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The Lord in the circle of His foes, as the Light overtaken by the Darkness; the lofty Judge or the personal Judgment, whilst He is judged; victorious in His outward succumbing; how He carries out His judgment, to the victory of Light and Salvation
CHRIST AS THE JUDGMENT OF LIGHT UPON THE CONFUSED NOCTURNAL CONFLICT OF THE WORLD AGAINST AND OVER HIS PERSON; OVER AGAINST HIS BETRAYER, HIS APPREHENDERS, HIS VIOLENT HELPER. THE MAJESTY OF THE BETRAYED, IN CONTRAST TO THE NOTHINGNESS OF THE BETRAYER; THE VOLUNTARINESS OF THE SUFFERING, IN CONTRAST TO THE IMPOTENCE OF THE SEIZERS; THE REFERENCE TO THE DECREE OF THE FATHER, IN CONTRAST TO THE UNLAWFUL AID OF PETER. THE REPUDIATION OF PETER’S DEED OF VIOLENCE, AND THE VANITY AND INSIGNIFICANCE OF EMPLOYING VIOLENT MEANS FOR THE ACCOMPLISHMENT OF SPIRITUAL ENDS
(Matthew 26:36-56; Mark 14:32-52 Luke 22:39-53.)
1 When Jesus had spoken these words, he [Having spoken these words, Jesus] went forth with his disciples over the brook Cedron, [the torrent Kidron]1 where 2was a garden, into the which [into which] he entered, and his disciples. And [But] Judas also, which2 [who] betrayed him, knew the place; for Jesus oft-times resorted thither with his disciples. 3Judas then, having received a band of men [the band of soldiers, i.e., the garrison of the fort,3] and officers from the chief priests and Pharisees, cometh thither with lanterns and torches and weapons.4
4Jesus therefore, knowing all things that should come [were coming, τὰ ἐρχόμενα upon him, went forth, and said5 unto them, Whom seek ye [do ye seek]? 5They answered him, Jesus of Nazareth [the Nazarene, τὸν Ναζωραῖον]. Jesus saith unto them, I am he [Ἐγώ εἰμι]. And [Now] Judas also, which [who] betrayed him, stood with them. 6As soon then as he had said [he said, εἶπεν] unto them, I am he, they went backward, and fell to the ground. 7Then asked he them again [Again therefore he asked them], Whom seek ye [do ye seek]? And they said, Jesus of Nazareth [the Nazarene]. 8Jesus answered, I have told you that I am he: if therefore ye seek [are seeking] me, let these go their way: 9That the saying might be fulfilled, which he spake, Of them which [those whom] thou gavest [hast given, δέδωχας] me have I lost none [I lost none, or, not a single one of them, οὐχ ].
10Then Simon Peter having a sword drew it, and smote the high priest’s servant, and cut off his right ear.6 [And] The servant’s name was Malchus. 11Then said Jesus unto Peter, Put up thy [the]7 sword into the sheath: the cup which my [the]8 Father hath given me, shall I not drink it?
EXEGETICAL AND CRITICAL
[Now follows the history of the Passion, chaps. 18 and 19, and the Resurrection of our Lord, chaps. 20 and 21, where we have the parallel accounts of the Synoptists. Yet John omits several items (as the agony in Gethsemane, anticipated in 12:27, and 13:21; but he mentions the garden, 18:1), and supplies other interesting facts (as the commending of the mother of Jesus to John), and in the parallel accounts a number of minute, circumstantial details (18:2, 10, 13, 24, 28; 19:14, 20, 41, etc.) which betray the eye-witness of the scenes described. But it is wrong to say with Hengstenberg that John merely meant to give supplements to the Synoptic history of the Passion with such common traits as are necessary to show the connection, comp. the remarks of Godet, 2p. 5, 69 f.—P. S.]
John 18:1. Jesus went forth [ἐξῆλθεν]. Not precisely forth from the city (Meyer), but forth from the city precincts, which extended to the brook Kedron. Ἐξῆλθεν πέραν. Leben Jesu, 2 p. 1347 ff. [David, betrayed by Ahithophel, one of his body-guard, took the same course over Kedron in his flight from the rebellious Absalom, 2 Samuel 15:23, and thus furnished a type to which Jesus Himself pointed, John 13:18.—P. S.]
Beyond the brook [or rather torrent] Kidron [or Kedron. See Text. Note]. Kidron, the name of a brook or torrent, χέμαῤῥος, [from χεῖμα and ῥέω, winter-flowing, winter-torrent, formed by the winter-rains, but dry in the summer.—P. S.]; also a wady, Joseph. Antiq. VIII. 1, 5. קִדְרוֹך [from קָדַר, to be black, dirty], the Black, the Black Brook [from its color.] We must distinguish between the valley of Kedron and the Kedron itself, as well as between the Kedron as a torrent, and as a spring brook. “The vale of Kedron is the most important valley in the northern portion of the plateau of the wilderness of Judah. It takes its rise on the north side of the city of Jerusalem, upon the great water-shed between the Mediterranean and the Dead Sea, at an elevation of about 2,500 feet above the ocean; it surrounds the north and east sides of the city, turning by the well of Rogel, at a sharp angle to the southeast, toward the Dead Sea. Forming, at first, but a shallow, trough-shaped depression, it burrows deeper, and deeper and, from the point where it turns to the southeast, becomes a wild, untrodden, narrow chasm, opening south of the Ras el Feshka, towards the Dead Sea. No traveller has ever yet traversed its whole extent. In the middle of its course, between Jerusalem and the Dead Sea, there is a much-visited point, the cloister of St. Saba.9—The brook Kedron, which flows through the valley, has no regular water-course; it is only a winter-torrent [formed by the water which flows into the valley from the hills north and east of Jerusalem], Over and above this, the valley does not lack perennial springs; on the eastern declivity of southern Moriah there is the well of Mary, etc., and at the junction of Hinnom with the valley of the Kedron we find the well of Rogel” (L. Völter). According to Robinson, the Kedron does not flow unceasingly even in winter; one may stay several years in Jerusalem without seeing any water in this deep bed.10 As the dividing brook between Jerusalem or Moriah, Zion and the Mount of Olives, the brook, like the valley, possesses some significancy. Upwards from the well of Rogel near Jerusalem, the valley is called the valley of Jehoshaphat (“the Lord judgeth”). According to the Jews (with reference to Joel 3:2), as also according to the Mohammedans, the last judgment will be held in this valley. Simultaneously with Christ’s passage of the Kedron, a passage infinitely more momentous than that of Cæsar over the Rubicon, doubtless the last judgment was principially decided, together with the redemption. Passages in which the Kedron is mentioned: 2 Samuel 15:23; 1Ki 15:13; 2 Kings 23:4; 2Ki 23:6; 2 Kings 23:12; Nehemiah 2:15; 1Ma 12:37; Joseph. Antiq. XVIII. 1, 5; IX. 7, 3; De Bello Jud. V. 6, 1. Comp. the article Kedron in Winer and that in Zeller’s Wörterbuch für das christliche Volk; books of travel, particularly Robinson 2 p. 35 [Am. ed. vol. I. 268–273; (Valley of K.), and I. 232, 273 (Brook of K.). Also art. Kidron, in Smith’s Dict. of the B., II. 1533 ff., Hackett & Abbot’s ed., where Robinson’s accurate description is quoted.—P. S.] As a torrent alone, the Kedron’s waves were dark and turbid; and in the time of the temple-worship the blood of the sacrifices likewise flowed into it and darkened it; hence, doubtless, the name. It was probably the Stephen Gate or Mary Gate of the present day, through which Jesus had descended into the valley for the purpose of crossing the Kedron (Leben Jesu, ii. p. 1427).
There was a garden. On Gethsemane [i. e., Olive-Press, from gath, press, and schamna, oil] see Comm. on Matthew [pp. 478, 482, Am. ed.].11 The different designations are worth noting. Matthew: Jesus cometh unto a country-place called Gethsemane similarly Mark; Luke: to the mount of Olives; John: there was a garden.
[This notice of John to every reader of the Synoptic Gospels would at once suggest the scene of Gethsemane. On the doubtful typological reference to the garden of Eden, where the first Adam was tempted by the serpent and fell, while in Gethsemane the second Adam bruised the serpent’s head, see the fathers, Lampe, Hengstenberg, and Wordsworth.”12—P. S.]
Himself and His disciples.—The more minute account in Matthew and Mark.
John 18:2. But Judas also, His betrayer, knew the place.—Thus John passes over the conflict in Gethsemane. It is his intention to exhibit it in its glorious issue, the majestic repose of Christ.—For Jesus often resorted thither with His disciples.—According to Luke, it was a habit of Jesus to go thither. The Synoptists jointly say that He there collected His thoughts in prayer. According to John, the place also served as a meeting-ground for Jesus and His disciples; probably He was wont to be met there by His adherents generally. The remark “refers to previous festal visits.” Meyer. Comp. Comm. on Mark [p. 5, Am. ed. Dr. Lange conjectures there that Mark, whose mother had a house in Jerusalem, owned a country seat at the foot of the Mount of Olives, perhaps even the garden of Gethsemane.—P. S.] Instrumental in throwing light upon the base character of Judas is the fact of his reckoning that Jesus, in His divine strength of character and fidelity to prayer, would assuredly be found, even on this occasion, in Gethsemane.
John 18:3. Having received the band of soldiers and officers, etc. [Ὁ οὖν Ἰούδας λαβὼν τὴν σπεῖραν—see Text. Notes—καὶ ἐκ τῶν . φαρισαίων ὑπηρέτας ἔρχεται ἔρχεται ἐκεῖ, κ. τ. λ..]—See Comm. on Matthew. “According to Josephus, XX. 3, 4, the city governors were accustomed, at the feast, tostation a τάξις στρατιωτῶν (in the Castle Antonia) near the avenues to the temple, in case of an insurrection; and for this reason—for fear, namely, that the adherents of Jesus might free Him by force—a detachment is here permitted to accompany the Jews. The Levitic ὕπηρέται of the Sanhedrin accomplish the arrest itself; they were sent out for a similar purpose, John 7:45. Under these circumstances, it is not at all probable that the detachment of soldiers also pressed into the garden.” (According to John 18:12, the thing is very probable, since they at once co-operate in the arrest.) “The strength of the cohorts conformed to circumstances. Some of those under Titus contained 1000 men, others 613 foot-soldiers and 120 horsemen. Moreover, in the usage of Polybius, σπεῖρα is equivalent to manipulus, the third of a cohort.” Tholuck.
[There were ten cohorts or companies in every Roman legion, but varying in number according to circumstances. According to Josephus (De Bello Jud., III. 4, 2) five of eighteen σπεῖραι contained 1000 men each, and the others 600. Robinson (sub σπεῖρα), with Kuinoel, understands here and John 18:12 the temple guard of Levites who performed the menial offices of the temple and kept watch by night. So also Baumgarten-Crusius and Bäumlein. But the σπεῖρα is here and John 18:6 expressly distinguished from the ὑπηρέται ἐκ τῶν . φαρισαίων, furnished by the Sanhedrin. The objection that Roman soldiers would have led Jesus to their own officers, not to the chief priests, does not hold; for Jesus was to be condemned first by the ecclesiastical authorities. It is not necessary to suppose that the whole garrison of the fortress Antonia, whether it consisted of 1000 or only of 300 men, was present; a small detachment with the captain (χιλίαρχος, John 18:12) was sufficient. Comp. note on Matthew 27:27, p. 513. The combined power of the Romans and the Jews was brought into requisition against the one unarmed gentle Jesus. The military preparation (μετὰ φανῶν καὶ. λαμπάδων—mark the accumulative καί) indicates the bad conscience of Judas 1456and the Sanhedrin.—P. S.]
John 18:4. Jesus, therefore, stepped forth.—Not out of the garden (Lampe, Meyer),—Mark pretty plainly decides against such an interpretation—nor out of the depths of the garden merely (De Wette, Tholuck [Alford: from the shade of the trees into the moonlight] and others), but, agreeably to His purpose, out of the circle of disciples, in advance of it, in order to protect it (Leben Jesu, II., p. 1456, Schweizer). This is indicated also by the design of the question: Whom do ye seek? John 18:8. [Stier: “When men sought Jesus to make Him a King, He fled: now that they seek Him to put Him to death, He goes forth to meet them.”—P. S.]—Whom do ye seek?—According to Hug, He put this question to the end that the temple-officers also might learn His name and that it might consequently be rendered impossible for Him to be put out of the way anonymously; the design, however, manifestly presents itself in what follows. They are to be dismayed at the distinct consciousness of their intention to seize Jesus, and, their commission being thus narrowly defined, they shall be in duty bound to let the disciples go.
John 18:5. But Judas also, etc.—The band of disciples was stationed within the garden in two divisions, like a watch. The three intimates of Jesus were in the back-ground, the eight others near the entrance. From the stand-point of these latter, to whom Matthew belonged, the most striking occurrence was the pressing of the troop, with Judas at their head, into the garden; from the stand-point of the three, Jesus’ hastening to meet the throng. To these external circumstances of position, supervenes a diversity of mental view; the Synoptic tradition and Mark, the disciple of Peter, regarding primarily the impudent boldness of the traitor, whilst it was the design of John to throw into relief the majestic preparedness of Christ and His fidelity to the disciples. Jesus, then, anticipated Judas’ plot of betraying Him with a kiss, inasmuch as He rendered that plot entirely superfluous; this fact, however, forms no reason for supposing that Judas did not carry out the agreement and that the Judas-kiss is a tradition. It did but become a meaningless farce through Jesus’ declaration of Himself. Hence, it is this that John wishes to indicate, viz., that the Judas-kiss was frustrated in its design by the magnanimous self-presentation of Jesus, and at the same time, that Judas, together with the enemies, was felled to the ground through Christ’s word. As the two brushed past each other, the kiss became an abortive, scarce-accomplished signal, and the traitor was cast back upon the line of the foes.
[Ἐγώ εἰμι, I am He. Words of cheer and comfort to the trembling disciples on the stormy lake, Mark 6:50, and after the resurrection, Luke 24:39; words of terror here to His enemies, overpowering the armed military and priestly band. So His rebuke, with the majesty of His presence, silenced the profane traffickers in the temple. Comp. also the impression made upon the ὑπηρέ ται, 7:46. What will be the effect of the same I am, when spoken by the Lord of glory on the day of judgment! Augustine: Quid judicaturus faciet, qui judicandus hoc fecit? Bengel (on John 18:8): Bis dicit: Ego sum; si tertio dixisset, non cepissent illum. Tertio dicet olim.—P. S.]
John 18:6. And fell to the ground [ἀπῆλθαν εἰς τὰ ὀπίσω—started back in dismay—καὶ ἔπεσαν χαμαί13χαμᾶζε].—Explanation of this fact:
1. A miracle of Jesus; by which He meant to prove the freedom of His self-surrender (ancient exposition).14
2. The fact is to be referred to the disciples who had retired and cast themselves upon the ground with a view to concealing themselves (Paulus)!
3. Mythical (Strauss).15
4. Psychological: there is no question of a prostration of all. The foremost ones were confounded at finding Jesus so suddenly—not sleeping, but waking—, presenting Himself so composedly; even before this, they were paralyzed, as it were, with awe of Him; now, when they would fain seize Him, a horror of awe over-powers them and, recoiling, they fall, one upon another (Lücke, Tholuck and others).16
5. Here, also, it is an unjustifiable antithesis that causes the clashing of the miracle and its natural instrumentality, or of the objective, conscious agency of Christ and the subjective element of awe and fear (as, for instance, Meyer). The effect of the self-presentation of Christ could not arrive unexpectedly to Him, nor, hence, be undesigned. That is the miracle. Neither, however, can Jesus’ miracle be regarded as a magical operation upon the bodies of them that fell; its channel was terror of conscience, as was the case in the death of Ananias, Acts 5:0 (see Leben Jesu, p. 1457 ff.).17 Tholuck cites kindred instances, when before Mark Antony, Marius, Coligny, the murderers recoiled, panicstruck (p. 408; see, too, Heubner on this passage).18 On New Testament ground the following belong here: Luke 4:30; John 8:59; John 7:44-46; John 10:39; Matthew 28:4; Acts 5:5; Acts 5:10 in reference to a bad conscience; analogous phenomena occurred even in the circle of Jesus’ friends, according to Luke 5:8; Matthew 28:9; Matthew 28:17, etc.—Analogous effects of the manifestation of Jehovah, of the Angel of the Lord, or Christ, see in the Old Testament in the history of Balaam, Manoah, Isaiah, Daniel, as also in the New Testament at the commencement of Revelation.
John 18:7. Then asked He them again.—This second question, in conjunction with the self-surrender of Jesus, has an effect upon the troop as elevating as that of the first question and the self-presentation of Jesus was depressing. This, also, is in analogy with the convulsing and reanimating effects, as experienced by the Apocalyptists, of a divine revelation, Daniel 10:10; Revelation 1:17. These men (Daniel and John) were prostrated by the holiness of the Lord, in the consciousness of their sinfulness, lifted up again by His grace, in the element of their faith. Our case is somewhat similar,—the temple-officers being, on the one hand, the instruments of a godless, devilish plot, but also, on the other hand, the ministers of an existing order of things and the instruments of Divine Providence.
John 18:8. If, therefore, ye seek Me.—The saying of Jesus is directly declarative of the security of the disciples, partly by way of logical deduction, partly as a command; it is, at the same time, indirectly the disciples’ discharge from the present outward alliance of suffering. But the great utterance has also a deeper background. See Isaiah 63:3. Bengel and others assume, without foundation, that some had already laid hands on the disciples. That there did exist an inclination for such a step, however, is evinced by the episode of the fleeing youth in Mark and by the maid who denounced Peter, in the history of the latter’s denial.
