The Trials of Jesus
Tim Temple

Introduction

A number of years ago, I read a fictional article about a man who somehow knew the way that the story was worded that it was his last day to live. However, as you read through the story, you realized that the man didn't know, but you were getting the picture of what it would be like if this were his last day to live. On that particular day, this man was going to take a plane flight somewhere, and the plane was going to crash. The author of the article knew that, but the man that he was writing about didn't know it. It was effectively written to remind the readers what it would be like to go through your last day, if you knew that it was your last day and didn't have any power to do anything about it.

Have you ever stopped to think about that? What would your life be like if you knew that within twenty-four hours you were going to die and yet you had the normal activities of a day in your life to go through? It would be an intriguing kind of feeling, wouldn't it? It would put a different significance on everything you do.

In that story, as that man packed his suitcase, it seemed much more significant, since he was packing his suitcase for the very last time and the things that he chose to do all through that day were the very last times that he would ever do any of those things.

The Lord Jesus Christ had exactly that experience. Jesus Christ knew exactly when He was going to die, what was His last day, and what were His last activities and His last words. As we have studied our way through the Gospel of John, we come to these last few chapters, and we are in that section where that is actually beginning to take place. As we come to John, chapter 18, He is in the last few hours of His life here on earth, and so we want to look at what takes place as that day continues to unfold. It won't conclude here in chapter 18, but He is in the day of His death and He is moving closer to the hour of it here in chapter 18.

The first thing we find in verses 1-11 is the arrest of the Savior. In fact, I have entitled this chapter The Trials of Jesus because Jesus is going to stand trial three times in this chapter. The third trial continues on into the next chapter. Not only did He have these court trials, but He also had some other trials of life to go through as He worked His way through these last events of His life. The background of that is in verse 1:

John 18

1When Jesus had spoken these words, he went forth with his disciples over the brook Cedron, where was a garden, into the which he entered, and his disciples.

This verse is more significant than it might seem in just reading through it. Notice the phrase, “When Jesus had spoken these words.” If you can remember back to the last time we talked about this, in chapter 17, we found Jesus praying for His disciples. He was praying for you and me. He was praying that the Father would glorify Himself through glorifying the Savior and that the Father would glorify Himself through getting you and me through the pressures and affairs and trials of our lives. He was praying that our lives would glorify Him and that He would see to it that our lives did glorify Him—that He would provide the means by which our lives can glorify Him. John says, “When He had spoken these words, He entered into the garden.” These are very poignant statements that we find as we move through this. Jesus had prayed for you and me and now He literally moves into His last few moments of freedom.

Another thing that we are going to see in this chapter, which is true all through the Gospel of John, but it is probably more evident in this chapter than anywhere else, is that John includes some things that the other Gospel writers don't include. He leaves out some things that the other writers do include. Of course, that is true of all of the four Gospels in the New Testament. As you probably know, we refer to Matthew, Mark and Luke, as the synoptic Gospels because, taken together, they present a full-orbed view of the life of the Lord Jesus Christ. John doesn't give nearly as many details as the synoptic writers do, and He doesn't give them in the specific order.

Matthew, Mark, and Luke were presenting details of the life of Christ pretty much in chronological order, and as we look at their accounts taken together, we can piece together a pretty detailed account of the life of Christ. But John, as we have seen before, picks and chooses the things that he wants to present. They are all true. He doesn't just make things up to make his point, but he picks and chooses them and he doesn't necessarily have them in chronological order as he presents the Lord Jesus Christ as Savior to mankind in general. Matthew wrote primarily to the Jews; Luke wrote primarily for the Greeks; Mark wrote primarily for the Romans. So each one of them had their own slant as they wrote the Gospel, but John presents the Lord Jesus Christ for humanity in general. He doesn't follow the chronological order the way the others do. The others don't tell us that Jesus went over the brook Cedron, and John doesn't tell us what the garden was. The other writers tell us that it was the Garden of Gethsemane. Here we find Jesus moving into this place where He prayed first with Peter, James and John, and then with the other disciples gathered with Him by the time that Judas came.

