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Bible Commentaries

Bell's Commentary on the Bible

John 18

Verses 1-14

  1. INTRO:
    1. Arielle Ritter - YWAM; Dec.29th leaves;
      1. Consider supporting Arielle; In info booth after service.
    2. CCCM has a ministry “Widows Helping Widows” - Weekend Retreat @ Hot Springs.
      1. Women who have lost their spouse. Share experiences. Steps of grief.
      2. Janie Alfred Speaker. Jan 22-24; $115 (can’t afford let me know) Details on Bulletin Board.
    3. Wed Night: Invite you, message entitled “What If” [A personal challenge to Christians in 2010]
      1. New Years Eve’s, Eve, Wed night 7pm, not Thursday night.
    4. I wrote a Poem from Heb.10:5 years ago called Earth Suit!
      1. Heb.10:5 Therefore, when He came into the world, He said: Sacrifice and offering You did not desire, But a body You have prepared for Me.
      2. A body You have prepared for Me, Fearfully and wonderfully created for Me. An Earth Suit completely tailored-n-knit, Specially designed for a manger to fit. A body to live, but a body to die, I have come in the flesh, for I was born to die. From pudgy little hands, pink and new, To nail pierced, and bleeding for you. My soft face once My mother did kiss, Now cheek defiled, by a betraying kiss. In My first steps my parents did boast, Then later My feet held fast to a post. To be a resident of the very world I made, An infant child in a manger was laid. A body You have prepared for Me, To coo, to grow, to save, to bleed!
      3. This is our segue from the birth of Christ to the crucifixion of Christ.
    5. Overview: Moving from chapters 13-17 to now ch.18 is like enjoying a steamy hot shower, when all of a sudden it goes freezing cold.
      1. We now step into Jesus’ betrayals & denials & trials.
    6. Outline: A Brook; A Garden; A Sword; A Cup; An Arrest.
  2. BETRAYAL!
    1. ​​​​​​​A BROOK! (1a)
    2. Our Lord went forth from the city(Jer) & across the brook Kidron to Gethsemane, but not for concealment but for “reveal-ment”...as verse 2 explains.
      1. It’s vulnerable. It’s a private spot away from city buildings that might hide Him & from the crowds that might protect Him. (Chuck Swindoll; John; pg.50)
      2. About 28 generations earlier, Jesus’ great grandfather(to about the 28th) King David, crossed this same brook (2 Sam.15:23) when he was exiled from his throne. Also because of betrayal of his own friends & family(Absalom).
    3. A GARDEN! (1b-9)
    4. Interesting this took place in a garden, Christ, the Last Adam.
      1. He met the enemy in the garden & triumphed; while the first Adam met the enemy in the garden & failed.
      2. Adam hid himself, but Christ openly revealed Himself.
    5. Et tu Judas? An inside job. Insider trading if you will (30 pieces of silver, the going price of a slave)
    6. His sin had been growing for a long time (see Jn.6:64)
      1. He doesn’t seem to be a monster of evil, but instead simply selfish. Which led to insincerity as a disciple; falseness as an apostle; theft as a man; & at length perdition as a traitor. (Griffith Thomas; The Apostle John; pg.221)
      2. And look what didn’t help him:
        Not the wonderful 3 year privilege of walking with Jesus;
        Not 3 years of listening to divine truth from Jesus himself;
        Nor even being numbered among the apostles.
        1. Oh the awful possibilities of evil when our heart is separated from Divine grace!
        2. “Oh but for the grace of God, so go I!”
    7. (3) Irony: They came w/lanterns & torches looking for The Light of the world!
      1. And the light just stands there. W/o pretense, w/o protection & shines openly through the darkness.
    8. This detachment of troops (speira) was a 10th part of a legion. Normally comprised 600 men (yet varied 200-1200).
      1. This large # of soldiers not only insured the success of the arrest but also would have been able to stave off any riot that might ensue.
    9. (4) Knowing all things that would come upon Him, went forward!
      1. A willing voluntary sacrifice.
    10. (5,6,8) Note the thrice-repeated phrase “I AM he”. [he not in Greek]
      1. It is a reiteration of the divine name from Ex.3:14 (Moses: who should I say sent me?)
      2. Also used by Jesus in John 8:58. Also note the effect of Christ’s statement on the hearers. His presence overawed them.
        1. The same name that saves believers, condemns the lost.
    11. (5,6) Question: Was Judas left standing?
      1. Listen to Message Bible, “The soldiers recoiled, totally taken aback. Judas, his betrayer, stood out like a sore thumb.”
    12. A SWORD! (10,11a)
    13. See anything unusual? A sword in the hands of a fisherman?
    14. Like a lamb silent before its shearers, Jesus, offered no resistance (Is.53:7).
      1. Not so w/Peter. Instead he does a little shearing of his own!
      2. But, there would be no blood shed besides his!
    15. Jesus warned His disciples to go away, lest hey fall into trouble(8).
