John 18: This chapter brings us to the arrest and trial of Yeshua. John, as in most of his message, focuses on the Deity of Messiah as being a manifestation of the Father.
(John 18:1 NASB) When Jesus had spoken these words, He went forth with His disciples over the ravine of the Kidron, where there was a garden, into which He Himself entered, and His disciples.
John 18:1: They went over this brook which was near Jerusalem. Yeshua may have gone there often to pray to His Father under an open sky.
(John 18:2 NASB) Now Judas also, who was betraying Him, knew the place; for Jesus had often met there with His disciples.
John 18:2: Judas knew where Yeshua would go. So this was likely the preferred place for Yeshua to go and pray to the Father.
John does not include the agony that Yeshua went through in his account of the Garden of Gethsemane. The other Gospels record the extreme need Yeshua had for prayer at that time and how the disciples couldn’t stay awake or how Yeshua sweat as if they were droplets of blood. The other Gospels often focus tell of the humanity of Yeshua. But this Gospel of John speaks of the deity of Yeshua and of His glory. His deity and dignity are brought out in John’s account. He did not offer any resistance at all (Isa. 53:7).
(John 18:3 NASB) Judas then, having received the Roman cohort, and officers from the chief priests and the Pharisees, came^ there with lanterns and torches and weapons.
John 18:3: The King James Version states that Judas had a “band” of troops with him. A band of troops is one-tenth of a legion. A legion could be as many as 6000 men. This means that there could have been 600 soldiers with Judas. They knew of the miracles that Yeshua had performed and how He had escaped the Pharisees previously (John 7:30, 44, 8:59, 10:37-39).
Matthew tells us that Yeshua could have commanded 120 times that many angels down to destroy them if He had wanted to (Matt. 26:53).
(John 18:4 NASB) Jesus therefore, knowing all the things that were coming upon Him, went forth, and said^ to them, “Whom do you seek?”
John 18:4: Yeshua was not some little weak man that tearfully spoke that we all need to love one another. He was tremendously feared by His enemies. And in the face of possibly over 500 armed soldiers, He offered Himself.
If He had not yielded Himself, all the weapons in the world would have been totally worthless.
(John 18:5 NASB) They answered Him, “Jesus the Nazarene.” He said^ to them, “I am He.” And Judas also who was betraying Him, was standing with them.
John 18:5: The soldiers wanted a man called Yeshua from Nazareth. They didn’t know Him and didn’t recognize Him. It was dark and it would appear that Judas didn’t recognize Him right away either. Yeshua had to step forward to them.
(John 18:6 NASB) When therefore He said to them, “I am He,” they drew back, and fell to the ground.
John 18:6: Why did the Roman soldiers fall to the ground? Yeshua once again made the pronouncement of “I Am” (the “He” is not in the Greek). He makes the proclamation once again that He is Elohim. He reveals His deity and all they can do is fall to the ground. This fulfills the prophecy given in Psalm 27:1-2 and Psalm 40:14.
Who is in charge of this situation? The people that came to arrest Him didn’t recognize Him and Roman soldiers were flat on their backs. This whole arrest and trial was not mankind’s destruction of Yeshua Messiah. It was Yeshua willfully laying down His life for all of His people.
(John 18:7 NASB) Again therefore He asked them, “Whom do you seek?” And they said, “Jesus the Nazarene.”
(John 18:8 NASB) Jesus answered, “I told you that I am He; if therefore you seek Me, let these go their way,”
(John 18:9 NASB) that the word might be fulfilled which He spoke, “Of those whom Thou hast given Me I lost not one.”
John 18:9: Yeshua is calling the shots here. He told them to take Him and leave His disciples alone. They do as He says. This goes against everything that man’s law should have stood for. One would think that the disciples would have been arrested as accomplices or witnesses. They should have been forced to testify against Yeshua if He had actually done anything wrong.
But they are not the ones in charge of this whole situation. Yeshua is in control and He had previously said they would not be lost (John 6:39-40).
(John 18:10 NASB) Simon Peter therefore having a sword, drew it, and struck the high priest’s slave, and cut off his right ear; and the slave’s name was Malchus.
John 18:10: Notice that they didn’t arrest Peter for this. They certainly should have and it probably would have been Peter’s death. They are not in charge here. Yeshua is in total control.
We are told in Luke that Yeshua miraculously healed the severed ear (Luke 22:51). Only John records the name of this man who was injured.
(John 18:11 NASB) Jesus therefore said to Peter, “Put the sword into the sheath; the cup which the Father has given Me, shall I not drink it?”