John 18:9. That the saying might be fulfilled.—Christ’s declaration, John 17:12. The keeping of the disciples from being lost consisted finally in their preservation from captivity in the present situation, since the over-mighty temptation might have been the ruin of the souls of some among them. (This connection not recognized by Schweizer). [Alford: “An unquestionable proof, if any were wanted, that the words of John 17:0 are no mere description of the mind of our Lord Jesus at the time, but His very words themselves. This is recognized even by De Wette. On the application of the saying, we may remark that the words unquestionably had a deeper meaning than any belonging to this occasion; but the remarks so often made in this commentary on the fulfillment of prophecies must be borne in mind;—that to ‘fulfil’ a prophecy is not to exhaust its capability of being again and again fulfilled:—that the words of the Lord have many stages of unfolding;—and that the temporal deliverance of the Apostles now, doubtless was but a part in the great spiritual safe-keeping which the Lord asserted by anticipation in these words.” See also a good note of Webster and Wilkinson in loc.—P. S.]
John 18:10. Simon, then—Peter. [Σίμων οὖν Πέτρος. Lange: Simon now—Peter].—We bring out in the translation the trait that John inserts his οὖν of manifold import between the names Simon and Peter, thus emphasizing the Simon. To Simon it was natural to act in the way related. Comp. Comm. on Matthew, on this place; John 21:15. An explanation of the circumstance that John alone mentions the name of the disciple who was the author of the sword-blow, see in the Comm. on Matthew on this passage [p. 486, Am. ed.]. Similarly, John alone mentions the name of Malchus. [One of the circumstantial details so frequent in John’s account of the history of the passion, which confirm his authorship. John knew the high-priest, John 18:15, and so probably also his servant Malchus (=King). The Synoptists who wrote earlier may have had prudential reasons for not mentioning the name.—P. S.] Peter wished, by this blow, to prove his readiness to risk his life for his Lord and to fulfil his vow, recorded John 13:37; in all probability it was also his design to give a signal to the friends of Jesus and the Lord Himself to rise in arms against the foe. Upon the particular circumstances comp. the Synoptists. [Peter’s zeal was honest and well-meaning, but impulsive, hasty, imprudent, and mistaken in the selection of means. Hence the rebuke of our Lord, who here condemns for all time to come the use of carnal weapons and physical force in the defence of truth and promotion of His kingdom. The Romish church has imitated Peter in his weakness rather than his strength, and often invoked the arm of the secular power in the bloody persecution of heretics; thus making herself responsible for it in spite of her professed principle: ecclesia non sitit sanguinem. Comp. my Hist. of the Apost. Church, p. 677.—P. S.]
John 18:11. Jesus unto Peter.—It is again significant that John here makes use only of the name Peter (without Simon). Christ’s deliverance against the action of Peter, as given by John, does not exclude the words related by Matthew from conforming the more closely to the original expressions. The words of Jesus, as recorded by John, are expressive of the voluntary surrender of Jesus to the will of the Father, and they most decidedly look away from the doing of men. Mark passes over the direct disapproval awarded to Peter, his guide; Luke relates how Christ remedied the offense; Matthew brings out the theocratical points of Jesus’ saying.—The cup which My Father, etc. Comp. Matthew 20:22; Matthew 26:39 [Comm., p. 479, Am. Ed.]. In His prayer He has sacredly bound Himself to drink the cup. [“The cup is a striking allusion to the prayer in Gethsemane; for the image does not elsewhere occur in our Evangelist.” Alford. So also Paley, (Evidences, B, H., c. 4), Bengel, Webster and Wilkinson (comp. their note in loc.), Wordsworth, and others.—P. S.]
DOCTRINAL AND ETHICAL
1. The arrest of Jesus in Gethsemane. John omits the directions of Jesus to His disciples as to their conduct in Gethsemane; the Passion of His soul; the reproof to His sleeping disciples; the kiss of Judas; the reference of Peter to the twelve legions of angels; the protest of Jesus against His seizers; the healing of Malchus recorded by Luke; the episode of the fugitive youth related by Mark. On the other hand, he gives prominence to the fact that Jesus went voluntarily to meet His apprehenders; that the multitude fell to the ground at the sight of His majesty; that He surrendered Himself prisoner, while securing a free exode to the disciples. He names Peter as the one who drew the sword, mentions the name of the servant, Malchus, who was wounded by him, and, with the words, “who drew the sword,” refers the saying of Jesus, “shall I not drink the cup?” etc., to His psychical passion. On Gethsemane, see Comm. on Matthew, p. 478, Am. Ed.
2. Gethsemane, as John paints it, presupposes the Gethsemane according to the Synoptists, and from the latter it is possible to deduce the former. I.e., in the kingdom of God, a mighty assurance of victory admits the inference of a mighty conflict, and a mighty conflict that of a mighty assurance of victory.
3. The passage of Jesus over the brook Kedron, a step of the highest, world-historic import. An expression of His constrainedness in spirit, His freedom of will, His decision of heart.
4. Paradise and the Garden. The first and the second Adam. The serpent and the traitor. The defeat and the victory (attaching, in a greater degree, to the Synoptical version). The ancient typology, constituting the Garden of Gethsemane an antithesis of Paradise, is fully warranted here, so long as it does not, by enlarging upon minute, degenerate into trifling.
5. The sudden attack upon the Lord in the sanctuary of prayer, a speaking sign: 1. That the hatred of the world was levelled at the praying heart of Christ and His flock,—that they fell upon Him on account of His piety; 2. that in this respect, also, He was to form the central point of the experience of the faithful: of the experience of Daniel (John 6:7), of the first Christians, the Huguenots [Puritans, Covenanters], etc.
6. Judas knew the place also. How the spiritual experiences of false men and hypocrites redound to their ruin. He knew the place. But in what a base and imperfect way he knew the Lord, is proved by his equipment and march with the whole multitude.
7. In all religious persecutions, cohorts, legions and armies are transformed into gens-d’armes, police soldiers, myrmidons and executioners’ assistants.
8. The drawing up of the world against Christ, and the sword stroke of Peter for Him: Symbols of the impotence of His fleshly opposers, as of His fleshly defenders.
9. The majesty whereby the self presentation of Christ casts His foes to the ground. A divine operation (see the Introduction), yet with a human instrumentality. See Note to John 18:6. At the same time an expression of His freedom in His surrender, which freedom, according to the Synoptists, He also declared by a decided protest.
10. Christ’s submitting to be taken captive by His enemies, in order to the protection and deliverance of His people, a symbolic individual type, in which His faithfulness as a Redeemer is reflected.
HOMILETICAL AND PRACTICAL
1. See Commentary on Matthew, Mark, Luke.—Gethsemane in profoundest gloom and brightest light, (comparison of the Johannean version with the Synoptical).—Gethsemane as a place of victory: 1. Revelation of past victory, a. over inward temptation, b. over Judas (chap. 13). 2. Consummation of present victory, a. over the slanderous array and over treason (in that He voluntarily presents Himself to His enemies); b. over the haughtiness of the foe (by levelling them to the earth and ensuring the safety of the disciples); c. over the carnal zeal of the disciple. 3. A foretoken and life picture of all the future victories of Christ (free advance of the strong, secure shelterment of the weak, glorious correction of the passionate, dissipation of falsehood and treachery, disarming of violence, overcoming of the world through voluntary suffering).—The brook and the garden: 1. How insignificant! 2. How memorable!—Judas and Peter in the Gethsemane of the Lord.—But Judas also knew the place. How even this knowledge and recollection of his disciple life becomes his ruin. The fearful judgment in the misuse of spiritual experiences.—The equipment of Judas, or how well and yet how poorly he knew his betrayed Lord: 1. His place of prayer and fidelity to prayer, but not the blessing of His prayer; 2. His power, but not His superiority and omnipotence: 3. His innocence, yet not His holiness; 4. His clemency, yet not His love and earnestness; 5. His human dignity, but not His divine majesty.—The betrayer of Christ a traitor out and out: 1. To the sanctuary, 2. to his fellow disciples, 3. to his nation, 4. to humanity, 6. to himself.—Treason toward the sanctuary: 1. How all the secrets of the church of Christ are, by means of apostate members, betrayed to the world; 2. how all the plots of treason are brought to nought and transformed to a judgment upon the traitors.—The array of myrmidons against Jesus: 1. Called out by mendacious and vain fear; 2. terrible in its weapons and lamps, over against the Defenceless One; 3. made a laughing-stock through the light of truth with which Christ goes to meet it; 4. shown up in its impotence; 5. limited in its operation; 6. given free course in its plot, but only in order to the carrying out of the counsel of God.—How Christ baffles the plots of His foes by freely meeting and anticipating them [the plots 1. of craft (slander, falsehood), 2. of violence].—The majesty which Christ manifests in treading the way of His deepest humiliation.—The sublime freedom of spirit with which He resigns His outward freedom.—Why so calm, so grand in His surrender? Because He is conscious that He is not abandoning Himself to the impotence of His enemies, but confiding Himself to the omnipotence of His God.—The dignity of the pious in suffering, the foretoken of his triumph.—The terrors of Christ: 1. Origin: a. Terrors of divine holiness, b. terrors of human dignity. 2. Effect: In the conscience, in the psychical life, in the marrow and bone. 3. Signs: Tokens of inner judgment, foretokens of future judgment.—Whom seek ye?—If ye, then, seek Me, let these go.—Fulfilment of Scripture: 1. In the most universal sense, 2. in the most special sense.—The upshot of things in Gethsemane: Betrayed, surprised, made captive: 1. Christ seems betrayed, but the kingdom of darkness has betrayed itself; 2. He seems surprised, but henceforth He stands sovereign in the midst of the camp of the foe; 3. He seems a captive, but the adversary is the captive.—The sword of Simon and the cup of Christ.—Simon took the sword, Peter received the reprimand.—Christ’s defence the defence of His people.
Starke: Zeisius: That which the first Adam marred in the garden by the fall, the second Adam, Jesus Christ, regained and set in order in the garden by His guiltless passion.—The iniquity of the traitor was made all the more discernible by his betraying Christ to death in the very place where he had seen His deeds and heard the words of life.—The wicked man oft-times misuses his knowledge of the ingoings and outgoings of the righteous; let a man take care in whom he confides, Psalms 57:6.—The Lord Jesus has hallowed even the kind of suffering that His children endure when they must allow unfaithful souls a knowledge of their circumstances, Psalms 41:6; Psalms 41:9.—No one hates Christ and His party more bitterly than a hypocrite who has thrown off the mask.—Zeisius: When Jesus, in His suffering, hath so oft evinced His stout heartedness and advanced to meet His foes, why, O Christian mine, art thou in fear of the world and the devil, even whilst this conquering Lion of the Tribe of Judah is by thy side and fighteth for thee?—The first Adam, falling into the hands of divine justice, fled and hid himself, and God must needs call, saying: Adam, where art thou? but here the second Adam, being about to be delivered into the hands of His enemies, crieth out: Here am I.—What is more common now than Joab’s greeting and Judas kiss, Jacob’s voice and Esau’s hands?
John 18:8 : 1. Because He wished them preserved for a greater work; 2. to the end that men might not imagine that His death would not suffice for the redemption of mankind; 3. because they were not yet strong enough to withstand the like temptation; 4. He desired to prove that He had power and authority over His enemies.—Our fate does not depend upon the might or numbers of the enemy, but upon the permission which they receive from God, to injure us, 2 Chronicles 32:7.—Lord Jesus, when the world, death and the devil would fain swallow us up, speak Thou the word of command: Let these go, Psalms 105:15.—Osiander: God setteth a bound to persecutions.—Zeisius: When Peter should have watched, he slept, and when he should have been quiet, he made resistance through carnal zeal; thus we always have by nature a sufficient leaning towards evil.—God overrules even the errors of His children, so that no greater harm shall result from them than He has resolved to permit, Genesis 20:2; Genesis 20:6.
Gossner: In the garden of Eden man fell through lust and pride, in the garden of Gethsemane he was to be raised up again through mourning, anguish and humiliation.—What time their glory flashes in upon children of God and glimpses so heart-ravishing are theirs, they should not misuse this their blessedness, nor vaunt themselves of it.—When the Saviour saith: Let my people go, their sorest enemies must suffer this word to stand, and His people to go.—Thus, in the midst of the press, Christ looketh on the Father and taketh the suffering that men inflict upon Him, as coming, not from them, but out of the hand of the Father, without whose counsel and consent not a hair of our heads can be harmed.
Heubner: Over the brook Kedron, as David once fled before Absalom.
John 18:4. This question attests (therefore) His innocence and undismayedness.—The morally good man will never deny his own identity, even though he be in mortal peril; conscious of his dignity he will freely say who he is, trusting in God. There is something debasing and dishonoring in a denial of one’s identity.—These words, Let these go, are important to us also. “Jesus procures His disciples entire freedom and security; the power of this authoritative word shows itself even at the present day. The enemy had not left a disciple on earth if this word was not still in force. This word is the cause of the continued existence of disciples,—faithful ones, whom the world, against its will, must behold passing to and fro, and yet must let go.” Burk, Fingerzeig II., p. 393.—Shall I not, etc. Violently to hold the righteous back from his suffering for duty’s sake, is to hold him back from his glory and salvation.
John 18:12. Bound as to the hands was Jesus; unbound in spirit.
[Craven: From Augustine: Chap. 18. John 18:1-2. There the wolf in Sheep’s clothing, permitted by the deep counsel of the Master of the flock to go among the sheep, learned in what way to disperse the flock, and ensnare the Shepherd.
John 18:6. Where now is the band of soldiers, where the terror and defence of arms? Without a blow, one word struck, drove back, prostrated a crowd fierce with hatred, terrible with arms. What shall He do when He cometh to judge, who did thus when He was going to be judged?
John 18:8. So now having shown His power to them when they wished to take Him and could not, He lets them seize Him, that they might be unconscious agents of His will.—He commands His enemies, and they do what He commands; they permit them to go away, whom He would not have perish.
John 18:11. Peter was to be admonished to have patience: and this was written for our learning.——From Chrysostom: John 18:1. Why does not John say, When He had prayed, He entered? Because His prayer was a speaking for His disciples, sake.—He goes to the place which was known to the traitor; thus giving no trouble to those who were lying in wait for Him, and showing His disciples that He went voluntarily to die.—That it might not be thought that He went into a garden to hide Himself, it is added, But Judas who betrayed Him knew the place: for Jesus often resorted thither with His disciples.
John 18:3-9. They had often sent elsewhere to take Him, but had not been able; whence it is evident that He gave Himself up voluntarily; as it follows, Jesus, therefore, knowing all things—,went forth, etc.
John 18:8. Even to the last hour does He show His love for His own.——From Alcuin: John 18:1. Where there was a garden, that the sin which was committed in a garden, He might blot out in a garden.——From Herbert: John 18:5.
Judas, dost thou betray Me with a kiss?
Canst thou find hell about My lips and miss
Of life, just at the gates of life and bliss?
[From Burkitt: John 18:3. How active was Judas, and how watchful was His bloody crew, even at that time when Christ’s disciples could not keep their eyes open.
John 18:4. Lord, how endearing are our obligations to Thyself, that when Thou knewest beforehand the bitterness of that cup which the justice of God was about to put into Thy hand, Thou didst not decline to drink it for our sakes.
John 18:7. Obstinate and obdurate sinners will not be reclaimed by the most evident and convincing, by the most miraculous and surprising, appearances of God against them.
John 18:8. Christ is so tender of His followers, that He will not put them upon trials, or call them forth to sufferings, till they are ripe and prepared for them.
John 18:10. How doth a pious breast swell with indignation at the sight of an open insult offered unto the Saviour!
John 18:11. The rebuke which Christ gave St. Peter for what he did; though his heart was sincere, yet his hand was rash; good intentions are no warrant for irregular actions.—The cup which My Father hath given Me, shall I not drink it? Learn 1. That oft-times the wisdom of God is pleased to put a very bitter cup of affliction into the hand of those to drink, whom He doth most sincerely love; 2. That when God doth so, it is their duty to drink it with submission.
[From M. Henry: John 18:1. Our Lord Jesus took His work before Him: the office of the priest was to teach, and pray, and offer sacrifice; Christ, after teaching and praying, applies Himself to make atonement.—Having by His sermon [and prayer] prepared His disciples for this hour of trial, and by His prayer prepared Himself for it, He then courageously went out to meet it: when He had put on His armor, He entered the lists, and not till then.
John 18:2. Jesus oft times resorted thither: He would do as He was wont to do, and not alter His method, either to meet the cross or to miss it, when His hour was come.
John 18:1. Where there was a garden: He would set us an example in the beginning of His passion, of retirement from the world.—He went over the brook Cedron; the notice taken of it intimates that there was something in it significant; and it points at 1. David’s prophecy concerning the Messiah (Psalms 110:7), that He shall drink of the brook in the way; 2. David’s pattern, as a type of the Messiah; in his flight from Absalom, particular notice is taken of his passing over the brook Cedron.—He had His disciples with Him, 1. Because He used to take them with Him when He retired for prayer; 2. They must be witnesses of His sufferings, and His patience under them; 3. To show them their weakness: Christ sometimes brings His people into difficulties, that He may magnify Himself in their deliverance.
John 18:2. Mention is made of Judas’ knowing the place, 1. To aggravate his sin, that he would betray his Master notwithstanding his intimate acquaintance with Him: thus has Christ’s holy religion been wounded in the house of its friends, as it could not have been anywhere else; many an apostate could not have been so profane as he is, if he had not been a professor; he could not have ridiculed Scriptures and ordinances, if he had not known them; 2. To magnify the love of Christ, that, though He knew where the traitor would seek Him, thither He went to be found of him; what He did, was not by constraint, but by consent. When others were going to bed, He was going to prayer, going to suffer.
