"Then 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. And Judas, who betrayed Him, also knew the place; for Jesus often met there with His disciples. Then Judas, having received a detachment of troops, and officers from the chief priests and Pharisees, came there with lanterns, torches, and weapons. Jesus therefore, knowing all things that would come upon Him, went forward and said to them, "Whom are you seeking?"
They answered Him, "Jesus of Nazareth." Jesus said to them, "I am He." And Judas, who betrayed Him, also stood with them. 6 Now when He said to them, "I am He," they drew back and fell to the ground. Then He asked them again, "Whom are you seeking?" And they said, "Jesus of Nazareth." Jesus answered, "I have told you that I am He. Therefore, if you seek Me, let these go their way," 9 that the saying might be fulfilled which He spoke, "Of those whom You gave Me I have lost none." 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. So Jesus said to Peter, "Put your sword into the sheath. Shall I not drink the cup which My Father has given Me?"
After instituting the “new” Passover (The Lord’s Supper) and attempting to brighten their “sorrow filled” countenance. Jesus ended His sharing with the remaining 11 Disciples the events that were to shortly come to pass Once they left the Upper Room Guest chamber, and being told the Holy Spirit would bring all those things that they would understand in the aftermath, (concerning their future missionary work, His pending death , the coming of the Holy Spirit and the impact He would have in guiding them personally as well as in they being able to carry out the Great Commission. Now they have left the Upper Room Guest Chamber and head directly to the Garden of Gethsemane.
Gethsemane: Arrested and Betrayed (Verses 1-11)
The events that take place in verses 2 through 11 occurred after Jesus prayed to God the Father3 times in Matthew 26:36-46. After praying 3 times and finding the disciples sleep (Peter, James, and John) Jesus now prepares for a lynch mob crowd who came with Judas Iscariot (now filled with the spirit of Satan) to arrest Jesus.
(This would be the 11th attempt the Pharisees and other religious leaders would do to try to kill Jesus).
Judas: - His betrayer comes with a military detachment of over 600 men. Judas having agreed to help the Sanhedrein Council to trap and arrest Jesus was paid 30 pieces of silver. Judas knew Jesus would be at the garden because He and the Disciples went there often and deduced that He would not have gone to Bethany. They came with lanterns, torches and weapons (vs. 2-3)
In Matthew 26:48-50, Judas told the lynch mob that he would give them a sign. He said the one that I kiss is Jesus. Hold him fast. He now walks toward Jesus and greets him saying Hail Master, then kisses him. Jesus responded by saying: “Friend, where did you coming from?
Note on Treachery:
What made this act so treacherous was the betrayal came from someone who was given the call into the ministry just like the remaining 11, at some point at the Last Supper in the Upper Room, yet because he succumb to the spirit of Satan Judas turned against Jesus, the one who called him into service. Judas’ fall is a vivid example to what extent any child of God (called minister, preacher and healer of men) can fall. (Read Acts 1:25…Matthew 10:1-20…Mark 6:7-13) Jesus asks: Who do you seek? (vs.. 4)
Jesus had completed all of His earthly ministry (preaching, training of the Disciples, teaching and correcting the errors of interpretation of the Law taught by the Pharisees and Scribes, the working of miracles, and passion), having prayed and submitted to the will of the Father by accepting the cross, Jesus now deliver himself up the lynch mob to be crucified on the “pending” cross.
Mob response: “Jesus of Nazareth”
Jesus: “I am he”. (Notice Judas stood with the mob)
What was the effect of Jesus answer: They fell backwards and then fell to the ground. (vs. 6)
The resulting effect of the answer “I am HE” had on the mob caused them first to fall back, then to fall down. Their response showed the “omnipotent” power anything Jesus says have on this world and people. The fact was, He could have killed them by His power had He chose to do so. The only reason the mob was able to arrest Him beat him marched Him from judgment hall to judgment hall, even crucify Him was simply because Jesus allowed them to. This also showed the disciples Jesus could have escaped, even walked away unharmed if He wanted to. He allowed the arrest because He submitted to the will of the Father to let His will be done and carried out the plans and procedure of redemption to completion. So Jesus asked again:
Jesus asked again: Who are you looking for?
