John Chapter 18
The Betrayal and Arrest of Jesus:
(Read John 18:1-11)
After the prayer, Jesus crossed the Kidron valley with his disciples and entered the garden of Gethsemane. Judas came there with a large number of soldiers to arrest Jesus. What an irony that they came there with torches to arrest the one who is the light of the world? They came with weapons to get the prince of peace. Judas approached Christ with a kiss. It did not surprise Jesus because he was completely aware of Judas's plan. Jesus came forward and said, “Whom do you seek"? They said, "Jesus of Nazareth". Jesus said, "I am He" and thus stated His deity (John 8:58). At this statement they all drew back and fell to the ground. Again Jesus asked, “Who are you looking for?” They replied, “Jesus of Nazareth”. Before they could arrest Jesus, he requested that His disciples be left alone. Even in this crucial hour of betrayal, his concern was not for himself, but for his disciples. When others tried to escape from danger, Jesus voluntarily faced his arrest and death. He revealed his power and compassion to his enemies. Jesus knew that disciples were not ready to face the test of their faith. Peter tried to protect Jesus by cutting off the ear of Malchus, the high priest’s servant. Jesus loved his enemies and mercifully healed him (Luke 22:51). Jesus rebuked Peter for his impulsiveness and said, “Shall I not drink the cup that the Father has given me?” Oh, how low Jesus stooped to show mercy to those who do not deserve it! The good shepherd was willing to lay down his life for the sheep. No one takes Jesus’ life from him; he freely laid it down for us (John 10:17-18). The self-sacrificing love of Christ for sinners is the heart of the gospel message.
Peter Denies Jesus:
(Read John 18:12-18)
The temple guards took Jesus to Annas for the preliminary trial. Annas was the father-in-law of Caiaphas the high priest. He had great influence over the Sanhedrin. Caiaphas had already drawn the conclusion about Jesus that it is expedient that one man should die for the people. Peter denied Jesus as predicted. Even as Peter was denying Jesus, he still loved him to the end (John 13:36-38). His sin did not separate Peter from the love of Christ. Peter was ready to lay down his life for Christ, yet he failed. This reminds us of the depth of human frailty. What led Peter to deny Christ? He was standing with those who arrested Jesus (John 18:18). He followed Jesus at a distance (Matthew 26:58). Peter was also sitting among the enemies of Jesus (Luke 22:55). He denied Jesus before a servant girl. Fear, anger and insecurity contributed to Peter’s failure. We are not immune from these failures either. We are tempted to deny Christ when we are ashamed of the gospel of Christ. Peter's failures and sin did not separate him from Christ’s love. Jesus is able to separate us from the guilt and power of sin. Peter’s threefold denial was answered by Jesus’ threefold restoration (John 21:15-19). Peter remembered the words of Jesus and wept bitterly. He was restored back to fellowship. Peter's denial is a reminder of the depth of our sinfulness. Jesus is able to restore us from our failures. Our sins and failures do not separate us from the love of Christ. The self-sacrificing generosity of Jesus was shown throughout his arrest and trials. We do not deserve this love, yet Jesus loves us.
(Read John 18:19- 40)
Jesus was willing to endure the illegal trials. First, Annas, who was not a high priest had no right to conduct the trial. Secondly, His trial took place at night. Thirdly, Jesus was bound and beaten before he was charged. Fourthly, false witnesses were hired to testify against Christ. Jesus went through three stages of Jewish trials and three stages of Roman trials. He was falsely accused of subversion. They said Jesus opposed paying taxes to Caesar and claimed that He is the king. Sanhedrin found Jesus guilty but could not legally pass the death sentence on Him. Jews used the method of stoning to execute the criminals. Jews took Jesus to Roman Governor Pilate. Pilate asked them the formal accusation for bringing Jesus before him. Jews had none. Jews wanted Pilate to pass a death sentence on Jesus so Jesus could suffer crucifixion as predicted (Matthew 20:17-19). Pilate asked Jesus “Are you the king of the Jews?" Jesus replied that his kingdom is not political but spiritual (Romans 14:17). His kingdom is not of this world. Christ's kingdom is established as the Holy Spirit transformed our hearts through the preaching of the gospel. The evidence of the kingdom of God is the transformed life of believers. It does not consist of temporary institutions of this world. Jesus was born to be King. He is the eternal King, the King of kings. Pilate failed to understand who Jesus is. Many people see Jesus as a good man, a humanitarian, and a promoter of love and the teacher of golden rule. But they miss the opportunity to believe Him as their Lord and Savior. He came to bear witness to the truth. Pilate asked Jesus "What is truth?” Pilot failed to understand that the truth is the reality of God. Christ is the embodiment of all truth (John 14:6). Pilate found no guilt in Jesus (John 18:38). But he was fearful of the angry Jewish leaders. Pilate tried the customary method at the Passover to release one prisoner to spare Jesus. But the crowd chose Barabbas, a robber rather than their King (John 18:40). Pilate tried to place the responsibility of Christ's death on Jews. But it must be remembered that each person is responsible for rejecting Jesus as their Savior. Jesus has come to restore and make all things new. He came to save sinners by dying on the cross. Have you received Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior? Pray that God would strengthen you to bring sinners under the reign of Christ through the sharing of the gospel. If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation (2 Corinthians 5:17).
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