Daily Bible Studies
|Series Theme: John's Gospel Studies|
Chapter: John 18
Passage: John 18:1-6
A. Find Out:
1. Where did Jesus take the disciples? v.1
2. So who came with whom? v.2,3
3. What are we told about Jesus? v.4a
4. What did he ask? v.4b
5. What was then spoken? v.5
6. What happened when he said who he was? v.6
Having put the future firmly into his Father's hands in the upper room, Jesus now leads the disciples across to the Garden of Gethsemane . John gives us but the barest details of what took place, for the Synoptic Gospels had already given the details. They tell us it was Gethsemane and that he went there and prayed further (Mt. 26:36-), that Judas came and kissed Jesus (Mt. 26:47-49) and that a fight ensued (Mt. 26:51 & Lk 22:50,51). John simply tells us that they went to the garden and Judas came and betrayed them.
Observe Jesus' control in the whole thing. When the arresting party came there were many of them and they carried torches. There were no street lights and so the brightness of their torches would be clearly seen some way off. This was no surprise arrival. Jesus could have left quickly before they arrived but that would have defeated the object of the exercise! When they arrive, Jesus is quite aware of what is happening, why they have come and what will follow, and almost goes out of his way to make himself known. As he declares himself something strange happens: the arresting party all fell down! Now, whether that is a sign of their disarray or of the power of God is not made clear, but it shows clearly who is in charge here!
1. Jesus was in full control of this awful situation.
2. Remember, he is still in control, however awful the situation!
A. Find Out:
1. What did Jesus ask? v.8
2. Why? v.9
3. What did Peter do? v.10
4. But what did Jesus command? v.11
5. What did they then do with Jesus? v.12
6. To whom did they take him? v.13,14
The arresting party has just fallen back but Jesus simply stands there. There is no move to escape. This is one of the clearest things that separates out the account of Jesus Christ from any other religious leader: he wilfully and purposefully allowed himself to be arrested, tried and crucified. It was all part of the divine plan, there is no escaping it, and Jesus certainly, didn't want to!
Even in the midst of all this Jesus is thinking of his followers: Let them go, he instructs the arresting party. Yet as well of thinking of his disciples he is also thinking of his Father, for it was not within the plan for any one of the disciples to be taken as well.
Simon Peter can't just sit back and let this happen and lashes out with his sword. It is perhaps a sign of the distress he feels. It is Luke the doctor who records Jesus healing the man's ear (Lk 22:51 ).
Finally they get round to arresting Jesus and tie him up, a rather pathetic sign of their power. If Jesus has wanted to escape he would have done so a number of times. They take him to the leadership of the religious establishment. The guilt that will cover this whole affair will include everyone from the ordinary crowd to the leading religious authorities!
1. Jesus “gave himself”. He wasn't taken.
2. He did it in perfect accord with the Father's will. Praise him.
A. Find Out:
1. Who followed Jesus? v.15a
2. How did they get into the courtyard? v.15b,16
3. What were they doing there? v.18
4. Who first asked Peter about being a disciple? v.17
5. Who was the third one to ask him? v.26
6. What happened after the third denial? v.27
The other disciple with Peter was possibly John and so the two of them, follow behind to see what will happen. They no doubt had a whole mixture of feelings at this point, possibly confusion, anger, fear and so on. John, if it is him, gets them into the courtyard of the house. Once there, inside shut gates, it is possible that Peter suddenly felt hemmed in and very vulnerable. It is late evening and it is cold and all of the glorious things that have been happening over the past three years now seem very far away.
Those of us who would wish to condemn Peter need to remember that Jesus didn't; he merely gave him the opportunity to restate his love for him (see end of the book). If we want to condemn him for his three denials, it also means that we have never yet been put in these sort of circumstances - yet we have failed the Lord in less daunting ones!
The Synoptic Gospels record the distress that Peter felt after his denials; John merely gives the basic facts: three people challenged him and three times he denied Jesus, and then the cock crowed, just like Jesus had said. Yes it is all being worked out exactly as Jesus knew it would. This is a black time for Peter. Feel for his humanity!