John 18:4-6. He received His enemies with all the mildness imaginable toward them, and all the calmness imaginable in Himself.
John 18:5. I am He; He has hereby taught us to own Him, whatever it cost us; not to be ashamed of Him or His words; but even in difficult times, to confess Christ crucified.
John 18:6. They went backward; they did not fall forward, as humbling themselves before Him, but backward, as standing it out to the utmost.—.When He struck them down, He could have struck them dead, but He would not; because 1. The hour of His suffering was come; 2. He would give an instance of His patience and forbearance with the worst of men, and His compassionate love to His very enemies—in striking them down, and no more. He gave them both a call and space to repent.
John 18:7-9. Having given His enemies a repulse, He gives His friends protection.
John 18:7. There are hearts so very hard in sin, that nothing will work upon them to reduce and reclaim.
John 18:8. When Christ exposed Himself, He excused His disciples, because they were not, as yet, fit to suffer.—Herein Christ gives us 1. A great encouragement to follow Him; for though He has allotted us sufferings, yet He considers our frame; 2. A good example of love to our brethren and concern for their welfare.
John 18:8. Let these go their way; He intended to give a specimen of His undertaking as Mediator; when He offered Himself to suffer and die, it was that we might escape.
John 18:9. The safety and preservation of the saints are owing, not only to the divine grace in proportioning the strength to the trial, but to the divine providence in proportioning the trial to the strength.
John 18:10. Peter’s 1. Rashness; 2. Good-will; 3. Ill-conduct; Hebrews 1:0. had no warrant from His Master for what he did; 2. transgressed the duty of his place, and resisted the powers that were; 3. opposed His Master’s suffering, notwithstanding the rebuke he had for it once; 4. broke the capitulation His master had lately made with the enemy; 5. foolishly exposed himself and his fellow disciples to the fury of this enraged multitude; 6. he played the coward so soon after this (denying his Master), that we have reason to think that he would not have done this, but that he saw his Master cause them to fall on the ground.—God’s over-ruling providence in the direction of the stroke, that it should do no more execution than cut off his car.
John 18:11. We must pledge Christ in the cup that He drank of; It Isaiah 1:0. but a cup; a small matter comparatively, be it what it will; 2. a cup that is given us; 3. given us by a Father.——From Scott: John 18:1-9. Even the malice of our Lord’s enemies did not render them more ready to crucify Him, than His love to sinners made Him ready to meet those sufferings.
John 18:6. “The day of His wrath” will come, when all who oppose, yea, when all who do not obey, His Gospel, shall be driven backward and perish for ever. In the meantime He spares and warns His adversaries; yet neither His terror, nor His forbearance, will deter [sinful] men in general from their purpose.——From A Plain Commentary, (Oxford): John 18:6. He lifts up for an instant the mantle which screened His Divinity, and lo, they are unable even to stand in His presence!
John 18:8. This was because He must needs tread the winepress alone, and of the people there must be none with Him (Isaiah 63:3); lest it should even enter into the dreams of any that the price of Man’s Salvation was paid by some other Sacrifice besides that of Christ only.
John 18:9. This is [at the first glance] a somewhat surprising statement: for our Saviour, when He uttered the words referred to, was speaking of eternal, not temporal death; [but] what might have been the conduct, what would have been the fate, of the others, if they had now been separated from their Lord, and dragged away to a terrible death.
[From Krummacher: John 18:3. The superfluous torches and lanterns, in the light of the full moon, manifest their conscience-smitten fears.—Officers from the chief priests and Pharisees; It becomes, indeed, people of this class unconditionally [?] to obey the command of those who are set over them. Yet they are not mere machines, incapable of guilt in so doing, but answerable, as well as all other men, to God the final judge, for their moral conduct; their obedience ought to be limited by the well-known maxim—“We must obey God rather than man;” and their duty it therefore was, in the present case, to prefer dying by the hand of the executioner, to the doubtful praise of having done their duty in the perpetration of the most heinous of crimes.
John 18:5-6. “I am He !” Great and significant expression! It was never uttered by the Saviour without being accompanied with the most powerful effects. “It is I!” exclaimed He to His astonished disciples, when walking on the waves of the sea; and as, at the sound, the raging storm immediately subsided, so a flood of peace and joy poured itself into the hearts of His followers. “I that speak unto thee am He!” said He to the Samaritan woman at Jacob’s well; and immediately she left her water-pot and hastened back Sychar, as the first evangelist to the borders of Samaria. “I am He!” was His testimony at the bar of the Sanhedrin; and the conviction that He was really the Messiah smote the minds of His judges so powerfully that it was only by means of the stage-trick of rending his clothes, that the high priest was able to save himself from the most painful embarrassment: and here, on hearing these words, the whole band of officials start, give way, stagger backward, and fall to the ground as if struck by an invisible flash of lightning, or blown upon by the breath of Omnipotence.—Their prostration in the dust before Him, points out to unbelievers the situation in which they will one day be found.
John 18:8. If ye seek me, let these go their way; how well the Lord was able to preserve the most perfect self-possession in every situation, however terrible; and, with His anxiety to complete the work of redemption, to mingle the minute and inconsiderable with the stupendous and sublime, while girding Himself for His mysterious passage to the cross, He does not forget, in His adorable faithfulness, to rescue His disciples from the approaching storm.
John 18:10. “Well done, Simon!” we are ready to exclaim, “only go on as thou hast be-gun.” But that which appears to us as such an amiable trait in Peter, is only a confused mixture of self-love, arrogance, and folly; while the fire of our natural enthusiasm for Simon’s act proceeds likewise from only short-sightedness and blindness.
John 18:11. The cup which My Father hath given Me, shall I not drink it? In the cup was the entire curse of the inviolable law; all the horrors of conscious guilt, all the terrors of Satan’s fiercest temptations, and all the sufferings which can befall both soul and body. It contained likewise the dreadful ingredients of abandonment by God, infernal agony, and a bloody death, to which the curse was attached. Christ has emptied it, and not a drop remains for His people. The satisfaction He rendered was complete, the reconciliation effected. “There is now no condemnation to them that are in Christ Jesus.”
[From Barnes: John 18:8. The wisdom, caution, and prudence of Jesus forsook Him in no peril, however sudden, and in no circumstances, however difficult or trying.——From Jacobus: John 18:8-9. Nothing can occur contrary to His eternal plan; not even the mad fury of His foes can overreach His wisdom, or overmatch His provision.——From Owen: John 18:7. If it be asked how they could proceed to arrest and maltreat a person, before whom they had fallen prostrate as before a superior being, the answer is to be found in the transient influence which fear exerts upon the mind, and the probable fact, that this sudden repulse was represented by the leaders as effected by demoniacal agency at the instance of Jesus.
[John 18:11. (Matthew 26:52-54). The cause of Christ is not to be defended by carnal weapons.]
christ over against annas and calaphas. the clarity and serenity of the lord over against the inquisition of the high priest and maltreatment on the part of the servant. the two disciplines in the high priestly palace, and the tottering and falling peter
(Comp. Matthew 26:57-75; Mark 14:53-72; Luke 22:54-65.)
12Then the band and the captain [,] and [the] officers19 of the Jews took Jesus, and bound him. 13And led him away [led him]20 to Annas first; for he was father-in-law to [of, τοῦ] Caiaphas, which was the high priest that same year [who was high priest that year]. 14Now Caiaphas was he, which [But it was Caiaphas who] gave counsel to the Jews, that it was expedient that one man should die21 for the people. 15And Simon Peter followed Jesus, and so did another disciple [And Simon Peter and (the)22 other disciple followed Jesus]: that disciple was known unto the high-priest, and went in with Jesus into the palace [court-yard, αὐλήν] of the high priest. 16But Peter stood at the door without [was standing outside at the door]. Then went out that [the] other disciple, which [who] was known unto the high-priest, and spake unto her that kept the door, and brought in Peter. 17Then saith the damsel [maid-servant] that kept the door unto Peter, Art not [omit not]23 thou also one of this man’s disciples? He saith, I am not. 18And the servants and [the] officers stood [were standing] there, who had made [having made, πεποιηχότες] a fire of coals, for it was cold; and they warmed [were warming] themselves: and Peter stood [was standing] with them, and warmed [warming] himself.
19The high-priest then asked Jesus of [about, or, concerning, περί] his disciples, and of [about] his doctrine. 20Jesus answered him, I spake [have spoken, λελάληχα24 openly to the world; I ever [always] taught in the [a]25 synagogue, and in the temple, whither the Jews always resort [whore all the Jews come together, assemble];26 and in secret have I said [I spoke, ἐλἀλησα] nothing. 21Why askest thou me? ask them which heard me [Ask those who have heard, τους ], what I have said [I spoke, ἐλάλησα] unto them: behold, they [these, οὗτοι] know what I said 22[εἶπον]. And when he had thus spoken [said this], one of the officers which stood by [who was standing by, παρεστηχώς] struck Jesus with the palm of his hand [or, struck Jesus on the face, ἔδωχεν ῥάπισμα τῷ Ἰησ],27 saying, Answerest thou the high-priest so? 23Jesus answered him, If I have spoken [spoke, ἐλάλησα] evil, bear witness of the evil: but if well, why smitest thou me?
24Now Annas had sent him [Annas therefore sent him, ἀπέστειλεν οὖν28 bound unto Caiaphas the high-priest. 25And Simon Peter stood and warmed [was standing and warming] himself. They said therefore unto him, Art not [omit not] thou also one of his disciples? He denied it [omit it],29 and said, I am not. 26One of the servants of the high-priest, being his kinsman [being a kinsman of him] whose ear Peter cut off, saith, Did not I see thee in the garden with him? 27Peter then denied again; and immediately the [a] cock crew.
EXEGETICAL AND CRITICAL
John 18:12. Then the band and the captain, etc. Manifestly, the Jewish guard and the Roman soldiers take Jesus prisoner in concert; the soldiers under their chiliarch even have the precedence on the occasion. Hence an incorrect distinction is made in saying; “not until this moment, when the prisoner must be led through the city, does the military troop rejoin the Jewish watch” (Tholuck). [Luthardt (II., 383): “He before whose aspect and ἐγώ εἰμι, the whole band had been terrified and cast to the ground, now suffers Himself to be taken, bound, and led away…. To apprehend and bind One, all gave their help, the cohort, the chiliarch, and the Jewish officers…. Only by the help of all did they feel themselves secure. And thus it was ordered, that the disciples might escape with the more safety. Jesus suffered Himself to be bound, to show thereby the complete surrender of His will, and also in this form of suffering to be our example (Genesis 22:9; Psalms 105:18).”—P. S.]
John 18:13. Led him to Annas first.—See Comm. on Matthew. On Annas see Coram, on Luke 3:2 [p. 55, Am. Ed.], and the article Annas in Winer (at Josephus Ananos). [Annas (Ἄνανος) was appointed high-priest in his 37th year, A. D. 7, by Quirinus, the governor of Syria, but was obliged to give way to Ismael, A. D. 14. After two more changes, Joseph Caiaphas, the son in law of Annas (John 18:13; Joseph. Antiqu. XVIII. 2, 1), was appointed to the office, and continued till A. D. 37. Annas seems to have retained the title and part of the power of that office. In Luke 3:2, he is mentioned before Caiaphas, and in Acts 4:5, he is called high-priest. Some hold that he was high-priest dejure, Caiaphas de facto. Wieseler maintains that both were at the head of the Jewish hierarchy, Caiaphas as actual high-priest, Annas as president of the Sanhedrin.—P. S.] The preliminary leading of Jesus to Annas recorded by John alone. Different suppositions: The house of Annas was situated near the gate, or they led Jesus, as in triumph, to Annas; Annas was the examiner (Ewald); he was president of the Sanhedrin (Lichtenstein and others). All destitute of evidence, confronted with the supposition suggested by John himself, viz., that the Jews still regarded Annas as the true high-priest in a legitimistic sense, even after Caiaphas had been forced upon them as his successor (Leben Jesu II., p. 1468). The expression relative to Caiaphas: “high-priest of that year” (see John 11:49), appearing here for the second time, it would seem that the Evangelist had adopted it as an ironical characterization, current in the popular mouth, of the high-priesthood as desecrated by the Romans. With this observation, as well as with the very obvious notion that the high priestly-father-in-law and son-in-law occupied the same house as well as navigated the same boat, and that, accordingly, their common palace had a common aula or court-yard, in which Peter perpetrated the denial,30 the difficulties that here present themselves are removed.
Meyer justly asserts (in company with Olshausen, Ebrard, Bleek, Baumg.-Crusius, Neander, Luthardt [Wieseler, Stier, Alford, also Chrysostom and Augustine]), that, according to John, the denial of Peter John 18:16-18, the examination John 18:19-21, and the maltreatment John 18:22-23, took place in the dwelling of Annas; likewise justly, that it is impossible to follow the older harmonistics in assuming the leading to Caiaphas to be pre-supposed in John 18:15. Tholuck, on the other hand, persists in the assumption that the presentation before Annas receives nothing but a passing mention, as is discernible from the πρῶτον; the Aorist John 18:24 having therefore to be read as a Pluperfect (in accordance with Calvin, Lücke, De Wette, Hase and others),31 in spite of Meyer’s characterization of this as “violent” and Ebrard’s and Bleek’s as “neck-breaking.” Luther takes for granted a blunder of the transcriber, who, as he thinks, should have made John 18:24 immediately follow John 18:14. Manifestly, however, the examination before Annas, as described by John, is an entirely different one from that before Caiaphas, as given by the Synoptists. For John the greatest weight attached to the pre-examination by Annas, for Matthew and Mark to the official chief examination by Caiaphas, for Luke to the legalizing final examination in the morning. See Comm. on Matthew. After the above remarks, the assumption of a discrepancy, entertained by Meyer, Baur and others, falls to the ground; such an assumption is also to be found in Euthym. Zigab., Casaubonus, Stier, Ebrard, p. 541. “It has been fabricated (says Meyer) that Annas and Caiaphas resided in one and the same house.” But an extremely obvious, probable conjecture which, in the simplest manner, solves a difficulty, is something very different from a fabrication. [Augustine, Theophylact, Euthymius, Alford, Hengstenberg, Godet adopt the same easy conjecture. Annas and Caiaphas would naturally occupy different departments of the same (official) palace; and hence the sending from one to the other was quite possible and probable.—P. S.]
John 18:14. Now it was Caiaphas who gave counsel to the Jews.—Wherefore this notice? The Evangelist, in relating that Jesus was led to Annas first, already announced that He would be brought before Caiaphas also. He, however, designs forthwith to intimate what fate impended over Jesus at the hands of both of them. It was an evil omen that the people intended taking Him before Caiaphas, him who had already pronounced sentence of death upon Him. But it is also characteristic of the enmity of old Annas that Jesus was led to him even before He was brought to Caiaphas; the announcement of this fact is appropriately accompanied by the statement that he was the father-in-law of that murderous Caiaphas.
John 18:15. And the other [another] disciple.—Modest self-designation of John, as chap, 20:2, 3, 4, 8, comp. John 1:40. The article is wanting only in A. D., etc. [also in B. א* See Text. Notes.—P. S.]. On the omission of the article several untenable hypotheses are founded: 1. That it was an unknown disciple (Augustine, Calov., Gurlitt); 2. a citizen of Jerusalem (Grotius); 3. Judas Iscariot (Heumann). [Absurd. 4. James, the brother of John (P. Cassel, 1871).—P. S.] The notice that all the disciples had fled, does not conflict with the fact that they subsequently took heart again and that some of them returned. It is characteristic of the friendship of the two, Peter and John, that they here go voluntarily together, not on an official mission. Peter at first takes the lead. But at the street-door of the court (the αὐλεία θύρα),32 their relative positions change. John is admitted into the court yard, being known to the high-priest, while Peter remains without. See Comm. on Matthew [p. 491, Am. Ed.]. “John’s acquaintance with the high-priest gains in probability if we may suppose, from John 19:27, that he owned a house in Jerusalem. That the Jews had portresses instead of porters is shown also by Acts 12:13.” Tholuck. Joseph. Antiq. VII. 2, 1.
John 18:16. And brought in Peter.—That is, John did this, not she who kept the door (as Grotius and others have it).
John 18:17. Art thou also? [Μὴ καὶ σύ, as well as the ἄλλος, John 18:16].—“The καί contains the pre-supposition that John, whom she nevertheless had, for acquaintance’ sake, admitted along with the rest, is a disciple of Jesus.” Meyer. According to Mark, the girl does not say this until she has fixed her eyes upon Peter, according to Luke, not until she has examined him by the light. Hence it appears to result that she now grows doubtful as to whether she should have let him in, or whether she ought not to denounce him. This circumstance would, however, cast doubt on the supposition of Meyer, who holds the question of the maid to have been put in a totally unsuspecting mood. At all events she does not seem to have inferred the discipleship of Peter from the mere fact alone of his connection with John.—(One) of the disciples of this man [ἐκ τῶν μαθητῶν τοῦ .]—Contemptuously [Meyer]. Not compassionately (Chrysostom and others). Meyer conjectures that John went, together with Jesus and those who were about Him, into the interior of the house, i.e. out of the hall into the chamber of examination. This is improbable, though he occupied a position which enabled him to perceive what was going on in the chamber as well as what passed in the hall.
I am not [οὐκ εἰμί].—On the three different denials of Peter, see Comm. on Matthew, at the history in question, [p. 498, Am. ed.] “It may surprise us that John remains unmolested while Peter’s temptations are repeated: but the reason of this should be sought less in the timorous embarrassment of this latter disciple than in the boldness with which he stepped in amongst the menials.” Tholuck. Nevertheless, an assumed boldness is a characteristic symptom of fear.
