John 18

Listen to John 18

Betrayal and Arrest of Jesus

1 When Jesus had spoken these words, 1he went out with his disciples across 2the Kidron Valley, where there was a garden, which he and his disciples entered.
2 Now Judas, who betrayed him, also knew 3the place, for 4Jesus often met there with his disciples.
3 5So Judas, having procured a band of soldiers and some officers from the chief priests and the Pharisees, went there with lanterns and torches and weapons.
4 Then Jesus, 6knowing all that would happen to him, came forward and said to them, 7"Whom do you seek?"
5 They answered him, "Jesus of Nazareth." Jesus said to them, "I am he."[a] Judas, who betrayed him, was standing with them.
6 8When Jesus[b] said to them, "I am he," they drew back and fell to the ground.
7 So he asked them again, 9"Whom do you seek?" And they said, "Jesus of Nazareth."
8 Jesus answered, "I told you that I am he. So, if you seek me, let these men go."
9 10This was to fulfill the word that he had spoken: "Of those whom you gave me I have lost not one."
10 Then Simon Peter, 11having a sword, drew it and struck the high priest's servant[c] and cut off his right ear. (The servant's name was Malchus.)
11 So Jesus said to Peter, "Put your sword into its sheath; 12shall I not drink the cup that the Father has given me?"

Jesus Faces Annas and Caiaphas

12 So the band of soldiers and their captain and the officers of the Jews arrested Jesus and bound him.
13 First they 13led him to 14Annas, for he was the father-in-law of 15Caiaphas, who was high priest that year.
14 It was Caiaphas who had advised the Jews 16that it would be expedient that one man should die for the people.

Peter Denies Jesus

15 17Simon Peter followed Jesus, and so did another disciple. Since that disciple was known to the high priest, he entered with Jesus into the court of the high priest,
16 18but Peter stood outside at the door. So the other disciple, who was known to the high priest, went out and spoke to the servant girl who kept watch at the door, and brought Peter in.
17 19The servant girl at the door said to Peter, "You also are not one of this man's disciples, are you?" He said, "I am not."
18 Now the servants[d] and officers had made a charcoal fire, because it was cold, and they were standing and warming themselves. 20Peter also was with them, standing and warming himself.

The High Priest Questions Jesus

19 21The high priest then questioned Jesus about his disciples and his teaching.
20 Jesus answered him, "I have spoken 22openly 23to the world. I have always taught in synagogues and in the temple, where all Jews come together. 24I have said nothing in secret.
21 Why do you ask me? Ask those who have heard me what I said to them; they know what I said."
22 When he had said these things, one of the officers standing by struck Jesus with his hand, saying, 25"Is that how you answer the high priest?"
23 Jesus answered him, "If what I said is wrong, bear witness about the wrong; but if what I said is right, why do you strike me?"
24 26Annas then sent him bound to 27Caiaphas the high priest.

Peter Denies Jesus Again

25 28Now Simon Peter was standing and warming himself. So they said to him, "You also are not one of his disciples, are you?" He denied it and said, "I am not."
26 One of the servants of the high priest, a relative of 29the man whose ear Peter had cut off, asked, "Did I not see you 30in the garden with him?"
27 Peter again denied it, and 31at once a rooster crowed.

Jesus Before Pilate

28 32Then they led Jesus 33from the house of Caiaphas to 34the governor's headquarters.[e] It was early morning. They themselves did not enter the governor's headquarters, 35so that they would not be defiled, 36but could eat the Passover.
29 37So Pilate went outside to them and said, "What accusation do you bring against this man?"
30 They answered him, "If this man were not doing evil, we would not have delivered him over to you."
31 Pilate said to them, 38"Take him yourselves and judge him by your own law." The Jews said to him, "It is not lawful for us to put anyone to death."
32 39This was to fulfill the word that Jesus had spoken 40to show by what kind of death he was going to die.

