ACCORDING TO JOHN
With people, places, definitions ...
Part 2 of 2, chapters 12-21
TOWARDS THE END (Spring c AD30)
THE ANOINTING OF JESUS AT BETHANY
(also Matthew 26:6-13; Mark 14:3-9)
John 12:1-8 - Six days before the Passover, Jesus came to Bethany, the village of Lazarus whom he had raised from the dead (in John's account, the anointing takes place before Jesus makes his triumphal entry into Jerusalem). They gave a supper for him there, and Martha (sister of Mary and Lazarus) waited on the party while Lazarus took his place at table with Jesus. Then Mary took a whole pound of very expensive perfume and anointed Jesus' feet and then wiped them with her hair. The entire house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume. But one of his disciples, Judas Iscariot (the man who was going to betray Jesus), burst out, "Why on earth wasn't this perfume sold? It's worth thirty pounds, which could have been given to the poor!"
He said this, not because he cared about the poor, but because he was dishonest, and when he was in charge of the purse used to help himself to the contents.
But Jesus replied to this outburst, "Let her alone, let her keep this for the day of my burial. You have the poor with you always - you will not always have me!"
THE PLOT TO KILL LAZARUS AS WELL
John 12:9-11 - The large crowd of Jews discovered that he (Jesus) was there (in Bethany where he was anointed with perfume) and came to the scene - not only because of Jesus but to catch sight of Lazarus, the man whom he had raised from the dead. Then the chief priests planned to kill Lazarus as well, because he was the reason for many of the Jews' going away and putting their faith in Jesus.
THE FINAL ENTRY OF JESUS INTO JERUSALEM
(also Matthew 21:1-11; Mark 11:1-11; Luke 19:28-44)
John 12:12-19 - The next day (after Jesus had been anointed at Bethany in John's account), the great crowd who had come to the festival (the Passover) heard that Jesus was coming into Jerusalem, and went to meet him with palm branches in their hands, shouting, "God save him!
'Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord' (Psalm 118:26),
God bless the king of Israel!"
For Jesus had found a young ass and was seated upon it, just as the scripture foretold -
'Fear not, daughter of Zion: behold, your king is coming, sitting on a donkey's colt' (Zechariah 9:9).
(The disciples did not realise the significance of what was happening at the time, but when Jesus was glorified, then they recollected that these things had been written about him and that they had carried them out for him.)
The people who had been with him, when he had summoned Lazarus from the grave and raised him from the dead, were continually talking about him. This accounts for the crowd who went out to meet him, for they had heard that he had given this sign. Seeing all this, the Pharisees remarked to one another, "You see? - There's nothing one can do! The whole world is running after him."
AS MANY JEWS REJECT JESUS, SO OTHERS REACH OUT TO HIM
John 12:20-50 - (In John's account, Jesus has just made his triumphal entry into Jerusalem ....) Among those who had come up to worship at the (Passover) festival were some Greeks. They approached Philip (the apostle - whose home town was Bethsaida in Galilee) with the request, "Sir, we want to see Jesus."
Philip went and told Andrew, and Andrew went with Philip and told Jesus.
Jesus told them, "The time has come for the Son of Man to be glorified. I tell you truly that unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains a single grain of wheat; but if it does, it brings a good harvest. The man who loves his own life will destroy it, and the man who hates his life in this world will preserve it for eternal life. If a man wants to enter my service, he must follow my way; and where I am, my servant will also be. And my Father will honour every man who enters my service.
"Now comes my hour of heart-break, and what can I say, 'Father, save me from this hour'? No, it was for this very purpose that I came to this hour. 'Father, honour your own name!'"
At this there came a voice from Heaven, "I have honoured it and I will honour it again!"
When the crowd of bystanders heard this, they said it thundered, but some of them said, "An angel spoke to him."
Then Jesus said, "That voice came for your sake, not for mine. Now is the time for the judgment of this world to begin, and now will the spirit that rules this world (the devil or Satan) be driven out. As for me, if I am lifted up from the earth (in crucifixion), I will draw all men to myself." (He said this to show the kind of death he was going to die.)