John 18:18. Now Peter was standing with them [?)ἦν… μετ’ αὐτῶν ἐστώς]. The fact of his now standing, now sitting, seems to testify to his inward disquiet, equally with the temerity of his mingling in the crowd of servants and myrmidons and warming himself at their coal-fire.
John 18:19. The high priest then. Annas. The examination of Annas, in shrewd calculation, starts from the most general point. The Lord’s disciples or adherents first form the subject of interrogation. Then follows inquiry as to the doctrine by which Jesus gained them. He desires to ascertain what is to be thought of, or, perchance, feared from, the followers of Jesus, hoping, from the answers of the latter, to gain foothold for an accusation. He, however, manifestly uses, as a stand-point, the malevolent assumption that Jesus has founded a secret association by means of secret teachings; this the answer of Jesus demonstrates. The distinction between this examination and the subsequent one by Caiaphas is obvious. At the latter, they sought to prove that He was a public blasphemer against the sanctuary, etc.
John 18:20. I have spoken frankly to the world. [ἐγὼ—emphatic, some one who—παῤῥησίᾳ λελάληκα τῷ κόσμῳ. Meyer. παῤῥησίᾳ is to be apprehended subjectively: without reserve, plainly—not publicly, openly, which it does not mean. When accompanied, however, by to the world, the quality of publicity is, in an indirect manner, most, strongly expressed. The term: To the world, means, in the first place, the Jewish world, and characterizes it in respect of the two central points of publicity: in the synagogues and in the temple. In a synagogue [ἐν συναγωγῇ—without the article—there being many synagogues] is modified by πάντοτε, at all times; in the temple [ἐν τῷ ἰερῷ, the one temple at Jerusalem]; by the addition, where all the Jews assemble [ὅπου πάντες οἵ Ἰουδαῖοι συνέρχονται]. Both clauses signify: in complete connection with synagogue and temple; and so the assumption is made that the mountain, field, and lake sermons of Jesus have likewise preserved this connection.—And in secret I spoke nothing [καὶ ἐν κρυπτῷ ἐλάλησα οὐδέν]. These words do not conflict with Matthew 10:27, or with the fact that Jesus taught the disciples in confidential conversations. The warnings against the Pharisees in the sermon on the mount, for instance, He Himself publicly repeated in the temple, and, Matthew 10:27, characterized every confidential saying as destined for publicity. That which is here disaffirmed by Jesus is the assumption of mischievous sectarian or seditious secrecy; at the same time, the Lord characterizes the design of the old inquisitor’s question and rends the web of his insinuation. The synagogue is spoken of collectively, as a unitous institution; hence, neither the synagogues in Jerusalem, nor the provincial synagogues, as Tholuck maintains, are exclusively referred to.
John 18:21. Why askest thou Me? [τί με ἐρωτᾷς;]—The high-priest had deserved this sharp and thorough setting-down; it, however, also served to render his intention evident, to unmask and rebuke his craftiness: [The question seems to approve the principle of our judicature that the accused person should not be interrogated, but the proof of the charge be substantiated from the testimony of witnesses.]
John 18:22. One of the officers who was Standing by. [εἶς παρεστηκὼς τῶν ὑπηρετῶν ἔδωκεν ῥάπισμα τῷ Ἰησοῦ. On ρ̀άπισμα (a blow on the cheek with the hand, or with the staff; only in later Greek) see Text. Note.—P. S.] This maltreatment of Jesus must be distinguished from that which He experienced on His examination before Caiaphas, subsequently to His condemnation (Matthew 26:37); as, similarly, this last must in its turn be distinguished from the maltreatment narrated by Luke. Luke 22:63-64; although Matthew has summed up in one the two latter acts. The maltreatments recorded by Luke occurred whilst- Jesus, after His condemnation before Caiaphas in the night, was retained under arrest until the final examination which must, in accordance with the law, be held by day-time, on the following morning.
Is it thus that Thou answerest the high-priest?—The prohibition, Exodus 22:28, had been by the Jews extended into an ordinance instilling a bigoted veneration for superiors, and for the high-priest especially. In the present instance, the officer makes an application of this prohibition, with indiscretion, hypocritical eye-service, and brutality. Rupert: fortis percussor, mollis adulator. Comp. Acts 23:2.
John 18:23. If I spoke evil. [εἰ κακῶδ ἐλάλησα].—In clear presence of mind, the answer of Christ corresponds to the situation. He is on trial. If He, therefore, here make an improper remark, the person who disapproves of it is at liberty to appear against Him as accuser and witness. Hence the μαρτύρησον does not mean simply: prove it [as Luther’s version has it], but—come forward as a witness against it. Accusing and testifying are here thy business; not so judging, still less punishing before sentence is passed. With this admonition Christ awards him the right of accusation; with the following words, He reprimands him for the wrong of maltreatment. The entire deliverance shows how the saying Matthew 5:39 is to be interpreted and applied in spirit.33 His reprimand indirectly touches the high-priest also, who allows the maltreatment.
John 18:24. Annas, therefore, despatched Him, bound [ἀπέστειλεν οὖν αὐτὸν Ἀ. δεδεμένον πρὸς K.].—The pre-examination was at an end,—its result being the confounding of Annas, with his crafty inquisition. This, however, had made so little impression on him that he now sent the Lord bound (the signification is, doubtless: after he had caused the chains to be put upon Him again) to His formal examination before Caiaphas. In the fact of his forwarding Him chained, there lay a speaking sign of his desire for His death. Also the circumstance that it had been found impossible to stamp Jesus as a secret conspiratoi”, by reason of His appeal to the publicity of His ministry, was made use of as a ground for summoning false witnesses against Him, who accused Him on account of a public declaration. It was a declaration made by Him in the ears of the rulers (John ii.), one which they had not forgotten and which they could easily pervert. [The pluperfect rendering of ἀπέστειλεν, miserat, had sent (E. V.) is ungrammatical (see Meyer, p. 599), inconsistent with οὖν (which for this reason was omitted by some MSS.), and owes its origin to the desire to harmonize John with the Synoptists. The apparent discrepancy disappears if we assume that Annas and his son-in-law Caiaphas occupied different departments in one and the same official palace, which is intrinsically all the more probable as they in some way shared the high-priestly dignity, the one perhaps as high priest de jure, the other de facto. Comp. the notes on John 18:13.—P. S.]
Unto Caiaphas the high-priest.—On the now following official examination before Caiaphas, see Comm. on Matthew at this passage. On the third formal examination in the morning, see Comm. on Luke, p. 359, Am. Ed.
John 18:25. Now Simon Peter was still standing there and warming himself—The hall for both examination rooms must therefore have been the same. See note on John 18:13. Similarly Luke 22:54. Luke knows only of a house of the high-priest. Perhaps it was an official residence, of which Caiaphas had given up a part to his father-in-law.
They said therefore unto him.—This the second denial. According to Matthew it was at the moment when Peter wished to withdraw from the coal-fire in order to approach the entrance-hall; and the men questioned him at the instigation of another maid. See Matthew 26:71; Mark 14:68; Luke 22:58.
John 18:26. One of the servants of the high-priest, being a kinsman.—See Matthew, Matthew 26:73; Mark, Mark 14:70; Luke, Luke 22:59. Meyer groundlessly affirms this servant to have stood outside of the garden awhile ago. Why may he not have been one of the seizors? Peter excited his notice in the garden; he does not seem to have observed—at all events not with precision—that it was Peter who dealt the sword-blow. John distinctly brings out the increase of danger in the charges. First it is a single maid who does but doubtingly question him. Then it is the officers around the coal-fire who more decidedly interrogate him. Finally a kinsman of Malchus whose ear he cut off, pretends to recognize him as one whom he has already seen in the garden with Jesus.—While John plainly depicts the intensifications of the temptations, he, in common with Luke, permits the intensifications of Peter’s guilt, most vividly portrayed by Matthew (simple denial, abjuration, self imprecation) and rendered prominent by Mark likewise, to recede from view. This gives a picture of the relation of Paul and John to Peter totally different from that invented by the Tübingen School. Matthew, the Apostle of the Jews, and Mark, the disciple of Peter, represent the magnitude of Peter’s denial in a manner the most regardless; John and Luke manifest the greatest clemency; the Paulinist (Luke) is especially tender.
And immediately a cock crew.—Mark alone, Mark 14:68, has recorded the first cock crow after the first denial. That crow also involved an aggravation of Peter’s ease which John passes over. Similarly he passes over Peter’s ineffectual attempt to withdraw—an attempt which exhibits him in a condition of such utter perplexity and helplessness.
DOCTRINAL AND ETHICAL
1. From John we learn the more minute particulars of the denial of Peter; especially its cause and the gradualness of its progress. As also the exceedingly important pre-examination by Annas, in which that sly old hierarch sought to ensnare the Lord in the reproach of secret conspiracy. On the other hand, our Evangelist passes over the principal examination by Caiaphas, and likewise the formal final session in the morning, which latter is intimated by Matthew and detailed by Luke. His narrative of the denial of Peter is very definite as to chronology and also locality; that denial runs through the lengthy period of Christ’s examination before Annas and Caiaphas; the place is always the same (see the Exegetical note). By the Synoptists, on the contrary, the denial is summed up in respect of its end and issue, and in this form suitably follows, in Matthew and Mark, the principal examination before Caiaphas, while Luke, with equal correctness, makes it precede the morning examination.
2. The Examination of Jesus by annas, whom the Romans had deposed, affords us a profound glimpse into the character and conduct of a legitimistic partyism. The Jews are forced to accept Caiaphas as the legal high-priest; but they do not cease to regard Annas as their legitimate head; Annas and Caiaphas, however, have accommodated themselves to this, the popular mind, and arranged their household affairs in a manner in keeping with the situation. And this old legitimistic secret-leaguer would stamp Christ as a revolutionary secret-leaguer!
3. The conjunction of the Roman soldiers with the temple-guard on the occasion of Christ’s being taken prisoner, a symbol of the common share of the Gentile and the Jewish world in the crucifixion of Christ. See Luke 23:12 and Acts 4:26.
4. A stroke of John’s greatness—his not thinking it necessary to justify himself in regard to his singular acquaintanceship in the house of the high-priest.
5. Peter and John in the high-priest’s house. Or, si duo faciunt idem, non est idem. Peter was burdened with the consciousness of a civil offence against Malchus. This rendered his condition insecure. John, though meaning well, was at fault in not sufficiently entering into the dangerous situation of Peter.
6. The examination before Annas is a type of the ever-recurring plot of hierarchical governments to tax, first, Christianity generally, then Protestantism, further all decidedly evangelical social life with conspiracy, revolution, secret crimes and criminal complots. But as Christ defended Himself against this insinuation by appealing to His public ministry, so the like has been done and may be done by all His true confessors. Here we also have it demonstrated how decidedly Christianity has renounced all the impure, secret machinations of fanatical spirits and sects.
7. The saying called forth from Christ by the blow on the cheek, given Him by the eye-servant in the garb of a servant of justice, possesses not only a Christological but also a hermeneutical import. It indicates how His words, particularly Matthew 5:39, are in spirit to be interpreted. His remark, replete with composure, mental clearness and mild reproof, is like the offering of the other check.
8. The intensifications of Peter’s temptation are thrown into bold relief by John, his guilt being thus exhibited in a milder light. The first denial took place during the examination by Annas, the second and third during the examination before Caiaphas, after Christ had been led, bound, to the latter and when His prospects were, consequently, already very gloomy. Add to this that the third question exposed Peter to being recognized as the offender who had wounded Malchus. The repentance of Peter is set forth by John with sufficient distinctness in the later signs of his conversion. It is remarkable that John seems to have done nothing to warn Peter. Whether he was not near enough to him, or whether he entertained too high an opinion of his practical abilities, we will not venture to assert; at all events he appears to have been unwilling to exalt himself at Peter’s expense in the version which he gives of the transaction.
9. The denial of Peter does not mean that he intended to renounce Jesus inwardly, but that he designed to escape a mortal peril by means of a so called white lie. Thus, from a vocation to the morality of Christ, to apostolic faithfulness in confession, he momentarily sank to the level of ordinary, popular morality, which holds such evasions to be admissible, nay, clever. If we judge of David’s trespasses by the absolute arbitrariness of oriental despots, they appear in a milder light than when exposed to the full rays of the Theocracy. So it is with the transgression of Peter, when judged according to popular and worldly conceptions. But in the light of Christ it was a deep fall.
HOMILETICAL AND PRACTICAL
The capture of Jesus: 1. A consequence of His free surrender. 2. A sin of the united Roman and Jewish authorities of the ancient world. 3. A judgment, in which the glory of the ancient world does itself appear captive and bound.—The cord or bonds of Christ an indication of the bonds of the world.—The unanimity of Annas and Caiaphas.—The secret inquisitional trial by Annas, aiming at the ascertainment of secret transgressions on Christ’s part: a picture of life.—The sufferings of Christ under hierarchic partyism.—How the worldly-wise State loves to shut one eye to the machinations of illegal, illustrious parties.—On the denial of Peter”, see Comm. on Matthew, Mark, Luke.—Peter and John in the high-priest’s house.—The measure of freedom of entrance into worldly circles, is diverse for Christians: 1. Not the same for every one; 2. not the same in all moods; 3. not the same in all external temptations.—Peter warmed himself: 1. Fact: He warmed himself and grew all the while colder. 2. Doctrine: We may not seek to grow warm by the fires of the Lord’s enemies.—The examination before Annas, see Doctrinal Note, No. 6.—Comparison of the examination before Annas and that before Caiaphas. See Exeg. Note to first clause of John 18:25.—In the one examination He was assumed to be a secret sneak, in the other a public blasphemer.—The Lord’s appeal to the publicity of His labors.—The Lord’s intimation that the court of Annas was no authorized tribunal.—Annas found no pretext for accusing Jesus, and yet passed Him on bound to Caiaphas.—He sent Him bound for a sign: 1. The bad sign; 2. the sign-language of the bad.—The three spiritual examinations wherein Christ stood.—The first an unauthorized private examination, the second an examination with false witnesses, the third a mere mock examination.—How the world has warped justice in all forms over the head of Christ.—Christ in human judicatures; 1. As the Spirit’s judgment upon them. 2. As the regeneration and sanctification of them. 3. As the final judgment upon them.—How Jesus confessed His disciples, whilst Peter denied Him.
Starke: Hands so powerful, so beneficent, are bound.—Our love of an unbound liberty has had to be atoned for by the bonds of the Son of God, Psalms 2:3.—Connection and alliance by marriage is oft-times an occasion of damnation, because thereby men entangle themselves with people who do only evil, 2 Kings 8:18.—It is Christ’s presentation before the tribunal of men that we must thank for our liberation from the strict tribunal of God.—Stay away from that place where thou hast nothing to do; mere curiosity can readily get thee into danger and misfortune.—Let a man but step out of the way of God, and every step brings him nearer to his fall.—Quesnel: It is one of Satan’s traps to smooth our way sometimes to such places as he would keep us in for his advantage.—Lange: It can easily happen that a man may act indiscreetly out of pure good will, and only injure another by his services.—Quesnel: Many a one thinks he stands fast as any column, and yet he is more easily shaken than a reed. O be not proud, but fear thee!—Osiander: We should avoid preachers who shun the light and teach secretly in corners what they may not publicly confess.—It does not conflict with modesty and humility to meet disguised enemies of the truth with undaunted frankness. John 18:22. We witness the same spectacle here that occurred, 1 Kings 22:24.—An earnest presentation of a subject is a thorn in the eye to some people; they construe such presentation as immodesty, as a want of respect, because they are biased by prejudices.—Wicked masters have wicked servants; birds of a feather flock together.—Zeisius: Those who speak the truth, especially faithful preachers, are to this day smitten with Christ, covered with all manner of insult, derision, revilement, tribulation—and, withal, well-nigh forced to hold their peace, 2 Timothy 4:3.—Ibid.: Though it is true that a Christian should, with a good conscience, suffer wrong, yet need he not extend to the world his approbation of her wrong, as she would gladly have him do; on the contrary, he should defend himself against it, yet with fitting meekness and modesty; therefore says Luther: he must divorce mouth and hand; he must not surrender his mouth to the enemy, so as to approve the wrong; but yet he must keep his hand quiet and not avenge himself, Acts 26:25.—Christ, for the good of His members, has had to burst through the masks of false politeness.—The desire to shade away a fault committed, may become an occasion of fresh and greater sins.—Many a man, if he were not found in places where he hath nought to do, would keep out of numerous difficulties. Stay at home and do thine own business in the fear of God, trusting in Him, Proverbs 7:11 ff.—When Christ and His people are to be opposed, the slaves of Satan exert all their strength in unison, to the end that they may overwhelm and crush them, Psalms 10:2. [The appositeness of the passage cited not being apparent on reference to the English Bible, we subjoin a translation of the German rendering, which here, as in many other instances, differs considerably from the English. “Because the wicked exerciseth himself in pride, the miserable—afflicted—wretched—man must suffer. They cleave one to another and imagine maliciousness.”]—We have cause to beware that we do not, by curious questions, plunge our neighbor into temptation to all kinds of lies and dissimulations.—What a faint-hearted wretch is man when conscience awakes. Every rustling leaf strikes him with fear and dismay.—If thou confess Jesus and deny thyself, together with the world, thou art blessed, but if thou deny Christ, the whole world cannot help thee to bliss—no, not if thou confess it a thousand times over.—Let him that standeth, take heed lest he fall, 1 Corinthians 10:12.—If thou get not the start of sin, thou fallest from one sin into another, from a small one into a greater one, nay, even from the state of grace into the unblessed state of damnation.—Even the meanest creature, if it be God’s will to use it as His instrument, may become a means of arousing the sinner.
