Gospel of John 2015 – 10 lesson ten John 18, 19



Anderson, Paul. N.  The Riddles of the Fourth Gospel: An Introduction to John.  (Fortress Press, Minneapolis, 2011).


Brown, Raymond E.   The Community of the Beloved Disciple: The Life, Loves, and Hates of an Individual Church in New Testament Times.  (Paulist Press, New York, 1979).


________________.   The Gospel According to John I – XII.    Volume 29 of the Anchor Bible Series, Series edited by W.F. Allbright and David Noel Freedman.   (Doubleday, Garden City NY, 1966).


________________.   The Gospel According to John XIII – XXI.    Volume 29A of the Anchor Bible Series, Series edited by W.F. Allbright and David Noel Freedman.   (Doubleday, Garden City NY, 1970).


Elowsky, Joel C. editor.  John 1 – 10.  Volume IVa of the Ancient Christian Commentary on Scripture series edited by Thomas C. Oden.  (InterVarsity Press, Downers Grove IL, 2006).


__________________.  John 11 – 21.  Volume IVb of the Ancient Christian Commentary on Scripture series edited by Thomas C. Oden.  (InterVarsity Press, Downers Grove IL, 2007).


Keener, Craig S.   The Gospel of John: A Commentary  Volume One(Hendrickson Publishers, Peabody MA, 2003).


_______________  The Gospel of John: A Commentary  Volume Two(Hendrickson Publishers, Peabody MA, 2003).


Lewis, Scott M.  The Gospel According to John and the Johannine Letters. Part of the New Collegeville Bible Commentary series edited by Daniel Durkin O.S.B.  (Liturgical Press, Collegeville MN, 2005).


Maloney S.D.B., Francis J.   The Gospel of John.   Volume 4 of the Sacra Pagina series edited by Daniel J. Harrington S.J.   (Liturgical Press, Collegeville MN, 1998).


Martyn, J. Louis.  History and Theology in the Fourth Gospel.  One of the Classics in the New Testament Library series whose editorial board is C. Clifton Black, John T. Carroll, and Beverly Roberts Gaventa.  Third Edition.  (Westminster John Knox Press, Louisville, 2003).


O’Day, Gail R.  The Gospel of John: Introduction, Commentary, and Reflections.  In Volume IX of the New Interpreter’s Bible whose editorial board is convened by Leander Kick.  (Abingdon Press, Nashville, 1995).


Sloyan, Gerard.   John.   Part of the Interpretation series edited by Mays, Miller, Achtemeier.

(John Knox Press, Atlanta GA, 1988).



John Chapter 18


When he had said this, Jesus went out with his disciples across the Kidron valley to where there was a garden, into which he and his disciples entered. Judas his betrayer also knew the place, because Jesus had often met there with his disciples.  So Judas got a band of soldiers and guards from the chief priests and the Pharisees and went there with lanterns, torches, and weapons.


Jesus, knowing everything that was going to happen to him, went out and said to them,

“Whom are you looking for?”

They answered him,

“Jesus the Nazorean.”

He said to them,

“I AM.”

Judas his betrayer was also with them.

When he said to them, “I AM,” they turned away and fell to the ground.


So he again asked them,

“Whom are you looking for?”

They said,

“Jesus the Nazorean.”

Jesus answered,

“I told you that I AM.

So if you are looking for me, let these men go.”

This was to fulfill what he had said, “I have not lost any of those you gave me.”


Then Simon Peter, who had a sword, drew it, struck the high priest’s slave, and cut off his right ear. The slave’s name was Malchus.  Jesus said to Peter,

“Put your sword into its scabbard.

Shall I not drink the cup that the Father gave me?”


So the band of soldiers, the tribune, and the Jewish guards seized Jesus, bound him, and brought him to Annas first. He was the father-in-law of Caiaphas, who was high priest that year. It was Caiaphas who had counseled the Jews that it was better that one man should die rather than the people.


Simon Peter and another disciple followed Jesus. Now the other disciple was known to the high priest, and he entered the courtyard of the high priest with Jesus. But Peter stood at the gate outside. So the other disciple, the acquaintance of the high priest, went out and spoke to the gatekeeper and brought Peter in.   Then the maid who was the gatekeeper said to Peter,

“You are not one of this man’s disciples, are you?”

