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John - Chapter 18:21-40        

Memory verses for this week:   Psa 37:39  But the salvation of the righteous is of the LORD: he is their strength in the time of trouble..  

Introduction:   In our last week’s study, we saw Jesus betrayed by Judas Iscariot as the soldiers come in the middle of night with swords and torches to take him away bound.  But as we mentioned last week, no one could have taken him had it not been that He willingly went.   He could have called a legion of angels to his defense, but He went so that me could die on the Cross to pay the penalty for our sins.

I.       The Denial

John 18:21  Why askest thou me? ask them which heard me, what I have said unto them: behold, they know what I said.

John 18:22  And when he had thus spoken, one of the officers which stood by struck Jesus with the palm of his hand, saying, Answerest thou the high priest so?

 Jesus is answering the truth, but the officers, one of the Jews, a man that made up the temple police, takes Jesus’ answer as demeaning to the high priest.   He takes the palm of his hand and strikes Jesus.   Can you imagine being the one who struck the creator of heaven and earth?  I know he did not understand and comprehend that this was God incarnate in the flesh before him, but what a horrible thing to do.   And if that man one day saw Jesus for who He truly was and repented of His sins, then he will be in Heaven with us that know Christ as Savior.  If not, he will only be remembered as the officer who struck our Savior for telling the truth.   Many had heard Jesus teach and preach in the temple, and they knew what He had said and taught.  He always opened the scriptures and expounded them to them in a more excellent way. 

No one ever taught and understood the Word of God like Jesus. 

Luke 4:16  And he came to Nazareth, where he had been brought up: and, as his custom was, he went into the synagogue on the sabbath day, and stood up for to read.

Luke 4:17  And there was delivered unto him the book of the prophet Esaias. And when he had opened the book, he found the place where it was written,

Luke 4:18  The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised,

Luke 4:19  To preach the acceptable year of the Lord.

Luke 4:20  And he closed the book, and he gave it again to the minister, and sat down. And the eyes of all them that were in the synagogue were fastened on him.

Luke 4:21  And he began to say unto them, This day is this scripture fulfilled in your ears.

Luke 4:22  And all bare him witness, and wondered at the gracious words which proceeded out of his mouth. And they said, Is not this Joseph's son?


John 18:23  Jesus answered him, If I have spoken evil, bear witness of the evil: but if well, why smitest thou me?

John 18:24  Now Annas had sent him bound unto Caiaphas the high priest. 

I think it is interesting that the high priest did not reprimand the officer for striking our Lord.   And most likely it was because it please him.  We know that Jesus was willingly laying His life down for you and I that we might have salvation.   But he does call to their attention that what they are doing is illegal and contrary to the very Mosaic Law that they so highly esteemed.  They have no witness that He has done evil, and yet they smite Him.  They are the ones who are breaking the law.   What was wrong with this?  First, you were to have no trial that began at night nor ended at night.  A trial was not to begin and end on the same day either.  And they certainly were not allowed to strike a prisoner who had not yet been found guilty.    Jesus answered the man and asks for an answer… “If I have spoken evil, bear witness of the evil..”   He had not ever spoken or done evil, but all through his ministry he was accused of doing wrong and being empowered by Satan himself.  But Jesus was from God, and always spoke the truth. 

Mark 3:22  And the scribes which came down from Jerusalem said, He hath Beelzebub, and by the prince of the devils casteth he out devils.

Mark 3:23  And he called them unto him, and said unto them in parables, How can Satan cast out Satan?

Mark 3:24  And if a kingdom be divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand.

Mark 3:25  And if a house be divided against itself, that house cannot stand.

Mark 3:26  And if Satan rise up against himself, and be divided, he cannot stand, but hath an end.

 We see Annas had sent Jesus bound unto this high priest, Caiaphas, which we read about last week that wanted one to die that the whole nation not perish.  In his mind, Jesus was a great evil one that stood against organized religion, and he needed to be stopped.

 John 18:25  And Simon Peter stood and warmed himself. They said therefore unto him, Art not thou also one of his disciples? He denied it, and said, I am not.

John 18:26  One of the servants of the high priest, being his kinsman whose ear Peter cut off, saith, Did not I see thee in the garden with him?

John 18:27  Peter then denied again: and immediately the cock crew. 

If you study the other accounts of the Gospel, you see that Peter went out and wept bitterly.   Most likely, when Jesus was taken out, he caught a glimpse of the bloody face where those had beaten and abused Christ.   And perhaps Jesus looked over at Peter to remind Him how that earlier He had warned him that he would deny Jesus three times before the night was over.   While Peter was denying Jesus, Christ was fulfilling the very things it took for Peter to have forgiveness of those sins that he transgressed against the Holy One.   And praise God, even after all this failure, it was Peter that God chose to preach one of the greatest messages ever in a few short days on the day of Pentecost.  Even when we fail the Lord miserably, when we come back in true repentance, God is always there to take us back and use us.   What a wonderful Savior we have. 