Braune: John expressly remarks that Jesus was led first to Annas, the father-in-law of Caiaphas, high-priest under Augustus from the year 12 a. d. to 23, when Valerius Gratus, governor of Syria, deposed him; he was uncommonly crafty, and his secret acts were full of violence. In 24, his son Eleazar became high-priest for one year; at the end of the year 25 his son-in-law Joseph, called Caiaphas, received the office through the self-same governor who had deposed Annas. Caiaphas remained high-priest until 36—not, of a certainty, without the helpful influence of Annas—while the remaining high-priests followed one another like the shadows of clouds driven by the wind; for in the last 420 years of the temple, there ruled more than 300 high priests. It is owing to the powerful influence of Annas that he is mentioned previous to Caiaphas, the ruling high-priest, and that Jesus is here led first to him. Ananus, the last of Annas’ sons, having the same name as his father, had the apostle James put to death. This circumstance harmonizes with the family history. It was calculated that before this High Council—the sons of Aaron, the dignitaries of the temple—Jesus would answer with intimidation, and be caught in what He said. And how undaunted He stood there, how sublime! He would not cast pearls before swine. The legitimate answer was accounted disrespectful by the officers; one said: Oughtest Thou to answer the high-priest thus? It was in the form, then, that the error was thought to lie—in the mode of procedure. Great stress is put upon outward formality; a man may be permitted to speak the truth, but he must do it with grace and good breeding; behind these, however, so much untruth is concealed, that the truth itself becomes tainted and loses its virtue.—He is a betrayer of mankind, like Judas the betrayer of Christ, who desires a public office without possessing the necessary moral and mental qualifications therefore; nothing is so indispensable for such an office as humility and a respect for the dignity of men.—If it be a question of truth, proof is what is required. Only tyrants employ torture; even a police officer may be a tyrant, leaping over proofs in false official zeal.
Gossner: Peter, doubtless, thought it a piece of good fortune, and it was his misfortune. Thou art more fortunate in having a friend who preventeth thee from going in to men of the world than in possessing one who procureth thee access to them and introduceth thee into their dwellings.—This fire in the court of the high-priest could not impart fresh warmth to Peter’s zeal and his fidelity to Jesus. If he had warmed himself by God in prayer, he would not have fallen.—Jesus was expected to deliver up a list of His disciples. Because disciples or pupils readily fall into some inadvertence, it was hoped that an accusation might thus be brought against Him. But the Saviour had already provided for the security of His disciples: Let these go! He said on the Mount of Olives. And what He says, does and must come to pass.—The Saviour saw through all this. He knew their hearts; and this clear glance into such fearfully perverted hearts—how it must have cut through and wounded His pure, holy, loving heart. Let him who experiences something similar, think of his Saviour and gather strength from Him to suffer after Him.—The enemies of the truth lie in wait. Christ acts openly.—Alas, what must He. what must the fairest visage in this world endure!—and yet He still maketh His face to shine upon us, and we are healed.—Officers of justice are never permitted to intermeddle in a case; here, however, against. Jesus, they were free to do anything; they well knew how far they might go.—His answer was regarded as a sin and a violation of the priestly dignity; and Christ must suffer Himself to be treated as one who did not understand the laws of politeness; He must bear the blame of immodesty, just as the primitive Christians were always treated as unmannered boors when they frankly confessed the truth.—Am I not permitted to answer for Myself? Is it not demanded of Me? Why dost thou thus abuse Me for doing it?—The Saviour weareth the bonds and useth not His strength to burst them, as He easily could have done. Why not? Because it was not really the bonds that bound Him, but love and the impulse to free us from bonds, designing, by means of those very bonds of His, to break our chains from which we else should never have got free.—On Malchus: Thus God bringeth us again into the company of those we fain would never see more. Suddenly and unexpectedly we run into their hands: Therefore do thou cut off no person’s ear, if thou wouldst never be dismayed at the sight of him.—Jesus shows that the cock, even, does not crow at hap-hazard, but that God is able, in His economy, to make use of his outcry as a good domestic medicine,—as at this time, when he had to preach repentance to the first Apostle.
Heubner: It was an unblest relationship betwixt Annas and Caiaphas; the ties were cords of sin. John mentions this in order to indicate that the sentence of such judges might be divined in advance. Caiaphas has enforced his wicked counsel. What a joy was that, that he might now feel?—Peter’s following was the more presumptuous, since Jesus had said John 18:8 : Let them go. It was a wrong following, entered upon in presumption and human strength.—Great houses of the world bring many dangers.—Against his will, John was instrumental to Peter’s hurt. Introduction to the presence of the great often becomes an occasion of our sin. God put delays in Peter’s way, in order to give him time for reflection.—The repairing to mixed companies in the homes of the great is to the weak generally a cause of their falling; intercourse with unsanctified men oft-times seduces Christians from the right path.—The accusations against Jesus were twofold: 1. To the effect that He had gathered Himself partizans,—He, who did but found a holy union, the kingdom of God; 2. that He had disseminated suspicious doctrines,—He, who taught heavenly truth.—Publicity was the character of Jesus’ life and it is the character of Christianity. Christianity knows nothing of secret-mongery, mysteries of an order; it would be entirely public, because it diffuses the truth which is common property of all.—The conduct of the officer, conduct arising from malice and a desire to flatter, redounds to the accusation of the high-priest himself. That the officer dared indulge in such mutinous conduct before the eyes of the spiritual magistracy, betrays the spirit of that magistracy.
John 18:23. This is a commentary upon Matthew 5:39. Christ shows how, even towards those who offer us the most bitter insult and wrong, we can unite earnest patience and love and make answer for ourselves.—Those hands, by Jesus extended only for the conferring of benefits, were bound.—John describes the waxing of the peril. The higher this mounts, the lower sinks the courage of Peter. First it was a maid, then men, now relatives of the wounded servant [who question him].
[Craven: From Augustine: John 18:17. Christ is not only denied by him who denies that He is Christ, but by him also who denies himself to be a Christian.
John 18:23. What can be truer, gentler, kinder, than this answer?—Some one will ask here, why He did not do what He Himself commanded, i.e., not make this answer, but give the other cheek to the smiter. But what if He did both, both answered gently, and gave, not His cheek only to the smiter, but His whole body to be nailed to the Cross? And herein He shows, that those precepts of patience are to be performed not by posture of the body, but by preparation of the heart; for it is possible that a man might give his cheek outwardly, and yet be angry at the same time.
John 18:27. Lo! the prophecy of the Physician is fulfilled, the presumption of the sick man demonstrated.—From Chrysostom: John 18:16. But Peter stood at the door without; Peter’s love took him as far as the palace, but his fear prevented him entering in.
John 18:17. What sayest thou, O Peter? Didst thou not say before, I will lay down my life for Thy sake? What then had happened, that thou givest way even when the damsel asks thee? It was not a soldier who asked thee, but a mean porteress.—Therefore did Divine Providence permit Peter first to fall, in order that he might be less severe to sinners from the remembrance of his own fall. Peter sinned, and obtained pardon, that judges might thereafter have that rule to go by in dispensing pardon.
John 18:25. And Simon Peter stood and warmed himself; The Evangelist means that the once fervid disciple was now too torpid to move even when our Lord was carried away; showing how weak man’s nature is when God forsakes him.
John 18:15-18; John 18:25-27. How hurtful it is to trust in self, and not to ascribe all is God.——From Gregory: John 18:18. The fire of love was smothered in Peter’s breast, and he was warming himself before the coals of the persecutors, i.e., with the love of this present life, whereby his weakness was increased.——From Alcuin: John 18:15. Peter followed his Master out of devotion, though afar off, on account of fear.
John 18:19. He does not ask in order to know the truth, but to find out some charge against Him, on which to deliver Him to the Roman Governor to be condemned; but our Lord so tempers His answer, as neither to conceal the truth, nor yet to appear to defend Himself.
[From Burkitt: John 18:12-14. How impossible it is for the greatest innocence and virtue to protect from slander and false accusation! And no person can be so innocent or good, whom false witness may not condemn.
John 18:15-18; John 18:25-27. How may the slavish fear of suffering drive the holiest and best of men to commit the foulest and worst of sins!—The occasion of Peter’s fall: 1. His presumptuous confidence of his own strength and standing; Though all men forsake Thee, yet will not I; 2. His being in bad company.—He denied Him first with a lie, then with an oath and curse. Oh, how dangerous is it, not to resist the beginnings of sin! If we yield to one temptation, Satan will assault us with more and stronger.—The heinous and aggravating circumstances of Peter’s sin: From 1. The character of his person; 2. The person whom he denies, his Master, his Saviour; 3. The time when he denied Him; soon after Christ had washed his feet; yea, soon after he had received the sacrament from Christ’s own hand.—How unreasonable is their objection against coming to the Lord’s table, that some who go to it dishonor Christ as soon as they come from it! Such examples ought not to discourage us from coming to the ordinance, but should excite and increase our watchfulness after we have been there.
John 18:19-21. Christ never willingly affected corners; He taught openly, and propounded His doctrine publicly and plainly in the world.—Learn hence, That 1. It is not unusual for the best of doctrines to pass under the odious name of error and heresy; 2. The ministers of Christ who have truth on their side, may and ought to speak boldly and openly.—“Truth blushes at nothing, except at its being concealed.”
John 18:22. Christ did endure ignominious and contemptuous usage, giving His cheek to the smiters, to testify that shame and reproachful usage which was deserved by us, and to sanctify that condition to us, whenever it is allotted for us.
John 18:23. Though our Saviour doth not revenge Himself, yet He vindicates Himself, and defends Himself both with law and reason; to stand up in defence of our own innocency, is not contrary to the duties of patience and forgiveness, or to the practice and example of our Lord Jesus.
John 18:24. His condescending to go bound from one high-priest to another, and from one tribunal to another, teaches His people what delinquents they were before the tribunal of God, and what they deserved by reason of sin.—From M. Henry: John 18:12. To Christ’s bonds we owe our liberty, His confinement was our enlargement. He was bound that 1. The types and prophecies of the Old Testament might herein be accomplished; 2. He might bind us to duty and obedience; His bond’s for us are bonds upon us; 3. His bonds for us were designed to make our bonds for Him easy to us, if at any time we be so called out to suffer for Him.
John 18:13. We had been led away of our own impetuous lusts, and led captive by Satan at his will, and, that we might be rescued, Christ was led away, led captive by Satan’s agents and instruments.—Caiaphas was high-priest that same year; 1. When a bad thing was to be done by a high-priest, according to the fore-knowledge of God, Providence so ordered it that a bad man should be in the chair to do it; 2. When God would make it to appear what corruption there was in the heart of a bad man, He put him into a place of power; Many a man’s advancement has lost him his reputation.
John 18:15. We must take heed of tempting God by running upon difficulties beyond our strength, and venturing too far in the way of suffering: If our call be clear to expose ourselves, we may hope that God will enable us to honor Him; but if it be not, we may fear that God will leave us to shame ourselves.—That disciple was known unto the high-priest; as there are many who seem disciples, and are not so, so there are many who are disciples, and seem not so [at a casual glance]; we must not conclude a man to be no friend to Christ, merely because he has acquaintance and conversation with those that are His known enemies.
John 18:16. The courtesies of our friends often prove a snare to us, through a misguided affection.
John 18:17. Observe here 1. How slight the attack was; it was a silly maid, of no account, that challenged him; 2. How speedy the surrender was; without taking time to recollect himself, he suddenly answered, I am not; 3. Yet he goes further into the temptation, John 18:18.—Peter stood and warmed himself; 1. It was a, fault bad enough, that he did not attend his Master, and appear for Him at the upper end of the hall, where He was now under examination; he might have been (1) a witness for Him, (2) a witness to Him; 2. It was much worse, that he joined himself with those that were His Master’s enemies; he stood with them, etc.—Peter was much to be blamed, because 1. He associated himself with these wicked men; 2. He desired to be thought one of them, that he might not be suspected to be a disciple of Christ.
John 18:20. Christ sought no corners, for He feared no colors, nor said anything that He needed to be ashamed of.
John 18:22. Wicked rulers will not want wicked servants, who will help forward the affliction of those whom their masters persecute.
John 18:23. We learn 1. That in such cases we must not be our own avengers, nor judges in our own cause; 2. Our resentment of injuries done us must be always rational, and never passionate; 3. When called out to suffering, we must accommodate ourselves to the inconveniences of a suffering state, with patience, and by one indignity done us be prepared to receive another, and make the best of it.
John 18:25. Peter staid to warm himself; but they that warm themselves with evil-doers, grow cold toward good people and good things; and they that are fond of the devil’s fire-side, are in danger of the devil’s fire.—Yielding to one temptation invites another, and perhaps a stronger; Satan redoubles his attacks when we give ground.
John 18:26. They who by sin think to help themselves out of trouble, do but entangle and embarrass themselves the more: Dare to be brave, for truth will out—a bird of the air may perhaps tell the matter which we seek to conceal with a lie.—Notice is taken of this servant’s being akin to Malchus; he that may need a friend, should not make a foe.
John 18:27. He denied again; see here 1. The nature of sin in general; the heart is hardened by the deceitfulness of it; 2. Of the sin of lying in particular; it is a fruitful sin, and upon that account exceeding sinful.—Immediately the cock crew; see 1. The care Christ has of those that are His, notwithstanding their follies; though they fall, they are not utterly cast down, not utterly cast off; 2. The advantage of having faithful remembrancers near us, who, though they cannot tell us more than we know already, yet may remind us of that which we know, but have forgotten.—The crowing of the cock to others was an accidental thing, and had no significancy; but to Peter it was the voice of God, and had a blessed tendency to awaken his conscience, by putting him in mind of the word of Christ.—From Scott: John 18:15-18; John 18:25-27. Self-confident rashness differs from steady courage and patience of faith; and they who most readily venture into temptation, are often most easily overcome by it.—As Christ suffered every insult for the sake of Peter, even when Peter was denying Him; so He foresaw all our unfaithfulness and ingratitude, at the time when He shed His blood for our sins; this consideration should not only encourage our hope in His mercy, but also shame us out of our base requitals of such a Benefactor.—The meekness, patience and wisdom of the Son of God only served to increase the enmity of His persecutors; and their base usage illustrated His consummate excellency: This should teach us what to expect from the wicked, and how to behave towards them.
[From Krummacher: John 18:12. Behold Christ yonder bears your fetters. Jesus bound! What a spectacle! How many a prophetic type of the Old Testament finds its fulfilment in this fact! Isaac; the ram on Mount Moriah; the sacred ark of the covenant, when it had fallen into the hands of the Philistines; Joseph; the paschal lambs; Samson.—Jesus bound! Omnipotence in fetters! the Creator bound by the creature! the Lord of the world, the Captive of His mortal subjects!
John 18:19. The world still acts like Annas; because it will not acknowledge that we possess the real and eternal truth of God, it stamps the latter as heretical, and brands us as a sect.
John 18:20. “We may discern in Jesus all the marks of a true teacher—confidence, which delivers its testimony before the whole world; persevering continuance in that testimony at all times; and a siding with existing divine and human ordinances.”
John 18:22. The feeling of the family reflected itself in the soul of the menial who wore its livery.—How often are we treated in a similar manner, when the truth which we proclaim to the men of the world can no longer be assailed: how does hypocritical zeal for the preservation of the honor of authority start up against us, and how pompously it calls out to us, “Answerest thou the high-priest so?”
John 18:15-18; John 18:25-27. Peter reminds us of that class of our brethren, of whom we are wont to say that though they possess the burning heart, yet they are still in want of the light of the Holy Spirit; the new life is implanted in its germ, but the development itself is still far behind.—He did not yet know how much the noblest human feelings depend upon the change of circumstances, situations, and seasons; he was ignorant that one who could be enthusiastic for Jesus transfigured on Mount Tabor, possessed no pledge, from this feeling, that he would be equally zealous for Jesus ignominiously crucified on Mount Calvary.—It is only the Lord’s gracious inspiration which produces true heroism. The simple disciple, in the armor of his own feeling of affection for his Master, thought himself abundantly able to cope with Satan and his crafty devices.—O what a disgrace for the disciple, morally to have convinced the troop that he could not be Jesus’ friend, but had sworn fealty to the banner of his adversaries.—Simon Peter vowed and promised, certainly with the purest intentions, but neglected to watch and pray. Let him, therefore, that thinketh he standeth, take heed lest he fall. In the kingdom of God, indeed, a defeat may bring more blessings than a victory; and more costly fruits often spring from stumblings than from the most apparently successful strivings after holiness. But woe unto him whom this truth would render reckless!
[From Barnes: John 18:21. Jesus here insisted on His rights: Learn 1. That though Jesus was willing to be reviled and persecuted, yet He also insisted that justice should be done Him; 2. He was conscious of innocence, and had been so open in His conduct, that He could appeal to the vast multitudes which had heard Him, as witnesses in His favor; 3. It is proper for us, when persecuted and reviled, meekly, but firmly, to insist on our rights, and to demand that justice should be done us; 4. Christians, like their Saviour, should so live that they may confidently appeal to all who have known them, as witnesses of the sincerity, purity, and rectitude of their lives.]
christ confronted with pilate. 1. conduct of pilate upon the first charge that jesus is a malefactor; 2. upon the accusation that jesus pretendeth to be the king of the jews; 3. upon the accusation that jesus hath made himself the son of god.—decided fall of pilate at the charge that jesus is a rebel against the emperor.—the kingdom of jesus in antithesis to the kingdom of this world. symbolism of romanism. jesus the king in the kingdom of truth. the verdict of guitlessness pronounced upon jesus. choice of the murderer barabbas. jesus in the crown of thorns and purple robe. verdict of jesus upon pilate. pilate disguises his discomfiture in the garb of derision. the sentence of death
(Matthew 26:0 (57) Matthew 26:1 to Matthew 27:31; Mark 14:55 to Mark 15:20; Luke 22:63 to Luke 23:25)
¶ 28Then led they [they lead, ἄγουσιν] Jesus from Caiaphas unto the hall of judgment [to the prætorium, or the palace of the governor]: and it was early;34 and they themselves went not into the judgment hall [the palace] lest they should be defiled; but that they [that they might not be defiled, but] might eat the passoJohn 18:29Pilate then [therefore] went out35 unto them, and said, What accusation bring ye against this man? 30They answered and said unto him, If he were not a malefactor, we would not have delivered him up unto thee. 31Then said Pilate [Pilate therefore said] unto them, Take ye him [take him yourselves], and judge him according to your law. The Jews therefore said unto him, It is not lawful for36 us to put any man [any one] to death: [.] 32That the saying of Jesus might be fulfilled, which he spake, signifying what [kind of] death he should die.
