Study Notes

John 18:12-27

Last week, we saw Jesus betrayed by Judas, who brought a cohort of Roman soldiers to arrest him in the Garden of Gethsemane. We pick up in verse 12...

18:12 Jesus Bound

The mob arrested Jesus. A minute before, He had said "I AM," and all 600 men fell backwards. Yet now, He seems powerless. He is bound.

Is He powerless at this point? No. Matthew's gospel tells us that He told Simon Peter at this point,

Matt. 26:53 "...Do you think that I cannot appeal to My Father, and He will at once put at My disposal more than twelve legions of angels?"

Angels are powerful creatures. In 2Kings, we read of one angel's power.

2Kgs. 19:35 Then it happened that night that the angel of the LORD went out, and struck 185,000 in the camp of the Assyrians; and when men rose early in the morning, behold, all of them were dead.

One angel, one night, 185,000 dead. Jesus could have called more than 12 legions of angels. That's more than 24,000 angels! Surely, He had more than enough power at His disposal to take care of these 600 men.

But He chose not to. He chose rather to be the victim of this brutality. Why? Because it was His refusal to save Himself that saved us. He purposely allowed Himself to be brutalized that we would be restored. It was by His wounds that we were healed.

Jesus Our Example

Now, everything here is for our personal instruction - our personal growth. Just as Jesus was willingly and submissively bound, Jesus wants that same willing submission to undeserved affliction for you. Let me say that again... Just as Jesus was willingly and submissively bound, Jesus wants that same willing submission to undeserved affliction for you.

But it's not to make atonement for your sin. It's not to heal your own sin... but to heal others' sin. Peter tells us,

1Pet. 2:21-24 For you have been called for this purpose, since Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example for you to follow in His steps, WHO COMMITTED NO SIN, NOR WAS ANY DECEIT FOUND IN HIS MOUTH; and while being reviled, He did not revile in return; while suffering, He uttered no threats, but kept entrusting {Himself} to Him who judges righteously; and He Himself bore our sins in His body on the cross, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness; for by His wounds you were healed.

When Jesus willingly allowed Himself to be bound here in the Garden, He was giving us an example to follow. People will hate you. They will falsely accuse you. They'll say you said things you didn't. They'll say you did things you didn't. They'll judge you and they'll bind you and they'll beat you and they'll want to crucify you.

And if you're a godly, mature, Jesus-imitating Christian, you're going to let them. Why? Because your relationship with God was healed when Jesus did it for you. Now, by your wounds, others can be healed.

You see, Jesus could have stuck up for His rights. He had done no wrong. He had said nothing wrong. He had committed no sin. But He took the guilt and the punishment for it all upon Himself.

2Cor. 5:21 He made Him who knew no sin {to be} sin on our behalf, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.

Husbands, even if you didn't start the fight, let yourself be crucified so that your wife can be healed. Employees, even if you didn't say what they said you said, silently suffer the consequences. "That's ridiculous," you say! "That's not just! That's not fair!" No, it's not. But it is sacrificial love. Let us read that whole section of Scripture in context:

1Pet. 2:18-3:2 Servants, be submissive to your masters with all respect, not only to those who are good and gentle, but also to those who are unreasonable. For this {finds} favor, if for the sake of conscience toward God a man bears up under sorrows when suffering unjustly. For what credit is there if, when you sin and are harshly treated, you endure it with patience? But if when you do what is right and suffer {for it} you patiently endure it, this {finds} favor with God. For you have been called for this purpose, since Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example for you to follow in His steps, WHO COMMITTED NO SIN, NOR WAS ANY DECEIT FOUND IN HIS MOUTH; and while being reviled, He did not revile in return; while suffering, He uttered no threats, but kept entrusting {Himself} to Him who judges righteously; and He Himself bore our sins in His body on the cross, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness; for by His wounds you were healed. For you were continually straying like sheep, but now you have returned to the Shepherd and Guardian of your souls. In the same way, you wives, be submissive to your own husbands so that even if any {of them} are disobedient to the word, they may be won without a word by the behavior of their wives, as they observe your chaste and respectful behavior.

You see, if you become like Jesus and allow yourself to be crucified for doing right, silently suffering for things you did not say and did not do, then you are showing God's agape love for your accusers and making opportunity for their healing. Just as WE were healed by CHRIST'S wounds, OTHERS will be healed by YOUR wounds.

And if we all imitated this example, there would never be another broken marriage, there would never be another ruined friendship, there would never be another church split again. Jesus let himself be bound.

18:13-14 Annas And Caiaphus

Jesus is led to Annas, the father-in-law of the high priest. You might remember that back in chapter 11, we had those strange comments of John:

John 11:49-52 But a certain one of them, Caiaphas, who was high priest that year, said to them, "You know nothing at all, nor do you take into account that it is expedient for you that one man should die for the people, and that the whole nation should not perish." Now this he did not say on his own initiative; but being high priest that year, he prophesied that Jesus was going to die for the nation, and not for the nation only, but that He might also gather together into one the children of God who are scattered abroad.

Two times John had said, that Caiaphas "was high priest that year." That's strange, because there was not a yearly change of high priest - he was supposed to serve until he died, and then his son would replace him.

