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Bible Commentaries
John 18

Gaebelein's Annotated BibleGaebelein's Annotated

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Verses 1-40

III. “I Lay Down My Life, That I Might Take it Again.”

Chapters 18-21


1. The Arrest in the Garden. (John 18:1-11 .)

2. Before Annas and Caiaphas; Peter’s Denial. (John 18:12-27 .)

3. Before Pilate. (John 18:28-38 .)

4. Not this Man, But Barabbas. (John 18:39-40 .)

The hour of His suffering had now come. With His disciples He went across the brook Cedron into the garden. It is the Kidron mentioned frequently in Old Testament history. When David fled from his own son Absalom, he passed weeping over this brook. (2 Samuel 15:23 .) See also 2 Chronicles 15:16 and 2 Kings 23:12 . It is claimed that the way by which our Lord left the city was the way by which the scapegoat was yearly, on the great Day of Atonement, sent into the wilderness. The garden, though not named here, is Gethsemane. Judas knew the place, and the Lord knowing that Judas would betray Him, went deliberately there to be delivered into the hands of man. Nothing is said at all by John about the agony, the deep soul-exercise, through which our Lord passed in that night; nor is there a word about His sweat, as it were great drops of blood. All these things are recorded in the Synoptic Gospels, in which His perfect humanity is described, they are passed over in the Gospel of His Deity. But John describes a scene which the other Gospels omit. He manifests His power. When the band of men said that they sought Jesus of Nazareth, He said unto them, “I am He.” Then the whole company went backward and fell to the ground. What a scene that must have been! Several hundred men with their lanterns, torches and weapons all prostrate on the ground before the One Man. They stood in the presence of Jehovah and His power and majesty was present so that the one word was sufficient to prostrate them all. It was a striking evidence that neither the treachery of Judas, nor the wicked hatred of the Jews, nor the power of Rome, could touch our Lord. But the hour had now arrived when He was ready to give Himself up. Augustine made the following comment: “What shall He do when He comes to judge, Who did this when He was about to be judged? What shall be His might when He comes to reign, Who had this might when He was about to die?” Then after His second answer He said, “If therefore ye seek me, let these go their way.” Willingly He allows Himself bound, on the condition that His own must be free. It is a blessed illustration of the Gospel. The Good Shepherd gives His life for the sheep. Substitution is fully revealed in this gracious statement. He gives Himself up that His people might be free.

Then Simon Peter drew the sword and cut off the right ear of Malchus. Peter had slept; had he been watching and praying it would not have occurred. And how beautiful the words of the Lord: “The cup which my Father hath given me, shall I not drink it?” Perfect willingness and readiness to drink the bitter cup were thus expressed in the presence of His disciples and His enemies.

Then follows the account of Peter’s denial, the questioning before Annas, which is only reported by John, and finally He was taken into the judgment hall before Pilate. The miserable character of the Roman Governor is brought fully to light in this Gospel. He was destitute of all moral courage; he acted against better knowledge; he knew the Lord was innocent, yet he dared not to acquit Him for fear of displeasing the Jews. John 18:32 refers to the Lord’s death by crucifixion, from the hands of the Gentiles. Note the four questions of Pilate. “Art Thou the King of the Jews?”--”What hast Thou done?”--”Art Thou a King then?”--”What is truth?” The Roman historian Suetonius states that many rumors were then prevalent that a King was about to rise among the Jews who would have dominion over the whole world. No doubt Pilate knew of these rumors and therefore asked the Lord about His Kingship. The answer of our Lord, “My Kingdom is not of this world,” has often been misconstrued to mean that the Lord never will have a Kingdom in this world in the sense of a literal Kingdom. Our post-millennial friends use it against a literal interpretation of the prophecies relating to the coming of an earthly Kingdom of Christ. What our Lord meant by saying “My Kingdom is not of this world” is, that His Kingdom has not its origin or nature from the world. He will receive the Kingdom promised unto Him from the Father’s hands. (Daniel 7:14 .)

Bibliographical Information
Gaebelein, Arno Clemens. "Commentary on John 18". "Gaebelein's Annotated Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/gab/john-18.html. 1913-1922.
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