (28-40)

Verses 1-12 Sin began in the garden of Eden, there the curse was pronounced, there the Redeemer was promised; and in a garden that promised Seed entered into conflict with the old serpent. Christ was buried also in a garden. Let us, when we walk in our gardens, take occasion from thence to mediate on Christ's sufferings in a garden. Our Lord Jesus, knowing all things that should come upon him, went forth and asked, Whom seek ye? When the people would have forced him to a crown, he withdrew, ch. 6:15 , but when they came to force him to a cross, he offered himself; for he came into this world to suffer, and went to the other world to reign. He showed plainly what he could have done; when he struck them down he could have struck them dead, but he would not do so. It must have been the effect of Divine power, that the officers and soldiers let the disciples go away quietly, after the resistance which had been offered. Christ set us an example of meekness in sufferings, and a pattern of submission to God's will in every thing that concerns us. It is but a cup, a small matter. It is a cup that is given us; sufferings are gifts. It is given us by a Father, who has a father's authority, and does us no wrong; a father's affection, and means us no hurt. From the example of our Saviour we should learn how to receive our lighter afflictions, and to ask ourselves whether we ought to oppose our Father's will, or to distrust his love. We were bound with the cords of our iniquities, with the yoke of our transgressions. Christ, being made a sin-offering for us, to free us from those bonds, himself submitted to be bound for us. To his bonds we owe our liberty; thus the Son makes us free.

Verses 13-27 Simon Peter denied his Master. The particulars have been noticed in the remarks on the other Gospels. The beginning of sin is as the letting forth of water. The sin of lying is a fruitful sin; one lie needs another to support it, and that another. If a call to expose ourselves to danger be clear, we may hope God will enable us to honour him; if it be not, we may fear that God will leave us to shame ourselves. They said nothing concerning the miracles of Jesus, by which he had done so much good, and which proved his doctrine. Thus the enemies of Christ, whilst they quarrel with his truth, wilfully shut their eyes against it. He appeals to those who heard him. The doctrine of Christ may safely appeal to all that know it, and those who judge in truth bear witness to it. Our resentment of injuries must never be passionate. He reasoned with the man that did him the injury, and so may we.

Verses 28-32 It was unjust to put one to death who had done so much good, therefore the Jews were willing to save themselves from reproach. Many fear the scandal of an ill thing, more than the sin of it. Christ had said he should be delivered to the Gentiles, and they should put him to death; hereby that saying was fulfilled. He had said that he should be crucified, lifted up. If the Jews had judged him by their law, he had been stoned; crucifying never was used among the Jews. It is determined concerning us, though not discovered to us, what death we shall die: this should free us from disquiet about that matter. Lord, what, when, and how, thou hast appointed.

Verses 33-40 Art thou the King of the Jews? that King of the Jews who has been so long expected? Messiah the Prince; art thou he? Dost thou call thyself so, and wouldest thou be thought so? Christ answered this question with another; not for evasion, but that Pilate might consider what he did. He never took upon him any earthly power, never were any traitorous principles or practices laid to him. Christ gave an account of the nature of his kingdom. Its nature is not worldly; it is a kingdom within men, set up in their hearts and consciences; its riches spiritual, its power spiritual, and it glory within. Its supports are not worldly; its weapons are spiritual; it needed not, nor used, force to maintain and advance it, nor opposed any kingdom but that of sin and Satan. Its object and design are not worldly. When Christ said, I am the Truth, he said, in effect, I am a King. He conquers by the convincing evidence of truth; he rules by the commanding power of truth. The subjects of this kingdom are those that are of the truth. Pilate put a good question, he said, What is truth? When we search the Scriptures, and attend the ministry of the word, it must be with this inquiry, What is truth? and with this prayer, Lead me in thy truth; into all truth. But many put this question, who have not patience to preserve in their search after truth; or not humility enough to receive it. By this solemn declaration of Christ's innocence, it appears, that though the Lord Jesus was treated as the worst of evil-doers, he never deserved such treatment. But it unfolds the design of his death; that he died as a Sacrifice for our sins. Pilate was willing to please all sides; and was governed more by worldly wisdom than by the rules of justice. Sin is a robber, yet is foolishly chosen by many rather than Christ, who would truly enrich us. Let us endeavour to make our accusers ashamed as Christ did; and let us beware of crucifying Christ afresh.

John 18 Commentaries