18:1 When Jesus had spoken these words1, he went forth with his disciples over the brook Kidron, where was a garden, into which he entered, himself and his disciples. GOING TO GETHSEMANE, AND AGONY THEREIN. (A garden between the brook Kidron and the Mount of Olives. Late Thursday night.) Matthew 26:30,36-46; Mark 14:26,32-42; Luke 22:39-46; John 18:1
When Jesus had spoken these words. The words contained in John
18:2 Now Judas
also, who betrayed him, knew the place1: for Jesus
oft-times resorted thither with his disciples.
JESUS BETRAYED, ARRESTED, AND FORSAKEN. (Gethsemane. Friday, several hours
before dawn.) Matthew
Now Judas also, who betrayed him, knew the place. See Luke
18:3 Judas then,
having received the band [of soldiers], and officers from the chief priests and
the Pharisees1, cometh thither
with lanterns and torches and weapons2.
Judas then, having received the band [of soldiers], and officers from
the chief priests and the Pharisees. See Mark
Cometh thither with lanterns and torches and weapons. They were
well supplied with lights, for while the Passover is always held when the
moon is full, the moon at this time of night would be near setting, and the
valley of the Kidron, in which Gethsemane lay, would be darkened by the
shadow of the adjoining mountain.
therefore, knowing all the things that were coming upon him1,
went forth, and saith unto them, Whom seek ye2?
Jesus therefore, knowing all the things that were coming upon him,
went forth. John mentions the foreknowledge of Jesus to remind us
that he could have avoided the arrest had he chosen to do so. Even the
foreknowledge of Elisha was difficult to deal with (2 Kings
And saith unto them, Whom seek ye? Jesus asked this question: (1)
to openly and manfully declare his identity; (2) to make the Jewish rulers
fully conscious that they were arresting him, an innocent man; (3) to
confine the arrest to himself and thus deliver his disciples.
18:6 When therefore he said unto them, I
am [he], they went backward, and fell to the ground1.
They went backward, and fell to the ground. The older commentators
regard the falling to the ground as a miracle, but modern scholars look upon
it as a result of sudden fear. Jesus merely manifested his dignity and
majesty, and the prostration followed as a natural result.
18:9 that the
word might be fulfilled which he spake, Of those whom thou hast given me I lost
That the word might be fulfilled which he spake, Of those whom thou
hast given me I lost not one. See John
Peter therefore having a sword drew it, and struck the high priest's servant,
and cut off his right ear1. Now
the servant's name was Malchus2.
Simon Peter therefore having a sword drew it, and struck the high
priest's servant, and cut off his right ear. See Mark
Now the servant's name was Malchus. John knew the household of the
high priest (John
18:16). He knew Malchus by name, and he also knew his kindred (John
18:11 Jesus therefore said unto Peter,
Put up the sword into the sheath: the cup which the
Father hath given me, shall I not drink it1?
The cup which the Father hath given me, shall I not drink it? By
using the word "cup" John gives us an echo of the agony in
Gethsemane, which suggests that he expects his readers to be conversant with
the other Gospels. See Matthew
22:42. The other Evangelists, having shown that Jesus was fully resolved
to drink the cup, do not regard it necessary to repeat these words.
18:12 So the band and the chief captain,
and the officers of the Jews, seized Jesus and bound him,
FIRST STAGE OF JEWISH TRIAL. EXAMINATION BY ANNAS. (Friday before dawn.) John
18:13 and led
him to Annas first; for he was father in law to Caiaphas1,
who was high priest that year.
And led him to Annas first; for he was father in law to Caiaphas,
who was high priest that year. For confusion in the priesthood, see
3:2 and see John
Caiaphas was he that gave counsel to the Jews, that it was expedient that one
man should die for the people1.
Now Caiaphas was he that gave counsel to the Jews, that it was
expedient that one man should die for the people. See John
11:49. John restates this fact to remind the reader that Jesus was about
to be tried by those who had prejudged him and decided upon his death.
18:15 And Simon Peter followed Jesus, and
[so did] another disciple2. Now
that disciple was known unto the high priest3, and entered
in with Jesus into the court of the high priest;
PETER THRICE DENIES THE LORD. (Court of the high priest's residence. Friday
before and about dawn.) Matthew
Now Simon Peter followed Jesus. See Mark
And [so did] another disciple. Evidently the apostle John, who thus
speaks of himself impersonally.
Now that disciple was known unto the high priest. John's
acquaintanceship appears to have been with the household as well as with the
high priest personally, for we find that it is used as a permit at the
doorway. It is likely that the high priest knew John rather in a business
18:16 but Peter was standing at the door
without. So the other disciple, who was known unto the high priest, went out and
spake unto her that kept the door1, and
brought in Peter2.
And spake unto her that kept the door. It is still customary to
have female porters at the houses of the great and rich. See Acts
And brought in Peter. John would have shown a truer kindness to
Peter had he let him stay out.
