John 18:24-40

John 18:24-40

Jesus is arrested and the start of many trials.  Jesus just had His trial with Annas and now the trial with Caiaphas, and then with the trial with the Sanhedrin

Jesus had 6 different trials, 3 Jewish Trials, and 3 Roman Trials

Jewish Trials:

  • Before Annas                 John 18:12-14
  • Before Caiaphas            John 18:19-24
  • Before the Sanhedrin      Matthew 27:1, 2

Roman Trials:

  • Before Pilate                  John 18:28-38
  • Before Herod                  Luke 23:6-11
  • Before Pilate                  John 18:39 – 19:16

Meanwhile, the high priest questioned Jesus about his disciples and his teaching.

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

Matthew 26:57 And those who had laid hold of Jesus led Him away to Caiaphas the high priest, where the scribes and the elders were assembled. {judgment hall next to the Temple area}

Jesus Before Caiaphas and the Jewish High Council, for the real trial in the appointed place.  Sanhedrin, Jewish Tribunal and Ruling Body.

  •  His real name was Joseph; he held office from A.D.18-36.
  • According to Josephus and later rabbinic writings, he had a reputation for intrigue, bribery and love of money
  • The sought False witnesses against Jesus
  • They had no death penalty authority because Roman Law took it away

Matthew 26:59-60 Now the chief priests, the elders, and all the council sought false testimony against Jesus to put Him to death, (60) but found none. Even though many false witnesses came forward, they found none. But at last two false witnesses came forward

Matthew 26:61-63 and said, “This fellow said, ‘I am able to destroy the temple of God and to build it in three days.’ ”  (62)  And the high priest arose and said to Him, “Do You answer nothing? What is it these men testify against You?”  (63)  But Jesus kept silent. And the high priest answered and said to Him, “I put You under oath by the living God: Tell us if You are the Christ, the Son of God!”

The Oath

The only time Jesus speaks is when He is legally required to under oath. “I adjure thee by the living God…” this puts Jesus under oath

Leviticus 5:1 ‘If a person sins in hearing the utterance of an oath, and is a witness, whether he has seen or known of the matter—if he does not tell it, he bears guilt.

Matthew 26:64-65 Jesus said to him, “It is as you said. Nevertheless, I say to you, hereafter you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of the Power, and coming on the clouds of heaven.”  (65)  Then the high priest tore his clothes, saying, “He has spoken blasphemy! What further need do we have of witnesses? Look, now you have heard His blasphemy!

Interesting comment, sitting at the right hand of the Power, The Father

“Then the high priest rent his clothes”: A garment is torn to pieces when there is no more use for it (Temple veil also!). The High Priest violated the Law of God, which states that the High Priest must never tear his clothes

Leviticus 21:10 ‘He who is the high priest among his brethren, on whose head the anointing oil was poured and who is consecrated to wear the garments, shall not uncover his head nor tear his clothes;

The High Priest understood that Jesus was claiming to be God. The problem with this logic is that it is self-incrimination, which is also in Jewish law that your own testimony could not be used against you.

Matthew 26:66-68 What do you think?” They answered and said, “He is deserving of death.”  (67)  Then they spat in His face and beat Him; and others struck Him with the palms of their hands,  (68)  saying, “Prophesy to us, Christ! Who is the one who struck You?”

Peter Denies Jesus Again, a 2nd time of 3 denials prophesied by Jesus

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!

For the third time, Peter denied the Lord, as Jesus had said he would.

Peter had boasted that he would remain true to the Lord to the end, do we also make statements similar in our lives, things we will not do, but still do.

Jesus did forgive Peter and we know Jesus can forgive us.

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?” 

No doubt the servant relationship to Malchus drew attention to the man who cut his ear off, and this enabled him to identify Peter.

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

Matthew 26:74 Then he began to curse and swear, saying, “I do not know the Man!” Immediately a rooster crowed.

Matthew 27:1-2 Early in the morning, all the chief priests and the elders of the people made their plans how to have Jesus executed.  (2)  So they bound him, led him away and handed him over to Pilate the governor.

Before Pilate: John 18:28-38

Jesus Before Pilate

John 18:28 Then they led Jesus from Caiaphas to the palace of the Roman governor, 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.

Roman governor’s official residence, probably the Fortress Antonia {hall of judgment} near the temple. Early morning refers to the fourth watch of the night, from 3 to 6 A.M.

Form vs. substance…


Pontius Pilate (cf. Caesarea inscription…), he was the Ruler of Judea, A.D. 26-36. (In A.D. 36, he was deposed by Vitellius and sent to Rome, tried, and probably executed under Caligula.) He ruled Judea in a reckless and arbitrary fashion.

Josephus: Used temple funds to build an aqueduct. When people protested, they were beaten by Roman soldiers, praetorium, the name of the official residence of a Roman Governor.  (In Western Jerusalem? Antonia Fortress, just north of the Temple?)

John 18:29 Pilate then went out to them and said, What charges are you bring against this Man?”

