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John Chapter Eighteen


I. Content of the Chapter


The Son of God the Savior Who Had Been Taken and Judged

  A. He was taken in the garden called Gethsemane (v.1-11)

B. He was judged in the courtyard of the high priest, and Peter denied the Lord three times (v.12-27)

  C. He was judged in the Praetorium (v.28-40)


II. Verse by Verse commentary


John. 18:1 “When Jesus had spoken these words, He went out with His disciples over the Brook Kidron, where there was a garden, which He and His disciples entered.”

   YLT: “These things having said, Jesus went forth with his disciples beyond the brook of Kedron, where was a garden, into which he entered, himself and his disciples,”

The Background: “there was a garden, it was an olives garden called “Gethsemane” (see Matt 26:36; Mark 14:32). The garden was located at the foot of the Mount of Olives on the other side of the Brook Kidron (see Luke 22:39), about 1.2 kilometers away from the wall of Jerusalem, where Jesus usually met with His disciples (v.2). It was said that this garden was possessed by the family of Mark.

Literal Meaning: “when Jesus had spoken these words”, “these words” refer to the words in chapter 14 to 17.

  “The Brook Kidron” was a small valley between the Jerusalem city and the Mount of Olives, which was almost dry except for the rainy season.


John. 18:2 And Judas, who betrayed Him, also knew the place; for Jesus often met there with His disciples.

YLT: “and Judas also, who delivered him up, had known the place, because many times did Jesus assemble there with his disciples.”

Enlightenment in the Word: Judas “knew” the place where Jesus usually went to pray, but what he had “known” was capitalized by the devil (see v.3). Many times, if a man’s heart was not upright, his spiritual “knowledge” would even bring the opposite effect.


John. 18:3 Then Judas, having received a detachment of troops, and officers from the chief priests and Pharisees, came there with lanterns, torches, and weapons.

YLT: “Judas, therefore, having taken the band and officers out of the chief priests and Pharisees, doth come thither with torches and lamps, and weapons;”

Literal Meaning: “Judas, having received a detachment of troops”, “a detachment” was “a squad”, which was approximately 600 soldiers according to the Roman military formation. The Scripture had not mentioned that whether all of this detachment had come or not. However, since “the captain” was there (see v.12), there would be at least 100 ones.

  And officers from the chief priests and Pharisees”, according to the record of the Scripture, those who came to take the Lord Jesus by Judas were: (1) the chief priests and captains of the temple and elders (see Luke 22:52); (2) officers from the Pharisees; (3) the detachment of troops and the captain (see v.12); (4) the high priest's servant; (5) some mixed multitude (see v.26).

  Came there with lanterns, torches, and weapons”, “lanterns” referred to the ceramic utensils with the oil lamp therein. “Torches” were the woodblock saturated with grease. Both the above two were the commonest tools of night-time illumination by the Jews at that time.

Enlightenment in the Word:

     1) The way of the world were a detachment of troops and weapons, but our struggle is not against blood and flesh (see Eph 6:12). Therefore, all those who want to overwhelm with numerical strength or fleshly weapons have already fallen unto the principle of the world. Maybe someone regard it a victory, but it suffers a crushing defeat actually.

     2) When the church just hears the voice of the Lord and has been revived and has been willing to work with the Lord, the devil comes and schemes to block us from moving on.


John. 18:4 Jesus therefore, knowing all things that would come upon Him, went forward and said to them, "Whom are you seeking?"

YLT: “Jesus, therefore, knowing all things that are coming upon him, having gone forth, said to them, `Whom do ye seek?'”

Literal Meaning: “went forward” was a contrast to the word “entered” (see v.1). The Lord Jesus did not wait for those who came to take Him but “went forward” personally to meet them, showing that He was voluntary to come to the cross.

Enlightenment in the Word:

     1) The Lord Jesus knew all things that would come upon Him, so He did not get in a panic when bearing it. Since we have known that whatever befalls us, God does all things well (see Matt 11:26), we should trust in God at east.

     2) All that happen to believers are in the Lords pre-knowledge and predominance.


John. 18:5 They answered Him, "Jesus of Nazareth." Jesus said to them, "I am He." And Judas, who betrayed Him, also stood with them.

YLT: “they answered him, `Jesus the Nazarene;' Jesus saith to them, `I am ;' -- and Judas who delivered him up was standing with them; --”

Literal Meaning: “I am He”, this was the special name which was used when Jehovah declared Him. He had ever revealed to Moses: “I AM THAT ‘I AM’” and asked Moses to tell the children of Israel that I AM had sent him to them (see Ex 3:14-15 in the original). Obviously, the Lord here declared His Deity, unveiling that He is Jehovah God.

