John 18 Bible Commentary

John Wesley’s Explanatory Notes

(Read all of John 18)

Verse 2

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

Mark 14:43; Luke 22:47.

Verse 3

[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.

A troop of soldiers — A cohort of Roman foot.

Verse 6

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

As soon as he said, I am he, they went backward and fell to the ground — How amazing is it, that they should renew the assault, after so sensible an experience both of his power and mercy! But probably the priests among them might persuade themselves and their attendants, that this also was done by Beelzebub; and that it was through the providence of God, not the indulgence of Jesus, that they received no farther damage.

Verse 8

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

If ye seek me, let these (my disciples) go - It was an eminent instance of his power over the spirits of men, that they so far obeyed this word, as not to seize even Peter, when he had cut off the ear of Malchus.

Verse 9

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

John 17:12.

Verse 10

[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.

Then Simon Peter — No other evangelist names him. Nor could they safely. But St. John, writing after his death, might do it without any such inconvenience.

Verse 13

[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 had been high priest before his son-in-law Caiaphas. And though he had for some time resigned that office, yet they paid so much regard to his age and experience, that they brought Christ to Annas first. But we do not read of any thing remarkable which passed at the house of Annas; for, which reason, his being carried thither is omitted by the other evangelists. Matthew 26:57; Mark 14:53; Luke 22:54.

Verse 17

[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.

Art thou also — As well as the others, one of this man's disciples - She does not appear to have asked with any design to hurt him.

Verse 20

[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.

I spake openly — As to the manner: continually - As to the time: in the synagogue and temple - As to the place.

In secret have I said nothing — No point of doctrine which I have not taught in public.

Verse 21

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

Why askest thou me — Whom thou wilt not believe?

Verse 22

[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?

Answerest thou the high priest so? — With so little reverence?

Verse 24

[24] Now Annas had sent him bound unto Caiaphas the high priest.

Now Annas had sent him to Caiaphas — As is implied John 18:13.

Bound — Being still bound, John 18:12.

Verse 28

[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.

They went not into the palace themselves, lest they should be defiled — By going into a house which was not purged from leaven, Deuteronomy 16:4. Matthew 27:2; Mark 15:1; Luke 23:1.

Verse 31

[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:

It is not lawful for us to put any man to death — The power of inflicting capital punishment had been taken from them that very year. So the sceptre was departed from Judah, and transferred to the Romans.

Verse 32

[32] That the saying of Jesus might be fulfilled, which he spake, signifying what death he should die.

Signifying what death he should die — For crucifixion was not a Jewish, but a Roman punishment. So that had he not been condemned by the Roman governor, he could not have been crucified. John 3:14.

Verse 36

[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.

My kingdom is not of this world — Is not an external, but a spiritual kingdom; that I might not be delivered to the Jews - Which Pilate had already attempted to do, John 18:31, and afterward actually did, John 19:16.

Verse 37

[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.

Thou sayest — The truth.

To this end was I born — Speaking of his human origin: his Divine was above Pilate's comprehension. Yet it is intimated in the following words, I came into the world, that I might witness to the truth - Which was both declared to the Jews, and in the process of his passion to the princes of the Gentiles also.

Every one that is of the truth — That is, a lover of it, heareth my voice - A universal maxim. Every sincere lover of truth will hear him, so as to understand and practise what he saith.

Verse 38

[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? — Said Pilate, a courtier; perhaps meaning what signifies truth? Is that a thing worth hazarding your life for? So he left him presently, to plead with the Jews for him, looking upon him as an innocent but weak man.