Mob response again: Jesus of Nazareth
Jesus’ prophetic answer:
Look, I’ve already told you I am the one you are looking for! I’m giving Myself to you voluntarily, but you must not hurt one of My disciples.(”Let them (the disciples) go their way) I have already given you proof of My power over you. I will not use it on My behalf, for I lay down My life for My sheep; but I will use it if need be to protect My sheep. It was certainly the power of Christ that protected them, especially after Peter began to use the sword to defend Jesus and the rest of the disciples.
“I told you I am He, If therefore you are seeking Me, let these go their way: Jesus said this to fulfill this prophecy concerning what Jesus spoke: “Of them which thou (God the Father) gave Me have I lost none.”
What Jesus was really saying to them: (vs. 8-9)
Note: Purpose concerning these prophetic words of Jesus:
What Jesus said here shows his care and love even in the hour of danger. He expected to die. They were to carry the news of his death to the ends of the earth. Hence he, the faithful Captain of salvation, went foremost into trials; he, the Good Shepherd, secured the safety of the flock, and went before them into danger. By the question which he asked those who came out against him, he had secured the safety of his apostles. He was answered that they sought for him. He demanded that, agreeably to their declaration, they should take him only, and leave his followers at liberty. The wisdom, caution, and prudence of Jesus forsook him in no danger, however sudden, and in no circumstances, however difficult or trying. Remember: They had been with Jesus for 3 years and they had depended on Him for their protection all the while. Jesus made it His business to keep them safe from hurt harm and danger.
- Concernng Peter’s Reaction: Improper Response of the Attack (vs. 10-11)
Peter draws his sword and swings it at the soldier (Malchus) and cuts off his right ear. (vs. 10) What was Peter doing with a sword?
- But because Peter reacted in defense, Jesus had to perform another miracle after He physically left them and as they went into the world carrying out the Great Commission of Matthew 28:19-20.
- Jesus instructed Peter to put his sword back in its sheath. (Stand down.) Jesus reminded him that He was to die. God My Father has given me this cup, (the cup of suffering) Shall I not drink it? It the plan of God that I go through this. I got to follow His plan. Our salvation and healing (Isaiah 53) blessings are wrapped in this method.
- We can’t get in the way of God’s plan no matter how we want to prevent something that will be tragic to the eye but a blessing in disguise! What God ordains, let it be!
Annas must have had great authority in his nation:
1. Because he had been long time high priest;
2. Because he had no less than five sons who successively enjoyed the dignity of the high priesthood; and...
3. Because his son-in-law Caiaphas was at this time in possession of that office.
Note: It is likely that Annas was chief of the Sanhedrin, and that it was to him in that office that Christ was first brought. Some think that Annas was still high priest, and that Caiaphas was only his deputy, though he did the principal part of the business, and that it is because of this that he is called high priest.
Ciaiphas: the high priest that devise of a way to have Jesus killed to make it look like a public sacrifice. According to John 11:49-52, Ciaiphas already passed a death sentence on Jesus, so legally, he was disqualified to sit in judgment as judge. (vs. 14)
Extra Information: concerning Ciaiphas:
Caiaphas was high priest that same year when Messiah was to be cut off, which intimates,
(1.) That when a bad thing was to be done by a high priest, according to the foreknowledge of God, Providence so ordered it that a bad man should be in the chair to do it.
(2.) That, 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, where he had temptation and opportunity to exert it. It was the ruin of Caiaphas that he was high priest that year, and so became a ringleader in the putting of Christ to death. Many a man's advancement has lost him his reputation, and he had not been dishonored if he had not been preferred.
Concerning Peter: Prophecy on Denial of Jesus “1st Denial” (Vs. 15-18)
Simon Peter and another disciple follow the lynch mob military band along with the captain and other Jewish officers to the illegal court proceedings (judgment hall) at Annas and Ciaiphas. This unnamed disciple was known to Ciaiphas. The belief was it may have been Nicodemus or Joseph or Arimathaea or even the Apostle John writing his name in the 3rd person. Both by now were secret disciples and still part of the Sanhedrin Council..
- Peter stayed outside but the other disciple , talking to the woman who kept the door then brought Peter in as well.
- 1st denial: the woman who kept the door asked Peter…”Aren’t you one of this man’s disciples”? Peter said: “I am not.”
- The soldiers and officers who stood there made a fire of coals. It was a cold night, and Peter stood with hem warming himself . (vs. 18)
Warming yourself by the fire of your enemies is a very dangerous thing to do.