Then the crowd said, "We have heard from the Law that Christ lives for ever. How can you say that the Son of Man must be 'lifted up'? Who is this Son of Man?"
At this, Jesus said to them, "You have the light with you only a little while longer. Go on while the light is good, before the darkness come down upon you. For the man who walks in the dark has no idea where he is going. You must believe in the light while you have the light, that you may become the sons of light."
Jesus said all these things, and then went away, out of their sight. But though he had given so many signs, yet they did not believe in him, so that the prophecy of Isaiah was fulfilled, when he said,
'Lord, who has believed our report? And to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed?' (Isaiah 53:1)
Thus, they could not believe, and he hardened their heart:
'He has blinded their eyes and hardened their heart, lest they should see with their eyes and understand with their heart, lest they should turn, so that I should heal them' (Isaiah 6:10).
Isaiah said these things because he saw the glory of Christ, and spoke about him. Nevertheless, many even of the (Jewish religious) authorities did believe in him. But they would not admit it for fear of the Pharisees, in case they should be excommunicated. They were more concerned to have the approval of men than to have the approval of God.
But later, Jesus cried aloud, "Every man who believes in me, is believing in the one (God) who sent me; and every man who sees me is seeing the one who sent me. I have come into the world as light, so that no one who believes in me need remain in the dark. Yet, if anyone hears my sayings and does not keep them, I do not judge him - for I did not come to judge the world but to save it. Every man who rejects me and will not accept my sayings has a judge - at the last day, the very words that I have spoken will be his judge. For I have not spoken on my own authority: the Father who sent me has commanded me what to say and what to speak. And I know that what he commands means eternal life. All that I say I speak only in accordance with what the Father has told me."
THE LAST SUPPER
(also Matthew 26:17-29; Mark 14:12-25; Luke 22:7-30; 1 Corinthians 11:23-25)
John 13:1-30 - Before the festival of the Passover began, Jesus realised that the time had come for him to leave this world and return to the Father. He had loved those who were his own in this world and he loved them to the end. By supper-time, the devil had already put the thought of betraying Jesus in the mind of Judas Iscariot, Simon's son. Jesus, with the full knowledge that the Father had put everything into his hands and that he had come from God and was going to God, rose from the supper-table, took off his outer clothes, picked up a towel and fastened it round his waist. Then he poured water into the basin and began to wash the disciples' feet and to dry them with the towel around his waist.
So he came to Simon Peter, who said to him, "Lord, are you going to wash my feet?"
"You do not realise now what I am doing," replied Jesus, "but later on you will understand."
Then Peter said to him, "You must never wash my feet!"
"Unless you let me wash you, Peter," replied Jesus, "you cannot share my lot."
"Then," returned Simon Peter, "please - not just my feet but my hands and my face as well!"
"The man who has bathed," returned Jesus, "only needs to wash his feet to be clean all over. And you are clean - though not all of you."
(For Jesus knew his betrayer and that is why he said, "though not all of you".)
When Jesus had washed their feet and put on his clothes, he sat down and spoke to them, "Do you realise what I have just done to you? You call me 'teacher' and 'Lord' and you are quite right, for I am your teacher and your Lord. But if I, your teacher and Lord, have washed your feet, you must be ready to wash one another's feet. I have given you this as an example so that you may do as I have done. Believe me, the servant is not greater than his master and the messenger is not greater than the man who sent him. Once you have realised these things, you will find your happiness in doing them.
Jesus foretells his betrayal
"I am not speaking about all of you - I know the men I have chosen. But let this scripture be fulfilled -
'He who eats bread with me has lifted up his heel against me' (Psalm 41:9).
From now onwards, I shall tell you about things before they happen, so that when they do happen, you may believe that I am the one I claim to be. I tell you truly that anyone who accepts my messenger will be accepting me, and anyone who accepts me will be accepting the one who sent me."
After Jesus had said this, he was clearly in anguish of soul, and he added solemnly, "I tell you plainly, one of you is going to betray me."