33Then Pilate entered into the judgment hall [the palace] again, and called Jesus, and said unto him, Art thou the King of the Jews? 34Jesus answered him [omit him], Sayest thou this thing of thyself, or did others tell it thee of me [tell thee concerning me]? 35Pilate answered, Am I a Jew? Thine own nation and the chief priests have [omit have] delivered thee unto me: what hast thou done? 36Jesus answered, My kingdom is not of this world: if my kingdom were of this world, then would my servants fight, that I should not be delivered to the Jews: but now is my kingdom not from hence. 37Pilate therefore said unto him, Art thou a king then? Jesus answered, Thou sayest that [Thou sayest it. For] I am a king.37 To this end was I38 [have I been] born, and for this cause came I [have I come] into the world, that I should [may] bear witness unto the truth. Every one that is of the truth heareth my voice. 38Pilate saith unto him, What is truth? And when he had said this, he went out again unto the Jews, and saith unto them, I find in him no fault at all [no fault in him]. 39But ye have a custom, that I should release unto you one at the passover: will ye therefore that I release unto you the King of the Jews? 40Then cried they all [they all cried out]39 again, saying, Not this man, but Barabbas. Now Barabbas was a robber.
Chap. XIX. 1Then Pilate therefore took Jesus and scourged him. And the Song of Song of Solomon 2:0 diers platted a crown of thorns, and put it on his head, and they put on him a 3purple robe, And [they approached him and, ἤρχοντο πρὸς αὐτὸν χαὶ]40 said, Hail, King of the Jews! and they smote him with their hands [smote him on the face].41
4Pilate therefore [And Pilate]42 went forth again and saith unto them, Behold, I bring him forth unto you, that ye may know that I find no fault in him. 5Then came Jesus forth [Jesus therefore came forth], wearing the crown of thorns, and the purple robe. And Pilate [he]43 saith unto them, Behold the man!44 6When the chief priests therefore and [the] officers saw him, they cried out, saying, Crucify him, crucify him [Crucify! crucify!]45 Pilate saith unto them, Take ye him [Take him yourselves], and crucify him: for I find no fault in him. 7The Jews answered him, We have a law, and by our46 law he ought to die, because he made himself the Son of God.
8When Pilate therefore heard that [this] saying, he was the more afraid; And 9went again into the judgment hall [the palace], and saith unto Jesus, Whence art 10thou? But Jesus gave him no answer. Then47 saith Pilate unto him, Speakest thou not unto me? knowest thou not that I have power to crucify [release] thee, and have power to release [crucify] thee?48 11Jesus answered, Thou couldest [wouldest] have no power at all [omit at all] against me, except it were [had been] given thee from above: therefore he that delivered me unto thee hath the greater sin. 12And from thenceforth [Upon this, or, for the sake of this, ἐχ τούτου] Pilate sought to release him: but the Jews cried out,49 saying, If thou let this man go [release this man] thou art not Cæsar’s friend: whosoever [every one that] maketh himself a king speaketh [declareth] against Cæsar. 13When Pilate therefore heard that saying, [these words],50 he brought Jesus forth, and sat down in the judgment 14seat in a place that is called the Pavement, but in the Hebrew, Gabbatha. And [Now] it was the preparation [day] of the passover, and [omit and, and insert it was]51 about52 the sixth53 hour: and he saith unto the Jews, Behold your King! 15But they cried out, Away with him, away with him, crucify him Pilate saith unto them, Shall I crucify your King? The chief priests answered, We have no king but Cæsar. 16Then delivered he him therefore [Then therefore he delivered him up] unto them to be crucified. And they took Jesus, and led him away.54
EXEGETICAL AND CRITICAL
[On the relation of John to the Synoptists in this passage see the clear statements in Doctrinal and Ethical, no. 1.—P. S.]
John 18:28. They, therefore, lead [ἄγουσινοὖν] Jesus from Caiaphas.—Since John 18:28 refers to John 18:24, the οὖν is here very expressive; it means that with the fact of Annas’ sending the Lord bound to Caiaphas, everything further, even to the leading of Him into the heathen Prætorium, was decided. On the final session of the Sanhedrin in the morning see Comm. on Matt. at our passage.
To the Prætorium.—On the Prætorium see Comm. on Matt., Note to John 18:27 [p. 513, Am. Ed.]. Not “before the morning twilight” as Tholuck supposes. See the Notes to Matthew. [The πραιτώριον (originally the tent of the general in the Roman camp) is the governor’s mansion, whether it was the palace of Herod (the usual opinion), or more probably a building in the castle Antonia (Meyer, Ewald, Lange).—And it was early [ἦν δὲ πρωΐ], in the fourth night watch, towards the break of day.—P. S.]
Not into the Prætorium, that they might not be defiled but might eat the Passover [ἴνα μὴ μιανθῶσιν άλλὰ φάγωσιν τὸ πάσχα. The entrance of a Jew into the house of a Gentile made him levitically unclean till the close of that day (sunset). As the passover was not eaten before six o’clock, i.e. at the beginning of the next day, the defilement incurred in the morning would have ceased before the regular passover. This is a hint that φαγεῖν τὸ πάσχα must be taken here in a wider sense. See Matt., p. 455, and Lange below.—P. S.] This was a motive, but scarcely the only one; they, however, hypocritically took cover under it as the only one. If Pilate tried Jesus’ cause in the palace, the Sanhedrists would lack the aid of the popular faction which they had driven together, and upon which they could securely count outside, in front of the palace.
Respecting John’s pretended inconsistency with the Synoptists, sec Comm. on Matthew [pp. 454 ff. 468]. Meyer again pleads at length in favor of the view which makes it result from our passage that there is a difference between John and the Synoptists; that according to John the paschal meal was still impendent on the evening after the crucifixion of Christ, while according to the Synoptists it had taken place the evening before. It is claimed that the feast began, according to the Synoptists, on Thursday evening, according to John, on Friday evening.
In order to a survey of the debates on this subject, we have first to ascertain the historical aspect of the case: a. the declarations of the New Testament, b. the controversies maintained by the ancient Church in regard to the Passover, c. the modern debates on the question of difference, d. the application of the discussion to the criticism of the New Testament Scriptures, particularly against the genuineness of John in the Tübingen School.
In respect to the different modern views we must consider
I. The assertion of the difference (Lücke, Neander, Krabbe, Theile, etc., see Meyer [p. 601, 5th ed.]); and that generally in favor of John, it being assumed, in such case, that traces of the opposite view are also to be found in the Synoptists (Lücke, Bleek, Meyer, etc.); sometimes the side of the synoptical tradition is espoused (Baur, Schwegler).
II. Conceptions adverse to the difference.
First: Assumption of a double passover or banquet:
(a) The Jews deferred the passover; Jesus celebrated it at the legal time. The dominant view at the time of the Reformation [older Prot. divines], of late represented by Philippi [Glaubenslehre, I. p. 266 f. 2d ed.].
(b) Jesus kept the passover a day in advance of its time as μνημονευτικόν, Grotius, Hammond and others. (Casaubonus, Scaliger; placed by Meyer in the foregoing rubric.)
(c) The Caræans and Rabbinists did not agree concerning the time of the new moon (Iken).
(d) The δεῖπνον, John 13:0, was not the paschal meal (Bengel, Wichelhaus).
Secondly: The Synoptists are to be explained in accordance with John:
(a) It is sought to obliterate the pretended difference in the Synoptists as much as possible by reference to Matthew 26:5 (not on the feast; as if the Evangelist did not mean to say that this plan was frustrated), Mark 15:21; Luke 23:26.
(b) As a day of unleavened bread, the 14th Nisan also was celebrated as a feast by the Galileans; hence the Passover occurred on the evening of the 13th Nisan (Frisch, Rauch, Movers, Krafft, Maier [R. C] ).
Thirdly: John must be explained in accordance with the Synoptists: John speaks of another repast (Bengel, Wichelhaus). The eating of the passover denotes the eating of the Khagiga; the παρασκευή in John denotes the day of preparation for the Sabbath, the regular Friday as Sabbath-eve,—not the preparation-day previous to the first day of the passover (Wieseler, Tholuck and others). [The same view is maintained by Bynæus, Lightfoot, Reland, Olshausen, Hengstenberg, Luthardt, Hofmann, Riggenbach, Ebrard, Bäumlein, Robinson, Lange and myself. The most learned defence is given by Wieseler in his Chronol. Synops., pp. 333 ff. and in Herzog’s Encycl., art. Zeitrechnung, vol. xxi. pp. 550 ff. Comp. also Lange on Matthew, pp. 454 ff. and Robinson’s Harmony, pp. 216 ff., especially p. 218 where he fully discusses the phrase φαγεῖν τὸ πάσχα which ordinarily, but by no means necessarily means to eat the paschal lamb on the 14th of Nisan, but may mean also to keep the passover (2 Chronicles 30:22, they did eat the festival seven days), or to eat the paschal sacrifices, called the Khagigha.—P. S.]
We hold to the assumption that φαγεῖν τὸ πάσχα, as an expression whose primitive force has been weakened by constant use, means: to observe or carry out the eating of the passover; the like specific terms for a more general procedure grow into use everywhere in the ritual sphere. As early as Exodus 12:48 the terms: to eat the passover, and to make or keep the passover are used as reciprocal ideas. The expression: to eat unleavened bread, denotes the whole paschal celebration, Leviticus 23:6. To appear before the Lord, means: to perform divine service (Isaiah 1:12). To spread forth the hands, means: to pray (John 18:15). To wash one’s self, means: to go through religious purification (John 18:16; John 13:10). The expressions: to draw water (see Isaiah 12:3), to light candles, to dwell in tents, etc., might become liturgical abbreviations with the Jews, as the terms: to fast, to confess, to read mass, and similar ones have done with the Roman Catholics.—It has been remarked that if the Jews had defiled themselves in the house of Pilate in the morning of the 14th Nisan (by entering a Gentile habitation, or a house where was leavened bread), they would still have been clean again after 6 o’clock in the evening. In opposition to this view, Lücke remarks: it is not proved, as Bynäus assumes, that entrance into a Gentile house defiled for the one day only. The contrary, however, is still less proved, and it is not supposable that contact with a Gentile house rendered unclean for a longer time than did contact with the carcass of a beast, which polluted only until the evening (Leviticus 11:40). We can suppose in general that all ordinary, merely levitical defilements continued only for one day; in cases of lengthier defilements, real sanitary considerations and the like were had in view. The plea that they were obliged to kill the Passover that afternoon, has been refuted by the observation that they could perform that duty by proxy. Lücke, indeed, mentions that in the case of a defilement in mass, substitution would be difficult to effect. It may be asked, however: when was the danger of defilement greater; if in the morning some few went into the Gentile house, or if the mass of the people, with the priests among them, ran bustling about upon Golgotha, the place of a skull, in the afternoon, at the very time when they are said to have slain the Passover? The case takes a much simpler aspect if we suppose that they were still mindful, in the morning, of the passover whereof they had partaken the evening before, and consequently desirous to keep themselves clean in order not to neutralize the benefit of the passover; whereas in the course of the day and toward its close, the passion attendant upon a turbulent execution rendered them more lax in their conduct.
In regard to the discussions upon this subject, see Meyer [p. 603 ff., 5th ed.]; Tholuck, p. 38 ff., and the account of the literature upon this topic in Lücke, p. 716.—On the paschal meal, see Comm. on Matthew.
[The critical and careful Dr. Robinson states his conclusion on this vexed question as follows (Harmony, p. 222): “After repeated and calm consideration, there rests upon my own mind a clear conviction, that there is nothing in the language of John, or in the attendant circumstances, which upon fair interpretation requires or permits us to believe, that the beloved disciple either intended to correct, or has in fact corrected or contradicted, the explicit and unquestionable testimony of Matthew, Mark and Luke.” To this may be added a chronological consideration. According to Wieseler (to whom Lichtenstein, in Herzog’s Encycl., Vol. VI.,595 assents), Christ died Friday the 15th of Nisan A. U. C. 783, or A. D. 30. This was the 7th of April, and chronological calculations show that in the year 30, the 15th Nisan actually fell on a Friday, which was the case only once more (perhaps A. D. 34) between the years 28–36. See Wieseler’s Chron. Synapse, p. 446, and in Herzog’s Encycl. XXI., p. 550.—P. S.]
John 18:29. Pilate, therefore, went out unto them.—On Pilate, see Comm. on Matthew, and that on Luke. “Bound to respect the Jewish customs (Joseph. Antiq., XVI. 2, 3; De Bello Jud., VI. 6, 2), the Procurator steps forth to them.” Tholuck.
[Pontius Pilate was the sixth Roman governor (ἡγεμών), or, speaking more accurately, procurator (ἐπίτροπος, procurator) of Judæa, and held this office for ten years during the reign of Tiberius (A. D. 25 to 35). He is also mentioned by Tacitus in the famous passage: “The author of that name (Christiani) or sect was Christ, who was capitally punished under Tiberius by Pontius Pilate the procurator” (Annal. XV.44). Josephus describes his administration as tyrannical and cruel: he insulted the Jews by introducing the images of Cæsar, gilt shields with the names of heathen deities, and misapplying the temple revenue to the construction of an aqueduct. He provoked several seditions and suppressed them by bloody violence. He was accused of maladministration, sent to Rome by Vitellius, President of Syria, and probably deposed. The latter accounts of an official report by Pilate of Christ’s death to Tiberius and his suicide, are unreliable. The description of Josephus quite agrees with that of the Gospels, as has been satisfactorily shown in detail by the learned Lardner. Pilate had momentary impulses of justice and mercy; he openly pronounced the innocence of Christ, and made an attempt to rescue Him from the fanaticism of the Jews, whom he despised; but he was a selfish, unprincipled, worldly, Roman politician, skeptical or rather utterly indifferent to truth, cruel, weak and mean; and so he sacrificed innocence itself to the fear of losing his place and power, and, contrary to his better conviction, took part in the greatest crime ever committed. Yet after all his guilt was less than that of the Jewish priesthood who deliberately and malignantly delivered Christ into his hands and made him an instrument in the execution of their malignant hatred of their own Messiah (John 19:11). The introduction of his name in the Apostles’ and Nicene Creed, is intended not so much to single him out as specially guilty, as to mark the date of Christ’s death under the hostile Roman world-power.—P. S.]
What accusation [τίνα κατηγορίαν φέρετε].—Though Pilate might have a general knowledge of the accusation, it was their place formally to present it here. Besides this, however, Pilate immediately observed, doubtless, that they came to him purposing, by a pompous and boisterous procession, to move him to confirm their sentence of death without more ado. His inquiry aims at thwarting this design from the beginning. Meyer.—“Against this man [κατὰ τοῦ ].—Spoken with indifference; not: against such a pious, celebrated man (Luther).”
John 18:30. If this person were not a male-factor [εἰ μὴ ἦν οὐτος κακοποιόδ].—Here is contained the impetuous demand that Pilate should assent to their sentence of death without delay. Under the dominion of the Romans, the Jews had lost the jus vitæ et necis (according to the Talmud, forty years before the destruction of Jerusalem. Lightfoot). This they declared themselves, John 18:31. Consequently, the stoning of Stephen was a tumultuously illegal proceeding; as also the execution of James, according to Josephus, (Antiq. XX. 9, 1). What still remained in the power of the Sanhedrin was 1: Disciplinary punishment pushed to the verge of capital punishment; 2. proposal for capital punishment. It made a difference whether their spiritual sentence of death was confirmed without further ceremony, or whether the governor, in accordance with Roman law, reserved to himself the right of cognizance and sentence. In the former case they could stone the condemned, according to Jewish custom; in the second case he was executed according to Roman custom, or if extreme punishment was resorted to, crucified. The purpose of the Jews, therefore, is to obtain, by means of the impetuosity of their procession and demand, the ratification of their sentence. They had a twofold motive for this. In the first place, they were, no doubt, sensible of the difficulty of making the false accusation—charging Jesus with being a political criminal—good before Pilate, while they might guess that the latter would not recognize death as a punishment for merely religious or apparent transgressions. In the second place, their demand was at the same time intended to carry the right of a greater independence. He, therefore, is blindly to agree to their sentence. They seek, however, to make compensation for their bold demand by saying: we have delivered Him unto thee. One good turn deserves another. If we come before thy tribunal, that is an honor for thee, in return for which thou surely canst do us the honor to recognize our sentence without further ceremony. There was thus a close prospect of Christ’s being stoned. But He had in spirit foreseen the turn affairs were now taking, and had announced His sufferings on the cross, John 3:14; John 8:28; Matthew 10:33, etc. The cross was also included in the counsel of God, as the form of suffering in which Christ could manifest His glory quite otherwise than if subjected to a stoning (see Tholuck, p. 415).
