Trial and arrest of Jesus Christ


John ch 18-19:42


April 6, 2004


In the beginning of John ch 18 Jesus is said to go out into a garden past the Kidron valley. At this point Judas had already betrayed Jesus and lead a band of soldiers and Jewish police to capture him. Jesus knowing this was to take place stepped forward and asked the soldiers who they were looking for. When they answered Jesus of Nazareth Jesus replied “I am he.” in verse 5. Talbert points out that this contrasts to Marks version of the story when in Mark 14:43-46, Judas steps forward as Jesus of Nazareth. In John however after Jesus steps forward he asks the soldiers to let his disciples free since he is the one they are looking for. This is a reference to 13:1 “Having loved his own who were in the world, he loved them to the end.” Unlike Mark’s version of the story where the disciples run away, John tells that Jesus asked for their protection. In verse 10 Peter (referred to as Simon Peter) pulls out a sword and cuts off the right ear of one the high priest’s slaves, whose name is Malchus. John is the only gospel where this slaves name is mentioned. In verse 11, after Peter’s act Jesus instructs him to put his sword away, “am I not to drink the cup that the Father has given me?” This willingness to accept whatever the cup is filled with, whether it be suffering or joy, is a sign of his obedience to the Father. The arrest of Jesus ends with the soldiers taking him to Anna, the father in law of the high priest Caiaphas. Simon Peter and another disciple follow Jesus. When they get to the gate the lead to the high priests’ courtyard a woman is guarding it and asks if Peter is one of Jesus’ disciples. In verse 17, Peter replies “I am not.”


The questioning of Jesus once he gets to Anna’s is focused on his disciples and his teachings. As Talbert makes evident, this is different from the account given in the other gospels. In Mark the questioning is focused on the Temple, Christology, and blasphemy. In Luke the questioning is about Christology. The way the questioning takes place also differs from the other gospels. In John, Jesus appears before Anna, and then before Caiaphas both in the same night. This differs from the accounts in Mark where Jesus appears before Caiaphas at night and then in the morning before the council. In verse 19 of John, Caiaphas questions him about his teachings and his disciples. Jesus answers; “I have spoken openly to the world; I have always taught in synagogues and in the temple, where all the Jews come together. I have said nothing in secret. Why do you ask me? Ask those who have heard what I said to them, they know what I said.” This suggests that Jesus is merely asking for a fair trial based on his public character. His request is answered with violence. In verse 25, Peter again denies Jesus, followed directly by a man who was a relative of the slave whose ear had been cut off asking Peter, “did I not see you in the garden with him (Jesus).” Peter again denies Jesus as the cock crows. This is accordance to 13:38, when Jesus tells Peter, “Very truly I tell you, before the cock crows, you will have denied me three times.”


In verse 28 the Jewish leaders take Jesus to have trial before Pilate. Pilate tells the Jews to do what they want with Jesus in accordance to their law, meaning the Jews are requesting that Jesus’ be crucified (a Roman punishment for death) instead of stoned (a Jewish punishment). This fulfills Jesus’ description of his own death in 12:33, “when I am lifted up from the earth.” In verse 33 Pilate takes Jesus into his headquarters and questions him about being “king of the Jews.” This question points out that Pilate’s main concern with Jesus is that he may be a political threat. Jesus’s reply in verse 36 indicates he is of no political threat. “My kingship is not of this world; if my kingship were in this world, my