At this the disciples stared at each other, completely mystified as to whom he could mean. And it happened that one of them who Jesus loved (traditionally the apostle John), was sitting very close to him. So Simon Peter nodded to this man and said, "Tell us who he means."
He simply leaned forward on Jesus' shoulder, and asked, "Lord, who is it?"
And Jesus answered, "It is the one I am going to give this piece of bread to, after I have dipped it in the dish."
Then he took a piece of bread, dipped it in the dish and gave it to Simon's son, Judas Iscariot. After he had taken the piece of bread, Satan entered his heart. Then Jesus said to him, "Be quick about your business!"
No one else at table knew what he meant in telling him this. Indeed, some of them thought that, since Judas had charge of the purse, Jesus was telling him to buy what they needed for the festival, or that he should give something to the poor. So Judas took the piece of bread and went out quickly - into the night.
THE LAST NIGHT CONTINUED AND THE GARDEN OF GETHSEMANE
(also Matthew 26:30-46; Mark 14:26-42; Luke 22:31-46)
John 13:31-38 - When he (Judas Iscariot who had been present during the Last Supper) had gone, Jesus spoke, "Now comes the glory of the Son of Man, and the glory of God in him! If God is glorified through him then God will glorify the Son of Man - and that without delay. Oh, my children, I am with you such a short time! You will look for me and I have to tell you as I told the (other) Jews, 'Where I am going, you cannot follow.' Now I am giving you a new command - love one another. Just as I have loved you, so you must love one another. This is how all men will know that you are my disciples, because you have such love for one another."
Simon Peter said to him, "Lord, where are you going?"
"I am going," replied Jesus, "where you cannot follow now, though you will follow me later."
"Lord, why can't I follow you now? said Peter. "I would lay down my life for you!"
"Would you lay down your life for me?" replied Jesus. "Believe me, you will disown me three times before the cock crows!"
JESUS THE WAY TO GOD THE FATHER AND THE COMING OF THE HOLY SPIRIT - "I AM THE WAY, AND THE TRUTH AND THE LIFE"
John 14:1-31 - "You must not let yourselves be distressed - you must hold on to your faith in God and to your faith in me. There are many rooms in my Father's House. If there were not, should I have told you that I am going to prepare a place for you? It is true that I am going away to prepare a place for you, but it is just as true that I am coming again to welcome you into my own home, so that you may be where I am. You know where I am going and you know the road I am going to take."
"Lord," Thomas (the "doubting" apostle) remonstrated, "we do not know where you're going, and how can we know what road you're going to take?"
"I myself am the road," replied Jesus, "and the truth and the life. No one approaches the Father except through me. If you had known who I am, you would have known my Father. From now on, you do know him and you have seen him."
Jesus explains his relationship with the Father
Then Philip said to him, "Show us the Father, Lord, and we shall be satisfied."
"Have I been such a long time with you," returned Jesus, "without your really knowing me, Philip? The man who has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, 'Show us the Father'? Do you not believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in me? The very words I say to you are not my own. It is the Father who lives in me who carries out his work through me. Do you believe me when I say that I am in the Father and the Father is in me? But if you cannot, then believe me because of what you see me do. I assure you that the man who believes in me will do the same things that I have done, yes, and he will do even greater things than these, for I am going away to the Father. Whatever you ask the Father in my name, I will do - that the Son may bring glory to the Father. And if you ask me anything in my name, I will grant it.
Jesus promises the Spirit
"If you really love me, you will keep the commandments I have given you and I shall ask the Father to give you someone else to stand by you, to be with you always. I mean the Spirit of truth (the Holy Spirit, or the Comforter or Counsellor or Helper ......), whom the world cannot accept, for it can neither see nor recognise that Spirit. But you recognise him, for he is with you now and will be in your hearts. I am not going to leave you alone in the world - I am coming to you. In a very little while, the world will see me no more but you will see me, because I am really alive and you will be alive too. When that day come, you will realise that I am in my Father, that you are in me, and I am in you.
