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Jesus on Trial - John 18:12 - 27

Posted on February 25, 2018

Jesus on Trial

John 18:12 – 27

Scripture Reading

John 18: 12 – 14

12 So the band of soldiers and their captain and the officers of the Jews arrested Jesus and bound him. 13 First they led him to Annas, for he was the father-in-law of Caiaphas, who was high priest that year. 14 It was Caiaphas who had advised the Jews that it would be expedient that one man should die for the people.

Purpose: Every Christ follower need to trust God fully with our emotions and attitude when it comes to being treated unjustly and focus an undying commitment to Christ no matter the cost.

Introduction / Illustration: When it was time to take our first child home from the hospital, we put her in the car seat in the back of the car, and then I got in the front seat to drive. She was so small even the baby seat was way too big. She looked so fragile to me that I drove home on the freeway going 35 miles per hour with the hazard lights flashing the whole time.

That first day, when your kid is in the car with you, is a scary day. Does anybody want to know what the next really scary day is with your kid in the car? It's when they turn 16, and now you're handing over the keys. Now they're moving from the passenger seat, from the ride-along seat, into the driver's seat. That's a scary moment.

It is a big moment in your life when you hand someone else the keys. Up until now, I've been driving. I choose the destination. I choose the route. I choose the speed. You're in the drive-along seat. But if we are to change seats, if you're going to drive, I have to trust you. It's all about control. Whoever is in this seat is the person in control.

A lot of people find Jesus handy to have in the car as long as he's in the ride-along seat, because something may come up where they require his services. Jesus, I have a health problem, and I need some help…. I want you in the car, but I'm not so sure I want you driving. If Jesus is driving, I'm not in charge of my life anymore. If he's driving, I'm not in charge of my wallet anymore. If I put him in control then it's no longer a matter of giving some money now and then when I'm feeling generous or when more of it is coming into my life. Now, it's his wallet. It's scary. If Jesus is driving, I'm not in charge of my ego anymore. I no longer have the right to satisfy every self-centered ambition. No, it's his agenda. It's his life. Now, I'm not in charge of my mouth anymore. I don't get to gossip, flatter, cajole, deceive, rage, intimidate, manipulate, exaggerate. I get out of the driver's seat and hand the keys over to him. I'm fully engaged. In fact, I'm more alive than I've ever been before, but it's not my life anymore. It's his life. - John Ortberg, "True Freedom," sermon on PreachingToday.com

Background to today’s message

  • Last week we saw Jesus supreme courage, power, love and obedience in the face of Judas betrayal.
  • We see in this narrative that Jesus on trial and Peter’s denial are inextricably connected
  • We see on display Jesus majesty, glory and sovereign control in the face of the world’s worst expression of evil for all time.
  • This is a dramatic narrative with four different Acts. It goes back and forth between Annas interrogation of Jesus and Peter’s denial
    • We see how Jesus responded to the bitter injustice imposed upon Him
      • He was submissive and trusted that God would one day make all things right and just again.
      • In His response to injustice we see His sacrificial love on display, His courage once again, His faithfulness and the glory of Christ revealed
      • In the case of Peter’s denial, we see His rejection of Christ in the face of persecution revealing his unfaithfulness, his cowardice, and doing everything to preserve himself through the telling of lies.

Transition: Let’s look first of all at;

The Unjust ridicule – John 18:12 – 14;19-24; I Peter 2:21-24

  • Jesus examination before Annas

John 18:12-13

12 So the band of soldiers and their captain and the officers of the Jews arrested Jesus and bound him. 13 First they led him to Annas, for he was the father-in-law of Caiaphas, who was high priest that year.