John 18:11: Peter was trying to demonstrate that he meant what he said earlier when he was willing to die for Yeshua. It certainly shows what a sorry swordsman Peter was. He was an expert with a fishing net, but he didn’t know how to use a sword. He was aiming for the head of this man and only got his ear.
Yeshua is voluntarily handing Himself over to His enemies because it was time for Him to drink the cup His Father had prepared for Him. In Scripture, a “cup” is a reference to judgment (Psalm 11:6, 75:8, Ezek. 23:31). This was not going to easy for Yeshua to do. He is truly going to drink a very terrible judgment. He had asked His Father earlier to let this cup pass from Him (Matt. 26:39).
(John 18:12 NASB) So the Roman cohort and the commander, and the officers of the Jews, arrested Jesus and bound Him,
John 18:12: They arrested Yeshua and handcuffed Him which was totally unnecessary. However, this is more fulfilled prophecy as they make Him as a Lamb before the slaughter (Psalm 118:27).
(John 18:13 NASB) and led Him to Annas first; for he was father-in-law of Caiaphas, who was high priest that year.
John 18:13: The religious rulers were the ones who plotted this whole thing. They were scared to death of the people due to Messiah’s popularity. Yeshua had to go outside the walls of the city in order to let the jealous religious thugs get their hands on Him. He truly intentionally handed Himself over.
Only the book of John gives us these details of Yeshua’s capture. He was first taken to Annas. Annas was the high priest until just recently (Luke 3:1-2). Annas still had lots of weight to throw around and was probably still the co-high priest with his son-in-law, Caiaphas (Acts 4:5-6).
(John 18:14 NASB) Now Caiaphas was the one who had advised the Jews that it was expedient for one man to die on behalf of the people.
John 18:14: Caiaphas was the one who convinced the religious leaders that Yeshua must die in order for them to maintain their power structure. It was actually just a handful of powerful men that plotted the torture and death of Messiah.
The Jewish people throughout the ages have been wrongfully accused of being “Christ-killers.” The Jews have been blamed for the crimes of Annas, Caiaphas, and Pilate and that has brought an abundance of anti-semitism throughout the ages. That is like me suffering for the crimes of Charles Manson and Ted Bundy. But the Jewish people themselves were not any more responsible for the death of Yeshua than the Gentiles were.
(John 18:15 NASB) And Simon Peter was following Jesus, and so was another disciple. Now that disciple was known to the high priest, and entered with Jesus into the court of the high priest,
John 18:15: The “other disciple” was apparently John. He was known by the other members of the Jewish council, including Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus. John may have been the one to help convince these men that Yeshua is Messiah. John may have been with Nicodemus when he came to Yeshua at night. That is possibly how he was able to record that conversation.
(John 18:16 NASB) but Peter was standing at the door outside. So the other disciple, who was known to the high priest, went out and spoke to the doorkeeper, and brought in Peter.
John 18:16: John was one who knew a lot of people in high places, but Peter is just a poor fisherman. He didn’t know anyone in the religious circles. He had to stand at the door while John walked on in. When John saw that Peter wasn’t allowed in, he went back to talk to some folks to get him in. John was at home in this crowd.
But Simon Peter was totally out of his element and was tentative and afraid. The other Gospels tell us that Peter was talking too much and some girls recognize his speech as one being from Galilee. He was nervous and let the situation take control of him. Consequently he lets some little servant girl make him deny Messiah.
(John 18:17 NASB) The slave-girl therefore who kept the door said^ to Peter, “You are not also one of this man’s disciples, are you?” He said^, “I am not.”
John 18:17: This girl knows the followers of Yeshua are there. She probably knew John and assumed that since John got him a pass to go through, that he was a disciple of Yeshua. She just asked the question as Peter was passing by. But Peter decided to lie and deny Messiah.
(John 18:18 NASB) Now the slaves and the officers were standing there, having made a charcoal fire, for it was cold and they were warming themselves; and Peter also was with them, standing and warming himself.
John 18:18: There are a few palace guards gathered outside and apparently Peter went out there and joined them. Maybe being labeled as a follower of Yeshua inside made him go back outside. Maybe he thought he would be more comfortable with the group outside. He is going to be identified out there also.
The scene is now going to move back inside to the trial of Yeshua.
(John 18:19 NASB) The high priest therefore questioned Jesus about His disciples, and about His teaching.
(John 18:20 NASB) Jesus answered him, “I have spoken openly to the world; I always taught in synagogues, and in the temple, where all the Jews come together; and I spoke nothing in secret.