18:17 The maid therefore that kept the
door saith unto Peter, Art thou also [one] of this man's disciples? He
saith, I am not2.
Art not thou also [one] of this man's disciples? The doorkeeper
evidently recognized John as a disciple, and was therefore suspicious of
He saith, I am not. The cowardly "I am not" of Peter is a
sad contrast to the strong "I am" of Jesus (John
18:18 Now the servants and the officers
were standing [there], having made a fire of coals; for it was cold; and they
were warming themselves: and Peter also was with them,
standing and warming himself1.
And Peter also was with them, standing and warming himself. See Mark
18:19 The high
priest1 therefore asked Jesus of
his disciples, and of his teaching2.
The high priest. We should note that John calls Annas high priest.
The high priesthood was a life office. According to Moses, Annas was high
priest, but the Romans had given the office to Caiaphas, so that Annas was
high priest de jure, but Caiaphas was so de facto. As high priest,
therefore, and as head of the Sadducean party, the people looked to Annas
before Caiaphas, taking Jesus to him first. The influence of Annas is shown
by the fact that he made five of his sons and sons-in-law high priests.
Annas is said to have been about sixty years old at this time.
Therefore asked Jesus of his disciples, and of his teaching. Annas
questioned Jesus for the purpose of obtaining, if possible, some material
out of which to frame an actual accusation.
18:20 Jesus answered him, I have spoken
openly to the world; I ever taught in synagogues1,
and in the temple, where all the Jews come together; and
in secret spake I nothing2.
I ever taught in synagogues. See Mark
And in secret spake I nothing. Jesus indeed spoke some things
13:10,11), but he did not do so for the purposes of concealment (Matthew
10:27). Jesus was the light of the world; addressing his teachings to
all flesh, he chose the most public places to utter them--places, however,
dedicated to the worship of the true God.
18:21 Why askest
thou me1? Ask them that have
heard [me], what I spake unto them2: behold,
these know the things which I said3.
Why askest thou me? He who had said that heaven and earth would
pass away, but that his word would not pass away (Luke
21:33), did not suffer his teaching to be held in contempt; he did not
permit it to be made matter for cross examination.
Ask them that have heard [me], what I spake unto them. On the
contrary, it was to be taken cognizance of among the things universally
known and understood.
Behold, these know the things which I said. The very officers who
had arrested him could tell about it (John
18:23 Jesus answered him, If
I have spoken evil, bear witness of the evil1: but
if well, why smitest thou me2?
If I have spoken evil, bear witness of the evil. Jesus was then
under arrest, and as the trial had not yet opened there was ample time to
add new matter to the charges against him. If, in addressing the high
priest, he had just spoken words worthy of punishment, the officer who
struck him should, instead, have preferred charges against him in a legal
But if well, why smitest thou me? If the officer could not do this
(and the point is that he could not), he was doubly wrong in striking him.
Thus the Lord calmly rebuked the wrong-doer. Compare his conduct with that
of Paul under somewhat similar circumstances (Acts
23:1-3). Jesus exemplified his teaching at Matthew
5:39. Says Luther,
"Christ forbids self-defense with the hand, not with the
therefore sent him bound unto Caiaphas the high priest1.
SECOND STAGE OF JEWISH TRIAL. JESUS CONDEMNED BY CAIAPHAS AND THE SANHEDRIN.
(Palace of Caiaphas. Friday.) Matthew
Annas therefore sent him bound unto Caiaphas the high priest.
Foiled in his attempted examination of Jesus, Annas sends him to trial.
18:28 They lead
Jesus therefore from Caiaphas into the Praetorium1: and it
was early; and they themselves entered not into the
Praetorium, that they might not be defiled, but might eat the passover2.
THIRD STAGE OF JEWISH TRIAL. JESUS FORMALLY CONDEMNED BY THE SANHEDRIN AND LED
TO PILATE. (Jerusalem. Friday after dawn.) Matthew
They lead Jesus therefore from Caiaphas into the Praetorium. See Mark
FIRST STAGE OF THE ROMAN TRIAL. JESUS BEFORE PILATE FOR THE FIRST TIME.
(Jerusalem. Early Friday morning.) Matthew
And they themselves entered not into the Praetorium, that they might
not be defiled, but might eat the passover. See Mark
18:30 They answered and said unto him, If
this man were not an evildoer, we should not have delivered him up unto thee1.
If this man were not an evildoer, we should not have delivered him up
unto thee. The Jewish rulers first attempt to induce Pilate to accept
their verdict and condemn Jesus upon it, and execute him without a trial. If
they had succeeded in this, Jesus would have been put to death as a
blasphemer. But as Pilate had insisted upon trying Jesus, and as blasphemy
was not a capital offense under the Roman law, Jesus was condemned and
executed as the King of the Jews.
therefore said unto them, Take him yourselves, and judge him according to your
law1. The Jews said unto him, It
is not lawful for us to put any man to death2:
Pilate therefore said unto them, Take him yourselves, and judge him
according to your law. As the Jews insisted on their own verdict, Pilate
bade them pronounce their own sentence, declining to mix jurisdictions by
pronouncing a Roman sentence on a Sanhedrin verdict.