High Priest asks Jesus: concerning His disciples, and His doctrine (vs. 19)
The High Priest questioned Him as to His authority of collecting disciples, forming a different sect, preaching new doctrines and setting Himself up as a reformer. He asked to try to get Jesus to incriminate Himself so he could legally accuse Him, but he found nothing. Note: Several Jewish laws were broken from Jesus arrest to the end of His trial.
- All this took place in a illegal night court session and was against the Jewish judicial laws. According to the Talmud, "Criminal processes can neither start nor end, except during the course of the day" (Sanhedrin c, iv, s. 1).
- If a person was condemned the sentence could not be until the next day.
- No judgment could be executed either on the eve of the Sabbath, or the eve of any festival.
- All of these law were broken in the trial of Christ which was in the night, on the eve of the Passover, and the eve of the special Sabbath of the feast. It had been predicted that justice and judgment would be taken away during His trial (Read Isaiah 53:8 and Acts 8:33)
I spoke openly to the world. I ever taught in the synagogue, and in the temple, whither the Jews always resort; and in secret have I said nothing.
I have spoken openly to all people, in synagogues in the cities and even in the temple at Jerusalem, and have said nothing in secret. Why are you asking Me?, Ask those who have heard Me what I have said. You and your spies have watched Me everywhere I went. You and your spies know what I have said. I have said nothing contrary to the law and the prophets. I have not disturbed the state by rebellion. Judge Me correctly according to your laws if I have done something wrong.
Think about it! If the doctrine that Jesus taught tended to excite sedition and tumult, if His aim and objective was to overthrow the government, he would have trained his friends in secret. He would have disappeared from public view, and would have laid all his plans in private. This would be the case of anybody who attempted to subvert existing establishments and attempt to overthrow any government. Instead of that, Jesus publicly proclaimed all his views to all. He consistently did it in every place of public concourse, in the synagogue as well as in the temple. Now, it is here Jesus speaks the language of a person’s conscious of innocence and determined to insist on his rights.
Struck by an officer: One of the officers standing beside Jesus slaps Him
This slap of Jesus was a gross violation of all law and justice. Jesus had showed no disrespect for the office of the high priest, and if he had, this was not the proper way to punish it. Law: This was an outrage against justice, for a prisoner before trial and condemnation was under special protection of the court. This is the fifth definite law of justice and judgment broken before the trial really got under way.
Jesus Answered: If I have spoken evil, bear witness of the evil: but if well, why did you hit me? (vs. 23)
Law: A Christian is bound to bear injuries and injustices without revengeful retaliation; but he is privileged, even by the example of the Lord, to call into question the act of being mistreated. Questioning the actions of the authorities, even the court system does not break the law of Matthew 5:39.
Law: Also remember, while an accused person is on trial he is under the protection of the court, and has a right to demand that all legal measures shall be taken to secure his rights. On this right Jesus insisted, and thus showed that, though he had no disposition to take revenge, yet he claimed that, when arraigned, strict justice should be done. This shows that his precept that when we are smitten on one cheek we should turn the other (Matthew 5:39), is consistent with a firm demand that justice should be done to us. That precept refers, besides, rather to private masters than to judicial proceedings. It does not demand that, when we are unjustly arraigned or assaulted, and when the law is in our favor, we should sacrifice our rights to the malignant accuser. Such a surrender would be injustice to the law and to the community, and be giving legal triumph to the wicked, and destroying the very end of all law.
Annas has sent Jesus bound (tied up) before Ciaiphas (vs. 24)
Annas now sends Jesus to face Ciaiphas…..Meanwhile…..
Peter’s 2nd and 3rd Denials (vs. 25-27)
Still warming himself beside the fire of the soldiers, they asks him: “Aren’t you one of his disciples also”? Peter in denial: I am not.