  • Again, there could have been as little as 200 or up to 600 Roman soldiers but the commanding office was definitely there as well as the temple police and the leaders of Judaism (Luke 22:52)
  • They formally charged Jesus and bound him to take him away as a prisoner to be put on trial
    • The offerings of God were sometimes bound before their sacrifice and Jesus was the Lamb of God bound for the ultimate sacrifice, one time for all mankind’s sins
      • Isaac was bound in Genesis 22:9 before Abraham prepared to sacrifice him, the promised one
      • According to Psalm 118:27, OT sacrifices were bound onto the altar at times
    • It seems interesting that they thought after witnessing the power of Jesus (their being driven to the ground and the healing of Malchus ear), that they thought their ropes or chains could contain the very Son of God. What was it that truly bound Jesus?? The very love He had for me and the love He had for you and all mankind
  • In verse 13, we see they take Jesus now bound to the home of Annas in the evening.
  • Who was Annas?
    • He was a former high priest at this point. He was appointed by Quirinius in 6 A.D. and served as high priest until 15 A.D.
    • High Priest’s usually served until they died according to Numbers 35:25, but Valerius Gratus who became the next Roman governor replaced Annas with his son-in-law Caiaphas. The high priest position was a political pawn in the eyes of Rome. If the high priest isn’t serving their purposes, they replaced him.
    • Yet, the Jews still looked at Annas as the supreme leader of Judaism and the most powerful figure in Jewish hierarchy
    • The Jews were very resentful toward the Roman government for removing Annas and meddling in their religious affairs
    • So, in the eyes of the Jewish nation, Annas and Caiaphas were co High Priest’s in their minds

Luke 3:2

During the high priesthood of Annas and Caiaphas, the word of God came to John the son of Zechariah in the wilderness

  • Annas was very proud, ambitious, and greedy
  • He would reject the people’s sacrifices or have his priests reject them so that they people would have to go out to the merchants in the outer court and purchase animals that would make Annas money
  • When the need for currency exchange took place for paying the temple tax, Annas imposed a surcharge to make money for himself
  • His reputation followed him as those who witnessed the merchandizing of sacrificial animals in the outer court called it the “Bazaar of Annas.”
  • Annas had a deep and special hatred for Jesus
    • Twice Jesus had come and turned over the tables in the outer court and drove the merchants and their merchandise out
    • It may be that the leaders brought Jesus to Annas first so he could gloat over the capture disturbing the Galileans.

In verse 14, we read

John 18:14

14 It was Caiaphas who had advised the Jews that it would be expedient that one man should die for the people.

  • Joseph Caiaphas was appointed the high priest from 18 A.D – 36 A.D when the Romans removed him as well.
  • He was one of the longest tenured priests in Jewish history
    • He was cunning and opportunistic
    • He made the infamous statement referred to here in verse 14

John 11:49 – 52

49 But one of them, Caiaphas, who was high priest that year, said to them, “You know nothing at all. 50 Nor do you understand that it is better for you that one man should die for the people, not that the whole nation should perish.” 51 He did not say this of his own accord, but being high priest that year he prophesied that Jesus would die for the nation, 52 and not for the nation only, but also to gather into one the children of God who are scattered abroad.

  • Caiaphas was also ruthless. He would even kill Jesus to preserve His and the Sanhedrin’s power.
  • Skip down to verse 19 of John 18 to follow the 2nd Act of Jesus interrogation.

John 18:19

19 The high priest then questioned Jesus about his disciples and his teaching.

  • Annas begins his interrogation
  • We see five trials that were convened that led to Jesus execution. Several of them were illegal because they were at night and not open to the public. They violated their own Jewish laws to execute Jesus. The planted false witnesses to testify. The fate of Jesus was pre-determined.
  • The purpose of the trials was to merely “put a veneer of legality on His murder.”
  • Annas was technically not a man of authority since he was not the high priest so he was interrogating Jesus illegally.
  • Annas goal was to get Jesus to testify and incriminate himself which was illegal under Jewish law as it is for prisoners being questioned in the US.
  • He was looking to uncover a crime that would make Jesus guilty of death
  • Look at verse 20. What a statement. Jesus is fully aware of his rights, appeals to them but does not demand them!!!



John 18:20 - 21

20 Jesus answered him, “I have spoken openly to the world. I have always taught in synagogues and in the temple, where all Jews come together. I have said nothing in secret. 21 Why do you ask me? Ask those who have heard me what I said to them; they know what I said.”