"Every man who knows my commandments and obeys them is the man who really loves me, and every man who really loves me will himself be loved by my Father, and I too will love him and make myself known to him."
Then Judas (not Iscariot - but Judas, also called Thaddaeus, son of James), said, "Lord, how is it that you are going to make yourself known to us but not to the world?"
And to this Jesus replied, "When a man loves me, he follows my teaching. Then my Father will love him, and we will come to that man and make our home within him. The man who does not really love me will not follow my teaching. Indeed, what you are hearing from me now is not really my saying, but comes from the Father who sent me.
"I have said all this while I am still with you. But the one who is coming to stand by you, the Holy Spirit whom the Father will send in my name, will be your teacher and will bring to your minds all that I have said to you.
"I leave behind with you - peace; I give you my own peace and my gift is nothing like the peace of this world. You must not be distressed and you must not be daunted. You have heard me say, 'I am going away and I am coming back to you.' If you really loved me, you would be glad because I am going to my Father, for my Father is greater than I. And I have told you of it now, before it happens, so that when it does happen, your faith in me will not be shaken. I shall not be able to talk much longer to you for the spirit that rules this world (Satan or the devil) is coming very close. He has no hold over me, but I go on my way to show the world that I love the Father and do what he sent me to do ... Get up now! Let us leave this place (presumably the Upper Room or the table where the Last Supper is being held).
UNION WITH JESUS - "THE VINE AND THE BRANCHES", AND THE HATRED OF THE WORLD
John 15:1-27 - (During the Last Supper, Jesus continues .......) "I am the real vine, my Father is the vine-dresser. He removes any of my branches which are not bearing fruit and he prunes every branch that does bear fruit to increase its yield. Now, you have already been pruned by my words. You must go on growing in me and I will grow in you. For just as the branch cannot bear any fruit unless it shares the life of the vine, so you can produce nothing unless you go on growing in me. I am the vine itself, you are the branches. It is the man who shares my life and whose life I share who proves fruitful. For the plain fact is that apart from me you can do nothing at all. The man who does not share my life is like a branch that is broken off and withers away. He becomes just like the dry sticks that men pick up and use for the firewood. But if you live your life in me, and my words live in your hearts, you can ask for whatever you like and it will come true for you. This is how my Father will be glorified - in your becoming fruitful and being my disciples.
"I have loved you just as the Father has loved me. You must go on living in my love. If you keep my commandments you will live in my love just as I have kept my Father's commandments and live in his love. I have told you this so that you can share my joy, and that your happiness may be complete. This is my commandment: that you love each other as I have loved you. There is no greater love than this - that a man should lay down his life for his friends. You are my friends if you do what I tell you to do. I shall not call you servants any longer, for a servant does not share his master's confidence. No, I call you friends, now, because I have told you everything that I have heard from the Father.
"It is not that you have chosen me; but it is I who have chosen you. I have appointed you to go and bear fruit that will be lasting; so that whatever you ask the Father in my name, he will give it to you.
Jesus speaks of the world's hatred
"This I command you, love one another! If the world hates you, you know that it hated me first. If you belonged to the world, the world would love its own. But because you do not belong to the world and I have chosen you out of it, the world will hate you. Do you remember what I said to you, 'The servant is not greater than his master'? If they have persecuted me, they will persecute you as well, but if they have followed my teaching, they will also follow yours. They will do all these things to you as my disciples because they do not know the one who sent me. If I had not come and spoken to them, they would not have been guilty of sin, but now they have no excuse for their sin. The man who hates me, hates my Father as well. If I had not done among them things that no other man has ever done, they would not have been guilty of sin, but as it is they have seen and they have hated both me and my Father. Yet this only fulfils what is written in their Law -
'They hated me without a cause' (Psalm 69:4).
But when the helper comes, that is, the Spirit of truth (the Holy Spirit), who comes from the Father and whom I myself will send to you from the Father, he will speak plainly about me. And you yourselves will also speak plainly about me for you have been with me from the first.