John 18:31. Then take Him yourselves, etc [λάβετε αὐτὸν ὑμεῖς , καὶ κατὰ τὸν νόμον ὑμῶν κρἰνατε αὐτόν].—I.e. if He is to pass for a criminal simply in accordance with your sentence, then execute Him also according to your law. According to Meyer, he means that they should try Him. But Pilate saw well that they had already done this. The κρίνειν, therefore, here denotes judicial proceedings in general, inclusive of punishment, but according to their law and right. The words certainly point derisively to the fact that they are not permitted to proceed to capital punishment (Lücke and others). Pilate meets fanatical presumption with frigid sarcasm.
The Jews therefore said unto him.—The οὖν denotes that Judaism must now come out openly. See note to John 18:30.—It is not permitted us [ἡμῖν οὐκ ἐζεστιν ].—Untenable limitations of this deliverance: 1. To execute capital punishment in the form of crucifixion (Chrysost.); 2. to execute a man on the feast-day (Semler); 3. to punish crimes of state (Krebs). That they now, in connection with this declaration of their death-sentence, brought forward the accusation against Jesus of political offences warranting death, results from the subsequent examination by Pilate John 18:34. Comp. Luke 23:2. Meyer disallows the assumption of such an accusation, from a fear of “harmonistics.” Pilate, he thinks, must have gathered this charge from the preceding demand for the guard. But a measure of police requires to be judicially formulated, and that by the accuser himself. Agreeably to the political accusation, a formal trial must now begin.
[John 18:32. That the saying of Jesus might be fulfilled, etc.—See John 12:32-33; Matthew 20:19, where Christ foretold His crucifixion. Had the Jews executed Him according to their law against false prophets and blasphemers, they would have stoned Him, as they repeatedly attempted to do (comp. John 8:59; John 10:31), and as they actually, in a tumultuary way, stoned Stephen (Acts 7:0). Crucifixion was a Roman mode of punishment—the most cruel and disgraceful—for slaves, rebels and low criminals, such as pirates, assassins, deserters, but not for Roman citizens. Jesus on account of His Messianic claims must have appeared to the Roman governor as a rebel.—P. S.]
John 18:33. Art Thou the King of the Jews?—The boundless perfidy of the Jewish accusation is distinctly reflected in Pilate’s presentation of it. It is an ambiguous charge, forged out of Jesus’ avowal that He is the Messiah; a charge embracing falsehood (since Jesus had no intention of being a political character), treason against their Messianic hope (which they abandoned in this case), and self-condemnation (since they hope for a political Messiah).—Art Thou? asks Pilate; not: sayest Thou that Thou art? The question need not necessarily be apprehended as purely derisive. Pilate might think thus: if His only offence was one of the tongue, He will deny that He is such a personage: but if He is a dangerous enthusiast, He will acknowledge the allegation. There is also, beyond a doubt, an incidental play of sarcasm.
John 18:34. Dost Thou say this of Thyself, or, etc. [Ἀπὸ σεαυτοῦ συ τοῦτο λέγεις ἤ ἄλλοι εἶπόν σοι περὶ ἐμοῦ].—Design of the question. According to Olshausen, Neander (and my Leben Jesu, p. 1058) Jesus desires to ascertain in what sense Pilate puts the question: whether in a Gentile-political or a Jewish-theocratical sense.55 Meyer combats this assumption: 1. By the assertion that Jesus wished only to know the author of the accusation. The author, however, stood officially at the door. 2. By the declaration that it is not supposable that Pilate would thus separate the Messianic conceptions. He might, however, be taught thus to separate them. By the term: “King of the Jews,” Pilate could understand nothing but a political seditionary urged by fanatical motives. The Sanhedrists knew this; but they also knew that Jesus claimed the Messiahship in another sense, and they now made use of the Messianic name to fit out a false accusation. Jesus could not acknowledge the Messianic conception of Pilate, but neither could He disown the theocratical Messianic conception. Hence, this distinction was to be made thoroughly clear. Like Meyer, Tholuck mistakes the decisive weight of Christ’s distinotion. It was necessary for Pilate to see that they were trying to humbug him by means of a perfidiously interpreted religious conception. And thus in the middle ages and in the time of the Reformation,—even down to the present day—the Hierarchs have, with evil consciousness, stamped reformation as revolution.
John 18:35. Am I a Jew? [μήτι—looking to a negative answer—ὲγώ—a Roman governor—Ἰουδαῖόδ εἰμι].—With Roman pride he declares that he is not a Jew, i.e. that it is hence impossible that he should put the question in the Jewish sense;56 he has but framed it in accordance with the statement made to him by the Prisoner’s nation (τὸ ἔθνος τὸ σόν, sneeringly) and the high-priests. Compelled, however, to surmise the lurking of an ambiguity in this statement, he inquires, in a genuine Roman sense: What hast Thou done? [τί ἐποίησας].—Pilate’s answer was manifestly inapplicable to the question: Art thou Mine accuser, or do the Jews accuse Me? It is appropriate, however, to the question: Hast thou, or have the Jews, formulated the accusation?
John 18:36. My kingdom is not of this world [ἡ βασιλεία ἡ ἐμὴ οὐκ ὲστιν ἐκ τοῦ κόσμου τούτου. Ἐκ relates to origin and nature; yet Christ’s kingdom, though not of this world, is yet in this world and over this world. Mark the emphatic repetition of My, and this world, as also the demonstrative ἐντεῦθεν in opposition to cælitus.—P. S.].—This answer, the distinction between the purely theocratic and the purely political idea of a kingdom was manifestly contemplated from the very beginning, in the question of Jesus [John 18:34] and introduced by that question. First He acknowledges that He has a kingdom (My kingdom); passes on immediately, however, for Pilate’s pacification, to the negative definition of His kingdom. It is not of this world as to its principle; it lays, therefore, in respect of its tendency, no claims to this world and does not, in respect of its character, come into collision with the existent secular empire of the Romans. Proof: If it were of this world, I should have fighters after the manner of the kingdoms of the world, and the very least that they could do would be, as worldly combatants, to prevent the base and contemptible resurrender of My person to the spiritual forum of the Jews.—My servants [οἱ ὑπηρέται οἱ ἐμοί]—Interpretations: 1. The servants that I have, disciples, angels (Lampe, Luthardt).57 2. The servants that I then should have (Meyer,58 Tholuck [Lücke, Hengstenberg, Alford]). He, however, really has a kingdom, and He also really has servants. With such a fancy sketch: had I a worldly kingdom, and legions, My servants would liberate Me,—the innocence of Jesus would be poorly proved. But when He says: I have servants, but not one makes the slightest attempt at My liberation—this, to Pilate, who was acquainted with the nature of the disturbance, contains a striking proof of Jesus’ innocence. The kingdom of which Christ speaks, however, does not wait for its beginning until the cessation of the kingdoms of the world (as Meyer asserts); neither does it itself become a world-kingdom (comp. Tholuck, p. 416). It conquers the world and makes the kingdoms of the world subject unto itself, in order to abolish and absorb the entire old form of the world in the kingdom of heaven.
But now is My kingdom not from hence, ἐντεῦθεν. Had Christ’s kingdom been destined to be a worldly kingdom, it would have taken its rise at that very point in the crisis of the sufferings of the cross.
[This solemn declaration of Christ concerning the heavenly origin and unworldly character of His kingdom, settles in principle the question of Church and State in favor of separation and against penal laws for the punishment of heresy. Comp. Matthew 22:21, the wisest answer ever given to a question. Alford: “The word now (νῦν) has been absurdly pressed by the Romanist interpreters, to mean that at some time His kingdom would be ἐντεῦθεν—i.e., ἐκ τοῦ κόσμου τούτου—as if its essential character could ever be changed: νῦν implies, ‘as the case now stands,’—a demonstratio ad oculos from the fact that no servants of His had contended or were contending in His behalf; see similar usages of νῦν, John 8:40; John 9:41; John 15:22,” etc.—P. S.]
John 18:37. So, then, [οὐκοῦν] Thou art a king [βασιλεὺς εἶ σύ]?—Pilate asks, we doubt not, more out of curiosity and with the attention of an inquisitor, than with any mocking designs (Tholuck).
Yea, a king am I [σὺ λέγεις ὄτι βασιλεύς εἰμι ἐγώ. See Text. Note].—“So Thou art a king?” questions Pilate with ironical emphasis. “Thou sayest it,” answers Jesus, with the accent of sublime self-assurance. And in face of the σύ He emphasizes the ἐγώ. Not only, however, does ὅτι recognize the utterance of Pilate—it likewise acknowledges the correctness of his deduction; from the kingdom of Jesus thou rightly inferrest His kingly dignity, says Jesus. Hence we represent ὄτι by yea (Ja).—Proof: Thereunto have I been born and thereunto have I come into the world [ἐγὼ εἰς τοῦτο γεγέννημαι καὶ εἰς τοῦτο ἐλήλυθα εἰς τὸν κόσμον].—According to, Lücke and De Wette, Christ distinguishes His birth, and His official appearance. According to Meyer and Tholuck, the latter part of the sentence denotes the Divine Ambassador. Since, however, the birth also, as the birth of the Witness of the Truth, denotes a divine or divine-human birth, we likewise distinguish the expression of His ideal kingly nature (born), and of His historic Messianic mission (office). [Comp. here Alford].—That I may bear witness unto the truth [ἵνα μαρτυρήσω τῆ ]—He is the faithful Witness, 2 Corinthians 1:20; Revelation 3:14.—Every one that is of the truth [πᾶς ὁ ὤν ἐκ τῆς ].—See John 3:21. Joh 6:44; John 8:47; Romans 2:29.—Heareth My voice [ἀκούει μου τῆς φωνῆς].—John 10:27. Why does He say this to Pilate? Calvin: He designs explaining why He finds so few adherents. Chrysost and others: He is appealing to the Roman’s consciousness, which is more susceptible than that of a Caiaphas. Bengel: provocat a cæcitate pilati ad captum fidelium.—But manifestly He marks the moment in which Pilate is confronted with salvation, and the form under which salvation advances towards him. It is the form in which He is able to preach the Gospel to this man in this position. If thou art of the truth, if the impulse of truth is the vital impulse that influenceth thee, thou wilt know Me, and thou art saved.
John 18:38. “What is truth? [τί ἐστιν ];—The Evangelist plainly characterizes the meaning of the query by remarking that Pilate turned about upon uttering these words, and went out [καὶ τοῦτο εἰπὼν πάλιν ἐξῆλθεν]. No pause, no waiting for a reply, is spoken of. The word is thrown out; immediately he wheeled around upon his heel to tell the Jews without that he found no fault in Him. Thus is the patristic exposition, which makes him an eager inquirer after the truth (Chrysostom, Theodoret, Aretius and others) confuted, as also the assumption that he gave utterance to a feeling of disconsolateness (Olshausen). He has evidently no suspicion of subjective vital truth, and he understands, by truth, merely an objective school problem about which a practical man of business need not puzzle his wits. Not so much as a philosophizing skeptic is delineated—such an one as Pliny the elder (ut solum certum sit, nihil esse certi).59 On the other hand, neither do we find that flight from truth, that was manifested in the case of the governor Felix, Acts 24:25. The narrow, practical Roman mind that takes exception to every free investigation of truth, accounting such a fantasticalness from which it saves itself by observance of traditional ordinance, here expresses itself, as does, in measure, a Cicero as an Acataleptic [probabilist], the heathen Cæcilius in the Octavius of Minutius Felix, the Romish spirit continually, not only in its attitude toward the Reformation but also in modern times, as it stands confronted with Catholic philosophy.60
The question as to whence the Evangelist obtained his knowledge of this conversation, is difficult only when we forget that Christ’s every step was watched by men who were of the truth; Strauss and Baur [and Scholten] alone have found the moment sufficiently obscure, in the light of the world’s history, to induce them to assert this account to be a composition of the Evangelist, traceable to his peculiar tendency.
“Pilate’s end corresponds with a life devoid of all foundation of objective [first of all, subjective] truth; according to classic authorities, he dies by suicide, in consequence of heavy misfortunes (Eusebius, Hist. Ecclesiastes 2:7).” Tholuck.
I find no fault in Him [ἐγώ.—opposed to ὑμεῖς.—οὐδεμίαν εὑρίσκω εν αὐτῷ αἰτίαν]. The total result of the irrecoverable moment was his taking Jesus to be a good-natured but guiltless, perhaps rather tiresome, fanatic. With all this, his practical sense of justice finds clear utterance for an instant more—to be soon after caught in the net of a wretched policy. Soon after—for here, according to Luke, follows the sending of Jesus to the tribunal of Herod Antipas, Luke 23:12. [“Pilate mocks both—the Witness of the Truth and the haters of the Truth. His conduct presents a pitiable specimen of the moral weakness of that spirit of worldly power, which reached its culminating point in the Roman empire.” Alford.—P. S.]
John 18:39. But it is a custom of yours, etc. [ἔστιν δὲ συνήθεια ὑμῖν, ἴνα ἔνα ]—Pilate thinks to catch the Jews, and they catch him. Instead of simply administering justice and pronouncing the release of Jesus, he proposes to concede to them the ability of releasing Him themselves in right of a privilege obtained by them. The consequence of this half-measure is ruinous to the judge. It is, therefore, no good-natured love of justice that makes him resort to this expedient (Tholuck), but a preponderant consideration of policy. According to Matthew, he places Barabbas beside Jesus and bids the people choose, designing thus to make the acquittal of Jesus the more sure. The combination was probably first originated by the Jews, as John reports, and then formulated by Pilate (comp. Comm. on Luke). The Jewish custom of releasing a criminal was probably not an emanation from the paschal feast as a feast of reconciliation (Tholuck), but rather a dramatic Easter play, intended, perhaps, to illustrate the sparing of the Jewish first-born (see Comm. on Matt. at this passage).
At the passover [ἐν τῷ πάσχα. Ἐν is wanting in some MSS.].—“Pilate might thus express himself on the 14th as well as on the 15th.” Meyer. But according to the literal expression, the feast of the passover had really commenced.
The king of the Jews [τὸν βασιλέα τῶν Ἰουδ].—Meyer: “Unwise mocking bitterness.” Perchance abortive cunning likewise. The sing of the Jews He was considered by many among the people whose business it was to decide.
John 18:40. Then they cried out all again.—The Evangelist’s meaning seems to be either: they have cried, and cry again now; or: now that they again gave utterance to their sentiments, for the first time after the accusation, they did it with clamorous outcry. We apprehend the passage thus: they cried this time, and that en masse or with one voice.—Saying: not this One but Barabbas [μὴ τοῦτον, ἀλλὰ τὸν Βαραββᾶν. ἦν δὲ ὁ Βαπαββᾶς λῃστής].—On Barabbas see Comm. on Matthew. It is the first practical fault of the Roman spirit to set criminals side by side with putative idealists, and to release the former rather than the latter. [Ewald suggests that Barabbas was the son of a Rabbi (Abba was a Rabbinic title of honor), and a leader in the insurrection (Mark 15:7) against Pilate, arising out of his misappropriation of a part of the temple revenue to the construction of an aqueduct (Joseph. De Bello Jud. II. 9, § 4); and thus explains the eagerness with which the Sanhedrin and the people demanded his release. On the significance of the name Barabbas (Son of the Father, with or without Jesus in the Synoptists) and the unconsciously representative character and release of this rebel and robber, as contrasted with the character and condemnation of the obedient and holy Jesus, see notes on Matthew 27:16, p. 511, and the Hom. and Pract. below. Ludit in humanis divina potentia rebus.—P. S.]
See John 19:1 ff for DOCTRINAL AND ETHICAL and HOMILETICAL AND PRACTICAL
John 18:1; John 18:1.—[The Recepta and Tischendorf read τῶν Κέδρων, in accordance with B. C. E. and many others; Griesbach, Lachmann in accordance with Codd. A, S. Δ., Jerome, Ambrose, etc. (conf. Joseph. Antiq., VIII. 1, 5) τοῦ Κεδρών. The plural seems to have originated in a misapprehension on the part of the transcribers: Cedar Brook instead of Black Brook. [In Exodus 8:0 Tischendorf reads τοῦ κέδρου, on the authority of א*. D. a. b. Sah. cop. æth.; Lachm. τοῦ Κεδρών with A. S. Δ.; hut Tregelles, Alford, Westcott and Hort give the preference to the plural τῶν κέδρων אc. B. C L. X. Orig. Chrys. Cyr., etc. Josephus favors the singular, Antiq. , VIII. 1, 5: τὸν χείμαῤῥον κεδρῶνος, Bell. Jud., V. 2, ἢ κεδρὼν ὠνόμασται. The plural form, τῶν κέδρων, brook of cedars, Cedar Brook, is found already in the Sept. version of 2 Samuel 15:23, but the Alex. Cod. and the Zurich ed. read there: ἐν τῷ χειμάῤῥῳ τοῦ κέδρων. It is evidently a Greek corruption of the Hebrew קִּדְרוֹן (niger, Black Brook; comp. the frequent Greek river-name Μέλας), under the impression that it means cedars. There is no evidence that cedars grew on the brook. John can hardly have sanctioned such a mistake, and therefore I would decide here from internal probability against the authority of MSS. The error may have been made by the first Greek copyist, who was ignorant of Hebrew.—P. S.]
John 18:2; John 18:2.—[Noyes and Am. B. U. render ὅ παραδιδοὺς αὐτόν, his betrayer. Alford retains the A. V., including which.—P. S.]
John 18:3; John 18:3.—[τὴν σπεῖραν refers to the well-known troop of soldiers or Roman cohort which was stationed in Jerusalem as garrison of Fort Antonia, Matthew 27:27; Acts 21:31.—P. S.]