It is interesting to notice here in verse 1 that John tells us that He moved over the brook Cedron. A few weeks ago, as we studied the book of II Samuel, we saw that David had gone across the brook Cedron as he moved out of Jerusalem as he was being persecuted and driven out of his place. Here Jesus moves across that same brook as He is being persecuted and driven out of His place. It may be that John includes this detail that the others leave out as a reminded of the clear picture that God gave us in the Old Testament about the Lord Jesus. John, as do the other writes, stresses fulfilled prophecy, and even though David's crossing the brook Cedron was not a prophecy, it was an interesting parallel since David so clearly portrays Christ in so many ways.

This is the background of the arrest. Jesus moves into the Garden of Gethsemane. Remember that the other writers tell us that He prayed there. He specifically prayed that God would let this cup pass from him, if it could be His will. Of course, that is a prayer of Jesus Christ to which God the Father said, “No.” So we shouldn't be too surprised if God says, “No,” to our prayers. There was at least this one prayer in which the Father said, “No,” to His own Son and carried through with the ultimate plan that they had conceived of before time began.

The Betrayer's Entrance

In verses 2-11, we find the betrayer coming. His entrance is described in verse 2:

John 18

2And Judas also, which betrayed him, knew the place: for Jesus ofttimes resorted thither with his disciples.

I think the heart of John is demonstrated in the wording of this verse. It is a poignant statement: “Judas also, which betrayed Him, knew the place…” How did Judas know where to find Jesus? How did Judas know where Jesus would be? Because he knew Jesus so well. John tells us that He often met there with His disciples. You see, the implication is that Judas had been there with Jesus. Judas had been so closely associated with Jesus that he had even been in that intimate place with Jesus, and yet, he had not followed through with his commitment to Christ. His commitment to Christ was not a saving kind of commitment. It was an intellectual commitment, perhaps. It was a social commitment, but it was not a heart commitment.

The whole story of Judas reminds us of the fact that is so easily and often overlooked and that is that it is not just knowledge about Jesus Christ that brings salvation. It is not just spiritual activity that brings salvation. Judas had been going to prayer meetings with that select group of people in this private place and yet he had not ever put his personal faith in Jesus Christ. The reason that Judas was able to find Him on this last night before His trials and His crucifixion was because he had been there with Him.

There are a lot of people, I am afraid, who simply, because of their closeness to Jesus and a closeness to spiritual things, know how to fake the Christian life. They have been to church so often that they know what is expected of them. They know the lingo. They can put on a pretty good show of being a Christian, and it is all because, ironically, they have been so close to the things of the Lord and the things of the church. So that little verse is a very poignant statement. The very closeness to Jesus is the thing that is going to enable Judas to betray the Lord Jesus.

Judas' Entourage

In verse 3, we read about Judas' entourage. We have talked about the betrayer's entrance; now we see his entourage. Notice verse 3:

John 18

3Judas then, having received a band of men and officers from the chief priests and Pharisees, cometh thither with lanterns and torches and weapons.

Look at the effort that Judas had put into this betrayal. None of the writers tell us very much specifically about what took place. The other three tell us that he had visited with the priest about this, but John just mentions it in passing. “He had received a detachment of troops and officers from the chief priests and Pharisees…” Obviously, in order to receive that detachment of troops, he had to have entered into conversations and negotiations and deal-making with the chief priests and Pharisees. There had to have been some extended conversations between Judas and these unbelieving Jews in order for him to have this detachment of troops.

Judas' Encounter With Christ

It is quite a detachment, because they came with lanterns and torches and weapons. Think what an impressive sight that must have been—a scary sight for everybody but Jesus. So in verses 4-9, that entourage brings Judas to his encounter with Christ. Look in verse 4:

John 18

4Jesus therefore, knowing all things that should come upon him, went forth, and said unto them, Whom seek ye?