THE HATRED OF THE WORLD - Concluded
Jesus speaks of the future without his bodily presence
John 16:1-4 - "I am telling you this now so that your faith in me may not be shaken. They will excommunicate you from their synagogues. Yes, the time is coming when a man who kills you will think he is thereby serving God! They will act like this because they have never had any true knowledge of the Father or of me, but I have told you all this so that when the time comes for it to happen you may remember that I told you about it. I have not spoken like this to you before, because I have been with you ......"
JESUS TALKS ABOUT THE WORK OF THE HOLY SPIRIT AND THE FUTURE
John 16:5-33 - (Jesus continues ....) "but now the time has come for me to go away to the one who sent me. None of you asks me, 'Where are you going?' That is because you are so distressed at what I have told you. Yet I am telling you the simple truth when I assure you that it is a good thing for you that I should go away. For if I did not go away, the divine helper (the Comforter, the Holy Spirit) would not come to you. But if I go, then I will send him to you. When he comes, he will convince the world of the meaning of sin, of true goodness and of judgment. He will expose their sin because they do not believe in me; he will reveal true goodness for I am going away to the Father and you will see me no longer; and he will show them the meaning of judgment, for the spirit which rules this world (Satan, the prince of the earth) will have been judged.
"I have much more to tell you but you cannot bear it now. Yet when that one I have spoken to you about comes - the (Holy) Spirit of truth - he will guide you into everything that is true. For he will not be speaking of his own accord but exactly as he hears, and he will inform you about what is to come. He will bring glory to me for he will draw on my truth and reveal it to you. Whatever the Father possesses is also mine; that is why I tell you that he will draw on my truth and will show it to you.
The disciples are puzzled: Jesus explains
"In a little while you will not see me any longer, and again, in a little while you will see me."
At this some of his disciples remarked to each other, "What is this that he tells us now, 'A little while and you will not see me, and again, in a little while you will see me' and 'for I am going away to the Father'? What is the 'little while' that he talks about?" they were saying. "We simply do not know what he means!"
Jesus knew that they wanted to ask him what he meant, so he said to them, "Are you trying to find out from each other what I meant when I said, 'In a little while you will not see me, and again, in a little while you will see me'? I tell you truly that you are going to be both sad and sorry while the world is glad. Yes, you will be deeply distressed, but your pain will turn into joy. When a woman gives birth to a child, she certainly knows pain when her time comes. Yet as soon as she has given birth to the child, she no longer remembers her agony for joy that a man has been born into the world. Now you are going through pain, but I shall see you again and your hearts will thrill with joy - the joy that no one can take away from you - and on that day you will not ask me any questions.
"I assure you that whatever you ask the Father he will give you in my name. Up to now you have asked nothing in my name; ask now, and you will receive, that your joy may be overflowing.
Jesus speaks further of the future
"I have been speaking to you in parables - but the time is coming to give up parables and tell you plainly about the Father. When that time comes, you will make your requests to him in my own name, for I need make no promise to plead to the Father for you, for the Father himself loves you, because you have loved me and have believed that I came from God. Yes, I did come from the Father and I came into the world. Now I leave the world behind and return to the Father."
"Now you are speaking plainly," cried the disciples, "and are not using parables. Now we know that everything is known to you - no more questions are needed. This makes us sure that you did come from God."
"So you believe in me now?" replied Jesus. "The time is coming, indeed, it has already come, when you will be scattered, every one of you going home and leaving me alone. Yet I am not really alone for the Father is with me. I have told you all this so that you may find your peace in me. You will find trouble in the world - but, never lose heart, I have conquered the world!"
JESUS PRAYS FOR HIMSELF, HIS DISCIPLES AND ALL FUTURE BELIEVERS
John 17:1-26 - (The Last Supper comes to a close ....) When Jesus had said these words, he raised his eyes to Heaven and said, "Father, the hour has come. Glorify your Son now so that he may bring glory to you, for you have given him authority over all men to give eternal life for all that you have given to him. And this is eternal life, to know you, the only true God, and him whom you have sent - Jesus Christ.