(John 18:21 NASB) “Why do you question Me? Question those who have heard what I spoke to them; behold, these know what I said.”
John 18:21: Caiaphas asked Yeshua about His teaching. Yeshua said to ask anyone who has been in the Temple or synagogue what He taught. He didn’t have any secrets. He was merely teaching the Torah of His Father and they hated Him for it.
(John 18:22 NASB) And when He had said this, one of the officers standing by gave Jesus a blow, saying, “Is that the way You answer the high priest?”
(John 18:23 NASB) Jesus answered him, “If I have spoken wrongly, bear witness of the wrong; but if rightly, why do you strike Me?”
John 18:23: Yeshua tells the guard that if He has said anything wrong to bring witnesses (but there weren’t any). But if what He said was Truth, then why did they hit Him?
(John 18:24 NASB) Annas therefore sent Him bound to Caiaphas the high priest.
John 18:24: The man behind this whole thing was Annas. He knew he wasn’t getting anywhere, so he sent Yeshua to Caiaphas. This whole plot was contrived by this man Annas and his son-in-law, Caiaphas.
Now the scene shifts back outside to Peter.
(John 18:25 NASB) Now Simon Peter was standing and warming himself. They said therefore to him, “You are not also one of His disciples, are you?” He denied it, and said, “I am not.”
(John 18:26 NASB) One of the slaves of the high priest, being a relative of the one whose ear Peter cut off, said^, “Did I not see you in the garden with Him?”
(John 18:27 NASB) Peter therefore denied it again; and immediately a cock crowed.
John 18:27: Peter was terribly wrong in denying Yeshua. Peter knew that if he was identified as the follower of Yeshua that attacked a soldier, it would be his death. However, Yeshua made it impossible for them to make that claim against Peter since He healed that guard.
Day break has come and Peter has denied Yeshua three times, just as Yeshua prophesied (John 13:36-38).
The scene now shifts back to the phony trial of Yeshua.
(John 18:28 NASB) They led^ Jesus therefore from Caiaphas into the Praetorium, and it was early; and they themselves did not enter into the Praetorium in order that they might not be defiled, but might eat the Passover.
John 18:28: The Praetorium is the temporary headquarters of the military governor during the Feast of the Passover. Pilate’s normal headquarters were at Caesarea in the great palace that Caesar built for himself. However, the Romans made it a point to be in Jerusalem on the feast days in order to keep control of the Jewish people.
Jewish oral tradition stated that Jews could not enter the dwelling places of the Gentiles during the feast days or they would become ceremonially unclean. So they had to stay outside the judgment hall.
The irony here is unbelievable. They are willing to put an innocent man to death. Actually they are putting to death an innocent man (much less the man who is the Son of Elohim Himself), but they do not want to ceremonially defile themselves. Once again, their oral traditions meant more to them than Torah itself.
They pushed Yeshua inside and stayed outside in order to remain “clean.” The scene changes from the outside to the inside to the outside and so on.
Pilate wasn’t really very happy in Jerusalem. He liked Caesarea which was on the seacoast. He probably dreaded going up to Jerusalem and leaving the palace and dealing with a wild batch of religious Jews during their festivals.
(John 18:29 NASB) Pilate therefore went out to them, and said^, “What accusation do you bring against this Man?”
(John 18:30 NASB) They answered and said to him, “If this Man were not an evildoer, we would not have delivered Him up to you.”
John 18:30: This is ridiculous. Pilate is the judge and the Jews tell him that if Yeshua wasn’t guilty, they wouldn’t have brought Him to Pilate.
I once heard a man say that if you ever want off of jury duty, you should answer when questioned, “If he’s not guilty he wouldn’t be here, would he?”
(John 18:31 NASB) Pilate therefore said to them, “Take Him yourselves, and judge Him according to your law.” The Jews said to him, “We are not permitted to put anyone to death,”
John 18:31: Pilate didn’t want any part of this in the beginning. He saw that they didn’t have any charges to pin on Yeshua or they would have announced them right away. He wants them to deal with their religious nonsense on their own.
But the religious leaders already tried to kill Him and they were unsuccessful on a number of occasions. So they plead to Pilate’s ego by stating that Roman Law does not let them kill Him. They thought that maybe the power of the Roman government could do what they could not.
(John 18:32 NASB) that the word of Jesus might be fulfilled, which He spoke, signifying by what kind of death He was about to die.
