John 18 is a turning point that has been building for the last few chapters. Now the story receives some action to its narration, and the action is the arrest of Jesus.
Jesus knew what was about to happen, so he spent a lot of time trying to prepare his disciples for it. However, I wonder if this was like preparing for a car wreck, it’s still pretty shocking when it happens.
Think about it, the man they believed was the Son of God and had traveled with for over 3 years. Well, he dies, and on top of that, many of the disciples believed that he’d come to restore the kingdom of Israel.
This is a great example of human blindness. Often in life, we get angry with God because something has happened and we didn’t think it was right. However, we need to learn the physical realm isn’t as concerning to God as the Spiritual.
Don’t call me a heretic yet, what I mean to say is God cares more for the eternal soul than physical discomfort.
He wants everyone to follow him to freedom, however, he probably knows not everyone will, and it hurts him. Because he still loves the sinners who choose the wrong path.
John 18: The Garden Of Gethsemane
18 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,”[a] they replied.John 18:1-5
Jesus Confronts Them In The Garden:
They came for Jesus in the middle of the night with weapons drawn, blazing torches and lanterns. Jesus knows they’re coming for him, and yet he steps forwards and asks who are you looking for?
That’s someone who doesn’t fear what’s about to happen, he’d resigned himself to his fate knowing what was about to happen, and he walked towards it.
How many times in our lives do we feel the spirit pressing us forward, and we become cowards and chicken out? How often do we not do what is right because it’s harder more difficult, or we worry about how it will look?
Instead of running away from the fight, we need to learn how to run toward it.
Jesus demonstrated this very well to us, and he wasn’t even trying to teach it. Instead, he was being the Son of God we know him to be.
God, I want that kind of Boldness.
John 18: The Arrest
“I am he,”[b] 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.”[c]
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?”John 18: 5-11
Jesus Stops The Violence:
The reply Jesus makes in this verse is very reminiscent of God speaking to Moses in the Burning Bush. In fact, there are a couple of times the Pharisees try to stone him because he replies with a simple, “I Am.”
Why is this phrase so important?
When spoken to Moses God was saying “I am who I am, tell the people I am sent you.”
I’ve pondered the meaning for a long time and this is the only thing I can come up with. By God saying I am, he’s stating that he’s the preexisting one, he’s stating that everything flows from him. Nothing can come about without him and nothing will exist without his breath.
He is because he’s always been. So for Jesus to say I am. He’s equating himself with God. In the eyes of the Pharisees, this was a crime punishable by death.
In addition to that, Jesus pleads for the disciples with them, he asks for them to be let go. And Peter trying to prove himself slashes of the right ear of the high priest slave. I wonder if Peter did that because of what Jesus said about him denying him?
Maybe he was trying to prove that he’d die for him, and he went overboard? It’s all pointless speculation, but it’s interesting to think about.
John 18: 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 since he was 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.”John 18:12-14
I don’t have a lot to say on these two verses, however, there’s a natural break in them so I thought it’d be a good transition. But the last sentence is what stands out to me most.
One man should die for the people, and that’s exactly what Jesus came to do. In the old testament, they sacrificed sheep, goats, bulls, and other animals. They did this to get right with God. But the blood of animals didn’t cover the sins completely.
The blood of animals was never enough, and that’s why we needed Jesus.
John 18: 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.John 18:15-18
The 1st Denial of Jesus:
It’s amazing how quickly he turned from trying to cut off that servant’s ear to denying Jesus. Maybe he saw what was happening and he couldn’t believe it. After all, in the garden, he was surrounded by friends and Jesus, but here he was alone and had no backup.
Are you the same person when you’re alone?
It’s a question that popped into my head after reading these verses.
Sometimes we can get on a spiritual high. Maybe it’s at a worship service a really good church conference or camp. And we pledge all sorts of things to God while we are there.
Then we go home, we see how alone we are, and the fire starts to go out.
That’s kinda how I feel right now. But what you do when you alone speak more about your character than what you do in public.
I’d like to think that I’d stand up in that courtyard and say yes, I was with Jesus in that garden.
But in reality, I’d probably be just like Peter, and that’s something I’ll have to work on.
I must decrease and He must increase.
John 18: 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[e] 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.John 18:19-24
Jesus Meets The Church Leaders Of His Day
Thus begins an endless night where Jesus gets transferred all over Jerusalem. At every place, he is questioned, and sometimes he answers and others stay silent.
When he speaks he makes it very clear that they and everyone know what he’s been teaching. In another of the gospels, he states he was teaching in the temples and market daily. Why did they come at night to get him?
John 18: 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.John 18:25-27
The Denials Keep Coming, Just Like Jesus Said They Would
The most painful part of this, is the rooster crows right after he does his 3rd denial. That’s just painful. I wonder after the first time if he remembered what Jesus had said? Or did it dawn on him when he heard that rooster?
Either way, Peter left and the bible said he wept bitterly.
John 18: 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.[f] 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]John 18:28-32
The Trial Is Forced, And No Charges Are Given, Yet It Moves Forward:
In reality, Jesus didn’t do anything that would break Jewish law. He did equate himself equal to God by calling himself I am and the Son of God. But that’s not a punishable offense if it’s true.
In earlier Chapters, Jesus even describes how his witness on this is true. Also, the signs and miracles he performs are a sign along with his compassion and ability to connect with everyone.
In reality, the only thing Jesus did was make the ruling class jealous. They wanted to have the power and be in charge and Jesus was a threat.
And no that’s not a capital offense.
John 18: Jesus Speaks With Pilate:
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.)John 18: 33-40
A Conversation With Pilate:
“What is Truth?”
It’s a question I ask myself a lot lately. In our world, we currently have a pandemic, a corrupt government, and crimes against humanity happening.
That’s just the shortlist off the top of my head.
The truth I’ve come to realize is that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. He came to earth, died, and rose again for us. This had to happen for ancient prophesies to be fulfilled and (more importantly) so we could actually reconnect with God.
Jesus is the bridge, and the Holy Spirit is the one who works on our hearts.
Heaven really isn’t too far away, but a lot of people fail to recognize it. Or they settle for something less.
Heaven is where the presence of God is, when it falls in a church service we get a glimpse of it. In your heart, there is a presence and your heart has heaven in it.
But the full experience can only happen after we die, or Jesus comes and takes us there. Jesus came to testify about the truth, and the truth is the physical world is only a small part of our existence.
But first, he needed us to connect again to God, without a connection, we wouldn’t see the truth.
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