      1. He had already told them they would scatter(16:32) but Peter preferred to remain & fight - & got into danger because of it.
      2. I agree with Warren Wiersbe’s assessment of this text, “Peter’s sin was not that he “followed from afar” but that he followed at all!”
      3. Christ never needs our protection; the weapons we are to use to fight Satan are spiritual ones.
        1. Peter used the wrong weapon, had the wrong motive, acted under the wrong orders, & accomplished the wrong result. (Warren Wiersbe; Outlines in the NT; John 18:1-14)
    16. As Paul said to the Israelites (Rom.10:2) they have a zeal for God, but not according to knowledge, so could we say about Peter here.
      1. Ok, so what does a heathy zeal look like: [Source unknown]
    17. A zealous man in religion is pre-eminently a man of one thing. It is not enough to say that he is earnest, hearty, uncompromising, thorough-going, whole-hearted, fervent in spirit. He only sees one thing, he cares for one thing, he lives for one thing, he is swallowed up in one thing; and that one thing is to please God. Whether he lives, or whether he dies - whether he has health, or whether he has sickness - whether he is rich, or whether he is poor - whether he pleases man, or whether he gives offense - whether he is thought wise, or whether he is thought foolish - whether he gets blame, or whether he gets praise - whether he get honor, or whether he gets shame - for all this the zealous man cares nothing at all. He burns for one thing; and that one thing is to please God, and to advance God’s glory. If he is consumed in the very burning, he cares not for it-he is content. He feels that, like a lamp, he is made to burn; and if consumed in burning, he has but done the work for which God appointed him. Such a one will always find a sphere for his zeal. If he cannot preach, work, and give money, he will cry, and sigh, and pray...If he cannot fight in the valley with Joshua, he will do the work of Moses, Aaron, and Hur, on the hill (Exodus 17:9–13). If he is cut off from working himself, he will give the Lord no rest till help is raised up from another quarter, and the work is done. This is what I mean when I speak of ‘zeal’ in religion.
    18. How gracious of Jesus to heal Malchus, & thus protect Peter from Harm.
      1. Otherwise there might have been another cross on Calvary, & Peter would have been crucified before God’s time had come (& missed out on 1st 1/2 of Acts)
    19. A CUP! (11b)
    20. (11) The cup which My Father has given Me
      1. Let us ever take the cups of life’s pain & sorrow direct from the hand of God; not seeing Judas, but the Father! (F.B.Meyer Biblical Commentary; pg.475.)
        1. Joseph told his brothers (back in Genesis) that it was not they who had sent him to Egypt, but God.
        2. David would not have Shemei silenced, because he felt that God had allowed him to utter his anathema.
        3. Here, Jesus rested absolutely on the Father who loved Him before the world was made.
        4. It’s also like Paul seeing His chains from the Lord, not Rome.
    21. What do you trust in?
      1. Judas trusted on the strength of numbers;
        Peter
        on the strength of his arm;
        Annas & Caiaphas
        on the strength their position;
        Jesus on the strength of love & devotion to the Father.​​​​​​​ (Warren Wiersbe; With the Word; pg.702.)
        1. Jesus had a cup in his hand, not a sword, but that cup was His scepter.
        2. He was in complete control.
    22. AN ARREST! (12-14)
    23. The snare is tripped; the prey is caught. Mission Accomplished.
    24. What Meekness & Majesty are here!
      1. ​​​​​​​Meekness - that He should subject Himself to the arresting, binding, & leading
        1. We snicker at Delilah trying to bind Samson in the beginning, she didn’t know what she was dealing with.
        2. Note: He never looses control; He responds willingly; He shows compassion on both the disciples (8,9) & the soldiers (10,11).
      2. Majesty - that He should be able to use the unspeakable Name of God “I AM”.
        1. Jesus, a picture of calm dignity, real majesty, & showing in His last & supreme test incredible victory.
        2. His closing hours were in entire consistency with His beautiful life & ministry.
    25. (13) Apparently a preliminary & private examination was held while the Sanhedrin was being hastily summoned.
    26. (14) John reminded his readers of Caiaphas’ unconscious prophecy (Read John 11:49-52)
      1. Caiaphas, trying to save his political skin proposed a simple lethal solution “Why should the whole nation be destroyed? Let this one man die for the people.” [He didn’t realize how correct he was!]
      2. Admire the bee: It sees its hive being threatened it will use its one defense, its stinger! It will die in defense of their hive. They have one thought only, the safety of the others in the hive, & gladly will give their life for the good of the many!
      3. Admire Jesus: He has one thought only, the safety of the others in His world, & gladly will give His life for the good of the many!

