Detail in Garden of Gethsemane: Mat 26:36-46; Mar 14:32-42;
JESUS LEFT: Leaving the city: Heb 13:11,12.
AN OLIVE GROVE: And so he walked through the Kidron
early-spring flood (Psa 18:4; 124:1-4), the vale of dark-foliaged trees -- sig
mourning and distress (CJo 198) -- and into the orchard of olive trees --
Gethsemane -- to be sustained by the Holy Spirit.
HE AND HIS DISCIPLES: A great distinction between their
WEAPONS: "Swords" (of Roman soldiers) and "clubs" (of
Jewish temple guards) (Mat 26:47; Mar 14:4).
Jesus, the only and true master of the situation.
WHO IS IT YOU WANT?: Cp Joh 1:38; 20:15.
THEY DREW BACK: Instead of rushing forward to lay hands
on him, the soldiers were seized with an irrational and overpowering fear, and
fell to the ground (cp Psa 9:3; 27:1-3). Or, did they see the angelic glory (Luk
22:43) in Jesus' face?
AND FELL TO THE GROUND: Perhaps only Judas remains
standing to face Jesus.
WHO IS IT YOU WANT?: A question we may ask ourselves.
(Judas does not seem to answer.)
Their fear (v 6), and Jesus' statement (v 8), taken together,
plainly imply that Jesus lays down his own life (Joh 10:15,18) -- it is not
taken from him!
SIMON PETER: Was Peter trying to attack Judas, but only
managing to wound a bystander?
CUTTING OFF HIS EAR: See the ct: some (like Jesus)
wait, watch, pray, prepare, weigh alternatives, and (only then) act. Others
(like Peter) doze off, sleep, wake suddenly, and then "cut off an ear". (Jesus
heals the ear: Luk 22:51: Why no mention of healing? Because it does not fit
into scheme of John's "signs"?)
THE SERVANT'S NAME WAS MALCHUS: Is Malchus actually
named because he later became a follower of Jesus? So this man, we may safely
assume, leaves the service of the FALSE High Priest, to enter the service of the
REAL High Priest, Jesus!
ANNAS: Annas was no longer the official High Priest,
but the title (and power and wealth) remained in family: 5 different sons, and
finally his son-in-law Caiaphas became High Priest (from 18 to 36 AD: OP
23:262). They were a ruthless and ambitious family, who would do almost anything
to maintain power (MP 332).
Two injustices here: (1) a private meeting, and (2) late at
night. A night trial was illegal: Act 4:3; 5:17-19.
Vv 15-19: John intersperses account of Peter's behavior with
that of Christ's (cp vv 25-27). John stood in position to observe
WHO WAS KNOWN TO THE HIGH PRIEST: John's family was
wealthy, owning land in Galilee and Judea (Joh 19:27); they seem to have been of
high social standing. Other suggestions: (a) the family of Zebedee acted as
suppliers of fish to the High Priest household; (b) a possible family
connection: Salome, the mother of John, was a sister of Mary, Jesus' mother (cp
John 19:25 with Mark 15:40), and would have been equally related to Elizabeth,
whose husband, Zechariah, was a priest (Luk 1:36).
The only instance in the Gospels where a woman was not on
Jesus' side! Or is she?
ONE OF HIS DISCIPLES: John, who was there, had not
sought to hide his discipleship. Open confession in ct Peter's shame and fear:
Mat 10:32; Luk 12:8; ct Joh 9:22; 12:42. See Rom 1:16: "I am not ashamed", and
WARMING HIMSELF: Peter warmed himself by the fire of
the world, but denied the living fire (cp Isa 50:11, in context of judgment --
vv 8,9 -- and smiting -- v 11).
THE HIGH PRIEST QUESTIONED JESUS: They were still
trying to formulate their charges against him -- something that should have been
done already. Such interrogation was strictly illegal (cp v 21).
Vv 20,21: Jesus shows a consistent regard for legal form, in
requesting other witnesses. (Talmudic law did not allow questioning of the
accused in order to get a confession: Dawn 42:131.)
I SAID NOTHING IN SECRET: See Isa 48:16.
ONE OF THE OFFICIALS NEARBY STRUCK HIM IN THE FACE: To
strike a prisoner, before judgment, was also illegal (Isa 50:6; Mic 5:1). (The
official cared for form only, but not for substance.)
Again, Jesus calls attention to the Law. Cp Exo 22:28 with Exo
Cp v 15n.
Was Peter afraid especially because of his violent action
against the High Priest's servant?
TO AVOID CEREMONIAL UNCLEANNESS: They would not enter
the governor's house, because it had not been cleansed of leaven (1Co 5:7,8;
Dawn 42:153). A legalistic regard for outward form, but omission of weightier
matters; they should have cleansed their hearts! See Pro 30:12; Isa
THE PASSOVER: The whole feast of unleavened bread and
all its festive meals were designated as the "Passover": Deu 16:2; cp 2Ch 30:24;
35:8,9 (Temple 396).