John 18:32: They will accuse Him of blasphemy. Torah states that blasphemy carries the death sentence by stoning (Lev. 24:16). But Yeshua prophesied that they would deliver Him to the Gentiles for execution (Matt. 20:19).
(John 18:33 NASB) Pilate therefore entered again into the Praetorium, and summoned Jesus, and said to Him, “Are You the King of the Jews?”
John 18:33: Now Pilate has a private little conversation with Yeshua. Pilate wants to let Yeshua know who is boss in this situation.
(John 18:34 NASB) Jesus answered, “Are you saying this on your own initiative, or did others tell you about Me?”
John 18:34: Yeshua is asking Pilate where he got his information. Pilate expected Yeshua to make proud claims so he can show all of Judah how he has the power over even the king of the Jews.
Yeshua did not make that claim Himself. It was the people who recognized Him as such and said it about Him (John 1:49, 12:12-13).
(John 18:35 NASB) Pilate answered, “I am not a Jew, am I? Your own nation and the chief priests delivered You up to me; what have You done?”
John 18:35: Pilate is condescending to Yeshua. Much of Christianity teaches that Pilate “just wanted Jesus to say that He was not the King of the Jews so he can get out of this.”
But that is not the case. Pilate did not want out of this. He wanted to demonstrate his power to the all the people at the feast.
(John 18:36 NASB) Jesus answered, “My kingdom is not of this world. If My kingdom were of this world, then My servants would be fighting, that I might not be delivered up to the Jews; but as it is, My kingdom is not of this realm.”
John 18:36: Yeshua says that His kingdom is not of this world “as it is.” He is going to set His kingdom up on earth, but not at this time. His kingdom is not going to be set up by this world system nor by any church system or by the Jews. It will be set up by His Father.
(John 18:37 NASB) Pilate therefore said to Him, “So You are a king?” Jesus answered, “You say correctly that I am a king. For this I have been born, and for this I have come into the world, to bear witness to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth hears My voice.”
John 18:37: Yeshua admits that He is a king, but does not admit to being the king of the Jews. The Jews were delivering Him up to be killed. Yeshua says that He was born to be King (Isa. 9:6-7).
Yeshua also says that He bears witness to Truth. What does He mean by that? It means that He came into the world to bear witness to His father’s Torah (Psalm 119:142, Dan. 9:13). Yeshua also said everyone who is of the Truth hears His voice (John 7:17-19, 8:47, 10:25-28) .
(John 18:38 NASB) 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 guilt in Him.
John 18:38: Philosophers have searched for truth all through the ages but, like Pilate, have never found it. Even “in the last days,” men will be “ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth” (2 Timothy 3:1,7). Pilate ironically asks what Truth really is when it is standing right in front of him. (John 14:6).
(John 18:39 NASB) “But you have a custom, that I should release someone for you at the Passover; do you wish then that I release for you the King of the Jews?”
John 18:39: It states that Pilate was obliged to release one prisoner at the time fo the Feast. Some say that this apparently goes back to the time of the Maccabees and that this action is supposed to be a picture of Passover portraying freedom in exchange for bondage. However, there is no non-Biblical historical evidence for this practice. But the fact that it was not recorded by Josephus or others is not significant.
(John 18:40 NASB) Therefore they cried out again, saying, “Not this Man, but Barabbas.” Now Barabbas was a robber.
John 18:40: Pilate gave the people the choice of either Yeshua or Barabbas. Barabbas was more than just a robber. And he was not a robber against the Jews. He probably would not be arrested for that. He was a robber from the Romans and a murderer in the insurrection of the Jews against the Romans.
Ironically, the name Barabbas means “son of the father.” The true “Son of the Father” was the one the people wanted killed.
Some say that Barabbas was a hated murderer. This is not exactly true. Barabbas was probably a hero to the Jewish people. He apparently killed Romans during an insurrection of the Jewish people (Mark 15:6-7).
Therefore, let’s look at the choices the people had. They could release a war hero, or they could release the one that their religious leaders said committed blasphemy. Granted Yeshua had many followers, but most of them hid away in fear. The crowd was plagued with followers of the Pharisees who were their yes-men.
Pilate was apparently also on the side of the Chief Priests. He mockingly called Messiah “King of the Jews” to an antagonistic crowd and then had Yeshua scourged after he pronounced the death penalty on Him (Mark 15:8-15).
Patrick McGuire and Beit Yeshua Torah Assembly
All rights reserved, no portion of this Lesson may be reproduced in any manner whatsoever without written permission except in the case of brief quotations in articles and reviews.
Beit Yeshua Torah Assembly
Fort Smith, Arkansas