John 13:37  Peter said unto him, Lord, why cannot I follow thee now? I will lay down my life for thy sake.

John 13:38  Jesus answered him, Wilt thou lay down thy life for my sake? Verily, verily, I say unto thee, The cock shall not crow, till thou hast denied me thrice. 

Mat 26:33  Peter answered and said unto him, Though all men shall be offended because of thee, yet will I never be offended.

Mat 26:34  Jesus said unto him, Verily I say unto thee, That this night, before the cock crow, thou shalt deny me thrice.

Mat 26:35  Peter said unto him, Though I should die with thee, yet will I not deny thee. Likewise also said all the disciples.


Mat 26:69  Now Peter sat without in the palace: and a damsel came unto him, saying, Thou also wast with Jesus of Galilee.

Mat 26:70  But he denied before them all, saying, I know not what thou sayest.

Mat 26:71  And when he was gone out into the porch, another maid saw him, and said unto them that were there, This fellow was also with Jesus of Nazareth.

Mat 26:72  And again he denied with an oath, I do not know the man.

Mat 26:73  And after a while came unto him they that stood by, and said to Peter, Surely thou also art one of them; for thy speech bewrayeth thee.

Mat 26:74  Then began he to curse and to swear, saying, I know not the man. And immediately the cock crew.

Mat 26:75  And Peter remembered the word of Jesus, which said unto him, Before the cock crow, thou shalt deny me thrice. And he went out, and wept bitterly.


Luke 22:59  And about the space of one hour after another confidently affirmed, saying, Of a truth this fellow also was with him: for he is a Galilaean.

Luke 22:60  And Peter said, Man, I know not what thou sayest. And immediately, while he yet spake, the cock crew.

Luke 22:61  And the Lord turned, and looked upon Peter. And Peter remembered the word of the Lord, how he had said unto him, Before the cock crow, thou shalt deny me thrice.

Luke 22:62  And Peter went out, and wept bitterly. 


II.  The Trial of Jesus 

John 18:28  Then led they Jesus from Caiaphas unto the hall of judgment: and it was early; and they themselves went not into the judgment hall, lest they should be defiled; but that they might eat the passover.

John 18:29  Pilate then went out unto them, and said, What accusation bring ye against this man?

John 18:30  They answered and said unto him, If he were not a malefactor, we would not have delivered him up unto thee.

We see the epitome of hypocrisy here in the Jews leading Christ to the judgment hall, but being unwilling to go in since they were keeping themselves pure for the passover.   Who was the sacrifice that allows our sins to be forgiven?   Jesus Christ of course.  He is our passover, the way that God passes over our sins and puts the penalty wholly on Christ.  The Just who died for the unjust.     J. Vernon McGee had these words to say about these verses. 

“There is quite an interesting byplay here that I want you to see.  Here we see “religion” and the person of Jesus Christ side by side.  Here is the One who has come to fulfill the Passover.  He is going to die on the Cross because they are bringing the death sentence against Him.  But because they want to eat the Passover, these men won’t go inside the judgment hall.  That would pollute them.  They will not do that.  Are they meticulously religious?  Yet they are plotting the death of the very One who is the fulfillment of the Passover!  My friend, how this should cause you to search your heart at this time.  Are you merely religious or are you joined to the Lord Jesus Christ?  There is another interesting byplay to watch here.  The Jews absolutely would not go into the judgment hall and thus contaminate themselves, but they brought Jesus to be taken into the judgment hall to be tried.” 

Everyone of us needs to examine the motives for why we do what we do.   Are we serving God in righteous and truth, or are we just here to make ourselves feel a little bit better about our failures.  Maybe we want others to see us serving God.   If any reason we are here other than to honor and glorify the Lord, our motives are wrong.   And if we are so set in our ways and our little lists that people have to measure up to, how can we be used of the Lord?   We need to forget about worrying about everyone else measuring up, and be certain that we are pure and clean in our own hearts before God.  If we can only please one, that one should be God.   How do we please Him?  By following the commandments, and doing those things that He would have us to do.   As the missionary Buddy Woolbright said in Wednesday nights service, there is no safer place in the world to be than right in the perfect place of service that God would have us to be.   If it is here in our town, or in the remotest area of Africa, God will protect and provide. 

Mat 7:1  Judge not, that ye be not judged.

Mat 7:2  For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again.