One of the servants of the high priest asks: “Didn’t I see you in the garden with him”? Peter in denial the 3rd time: denied Jesus again and immediately, the cock crowed. (vs. 27)
While Christ was denying the insinuations leveled against him-and justly so, Peter was denying his Lord sinfully. The two questions addressed to Peter were quite different. The first was tentative, as though expecting him to deny that he had a relation to Jesus; whereas the second pinned him down, the very form of the question assuming his guilt. He was now recognized as the one who had wielded the sword in the garden. The crowing of the cock reminded Peter of the Lord's prediction (John 13:38) and brought home to him his sin of denial. '
Jesus: Tried before Pilate: (Vs. 28-38)
From Ciaiphas, they led Jesus to the Hall of Judgment (called the Praetorium in Matthew 27:27)…taking Him early in the morning . (vs. 28)
It was the place where the Roman proctor, or governor,(Pilate) heard and decided cases brought before him. Jesus had been condemned by the Sanhedrin, and pronounced guilty of death in Matthew 26:66, but legally, The Sanhedrin did not have the power to carry the death sentence and execute Jesus themselves, so the sought that he might be condemned and executed by Pilate. A Bit of History So they hurried him to the judgment hall, to have Him condemned in the Roman’s court, and executed by the Roman power. Being their resolution that death was the only way to get rid of Jesus, they took this course of action for these 4 reasons:
1. That he might be put to death the more legally and regularly, according to the present constitution of their government, since they became a province of the empire; not stoned in a popular tumult of Jewish capital punishment, but put to death with the present formalities of justice. This is why he was treated as a malefactor, being made sin for us.
2. That he might be put to death the more safely. If they could get the Roman government to do it for them, there would be little danger of an uproar because the people were greatly intimidated by the viciousness of the Roman soldiers..
3. That he might be put to death with more reproach to himself. The death of the cross, which the Romans commonly used, being of all deaths the most ignominious, they were desirous by it to put an indelible mark of infamy upon him, and so to sink his reputation for ever. This therefore they harped upon, Crucify him.
4. That he might be put to death with less reproach to them. It was an invidious thing to put one to death that had done so much good in the world, and therefore they were willing to throw the odium upon the Roman government, to make that the less acceptable to the people, and save themselves from the reproach. Thus many are more afraid of the scandal of a bad action than of the sin of it. See Acts 5:28. Two things are here observed concerning the prosecution:—(1.) Their policy and industry in the prosecution: It was early; some think about two or three in the morning, others about five or six, when most people were in their beds; and so there would be the less danger of opposition from the people that were for Christ; while, at the same time, they had their agents about, to call those together whom they could influence to cry out against him. See how much their heart was upon it, and how violent they were in the prosecution. Now that they had him in their hands, they would lose no time till they had him upon the cross, but denied themselves their natural rest, to push on this matter. S
BUT…they would not go in to keep from defiling themselves so they could eat the Passover (Old Covenant) without by the Law be ceremonially disqualified to do so.
The Jews considered even the touch of a Gentile as a legal defilement; and therefore would not venture into the Praetorium, for fear of contracting some impurity, which would have obliged them to separate themselves from all religious ordinances until the evening,( Leviticus 15:10-11 and verses 19-20).The truth was, they were more concerned about being ceremonially clean and keeping “temple rituals” than they were concerned about the heinous crime they were about to commit by putting the Savior (Jesus) innocent as He was to death, and having the Messiah's blood on their hands and malice in their hearts. All of this so they could eat the Passover. In condescension to them, Pilate “obliged” them by coming out to meet the mob so they wouldn’t defile themselves.
Pilate asks: What accusation are you bringing against this man? (vs. 29)
The Mob answered: If he wasn’t a malefactor, we wouldn’t have brought him to you. (vs. 30)
In truth, they did not wish to make Pilate the judge. They simply wanted Pilate to carry out the death sentence they had already passed on Jesus.
Pilate then said: Then take him and you judge Him according to your laws.
The Mob then replied: “It’s not lawful for us to put any man to death.” (vs.31)
They already knew that the best they could do with Jesus according to the Law was either scourge Him of ban Him from the Temple. They had already decided (Ciaiphas) that Jesus was worthy of death; but they could not put him to death.
This saying was a fulfillment of what Jesus had already said pertaining to how He would actually suffer death (vs. 32)
Pilate’s Cross Examination: Jesus: Are you King of the Jews? (Vs. 33-40)
In Luke 23:1-3 the Lynch Mob assembly accused Jesus of sedition:
“Then the whole assembly rose and led him off to Pilate. 2 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 Christ, a king."
- It was here that Pilate asked Jesus if He was indeed King of the Jews. (vs. 33)
First having already asked for a fair trial, it was Jesus’ way of reminding Pilate that he must come to his own conclusions and rule sole of the prepondence of all the evidence brought forth and not because of the influence of the lynch mob.
