Jesus Loved Them to the End: Arrest and Crucifixion

Week 18 John 18-19

(Link to Outline of John) (Link to the first lesson of Gems in John)

John’s Theme: John 20:31 … these are written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.

Events of Chapters 18-19

I. Arrest in the Garden (18:1-12)

A. Judas’ betrayal (18:2-3)

B. Peter’s use of the sword (18:10-11)

C. Jesus’ defense of his disciples (18:4-9)

II. Appearance before the High Priests (18:13-27)

A. Annas and Peter’s first denial of knowing Jesus (18:13-23)

B. Caiaphus and Peter’s second and third denials of knowing Jesus (18:24-27)

III. Appearance before the Secular Roman Governor Pilate and Pilate’s Intense Struggle to Free Jesus (18:28-19:16)

A. Outside his headquarters to hear the charges against Jesus in the presence of the Jewish leaders (18:29-32)

B. Inside his headquarters to question Jesus alone (18:33-38a)

C. Outside again to bargain with the religerati, the religious leaders, away from Jesus (18:38b-40)

1. Pilate declares Jesus innocent and seeks to release him in (18:38b-39)

2. The Jewish religious leaders cry out for Barabbas the robber instead (18:40)

D. Pilate punishes Jesus

1. flogging by the soldiers (19:1)

2. mocking and scorn by the soldiers (19:2-3)

E. More negotiations (19:4-12)

1. Pilate announces to religious leaders that he is bringing Jesus out to them, having found no basis for a charge against him (vs 4)

2. Jesus appears wearing the crown of thorns and purple robe, having just been flogged by the Roman soldiers (vs 5)

ESV  John 19:5 So Jesus came out, wearing the crown of thorns and the purple robe. Pilate said to them, “Behold the man!”


3. The religerati cry “Crucify!” while Pilate insists he finds no basis for a charge against him (vs 6)

4. The religerati name the Jewish crime of claiming to be the Son of God (vs 7)

5. Back inside his palace with Jesus present with him, Pilate is intimidated by the regal bearing and authoritative statements of Christ (vss 8-11)

6. Back outside, Pilate attempts again to set Jesus free, but the religious leaders will have none of it. They accuse Pilate of being no friend of Caesar. (vs 12)

F. Pilate pronounces judgment against Jesus (vss 13-16)

1. Afraid for himself, Pilate gives in, sits on the judge’s seat (vs 13)

2. He still gives opportunity to the leaders to change their minds (vss 14-15)

3. The religerati’s argument boils down to Caesar being king; to free Christ would be to offend Caesar (vs 15)

4. Finally, Pilate weakens utterly and hands Jesus over to the Jewish religious leaders to be crucified (vs 16a)

III. The Crucifixion (vss 16b-27)

1. The soldiers take Jesus away from Pilate’s palace carrying his own cross to The Place of a Skull, also called Golgotha (vs 16a)

2. They crucified him with two others (vs 17)

3. Pilate writes “Jesus of Nazareth, the King of the Jews” on a sign fastened above Jesus’ head, overriding the protests of the religerati (vss 19-22)

4. The soldiers divide Jesus’ garments among themselves, fulfilling an Old Testament scripture (vss 23-24)

5. Three women named Mary and John, “the disciple whom Jesus loved,” stood near the cross, while Jesus assigned the care of his mother Mary to the disciple (vss 25-27)

IV. Jesus Dies (19:28-37)

1. Jesus says, “I thirst.” (vs 28)

New English Translation Notes. BibleWorks 9 Software for Biblical Exegesis & Research. Norfolk, VA: BibleWorks, 2011.

2. Having received a bit of sour wine, Jesus says, “It is finished,” bows his head, and dies (vss 29-30)

3. The soldiers come by and break the legs of the two men crucified with Christ, but Jesus’ legs they do not break. Instead, one of the soldiers pierces his side with his sword, and immediately blood and water flows out. Two Old Testament prophecies are thus fulfilled: Exodus 12:46 and Psalm 34:20 (vss 31-37)

V. The Burial (19:38-42)

Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus (See Nicodemus in Week 4, John 3), both prominent Jewish men of standing, take Jesus’ body, wrap it with spices and linen, and place it in a freshly hewn, never used tomb near the site of the crucifixion.

Approaches to the Text for Helping the Reader Understand

I. Interpretive Principles

A. Author’s Intent

1. It is a general principle of reading, taught as early as second grade, that readers need to be aware of 1) the genre of any piece of written material, and 2) the author’s intent, or purpose in writing.

a. The genre of John is a gospel circular, as are all the Gospels.

b. What distinguishes John’s gospel from the other three are his specific purposes, just as each of the other gospel writers in turn had their own specific purposes.

c. John himself states 1) his overall purpose for his entire book, and 2) his immediate purpose for chapters 13-19.

1) John gives his overall purpose near the end of his writing.

John 20:31 … these are written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.