Notice the phrase, “Jesus, knowing all that would come upon Him, went forward.” As we move through this whole chapter, we are going to see that Jesus is very much in control, and that is what we have seen all through the Gospel of John. Even though Jesus was meek and lowly of heart, even though He said, “My yoke is easy and My burden is light,” He was always in control. He didn't exercise that control harshly or authoritatively or demandingly or degradingly, but He was always in control. Jesus, as He saw the troops coming with the torches and the weapons, knew what it was all about. Verse 4, says, “…knowing all things that would come upon Him, went forward.”

Again, let me ask you the question: “Have you stopped to realize that Jesus went to the Cross knowing full well what was about to happen?” There has never been a martyr who ever died under those conditions. We memorialize the martyrs, and well we should. We honor them, and well we should. At least it is good exercise to study the biographies of men and women who actually gave their lives for Christ, and that has taken place all down through the years right up to this present day. In other nations of the world, as most of you know, there are people who are dying for their faith in Christ right now.

What I am about to say, I don't mean to be disrespectful of those men and women who have given their lives for Christ. We should honor them even more highly than we honor those men and women who have given their lives for our nation, because those martyrs for Christ died for an eternal cause, and our human heroes whom we rightfully memorialize for giving their lives for our nation, at best were dying for a human cause; but those martyrs who died for the cause of Christ never knew until the last moment whether something might happen and they might be rescued. They spent their time in prison thinking, “Maybe someone will be able to get me out. Maybe God will deliver me out of this. Maybe my friends will be able to make an appeal. Maybe the emperor will have a change of heart.” They went to their deaths with at least a glimmer of hope right up to the last that they would not die. Jesus went knowing all things that would come upon Him. Here He was, not yet close to the Cross, and yet He knew all that was going to happen. What great love Jesus Christ had for us, to move ahead with that giving of His life, knowing that there was no way of being delivered from that, even though we know from the other writers that He had asked the Father. He had expressed His agony. It was not an easy thing for Him, but He knew all things that would come upon Him.

He went forward and in a very dignified, yet polite, way, said, “Whom are you seeking?” Of course, He knew who they were seeking, but He asked them the question to make them come face-to-face with what they were doing—particularly Judas. If you will notice down in verse 5, it mentions Judas, who betrayed Him, also stood with them. How do you suppose that question must have sounded when Jesus said, “Whom do you seek?” Judas had to have stopped and thought, “Yes, who is it that we are seeking?”

Judas doesn't answer, but in verse 5, they answered. Probably the leaders of the group said, “Jesus, of Nazareth.” There is a great contrast here in verse 5. Notice the human name for Jesus—Jesus of Nazareth. That was a perfectly proper name for Jesus. That is how they knew Him. They probably meant no disrespect in limiting it to that human name, but notice how Jesus answers them. He says:

John 18

5…I am he….

Jesus very deliberately and very carefully used the divine name I Am . Remember how when Moses was being commissioned to take Israel out of their slavery in Egypt, he found all kinds of excuses. He said, “Lord, who shall I tell them has sent me to them?” He said, “I Am. Tell them that I Am hath sent you to them.” That is the summary name for God. It is not in the past tense. It is not in the future tense. It is in the present tense. “I Am He.” It is one of many, many examples of the fact that Jesus claimed to be God. Don't let the liberals tell you that Jesus never claimed to be God. I think a lot of people hear some authoritative person say that Jesus never claimed to be God and believe it because some educated minister said it. It is the most ridiculous statement. Here for probably the fifteenth time in the Gospel of John, Jesus, in effect, said, “I am God.”

He is answering their question, “Where is Jesus of Nazareth?”, but you see the contrast here. “Jesus of Nazareth”—but He said, “I am He.” Obviously, He was saying, “I, the man Jesus of Nazareth, am God. I am God.” That is the place where John inserts the fact that Judas, who had betrayed Him, also stood with them, which makes it even more significant for Judas. When he heard Jesus say, as he had heard Him say in other ways and other words all through the years that he had accompanied Jesus, for this final time, “I Am,” that must have struck him to the heart.

But notice what happens next in verse 6:

John 18

6As soon then as he had said unto them, I am he, they went backward, and fell to the ground.

