THE 89 DAY GOSPEL CHALLENGE
DAY EIGHTY-SIX JOHN EIGHTEEN
In this chapter, John reviewed the events of the night Jesus was arrested and the morning of Jesus trial prior to His execution. What John said is consistent with the accounts in the other three Gospels. There is very little new material here. But it is well that we are reminded that Jesus came to die and that is just what He did.
They played a game with no winner. How incredible that Pilate, a heathen polytheist, was Jesus’ advocate. He wanted to let Jesus go but did not have the fortitude to stand by his convictions and, in the end, caved into political expediency.
It is just as incredible that Jesus’ accusers were the ones who should have recognized Him for Who He was, the Messiah. But their jealousy and their fear of losing their position with the Romans they hated led them to blindly reject Jesus. He had “the signs” to confirm Him as Messiah. He had the words of life for the people. But their shallow understanding of the Law and the Prophets and their addiction to ritual and tradition led them to make the biggest mistake in human history. They rejected their Savior, the only Savior.
1. Arrested in Gethsemane (v. 1-11)
Gethsemane was an urban garden located just outside the city walls at the foot of the Mount of Olives. After Jesus finished His prayer in chapter seventeen, Jesus and the disciples left for the garden, a place they frequently visited to rest and pray. Judas knew of the garden. It is probable that Jesus would teach them during the visits in the garden privately, away from the crowds in a more personal setting.
John gives more details than the other accounts of what happened when Jesus was arrested. Judas left the meal early and returned with a detachment of soldiers and officers provided by the chief priests and Pharisees. They came with torches and weapons as if to arrest a dangerous criminal.
Jesus met them and asked who they sought. They said, “Jesus of Nazareth.” Jesus identified Himself as the man they sought and immediately they drew back and some fell to the ground. They cringed at the authority in His voice. Fear was in their hearts. Again, Jesus asked, “Whom do you seek?”
Jesus again said, “I am He.” And then, in a characteristic manner, He said, “I will go with you but let the others go free.” Peter jumped to Jesus defense and drew his sword and cut off the right ear of Malchus, the servant of the High Priest.
“Put away your sword, Peter.” Jesus had not come to fight. Jesus had come to die. Peter takes a lot of criticism due to his impulsiveness. He always led with his heart. Peter was the only one who came to his Master’s defense. At that moment, Peter was willing to die. Jesus asked, “Peter, shall I not drink of the cup My Father has given Me.” Though his actions were ill-advised, Peter stood while the others fled.
2. Brought to Annas and Caiaphas (v. 12-14)
They arrested Jesus and bound Him and led Him away. They took Him to the house of Annas first. He was the father-in-law of Caiaphas, the High Priest. Caiaphas was the one who had said it was expedient for one man to die for the people rather than the whole nation perish (John 11:50). Caiaphas spoke in relation to political expedience and not for the spiritual benefit of the people.
3. Peter’s Denial (v. 15-18)
John divides the denial of Peter into two phases. As they led Jesus away, Peter and another unidentified disciple followed. The other disciple was known in the household of the High Priest and went into the courtyard while Peter stood outside. The other disciple spoke a servant girl who kept the door and brought Peter into the courtyard. When she saw Peter she said, “You are one of His disciples.” Peter denied it and said, “I am not.” Peter’s behavior was conflicted that night. One minute he pulled his sword and cut off a man’s right ear. In the next moment, he cowered before a little girl.
It was cold that evening and the servants and soldiers made a fire of coals to warm themselves. Peter stood with them and warmed himself at the enemy’s fire.
4. Jesus Questioned (v. 19-24)
Annas questioned Jesus. Annas had previously been the High Priest. He asked Jesus about His doctrine. Jesus replied, “I have never done anything in secret. I taught openly in the synagogue and in the Temple. Ask those who have heard Me.”
One of the soldiers struck Jesus in the mouth and told Him not to speak in that tone to the High Priest. “If I have done evil then tell Me what I have done. But if I have done right, you should not strike Me.”
Annas realized he was not getting the answer he wanted to hear and had Jesus sent to Caiaphas in chains.
5. Peter Denies Christ Two More Times (v. 25-27)
As Peter warmed himself with the soldiers and officers one said, “Are you not one of His disciples?
“I am not,” Peter answered. But a relative of Malchus, the one Peter had cut his ear off, was there. He had probably been with the mob that arrested Jesus. He too charged Peter with being one of Jesus’ disciples. A third time Peter denied that he knew Jesus. And the rooster crowed.
6. Jesus Questioned by Pilate (v. 28-38)
Early in the morning, they led Jesus from the home of the High Priest to the Praetorium, where Pilate sat in judgment. The leaders of the Jewish conspiracy did not go in for fear they would defile themselves and not be able to eat the Passover. So, Pilate went out to them. “What is your accusation,” he asked.
Defensively they said, “If He were not an evildoer, we would not bring Him to you.”
“Why don’t you take Him and judge Him by your laws?” Pilate asked.
“Because we do not have the authority to execute Him,” they replied.
Pilate then understood that they wanted Jesus dead. He went back into the Praetorium to question Jesus privately. “Are you the King of the Jews.”
Jesus replied with a question of His own. “Is this your question or did someone else tell you to ask me?”
Pilate said, “Am I a Jew? Your people have turned against You. What have you done?”
“My Kingdom is not of this world. If it were then my disciples would fight and I would not have been delivered to the Jews.” Jesus was saying that the Jews, and Pilate, had no power over Him except what God had allowed.
Pilate asked directly, “Then are you a King?” Jesus’ reply was just as direct. “You are right. I am a King. I came to bear testimony to the truth. Everyone who knows the truth knows Who I am. Yes, I am a King.”
Pilate asked Jesus, “What is truth?” There was no answer to the question. We know Jesus is the Way the Truth and the Life. Pilate turned from Jesus and returned to the Jews and declared truth as he knew it.”
Pilate said, “I have found no fault in Him.” That is the truth and two thousand plus years later it is still true.
7. Barabbas set Free (v. 39-40)
Pilate sought a logical resolution to the problem. “I will release a prisoner to you. Who shall it be?” Pilate’s attempt at reason failed. The Jews cried out, “Not Jesus. Give us Barabbas and crucify Jesus.” The mob chose a robber instead of the Son of God.
Three more days! God bless!
Love you all,