Enlightenment in the Word: having followed the Lord for three years and a half, Judas was instructed by the Lord and beloved by the Lord, but finally he “stood” at the side of the devil. Many believers, though having been granted the grace for many years, they were unexpectedly manipulated by the devil at a critical juncture. Brothers and sisters, where are your hearts standing?


John. 18:6 Now when He said to them, "I am He," they drew back and fell to the ground.

YLT: “when, therefore, he said to them -- `I am ,' they went away backward, and fell to the ground.”

Literal Meaning: “they” includes the troops, the officers from the chief priests and Pharisees, the captain and Judas. It was not an occasional thing that they drew back and fell to the ground. Note “when He said” ---- they did not draw back or fall to the ground until the Lord Jesus said “I AM”. Obviously, what the Lord had said ---- “I am” ---- had something to do with His actions.

  The name “I AM” that the Lord Jesus declared indicated that the one who was speaking was God Himself (see the commentary of verse two). How majesty it was when the Lord revealed that He is God ---- no one was able to stand before him. It also proved that the Lord Jesus delivered Him of His own will to those who were actually unable to take Him.

Enlightenment in the Word:

     1) He entered the region of darkness ---- went over the Brook Kidron (see v.1, the meaning of Kidron was darkness). He came to the region of oppression ---- went to the garden of Gethsemane (see v.1 Gethsemane meant oil-press). He was faced with the danger of being betrayed ---- Judas betrayed the Lord (see v.2). he was confronted with the persecution from religion ---- officers from the chief priests and Pharisees (see v.3) and from the power of politics ---- the detachment of troops and the captain (see v.3, 12). However, praise to the Lord! The surpassing Christ still manifested His fullness ---- I AM, and once His fullness had manifested, all that from the devil were destroyed ---- they drew back and fell to the ground. All that of the earth would be destroyed on the earth. Nothing could hurt the Son of man who is in heaven (see 3:13).

     2) Whatever we need, He is what you need. We shall draw from God and enjoy God in faith, for He is what we need.


John. 16:7 Then He asked them again, "Whom are you seeking?" And they said, "Jesus of Nazareth."

YLT: Again, therefore, he questioned them, `Whom do ye seek?' and they said, `Jesus the Nazarene;'


John. 16:8 Jesus answered, "I have told you that I am He. Therefore, if you seek Me, let these go their way,"

YLT: “Jesus answered, `I said to you that I am ; if, then, me ye seek, suffer these to go away;'”

Literal Meaning:if you seek Me, “Me” was emphatic, which meant “if the one that you were seeking was Me”.

  “Let these go their way”, “these” referred to His disciples. In this critical juncture, what the Lord concerned was not the safety of Himself, but that of His followers.

Enlightenment in the Word:if you seek Me, let these go their way”, In the most critical juncture, the Lord still protected His disciples. He would rather bear it by Himself than let His disciples be involved. Oh, the Lord is still keeping us like this and is willing to help us in any trouble.


John. 16:9 that the saying might be fulfilled which He spoke, "Of those whom You gave Me I have lost none."

YLT: “that the word might be fulfilled that he said -- `Those whom Thou hast given to me, I did not lose of them even one.'”

Literal Meaning:the saying might be fulfilled which He spoke”, the word “fulfill” is usually used in the quotations from the Old Testament. Here what the Lord had said had fulfilled the Old Testament (see 6:39; 17:12).


John. 16:10 Then Simon Peter, having a sword, drew it and struck the high priest's servant, and cut off his right ear. The servant's name was Malchus.

YLT: “Simon Peter, therefore, having a sword, drew it, and struck the chief priest's servant, and cut off his right ear -- and the name of the servant was Malchus --”

Literal Meaning: Simon Peter, having a sword, sword, it refers to the short knife that was used as a weapon, such as dirk.

  Cut off his right ear, the Lord Jesus healed the ear of that man right now (see Luke 22:15), so that Peter was not caught.

  In the Four Gospels, only the Book of John mentioned the one who carried the sword was Simon Peter, and he who was hurt by Peter was Malchus. It was possibly because that when John wrote this book, Peter had been martyred.

Spiritual Meaning: sword symbolized the weapon of flesh (see 2Cor 10:4).

Enlightenment in the Word:

    1) The one who does not know the meaning of the cross may usually stretch his fleshly hands and draw the fleshly sword in order to protect the Lord and things of the Lord ---- which is not only ineffective but also harmful.

     2) The fleshly weapon may cut off mens ears, but cause others can not hear the word of God.


