I’m teaching Sunday School on the book of John. Here is my study on John Chapter 18.
Vs 1-2 “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. And Judas, who betrayed Him, also knew the place; for Jesus often met there with His disciples.”
Jesus leaves the place where He was praying for His disciples from back in Ch. 17 (Jesus Prays for His Followers) and comes into this beautiful garden. The verse tells us that Jesus spent a lot of time here: “Jesus often met there with His disciples.” Did you know that God loves a beautiful garden? God created gardens, and He made them to be wonderful places of rest and peace.
Genesis 2:8-9 “The Lord God planted a garden eastward in Eden, and there He put the man whom He had formed. And out of the ground the Lord God made every tree grow that is pleasant to the sight and good for food.”
Genesis 3:8 “And they heard the sound of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God among the trees of the garden.”
It’s amazing that both of these beautiful places of God’s creation, these tranquil sanctuaries of rest and peace, were disturbed by sin and hate.
The first time, in the Garden of Eden, the sin was eating the fruit they were not allowed to touch, and the hate was the hatred of Satan against mankind and God, and the result was God banishing Adam and Eve from the garden.
The second time, the sin was in the Jews and Judas who came to arrest Jesus, the hate of all of them toward Christ, and again Satan is the one behind it in that he entered Judas to make him a traitor (Side note: Satan can’t make you do anything. Judas was willing.) The result was Jesus being led to the cross and being crucified. For that short period He was abandoned by God, similar to Adam being put out of the Garden of Eden.
Vs 3 “Then Judas, having received a detachment of troops, and officers from the chief priests and Pharisees, came there with lanterns, torches, and weapons.”
Had Jesus ever done anything violent to anyone? No. But these guys are scared. Who wouldn’t be afraid? This Jesus guy claimed to be the Son of God! If He’s telling the truth, they’re in trouble! If He’s lying, then He is out of His mind crazy. They were right to be afraid.
Vs 4-9 “Jesus therefore, knowing all things that would come upon Him, went forward and said to them, ‘Whom are you seeking?’ They answered Him, ‘Jesus of Nazareth.’ Jesus said to them, ‘I am He.’ And Judas, who betrayed Him, also stood with them. Now when He said to them, ‘I am He,’ they drew back and fell to the ground. Then He asked them again, ‘Whom are you seeking?’ And they said, ‘Jesus of Nazareth.’ Jesus answered, ‘I have told you that I am He. Therefore, if you seek Me, let these go their way,’ that the saying might be fulfilled which He spoke, ‘Of those whom You gave Me I have lost none.’
So Jesus knows “all things that would come upon Him” and He approaches them anyway. He approached this situation the same way He did this entire episode of His crucifixion. He was a willing servant. He was sad, He prayed it didn’t have to happen. But He was consistently willing. Never wavering. He was always firm in His commitment to do God’s will.
Vs 10-11 “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. So Jesus said to Peter, ‘Put your sword into the sheath. Shall I not drink the cup which My Father has given Me?'”
If we are persecuted unjustly how many of us would choose not to defend ourselves? As a matter of fact, Jesus even goes so far as to heal this man’s ear! Luke tells us in Luke 22:51 “And he touched his ear and healed him.”
David Wilkerson was a small country preacher reaching out to the violent street gangs in the 1950s in New York City. In a book about his experience, he tells the story of a gang leader that threatens to knife him to death. His response to that gang leader? “You could cut me in a thousand pieces and lay them out in the street and every piece would love you.” (1)
What a beautiful picture of Christ. And that’s what Jesus is doing for us here. His greatest concern is not for His own life. He shows us sacrificial love where He is willing to not just put His life in danger like Preacher Wilkerson did, but to GIVE UP His life for us. He knew He was going to be killed.
Vs 12-14 “Then the detachment of troops and the captain and the officers of the Jews arrested Jesus and bound Him. And they led Him away to Annas first, for he was the father-in-law of Caiaphas who was high priest that year. Now it was Caiaphas who advised the Jews that it was expedient that one man should die for the people.”
This looks back to the earlier passage in John’s gospel where Caiaphas did in fact foretell that Jesus would die for all mankind, though He didn’t know Jesus was doing it as Savior and King.
