John 18

Our Lord Jesus, having put on the armor of prayer, went forth to face the great conflict with Satanic hatred and the sin of the world. Betrayed, misunderstood and denied by those of His own familiar friends, He, the perfect One, was handed over into wicked hands, to face alone the condemnation of a guilty world, that those who should believe upon Him might not be condemned.

1 When Jesus had spoken these words, he went forth with his disciples over the brook Cedron, where was a garden, into the which he entered, and his disciples.

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

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.

4 Jesus therefore, knowing all things that should come upon him, went forth, and said unto them, Whom seek ye?

5 They answered him, Jesus of Nazareth. Jesus saith unto them, I am he. And Judas also, which betrayed him, stood with them.

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

7 Then asked he them again, Whom seek ye? And they said, Jesus of Nazareth.

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

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

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.

11 Then said Jesus unto Peter, Put up thy sword into the sheath: the cup which my Father hath given me, shall I not drink it?

12 Then the band and the captain and officers of the Jews took Jesus, and bound him,

13 And led him away to Annas first; for he was father in law to Caiaphas, which was the high priest that same year.

14 Now Caiaphas was he, which gave counsel to the Jews, that it was expedient that one man should die for the people.

15 ¶ And Simon Peter followed Jesus, and so did another disciple: that disciple was known unto the high priest, and went in with Jesus into the palace of the high priest.

16 But Peter stood at the door without. Then went out that other disciple, which was known unto the high priest, and spake unto her that kept the door, and brought in Peter.

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.

18 And the servants and officers stood there, who had made a fire of coals; for it was cold: and they warmed themselves: and Peter stood with them, and warmed himself.

19 ¶ The high priest then asked Jesus of his disciples, and of his doctrine.

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.

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

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?

23 Jesus answered him, If I have spoken evil, bear witness of the evil: but if well, why smitest thou me?

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

25 And Simon Peter stood and warmed himself. They said therefore unto him, Art not thou also one of his disciples? He denied it, and said, I am not.

26 One of the servants of the high priest, being his kinsman whose ear Peter cut off, saith, Did not I see thee in the garden with him?

27 Peter then denied again: and immediately the cock crew.

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.

29 Pilate then went out unto them, and said, What accusation bring ye against this man?

30 They answered and said unto him, If he were not a malefactor, we would not have delivered him up unto thee.

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:

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

33 Then Pilate entered into the judgment hall again, and called Jesus, and said unto him, Art thou the King of the Jews?

34 Jesus answered him, Sayest thou this thing of thyself, or did others tell it thee of me?

35 Pilate answered, Am I a Jew? Thine own nation and the chief priests have delivered thee unto me: what hast thou done?

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.

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.

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.

39 But ye have a custom, that I should release unto you one at the passover: will ye therefore that I release unto you the King of the Jews?

40 Then cried they all again, saying, Not this man, but Barabbas. Now Barabbas was a robber.

John 18:1-11 – ​Jesus Accepts His Suffering

   Our Lord went forth from the city and across the brook Cedron to Gethsemane, but not for the purpose of concealment, as John 18:2 clearly shows. How characteristic it was that He should meet the band and ask that He should be taken, while the disciples should be permitted to escape! Was not this what He was ever doing—meeting peril, temptation, and death, that the great company whom He was bringing to glory might be saved? What meekness and majesty are here! Meekness—that He should subject Himself to the binding thong; majesty—that He should be able to say “I am he“.
   The cup probably referred to the anguish caused to His holy nature in being numbered with the transgressors, and bearing the sin of many. There was much in it from which His spirit recoiled, but He chose to do the will of God, however the flesh might start and shrink. Let us ever take the cups of life’s pain and sorrow direct from the hand of God, not seeing Judas, but the Father.
   Joseph told his brethren that it was not they who had sent him to Egypt, but God. David would not have Shimei silenced, because he felt that God had allowed him to utter his anathema. Here our Lord reposes absolutely on the Father, who loved Him before the world was made. —Through the Bible Day by Day

John 18:12-18 – ​Fear Undermines Loyalty

   Apparently a preliminary and private examination was held while the Sanhedrin was being hastily summoned. The other disciple was evidently John. It was a mistake for Peter to throw himself into such a vortex of trial. His foolhardiness and curiosity led him thither. While the Master was before one bar, Peter stood at another, but how egregiously he failed! In spite of his brave talk, he was swept off his feet—as we shall be, unless we have learned to avail ourselves of that power which is made perfect only in weakness. Peter’s fall was due to his self-confidence and lack of prayer. Those who are weak should beware of exposing themselves in places and company where they are liable to fail. Do not warm yourself at the world’s fires. 
   Three lessons emerge from Peter’s failure: (1) Let us not sleep through the precious moments which Heaven affords before each hour of trial, but use them for putting on the whole armor of God, that we may be able to stand in the evil day. (2) Let us not vaunt our own strength. We need more than resolution to sustain us in the hour of conflict. (3) Let us not cast ourselves down from the mountainside, unless absolutely sure that God bids us to do so. He will not otherwise give His angels charge to keep us. —Through the Bible Day by Day