John. 16:11 So Jesus said to Peter, "Put your sword into the sheath. Shall I not drink the cup which My Father has given Me?"

YLT: “Jesus, therefore, said to Peter, `Put the sword into the sheath; the cup that the Father hath given to me, may I not drink it?'”

Literal Meaning: Shall I not drink the cup which My Father has given Me?" ---- It means that He will receive all that is given by the Father without any condition, for what the Father gives must be the best.

Spiritual Meaning: Put your sword into the sheath.” ---- It means one should not war after the flesh.

“The cup which My Father has given Me”, “that cup” is the portion to us appointed by God (see Ps 16:5-6). God sent Jesus to befall the world and let Him bear the sins of the world and the punishment of the cross that we had to bear (see Is 53:4-6). Therefore, the cup He would drink was the cup of God’s wrath (see 26:39; Is 51:17), namely, the tribulation of the cross.

  The Lord indicated that if He wanted to avoid the suffering of the cross, He would surely have the heavenly way to protect Himself, and He never need men to do anything to Him.

Enlightenment in the Word:

     1) A good purpose should be accomplished by a good way. If one has used a wrong way, even though for the best purpose, he can still obtain no praise from the Lord.

     2) Any spiritual motivation and goal can never be fulfilled by the natural strength.

     3) The Lord is not unable to save Himself, but is unwilling to disobey the will of God and ask God to protect Him.

     4) The Lord would rather give up the right of asking for protection, in order to fulfill the will of God the Father. Obviously, what is most important is not whether the matter is smooth, but whether the will of God will fulfill.

     5) To keep the will of God is not guided by doing good works, but by receiving what God has appointed.

     6) Shall I not drink the cup which My Father has given Me? ---- When the Lord Jesus was crucified, it seemed outwardly that it was man that crucified Him. However, the Lord said it was the cup received from the Father. Therefore, we should learn that when any suffering of the cross befalls us, if we realize that this is measured and appointed by the heavenly Father, we will not complain but receive joyfully.


John. 18:12 Then the detachment of troops and the captain and the officers of the Jews arrested Jesus and bound Him.

YLT: “The band, therefore, and the captain, and the officers of the Jews, took hold on Jesus, and bound him,”

Literal Meaning: the detachment of troops and the captain”, “the captain” was the commander of a thousand soldiers in the Roman armies. This captain might be the commander of this “detachment of troops” (see v.3).


John. 18:13 And they led Him away to Annas first, for he was the father-in-law of Caiaphas who was high priest that year.

YLT: “and they led him away to Annas first, for he was father-in-law of Caiaphas, who was chief priest of that year,”

Literal Meaning: “they led Him away to Annas first”, “Annas” served the post of high priest from 6 to 14 A.D. and was deposed by the Roman governor. However, he was still regarded as the lawful high priest in Jews (see Acts 4:6), so he played an important role before the Jews and went on performing the authority of high priest behind the scenes.

  “For he was the father-in-law of Caiaphas who was high priest that year”, “that year”, it did not indicate that the position of high priest was replaced annually, but “that year was a year worthy of remembrance”. “Caiaphas” served as high priest from 18 to 36 A.D. and was the high priest acknowledged by the Roman government. 


John. 18:14 Now it was Caiaphas who advised the Jews that it was expedient that one man should die for the people.

YLT: “and Caiaphas was he who gave counsel to the Jews, that it is good for one man to perish for the people.”

Literal Meaning: it was expedient that one man should die for the people.” ---- Please see the commentary of chapter 11 (v.49-52) on the details of the remarks of Caiaphas.

  John might suggest here that we had to never expect to obtain the fair judgment from the one who said that putting Jesus to death was expedient


John. 18:15 And Simon Peter followed Jesus, and so did another disciple. Now that disciple was known to the high priest, and went with Jesus into the courtyard of the high priest.

YLT: “And following Jesus was Simon Peter, and the other disciple, and that disciple was known to the chief priest, and he entered with Jesus to the hall of the chief priest,”

Literal Meaning: so did another disciple”, this disciple might be “the one whom Jesus loved” (see 20:2), namely, the Apostle John. Except for his house in Galilee, it seemed that he had another house in Jerusalem (see 19:27).

  “That disciple was known to the high priest”, it indicated that they were casual acquaintance, for John could enter the courtyard of the high priest and took Peter together (see v.16). It was probably because his family was very rich (see Mark 1:20) and had close relation with the house of high priest.

  The courtyard of the high priest”, “courtyard” referred to an open courtyard with houses around.


John. 18:16 But Peter stood at the door outside. Then the other disciple, who was known to the high priest, went out and spoke to her who kept the door, and brought Peter in.