John 11:47-53 “Then the chief priests and the Pharisees gathered a council and said, ‘What shall we do? For this Man works many signs. If we let Him alone like this, everyone will believe in Him, and the Romans will come and take away both our place and nation.’ And one of them, Caiaphas, being high priest that year, said to them, ‘You know nothing at all, nor do you consider that it is expedient for us that one man should die for the people, and not that the whole nation should perish.'” Now this he did not say on his own authority; but being high priest that year he prophesied that Jesus would die for the nation, and not for that nation only, but also that He would gather together in one the children of God who were scattered abroad. Then, from that day on, they plotted to put Him to death.”
Caiaphas was just trying to say that if Jesus were to be killed, then there wouldn’t be an uprising, and the rest of us may not have to suffer under the Roman fist. In fact though, Jesus did die to save the nation of Israel and the rest of the world from our sin.
Vs 15-17 “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. 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. 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.'”
We will see here Peter denying Jesus three times as was predicted by Christ in Luke 22:34. There have been many times in my life when I have denied Jesus. Usually for me, it is simply avoiding the subject. Maybe it’s when I see someone hurting and I know they need Jesus, or prayer, and I do nothing. But there have been other times when I felt the tug of the Holy Spirit on my heart, and I stepped out in faith and I was so blessed by what God did! Peter regretted His denial of Jesus, Matthew tells us He “wept bitterly” after denying knowing the Lord. I am so thankful there is grace and mercy, God loves me in spite of my failures and my denial of Him.
Vs 18-27 “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. The high priest then asked Jesus about His disciples and His doctrine. 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. Why do you ask Me? Ask those who have heard Me what I said to them. Indeed they know what I said.’ 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?’ Jesus answered him, ‘If I have spoken evil, bear witness of the evil; but if well, why do you strike Me?’ Then Annas sent Him bound to Caiaphas the high priest. 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!’ 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?’ Peter then denied again; and immediately a rooster crowed.”
Note from David Guzik: “Notice that it is not Peter’s faith that fails, but his courage. After his failure he weeps bitterly, because he really does love his Lord.” I love that! It wasn’t Peter’s lack of faith! His faith was strong, but his courage was weak.
Vs 28-38 “Then they led Jesus from Caiaphas to the Praetorium, and it was early morning. But they themselves did not go into the Praetorium, lest they should be defiled, but that they might eat the Passover. Pilate then went out to them and said, ‘What accusation do you bring against this Man?’ They answered and said to him, ‘If He were not an evildoer, we would not have delivered Him up to you.’ Then Pilate said to them, ‘You take Him and judge Him according to your law.’ Therefore the Jews said to him, ‘It is not lawful for us to put anyone to death’, that the saying of Jesus might be fulfilled which He spoke, signifying by what death He would die.
Then Pilate entered the Praetorium again, called Jesus, and said to Him, ‘Are You the King of the Jews?’ Jesus answered him, ‘Are you speaking for yourself about this, or did others tell you this concerning Me?’ Pilate answered, ‘Am I a Jew? Your own nation and the chief priests have delivered You to me. What have You done?’ Jesus answered, ‘My kingdom is not of this world. If My kingdom were of this world, My servants would fight, so that I should not be delivered to the Jews; but now My kingdom is not from here.’ Pilate therefore said to Him, ‘Are You a king then?’ Jesus answered, ‘You say rightly that I am a king. For this cause I was born, and for this cause I have come into the world, that I should bear witness to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth hears My voice.’ Pilate said to Him, ‘What is truth?’ And when he had said this, he went out again to the Jews, and said to them, ‘I find no fault in Him at all.
But you have a custom that I should release someone to you at the Passover. Do you therefore want me to release to you the King of the Jews?’ Then they all cried again, saying, ‘Not this Man, but Barabbas!’ Now Barabbas was a robber.
Notice that Jesus was not found guilty by Pilate. In fact, He was found to be innocent. But they allowed the innocent man to be killed and the guilty man to be released and go free instead. this is what Jesus dod for all of us! The innocent man was killed, and the guilty can go free because HE DIED in our place. We simply need to accept the gift:
Romans 6:23 “For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.”
1 (From the book “The Cross and the Switchblade” by David Wilkerson)