Poem: Baby God!

What adorable hands on that lil tike; Yet both hands destined for a very cold spike.

Peach fuzz surrounding the crown of his head; Soon to be thorns appearing in its stead. Pudgy feet kicking in rhythm & pace; Later to be nailed & fastened in place.

Now lying in hay, its warmth is His bed; Shortly on limestone He’ll lay his sweet head. An Infant Twas He for only a time; But a Savior always, for He is Divine!

Verses 15-40

  1. INTRO:
    1. I hate Inky sins! - Inky? Yah, those sins set in print for all to see.
      1. What was the darkest time in your life? What act are you most ashamed? Maybe it was something you said? Maybe a habit that once had you in its grip? Some moral problem that haunts you to this day? Think about it. Look at it. Now picture it on the front page of the Californian or Press Enterprise, or worse USA Today, or LA Times.
      2. Abraham’s lie; Noah’s drunkenness & indecent exposure; Moses’s rage that left an Egyptian dead; Achan’s thievery; The sexual scandals of David, Samson, Amnon, & Gomer. Jonah’s defiance, & on & on. Inky sins!
      3. We’ve all had a “Peter’s Denial” hidden somewhere in our past!
    2. OUTLINE: Lessons from Peter; a Priest; & a Pilate.
      1. From this point on Jesus is no longer free. He becomes the property of the state, railroaded through the most fallacious, unfair, disorderly, illegal trials in the history of jurisprudence. (Swindoll, John; pg.52)
      2. 6 trials (3 Jewish & 3 Roman) - the charge in the Jewish trials is blasphemy; the trials in the Roman courts is treason.
    3. Prayer: Praise God 1 failure doesn’t make a flop!
  2. TRIALS & DENIALS!
    1. PETER! (15-18; 25-27)
    2. As we talked about last week, “Peter fought when he should have yielded & followed when he should have fled.” In spite of his brave talk, he was swept off his feet.
    3. (18) Do not warm yourself at the worlds fire!
      1. ​​​​​​​Peter stood w/them; warmed himself w/them; then sat w/them (Lk.22:55).
      2. Read Ps.1:1 (note: walks; stands; Sits)
      3. Lot 1st looked toward Sodom(Gen.13:10); then he moved toward Sodom(13:11,12); then he moved into Sodom(14:12);
        1. Lot was more interested in his tents then an altar (Gen.13:4,5).
        2. He never asked if Sodom was a good place to raise his kids, just if it were a good place to raise cattle (Gen.13:10).
        3. Next time we hear from Lot (Gen.19:1) he is sitting in the gates of Sodom (city official).
        4. You’ve heard of Pilgrims Progress, this was Pilgrims Regress!
    4. ​​​​​​​Peter in the Upper Room had boasted 3 times that he would remain true to Christ. (Mt.26:33, 35; Jn.13:37)
    5. Peter in the Garden had gone to sleep 3 times when he should have been praying. (Mark 14:32-41)
    6. Peter denied his Lord 3 times & thus had to confess his love for Christ 3 times. (John 21)
      1. ​​​​​​​In the Upper Room Peter fell to the snare of the devil;
      2. In the Garden he yield to the weakness of the flesh;
      3. In the Priests Courtyard he would surrender to the pressures of the world. (Warren Wiersbe; Outlines of the NT; John 18.)
        1. ​​​​​​​How important it is to watch & pray!
        2. Do not warm yourself at the worlds fire!
        3. Do not be deceived, “Bad company corrupts good morals.” 1 Cor.15:33
    7. (25-27) Your talk gives you away (Mt.26:73). His Galilean accent stood out like a Texan in New York.
    8. PRIEST! (19-24)
    9. (19) Annas(former High priest; 6-15ad; Caiaphas was son-n-law) awaits the return of the expedition in the hall of his palace. He conducts the 1st interrogation.
      1. He at once began a preliminary inquiry.
      2. Maybe he’d extract something on which to base a case against Him.
      3. Maybe upset at the 2 times Jesus cleansed the Temple...payback time???
    10. (21) Ask those who have heard me (i.e.the pack of tracking dogs you sent to sniff me out)
