Arrest, Trial, and Denial – John 18

John 18 – Arrest, Trial, and Denial

Introductory Notes

The setting is the Garden of Gethsamene.   The image used in this post is the Garden as it appears today.  Can you imagine Jesus being there, about to be arrested by the Roman soldiers?  As I reread John 18, I was surprised in v. 6 at the reaction of the soldiers, who must have been taken aback at Jesus’ boldness.  In Verse 10 Peter’s actions remind us that we must allow God’s plan to unfold; we should not take matters into our own hands.  If Peter had his way, Jesus would not have been crucified.  Remember that God knows best.

Jesus’ prediction that Peter would deny him three times comes true (John 18:17,25,27).

The trial before Caiaphas ended in the early morning, then Jesus was brought before the Roman governor, Pilate.  (v. 28-32)  Why the rush?  The Jews wanted Him executed before Passover.  Why was it required for Jesus to be brought before Pilate?  Verse 31 tells us only the Romans – not the Jews – could execute someone.

We see in v. 38-39 that Pilate did not want to have Jesus executed.  He told the people that He was not guilty of any crime.  In the end, he gave in though he knew the truth.  He let political desires rule his heart.

 Jesus Is Betrayed and Arrested

 1 After saying these things, Jesus crossed the Kidron Valley with his disciples and entered a grove of olive trees. 2 Judas, the betrayer, knew this place, because Jesus had often gone there with his disciples. 3 The leading priests and Pharisees had given Judas a contingent of Roman soldiers and Temple guards to accompany him. Now with blazing torches, lanterns, and weapons, they arrived at the olive grove.

 4 Jesus fully realized all that was going to happen to him, so he stepped forward to meet them. “Who are you looking for?” he asked.

 5 “Jesus the Nazarene,” they replied.

   “I Am he,”Jesus said. (Judas, who betrayed him, was standing with them.) 6 As Jesus said “I Am he,” they all drew back and fell to the ground! 7 Once more he asked them, “Who are you looking for?”

   And again they replied, “Jesus the Nazarene.”

 8 “I told you that I Am he,” Jesus said. “And since I am the one you want, let these others go.” 9 He did this to fulfill his own statement: “I did not lose a single one of those you have given me.”

 10 Then Simon Peter drew a sword and slashed off the right ear of Malchus, the high priest’s slave. 11 But Jesus said to Peter, “Put your sword back into its sheath. Shall I not drink from the cup of suffering the Father has given me?”

Jesus at the High Priest’s House

 12 So the soldiers, their commanding officer, and the Temple guards arrested Jesus and tied him up. 13 First they took him to Annas, the father-in-law of Caiaphas, the high priest at that time.[d] 14 Caiaphas was the one who had told the other Jewish leaders, “It’s better that one man should die for the people.”

Peter’s First Denial

 15 Simon Peter followed Jesus, as did another of the disciples. That other disciple was acquainted with the high priest, so he was allowed to enter the high priest’s courtyard with Jesus. 16 Peter had to stay outside the gate. Then the disciple who knew the high priest spoke to the woman watching at the gate, and she let Peter in. 17 The woman asked Peter, “You’re not one of that man’s disciples, are you?”

   “No,” he said, “I am not.”

 18 Because it was cold, the household servants and the guards had made a charcoal fire. They stood around it, warming themselves, and Peter stood with them, warming himself.

The High Priest Questions Jesus

 19 Inside, the high priest began asking Jesus about his followers and what he had been teaching them. 20 Jesus replied, “Everyone knows what I teach. I have preached regularly in the synagogues and the Temple, where the people gather. I have not spoken in secret. 21 Why are you asking me this question? Ask those who heard me. They know what I said.”

 22 Then one of the Temple guards standing nearby slapped Jesus across the face. “Is that the way to answer the high priest?” he demanded.

 23 Jesus replied, “If I said anything wrong, you must prove it. But if I’m speaking the truth, why are you beating me?”

 24 Then Annas bound Jesus and sent him to Caiaphas, the high priest.

Peter’s Second and Third Denials

 25 Meanwhile, as Simon Peter was standing by the fire warming himself, they asked him again, “You’re not one of his disciples, are you?”

   He denied it, saying, “No, I am not.”

 26 But one of the household slaves of the high priest, a relative of the man whose ear Peter had cut off, asked, “Didn’t I see you out there in the olive grove with Jesus?” 27 Again Peter denied it. And immediately a rooster crowed.

Jesus’ Trial before Pilate

 28 Jesus’ trial before Caiaphas ended in the early hours of the morning. Then he was taken to the headquarters of the Roman governor. His accusers didn’t go inside because it would defile them, and they wouldn’t be allowed to celebrate the Passover. 

 29 So Pilate, the governor, went out to them and asked, “What is your charge against this man?”

 30 “We wouldn’t have handed him over to you if he weren’t a criminal!” they retorted.

 31 “Then take him away and judge him by your own law,” Pilate told them.

   “Only the Romans are permitted to execute someone,” the Jewish leaders replied. 32 (This fulfilled Jesus’ prediction about the way he would die.[g])

 33 Then Pilate went back into his headquarters and called for Jesus to be brought to him. “Are you the king of the Jews?” he asked him.

 34 Jesus replied, “Is this your own question, or did others tell you about me?”

 35 “Am I a Jew?” Pilate retorted. “Your own people and their leading priests brought you to me for trial. Why? What have you done?”

 36 Jesus answered, “My Kingdom is not an earthly kingdom. If it were, my followers would fight to keep me from being handed over to the Jewish leaders. But my Kingdom is not of this world.”

 37 Pilate said, “So you are a king?”

   Jesus responded, “You say I am a king. Actually, I was born and came into the world to testify to the truth. All who love the truth recognize that what I say is true.”

 38 “What is truth?” Pilate asked. Then he went out again to the people and told them, “He is not guilty of any crime. 39 But you have a custom of asking me to release one prisoner each year at Passover. Would you like me to release this ‘King of the Jews’?”

 40 But they shouted back, “No! Not this man. We want Barabbas !” (Barabbas was a revolutionary.)

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