  • In verse 21, we see that Jesus challenges Annas.
    • Jesus exposes Annas hypocrisy by asking for him to present his case and produce witnesses. Jesus had taught openly but no one had arrested him before?

John 18:22-24

22 When he had said these things, one of the officers standing by struck Jesus with his hand, saying, “Is that how you answer the high priest?” 23 Jesus answered him, “If what I said is wrong, bear witness about the wrong; but if what I said is right, why do you strike me?” 24 Annas then sent him bound to Caiaphas the high priest.

  • One of the officers who was embarrassed by Jesus putting his master in his place, struck Jesus. This was illegal because he was to be corrected but not struck by their law.
  • Jesus said in verse 23, “If what I said is wrong, tell me what I said was wrong.” Jesus had perfect logic here.
  • Jesus maintains a calm attitude while being mistreated. He did not retaliate.
  • He merely wanted a fair trial but He was not going to get one.  

I Peter 2:21-23

21 For to this you have been called, because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example, so that you might follow in his steps. 22 He committed no sin, neither was deceit found in his mouth. 23 When he was reviled, he did not revile in return; when he suffered, he did not threaten, but continued entrusting himself to him who judges justly.

  • Annas knew he was getting nowhere with His questioning and he knew that only Caiaphas, the high priest, could bring legal charges against Jesus before Pilate so he ended his interrogation.
  • We will look at the remaining four trials briefly focusing for a moment on those not found in John’s Gospel. The two that have asterisks by them will be discussed in future messages since they are found in this Passion narrative.
  • Jesus examination before the Jewish Council - Mt 26:57–75; Mk 14:53–72; Lk 22:54–71; John 18:13–28
    • This was a crucial examination. It involved the Jewish leadership and led to Jesus being taken to the Romans This was not a trial but a gathering of evidence to take to Pilate
    • The Jews needed a political charge to take to Rome, although their own objections to Jesus were largely religious
    • The key part of this examination came when Jesus was asked if He was the Christ.
    • Luke’s version, unlike Matthew and Mark, simplifies the reply to the Son of Man and the right hand of God, because this is the core of the reply. Jesus was claiming that God would vindicate Him and give Him a place at God’s side in heaven. In fact, He would be given a place at God’s side as the Son of Man, the judge of the end. To Jewish ears, who believed in the unique glory of God, this claim struck them as the height of arrogance, even as blasphemous. No one could sit in God’s presence. Just look at the temple. The holy of holies was the only place for the unique presence of God. No one else was allowed in except for the high priest once a year to offer a sacrifice. And that holy place was only a picture of the presence of God. So what Jesus was claiming was worse than claiming that He would live in the holy of holies. The Jewish leadership labeled this as blasphemy, a religious violation Judaism saw as worthy of death, and confirmed that Jesus was claiming to be Israel’s king, a political charge they could take to Rome.
    • Of course, if Jesus is who He claimed to be and God did vindicate Him, then the Jewish judgment is wrong. This is one reason the resurrection is so important to Christianity. The resurrection was God’s vote in this dispute, showing that Jesus’ claim was vindicated.
    • The irony of this scene is that the charge that the Jewish leadership wanted so badly to get, they could not get with their witnesses. It was Jesus who supplied the testimony that led to His death. In a sense, Jesus took Himself to the cross by testifying to the truth.
    • Jesus examination before Pontus Pilate *
    • Jesus examination before Herod Antipas
      • This interrogation is not in the other Gospels because it was basically inconsequential. Herod was more interested in being entertained or bribed and Jesus was silent when examined. Jesus was mocked during this time. Herod returned Jesus to Pilate with a note that in his view Jesus was not guilty.
      • Jesus examination before Pontus Pilate and the people *
        • The overarching thought through these trials is to see the majestic calmness in the face of unjust treatment when He had all power, right and authority to bring judgment and put these people in their place.
        • But then, we would not have seen God’s full and complete demonstration of love for all of us on the cross. Redemption’s plan would have stopped here.
        • What injustices are you facing right now?
          • Working for a boss or company that has ethics and integrity issues and you have spoken up about it to no avail. People are moving up in the company taking advantage of the unethical environment?
          • Teacher showing favoritism to other students but not you
          • Standing up for what you believe has caused you problems at work or school
          • Telling someone in your family that they are living in immorality and God is not pleased with that. Or some other ethical behavior
  • What injustices are you holding onto from your past?  The hardest part is letting them go.
    • When we hold onto an injustice, hold a grudge against someone, it will affect us emotionally, it can affect us physically, certainly spiritually if after trying to reconcile all else fails. We must forgive and move on just like Jesus did.
    • Remember that verse is I Peter 2:23?