You have heard the phrase, “There is power in the name of Jesus.” Here is the literal example of that. To hear God Himself say, “I Am He,” apparently had a physical effect on these men. These were not followers of Jesus. These were men, whatever their motives were, who were willing to go out and arrest Him and bring Him to trial. Most of them were probably just dupes of the Jewish leaders. Most of them were just doing their job. Some of them may have not believed in Him and may have thought He was a danger to their nation or something, and may have had some personal motive in bringing Him in; but most of them were just people who probably had heard about Jesus, but didn't really know what they thought about Him. In that unbiased audience, the power of God caused them to fall on the ground.

Can you imagine the power in that voice? You see, that was the voice that had spoken the world into existence. That was the voice that had spoken to Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden. That was the voice that had spoken to Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and Moses all through the Old Testament. That was the voice of God.

Look how Jesus reacts in verse 7:

John 18

7Then asked he them again, Whom seek ye?…

I think that this shows God's sense of humor. Think about how funny this must have looked to Jesus. He said, “I Am He.” “He was knowing all things,” John tells us in verse 4. He knew what was about to happen. They fell on the ground. They fell to the ground at the very power of His voice, and I can just picture Jesus kind of waiting around, hands in His pockets or something—maybe His arms folded, waiting around until they got it together again; and when they were over the shock and were kind of staggering to their feet, He said, “Now, who was it you were looking for?”

You see the humanness of that—the contrast again between the divine and the human all through this passage. He says in verse 7:

John 18

7Then asked he them again, Whom seek ye? And they said, Jesus of Nazareth.

Then in verse 8, Jesus answers:

John 18

8Jesus answered, I have told you that I am he: if therefore ye seek me, let these go their way:
9That the saying might be fulfilled, which he spake, Of them which thou gavest me have I lost none.

You see, Jesus had a practical purpose in asking, “Who are you seeking?” God the Father added to that the powerful purpose of demonstrating that Jesus really was who He said He was by just the power of His voice causing these men to fall backward on the ground. Now He gives His reason for asking that. He says, “If it is really Me you are seeking, then let My friends go. If you are really only after Me, then let them go.”

Of course, it is true that that is Who they were seeking. They were only seeking Jesus. They weren't necessarily after His disciples, and we are going to see in a moment that they did let them go. Notice in verse 9 that even this was a part of the fulfillment of prophecy:

John 18

9That the saying might be fulfilled, which he spake, Of them which thou gavest me have I lost none.

Back in chapter 17, as Jesus prayed that prayer for you and me and for all the disciples that have gone before us, when He prayed that the Father would glorify Himself through us, He made this statement in that chapter: “Of all those whom You have given Me, I have not lost one except the son of perdition.” You remember Jesus saying that in His prayer to the Father in chapter 17. We talked about the fact that Jesus was speaking in the past tense all through that prayer, even though some of the things that He was saying to the Father had not yet taken place, and here is one of them. At the time that Jesus prayed that prayer, He had not gone to the Cross yet, and He still had these disciples who were following Him. There was still time for them to defect or for someone to try to take them away from Jesus. Yet, Jesus said in advance, “Of those whom you have given Me, I have not lost one.” Here we see Him protecting and reassuring that that would actually take place. He said, “Let them go,” so that it would be true that He had not lost any. He had not lost one of those whom the Father had given Him.

Let me remind you once again, incidentally, that here is a wonderful promise of God. Those whom the Father has given to the Lord Jesus, He will not lose even one. And that applied not just to those disciples that were on earth with Him when He was alive, but to all of His disciples. The Scripture tells us in various places the fact that we are Christ's inheritance. Our salvation stands secure, having this seal. The Lord knows those who are His. So Jesus would say about you and me, about this group who has trusted in Him as Savior, “I have not lost one of those whom You have given Me.”

Our salvation, you see, is as secure as the relationship between God the Father and God the Son. Our eternal security is not based on anything that we deserve, because our salvation is not based on anything that we deserve. We can't talk in terms of deserving to lose our salvation, because it goes without saying that we deserve to lose our salvation. We didn't deserve to have it in the first place, but our relationship is not based on what we deserve. Our relationship is based on what God deserves—God the Father and God the Son. So this verse 9 is a little reminder of that.