YLT: “and Peter was standing at the door without, therefore went forth the other disciple who was known to the chief priest, and he spake to the female keeping the door, and he brought in Peter.”


John. 18:17 Then the servant girl who kept the door said to Peter, "You are not also one of this Man's disciples, are you?" He said, "I am not."

YLT: “Then said the maid keeping the door to Peter, `Art thou also of the disciples of this man?' he saith, `I am not;'”

Literal Meaning: You are not also one of this Man's disciples, are you?” ---- According to the grammar of the original, such question expected a negative answer. “This Man” carried a despising tone in the original, just like “this guy”.

Enlightenment in the Word:

     1) A man who follows the Lord in the fleshly strength will unavoidably fail.

     2) Peter who thought he was strong and loved the Lord could actually not bear the word of a little maid. Therefore, let him that thinks that he stands take heed lest he fall (see 1Cor 10:12).


John. 18:18 Now the servants and officers who had made a fire of coals stood there, for it was cold, and they warmed themselves. And Peter stood with them and warmed himself.

YLT: “and the servants and the officers were standing, having made a fire of coals, because it was cold, and they were warming themselves, and Peter was standing with them, and warming himself.”

The Background: the city Jerusalem was 2600 feet above sea level. It was between March and April of the lunar calendar, so it was rather cold at night.

Literal Meaning: “and Peter stood with them and warmed himself.” ---- In such a cold night, if he did not stand near the fire, he would stand out apparently.


John. 18:19 The high priest then asked Jesus about His disciples and His doctrine.

YLT: “The chief priests, therefore, questioned Jesus concerning his disciples, and concerning his teaching;”

Literal Meaning: “the high priest” referred to Annas. The Jews still regarded him as high priest (see the commentary of verse 13) and called him by the old appellation (see v.22).


John. 18:20 Jesus answered him, "I spoke openly to the world. I always taught in synagogues and in the temple, where the Jews always meet, and in secret I have said nothing.

YLT: “Jesus answered him, `I spake freely to the world, I did always teach in a synagogue, and in the temple, where the Jews do always come together; and in secret I spake nothing;”

Literal Meaning: and in secret I have said nothing”, He had said nothing that stirred up men or caused troubles. 


John. 18:21 Why do you ask Me? Ask those who have heard Me what I said to them. Indeed they know what I said."

YLT: “why me dost thou question? Question those having heard what I spake to them; lo, these have known what I said.'”

The Background: “why do you ask Me?” ---- According to the fair judgment of the Jewish laws, one’s misdeeds should be proclaimed on the basis of the confession of the witness first. It is unlawful to interrogate the defendant before the confirmation of the misdeeds, which attempts at condemning the defendant for his own testimony.


John. 18:22 And when He had said these things, one of the officers who stood by struck Jesus with the palm of his hand, saying, "Do You answer the high priest like that?"

YLT: “And he having said these things, one of the officers standing by did give Jesus a slap, saying, `Thus dost thou answer the chief priest?'”

Literal Meaning: struck Jesus with the palm of his hand”, the servants had no say in the management of the court meetings, so this was another unlawful thing that the servant struck the palm of the face of the Lord Jesus.

  “Do You answer the high priest like that?” ---- Actually, Annas was not the lawful high priest (see the commentary of verse 13).


John. 18:23 Jesus answered him, "If I have spoken evil, bear witness of the evil; but if well, why do you strike Me?"

YLT: “Jesus answered him, `If I spake ill, testify concerning the ill; and if well, why me dost thou smite?'”

Literal Meaning: bear witness of the evil”, “witness”, a law term, means inviting the other party to conduct according to legal proceedings.

  “Why do you strike Me?” ---- Someone held that this word of the Lord Jesus was contrary to His teaching to others: “whoever shall strike you on your right cheek, turn to him also the other (see Matt 5:39)”, and it seemed that He did not do as what He had taught. Actually, the Lord’s teaching in that book meant that Christians could surpass the humiliating feeling through the life of God. However, the Lord here was bearing witness of the truth (see v.37) ---- the Lord appealed for the truth instead of grieving for the shame He suffered.


John. 18:24 Then Annas sent Him bound to Caiaphas the high priest.

YLT: “Annas then sent him bound to Caiaphas the chief priest.”

Spiritual Meaning: sent Him to Caiaphas the high priest”, it was fulfilled that the Lord was the lamb of the Passover ---- before being sacrificed, the lamb had to be sent to the priest, who would look on it and examine that there should be none defect. Then it could be presented as the sacrifice of God (see Ex 12:5; Deut 17:1).