He said,

“I am not.”



Now the slaves and the guards were standing around a charcoal fire that they had made, because it was cold, and were warming themselves. Peter was also standing there keeping warm. The high priest questioned Jesus about his disciples and about his doctrine.


Jesus answered him,

“I have spoken publicly to the world.

I have always taught in a synagogue or

in the temple area where all the Jews gather,

and in secret I have said nothing.

Why ask me?

Ask those who heard me what I said to them.

They know what I said.”


When he had said this,

one of the temple guards standing there struck Jesus and said,

“Is this the way you answer the high priest?”

Jesus answered him,

“If I have spoken wrongly, testify to the wrong;

but if I have spoken rightly, why do you strike me?”


Then Annas sent him bound to Caiaphas the high priest. Now Simon Peter was standing there keeping warm. And they said to him,

“You are not one of his disciples, are you?”

He denied it and said,

“I am not.”


One of the slaves of the high priest,

a relative of the one whose ear Peter had cut off, said,

“Didn’t I see you in the garden with him?”

Again Peter denied it. And immediately the cock crowed.


Then they brought Jesus from Caiaphas to the praetorium. It was morning. And they themselves did not enter the praetorium, in order not to be defiled so that they could eat the Passover. So Pilate came out to them and said,

“What charge do you bring (against) this man?”

They answered and said to him,

“If he were not a criminal, we would not have handed him over to you.”


At this, Pilate said to them,

“Take him yourselves, and judge him according to your law.”

The Jews answered him,

“We do not have the right to execute anyone,”

in order that the word of Jesus might be fulfilled

that he said indicating the kind of death he would die.



So Pilate went back into the praetorium and summoned Jesus and said to him,

“Are you the King of the Jews?”

Jesus answered,

“Do you say this on your own or have others told you about me?”


Pilate answered,

“I am not a Jew, am I?

Your own nation and the chief priests handed you over to me.

What have you done?”

Jesus answered,

“My kingdom does not belong to this world.

If my kingdom did belong to this world, my attendants (would) be fighting

to keep me from being handed over to the Jews.

But as it is, my kingdom is not here.”


So Pilate said to him,

“Then you are a king?”

Jesus answered,

“You say I am a king.

For this I was born and for this I came into the world, to testify to the truth. Everyone who belongs to the truth listens to my voice.”


Pilate said to him,

“What is truth?”

When he had said this, he again went out to the Jews and said to them,

“I find no guilt in him.

But you have a custom that I release one prisoner to you at Passover.

Do you want me to release to you the King of the Jews?”

They cried out again,

“Not this one but Barabbas!”

Now Barabbas was a revolutionary.


John Chapter 19


Then Pilate took Jesus and had him scourged. And the soldiers wove a crown out of thorns and placed it on his head, and clothed him in a purple cloak, and they came to him and said, “Hail, King of the Jews!” And they struck him repeatedly.


Once more Pilate went out and said to them,

“Look, I am bringing him out to you,

so that you may know that I find no guilt in him.”

So Jesus came out, wearing the crown of thorns and the purple cloak.

And he said to them,

“Behold, the man!”



When the chief priests and the guards saw him they cried out,

“Crucify him, crucify him!”

Pilate said to them,

“Take him yourselves and crucify him. I find no guilt in him.”


The Jews answered,

“We have a law, and according to that law he ought to die,

because he made himself the Son of God.”

Now when Pilate heard this statement, he became even more afraid, and went back into the praetorium and said to Jesus,

“Where are you from?”

Jesus did not answer him.


So Pilate said to him,

“Do you not speak to me?

Do you not know that I have power to release you and

I have power to crucify you?”

Jesus answered (him),

“You would have no power over me if it had not been given to you from above.

For this reason the one who handed me over to you has the greater sin.”


Consequently, Pilate tried to release him; but the Jews cried out,

“If you release him, you are not a Friend of Caesar.

Everyone who makes himself a king opposes Caesar.”

When Pilate heard these words he brought Jesus out and seated him on the judge’s bench in the place called Stone Pavement, in Hebrew, Gabbatha. It was preparation day for Passover, and it was about noon. And he said to the Jews,

“Behold, your king!”