In His last hour, He included a little preservation of these saints—a little demonstration of how secure they were and we are, to insist that they let His followers go and just retain Him.

Judas' Alter Ego

As we come down to verses 10-11, let's notice this from the standpoint of the betrayer Judas, in verse 2-11. We saw his entrance and His entourage and his encounter with Christ. Now, in verses 10-11, we see what I am calling His alter ego . There is a contrast in this passage between Judas and Peter, so I am approaching it from that standpoint. Here is Peter, who is the counterpoint to Judas. Look at verse 10:

John 18

10Then Simon Peter having a sword drew it, and smote the high priest's servant, and cut off his right ear. The servant's name was Malchus.
11Then said Jesus unto Peter, Put up thy sword into the sheath: the cup which my Father hath given me, shall I not drink it?

A couple of interesting observations about this situation: Here is Peter, a fisherman, and he had a sword. How many fishermen do you know who carry a sword? Some fisherman carry knives that they use to dress the fish, but this is a word in the Greek that refers to a sword that a soldier would carry. It was one that he had to have a sheath for. Peter is going to take care of Jesus, and he somewhere got a sword. You can see how good he is with it. He cut off Malchus' ear.

I have mentioned to you before that when I was a kid, I used to wonder why in the world Peter cut off Malchus' ear. Then some time later, someone explained in a sermon that it was very obvious that Peter was aiming for Malchus' head, and Malchus just had good reflexes—not quite good enough, but enough to get out of the way and only lose an ear.

Luke tells us that Jesus put the ear back on and so the whole thing was a futile attempt. Peter didn't even get to wound Malchus, as it all turned out, but Peter demonstrates a very real contrast to his commitment to Jesus Christ and Judas' lack of commitment. Here are two men who had had the same experiences, heard the same teaching, been in the presence of the same Master, and one turned Him in and the other tried to defend Him. One betrayed Him and the other tried to protect Him.

But notice the last line in verse 11:

John 18

11…the cup which my Father hath given me, shall I not drink it?

John wants us to remember that Jesus knew what was happening, and He speaks these words in a reprimanding way to Peter: “Peter, the sword is not going to help.” Of course, Matthew records that He says that He could call for thousands of angels if He needed protection. He didn't need Peter's sword. He could have all kinds of protection at the Word of His mouth.

I want to say this carefully, because it could be misunderstood. We need to be careful in trying to defend Jesus. A lot of times Christians spend time trying to defend Jesus Christ and to defend the Word of God. There are occasions when that is necessary. Peter said that we should always be ready to give a reasoned defense to those who ask a reason for the hope that is within us. We need to be able to explain why we believe what we believe, but I am afraid some Christians are like Peter, and they think, “I am the one who has to protect the name of Jesus. I am the one who has to protect the truth of God's Word.”

We don't have to protect Jesus. God will take care of that. If God puts us in a situation where we have to explain our faith, we need to be able to do that, and the way to be prepared to do that is to know God's Word. The Word of God has a power of its own—much more powerful than our human logic. If we know God' Word and God leads us into a situation where we need to defend our beliefs, God will enable us to use His Word to defend our beliefs. That is another of the many reasons that it is so important to know the Word of God. Our defense of Jesus, to put it in Peter's situation, will never be with the sword of our intellect. Our defense of Jesus will never be with the sword of our eloquence or whatever other way we might win some human debate. Our sword, as Paul wrote, is mighty through God to the pulling down of strongholds. Our sword is the Word of God and our knowledge of it and our ability to use it. So, Jesus said, “Peter, that metal sword is not the answer. God the Father will give Me whatever protection I need. I have this cup to drink which My Father has given Me.”

That leads us into the second part of the chapter which really is the major part of it. I have just divided the chapter into two parts. I think that it falls logically into these two parts, but the second one is much longer than the first one. It is what I am calling the arraignment of the Savior , and I am using that term arraignment because it has to do not just with His trial, but with the pretrial hearings and then with the Jewish trial and then with the Roman trial. It extends on into chapter 19.