Enlightenment in the Word: God made the Lord Jesus who did not know sin to be sin for us that we might become God's righteousness in Him (see 2Cor 5:21).


John. 18:25 Now Simon Peter stood and warmed himself. Therefore they said to him, "You are not also one of His disciples, are you?" He denied it and said, "I am not!"

YLT: “And Simon Peter was standing and warming himself, they said then to him, `Art thou also of his disciples?' he denied, and said, `I am not.'”

Literal Meaning: they said to him”, the word “they” indicated that there were a group of servants who were talking around the fire. They might ask the same question at the same time. Therefore, Matthew mentioned there was another maid who raised this question (Matt 26:71), and Mark recorded that was the same maid who asked again (Mark 14:69), and Luke said that was another man (see Luke 22:58).

  You are not also one of His disciples, are you?” ---- This question, like verse 17, expected a negative answer. They might have not really expected that they could see the disciple of the Lord Jesus in the courtyard of high priest and they asked him.

Spiritual Meaning: Simon Peter stood and warmed himself.” ---- It symbolized that Peter could not bear the darkness and chillness of both the environment and the mental state, so he came to seek the warmness of men and that of the world. However, neither did the earthly fire warm his spirit, nor the flame enlightened his consciousness.

Enlightenment in the Word:

     1) Since the Lord was caught, Peter felt much despaired in his spirit and he wanted to return to seek warmness (which was symbolized by the fire) in the world. Nevertheless, the world refused him. Obviously, the relations of those who have been granted the grace with the world have already been cut off. Even though we have not abandoned the world, the world will forsake us. If anyone feels lonely and cold in spirit, he should only come to the Lord and then His great love will warm his heart.

     2) If Peter wanted to warm himself, he could not help denying the Lord. It disclosed that if Christians returned to seek the earthly warmness and joy, they would be persecuted to deny the testimony of the Lord.


John. 18:26 One of the servants of the high priest, a relative of him whose ear Peter cut off, said, "Did I not see you in the garden with Him?"

YLT: “One of the servants of the chief priest, being kinsman of him whose ear Peter cut off, saith, `Did not I see thee in the garden with him?'”

Literal Meaning: a relative of him whose ear Peter cut off”, only John recorded this detail. As the relative of Malchus, he might be more interested in the one who used the sword. However, the light in the garden at that time was dark, just as the whole situation in the courtyard. It could not see clearly in the light of the fire of coals.

  Did I not see you in the garden with Him?” ---- This question expected a positive answer. Obviously, the state that Peter was confronted with became more dangerous. 

Enlightenment in the Word: Peter drew the sword and cut off the right ear of Malchus (see v.10), but stumbled on the question of the relative of Malchus (see v.27). It disclosed that: (1) the power of flesh was a weapon as weak as reed, which could not endure long and had none spiritual effect. (2) If one walked in flesh, he would surely reap the consequences of flesh and stumble on it, as it was written in the Scripture: “for he that sows to his own flesh, shall reap corruption from the flesh” (Gal 6:8).


John. 18:27 Peter then denied again; and immediately a rooster crowed.

YLT: “again, therefore, Peter denied, and immediately a cock crew.”

Literal Meaning: a rooster crowed”, it had fulfilled the previous prophesy of the Lord Jesus (see 13:38).

Enlightenment in the Word:

     1) The Lord reminded Peter about his iniquity through the crow of the rooster. We should always observe that whether the Lord has said anything to us to remind our iniquity or unfaithfulness to Him through our experience or the circumstance around us.

     2) God arranges our environment and makes us be tried again and again, and even worse and worse, until we perfectly know our infirmity and on longer trust in ourselves. 


John. 18:28 Then they led Jesus from Caiaphas to the Praetorium, and it was early morning. But they themselves did not go into the Praetorium, lest they should be defiled, but that they might eat the Passover.

YLT: “They led, therefore, Jesus from Caiaphas to the praetorium, and it was early, and they themselves did not enter into the praetorium, that they might not be defiled, but that they might eat the Passover;”

The Background: according to the custom of the Jews, to enter the houses of the Gentiles was unclean (see Act 11:2-3), and the unclean could not enjoy the feast of the Passover.

Literal Meaning: to the Praetorium”, “the Praetorium” referred to the temporary official residence of the governor in Jerusalem.

  “But that they might eat the Passover”, according to other three Gospels, the Lord Jesus was caught after eating the feast of the Passover (see Matt 26:17-21; Mark 14:12-17; Luke 22:14-21), but here it apparently suggested that the feast of the Passover had not come yet. There were two explanations of such “contradiction”: (1) the “Passover” might not refer to the lamb slain in the afternoon of the feast of Passover, but the offerings of the feast of unleavened bread in the next seven days (see Deut 16:2; 2Chr 35:7). (2) The calendar that the Lord Jesus and His disciples used was different from that the priest used, a difference of one day.