"I have brought you honour upon earth, I have completed the task which you gave me to do. Now, Father, honour me in your own presence with the glory that I knew with you before the world was made. I have shown your self to the men whom you gave me from the world. They were your men and you gave them to me, and they have accepted your word. Now they realise that all that you have given me comes from you - and that every message that you gave me I have given them. They have accepted it all and have come to know in their hearts that I did come from you - they are convinced that you sent me.
"I am praying to you for them: I am not praying for the world but for the men whom you gave me, for they are yours - everything that is mine is yours and yours mine - and they have done me honour. Now I am no longer in the world, but they are in the world and I am returning to you. Holy Father, keep the men you gave me by your power that they may be one, as we are one. As long as I was with them I kept them by the power that you gave me; I guarded them, and not one of them was destroyed, except the son of destruction (Judas Iscariot) - that the scripture might come true.
"And now I come to you and I say these things in the world that these men may find my joy completed in themselves. I have given them your word, and the world has hated them, for they are no more sons of the world than I am. I am not praying that you will take them out of the world but that you will keep them from the evil one. They are no more the sons of the world than I am - make them holy by the truth; for your word is the truth. I have sent them to the world just as you sent me to the world and I consecrate myself for their sakes that they may be made holy by the truth.
"I am not praying only for these men (the disciples present at the Last Supper) but for all those who will believe in me (in the coming millennia) through their message, that they may all be one. Just as you, Father, live in me and I live in you, I am asking that they may live in us, that the world may believe that you did send me. I have given them the honour that you gave me, that they may be one, as we are one - I in them and you in me, that they may grow complete into one, so that the world may realise that you sent me and have loved them as you loved me. Father, I want those whom you have given me to be with me where I am; I want them to see that glory which you have made mine - for you loved me before the world began. Father of goodness and truth, the world has not known you, but I have known you and these men now know that you have sent me. I have made your self known to them and I will continue to do so that the love which you have had for me may be in their hearts - and that I may be there also.
In John's Gospel, Jesus now leaves the Last Supper to cross the Kidron Valley to reach the Garden of Gethsemane on the lower slopes of the Mount of Olives. Here he is arrested by the Jewish authorities.
THE LAST NIGHT - Concluded
John 18:1-2 - When Jesus had spoken these words (chapters 14-17), he went out with his disciples across the Cedron (or Kidron) valley to a place where there was a garden, and they went into it together. Judas who betrayed him knew the place, for Jesus often met his disciples there. (Judas Iscariot shortly arrives.)
JESUS IS BETRAYED AND ARRESTED
(also Matthew 26:47-56; Mark 14:43-52; Luke 22:47-54a)
John 18:3-12 - So Judas (knowing the place where Jesus had gone) fetched the guard and the officers which the chief priests and Pharisees had provided for him, and came to the place with torches and lanterns and weapons. Jesus, fully realising all that was going to happen to him, went forward and said to them, "Who are you looking for?"
"Jesus of Nazareth," they answered.
"I am the man," said Jesus. (Judas who was betraying him was standing there with the others.)
When he said to them, "I am the man", they retreated and fell to the ground. So Jesus asked them again, "Who are you looking for?"
And again they said, "Jesus of Nazareth."
"I have told you that I am the man," replied Jesus. "If I am the man you are looking for, let these others (his disciples) go." (Thus fulfilling his previous words, "I have not lost one of those whom you gave me.")
At this, Simon Peter, who had a sword, drew it and slashed at the High Priest's servant, cutting off his right ear. (The servant's name was Malchus.) But Jesus said to Peter, "Put your sword back into its sheath. Am I not to drink the cup the Father has given me?"
Then the guard, with their captain and the Jewish officers, took hold of Jesus and tied his hands together .....
After his arrest Jesus appears before three separate authorities:
(1) Annas still a "chief priest", and the Sanhedrin of which Caiaphas is the High Priest;
(2) Pontius Pilate, Roman procurator of Judea and Samaria; and
(3) Herod Antipas, Jewish tetrarch of Galilee and Perea visiting Jerusalem at that time.
