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John 18 Reading Guide

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Chapter Summary

  • v1-11 - Isn't it beautifully ironic how Judas knew where to find Jesus? John writes, "Judas knew the place because Jesus had often met there with His disciples (v2)."

    • Jesus' habit of pulling Himself and the disciples away from the crowds for times of silence & prayer was so strong, Judas could literally bank on it.

    • The ambush didn't surprise Jesus at all.

      • Jesus gives His final I AM statement here.

        • I AM is the name that God Almighty gave to Himself when He spoke to Moses from the burning bush.

        • There's power in this name, because immediately after Jesus says it, the entire brute squad sent to drag Him in fell down.

    • Peter, in a feeble attempt to defend the great I AM, pulls out a dagger and cuts a guy's ear off.

      • Jesus puts an end to the violence and accepts the cup the Father has placed before Him.

  • v12-18 - Jesus is hauled off to the father-in-law of the high priest.

    • Peter and John are the only two disciples who don't instantly flee.

    • Peter has to wait outside in the cold, and as Jesus predicted, Peter begins to deny Him.

  • v19-24 - The kangaroo court begins to question Jesus, but whatever integrity it had collapses right away when a member of the establishment slaps Jesus for answering.

  • v25-27 - John cuts back to the scene in the courtyard, where Peter denies Jesus two more times. John, in his profoundly simple writing style, acknowledges that "at that moment, the rooster began to crow (v27)."

  • v28-40 - Finally, Jesus is hauled before the Roman governor Pilate. The Jewish establishment wanted to execute Jesus, but in yet one more twist of irony, the people of God needed Roman permission to execute the Son of God.

    • Pilate asks Jesus one of the most profound questions ever asked in v38:

What is truth?
  • This is actually the perfect question for Pilate to ask of Jesus, and John is the perfect gospel writer to record Pilate asking it. Look at this word search done using BibleGateway. The Bible uses the word 'truth' 137 times, and 42 of those times (31%) come in a book John wrote. It's very clear that one of John's purposes in writing a gospel narrative and three letters (not to mention the book of Revelation), is to answer Pilate's question.

    • The tragedy is that Pilate asks this massive question to the single most qualified man in all of history to answer it, and then Pilate turns his back on Jesus and walks out before Jesus can give him the answer.

    • Pilate's question is hugely relevant in today's culture. Most people today would state that there is no such thing as absolute truth, rather, each person defines truth in their own way. After reading all of the verses in John's gospel referring to the Truth using the BibleGateway link above, how would you respond to Pilate's important question?

  • Ultimately, the Jewish people trade Jesus for Barabbas.

    • John mentions that Barabbas led a rebellion.

    • Once again, the irony is evident.

      • Jesus came to reconcile rebellious men,

      • but yet the rebellious men He came to save traded Him for a rebel.

OLD TESTAMENT REFERENCE: Jesus told Pilate that His kingdom was not of this world. Daniel 2:44 gives a really short foretaste of what the Kingdom of God will be like.


Use the comment box below to discuss one or more of these questions:

  1. EYE FOR DETAIL—From what you recall seeing in this chapter, try answering the following question without looking at your Bible: After Jesus was arrested and bound, who did the soldiers take Him to first? (See verse 12.)

  2. How do you think Jesus would have answered Pilate's question of "What is truth?" if Pilate would have waited for an answer?

Question 1 taken from The Complete Bible Discussion Guide: New Testament

Follow the AAA Prayer Pattern:

  • ACKNOWLEDGE WHO GOD IS: God who has named Himself I AM WHO I AM (v5-6, Exodus 3:14)

  • ALIGN YOUR LIFE WITH GOD'S WILL: Ask God to keep you firmly rooted in the Truth as presented in His Word.



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