23 When he was reviled, he did not revile in return; when he suffered, he did not threaten, but continued entrusting himself to him who judges justly.

Application: How we respond to personal injustice reveals our level of Christian maturity.

Transition: Let’s look now at Peter fulfilling Jesus prediction of denying Him.

The Rejection of Jesus – John 18:15 – 18; 25 – 27; Matthew 26:69-75; Mark 14:66-72; Luke 22:32; 54–62

  • The shameful rejection of Jesus

John 18:15 – 16

15 Simon Peter followed Jesus, and so did another disciple. Since that disciple was known to the high priest, he entered with Jesus into the courtyard of the high priest, 16 but Peter stood outside at the door. So the other disciple, who was known to the high priest, went out and spoke to the servant girl who kept watch at the door, and brought Peter in.

  • After being so bold to stand up for Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane by cutting Malchus ear off, he is now running for his life with the other disciples.
  • He regains his composure and follows Jesus and the arresting party from a safe distance.
  • John is probably the other disciple mentioned here. Could be Nicodemus / Joseph of Arimathea. Whoever it was they were know by the high priest. John was a well-known merchant fisherman in the community. Whoever this disciple is they made sure Peter got in.
  • How would you answer the question posed to Peter in verse 17?

John 18:17

17 The servant girl at the door said to Peter, “You also are not one of this man's disciples, are you?” He said, “I am not.”

Illustration: The “N” in Mosul, Iraq

  • Peter slid right into the temptation to deny Jesus. Why?
    • Maybe he wasn’t accustomed to associating with rich and powerful people
    • Maybe it was an unfamiliar setting with an unexpected challenge
    • You and I must resist saying we will follow Jesus out of our emotions or self-confidence. Boasting we will follow Jesus in our own abilities and strengths can lead to failure.

Quote: “An unguarded strength is a double weakness.” - Scott Pearson

  • We are urged in Luke 14 to count the cost of being a disciple for Christ. It may cost us a life of comfort or our physical life. How committed are you to following Jesus?

 18 Now the servants and officers had made a charcoal fire, because it was cold, and they were standing and warming themselves. Peter also was with them, standing and warming himself.

  • To avoid further questions, Peter moves to the other side of the courtyard
  • The detail of the charcoal fire shows John was an eyewitness to this account. It was usually warm during the Passover days but cool or even cold at night so we know this is occurring in the evening
  • Peter was trying to blend in and not be conspicuous but that failed
  • It is ironic that Peter, like Judas a short time ago is standing with the enemy opposed to Jesus. Skip down to verse 25

25 Now Simon Peter was standing and warming himself. So they said to him, “You also are not one of his disciples, are you?” He denied it and said, “I am not.” 26 One of the servants of the high priest, a relative of the man whose ear Peter had cut off, asked, “Did I not see you in the garden with him?” 27 Peter again denied it.

  • Peter is questioned by one of Anna’s subordinates
  • Peter had a chance to boldly proclaim his faith in Christ for a second time but once again he denied Christ.
  • The repeated questioning of Peter raised the attention of a slave to the high priest who happened to be related to Malchus whose ear Peter had cut off.
    • Being a disciple of Jesus was not a crime but the cutting off of someone’s ear was a crime.
    • In verse 27, being panic stricken, Peter denies Christ for the third time just as Jesus predicted
  • At that point, Peter’s resistance broke down completely. He began to “curse and swear” (Matt. 26:74). - Wiersbe, W. W. (1996). The Bible exposition commentary (Vol. 1, p. 376). Wheaton, IL: Victor Books.
  • At that moment two things happened. The rooster crowed and Jesus looked at Peter according to Luke’s account of this story
  • Zeal without knowledge destroyed Peter in this moment. May it be a reminder to us.