The Jews said unto him, It is not lawful for us to put any man to death.
The Jews responded that it is not in their power to pronounce the sentence
for which their verdict called, since they could not put to death. Jesus
could only be sentenced to death by the Roman court, and crucifixion was the
mode by which its death sentence was executed.
18:32 that the
word of Jesus might be fulfilled, which he spake1,
signifying by what manner of death he should die.
That the word of Jesus might be fulfilled, which he spake,
signifying by what manner of death he should die. Jesus had
predicted all this in the simple statement in the simple statement that he
should die by crucifixion (John
12:33,34), but he also gave the details of his trial (Matthew
therefore entered again into the Praetorium, and called Jesus1,
and said unto him, Art thou the King of the Jews2?
Pilate therefore entered again into the Praetorium, and called Jesus.
And said unto him, Art thou the King of the Jews? See Mark
18:34 Jesus answered, Sayest
thou this of thyself, or did others tell it thee concerning me1?
Sayest thou this of thyself, or did others tell it thee concerning me?
Jesus asks a question which forms the strongest negation that he is a king
in the sense contained in the Jewish accusation. Had he been a king in that
sense, Pilate would have been the one most likely to know it. The question
also, by an indirect query as to the accuser, reveals to Pilate's mind that
no Roman had accused him. He was accused of the Jews, and when he had that
restless, rebellious people ever found fault with a man who sought to free
them from the galling Roman yoke?
18:35 Pilate answered, Am
I a Jew1? Thine own nation and
the chief priests delivered thee unto me2: what
hast thou done3?
Am I a Jew? The strong, practical mind of the Roman at once caught
the drift of Christ's question, and perceived that the title "King of
the Jews" had in it a double meaning, so that it might be construed in
some unpolitical sense. What this sense was he could not tell, for he was
not a Jews. The mysteries of that nation were of no interest to him, save
where his office compelled him to understand them.
Thine own nation and the chief priests delivered thee unto me.
Pilate concedes that the accusation against Jesus comes from an unexpected
and suspicious source.
What hast thou done? Pilate asks Jesus to tell him plainly by what
means he had incurred the enmity of the leaders of his people.
18:36 Jesus answered, My
kingdom is not of this world1: 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. Jesus answers Pilate's question
indirectly. He had done something to incur the enmity of the rulers, and
that was to have authority with and exercise influence over the people (John
12:19). They objected to his kingly claims (Matthew
19:38,39), but Jesus shows Pilate that these kingly claims, however
distasteful to the Jews, were no offense or menace against the authority of
Rome. Further than this, Jesus did not define his kingdom for Pilate had no
concern in it beyond this. It was sufficient to inform him that it made no
use of physical power even for purposes of defense. Such a kingdom could
cause no trouble to Rome, and the bare fact stated by Jesus proved that it
was indeed such a kingdom.
18:37 Pilate therefore said unto him, Art
thou a king then? Jesus answered, Thou sayest that I am
a king1. To this end have I been
born, and to this end am I come into the world, that I should bear witness unto
the truth2. Every one that is of the truth heareth my
Thou sayest that I am a king. See Mark
To this end have I been born, and to this end am I come into the world,
that I should bear witness unto the truth. Jesus here enlightens Pilate
as to the nature of his kingdom. He, the King, was the incarnation of truth,
and all those who derive the inspiration of their life from truth were his
subjects. For the purpose of thus bearing witness to and revealing truth
Jesus had been born, thus entering a new state of being, and he had come
into the world in this changed condition, thus entering a new sphere of
action. The words clearly imply the pre-existence of Christ and no doubt
aroused that state of uneasiness or fear which was increased by the words of
the Jewish rulers (John
18:38 Pilate saith unto him, What
is truth1? And when he had said this, he went out again
unto the Jews, and saith unto them, I find no crime in
What is truth? This question has been regarded as an earnest
inquiry (Chrysostom), the inquiry of one who despaired (Olshausen), a
scoffing question (Alford), etc. But is evident that Pilate asked it
intending to investigate the case of Jesus further, but, suddenly concluding
that he already knew enough to answer his purpose as a judge, he stifles his
curiosity as a human being and proceeds with the trial of Jesus, leaving the
I find no crime in him. See Luke
18:39 But ye
have a custom, that I should release unto you one at the passover1:
will ye therefore that I release unto you the King of the Jews?
THIRD STAGE OF THE ROMAN TRIAL. PILATE RELUCTANTLY SENTENCES HIM TO
CRUCIFIXION. (Friday. Toward sunrise.) Matthew
But ye have a custom, that I should release unto you one at the
passover. See Mark