Text: John 18:1-40
Theme: "And many other signs truly did Jesus in the presence of his disciples, which are not written in this book: But these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name." (20:30-31).
3. Preparatory Persuasion
D. Of authorities (18-19)
Jesus gets arrested (v1-11), and tried (v12-40).
Jesus got arrested (v1-11). Into a garden, "across the ravine of the Kidron", Jesus entered with His disciples. This is also where king David crossed when he was betrayed by Ahithophel, his former close friend and counselor (2 Sammuel 15:23, 30-31; cf. Psalm 55:12-14). Judas, knowing Jesus frequently met there with the disciples, directed a Roman cohort (probably about 600 soldiers), and officers from the chief priests and Pharisees, to meet him with lanterns and weapons. Jesus met them, asked whom they were seeking, and said, "I Am". This may be a statement equal to the "I Am" statement of God in the OT (cf. Exodus 3:14), as when He said it, everyone who came against Him drew back and fell to the ground. Even at this time, Jesus could have prevented His arrest, but rather gave Himself voluntarily, that He might finish the work of man's redemption, by dying on a cross. He also protected His disciples, by telling the arresters to let them go. This fulfilled the prophecy that of those God gave Him, He lost not one. Peter, in a moment of apparent zeal, cut off the ear of the high priest's slave. Jesus, however, would not resist this arrest because it was the Father's will that He bear the sins of the world.
Jesus was tried (v12-40). Two of Jesus' six trials are mentioned here in John 18: His trial before the Jewish (including Annas and Caiaphas the high priest), and Gentile (Roman) authorities. The Jewish leaders first tried Jesus, sending Him to Annas, who questioned Him about His teaching. Jesus replied that He had been teaching publicly, and that they should already have known, and had the necessary witnesses concerning what He taught. Faced with this truth, one of the officers standing by gave Jesus a blow. Jesus reply was that they should be able to prove Him wrong before striking Him. Annas sent Jesus, bound, to Caiaphas the high priest. After the initial fright which caused the disciples to flee Christ during the arrest, two disciples (Peter, and probably John the son of Zebedee) followed Jesus to the trial in the court of the high priest. During the course of these events, Peter denied knowing Jesus three times, fulfilling Jesus' prediction in John 13. Jesus was tried before the Jewish authorities.
Pilate, the Roman governor of the region, next tried Jesus. Since the Roman method of capitol punishment was death on a cross, this civil trial did the following: 1) fulfilled prophecies that none of Jesus bones would be broken (Jews would have stoned Him to death; cf. 19:36-37); 2) included Jews and Gentiles in the guilt of Jesus' death (cf. Acts 2:23; 4:27-28); 3) fulfilled the OT type of the snake which was lifted up on a pole for the healing of the people in the desert (cf. John 3:14; Numbers 24:1-9), and 3) enabled Jesus to bear the curse of the law in the place of sinners (cf. Galatians 3:13; Deuteronomy 21:23). Pilate interviewed Jesus, and tried to release Him according to the custom of releasing a Jewish prisoner at Passover. The Jews, however, insisted he let Barrabas (guilty of robbery and stirring up rebellion against civil authorities).
The feast of passover was at hand during these events. At passover, a lamb without blemish was offered as a sacrifice for the sins of the people. Thus, the crucifixion of Jesus would fulfil the OT type of the passover lamb. Jesus, the innocent lamb of God (cf. John 1:29), would bear the sins of the nation and world. Jesus was arrested and tried.