Jesus, like a common criminal even today, is brought before a magistrate. The charges are explained to the magistrate. The magistrate makes a ruling as to whether or not He should be bound over for trial. In our legal system the Grand Jury gets involved, but it varies from one legal system to the next. This is an arraignment where the formal charges are lodged against Jesus and a judge makes a decision as to whether or not He shall go to trial.

The first part of the arraignment of the Savior is before the Jews in verses 12-27. As you are familiar with the other Gospels, it is very apparent that the Jews really hoped that they could handle this thing themselves. I believe that the Jews never intended for this to really go all the way to the Romans. They finally let it go to the Roman court system because of their frustration and lack of ability to do anything with Jesus on their own, but they had hoped to be able to convict Him in their Jewish system, then to bring that conviction from the Sanhedrin (the ruling body of the Jews) and bring that done deal to the Romans and ask them to rubber stamp it.

That is the way that the Roman Empire handled the Jewish nation and any nation that they had conquered. They used home rule as much as they could. They tried to let those nations have a semblance of their own government, but the Romans had to always make a final approval of anything that that government did. The Jews wanted to handle it and that is why they started out with this arraignment before the Jews.

Think about this. By this time, it was night. That is why they came with lanterns, and the other Gospel writers tell us specifically that it was night. John doesn't tell us that but, in fact, it was into the night, because you remember at the last supper we read that Jesus told Judas, “Do what you do quickly, and Judas went out and it was night.” Now, Judas has had time to go and get these soldiers and get this all put together and lead them out to the Garden of Gethsemane, and so by this time it is into the night.

In verses 12-23, we have what I am calling a pretrial hearing. There is a lot of debate among Bible scholars about exactly how this all fits together, but I believe, and it is not original with me, that in verses 12-23 we have a pretrial hearing. Then, in verse 25, the plenary hearing or the hearing before the full court, but we will come to that in a minute.

The Scene In the Courtroom

First, we have the scene in the courtroom in verses 12-14:

John 18

12Then the band and the captain and officers of the Jews took Jesus, and bound him,
13And led him away to Annas first; for he was father in law to Caiaphas, which was the high priest that same year.
14Now Caiaphas was he, which gave counsel to the Jews, that it was expedient that one man should die for the people.

A couple of things to notice about this first part of the pretrial hearing is that even though they had fallen backwards on the ground at the very voice of Jesus, they still arrested Him and bound Him. If you notice there in the last words of verse 12: “They bound Him,”—put Him in handcuffs in our terminology. Of course, from a human standpoint, that is understandable. If He could make them fall on the ground just by the very use of His voice, they needed to try to restrain Him in some way. But on the other hand, it seems like somebody would have had the logic to realize that if He could make them fall on the ground by the sound of His voice, what good would binding Him do anyway? But here we have this feeble, human attempt to do in the Lord Jesus.

The place where the theological debate comes in is in verse 13, and the significance of the wording. Notice verse 13:

John 18

13And led him away to Annas first; for he was father in law to Caiaphas, which was the high priest that same year.

John assumes that we understand the trial system in Rome, but of course most of us don't. If any of you don't understand it, that makes it unanimous, because I don't understand it either. We can piece together a little of it. We know from other sources that Annas had been high priest the previous year. In fact, he had been the high priest for a couple of years. His son-in-law is the high priest, so Annas, whom they bring Him to in these verses, was the immediate past high priest, and therefore he still would have had a great deal of respect in the Jewish community. He probably had a great deal of influence in the Sanhedrin, and so they brought Him to Annas.

Most Bible scholars theorize that they probably brought Him to Annas first because they had to take Him somewhere. They had to get this thing moving and by bringing Him to Annas, that gave time to get Caiaphas the high priest and the Sanhedrin together, because remember that this was at night. They were trying to do a hurry up job and they didn't know where they would find him or how long it would take to get Him, so they couldn't set a time for the Sanhedrin to meet. They took Him to Annas, and that was a signal then to go gather the Sanhedrin and get them ready for the trial that is going to be mentioned in verse 25. So Annas was a stopgap measure. He was highly enough esteemed that whatever he ruled would carry weight with the Sanhedrin, and it would be acceptable to everybody, even though as past high priest, he didn't have any kind of authority really. They were just going on his prestige.