They cried out,

“Take him away, take him away! Crucify him!”

Pilate said to them,

“Shall I crucify your king?”

The chief priests answered,

“We have no king but Caesar.”


Then he handed him over to them to be crucified. So they took Jesus, and carrying the cross himself he went out to what is called the Place of the Skull, in Hebrew,Golgotha. There they crucified him, and with him two others, one on either side, with Jesus in the middle.   Pilate also had an inscription written and put on the cross. It read, “Jesus the Nazorean, the King of the Jews.” Now many of the Jews read this inscription, because the place where Jesus was crucified was near the city; and it was written in Hebrew, Latin, and Greek.



So the chief priests of the Jews said to Pilate,

“Do not write ‘The King of the Jews,’ but that he said,

‘I am the King of the Jews.'”

Pilate answered,

“What I have written, I have written.”


When the soldiers had crucified Jesus, they took his clothes and divided them into four shares, a share for each soldier. They also took his tunic, but the tunic was seamless, woven in one piece from the top down. So they said to one another,

“Let’s not tear it, but cast lots for it to see whose it will be,”

in order that the passage of scripture might be fulfilled (that says):

“They divided my garments among them, and for my vesture they cast lots.”

This is what the soldiers did.


Standing by the cross of Jesus were his mother and his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary of Magdala. When Jesus saw his mother and the disciple there whom he loved, he said to his mother,

“Woman, behold, your son.”

Then he said to the disciple,

“Behold, your mother.”

And from that hour the disciple took her into his home.


After this, aware that everything was now finished, in order that the scripture might be fulfilled, Jesus said,

“I thirst.”

There was a vessel filled with common wine. So they put a sponge soaked in wine on a sprig of hyssop and put it up to his mouth. When Jesus had taken the wine, he said,

“It is finished.”

And bowing his head, he handed over the spirit.


Now since it was preparation day, in order that the bodies might not remain on the cross on the sabbath, for the sabbath day of that week was a solemn one, the Jews asked Pilate that their legs be broken and they be taken down. So the soldiers came and broke the legs of the first and then of the other one who was crucified with Jesus. But when they came to Jesus and saw that he was already dead, they did not break his legs, but one soldier thrust his lance into his side, and immediately blood and water flowed out.



An eyewitness has testified, and his testimony is true; he knows that he is speaking the truth, so that you also may (come to) believe. For this happened so that the scripture passage might be fulfilled: “Not a bone of it will be broken.”

And again another passage says: “They will look upon him whom they have pierced.”








The difference between John and the other gospels – Jesus is in control of it all, from beginning to end.  No one who thinks they have power over Him actually does.


Written so that we might understand what he did, but that we would encounter him through his words and deeds.  As in an icon.


Icons: holy images that enable the one at prayer to enter into the spiritual reality of the saving event that is depicted in the painting, or into the holy presence of Christ or a saint whose image appears on the icon.  It is the personal encounters of those in the gospel with Jesus that can do this for us – blind man healed, woman at the well, etc.  These draw us in, experience their illumination.


A question in John is an open door.  Always go through the door!

“Whom are you looking for?”  Jesus the Nazorean? OR The divine presence “I am”?

Peter denies Jesus 3 times, twice echoing Jesus – “I am not.”


Annas and Jesus – more questions.

We discover the finality of the revelation through Jesus.

Where are we to go if we wish to be enlightened by the Word that the Father has spoken?

–          To Jesus’ disciples    Ask those who heard me.  They know what I said and did.


The phrase Kingdom of God or Kingdom of Heaven is a heavy theme of the synoptic gospels.  The phrase only appears once in John (3:3).  But

The synoptic gospels focus on the kingdom of God;

The Gospel of John focuses on the kingship of Jesus.

This comes out in trial by Pontius Pilate.

Are you the king of the Jews?

What is our response today?


It is a theological point that Jesus carries his own cross – He is in control even to that level.


Ray Brown: connect the story of creation to the story of Jesus’ crucifixion.

A scene of birth.

Trees of eternal life and truth.  As the cross is.

Mary as a new Eve.