Second, Jesus wanted to know if Pilate asked Him based upon personal conclusion in his mind, or because he feared that danger lirked surrounding His arrest. It was as if Jesus asked Pilate this question in what he verbally asked him: During all the time in which you have been governor, have you seen anything in me or what I have said or done that has led you to believe that I’m a threat to Roman power of guilty of sedition?
Pilate’s Response to Jesus: Am I a Jew? (That is to say: “My judgment will be impartial and not influenced by those who brought you to me)” Your own nation and the chief priests have delivered you unto me: What have you done? (vs. 35) done?
Pilate denies that it was from anything that he had observed that Jesus was arraigned. He admits that it was from the accusation of others; but then he tells the Savior that the charge was one of moment, and worthy of the deepest attention. The reason is your nation, that is, your own countrymen, and from the highest authority (the Sanhedrin) among the people made a serious accusations against you and brought you to me. Pilate asked him to tell him what he had done to cause them to accuse you as such and bring you to me.
Jesus’ response to Pilate:
‘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’. (vs. 36)
Yes, I Am a King,” but” my kingdom is not of this world!
Jesus was arrested and charged for sedition, that is, attempting to overthrow Rome by first proclaiming Himself a king, then after gathering a following, then attempting to establish a new kingdom to oppose the Roman government. Jesus admits to being a King, but not in the sense in which the Jews understood it. Jesus says: “My kingdom is not of this world. That is, His Kingdom is not of the same nature, plan, or purpose or set up the same way as any earthly kingdoms.
Here’s how they differ:
a. The kingdoms of the world are defended by arms.
b. They maintain armies and engage in wars.
Jesus said: If my kingdom had been the same type, I would have excited the multitudes that followed Me to prepare for battle. I would have armed the hosts that attended Me to Jerusalem. I would not have came alone and unarmed in the garden of Gethsemane with just 11 other men. Jesus was a king, yet his dominion was over the heart of men, subduing evil passions and corrupt desires, and bringing the soul to the love of peace and unity to the acceptance of Him as the Messiah.
Pilate’s Response to Jesus: Are You a king Then? (vs. 37)
Do you admit to the charge in any way? Are you laying claim to a kingdom of any kind?
Jesus response to Pilate: “You have said it!” a King “I Am”
This is the reason I was born and the purpose of My life; to bear witness and declare the truth about God (John 1:18b). I was born into the world that I might set up and maintain a spiritual government. This government is established in and by truth. Everybody that love truth, hear my voice and attend to the spiritual doctrines I preach. It is by truth alone that I influence the minds and govern the manners of my subjects. They hear Me because they respond to the truth and have adopted the truth I teach, they are my people.
Pilate then ask first: “What is truth?...then…Goes out to the Jews with his judgment: “I find no fault at all. (vs. 38)
Foot note on this question:
This question was probably asked in contempt, so Jesus did not answer it. Had the question been sincere, and had Pilate really sought it as Nicodemus had done (John 3), Jesus would not have hesitated to explain to him the nature of his kingdom. They were now alone in the judgment-hall and Pilate asks: What is truth? Then, without waiting for an answer, he went out. It is clear evidence to him that Jesus opposed no threat to the Roman Government. Pilate then sought to release him.
Pilate then says to the waiting Jews: “I find no fault in Him at all…
VIII. Pilate seeks to release Jesus…Jesus is condemned…Barabbas is chosen and released (Vs. 39-40)
Pilate: You have a custom at your Passover that I should release one prisoner to you. Do you wish that I release the “King of the Jews?” (vs. 39)
Pilate appeared to have been fully convinced of the innocence of Christ; and the Jews desire to kill Him because of their envy and malice. Legally, on this ground alone, Pilate by right should have released him; but Pilate was afraid to offend the Jews. He knew they were an uneasy, factious, and seditious people; and he was afraid to irritate them. Because of his fear of their clamor, and the threat they opposed to his appointment as governor by their mere behavior, he ultimately gave in to their wicked request to crucify Jesus. In this case he knew what was truth.
The Jews Response: Not this man…but Barabbas….(Barabbas was a robber) (vs. 40) It is believed that Barabbas was a Zealot and the leader of a gang that was guilty of insurrection against the Roman Government. He was labeled as a robber and a murderer. The Jews rather have a gang leader, a murderer and a robber to go free than Jesus ...IMAGINE THAT!
Dr. William Edward Boddie