I Corinthians 10:12

Therefore, let anyone who thinks that he stands take heed lest he fall.

  • The symbolism of the crowing of the rooster

John 18:27b

And at once a rooster crowed.

  • The call to Peter that God was in controlof the situation
    • The crowing of the rooster was assurance to Peter that Jesus was totally in control of the situation, even though He was bound and being harassed by the authorities - Wiersbe, W. W. (1996). The Bible exposition commentary (Vol. 1, p. 376). Wheaton, IL: Victor Books.
  • The call for Peter to repent
    • But the rooster crowing was also an invitation to repentance. Luke tells us that Jesus turned and looked at Peter, and this look of love broke Peter’s heart. Peter had been a witness of Christ’s sufferings and by his own denials he added to those sufferings. - Wiersbe, W. W. (1996). The Bible exposition commentary (Vol. 1, p. 376). Wheaton, IL: Victor Books.
  • The call to Peter that this was the dawning of a brand-newday
    • It was at that point that the rooster began to crow just as Jesus had predicted The crowing of the rooster reminded Peter of the Lord’s words, and he went out and wept bitterly. - Wiersbe, W. W. (1996). The Bible exposition commentary (Vol. 1, p. 376). Wheaton, IL: Victor Books.
    • Why does Mark’s Gospel account say the rooster crowed twice while the other three points to one time the rooster crowed? Do further study for yourself.
    • Keep in mind that the crowing of the rooster was the announcement of the dawning of a new day! It is worthwhile to contrast Peter and Judas. Peter wept over his sins and repented, while Judas admitted his sins but never really repented. Judas experienced remorse, not repentance. It is the contrast between godly sorrow that leads to true repentance, and the sorrow of the world (regret and remorse) that leads to death (2 Cor. 7:9–10). We will discover that Jesus restored Peter (John 21) and enabled him to serve with great power and blessing. - Wiersbe, W. W. (1996). The Bible exposition commentary (Vol. 1, p. 376). Wheaton, IL: Victor Books.

Application: How we respond when faced with the opportunity to turn from Jesus reveals our level of commitment to Christ?

Transition: Remember what I said at the very beginning of this message

Key Thought: Which will it be for you and I?

  • Submission in the face of injustice – Drink the cup of unimaginable suffering with grace prepared by the Father
  • Or rejection in the face of persecution? – Choose the sword for self - preservation

Three Questions to Ponder This Week

1.    How are we doing trusting God to make unjust things just in His time?

 “Paul’s idea of service was to pour his life out to the last drop for others. And whether he received praise or blame made no difference. As long as there was one human being who did not know Jesus, Paul felt a debt of service to that person until he did come to know Him. But the chief motivation behind Paul’s service was not love for others but love for his Lord. If our devotion is to the cause of humanity, we will be quickly defeated and broken-hearted, since we will often be confronted with a great deal of ingratitude from other people. But if we are motivated by our love for God, no amount of ingratitude will be able to hinder us from serving one another.

Paul’s understanding of how Christ had dealt with him is the secret behind his determination to serve others. “I was formerly a blasphemer, a persecutor, and an insolent man…” (1 Timothy 1:13). In other words, no matter how badly others may have treated Paul, they could never have treated him with the same degree of spite and hatred with which he had treated Jesus Christ. Once we realize that Jesus has served us even to the depths of our meagerness, our selfishness, and our sin, nothing we encounter from others will be able to exhaust our determination to serve others for His sake.” – Oswald Chambers – My Utmost for His Highest – February 23rd – The Determination to Serve  

  • EGR Christians / People

 2.    Do we have the depth of commitment to stay strong in our faith when faced with personal injustice and persecution for our faith?

Let’s Pray