Pontius Pilate actually sentences Jesus to death by crucifixion
JESUS IS TRIED BEFORE THE JEWISH AUTHORITIES; PETER BETRAYS HIM
(also Matthew 26:57-27:2; Mark 14:53-15:1; Luke 22:54b-23:1)
John 18:13-28 - .... (the guard) led him (Jesus) off to Annas first, for he was the father-in-law to Caiaphas, who was High Priest that year. Caiaphas was the man who advised the Jews, "that it would be a good thing that one man should die for the sake of the people." Behind Jesus followed Simon Peter, and one other disciple who was known personally to the High Priest (most likely the apostle John, author of this Gospel). He went in with Jesus into the High Priest's courtyard, but Peter was left standing at the door outside. So this other disciple, who was acquainted with the High Priest, went out and spoke to the doorkeeper, and brought Peter inside. The young woman at the door remarked to Peter, "Are you one of this man's disciples, too?"
"No, I am not," retorted Peter.
In the courtyard, the servants and officers stood around a charcoal fire which they had made, for it was cold. They were warming themselves, and Peter stood there with them, keeping himself warm.
Meanwhile the High Priest interrogated Jesus about his disciples and about his own teaching.
"I have always spoken quite openly to the world," replied Jesus. "I have always taught in the synagogue or in the Temple where all the Jews meet together, and I have said nothing in secret. Why do you question me? Why not question those who have heard me about what I said to them? Obviously they are the ones who know what I actually said."
As he said this, one of those present, an officer, slapped Jesus with his open hand, remarking, "Is that the way for you to answer the High Priest?"
"If I have said anything wrong," Jesus said to him, "you must give evidence about it, but if what I said was true, why do you strike me?
Then Annas sent him, with his hands still tied, to the High Priest Caiaphas.
In the meantime Simon Peter was still standing, keeping himself warm. Some of them said to him, "Surely you too are one of his disciples, aren't you?"
And he denied it and said, "No, I am not."
Then one of the High Priest's servants, a relation of the man (Malchus) whose ear Peter had cut off, remarked, "Didn't I see you in the garden with him?"
And again Peter denied it. And immediately the cock crew.
Jesus is taken before the Roman authority
Then they led Jesus from Caiaphas' presence into the (Roman) palace (of Pontius Pilate). It was now early morning and the Jews themselves did not go into the palace, for fear that they would be contaminated and would not be able to eat the Passover.
JESUS BEFORE THE ROMAN PONTIUS PILATE
(Matthew 27:11-26; Mark 15:2-15; Luke 23:2-25; John 18:29-19:16a)
- In Luke's account Jesus is also taken before Herod Antipas, Jewish tetrarch of Galilee and Perea:
John 18:29-40 - (Jesus has been taken to the Roman palace and the Jewish authorities wait outside for religious reasons because of the approaching Passover ......) So Pilate walked out to them and said, "What is the charge that you are bringing against this man?"
"If he were not an evil-doer, we should not have handed him over to you," they replied.
To which Pilate retorted, "Then take him yourselves and judge him according to your law."
"We are not allowed to put a man to death," replied the Jews (thus fulfilling Christ's prophecy of the method of his own death).
So Pilate went back into the Palace and called Jesus to him. "Are you the king of the Jews?" he asked.
"Are you asking this of your own accord," replied Jesus, "or have other people spoken to you about me?"
"Do you think I am a Jew?" replied Pilate. "It's your people and your chief priests who handed you over to me. What have you done, anyway?"
"My kingdom is not founded in this world - if it were, my servants would have fought to prevent my being handed over to the Jews. But in fact my kingdom is not founded on all this!"
"So you are a king, are you?" returned Pilate.
"Indeed I am a king," Jesus replied; "the reason for my birth and the reason for my coming into the world is to witness to the truth. Every man who loves truth recognises my voice."
To which Pilate retorted, "What is 'truth'?" and went straight out again to the Jews and said: "I find nothing criminal about him at all. But I have an arrangement with you to set one prisoner free at Passover time. Do you wish me then to set free for you the 'king of the Jews'?"