2) John gives his immediate purpose at the beginning of the Upper Room record of events and Jesus’ last discourse and prayer.

John 13:1 Now before the Feast of the Passover, when Jesus knew that his hour had come to depart out of this world to the Father, having loved his own who were in the world, he loved them to the end.

B. Context

1. John’s distant and near contexts control his choice of details to accomplish his purposes.

a. John’s ultimate context is everything in his account so far, which all shows how Jesus is God’s Son, sent to love the world.

b. John’s near context begins in the Upper Room as quoted just above.

I have found that reading Chapters 13-19 straight through as a single unit, a continuous narrative, highlights the demonstration of Jesus’ tender and gentle love for his own and his command of all that is happening around him.

2. John’s concern is to display Jesus, to tell-him-forth (John 1:18), as it were. Jesus is his main character and the central figure throughout. John never deviates from keeping Jesus in the spotlight at all times.

a. For example, John relates Judas’ betrayal very simply in two brief verses. He mentions none of the Synoptic Gospels’ account of the betrayal-by-kiss method that Judas chose. John relates enough to demonstrate that Jesus’ foreknowledge and announcement of the betrayal event to the disciples in the Upper Room had been fulfilled, yet no more, for this is Jesus’ story, not Judas’s. Likewise, Jesus’ love is displayed in that Judas was at the table among the twelve when Jesus stooped to wash the disciples’ feet. Jesus demonstrates God’s selfless love by washing the feet of the man whom he knows will betray him.

b. Likewise, John’s relating of Peter’s drawing the sword and cutting off the high priest’s servant’s ear is simple and concise. The details demonstrate Peter’s sincerity of heart when he stated in John 13:37, “Lord…I will lay down my life for you,” yet this is Jesus’ story, not Peter’s. Therefore, John chooses to omit the long narrative that Luke includes about the two swords (Luke 22:35-38 and 48-52). Even though John adds credence to his first-hand account by mentioning the servant’s name (John, as an acquaintance of the high priest, {John 18:16}, is the only gospel write who includes the servant’s name), he doesn’t mention the healing. He gives only enough detail to 1) demonstrate Peter’s heart of loyalty, 2) establish credibility for his authority as writer in order to help the reader believe in Christ, and 3) to show the fulfillment of scripture, which helps the reader to conclude that God has foreknowledge and command of the entire situation.

c. A similar motif of John’s use of brief details as concerns the other actors in the narrative occurs in Peter’s three denials. Matthew (Matthew 26:69-75), Mark (Mark 14:54; 15:66-72), and Luke (Luke 22:54-62) include many details about the event, such as Peter’s own subjective response to his actions, while John records only enough details to show that the event occurred (John 18:17-18, 25-27). John’s account serves to demonstrate the truthfulness of Jesus’ prior foreknowledge in his Upper Room prophecy (John 13:38) without removing the spotlight for very long from Jesus himself. Jesus’ foreknowledge of Peter’s denial also adds to the convincing nature of Jesus’ love for his own.

II. Conclusion

Therefore, in light of the above, as the reader considers John’s account of Jesus’ arrest, trial, crucifixion, death, and burial, it is helpful to remember that John’s ultimate aim is to help the reader believe in Jesus as the Son of God. He includes material and only includes material that demonstrates Jesus’ and God’s own prior knowledge and control of the situation within the realm of love.

III. Application of the Prior Suggestions

As you read, try to notice and reply to the following questions:

1. Which verses demonstrate fulfillment of Jesus’ prior statements in the Upper Room concerning events that would happen?

2. Which show fulfillment of Old Testament prophecies?

3. Which verses about Jesus’ arrest show his control and command of the entire situation?

4. How does Jesus behave during his questioning by the high priest? How does his behavior indicate his control?

5. How do Jesus’ several  dialogues with Pilate indicate that God was the author of the Crucifixion and that Jesus through the Father is in complete control, even the outcome of Pilate’s choices?

6. How does the narrative as a whole and in specific parts demonstrate God’s love for people? As you answer, consider the world, Jesus’ own band, and Jesus’ own family?


I’d be interested to learn if my suggested approach to reading John by keeping his own purposes and contexts forefront in your mind as you read are at all helpful for you. I welcome any comments you may wish to leave below in the comment box. You can sign in through your Word Press account, through Facebook, or through Google (such as through your g-mail address. All this information is private and kept private–I do not even see it. I will only see your comments.

We have one more week to go, Lord willing. I have really enjoyed taking this journey with you, as I have been greatly blessed by studying John up close. This is not something I would have done on my own. Therefore, I wish to thank Norma, Michele, and Linda in particular for the accountability our weekly meetings have afforded me. Your diligence, great listening skills, and hungry appetites have put me to shame. Thank you all so very, very much for giving me this awesome opportunity to go through this Scripture with you. Thanks also to the Word Press readers who read and like these studies. Such feedback offers encouragement to press on and prayer support in doing so.





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