The last line of verse 13 tells us that Caiaphas was the high priest that year, and John reminds us that it was Caiaphas who advised the Jews that it was expedient that one man should die for the people. The significance of that is that Caiaphas was ready to execute Jesus. Caiaphas would not be bothered at all by passing a sentence of death on Jesus Christ, and he could couch it in terms of being good for the people.

If you remember back in chapter 13, they had had this argument about how they were going to wipe out these Christians. “What are we going to do about Jesus and His followers?” Caiaphas had said, “We don't have to do anything about the followers. All we need to do is execute Jesus, because if we start wiping out Christians in general, the Roman government is going to be down on us. They are not going to allow that kind of lawlessness to go on, so it is expedient that one man die for the people.” And, that is when they began to focus specifically on killing Jesus—doing away with this movement by just killing Jesus. But, of course, Satan was behind all of that.

In verses 15-18 the scene shifts to the courtyard again to Judas' alter ego, Peter, and his betrayal of Jesus. Our time is nearly gone, so I will not get into that because I want to deal with it more thoroughly. It also is picked up again in verses 25-27, but if you will skip down to verse 24 for a moment, we have the beginnings of the plenary hearing—the hearing of the full court.

We talked about the pretrial hearing before Annas, and we are just told that they brought Him in before Annas and that was just to kill time and to get some kind of a ruling on record that it was worth the Sanhedrin hearing about. Then John just tells us that they took Him to Caiaphas the high priest.

The other Gospel writers give us the details of Caiaphas' trial. It is interesting to notice that the other writers don't tell us about Annas, but they do tell us about Caiaphas. John tells us about Annas in a sentence or two and Caiaphas in a sentence or two.

As we wrap this up, I just want to point out that the critics have had a field day with this kind of discrepancy, and someone may ask you why Luke says this and John says the other thing. The thing that we have to keep in mind is that, using this case as an example, John's purpose was not to give us every detail of Jesus' trial. His purpose was to give us the flow of movement from the Passover Supper to the Cross. John's purpose was to emphasize to us how willingly Jesus went to the Cross. John was not writing for the Roman mind or for the Jewish mind as Matthew and Luke were. He was writing for people who wouldn't be familiar with the Roman government, just as we are not, so, he just mentions enough so that we can see the progression—that He has a pretrial hearing and then He had the plenary hearing. He is just showing us how things were moved along in the trial of Jesus.

He gives us more detail about the Roman trial, which is where Jesus was really bound over for the death sentence. So don't be concerned when you find a discrepancy like this. You have to keep in mind what the purpose of the writer is. John is not saying that none of these other things happened, and the other writers are not saying that Jesus didn't go before Annas; they are just presenting the facts that they want to emphasize, and the course of the trial from the aspect of it that they want to emphasize.

As we come back to the chapter, in our next lesson, we are going to be talking about Peter's betrayal of Christ, but in more detail about Jesus before this Jewish court and then Jesus before the judge of the Roman court.

Conclusion

As we conclude, let me just remind you again of the significance of the fact that Jesus knew exactly what was happening every step of the way. None of us will ever have the privilege of knowing exactly the day of our death. People with a terminal illness know that they have a certain amount of time left, but no one knows the day or hour when he will pass from this life and stand before God.

Jesus knew exactly what was going to happen. Twice in this passage that we have studied so far John tells us that Jesus knew all that was going to happen, and yet He went through with it anyway. What love, what perseverance Jesus had. And why did He have that? Because He wanted you to be saved and He wanted me to be saved. He wanted to have fellowship with you and me. The only way that could be accomplished was for Him, as He said to Peter, to drink the cup that the Father had for Him. You see, all of the theological implications, all of the legal implications, all of this detail about the death of Jesus, comes down to the simple fact that “Jesus loves me, this I know, for the Bible tells me so.” In a sense, this is the greatest hymn ever written. Thank God for the love of Jesus Christ for you and me.


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