Church as new family, holy family (not Mary, Joseph, Jesus) but all who are baptized










Chapters 18 and 19 are read in their entirety on Good Friday at the Good Friday service every year.


Sloyan emphasizes that these need to be read and understood from the symbolic point of view more than an historical point of view.  Remember – John is most concerned with what these events mean, not with providing a step-by-step account of what happened.  The dialogues between Jesus and Pilate etc. were not open to the public.


Chapter 18


No kiss from Judas in John.


Caiaphas was high priest from 18 to 36AD.

Lewis p. 88: Annas was the high priest from 6 to 15AD and was the father-in-law of Caiaphas.


O’Day p. 806:

“Annas was high priest from 6 to 15 CE, but his influence did not end when his term ended.  In addition to being the father-in-law of Caiaphas (who was high priest from 18 to 36 CE), five of Annas’s sons, as well as a grandson, succeeded him as high priest.  It is clear from reading Josephus that Annas was the most influential member of the high priestly family for the early and mid-first century CE.  Indeed, in Josephus one finds Annas referred to with the title ‘high priest’ after his term had ended, a practice that may be reflected in John’s use of that title for Annas in 18:15-16, 19, 22.  Luke also testifies to Annas’s continuing influence, for he twice speaks jointly of the high priesthoods of Annas and Caiaphas.  Given Annas’s influence, it is not implausible that he would have had a role in the interrogation of Jesus and that his role was remembered …”


Most of the commentators say the translation should be “I am he”, not “I AM”, though the I AM explains why the bystanders fall back / down.


Moloney notes the irony in John.  Jesus has taught publicly, his teaching are well known and will be passed on by his disciples – yet while he is saying this in his trial – Peter is busy denying even knowing him.


Sloyan p. 202: “John’s interest in an inquiry by Jewish authority is, in any case, minimal.  He may think that judgment has already been passed on Jesus from that quarter and know that the judgment of Pilate was ultimately decisive.  He may, in fact, reintroduce Caiaphas chiefly to have him reiterate as high priest an unwitting prophecy about Jesus’ vicarious death …”


Lewis p. 89: “In the dramatic trial before Pilate, two trials are taking place.  The first is the apparent trial of Jesus, while on another level, “the Jews”, Pilate, and all humanity are on trial, being given the opportunity to choose either God’s kingdom as revealed in Jesus or the world, which is opposed to God.”


O’Day p. 813 notes that during the trial of Jesus by Pilate there are 7 mini-scenes.  The action shifts from outside to inside, outside to inside, outside to inside, and ends outside.  Used to heighten tension / drama.


Sloyan p. 205: “…Jesus “had to die” by being “lifted up from the earth”, crucifixion was required for the fulfillment of prophecy.  Numbers 21:8-9 tells the story of the healing serpent mounted on a pole.  This prophetic image and not that of the Passover sacrifice – which included seven yearling lambs- is probably intended.”


Numbers 6-9


In punishment the LORD sent among the people saraph serpents, which bit the people so that many of them died. Then the people came to Moses and said, “We have sinned in complaining against the LORD and you. Pray the LORD to take the serpents from us.” So Moses prayed for the people, and the LORD said to Moses, “Make a saraph and mount it on a pole, and if anyone who has been bitten looks at it, he will recover.” Moses accordingly made a bronze serpent and mounted it on a pole, and whenever anyone who had been bitten by a serpent looked at the bronze serpent, he recovered.


at the end of the chapter Sloyan p. 207: “At this point John employs the Barabbas tradition and makes short work of it (vv.39-40).  It is found in Mark and is probably legendary; a “son of the Father” (bar abbas, not a known Hebrew name) who is guilty of sedition is set free in place of the true Son of the Father who is not.  The Judeans “shout” to Pilate (v. 40) but they are never represented as a crowd, as in the Synoptics.  John conceives of them as a small band of dedicated antagonists against all that Jesus stands for.”   There is no historical independent record of a custom of the Romans of releasing a prisoner at Passover.


Chapter 19

The charges against Jesus (blasphemy) are what late first century Jews were charging Christians who believed in Jesus with.


Irony of John again – Jesus is mocked as a king by Roman soldiers, IS in fact a king.