My Kingdom Is Not of This World

33 41So Pilate entered his headquarters again and called Jesus and said to him, 42"Are you the King of the Jews?"
34 Jesus answered, "Do you say this of your own accord, or did others say it to you about me?"
35 Pilate answered, "Am I a Jew? Your own nation and the chief priests have delivered you over to me. What have you done?"
36 Jesus answered, 43"My kingdom 44is not of this world. If my kingdom were of this world, 45my servants would have been fighting, that 46I might not be delivered over to the Jews. But my kingdom is not from the world."
37 Then Pilate said to him, "So you are a king?" Jesus answered, 47"You say that I am a king. 48For this purpose I was born and for this purpose 49I have come into the world--50to bear witness to the truth. 51Everyone who is 52of the truth 53listens to my voice."
38 Pilate said to him, "What is truth?"After he had said this, 54he went back outside to the Jews and told them, 55"I find no guilt in him.
39 56But you have a custom that I should release one man for you at the Passover. So do you want me to release to you the King of the Jews?"
40 They cried out again, 57"Not this man, but Barabbas!" Now Barabbas was a robber.[f]

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.

Cross References 57

  • 1. Matthew 26:30, 36; Mark 14:26, 32; Luke 22:39
  • 2. See 2 Samuel 15:23
  • 3. Luke 22:40
  • 4. [Luke 21:37; Luke 22:39]
  • 5. For ver. 3-11, see Matthew 26:47-56; Mark 14:43-50; Luke 22:47-53
  • 6. John 13:1
  • 7. ver. 7; John 1:38; John 20:15
  • 8. [John 10:18; Matthew 26:53; Revelation 1:17]
  • 9. [See ver. 4 above]
  • 10. John 17:12
  • 11. [Luke 22:38]
  • 12. Matthew 20:22; Matthew 26:39, 42; [Isaiah 51:22]
  • 13. [Matthew 26:57]
  • 14. ver. 24; Luke 3:2; Acts 4:6
  • 15. ver. 24, 28; See Matthew 26:3
  • 16. John 11:50
  • 17. Matthew 26:58; Mark 14:54; Luke 22:54
  • 18. For ver. 16-18, see Matthew 26:69, 70; Mark 14:66-68; Luke 22:55-57
  • 19. Acts 12:13
  • 20. ver. 25; Mark 14:54
  • 21. For ver. 19-24, [Matthew 26:59-68; Mark 14:55-65; Luke 22:63-71]
  • 22. John 7:26; [Matthew 26:55]
  • 23. [John 8:26]
  • 24. Isaiah 45:19; Isaiah 48:16; [John 7:4]
  • 25. [Acts 23:4]
  • 26. ver. 13
  • 27. ver. 13
  • 28. For ver. 25-27, see Matthew 26:71-75; Mark 14:69-72; Luke 22:58-62
  • 29. ver. 10
  • 30. ver. 1
  • 31. John 13:38
  • 32. Matthew 27:2; Mark 15:1; Luke 23:1
  • 33. ver. 24
  • 34. ver. 33; John 19:9; See Matthew 27:27
  • 35. Acts 10:28; Acts 11:3; [John 11:55]
  • 36. [John 19:14]
  • 37. For ver. 29-38, see Matthew 27:11-14; Mark 15:2-5; Luke 23:2, 3
  • 38. [John 19:6]
  • 39. [John 13:18]
  • 40. John 12:32, 33; Matthew 20:19; Matthew 26:2; Mark 10:33; Luke 18:32
  • 41. John 19:9
  • 42. [John 19:12]
  • 43. [John 6:15; Daniel 2:44; Daniel 7:14, 27; Luke 17:21]
  • 44. John 8:23; [John 15:19; John 17:14, 16; 1 John 2:16; 1 John 4:5]
  • 45. [Matthew 26:53]
  • 46. John 19:16
  • 47. See Luke 22:70
  • 48. [John 12:27; Romans 14:9]
  • 49. John 16:28
  • 50. John 3:11, 32; John 5:31; John 8:13, 14, 18
  • 51. 1 John 4:6; [John 8:47]
  • 52. 1 John 2:21; 1 John 3:19
  • 53. John 10:16, 27
  • 54. John 19:4
  • 55. John 19:4, 6; See Luke 23:4
  • 56. For ver. 39, 40, see Matthew 27:15-18, 20-23; Mark 15:6-14; Luke 23:18-23
  • 57. Acts 3:14

Footnotes 6

  • [a]. Greek I am; also verses 6, 8
  • [b]. Greek he
  • [c]. Greek bondservant; twice in this verse
  • [d]. Greek bondservants; also verse 26
  • [e]. Greek the praetorium
  • [f]. Or an insurrectionist

John 18 Commentaries