    11. (22) The blow to the face was illegal! - John record several of the illegal details of Jesus’ religious trial.
      1. ​​​​​​​[1] It was held at night(2 were held between 2-6am)
        [2] Jesus was assumed guilty
        [3] The court hired false witnesses to testify against Jesus
        [4] Jesus was mistreated while bound
        [5] The authorities did not allow Jesus a defense.
      2. Yet Jesus doesn’t cry mistrial, He demands no appeal. He teaches us how to bear up under suffering unjustly imposed.
        1. His key: Trust! - not in the legal system, or the religious institutions, but in “Him who judges righteously.”
        2. Are you going through trials & persecutions right now? Have friends betrayed or deserted you? Are your enemies having a field day w/your reputation? Are they spreading lies about you?
          1. ​​​​​​​If so look to the Father. He sees. He knows. He judges righteously. (Chuck Swindoll; John; pg.54)
          2. 1 day your case will be heard in heaven & then you will be vindicated.
          3. For now, He cares & loves you & will not let this injustice go on forever!
    12. PILATE! (28-40)
    13. (28) Such religious hypocrisy! Their purpose was to have an innocent man put to death; yet they wanted to avoid becoming ceremonial unclean by going into the palace of the Roman Governor (Gentiles!).
      1. Wow, I wonder in which ways we craftily pull this same thing off today?
        1. How to get away with sin & still look spiritual to our friends.
        2. Now, stop thinking of someone else, & ask Him how you’re doing it!
    14. (30) The full charge brought against Jesus is given in Lk.23:2 (read).
    15. (31-33) P52 - oldest known manuscript fragment we have of the NT (John Rylands text).
      1. Greek; Front & back side; Jn.18:31-33; 37,38; (3.5 L x 2.5 W); papyrus; dated 125-150ad; found in Egypt/Alexandrian text.
    16. (33) As a Roman Governor, Pilate was worried about the threat of another kingdom.
      1. But how little he realized the momentous issues to be decided that day! (FBMeyer)
    17. Are you a king of the Jews? - I’m sure w/a tone of satire it came across more like this, “You poor, worn, tearstained outcast, forsaken by every friend in Your hour of need,...are you a king?”
    18. ​​​​​​​(36) My Kingdom is not of this world - He did not mean that it had nothing to do with this world, but that it did not originate here. [starts spiritual in hearts; ends on earth]
      1. It has descended from heaven & seeks to bring the inspiration, principles, & methods of heaven into all the areas of human activity. (F.B.Meyer)
    19. Speaking in terms Pilate could understand, Jesus admitted being a king, but a king of far more than an earthly, temporal realm.
      1. Many people throughout Christian history have misinterpreted the kingdom of God in earthly terms [It’s as old as the Crusades & as new as all who believe they can speed up the pace in ushering in the kingdom]
    20. My servants would fight - But we don’t fight! We sacrifice, we suffer, we surrender for the maintaining of the kingdom!
    21. (37,38) This was nice for Jesus to clearly lay out His whole mission to Pilate.
      1. That His kingly role was identified with testifying to the truth.
      2. Was Pilate’s question serious or sarcastic? We don’t know.
    22. Truth? - Jesus says I am the truth(Jn.14:6); Your word is truth (Jn.17:17); The Spirit is truth (1 Jn.5:6). [The Spirit & the Word point to Christ, the Truth]
    23. The gospel of John records 3 major conversations between Jesus & persons who were confronted with the truth & claims of the gospel.
      1. Nicodemus - Jn.3. Seems to represent religious people that truly desire spiritual truth.