John. 18:29 Pilate then went out to them and said, "What accusation do you bring against this Man?"

YLT: “Pilate, therefore, went forth unto them, and said, `What accusation do ye bring against this man?'”

The Background: Pilate” was the fifth governor in the land of Judea posted by the Roman Empire from 26 to 36 A.D. He usually held in Caesarea, but moved to Jerusalem temporarily during the feast of the Passover, thus coping with any eventuality or commotion. According to the description of the Jewish historian Joseph, Pilate was an obstinate man with ruthless cruelty.

Literal Meaning: What accusation do you bring against this Man?” ---- If one had no accusation which was acceptable to the Roman court, he did not need to or have to be brought to the judgment of the Roman court.


John. 18:30 They answered and said to him, "If He were not an evildoer, we would not have delivered Him up to you."

YLT: “they answered and said to him, `If he were not an evil doer, we had not delivered him to thee.'”


John. 18:31 Then Pilate said to them, "You take Him and judge Him according to your law." Therefore the Jews said to him, "It is not lawful for us to put anyone to death,"

YLT: “Pilate, therefore, said to them, `Take ye him -- ye -- and according to your law judge him;' the Jews, therefore, said to him, `It is not lawful to us to put any one to death;'”

The Background: “it is not lawful for us to put anyone to death”, the Jews at that time was given only limited autonomy in the government of the Roman Empire. Except for the Gentiles who entered the inner court of the Holy Temple illegally, the synagogue had not power to put anyone to death.

Literal Meaning: “it is not lawful for us to put anyone to death”, it thoroughly exposed their motivation of murdering. They had no authority to put anyone to death, so they forced Pilate who actually did not want to kill to put Jesus to death. If they had the authority, they might have already killed by themselves. Having been deceived and enticed by the Satan, they refused the Lord of life (see Acts 3:13-15). However, their foolish action had even fulfilled the will of God.


John. 18:32 that the saying of Jesus might be fulfilled which He spoke, signifying by what death He would die.

YLT: “that the word of Jesus might be fulfilled which he said, signifying by what death he was about to die.”

Literal Meaning: signifying by what death He would die”, it referred to His crucifixion on the cross (see 3:14; 8:28; 12:32-34). The Lord had to be hanged on the cross so that He could bear the curse (see Deut 21:22-23).


John. 18:33 Then Pilate entered the Praetorium again, called Jesus, and said to Him, "Are You the King of the Jews?"

YLT: “Pilate, therefore, entered into the praetorium again, and called Jesus, and said to him, `Thou art the King of the Jews?'”

Literal Meaning: “are You the King of the Jews?” ---- Pilate was the governor of the Roman regime, who seldom interfered with the religious disputes unless the Roman government was involved. Therefore, the synagogue did not accuse Jesus in the name of religious sins, but political sins. Pilate asked such question, for he thought if Jesus declared He was the king of the Jews, it would be opposed to the Roman regime.


John. 18:34 Jesus answered him, "Are you speaking for yourself about this, or did others tell you this concerning Me?"

YLT: “Jesus answered him, `From thyself dost thou say this? or did others say it to thee about me?'”

Literal Meaning: “are you speaking for yourself about this”, if so, it meant: “are you a rebel against the Roman Empire?”

  “Did others tell you this concerning Me?” ---- If this question came from the Jews, it meant: “are you the Messiah who is coming?”


John. 18:35 Pilate answered, "Am I a Jew? Your own nation and the chief priests have delivered You to me. What have You done?"

YLT: “Pilate answered, `Am I a Jew? thy nation, and the chief priests did deliver thee up to me; what didst thou?'”

Literal Meaning: Pilate avoided the question that the Lord Jesus asked him to explain what was “king”. Apparently, he refused to take this responsibility and asked him what He had done on earth that the Jews would accuse Him.


John. 18:36 Jesus answered, "My kingdom is not of this world. If My kingdom were of this world, My servants would fight, so that I should not be delivered to the Jews; but now My kingdom is not from here."

YLT: “Jesus answered, `My kingdom is not of this world; if my kingdom were of this world, my officers had struggled that I might not be delivered up to Jews; but now my kingdom is not from hence.'”

Meaning of Words: of”: out of

Literal Meaning: My kingdom is not of this world.” ---- The word “of” in the original did not refer to its nature, but its origin. This verse meant “My kingdom was not from the world” ---- the establishment of the kingdom of God was by the power of God instead of the power of men.