John 18:19-24 – ​Jesus before His Persecutors

   Annas was the father-in-law of the high priest. For many years he had worn the high priest’s robes, and though now he had nominally retired from his office, he still kept his hands on the reins. He was the most powerful factor in the high-priestly circles. He was awaiting the return of the expedition in the hall of his palace, and at once began a preliminary inquiry, in the hope of extracting something on which to base his case against our Lord. Jesus penetrated his crafty purpose, and referred Annas to the army of spies who had been always on his track. There was no anger in Jesus’ heart. He desired simply to show how absolutely pure and true His words had been; that though He was exposed to searching scrutiny, yet this secret measure had to be resorted to by Annas to incriminate Him. Jesus did not resist evil, but endeavored to bring His accusers and judges calmly to face their own consciences. —Through the Bible Day by Day

John 18:25-32 – ​Pilate’s Weak Evasion

   It may be that while Peter was thus denying his Lord, Jesus was passing from Annas to Caiaphas, and in doing so cast on the stumbling disciple that look of mingled sorrow and love which broke his heart. John does not dwell on the trial before Caiaphas, because the other evangelists have already described it; but passes on to tell more minutely of the vacillation and weakness of Pilate. The Roman governor first sought to rid himself of the responsibility of deciding the ease. He refused to consider that it came within his jurisdiction, because it seemed connected with some religious dispute involving a technical knowledge which he did not possess. He suggested, therefore, that the Jewish leaders should deal with it under their own statutes. There was no apparent need for Roman law to interfere. When, however, the murderous intent of the high priests emerged, it became evident that their charges against Jesus were of a much more serious character, and Pilate was compelled to give his earnest attention to them. How little he realized the momentous issues to be decided that day! —Through the Bible Day by Day

John 18:33-40 – ​The King of Truth

   There was a tone of satire in Pilate’s question: “Thou poor, worn, tear-stained outcast, forsaken by every friend in this hour of need–art thou a king?” Human ears have never heard more majestic words than our Lord’s reply. But when He said, My kingdom is not of this world, He did not mean that it had nothing to do with this world, but that it did not originate here. It has descended from heaven, and seeks to bring the inspiration, principles, and methods of heaven into all the provinces of human activity. The one conspicuous proof of its absolutely foreign origin is its refusal to employ force. We do not fight, but sacrifice and suffer, for its maintenance. Our Lord therefore hastened to show that His Kingdom is based on the manifestation of the truth. There is no soul of man which is pure and true that does not recognize Christ’s royalty, as King of Truth, when it hears Him speak. —Through the Bible Day by Day

John 18:36—Jesus answered, My kingdom is not of this world.

​   Well might Pilate ask if Jesus was a king. Thou poor, weary, rejected Nazarene, art Thou a king? A strange contrast, surely, to the Herod that built those halls of judgment! Thy people, at least, fail to recognize thy royalty! But Jesus did not abate his claims. “Thou sayest that I am”, He answered (v. 37), “a king.” And as the ages have passed they have substantiated his claim.
   The origin of his kingdom.—“My kingdom is not of this world.” The Lord did not mean, as his words have been too often interpreted, that his kingdom had nothing to do with this world; but that it did not originate here. Jesus is King, not by earthly descent, or human right, but by the purpose and counsel of the Father, who said (Psalms 2:6-7), “Yet have I set my king upon my holy hill of Zion… Thou art my Son; this day have I begotten thee.”
   The method of its promulgation.—It is not spread by armed force. His servants do not fight. They are priests clad in the white robes of immaculate purity, and bearing aloft their banner with the in. scription, “Blessed are the peacemakers” (Matthew 5:9). Like their Master, they bear witness to the truth; and as they do so those who are of the truth are attracted to the Lord, as steel filings to the magnet.
   There is true royalty in bearing witness to the Truth.—Humbly we may appropriate our Master’s words: to this end were we born, and of this cause are we left in the world, that in every act and word we might bear witness to the Truth. As we do so, we manifest a royalty which is not of human gift or descent, but which has been communicated by the reception of the Christ—nature, through the regenerating grace of the Holy Ghost. —Our Daily Homily