Pilate was not ignorant of the charges. He was merely requesting that it be formally stated.

Roman law required three things:

  • Specific indictment
  • Bringing accusers before the accused (Acts 23:28).
  • Liberty granted to the accused to answer for himself (Acts 25:16).

“Pilate went out unto them”: His interest was piqued. Their bluff was called

Luke 23:2-3 And they began to accuse him, saying, “We have found this man subverting our nation. He opposes payment of taxes to Caesar and claims to be Messiah, a king.”  (3)  So Pilate asked Jesus, “Are you the king of the Jews?” “You have said so,” Jesus replied.

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

They did not wish to make Pilate the judge, but the executor of the death sentence which they had already illegally passed.  They expected Pilate to take their word for it and condemn Him unheard before the Roman Court.

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,”

your law”: Jewish or Moses law

The accusations did not warrant a trial before Pilate. It is not lawful: The Romans did not allow the Jews to impose capital punishment. These Jewish leaders had no interest in a just trial; they simply wanted permission from Rome to have Jesus executed.

Genesis 49:10 The scepter shall not depart from Judah, Nor a lawgiver from between his feet, Until Shiloh comes; And to Him shall be the obedience of the people.

This term “sceptre” refers to their tribal identity and the right to apply and enforce Moses Laws and decides on capital offenses:  

The term “Shiloh” was understood by the early rabbis and Talmudic authorities as referring to the Messiah

The Hebrew word Shiloh should be rendered “whose it is,” that is, the scepter will not depart from Judah until He comes to whom it belongs.

The Scepter Departs

Herod Archelaus was replaced by a Roman procurator named Caponius. The legal power of the Sanhedrin was immediately restricted and the adjudication of capital cases was lost. This was normal Roman policy.

“When the members of the Sanhedrin found themselves deprived of their right over life and death, a depression took possession of them: they covered their heads with ashes, and their bodies with sackcloth, exclaiming: ‘Woe unto us for the scepter has departed from Judah and the Messiah has not come.’”

They actually thought that the Torah, the Word of God, had failed!  They should have known better.  There was a young carpenter’s son growing up in Nazareth.

John 18:32 This took place to fulfill what Jesus had said about the kind of death he was going to die.

The Jewish method of execution was stoning. However, Jesus had already indicated that He would die, being crucified by the Gentiles. Jesus will be lifted up on an execution-stake, a cross, which was a Roman mode of execution, not a Jewish, method of capital punishment.

John 12:32-33 And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to myself.”  (33)  He said this to show the kind of death he was going to die.    {also John 3:14, John 8:28, Mat 20:19}

John is pointing out that the Jewish leaders’ inability to impose capital punishment themselves fulfilled Jesus’ prediction describing His death

My Kingdom Is Not of This World

John 18:33 So Pilate went back into the governor’s headquarters {judgment hall}, summoned Jesus, and asked him, “Are you the king of the Jews?”

The Jews charged that Jesus claimed to be their king. From their standpoint, this was the most damaging accusation possible because it would be regarded by the Romans as treason and would be punishable by death.

Luke 23:2 They began to accuse him, “We found this man corrupting our nation, forbidding us to pay taxes to Caesar, and saying that he is the Messiah, a king.”

Pay taxes to Caesar, false slanders that could be invented.

Luke 23:3 Then Pilate asked Him, saying, “Are You the King of the Jews?” He answered him and said, It is as you say.

Jesus just told Pilate that He is a King.

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

Notice, there was no violent protest of innocence nor defiant answer.  Jesus politely but directly asked this question.

The term king is important question, political sense {Roman concern} or purely religious king {Jewish concern}

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?”

Pilate was asking, “Is it likely that I, a Roman governor, would have any interest in a Jewish question?  What have you done to desire your death.

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.”

Jesus pointed out that though He was a king, he was no threat to Rome because His kingdom would not come by a worldly revolution

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.”

Jesus just said to Pilate that He is a King. 

Pilate formally recognizes Jesus as King with the inscription put on the cross! (Jn 19:19-22). No sarcasm or disdain what Pilate asked.

This is a very good example to follow Paul tells us about good confession

1 Timothy 6:13 I urge you in the sight of God who gives life to all things, and before Christ Jesus who witnessed the good confession before Pontius Pilate,

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.              What is Truth?”

John 14:6 Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.

No fault is a legal term meaning that there were no grounds for a criminal charge. Teaching the truth was not against the law.  Pilate pronounced Him innocent: he should have released Him! According to Roman Law, everything following is illegal.  Now Pilate sending Him to Herod, and the abuse (Lk 23:5-18).

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?”

Pilate jumped at the possible compromise. By promising to release Jesus on account of the custom rather than by proclaiming Him innocent, Pilate would avoid insulting the Jewish leaders, who had already pronounced Him guilty.

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

Mark 15:7 And there was one named Barabbas, who was chained with his fellow rebels; they had committed murder in the rebellion.

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