  “But now My kingdom is not from here.” ---- In the future, “the kingdom of the world” will become “the kingdom of our Lord and his Christ” (see Rev 11:15). That is to say, in the times of kingdom, the Lord’s kingdom is on the earth.

Enlightenment in the Word:

     1) The Lord declared openly that His kingdom “was not of this world”. We have been saved and been translated into the kingdom of the Son, so we are certainly not of the world. Therefore, just like the Lord Jesus, we should never protect us with the earthly power. The only reliable shield of us is the heavenly God the Father.

     2) The kingdom of God is not from this world, and is not of the world at all. However, it is surprising that there is even something which seems to be spiritual, but if you search it carefully, you will see that it still originates from the world. The advantages of many believers are the apparently spirituality, which are actually out of the world. Therefore, there is neither testimony nor spiritual reality.

     3) What is “of the world”? It is not the frequent contact with the world, but the origin is the world. The question is not whether we have left the world, but how much is from the world.


John. 18:37 Pilate therefore said to Him, "Are You a king then?" Jesus answered, "You say rightly that I am a king. For this cause I was born and for this cause I have come into the world, that I should bear witness to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth hears My voice."

YLT: “Pilate, therefore, said to him, `Art thou then a king?' Jesus answered, `Thou dost say ; because a king I am, I for this have been born, and for this I have come to the world, that I may testify to the truth; every one who is of the truth, doth hear my voice.'”

Literal Meaning: “are You a king then?” ---- When Pilate knew the Lord’s kingdom was not of the world (see v.36) and would not threaten the Roman Empire, he put down his hostility. He asked such question in order to verify that the Lord is the king of the kingdom of God.

  “That I should bear witness to the truth”, “truth”: the absolute reality, which refers to the “trueness” and “reality”, not “knowledge”. The truth is God. Everything in the universe is false, except for God.

  The Lord Jesus bears witness to the truth, and brings the truth to men so that men in the world may see the truth. In other words, the Lord Jesus comes to declare God (see 1:18), manifest God and let men see God from Him.

Enlightenment in the Word:

     1) The Lord Jesus is the king, and He shall establish the throne and reign in the hearts of those who are of Him.

     2) Only the Lord Jesus is the truth (see 14:6). Without Him, everything is of vanity: (1) the so-called “good men” in the world are false, for everyone has sinned. (2) All the joy of the world is of vanity, for it can neither satisfy men’s heart nor endure long. (3) The life of men is of vanity, for men once to die, and after this judgment. (4) All the knowledge of the philosophies and religions is of vanity, for it cannot solve the problems of men’s life. (5) The whole world and everything of it are of vanity, for they are passing and become vanish without a trace.

     3) Only the word of the world is the truth. He who believes and keeps the word of the Lord is of the truth.

     4) The Son of God, Jesus Christ does not Yes and No, but in Him was Yes. For all the promises of God in Him are Yes, and in Him Amen (see 2Cor 1:19-20).


John. 18:38 Pilate said to Him, "What is truth?" And when he had said this, he went out again to the Jews, and said to them, "I find no fault in Him at all.

YLT: “Pilate saith to him, `What is truth?' and this having said, again he went forth unto the Jews, and saith to them, `I do find no fault in him;”

Literal Meaning: What is truth?” ---- There might be two meanings of Pilate’s question: (1) he showed a despised attitude instead of searching carefully. It could be explained: “is there anything to do with the truth?” (2) He sought the truth with a strict attitude. It could be interpreted: “what is the meaning of the truth on earth?” However, Pilate left and did not wait for the answer, which disclosed that he did not care about this question so much.

  I find no fault in Him at all.” ---- He declared that Jesus had not committed any political sin.

Enlightenment in the Word: the Lord Jesus is the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world (John 1:29). Therefore, such a high priest became us, holy, harmless, undefiled, separated from sinners, and become higher than the heavens (see Heb7:26).


John. 18:39 "But you have a custom that I should release someone to you at the Passover. Do you therefore want me to release to you the King of the Jews?"

YLT: “and ye have a custom that I shall release to you one in the Passover; will ye, therefore, I shall release to you the king of the Jews?'”

Literal Meaning: this was the particular custom of “amnesty” at that time.

Enlightenment in the Word:

     1) As we had inherited the sin of the devil as father, we had been the bondmen of sin (see John 8:34) and would be dead in sin (see John 8:21, 24). However, the Son of the heavenly Father came to release us and set us free really (see John 8:36).