John, for whatever reasons, is anxious for Pilate to come off as simply a tool of others.  However, he was notorious for his cruelty and was eventually removed from office for it.

O’Day p. 815: “The Pilate who emerges from these chapters is antagonistic and scornful of “the Jews,” but that does not mean he is Jesus’ ally, searching to convince the Jewish authorities of Jesus’ innocence.  Rather, Pilate, like the Jewish leaders is unconcerned with questions of guilt or innocence, and he involves himself in Jesus’ trial as a means “to humiliate ‘the Jews’ and to ridicule their national hopes by means of Jesus”.  There is no pro-Roman, anti-Jewish apologetic in the portrayal of Pilate’s role in Jesus’ death.”






Lewis p. 92: “The ‘Jews” declare that Jesus has to die for violating the law by making himself the Son of God (v.7).  This alludes to the punishment for blasphemy set forth in Leviticus 24:16 and repeated in the rabbinical tradition.  Jesus’ claim to a filial relationship with God represents the core of John ‘s Gospel and almost resulted in stoning on numerous occasions.”

Leviticus 24:13-16:

The LORD then said to Moses:

Take the blasphemer outside the camp, and when all who heard him have laid their hands on his head, let the whole community stone him.  Tell the Israelites: Anyone who blasphemes God shall bear the penalty; whoever utters the name of the LORD in a curse shall be put to death.  The whole community shall stone that person; alien and native-born alike must be put to death for uttering the LORD’s name in a curse.


Sloyan p. 212: “But it is to fulfill the precept about preparing the Passover lamb without breaking any of its bones (Num. 9:12) – coupled with the LORD’s care for the just (Ps. 34:20 – that requires the omission of this custom in Jesus’ case.”  (custom of breaking the legs of those crucified to hasten death)

Numbers 9: 11-12

But you shall celebrate it in the second month, on the fourteenth day of that month during the evening twilight, eating it with unleavened bread and bitter herbs, and not leaving any of it over till morning, nor breaking any of its bones, but observing all the statutes of the Passover.



Psalm 34:19-23

The LORD is close to the brokenhearted,

saves those whose spirit is crushed.

Many are the troubles of the righteous,

but the LORD delivers him from them all.

He watches over all his bones;

not one of them shall be broken.

Evil will slay the wicked;

those who hate the righteous are condemned.

The LORD is the redeemer of the souls of his servants;

and none are condemned who take refuge in him.



Moloney p. 503  notes the unity of Jesus’ garment / unity of the disciples with Him and the unity between Jesus and the Father (themes of the previous 4 chapters or so)


Moloney claims that the translation indicates Jesus gave the Spirit when he died, not a euphemism for dying.  Sloyan does not read it this way – the Spirit is given in the upper room in John.





Sloyan p. 216: “What we have in John’s Pilate story is a parable of the way “the world” is set against the Jesus in whom faith must be reposed.  That this “world” of John’s contrivance is partly Roman and partly Jewish is irrelevant to the preaching of the Gospel.  The matter of consequence here is openness to the possibility of faith in Jesus….   The refusal to believe is by all means presented as a conscious choice of darkness over the Light.”


Lewis p. 96: “”The absence of a cry of divine abandonment, darkness at noon, the rending of the temple veil, earthquakes, a loud cry at the  moment of death, or a declaration by a centurion is striking.”


Zechariah 12:9-14

On that day I will seek the destruction of all nations that come against Jerusalem.

I will pour out on the house of David and on the inhabitants of Jerusalem a spirit of mercy and supplication, so that when they look on him whom they have thrust through, they will mourn for him as one mourns for an only child, and they will grieve for him as one grieves over a firstborn.


On that day the mourning in Jerusalem will be as great as the mourning for Hadadrimmon in the plain of Megiddo. And the land shall mourn, each family apart: the family of the house of David, and their women; the family of the house of Nathan, and their women; the family of the house of Levi, and their women; the family of Shimei, and their women; and all the rest of the families, each family apart, and the women apart.







  • Read and pray over John chapters 19:38 through chapter 21.
  • Read the commentary pages 97 to 107.
  • Ponder and pray over the questions in the workbook for this unit.  Which questions are most important to you?


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