John 18:1-40 The Path To The Cross

by | Jun 8, 2024 | John, New Testament

I. Jesus Was No Victim Vs. 1-11

The setting: Jesus has just finished His private time with His disciples. (Chapters 13-17)

  • He finished their time in the Upper Room where Jesus initiated the Lord’s Supper.
  • He has completed His walk through the Temple Courts where He taught the Eleven.
  • They exit the Temple Mount on the east, and pass down and up the Kidron Valley.
  • The Kidron Brook would have been filled with the blood of Passover lambs offered by thousands of families in the Temple. It served as a drainage area from the Temple Mount.

Vs. 1, 2 They entered into the Garden of Gethsemane, a place frequented by Jesus and the Twelve.
The other Gospels tell us of Jesus’ agony in the Garden, where Jesus prayed.
NOTE- Jesus didn’t try to hide from what was coming. He went to a familiar place, knowing
that Judas knew the place, and that Judas would lead the opposition there to arrest Him.
Vs. 3-9 Jesus meets the opposition head on while protecting the disciples.
Judas brought both Romans soldiers and officers from the Temple security force.
The total amount of men with Judas is speculated to be between dozens and hundreds.
They probably expected some kind of resistance from Jesus and the Eleven.
V. 4 Jesus stepped forward to meet them; He knew this was meant to be. He advanced to them.
Vs. 5, 6 “I AM”. The name the God gave to Moses in Exodus 3:14. Jesus displayed His power.
Vs. 7-9 Jesus was careful to put Himself in their hands, but to protect the Eleven Disciples.
NOTE- Jesus advances upon the mob, clearly identifies Himself, and allow the Eleven to escape.

Matthew 26:52-53 “Put your sword in its place, for all who take the sword will perish by the sword. 53 Or do you think that I cannot now pray to My Father, and He will provide Me with more than twelve legions of angels? (72,000 angels)
NOTE- In Isaiah 37, one angel killed 85,000 men in one night.
Jesus could have called for enough angelic help to kill 6.12 billion people, but He didn’t do that.

Vs. 10, 11 Peter seeks to defend Jesus, but doesn’t realize that it was Jesus’ destiny to be arrested.
Jesus rebuked Peter in that at that moment, for Peter was working contrary to the will of the Father.
NOTE- Like Peter, we can have good intentions and great courage, and think we are advancing the purposes of God, when in reality we are working contrary to the plans of God.
NOTE- Some among the Disciples carried swords. Those were dangerous times.
Apparently, Jesus didn’t disapprove of weapons of self-defense, only the inappropriate use of them.

II. Jesus On Trial Before Annas Vs. 12-27

V. 12- Those arresting Jesus bound Him, which was useless if Jesus had wanted to escape.
V. 13- Caiaphaswas the current high priest; Annas was the previous high priest who still yielded influence. Annas had been removed by the Romans because of corruption. Incredibly wicked.
V. 14– See John 11:49-53 God used an evil man to pronounce His plan of redemption, though Caiaphas had evil intentions in his heart.
Vs. 15-18 It is believed that John was the other disciple with Jesus. He was known by Annas.
John made a way for Peter to be allowed into the courtyard, where his first denial of Jesus took place.
V. 17- This question is framed in the negative. That was the hostile situation Peter walked into.
Peter wasn’t afraid of the girl, he was afraid of the multitudes and the power of Annas.
NOTE- It is obvious that Peter experienced failure here, but he had enough interest and love for Jesus to put himself there. Peter’s failure did not disqualify him from further service to Jesus.
NOTE- Some fault Peter for warming himself at the enemy’s fire. Yes, he failed, but he went further than nine of the others. He and John followed Jesus further. His failure here would change him.
APPLICATION- How many of us have been caught in a difficult situation and made a rash statement about our faith that we later regretted? We said something we regretted, or didn’t speak up when we wish we should have. Jesus forgave and still used Peter to establish the Church.
V. 19– Annas sought to have Jesus incriminate Himself, which was against their own law. No witnesses had yet been called, and no formal charges had been made. This was illegal.
a. Jewish law allowed trials only during the day. This was an illegal night time trial.
b. “Not guilty” verdicts could be pronounced the same day. “Guilty” verdicts required 24 hours.
c. Judgement could not be executed on the eve of the Sabbath or on the eve of any festival.

Vs. 20, 21-– Jesus had a right to have witnesses speak for or against Him. His teaching was a matter of public record. Jesus simply appealed to the existing law of the Jews.
Vs. 22, 23- Jesus appealed in the same manner to the officer who slapped Him.
V. 24- Annas had pre-determined Jesus to be guilty, but received nothing to use against Him.
Vs. 25-27 Peter’s self-confidence finally crumbled. Luke tells us that Jesus looked at him at that moment. He went out and wept bitterly. (Matthew 26:75, Luke 22:61)

III. Jesus On Trial Before Pilate Vs. 28-40

V. 28- John skips over Jesus’ trial before Caiaphas and focuses on Pilate.
Notice the hypocrisy- The Jewish leaders didn’t enter the Roman fort so they could stay ceremonially pure in order to eat the Passover meal.
Praetorium- Roman headquarters, probably in the Antonia Fortress, next to the Temple Mount.
Vs. 29, 30– Pilate had gone along with the arrest of Jesus, but now he asks for the specific charges against Jesus, to which the Jews could say nothing that would convince Pilate. They assumed he would go along with them. They evaded giving a clear cut answer.
Vs. 31, 32– At times the Jews illegally (according to Rome) executed people. (Stephen, Acts 7)
The Scriptures predicted that Jesus would die on a cross, and so the sovereignty of God was in control regarding the manner of Jesus’ death. The Jews couldn’t crucify, but the Romans could.
They needed Pilate to go along with them regarding something he didn’t care about.
V. 33– John skips over the fact that Pilate sent Jesus to Herod, who sent Him back to Pilate.
V. 34- If Pilate is being prompted by the Jews, then it is a religious question, and the answer is “yes”.
If he is asking regarding politics, then the answer is “no”. Jesus’ question was legitimate and logical.
V. 35- What have you done? Jesus healed the sick, cast out demons, taught like no one had ever taught, miraculously fed multitudes, raised the dead, confronted the religious hypocrisy of Israel…and He would die for the sins of the world and be raised from the dead.
V. 36- Jesus rightly claimed to be the King of the Jews, but also claimed that His kingdom wasn’t of this world, but was from above. The methods of Jesus’ kingdom are wholly unlike those of men.
NOTE- Christ followers need to make sure that our focus is upon the kingdom of God, which doesn’t always align with the Kingdom of man. It does sometimes, but often we overlook the Kingdom of God and get distracted with the Kingdom of man.
NOTE- Normally, a King wants His citizens to fight to keep him alive, but that wasn’t true for Jesus. The Kingdom of God would be firmly established by the death (and resurrection) of its King.
V. 37- Jesus didn’t look like a king according to Pilate. Jesus came to bring truth, and whoever is of the truth hears the voice of Jesus, and embraces it, and believes it, and seeks to live by that truth.
V. 38- Truth Incarnate stood in front of Pilate, and he couldn’t discern it. He dismissed Jesus.
Vs. 39, 40- Pilate found no fault with Jesus, but found himself in a quandary. As a Roman governor, his job depended on keeping the peace, so he had to satisfy these Jews. He offered them an alternative, hoping to ease his conscience, but they chose a murderer over Jesus.
Barabbas- “son of the father”. An insurrectionist, freedom fighter against Rome.
The people chose the kingdom of man over the kingdom of God.