PILATE: Governor of Judea, soldier of Spain, served
with Germanicus in Germany. During stay in Rome, married Claudia (illegitimate
daughter of Tiberius, and granddaughter of Augustus). This family connection
aided him to become procurator. Always a crude and tactless man, as seen in
affairs of imperial ensign, Corban money to build aqueducts, etc (HVM 116-118).
But he tried Jesus' case generally with fairness, prob influenced by Claudia,
who dreamed of "that righteous man" after hearing Pilate's conversation with
Caiaphas of the night before. (The dream planted by an angel?) His actions at
the trial of Jesus were a total reversal of his previous form: ordinarily, he
was anything but a weak, indecisive man!
WHAT CHARGES ARE YOU BRINGING AGAINST THIS MAN?: This
question startles them, prob because the case had been "prearranged"; and they
expected no problem (see v 34n). Or, is Pilate looking for a bribe (or
additional bribe) -- Mic 7:3?
They are surprised and startled by his question. The case had
been "prearranged", and they had expected no problem. Why the double-cross? See
background in Mat 27:19...
WE HAVE NO RIGHT TO EXECUTE ANYONE: The Jews at this
time seemed to have been denied the secular power to carry out capital
punishment. But was such power later returned to them (ie Act 7)?
THE KIND OF DEATH HE WAS GOING TO DIE: The Jews, if
left alone and given the right, would have executed by stoning. But Romans, if
involved, would crucify him: the "lifting up" of Joh 3:14; 12:32.
SUMMONED JESUS: The Jews were worried about ceremonial
defilement (v 28), a matter which concerns Jesus not at all.
ARE YOU THE KING?: Pilate already knew the charges
(thus proving an earlier, unrecorded interview with Jewish leaders). But he
recognizes this is not the figure nor the conduct of a "real king" (ie a
Jesus tries to ascertain Pilate's true motive in
AM I JEW?: That is, 'What do I know (or care) about all
OF THIS WORLD: "Ek kosmos" = out of, or from, this
order of things. 'My kingdom does not derive its power from this present order
of things', but from heaven (Psa 2:8) -- something Pilate (and Caiaphas, for
that matter) cannot understand. Christ received his kingly authority "out of"
heaven: Luk 19:11,12; Psa 2:8; Dan 7:14,27. "He does not say that the world is
not the sphere of his authority, but that his authority is not of human origin"
(Hoskyns, quoted in WGos 753).
WORLD: "Kosmos": see usage in Joh 17:9,11,14; 7:4;
12:19; 10:8,11; 18:20.
YOU ARE A KING, THEN!: 'So! You ARE a king after
JESUS ANSWERED, "YOU ARE RIGHT...": Jesus gives a
complete and confident witness to the greatest Gentile power on earth (1Ti
TO TESTIFY: To witness. Cp Rev 1:5; 3:14: Christ the
faithful and true witness.
WHAT IS TRUTH?: Ironically, Pilate answers his own
question: "Here is the man!" (Joh 19:5). Christ = truth (Joh 14:6); God's word
is truth (Joh 17:17). "Truth" = covenants of promise (Gen 24:27; 32:10; Exo
34:6; Psa 31:5; 40:10,11; 69:13; 89:14; 91:4; 132:11; Mic 7:20; etc).
I FIND NO BASIS...: Pilate's first report testifies to
Christ's innocence. This should have ended the whole trial.
"[Pilate] asked him, 'What is truth?' But he did not stay to
get an answer. He had no earnest solicitude on the point one way or another. He
was a hard-hearted practical Roman who, like another after him, 'cared for none
of these things' except as they came in his way. He had evidently come to the
conclusion that Jesus was a harmless person of the philosophic stamp, whom the
chief priests had arrested from envy because of his influence with the people,
and whom it would be wise policy on his part to discharge under the custom that
had for some time prevailed of surrendering one prisoner to amnesty at the
passover feast. He therefore went out to them and said, 'I find no fault in this
man' " (NR).
"[Pilate] said, 'What is truth?' and immediately went out
again. It is certain that this was a good question. Truth is that pearl of great
price which the human understanding is in quest of; for it cannot rest but in
that which is, or at least is apprehended to be, truth. But many put this
question that have not patience enough to persevere in their search after truth,
or not humility and sincerity enough to receive it when they have found it. It
is uncertain with what design Pilate asked this question. Perhaps he spoke it as
a learner, as one that began to think well of Christ. Some think he spoke it as
a judge, enquiring further into the cause: 'Tell me what the truth of it is, the
true state of this matter.' Others think he spoke it as a scoffer: 'Thou talkest
of truth; canst thou tell what truth is, or give a definition of it?' Like men
of no religion, who take a pleasure in bantering all religions, he ridicules
both sides; and therefore Christ made him no reply. But though Christ would not
tell Pilate what is truth, he has told his disciples, and by them has told us.
'...Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no one cometh
unto the Father, but by me' (John 14:6)" (Henry).
BARABBAS: Who was both a rebel (Luk 23:19) and a robber