John 18:1-27

Sunday Morning Bible Study

March 27, 2011


Do people see Jesus? Is the gospel preached? Does it speak to the broken hearted? Does it build up the church? Milk – Meat – Manna Preach for a decision

Jesus has been preparing the guys for what’s up ahead of them after He leaves to go back to heaven.

He’s spent time instructing them and praying for them, and now we head into the final stretch.

18:1-12 Gethsemane

:1 When Jesus had spoken these words, He went out with His disciples over the Brook Kidron, where there was a garden, which He and His disciples entered.

:1 there was a garden

We know the place (play Gethsemane map clip) as the Garden of Gethsemane (“oil press”) (Mark 14:32).

It is at the bottom of the Mount of Olives.  Today there is a place set aside with olive trees that date way, way back.
It is very close to the Temple Mount.  You can see the Temple Mount from the garden.
PlayGethsemane” clip.
John doesn’t record the events we are most familiar with in the Garden, but after Jesus arrives in the garden, He goes off to pray by Himself. (Lk. 22:42)
(Lk 22:42 NKJV) saying, “Father, if it is Your will, take this cup away from Me; nevertheless not My will, but Yours, be done.”
It’s after Jesus’ time in prayer that Judas shows up.
Jesus is ready to handle what is up ahead because of His time in prayer.

:2 And Judas, who betrayed Him, also knew the place; for Jesus often met there with His disciples.

:2 Jesus often met there

Like other visitors to Jerusalem during the Passover, Jesus and His disciples had a camping spot where they’d spend the night.

During the major feasts like the Passover, Jerusalem would swell in size from the visitors that would come from all over the world.

Many people stayed in tents or temporary shelters.  Jesus apparently camped with His disciples on the Mount of Olives.  Each day they would go into Jerusalem.  Each night they would head back to the Mount of Olives.

Judas knew the camping spot.

:3 Then Judas, having received a detachment of troops, and officers from the chief priests and Pharisees, came there with lanterns, torches, and weapons.

:3 detachmentspeira – a Roman term for the tenth part of legion; about 600 men

The description reminds me of old movies… (Play Frankenstein Chase Scene clip)

Judas shows up with a crowd.  There are Roman soldiers, Jewish Temple officers, and Pharisees ready to arrest Jesus.

Earlier in the evening, Judas had left the dinner (John 13:30), and got the soldiers together, under the direction of the chief priests (Mat 26:14-16).

:4 Jesus therefore, knowing all things that would come upon Him, went forward and said to them, “Whom are you seeking?”

:4 knowing all things

Jesus steps out in front to draw the attention to Himself.  He’s trying to keep the disciples from being arrested.  He wants to make sure that He’s the only one taken.

:5 They answered Him, “Jesus of Nazareth.” Jesus said to them, “I am He.” And Judas, who betrayed Him, also stood with them.

:6 Now when He said to them, “I am He,” they drew back and fell to the ground.

:6 fellpipto – to fall; to go from standing upright to laying prostrate

It might be that they all just fell back on their bottoms.  It might be that they stepped back and then bowed to the ground before Jesus.

:7 Then He asked them again, “Whom are you seeking?” And they said, “Jesus of Nazareth.”

:8 Jesus answered, “I have told you that I am He. Therefore, if you seek Me, let these go their way,”

:8 let these goaphiemi – to send away; to bid going away or depart; to let go; not to hinder

Interesting word.  One of the words often translated “forgive”.

:9 that the saying might be fulfilled which He spoke, “Of those whom You gave Me I have lost none.”

:5 I am (ego eimi)

The phrase in the Greek is simply “I am”.

This is the Greek form of God’s name Yahweh.  When Moses asked God what His name was, God replied that His name was “I AM” (Ex. 3:14).


Jesus is the I AM

This Greek phrase is found 24 times in the Gospel of John.  Verse 8 is the final time that Jesus uses this phrase.
To the disciples in the midst of the storm at sea, He calmed their fears when He came walking on the water ...
(Jn 6:20 NKJV) But He said to them, “It is I; do not be afraid.”

Lit., He said “I AM, do not be afraid”

We’ve seen Jesus use the phrase in His seven classic “I AM” statements. The point of these statements is to give us a portrait of the character of God.  It shows us who God is.
He said “I AM …

The bread of life (6:35), the light of the world (8:12), the door of the sheep (10:7), the good shepherd (10:11), the resurrection (11:25), the way truth and life (14:6), and the true vine (15:1).

To the Jews, He made it pretty clear who He claimed to be:
(Jn 8:58 NKJV) Jesus said to them, “Most assuredly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I AM.”

They picked up stones to stone Him because He was claiming to be God.

He told us how important it was that we believe that He is God.
(Jn 8:24 NKJV) Therefore I said to you that you will die in your sins; for if you do not believe that I am He, you will die in your sins.”