John 18:3; John 18:3.—[Probably more correct: with torches (μετὰ φανῶν), and lamps (λαμπάδων, lights fed with oil in lanterns) and weapons (ὅπλεν, swords and staves),—the utensils of the military on a night march. λαμπάς, however, means also torch and lantern. The repetition of the καί is not superfluous, but rhetorical.—P. S.]
John 18:4; John 18:4.—B. C.*D. etc. ἐξῆλθεν καὶ λέγει (Lachmann, Tischendorf) instead of ἐξελθὼν εἶπεν.
John 18:10; John 18:10.—Tischendorf ὠτάριον, in accordance with B. C* L. etc. (see Mark 14:47). [Cod. Sin. also sustains ὠτάριον, auriculam, versus ὠτίον, aurem probably a correction from Matt.—P. S.]
John 18:11; John 18:11.—The Recepta: μάχαιράν σου. Σου is omitted in accordance with the decisive Codd. [N. A. B. C. D., Alf. Tischend., etc.]
John 18:11; John 18:11.—[ὁ πατήρ, without μου, is the proper reading.—P. S.]
[Dean Stanley says that the Valley of the Kedron, especially in its greatest depth where it joins the Valley of Hinnom, gives full effect to the great peculiarity of Jerusalem, as seen from its eastern side—its situation as of a city rising out of a deep abyss. Sinai & Pal., p. 188.—P. S.]
[Since the time of Robinson, however, more copious torrents have been witnessed, probably in consequence of the numerous enclosures of mulberry and olive groves recently made by the Greek convent^ For there is no doubt that the destruction of the forests which once covered the mountains and hills has diminished the rains in Palestine. The Kedron must have been once a much larger stream, or it would not have worked out such a chasm. Dr. Barclay and Lieutenant Warren express the opinion that the Kedron flows below the present surface of the ground. Warren discovered about 500 yards below the En-Rogel a flight of steps leading down to an ancient aqueduct now choked with silt, which he believes to have been connected with that well and the ancient system of water supply.—P. S.]
[To the descriptions there given or referred to, I add that of Dean Stanley, Sinai & Pal., p. 450. “Close beside the Church of the Virgin is a spot which, as it is omitted in Abba Michon’s catalogue of Holy Places, might perhaps have boon passed over; yet a few words, and perhaps the fewer the better, must be devoted to the garden of Gethsemane. That the tradition reaches back to the age of Constantine is certain. How far it agrees with the slight indications of its position in the Gospel narrative will be judged by the impressions of each individual traveller. Some will think it too public; others will see an argument in its favor from its close proximity to the brook Kedron; none probably will be disposed to receive the traditional sites which surround it, the grotto of the Agony, the rocky bank of the three Apostles, the “terra damnata” of the Betrayal. But in spite of all the doubts that can be raised against their antiquity or the genuineness of their site, the eight aged olive-trees, if only by their manifest difference from all others in the mountain, have always struck even the most indifferent observer. They are now indeed less striking in the modern garden enclosure built round them by the Franciscan monks, than when they stood free and unprotected on the rough hill side; but they will remain, so long as their already protracted life is spared, the most venerable of their race on the surface of the earth; their gnarled trunks and scanty foliage will always be regarded as the most affecting of the sacred memorials in or about Jerusalem; the most nearly approaching to the everlasting hills themselves in the force with which they carry us back to the events of the Gospel History.” Comp. also Hackett’s supplementary notes of art. Gethsemane in Smith’s Dict. II. 908.—P. S.]
[Cyril: “Ut in paradiso malorum initium est factum, sic in horto Christi passio incepit, per quam a malts liberati in pristinum reslituti sumus. ” Wordsworth; “Here is a striking contrast between the quest in the Garden of Eden for the first Adam, and this search In the garden of Gethsemane for the Second. The first Adam hides himself amongst the trees of the garden (Genesis 3:8). He trembles before Him who seeks for him. The Second Adam comes forth and says I am. And, at the sound of His Voice, they who came to take Him, go back and fall to the ground. The first Adam inculpates Eve: the Second Adam pleads for His disciples. The first Adam is overcome by the Tempter and loses Paradise; the Second Adam overcomes Satan, and restores his Spouse, the Church, to Paradise and raises her to Heaven.”—P. S.]
[ἀπῆλθ αν and ἔπεσ αν is the reading of א. B. C., Tisch-end., Tregelles, Alf., Westcott and Hort. On this Alexandrian form see Winer, p. 71,71 h ed. The text. rec. has ἀτῆλθ ον and έπεσ ον.—P. S.]
[So also Ebrard, Maier, Hengstenberg, Godet, Meyer, Luthardt, Brückner, Webster and Wilkinson, Wordsworth; some adding as another object: to prove His divine character. Luthardt, however, assumes that the miracle was psychologically mediated, and approaches the view of Lange (no. 5); Godet also (II. 575) lays the chief stress on the moral force, the same which in the temple made the enemies recoil. It was not a physical, but a moral miracle.—P. S.]
[Strauss regards the scene as miraculous in the intention of the author, but as unhistorical. So also Scholten.—P. S.]
[So also Olshausen, De Wette, Ebrard, Bäumlein, Barnes, Owen (not decided). Barnes thinks that the supposition of a miraculous power detracts greatly from the moral sublimity of the scene.—P. S.]
[Similarly Alford: The miracle was not specially intended by our Lord (?), but a result of the superhuman dignity of His person and the majestic calmness of His reply.— P.S.]
[On the case of Mark Antony see Valerius Max., VIII. 9, 2; on Marins, Vellejus Pat. II. 19, 3; on Coligny, Serranus, Com., de statu rel. in Gallia, t. III. p. 32—as quoted by Tholuck (p. 380 of Krauth’s translation), and by Meyer(p. 592). But these are at best very remote analogies from a different sphere.—P. S.]
John 18:12; John 18:12.—[ἡ σπεῖρα καὶ ὁ χιλίαρχος are the detachment of the Roman garrison, οἱ ὑπηρέται, the levitical temple guard. See notes on John 18:3. The omission of a comma and of the article before “officers” in the A. V., makes the impression that ὁ χιλιαρχος is alike dependent on τῶν Ἰουδαίων is οἱ ὑπηρέται.—P. S.]
Ver. l3.—[ἀπήγαγον (A. C. אc. Vulg.) is not so well supported as ἤγαγον(א.* B. D., Tischend.).—P. S.]
John 18:14; John 18:14.—Tischendorf [in former edd.] ἀπολέσθαι. [perish] in accordance with A. C,** and others; Lachmann ἀποθανεῖν in accordance with B. C.* and others (Sin.). Meyer: ἀποθ comes from John 11:50. [In Exodus 8:0. Tischendorf reads ἀποθανεῖν, with א. B. C.* D., and aids: “ἀποθανεῖν potest ad 11:50 accommodatum credi. At quum testimoniorwn antiquissimorum pondere prsestet. nec incredibile est ex illo ἀπόληται 11:50 hoe loco ἀπολέσθαι ortum esse. Est iste locus ex eis ubi præstat probatissimos testes sequi quam. conjectures fidere.” Tregelles, Alford, Westcott and Hort, likewise agree on ἀποθανεῖν.—P. S.]
John 18:15; John 18:15.—The Recepta, Griesbach, Scholz, Tischendorf [formerly]: ὁ ἄλλος. The article is omitted by A. D., etc;, but attested by a majority of authorities. [Tischendorf, Exodus 8:0., Westcott and Hort omit, Alford brackets the article. Lange retains it. The insertion is more readily accounted for than the omission, and may have been conformed to 20:2, 3, 4, 8, where, the article occurs. There is no doubt, however, that no other than John is meant. In using this self designation for the first time, he may have omitted the article.—P. S.]
John 18:17; John 18:17.—[Μή and μήτε, in interrogative sentences, imply (like the German dock nicht?) a negative answer, the English not, like the Greek οὐ and the Latin nonne, an affirmative answer. The παιδίσκη was apprehensive of an affirmative answer and wished politely to anticipate Peter’s denial; or the negative form of the question reveals the feeling that she ought not to have admitted John as a disciple of Jesus except for his being an acquaintance of the high priest.—P. S.]
John 18:20; John 18:20.—λελάληκα (Lachmann, Tischendorf) is most strongly attested, against ἐλάλησα.
John 18:20; John 18:20.—[The best authorities omit the article τῇ (text, rec.) before συναγωγῇ, very properly: for there are many synagogues, and but one temple.—P. S.)
John 18:20; John 18:20.—The reading πάντες (Griesbach, Lachmann) is established by A. B.C.* Sin., etc., in opposition to a second πάντοτε (Tischendorf in accordance with E. G. H., etc.) and to παντοθεν. In Exodus 8:0., Tischend. reads likewise πάντες οἱ Ἰουδ. without πάντοτε.—P. S.]
John 18:22; John 18:22.—[Uncertain whether with the hand (Backenstreich, Luther, Lange, Meyer) or with a rod (Ruthenschlag, Beza, Bengel, Godet). The former is more probable, as it was intended to be a punishment for saucy speech. Comp. Matthew 26:67; Acts 23:2. ῥάπισμα, from ῥάβδος, ῥαπίς, originally meant a blow from a rod or stick.—P. S.]
John 18:24; John 18:24.—The omission of οὖν (attested Codd. B. C* L. X. Δ., Lachmann) appears to be exegetical. The Johannean οὖν, however, is quite characteristic here. Other exegetical apprehensions of the passage substituted δέ and καί. [Tischend., Alf., etc., retain οὖν. The pluperf. rendering of ἀπέστειλεν is ungrammatical and in the interest of harmonistics. See p. 552 —P. S.]
John 18:25; John 18:25.—The οὖν [after ἠρνήσατο] is here not sufficiently attested (E. G. M., etc.); neither is it suitable.
[Robinson, Harmony, p. 225: “An oriental house is usually built around a quadrangular interior court; into which there is a passage (sometimes arched) through the front part of the house, closed next the street by a heavy folding gate, with a smaller wicket for single persons, kept by a porter. In the text, the interior court, often paved or flagged, and open to the sky, is the αὐλή, where the attendants made a fire; and the passage beneath the front of the house, from the street to this court, is the προαύλιον or πυλών in Matthew 26:71; Mark 14:68. The place where Jesus stood before the high priest, may have been an open room or place of audience on the ground floor, in the rear or on one side of the court; such rooms, open in front, being customary. It was close upon the court; for Jesus heard all that was going on around the fire, and turned and. looked upon Peter: Luke 22:61.”—P. S.]
[Also E. V., Wordsworth, and even Robinson, Harmony, p. 226.—P.S.]
[Also ἡ αὔλειος with or without θύρα. The αὐλή,—atrium, is the court yard, around which an oriental house was built, a rectangular area in the open air, connected with the street by a προαύλιον, or vestibule (Mark 14:68), and πυλών or portal (Matthew 26:71), in which was a ούρα, or wicket.— P. S.]
[Augustine: Christ shows that His precept Matthew 5:39 is to be followed non ostentatione corporis, sed preparatione, cordis. An angry man may turn, in sullenness, the other cheek visibly to the smiter; better is he who makes a true answer with mildness, and prepares his heart in peace to endure greater sufferings. Luther: Christ forbids self defence with the hand (violence), not with the tongue. See quotation in Meyer, p.598). Godet: Jesus did not here fulfil literally His precept (Matthew 5:39); He owed to His innocence this answer full of sweetness and dignity. Alford: “It has been often and well observed, that our Lord here gives us the best interpretation of Matthew 5:39—that it does not exclude the remonstrating against unjust oppression, provided it be done calmly and patiently.”—P. S.]
Chap. 18. John 18:28.—Πρωΐ not πρωΐα. [The former is sustained by א. A. B. C., etc., against the text. rec.—P. S.]
John 18:29; John 18:29.—After Πιλᾶτος an ἔξω according to B. C. * L. X. sin. etc. Others give it after αὐτούς.
John 18:34; John 18:34.—Most Codd. are without αύτᾦ
John 18:37; John 18:37.—[It is best to regard σὺ λέγεις as an affirmation (comp. σὺ εἶπας Matthew 26:25], and ὄτι as the reason for it. Lange: Du sagst es. Ja ein könig bin ich. Noyes: Thou sayest what is true; for I am a King. So also Meyer, Alford, etc.—P. S.]
John 18:37; John 18:37.—The second ἐγώ is omitted by B. D. L. etc. Probably because the transcribers considered it superfluous.
John 18:40; John 18:40.—[πάντες is omitted by א. B. L. X., Tischend., Westcott and Hort, but retained by Lange, Alford, with A. and Verss.—P. S.]
John 19:3; John 19:3.—Codd [א] B. L. X., etc., most versions, Augustine, etc., instead of καὶ ἔλεγον, read: καὶ ἤρχοντο πρὸς αὐτὸν καὶ ἔλεγον (Lachmann, Tischendorf). [It was a mock-reverential approach as to a crowned monarch. Not understood by transcribers.—P. S.]
John 19:3; John 19:3. ἐδίδοσαν αὐτῷ ῥαπίσματα—uncertain whether with the hand or a rod or staff, probably the former. Lange: Backenstreiche. See Text. Notes on John 18:22.—P. S.]
John 19:4; John 19:4.—Instead of ἐξῆλθεν Lachmann reads καὶ ἐξῆλθεν in accordance with A. B. K. L., etc.,
John 19:5; John 19:5.—[pilate is omitted in the MSS. and inserted by the E. V. for clearness’ sake.—P. S.]
John 19:5; John 19:5.—[Ἰδοὺ ὁ ἄνθρπος א. B. L., versus ἴδε of text. rec., which is supported by A. D., but not by B., as Lachmann states. Comp. Tischend. Exodus 8:0.—P. S.]
John 19:6; John 19:6.—Most Codd., B. L. excepted, append αὐτόν (Lachmann) to the σταύρωσον of the Recepta. The passionate and characteristic exclamation was readily thus supplemented, however. [Alford, Tischend., Westcott and Hort omit αὐτόν which was probably inserted from John 19:15, and from Mark and Luke.—P. S.]
John 19:7; John 19:7.—Cod. B. and some others omit ἡμῶν (Lachmann). The context is in favor of its retention.
John 19:10; John 19:10.—Οὖν is wanting in A. X. and in several translations (Tischendorf). Probably the form of the consequence presented by οὖν was considered remarkable here.
John 19:10; John 19:10.—Codd. A. B., Lachmann, Tischendorf [Tregelles, Alford, Wescott and Hort] give the ἀπολῦσαι first. Probably a putative correction.
John 19:12; John 19:12.—The stronger form ἐκραύγαζον instead of ἒκραζον in accordance with Codd. A. B. L. M. Lachmann, Tischendorf.
John 19:13; John 19:13.—λόγων τούτων according to Codd. A. B. L. Sin. etc. [instead of τοῦτον τὸν λόγον text. rec.]
John 19:14; John 19:14.—The reading ὥρα ἦν instead of ὥρα δέ received by Lachmann and Tischendorf in accordance with A. B. D., etc. [So also the English critical edd.]
John 19:14; John 19:14.—Ὡς is more strongly attested than ὡσεί.
John 19:14; John 19:14.—Most Codd., A. B. E. K., etc., and the translations read ἕκτη Codd. D. L. X., etc., and the Alexandrian Chronicle differ from these; the Chronicle assures us that accurate conies and the authentic MS. preserved at Ephesus—τὸ ἰδιόχειρον give τρίτη. A conformation to Mark 15:25. due to the too literal apprehension of the Johannean expression. [See the full apparatus in Tischend. and the exegesis below.—P. S.]
John 19:16; John 19:16.—Cod. A. etc. and the Recepta read: καὶ Codd. D. E. H., etc. read ἤγαγον. Codd. B. L. X. etc. the Itala and other translations, Lachmann, Tischendorf [Alford, Westcott and Hort] omit καὶ ἤγαγον. Omitted probably on account of the exegetical consideration that the word here refers to the Jews, while in Matthew 27:31, it has reference to the soldiers.
So also Godet, Ewald, Alford. This is no doubt the proper view, and not set aside by the objections of Meyer (p. 610), who regards the question simply as intended to know the real author of the charge. Christ did not ask for information, which He did not need, but to bring out the distinction in the mind of Pilate, who seems to have suspected that Jesus was really what He was charged with being. This may be inferred also from the question, “Whence art Thou?” (19:8), his increasing desire to release Jesus (12), and his refusal to alter the inscription on the cross (22).— P. S.]
[Meyer just reversely: The answer of Pilate…indirectly denies the first, and consequently affirms the second question. But, Lange is right. Pilate proudly and indignantly repudiates all connection with Jewish expectations, which he despised as sheer fanaticism.—P. S.]
[Lampe: Angels and disciples; Luthardt and Stier: angels; Meyer: disciples only (Joh 12:26; 1 Corinthians 4:1; 1 Timothy 4:6), who are themselves not of this world, though in this world, John 17:16.—P. S.]
[In the 6th ed., p. 611, Meyer rejects this view and understands by ὑπηρέται the disciples. See preceding footnote.—P. S.]
[Meyer and Alford likewise derive the question of Pilate from indifferentism rather than skepticism. “It expresses, not without scoff and irony, that truth can never be found: and is an apt representative of the state of the polite Gentile mind at the time of the Lord’s coming. It was rather an inability than an unwillingness to find the truth.” Comp. the saying of Felix to Paul, Acts 24:25.—P. S.]
[Dr. Lange has in view Lammenais, Hermes, Günther, and other recent Roman Catholic philosophers, whose speculations have been condemned by the pope.—P. S.]
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Lange, Johann Peter. "Commentary on John 18". "Commentary on the Holy Scriptures: Critical, Doctrinal, and Homiletical". https://www.studylight.org/
the Week of Proper 24 / Ordinary 29