At one time, Annas had been high priest as well. So you have to wonder why was he still alive? The historian Josephus tells us that in 14 A.D., after Annas had been the high priest for seven years, the Roman Valerius Gratus basically fired him. In the next 11 years, there were three high priests, appointed and fired at the whim of the Roman Government. Finally, in 25 A.D., Caiaphus became the high priest. Throughout these years, many of the Jews continued to recognize Annas as their true high priest. That's why Jesus was led to Annas first.

Now John's camera shifts outside.

18:15-18 Another Disciple

Peter and another disciple were following Jesus while He was being brought to Annas. Some people speculate that this unnamed disciple was John himself. There is evidence that points to the fact that this was probably not John, while there's also some colorful tradition that says it was. Whatever the case, the Scripture doesn't tell us, so it probably doesn't pay to speculate.

Peter's First Denial

The disciple that was named was Peter. Having been let into the court of the high priest, Peter was warming himself by the fire that the slaves and officers had gathered around. It is here that he is confronted by the slave-girl.

When you are warming yourself around the fires of the enemy, you're in a bad place. When you're in a time of confusion or consternation, do you seek comfort with the world? Do you seek comfort at the bar or with your unsaved friends? Do you go fall into the arms of an immoral man or woman. Do you go to the enemies of God to find warmth?

Are you like King Saul, who sought out answers from the witch of Endor? Are you like Judas, who sought acceptance from the chief priests? Are you like Samson, who looked for satisfaction from the Philistines? Or do you seek warmth from those in the body of Christ?

When you need comfort, turn to those who can give you the comfort of God. When you need love, come to those who can bless you with the agape love of God. The world only offers cheap imitations, the short-term warmth of a charcoal fire.

Peter's in a bad place, and he blatantly denies being a disciple of Jesus Christ. Remember that Jesus had told him just a couple hours before,

Matt. 26:34-35 ..."Truly I say to you that this {very} night, before a cock crows, you shall deny Me three times." Peter said to Him, "Even if I have to die with You, I will not deny You."...

How quickly our flesh can drag us down. The camera goes back indoors.

18:19-21 Jesus Before Annas

Annas questions Jesus regarding His disciples and teaching. This was completely against the Jewish law. Like our Fifth Amendment, the law specified that no one could be asked to testify to anything that would incriminate themselves.

So Jesus' answer addresses this, saying, "Legally and lawfully, You shouldn't be asking Me. You should be asking those who heard what I said. That's the way the law is written."

19:22-24 Jesus Is Struck

It is interesting to me that Jesus is using the laws of the land to His advantage, holding those in authority accountable for breaking their own laws.

First, He pointed out the illegality of the high priest's questioning, and now of the officer's striking. A study of Jewish and Roman law results in an understanding of the incredible miscarriage of justice that happened in the trials of Jesus. Every single detail that the gospels tell us about His trials before the Jews and the Romans are blatantly illegal.

The camera moves outdoors once again.

18:25-27 Peter's Second And Third Denials

Oh Peter! The biggest failure of your life. The worst failing this apostle had before or since. How can we comment on it accurately? He denied being a disciple of Jesus with a curse. He went out and wept bitterly.

Jesus, in His infinite love, didn't forsake Peter. After the resurrection, He called Him by name. He reached out and loved him. He lovingly forgave him. The Lord Jesus Christ is so good.

A Constant Reminder

What disturbs me most about Peter's denial of Christ isn't even Peter's denial of Christ. Remember, that this is one of the few events that are detailed in each of the four gospels. Everyone who had heard the gospel of Jesus' crucifixion and His resurrection had also heard of Peter's utter failure.

What amazes and disturbs me is this: History tells us that for the rest of Peter's life, all throughout his ministry, no matter where he went, there were people who followed him, crowing like a rooster to remind him of his failure.

I am surprised - I am grieved - at how many Christians I've met who are so skilled at keeping an account of others' failures. Who has let them down, who failed at this, who stumbled at that. But the Scripture tells us,

1Cor. 13:4-5 (NIV) Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.

Love keeps no record of wrongs. Has someone failed you? Forgive them and forget it. "Impossible," you say? I disagree. The Bible says,

Phil. 3:13-14 ...One thing {I do} : forgetting what {lies} behind and reaching forward to what {lies} ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.

Forget what happened last year, last month, last Tuesday. God's mercies are new every morning and so should yours be.

In our study of these few short verses this morning, God has directed us toward Christian love for one another. Allow yourself to be crucified, allow God to work forgiveness in your heart. Allow yourself to forget what has transpired and start new, start fresh today.

We're going to spend some time before the Lord. If you need prayer, come up for prayer. No one will judge you, no one will condemn. If you've harbored bitterness against someone, ask for their forgiveness. If you've hurt someone, repent and make it right. Don't leave this morning with anything in your heart but love for one another. God doesn't care if you didn't start it, He desires that you would end it. Show unconditional love.

John 13:34-35 "A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another."

God wants to heal relationships today. He wants to free your heart from the bondage of unforgiveness. He wants to be seen to the world through our love for each other.

Will you be crucified today? Will you forgive and forget today?

Go to next study

Go to previous study