Why is it important to understand that Jesus is God in human flesh?

He died to pay for our sins.  If He only laid down a single, finite life, He would only be able to pay for the sins of a single person.  If He laid down an infinite, eternal life, He would be able to pay for the sins of the world.

Jesus is powerful.  He is mighty.  He is God.
Is it surprising that here as He is being arrested, the simple mention of “I AM” sends these men to the ground?
Matthew records Jesus saying He had at His call 12 legions of angels (anywhere from 36,000 to 72,000 angels!).
We read in Isaiah:

(Is 11:4 NKJV) But with righteousness He shall judge the poor, And decide with equity for the meek of the earth; He shall strike the earth with the rod of His mouth, And with the breath of His lips He shall slay the wicked.

I have a little bit of pity for these soldiers who are coming to arrest the King of Kings.  I’m not sure anybody warned them about this.

:9 I have lost none


A Good Shepherd

He takes care of His flock.  He protected the disciples by making sure He was the only one arrested.
This is what a Good Shepherd does.
(Jn 10:11–13 NKJV) —11 “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd gives His life for the sheep. 12 But a hireling, he who is not the shepherd, one who does not own the sheep, sees the wolf coming and leaves the sheep and flees; and the wolf catches the sheep and scatters them. 13 The hireling flees because he is a hireling and does not care about the sheep.
Are you the head of your household? Are you in a leadership position at work or at school?  Be a good shepherd.
It is not easy leading a group of people. Sometimes it’s like herding cats…
PlayHerding Cats
Sometimes though, the problem isn’t with the group, the problem is with the leader.
I remember going on a retreat with one of my son’s 6th grade classes.  We had a group of twenty kids out at Joshua Tree.  The teacher was an awesome guy, but he was kind of new at leading a group.  He was a tall, athletic guy, at least a foot taller than any of the kids.  When we’d go hiking or rock climbing, he’d take off at a brisk walk, expecting the kids to keep up with him.  Not many of the kids or adults could keep up with him.  I found myself walking in the back of the group, catching all the stragglers, hoping that we’d eventually make it to the right destination.
A good shepherd keeps his eyes out to care for His flock.
(Is 40:11 NKJV) He will feed His flock like a shepherd; He will gather the lambs with His arm, And carry them in His bosom, And gently lead those who are with young.

:10 Then Simon Peter, having a sword, drew it and struck the high priest’s servant, and cut off his right ear. The servant’s name was Malchus.

:10 cut off his right ear

Keep in mind, I don't think that this is what Peter intended. He most likely was aiming to cut the guy's head off, and just missed.

Luke records (Luke 22:50-51) that Jesus touched Malchus and healed his ear.

(Lk 22:50–51 NKJV) —50 And one of them struck the servant of the high priest and cut off his right ear. 51 But Jesus answered and said, “Permit even this.” And He touched his ear and healed him.

:11 So Jesus said to Peter, “Put your sword into the sheath. Shall I not drink the cup which My Father has given Me?”

:11 Shall I not drink the cup



Earlier in prayer in the Garden, Jesus had already resigned Himself to doing the will of the Father.
Sometimes we think we’d be better off if we went a different direction, but the truth is that the best place to be is right in the center of God’s will.
Here’s the tale of a 19th century New England ship captain:
We sailed from Kennebec on the first of October, 1876.  There had been several gales, and some of my friends thought it hardly safe to go, but after considerable prayer I concluded it was right to undertake the voyage.
“On the 19th of October we were about one hundred and fifty miles west of the Bahamas, and we encountered very disagreeable weather.  For five or six days we seemed held by shifting currents, or some unknown power, in and about the place.  We would think we had sailed forty of fifty miles, when, taking our observations we would find we were within three or four miles of our position of the day before.  This circumstance occurring repeatedly, proved a trial to my faith, and I said within my heart:  “Lord, why are we so hindered, and kept in this position?”  Day by day we were held as if by an unseen force, until at length a change took place, and we went our way.
“On reaching port, they inquired, “Where have you been through the storm?”  “What storm?”  We then learned that a terrible hurricane had swept through that region and that all was desolation.  We afterwards learned that this hurricane had swept around us, and had almost formed a circle around the place occupied by us during the storm.  A hundred miles in one direction was wreck and ruin, and fifty miles in the opposite direction all was desolation; and while that storm was raging in all its fury, we were held in perfect safety, in quiet waters, and in continual anxiety to change our position and to pursue our voyage.  One day of ordinary sailing would have brought us into the tacks of the storm, and sent us to the bottom of the sea.  We were anxious to sail on, but some unseen power held us where we were, and we escaped.”
The Lesson:  Don’t fight God’s will.  Surrender.

:12 Then the detachment of troops and the captain and the officers of the Jews arrested Jesus and bound Him.

