The action moves quickly in these chapters. Jesus and the disciples head to a garden just outside Jerusalem, where a band of soldiers, led by Judas, intercepts them. Jesus is then led before the High Priests and Pharisees, then to Pilate, then to the Place of the Skull.
I’ve noted before how John lets his emotions show when he speaks of Judas, and he takes one more shot in chapter 18. He also enters a jab at the Jewish leadership by calling Caiaphas “High Priest That Year.”
A little background is fitting: You know from the law that the high priesthood was a lifetime appointment, passing down from Aaron to Eleazar and so forth. Annas had served as High Priest and had been deposed by the Roman government. However, it was an open secret that he maintained power as his sons, and son-in-law Caiaphas, rotated through the high priesthood. John uses the “High Priest That Year” title to call attention to the corrupt power structure in Jerusalem and to the priest’s own violations of Moses’ law.
The story seems to pivot around a private conversation between Jesus and Pilate. As He has so many times with the Jewish leaders, Jesus allows obvious facts to witness on his behalf: “If my kingdom were of this world, my servants would have been fighting, that I might not be delivered over to the Jews.”
Whether impressed, or fearful, or both, Pilate tries twice to release Him, but the Jews would have none of it. John allows the weight of evidence to fall against the Jewish leadership, for their failure to accept what the Samaritan woman, the blind man, and this Roman governor could see.
So they took Jesus, and He went out, bearing His own cross.
Listen as the Scriptures are remembered foretelling the events of this day… Notice the sparsity of dialogue in a Gospel that has been nothing but… Find Jesus’ mother, whose name escapes this Gospel, last seen at Cana, here at the last. And listen finally for the name of one who once was thought to be lost, but who might now be found.
Our verse for this week is John 3:19: “And this is the judgment: the light has come into the world, and people loved the darkness rather than the light because their works were evil."
John chapters 18 and 19. Now let’s read it!
And this is the judgment: the light has come into the world, and people loved the darkness rather than the light because their works were evil.