     2) Since the Lord had been crucified for us on the cross, we had been released. 


John. 18:40 Then they all cried again, saying, "Not this Man, but Barabbas!" Now Barabbas was a robber.

YLT: “therefore they all cried out again, saying, `Not this one -- but Barabbas;' and Barabbas was a robber.”

Meaning of Words: “Barabbas”: son of Abba;

Literal Meaning: Barabbas was a robber.” ---- The word “robber” referred to the one who acted in a revolution or insurrection. Barabbas had committed murder in the rebellion at that time (see Mark 15:7).

Spiritual Meaning: Barabbas” typified that we sinners were out of the devil, as father, who was a murderer from the beginning and was a liar and its father (John 8:44).

Enlightenment in the Word: the religionists would rather kill the robber and thief (see Matt 27:20; Mark 15:7; John 18:40) than the Lord Jesus ---- which disclosed the dark side of religion. Today, a lot of men who are zealous in religion (including the extreme Christians) may disregard the moral principles and have none testimony in life. 


III. Outlines of the Spiritual Lessons


I.  He Came to Bear Witness to the Truth (v.37).

A.   He said “yes” to the will of the Father:

1.    Though He had known that the garden was the place where He would be caught, He still “went in” (v.1-2).

2.    Having Known all things that would come upon Him, He “went forward” (v.3-4).

3.    Men of the world could not stand before the one who is “I am” (v.5-6).

4.    What He had said ---- “I have lost none” ---- was “yes” and “amen” (v.7-9; see 2Cor 1:19-20).

5.    He did not protect Himself with the fleshly weapon, but received the cup which the Father had given Him (v.10-11).

B.   If a believer lived in himself, he would say “I am not”:

1.    He said “I am not” before the servant girl who kept the door (v.15-17).

2.    He said “I am not” before those who had made a fire of coals (v.18, 25).

3.    He dared not to confess before the relative of the one whose ear was cut off by him (v.10, 26-27).

C.   Religion Could not Allege that the “Evil” of the Lord:

1.    Religion was against the one who is “I am” (v.12-14).

2.    For they did not understand His teachings (v.19-21).

3.    They could not allege His “evil”, but still considered Him evil (v.22-24).

4.    They schemed to use the political power to kill the one who is “I am” (v.28-32).

D.   Politics Did not Understand the Truth ---- “I am”:

1.    Politics only cared about the king and the things on the earth (v.33-35).

2.    The Lord is the king of the kingdom of God, and the kingdom of God is not of the world (v. 36-37a).

3.    Since they were not of the truth, they could not know the witness that the Lord bore to the truth (v. 37b -38a).

4.    They could not find any sin of Him, but killed the Lord for the sake of political profits and released the robber (v.38a-40).


II.The Proofs that the Lord Delivered Him to Men of Himself

A.   Went into the garden (v.1-3) ---- this book did not mention His prayer in the garden. He went there in order to be caught by others.

B.   He went forward before those who would catch Him (v.4) ---- It was not they found Him, but He came to them.

C.   When the Lord said that “I am He”, they drew back and fell to the ground (v.5-7) ---- He had the power to overwhelm and frighten them, but He did not take the chance to escape.

D.   They asked those who came to catch Him that let His disciples go (v.8-9) ---- He behaved with perfect composure and did not fear His situation at all.

E.   He said “put your sword into the sheath” to Peter (v.10-11) ---- He had none resistance.


III.   The Contrast between “I Am” and “I Am not”

A.   The Lord said “I am” twice (v.5, 8).

B.   Peter said “I am not” twice (v.17, 25).


IV.  The Failure of Peter

A.   He cut off the ear of the servant of high priest with the fleshly weapon (v.10).

B.   He follow the Lord (v.15; see Luke22:54) ---- at a distance.

C.   He denied the Lord for the first time (v.16-17) ---- he could not bear the little trial from the maid who kept the door.

D.   He warmed himself with other men (v.18) ---- he relied on the warmness of the world and of men.

E.   He denied the Lord for the second time (v. 25) ---- he could not overcome the cold environment.

F.    He denied the Lord for the third time (v.26-27) ---- the infirmity of flesh was unreliable.


V.   The Lamb of the Passover was Examined by Men

A.   He was examined by the Jewish religion according to the law of God (v.12-14, 19-24).

B.   He was examined by the Roman government according to human law (v.28-40).


VI.  The Judge was Judged by the Lord

A.   The high priest and his officers were judged by the Lord (v.20-21, 23).

B.   The governor was judged by the Lord (v.34, 36-37).


── Caleb HuangChristian Digest Bible Commentary Series

   Translated by Mary Zhou