:12 arrested Jesus

Somewhere just before Peter swings his sword, something else took place that John didn’t bother to record because the other gospel writers already had it well covered.

Judas wanted the arresting officers to know which person they were to arrest.

(Mk 14:44–46 NKJV) —44 Now His betrayer had given them a signal, saying, “Whomever I kiss, He is the One; seize Him and lead Him away safely.” 45 As soon as he had come, immediately he went up to Him and said to Him, “Rabbi, Rabbi!” and kissed Him. 46 Then they laid their hands on Him and took Him.

Luke records:

(Lk 22:48 NKJV) But Jesus said to him, “Judas, are you betraying the Son of Man with a kiss?”


Jesus understands betrayal

One of the hardest things in life is to have someone close to you turn their back and betray you.
Judas didn't pick a slap across the face, he decided to betray the Lord with a kiss.
In that day, just like ours, a kiss was a sign of affection and devotion.
Some of you have experienced betrayal from someone close to you.
You have a Savior who understands.
(Heb 4:15–16 NKJV) —15 For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin. 16 Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.

18:13-27 Trial before Annas

:13 And they led Him away to Annas first, for he was the father-in-law of Caiaphas who was high priest that year.

:14 Now it was Caiaphas who advised the Jews that it was expedient that one man should die for the people.

:13 Annas

Caiaphas, not Annas, was the high priest that year.

Though originally, the high priest was to hold his office for life, at this time in history, the high priest was an appointed position, appointed by the Roman government.

Annas was a former high priest, and the head of a family of high priests, sort of a “godfather”. (Play “Godfather Love Theme”)

Five of his sons would eventually become high priests.
Currently, his son-in-law, Caiphas, has been quite successful in being a high priest and dealing with the Romans.

Before Jesus has His actual trial before Caiaphas and the Sanhedrin, He is led before Annas, the “godfather”, for a private hearing.

:14 Caiaphas

In 1990, while building a road in Jerusalem, a large family tomb was uncovered and an ornate ossuary (bone box) was discovered with Caiaphas’ name inscribed on it.

:14 it was expedient that one man should die

Caiaphas had said this just a few weeks earlier (John 11:49-52)

Though Caiaphas was talking politics when he said this, because he was high priest at the time, God shaped his words to actually speak prophetically as well.

Jesus would die for the nation.  He would die for their sins.

:15 And Simon Peter followed Jesus, and so did another disciple. Now that disciple was known to the high priest, and went with Jesus into the courtyard of the high priest.

:15 another disciple

This is the apostle John.  John had some sort of connection to the high priest and he is allowed into the courtyard when Jesus is brought before Annas.

:15 the courtyard

Houses like Annas’ were built around a central, exterior courtyard.

The trial before Annas will take place outside in the courtyard of Annas’ house.

Peter and John were able to stand off to the side and watch the proceedings.

:16 But Peter stood at the door outside. Then the other disciple, who was known to the high priest, went out and spoke to her who kept the door, and brought Peter in.

:16 brought Peter in

John goes to the girl and gives her instructions to let Peter into the courtyard.

:17 Then the servant girl who kept the door said to Peter, “You are not also one of this Man’s disciples, are you?” He said, “I am not.”

:17 You are not also one …

The way this girl is asking the question, she was expecting a negative response.

It’s as if she’s saying, “You’re not really one of those disciples, are you?”
She’s making it easy for Peter to say “no”.

It’s kind of like that voice that said to some of you today, “You don’t really want to go to church today, do you?”  It’s easy to say “no”.

:17 the servant girl

Jesus warned Peter that he would deny Jesus three times.  It has started.


Danger:  Little Girl Ahead

Somehow we get the idea that it’s going to be a great big bully with a knife at our throat that’s going to make us deny the Lord.
Peter is in fact pretty good with bullies.

He was willing to take out his sword and use it!

But here’s Peter denying that he knows Jesus in front of a little slave girl.
Beware of the “little” denials.
Be careful of not mentioning you’re a Christian because it’s just not convenient.

It might make it easier to deny Him next time.

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

:18 Peter stood with them and warmed himself


Quiet Compromise

Peter is warming himself at the enemy’s fire
It’s almost like he just wants to blend in and not cause any trouble.
Maybe they all joked about the latest soccer match between Jerusalem and Caesarea. There’s nothing wrong with that.
He wants to just be “one of the guys”. But he’s about to deny Jesus again.
Sometimes we need to speak up about knowing Jesus.
Is it clear to your non-believing friends that you love and follow the Lord?  Or are you just “one of the gang”?

:19 The high priest then asked Jesus about His disciples and His doctrine.

:20 Jesus answered him, “I spoke openly to the world. I always taught in synagogues and in the temple, where the Jews always meet, and in secret I have said nothing.

:20 in secret I have said nothing

Some religions are all about learning special knowledge and performing secret rituals.