1. No excuses! Peter failed! We all fail the Lord!
2. Jesus does not write us off. There is yet hope!
A. Find Out:
1. What did the high priest ask about? v.19
2. What did Jesus say he had done? v.20
3. So what did he ask? v.21
4. What reaction did he get? v.22
5. What was Jesus' response to this? v.23
6. What then happened to Jesus? v.24
Commentators are uncertain about Annas and Caiaphas but it is probable that John, writing many years later than the other three Gospel writers, seeks to redress an omission in the Synoptics. They simply say Jesus was taken before the high priest; John implicates both Annas and Caiaphas. Perhaps when the others wrote either or both of the men were still in power; when John wrote much later they were probably both now dead. It is though that Annas was the power behind the religious throne and had been high priest, but was now just the power behind Caiaphas who was present high priest. That would be why Jesus would have been taken to Annas first. It is quite possible that both men lived in the same place and so Peter in the courtyard (recorded in both Matthew and John) is outside the place where they both were. When Jesus was taken from Annas to Caiaphas (v.24) it could simply have been to another suite of rooms in the same building.
Whatever the truth, the dealing with Jesus is quite clear. This is not an unbiased hearing. As Jesus pointed out, he had done nothing in secret and if they had a charge, bring the witnesses. Jesus had nothing to fear from the truth. The violence of one of the officials there indicates the malice that was present there.
1. The whole religious leadership was implicated in Jesus' death!
2. Jesus had nothing to fear from the truth. May it be for us also.
A. Find Out:
1. To whom did the Jews go and why did he come to them? v.28
2. What did Pilate ask and suggest and with what responses? v.29-31
3. What did Pilate ask Jesus and what did he answer? v.33,34
4. What then did he ask and what was Jesus' response? v.35,36
5. What assertion did he make and what did Jesus respond? v.37
6. What was Pilate's assessment and the crowd's response? v.38b-40
From the religious leaders Jesus is now taken to the civil or military leader, Pilate. It's coming up to Passover so the Jews want to remain ceremonially clean and so won't enter a Gentile house. Thus Pilate goes out to them, probably not making him feel particularly amiable towards them! When he ask about charges they refuse to give details and basically say, “We've judged him, and he's a criminal who deserves the death penalty!”. Now the point to note is that blasphemy was only a religious crime, not a civil one.
Pilate goes on to interrogate Jesus himself. Is this man a rebel leader likely to upset the peace? When Jesus side steps giving a direct answer Pilate pushes to ask what he had done. Jesus speaks about his kingdom, indicating that his actions have all been to do with another sphere, and are not therefore pertinent to any issue of civil disturbance here. Pilate leaps on this as if to say, ah, so I'm right, you are a king! Of course, says Jesus, but not in the sense you are thinking about. I'm a king over truth, my rule is all to do with truth. That confuses Pilate! The end result is that he declares Jesus innocent and offers to release him but the crowd are determined to have him killed and so shout for another prisoner to be released instead.
1. Jesus' kingdom is not about earthly matters, it's about truth.
2. Unrighteous people are not concerned about truth.
In this third group of 7 studies we have seen :
These chapters reveal the shame of mankind! We are part of mankind!
1. Jesus was in complete control in every crisis
2. We fail him so often in a crisis
3. Hard hearted men ignore the truth
4. Evil men succeed when good men stay quiet
5. Political expediency is wrong!
Thank the Lord that he willingly went to the Cross to take your punishment. Thank him for his grace that enabled him to go through that crisis. Ask him for that same grace for your days.
PART 4 : "Death & Burial"
In this penultimate Part watch for the evidence that declares Jesus Christ as unique in the history of mankind: first of all his death. Read the details, be quite clear, he died! In some ways these are the most important chapters in the whole Bible, showing as they do the death of the Saviour of the world, and then later his resurrection triumph.