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John Eighteen

by Dr. Henry M. Morris

(taken from the Defender's Study Bible)

John 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.

where was a garden. As Jesus walked in the garden with His disciples, He perhaps remembered how, long ago, He had walked in His first garden with Adam and Eve (Genesis 3:8). Then, in a few hours, He would be buried in another garden (John 19:41-42). He had walked alone in the first garden, seeking His own, then had knelt alone in the second garden, praying for His own, and finally was buried in the third garden, dying for His own.

John 18:2 And Judas also, which betrayed him, knew the place: for Jesus ofttimes resorted thither with his disciples.

John 18:3 Judas then, having received a band of men and officers from the chief priests and Pharisees, cometh thither with lanterns and torches and weapons.

John 18:4 Jesus therefore, knowing all things that should come upon him, went forth, and said unto them, Whom seek ye?

John 18:5 They answered him, Jesus of Nazareth. Jesus saith unto them, I am he. And Judas also, which betrayed him, stood with them.

John 18:6 As soon then as he had said unto them, I am he, they went backward, and fell to the ground.

fell to the ground. This surprising reaction of the arresting party was probably occasioned by Jesus' mien as He announced: “I am!” (the “he” is not in the original, as is evident from the use of italics in the King James translation). This was the divine title as announced by Jehovah to Moses at the burning bush (Exodus 3:14; see also John 8:58). Already aware of His many claims to deity (they were arresting Him because of that very fact!), they could sense momentarily that they were, indeed, in the presence of God.

John 18:7 Then asked he them again, Whom seek ye? And they said, Jesus of Nazareth.

John 18:8 Jesus answered, I have told you that I am he: if therefore ye seek me, let these go their way:

John 18:9 That the saying might be fulfilled, which he spake, Of them which thou gavest me have I lost none.

John 18:10 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.

having a sword. Peter had been among those who insisted on taking a sword (Luke 22:36-38) and impulsively used it at this point. However, Jesus miraculously healed the severed ear (Luke 22:51). Since only John records the servant's name, one wonders whether the incident eventually led to this servant's conversion, which John possibly may have learned of later.

John 18:11 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 18:12 Then the band and the captain and officers of the Jews took Jesus, and bound him,

John 18:13 And led him away to Annas first; for he was father in law to Caiaphas, which was the high priest that same year.

Annas first. Evidently Annas had been high priest until a short time before (Luke 3:2), and still wielded much influence, essentially serving in a “co-regency” with his son-in-law. Note Acts 4:6.

John 18:14 Now Caiaphas was he, which gave counsel to the Jews, that it was expedient that one man should die for the people.

John 18:15 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.

another disciple. That other disciple, undoubtedly, was John himself, who seems to have preferred never to identify himself by name in his gospel. The fact that he was known to the high priest suggests that he was known to the various other members of the Jewish council, probably including Joseph and Nicodemus. One can at least surmise that he may have been instrumental in their conversion to faith in Christ. John may well have been with Jesus when Nicodemus first “came to Jesus by night” (John 3:2), and thus was able to record that notable conversation (John 3:1-21).

with Jesus. It is noteworthy that, at this point John was still “with Jesus,” while Peter elected to be “with them” outside (John 18:18)—that is, with the servants of the high priest.

John 18:16 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 18:17 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 18:18 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 18:19 The high priest then asked Jesus of his disciples, and of his doctrine.

John 18:20 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 18:21 Why askest thou me? ask them which heard me, what I have said unto them: behold, they know what I said.

John 18:22 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?

John 18:23 Jesus answered him, If I have spoken evil, bear witness of the evil: but if well, why smitest thou me?

John 18:24 Now Annas had sent him bound unto Caiaphas the high priest.

John 18:25 And Simon Peter stood and warmed himself. They said therefore unto him, Art not thou also one of his disciples? He denied it, and said, I am not.

John 18:26 One of the servants of the high priest, being his kinsman whose ear Peter cut off, saith, Did not I see thee in the garden with him?

John 18:27 Peter then denied again: and immediately the cock crew.

John 18:28 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; but that they might eat the passover.

John 18:29 Pilate then went out unto them, and said, What accusation bring ye against this man?

John 18:30 They answered and said unto him, If he were not a malefactor, we would not have delivered him up unto thee.

John 18:31 Then said Pilate unto them, Take ye him, and judge him according to your law. The Jews therefore said unto him, It is not lawful for us to put any man to death:

John 18:32 That the saying of Jesus might be fulfilled, which he spake, signifying what death he should die.

what death. The Mosaic law had stipulated that blasphemy should be punished by stoning (Leviticus 24:16), but Jesus had predicted that He would be delivered to the Gentiles for crucifixion (Matthew 20:19).

John 18:33 Then Pilate entered into the judgment hall again, and called Jesus, and said unto him, Art thou the King of the Jews?

John 18:34 Jesus answered him, Sayest thou this thing of thyself, or did others tell it thee of me?

John 18:35 Pilate answered, Am I a Jew? Thine own nation and the chief priests have delivered thee unto me: what hast thou done?

John 18:36 Jesus answered, My kingdom is not of this world: if my kingdom were of this world, then would my servants fight, that I should not be delivered to the Jews: but now is my kingdom not from hence.

John 18:37 Pilate therefore said unto him, Art thou a king then? Jesus answered, Thou sayest that I am a king. To this end was I born, and for this cause came I into the world, that I should bear witness unto the truth. Every one that is of the truth heareth my voice.

John 18:38 Pilate saith unto him, What is truth? And when he had said this, he went out again unto the Jews, and saith unto them, I find in him no fault at all.

What is truth. Philosophers have searched for truth all through the ages but, like Pilate, have never found it. Even in the last days, men will be “ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth” (2 Timothy 3:1, 7). But for those who sincerely desire the truth, “the Spirit of Truth,” through “the Scripture of Truth” will lead them to the Lord Jesus, who is “the Truth” (John 15:26; Daniel 10:21; John 14:6).

no fault at all. The governor who condemned Jesus to death acknowledged that he, like all the others, could find no reason to fault him (see also John 19:4, 6).

John 18:39 But ye have a custom, that I should release unto you one at the passover: will ye therefore that I release unto you the King of the Jews?

John 18:40 Then cried they all again, saying, Not this man, but Barabbas. Now Barabbas was a robber.