Not Jesus.

:21 Why do you ask Me? Ask those who have heard Me what I said to them. Indeed they know what I said.”

:21 Why do you ask Me?

Apparently Annas had never heard Jesus speak before.

For three years, he had never bothered to see personally what all the commotion was about.

Note:  Following Jesus isn't about being "religious".

Here is one of the most “religious” men of his day, and he apparently didn’t have time for finding out who Jesus was.

:22 And when He had said these things, one of the officers who stood by struck Jesus with the palm of his hand, saying, “Do You answer the high priest like that?”

:22 Do You answer the high priest like that?”

Do you see the irony of this? This officer has just struck and rebuked the King of Kings, Heaven’s own Great High Priest.

:22 struckrhapisma –a blow with the flat of the hand, a slap in the face

:23 Jesus answered him, “If I have spoken evil, bear witness of the evil; but if well, why do you strike Me?”

:23 strikedero – to flay, skin; to beat, thrash, smite

It’s possible that Jesus is bleeding from this blow.

:23 If I have spoken evil …

In other words, “If I’ve said something wrong, tell me what it is, otherwise you shouldn’t be hitting Me!”

:24 Then Annas sent Him bound to Caiaphas the high priest.

:24 bound to Caiaphas

Jesus would actually have several trials that night and early the next day.

After Annas, Jesus would be on trial before Caiaphas and the Sanhedrin.
Then He would be sent to Pilate.
Pilate would send Jesus to Herod, and then Herod sends Jesus back to Pilate.
After appearing before Annas, He would be sent to Caiaphas and the rest of the Sanhedrin for His official Jewish trial. (John 18:12-14; Matt 26:57-58; 27:1; Luk 22:66-71).
From there He would be sent to Pilate, the Roman governor, to be sentenced to death.  (Matt. 27:2, 11-14; Luk 23:1-5)
Pilate would try to pass it off on Herod (Luke 23:6-12), but eventually had to pass sentence on Jesus himself (Matt. 27:15-26; Luke 23:13-25).

John doesn’t record the details of the trial before Caiaphas. (Luke does Lk. 22:66-71)

Luke is the one that records the details of what happened before Caiaphas and the Sanhedrin:

(Lk 22:66–71 NKJV) —66 As soon as it was day, the elders of the people, both chief priests and scribes, came together and led Him into their council, saying, 67 “If You are the Christ, tell us.” But He said to them, “If I tell you, you will by no means believe. 68 And if I also ask you, you will by no means answer Me or let Me go. 69 Hereafter the Son of Man will sit on the right hand of the power of God.” 70 Then they all said, “Are You then the Son of God?” So He said to them, “You rightly say that I am.” 71 And they said, “What further testimony do we need? For we have heard it ourselves from His own mouth.”

:25 Now Simon Peter stood and warmed himself. Therefore they said to him, “You are not also one of His disciples, are you?” He denied it and said, “I am not!”

:26 One of the servants of the high priest, a relative of him whose ear Peter cut off, said, “Did I not see you in the garden with Him?”

:26 a relative of him …

One of Malchus’ relatives recognized Peter from the garden.  Peter was the guy who cut his relative’s ear off.

:27 Peter then denied again; and immediately a rooster crowed.

:27 Peter then denied again

Matthew records that Peter got a little dramatic here:

(Mt 26:74 NKJV) Then he began to curse and swear, saying, “I do not know the Man!” Immediately a rooster crowed.

:27 immediately a rooster crowed

Remember that this is all taking place in the outdoor courtyard?

Luke tells us what else took place as the rooster crowed:

(Lk 22:61–62 NKJV) 61 And the Lord turned and looked at Peter. Then Peter remembered the word of the Lord, how He had said to him, “Before the rooster crows, you will deny Me three times.” 62 So Peter went out and wept bitterly.


He sees me

It’s bad enough to fall into sin.
But to realize that my Savior, who paid the penalty for all my sin by dying on the cross, is watching me sin!

I can understand Peter weeping.

If I’m honest with myself, I have admit that I probably wouldn’t sin as much as I do if I knew that somebody was watching me.
Have you ever been watching something on TV or on your computer and somebody walks in and you feel like you need to switch channels or close out the program you’re in?
God spoke to Ezekiel:
(Eze 8:12 NKJV) —12 Then He said to me, “Son of man, have you seen what the elders of the house of Israel do in the dark, every man in the room of his idols? For they say, ‘The Lord does not see us, the Lord has forsaken the land.’ ”

The leaders of the nation had been doing bad things in the dark.  They thought that God didn’t see or care.

Yet God not only saw them, God was telling AND showing Ezekiel about it 500 miles away.

Though it may be frightening to realize that heaven is watching you, it’s also comforting to know that heaven is watching you.
God knows what you’re going through.  He cares.  You are not alone.