These two chapters begin the final section of John. In chapters 18,19 John writes about the arrest, trial, and crucifixion. These two need to be read in conjunction with Matthew 26,27; Mark 14,15, and Luke 22,23. Each writer provide some differences in the account which provides a full picture of what took place.
There are some things that are unique to each of the 4 gospel accounts, many that are similar. Each writer includes that which is necessary to his particular purpose for writing. Ultimately, because the Holy Spirit is the Divine Author of Scripture, it is His purpose, but He uses each writers personality and style.
John writes about Jesus as The Son of God, and so his account includes those things that are in accordance with this purpose. Here is a partial list: John records the name of the servant whose ear was cut off by Peter. John gives greater detail on the conversation with the High Council and Pilate, records that Pilate asks, “What is truth”. He records that the Councils demand to kill Jesus signifies the type of death Jesus would suffer. He also records that the people claim “we have no King but Caesar!” Only John records Jesus’ words, “It is finished”.
Consider this for a moment: how do the things unique to John’s Gospel reveal that Jesus is truly “The Son of God”? This is the reason for the study of these chapters.
I recommend that you make a list of your own showing the differences in the 4 Gospel accounts. This will be a wonderful exercise for you and a good study.
As you go through these two chapters, keep in mind the things that Jesus said to the disciples in chapters 13-17.
II. John 18
A. Jesus is arrested, 18:1-14
1. The people who come to arrest Jesus “fall down backwards”. Why? No reason is given, no answer provided anywhere in Scripture.
This is very important, that no explanation is given. One may conjecture that it has to do with Jesus’ deity, but no one can be sure. The false teaching that this is “proof” of the Holy Spirit causing people to swoon and fall down backwards, known as “being slain in or by the Spirit”, is totally without merit. This passage is their”proof text” but they can prove NOTHING from this verse.
Remember John’s purpose for writing: to show that Jesus is the Son of God. That is all that can be asserted with surety from this verse.
2. Jesus fulfills an earlier saying of His, which is Inspired Scripture: see John 6:39; 17:12.
a. This can include all who are given to Him, since it is true of every believer. This is the beginning of the fulfillment, which continues today.
b. Jesus’ words cannot be broken, the Scriptures will be fulfilled.
c. The only one “lost” was the one who did not ever believe, Judas Iscariot. He did not “lose” his salvation, he never believed to begin with.
3. Jesus must drink the cup, v.11
a. Peter acts abruptly – see Luke 22:51.
b. Jesus MUST do what the Father has given Him to do
c. “drink” is “pioe” in the Greek, which simply means to “imbibe”, or “to take in fully”. The idea is that Jesus must take all that is given to Him by the father, regardless of the consequences.
What might this say to His followers regarding the things that happen in this earthly life? Remember Jesus’ teachings from John 15, 16.
B. Jesus answers the Council, John 18:15-27
1. They ask about
a. His disciples – those who closely followed Jesus, heard Him, walked with Him. Notice they do not ask about the opinions of the crowds, but only about His disciples.
b. Jesus’ doctrine: these are the things that Jesus taught, and that which He accomplished as a result of what He taught. Several times throughout the Gospel accounts Jesus speaks about His commission to be One Who presents the Truth to people.
Why might it be important to John that he records these two types of questions?
2. Jesus’ answer shows that He is in the right and His accusers are in the wrong. Yet, that is not their concern. They are simply trying to get a formal reason to have Jesus crucified. Again, remember what Jesus said in John 15,16.
C. Jesus and Pilate, John 18:28-40
1. Pilate does not want to get involved
a. He tells the people to do their own judging
b. The Jewish people cannot crucify, so they must appeal to Pilate
c. The type of death Jesus MUST suffer is revealed, v.32
Why did Jesus have to be crucified? Why would another type of death not be sufficient?
2. Pilate questions Jesus about being a King.
a. Pilate doesn’t understand the reasons, except for what is written in Mark 15:10.
b. Jesus seems to be accusing Pilate in v.34
3. Jesus speaks about His Kingdom
a. Not of this world
b. His purpose for being in the world is to testify to the truth
c. Pilate asks, “What is truth”?
Interesting that Pilate would say this. He wasn’t really looking for an answer, rather he was being sarcastic or critical of Jesus’ words. In the same way, the world is not looking for God’s Truth, they want to have their own. This is why Scripture is so often attacked, and why even those who claim to follow the Lord Jesus Christ ignore His Word for their own theology and interpretations.
God’s Word is not to be trifled with, not to be ignored, not to be interpreted for ones own pleasure or interests. Many, many people will have to answer one day, answer to God Himself, why they chose to ignore the deep study of God’s Word in favor of their own interpretations. In that day the opinions of others will not matter.
What does Jesus mean when He says that everyone who is of the truth hears His voice? (v.38). Ask yourself:
1.What does it really mean to “hear” Jesus’ voice?
2. Is it audible?
3. Is it a feeling you get, a thought that comes to your mind? If so, how do you know for sure it is the Lord Jesus Christ?
4. Who is it that Jesus said would speak of the things of Christ?
5. Can it be shown to be true from the written Word taken in proper context and with proper study?
6. Compare some other passages where Jesus said, He who has ears to hear let him hear”. Is this meaning to hear the words, or does it mean to fully grasp and understand?
7. What will knowing the truth result in? (remember chapter 15)
III. John 19
A. Jesus is questioned
1. Where does Pilate’s authority come from?
a. Notice it is spoken of as power “against” Jesus.
b. Who has the greater sin in this context?
c. Notice what Pilate does at this point
2. The people declare their true loyalty
a. To the earthly powers that be
b. To the political authority
c. To their economic well-being
d. To the false “god” Caesar.
Why do the people do this? What are the implications? What doe sit mean to have a “king” in this context?
B. Pilate turns Jesus over to be crucified
1. Notice what John records in verses 19-22. Why does John include this detail?
2. Jesus continues to show care for
C. Jesus special words: It Is Finished
1. This is a term describing the completion of a legal document or contract.
2. The payment is “made in full”: He has successfully accomplished the payment for sin: “Paid in Full”
3. The One making the full payment is the Creator Himself (see Colossians 1:16,17).
Why is it important that God Himself made the payment?
Is it possible for Him to make only a partial payment?
If He made the full payment, what must be added to it?
If nothing can be added to the payment, why do so many religions require more? (Such as Roman Catholics who demand confessions, sacraments, etc)
4. What does John repeat as his main purpose in verse 35?
5. What scripture is fulfilled in verse 36?
III. Truths Presented
A. Jesus’ purpose is fulfilled as written
1. He obeyed His Father
2. He could not have failed
B. Jesus had a doctrine that He taught
1. He did not make up His own
2. Throughout this Gospel of John, Jesus has said that He speaks what His Father tells Him to
3. Doctrine is vitally important
4. God’s written Word is not to be taken lightly
C. Jesus paid the price for sin, IN FULL
1. Nothing can be added
2. If anyone tries to add to the payment they are despising the Lord Jesus Christ
3. True Believers can rest in the price Jesus paid – perfection is not necessary