Mat 7:3  And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother's eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye?

Mat 7:4  Or how wilt thou say to thy brother, Let me pull out the mote out of thine eye; and, behold, a beam is in thine own eye?

Mat 7:5  Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother's eye.  


John 18:31  Then said Pilate unto them, Take ye him, and judge him according to your law. The Jews therefore said unto him, It is not lawful for us to put any man to death:

John 18:32  That the saying of Jesus might be fulfilled, which he spake, signifying what death he should die.

John 18:33  Then Pilate entered into the judgment hall again, and called Jesus, and said unto him, Art thou the King of the Jews? 

Pilate does not seem to want to have to deal with Jesus at all.  He goes in and he comes out.  He asks question after question, and finds no fault in Christ.  I think Pilate clearly sensed that something was wrong.  He tells them to judge Jesus themselves.  But they tell him that it was not lawful for them to put Jesus to death, so they want Pilate to do it.  We know earlier in our study that Jesus had prophesied that the Jewish religious rulers would condemn Him to death and deliver Him over to the Gentiles.   According to the old law, the Jews would had to have stoned him to death.  But according to prophecy, Jesus was to be crucified. 

Pilate asks him if he was the King of the Jews? 

John 18:34  Jesus answered him, Sayest thou this thing of thyself, or did others tell it thee of me?

John 18:35  Pilate answered, Am I a Jew? Thine own nation and the chief priests have delivered thee unto me: what hast thou done?

John 18:36  Jesus answered, 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. 

Pilate would like to help Jesus, but he does not seem to know how.   Jesus questions how that Pilate knew He was the king?   Pilate is in the middle, and says that even his own nation have delivered Him up to be condemned.   Jesus once again answers with truth that is hard for Pilate to understand… “My kingdom is not of this world… “  One day, in the millennial kingdom, Jesus will finally take His proper throne as the king of the Jewish nation.  He will one day sit on the throne of David.  But not now, not at this time.  The Jews are against Christ. 

John 18:37  Pilate therefore said unto him, Art thou a king then? Jesus answered, Thou sayest that I am a king. To this end was I born, and for this cause came I into the world, that I should bear witness unto the truth. Every one that is of the truth heareth my voice.

John 18:38  Pilate saith unto him, What is truth? And when he had said this, he went out again unto the Jews, and saith unto them, I find in him no fault at all. 

We know that Jesus is calling out people for His name today which make up the church.  But the church will not be the kingdom either.  When He takes us out of this world, and comes back, Jesus will establish His kingdom.   Pilate asks what is truth?   Jesus is truth.  The Word of God, which is synonymous with Christ is truth.  Jesus is the Word, and the Word is truth.   When he returns to the people, Pilate honestly and truthfully says “I find in him no fault at all.”   The reason was because there was no sin, no fault, never a bad thing in Jesus’ life.   And because of that, the world hated Him even more.   And the world despises Christians today, because we stand on those truths that Jesus taught and established. 

John 18:39  But ye have a custom, that I should release unto you one at the passover: will ye therefore that I release unto you the King of the Jews?

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

So because of tradition, Pilate could release someone at the passover.  There were two there condemned already.   Jesus who had done no wrong, and Barabbas, who was a robber   So Pilate asked which would the people have released.  The leaders had stirred up the people to be against Jesus,  and they cried out… Barabbas.    How horrible that the one who loved them the most was the one that was condemned to the Cross.  

Pilate knew that Jesus was innocent.   In Matthew, we have these words: 

Mat 27:17  Therefore when they were gathered together, Pilate said unto them, Whom will ye that I release unto you? Barabbas, or Jesus which is called Christ?

Mat 27:18  For he knew that for envy they had delivered him.

Mat 27:19  When he was set down on the judgment seat, his wife sent unto him, saying, Have thou nothing to do with that just man: for I have suffered many things this day in a dream because of him.

Mat 27:20  But the chief priests and elders persuaded the multitude that they should ask Barabbas, and destroy Jesus.

Mat 27:21  The governor answered and said unto them, Whether of the twain will ye that I release unto you? They said, Barabbas.

Mat 27:22  Pilate saith unto them, What shall I do then with Jesus which is called Christ? They all say unto him, Let him be crucified.

Mat 27:23  And the governor said, Why, what evil hath he done? But they cried out the more, saying, Let him be crucified. 


Internet Bible Studies are prepared and distributed free of charge.  The lessons may not be sold without consent.   If you have questions or wish to discuss the lessons, or possibly need help in finding Jesus Christ as your Personal Lord and Savior, contact David Parham at 940-322-4343.


Prov 4:18  But the path of the just is as the shining light, that shineth more and more unto the perfect day. 

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