      2. Samaritan woman - Jn.4. Seems to represent those who represented worldliness & moral self-indulgence, those indifferent to spiritual things. Those living a life of moral self-indulgence.
      3. Pilate - Jn.18. Seems to represent the modern secularist. Hardened to what would speak to their soul. Those who are neither open to, nor inquisitive about, the gospel.
    24. (39,40) The twist Pilate didn’t anticipate. He honors the crowds choice. The people’s choice. “Survey says”. Text in your answers everyone. “But Jesus, they all wanted it, not me.”
      1. But if you are going to work in a leadership position, you ARE accountable!
        1. This goes down as Pilate’s cowardly indecision.
        2. How many sinners will be in hell cuz they feared people & sought to please them!
    25. God of a second chance: [1 failure doesn’t make a flop!]
      1. At Pentecost, Peter wielded a spiritual sword (the word of the Spirit) & won a victory.
      2. And so thankful for being given this 2nd chance, Peter would carry the gospel all the way to Rome, where they crucified him upside down!
    26. Peter was known as “the rock”. The Gibraltar of the disciples. Yet, the rock was not w/o its cracks!
      1. Hairline fissures lead to crumbling under pressure & Christ had detected the crack in Peter’s character.
    27. 4 quick Lessons from this:
      1. ​​​​​​​[1] No one - not even a spiritual rock - is immune to failure!
        1. Therefore let him who thinks he stands take heed lest he fall. 1 Cor.10:12
        2. Illustration: Robert Robinson (saved under George Whitefield’s ministry) wrote the hymn “Come thou Fount”. Robinson wandered away like a prodigal son. Until, one day while riding in a stagecoach & sitting beside a woman who asked him what he thought of these words, “Prone to wander, Lord I feel it, Prone to leave the God I love.” Bursting into tears Robinson said, “Madam, I am the poor unhappy man who wrote that hymn many years ago, & I would give a thousand worlds, if I had them, to enjoy the feelings I had then.”
      2. [2] God knows our precise breaking point! (Kel’s ring)
        1. Ps.103:14a “For He knows our frame;”
          1. And He knows the stress points on that frame.
          2. He knows what parts are subject to metal fatigue, which can be bent, which can be broken.
          3. Jesus wants us to be aware of our weak points, so we can brace ourselves when that time comes.
            1. “Simon, Simon! Indeed, Satan has asked for you, that he may sift you as wheat. But I have prayed for you, that your faith should not fail; and when you have returned to Me, strengthen your brethren.”
      3. [3] When surrounded by wrongdoers, doing wrong comes easy!
        1. It’s difficult to walk through a coal mine without getting dirty or to lay down with dogs without getting fleas! - Careful who you run with!
          1. Prov.13:20 He who walks with wise men will be wise, But the companion of fools will be destroyed.
      4. [4] The 1st step toward correction is not act like we’re strong but to admit we are weak!
    28. Communion: (Hold we’ll take together)
      1. Bread:
        1. Ask Him to reveal your breaking points.
        2. Anyone that’s bringing you down, rather than you bringing them up?
        3. What area do you need to quit acting like you’re strong & admit to Him you are weak?
        4. Admit your failures to Him now.
      2. Cup:
        1. Thank you for revealing our breaking points, before we snap.
        2. Thank you for giving us second chances like with Peter.
        3. Thank you for loving prodigals.
        4. Thank you that you will answer our prayer thy kingdom come.
Copyright Statement
These files are the property of Brian Bell.
Text Courtesy of Calvary Chapel of Murrieta. Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Bell, Brian. "Commentary on John 18". "Bell's Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/cbb/john-18.html. 2017.