John 18:1-9 Jesus took his 11 disciples (minus Judas) to a garden (They have been to this garden many times before). Judas arrives with those sent to arrest Jesus. When Jesus asked whom they sought and they replied they were looking for Jesus from Nazareth, Jesus said, “I am He” which is the same as saying “GOD”. It was said with such divinity that it knocked everyone to the ground. Upon asking again, Jesus was willing to go with them but commanded that they let His disciples go free.
John 18:10-14 To protect Jesus from being taken, Peter drew his sword, swiped at one the men and ends up cutting off the High Priest’s servant's ear. Jesus rebuked Peter that he was preventing Him from fulfilling what His Father sent Him in the world to do. This showed Peter’s ignorance to the great purpose of Jesus’ death.
Notes: In another Gospel, Jesus heals the man’s ear.
John 18:15-18 John was allowed in the inner court for he knew the High Priest. Using his privilege, he got Peter in also. Peter was questioned about his relationship to Jesus and here Peter denies that He even knew Jesus.
John 18:19-24 They led Jesus off to be questioned by Annas, the former High Priest and Sanhedrin (A group of men chosen from the Pharisees, Sadducees, etc.) Jesus would not answer their questions about His teachings for they knew very well what He taught. Instead, He said to ask those who heard Him teach. In other words, if Jesus was on trial, where are his witnesses? This was a mock trial. They didn’t like this response and slapped Jesus across the face. Jesus then demanded they provide the wrong He did that deserved the slap. Instead, they sent Him to the current Caiaphas, the High Priest who was the former High Priest’s son-in-law.
John 18:25-27 Peter denies two more time that he knew Jesus, just as Jesus told him he would. The rooster crowing followed Peter’s three denials just as Jesus said.
John 18:28-32 John’s Gospel does not record what occurred before Caiaphas. Jesus was next sent to Pontius Pilate, the appointed governor of Judea from Rome. Pilate wanted the Jewish leaders to judge Jesus. He wanted nothing to do with the case. Jesus didn’t break any Roman law. This was a religious matter. The Jews said that they have judged Him and sentenced Him to die, but the Romans prevented the Jewish leaders from carrying out the death penalty.
Notes: Irony. Those that handed Jesus over to the Pontius Pilate would not enter a Gentile's home because it was the Passover and they didn’t want to defile themselves so they could continue eating the Passover feast and festivities that lasted around seven days. Jesus is the true the sacrifice and Passover meal. Handing over Jesus was a greater moral defilement.
Notes: Because the Jewish leaders wanted to turn Jesus over to the Romans to be put to death, the type of death the Romans gave to Jews was crucifixion (hanging on a tree). The Jews form of capital punishment was stoning with rocks. Crucifixion is what Jesus kept predicting was the way He was going to die (Lifted up “on a cross”). This was the form of death that His Father had in mind, a cruel torturous punishment that fit the crime (The sins of the whole world).
John 18:33 The Jewish leaders convinced Pilate to judge Jesus by insisting that Jesus DID break a Roman law. Jesus claimed to be a king. That was considered treason, for there was at the time only one official ruler, and that was the Emperor of Rome, Tiberius Caesar. Only Caesar could appoint kings or governors over land that Rome conquered and controlled.
John 18:34-37 Jesus wanted to know on what basis Pilate accused Him of calling Himself a King. Was it because Pilate believed it or because someone else said it was so? Pilate answered by saying that because he was not Jewish, he had no idea how to base on whether Jesus qualified as a King or not... The Romans found the Jewish religion confusing and didn’t even want to waste his time trying to understand it all. He just wanted to know plainly what it was that Jesus DID. Jesus answers his first question indirectly by saying that yes, He was a King, but not of this material world, but of a Heavenly Kingdom. Jesus also said He was born a King from another world for the purpose of revealing Truth, and those that understand the truth will listen to Him.
John 18:38 Pilate’s question of “What is truth?” Pilate apparently decides that Jesus is a teacher of abstract philosophical questions to which no one can find an answer, and thus decides that Jesus poses no threat to the Roman government.
John 18:38-40 Pilate returned Jesus to the Jewish leaders and said he found nothing that would warrant Jesus to die. Jesus said He was a King, but not a King that would threaten any earthly realm (Rome). Basically, Pilate saw Jesus as a religious nut case. On the other hand, Pilate was worried about his job as governor. His decision to release Jesus could cause an uprising and feared his job would be on the line. His answer to the dilemma was to let the people decide. There was a custom during the Passover to release one prisoner to the Jewish people. There were currently two prisoners, Jesus, and a thief named Barabbas. The Jews chose to release Barabbas (which ironically means ‘son of the father’).