At this, they shouted out again, "No, not this man, but Barabbas!"
Barabbas was a bandit.
JESUS BEFORE THE ROMAN PONTIUS PILATE; THE SENTENCE
Pilate's vain efforts to save Jesus
John 19:1-16a - Then Pilate took Jesus and had him flogged, and the soldiers twisted thorn-twigs into a crown and put it on his head, threw a purple robe around him and kept coming into his presence, saying, "Hail, king of the Jews!" And then they slapped him with their open hands.
Then Pilate went outside again and said to them, "Look, I bring him out before you here, to show that I find nothing criminal about him at all."
And at this Jesus came outside too, wearing the thorn crown and the purple robe.
"Look," said Pilate, "here's the man!"
The sight of him made the chief priests and Jewish officials shout at the top of their voices, "Crucify! Crucify!"
"You take him and crucify him," retorted Pilate. "He's no criminal as far as I can see!"
The Jews answered him, "We have a Law, and according to that Law, he must die, for he made himself out to be Son of God!"
When Pilate heard them say this, he became much more uneasy, and returned to the palace again and spoke to Jesus, "Where do you come from?"
But Jesus gave him no reply. So Pilate said to him, "Won't you speak to me? Don't you realise that I have the power to set you free, and I have the power to have you crucified?"
"You have no power at all against me," replied Jesus, "except what was given to you from above. And for that reason the one who handed me over to you is even more guilty than you are."
From that moment, Pilate tried hard to set him free but the Jews were shouting, "If you set this man free, you are no friend of Caesar! Anyone who makes himself out to be a king is anti-Caesar!"
When Pilate heard this, he led Jesus outside and sat down upon the Judgment-seat in the place called the Pavement (in Hebrew, Gabbatha). It was preparation day of the Passover and it was now getting on towards midday. Pilate said to the Jews, "Look, here's your king!"
At which they yelled, "Take him away, take him away, crucify him!"
"Am I to crucify your king?" Pilate asked them.
"Caesar is our king and no one else," replied the chief priests. And at this Pilate handed Jesus over to them for crucifixion.
HIS CRUCIFIXION AND DEATH
(also Matthew 27:32-50; Mark 15:21-37; Luke 23:26-46)
John 19:16b-30 - So they (the Roman soldiers) took Jesus and he went out carrying the cross himself, to a place called Skull Hill (in Hebrew, Golgotha). There they crucified him, and two others, one on either side of him with Jesus in the middle. Pilate had a placard written out and put on the cross, reading, JESUS OF NAZARETH, THE KING OF THE JEWS. This placard was read by many of the Jews because the place where Jesus was crucified was quite near Jerusalem, and it was written in Hebrew as well as in Latin and Greek. So the chief priests said to Pilate, "You should not write 'The King of the Jews', but 'This man said, I am King of the Jews.'"
To which Pilate retorted, "Indeed? What I have written, I have written."
When the soldiers had crucified Jesus, they divided his clothes between them, taking a quarter-share each. There remained his shirt, which was seamless - woven in one piece from the top to the bottom. So they said to each other, "Don't let us tear it; let's draw lots and see who gets it."
This happened to fulfil the scripture which says -
'They divided my garments among them, and for my clothing they cast lots' (Psalm 22:18)
Jesus provides for his mother from the cross
While the soldiers were doing this, Jesus' mother was standing near the cross with her sister, and with them Mary, the wife of Clopas ....
Clopas - "Cleopas" or "Cleophas", possibly "Alphaeus" in Aramaic. He may be one of the two disciples Jesus met on the road to Emmaus after his resurrection. Some commentators describe Clopas as a brother of Joseph and hence an uncle to Jesus -
.... and Mary of Magdala. Jesus saw his mother and the disciple whom he loved (probably the apostle John, author of this Gospel) standing by her side, and said to her, "Look, there is your son!" And then he said to the disciple, "And there is your mother!"
And from that time the disciple took Mary into his own home.
After this, Jesus realising that everything was now completed said (fulfilling the saying of scripture), "I am thirsty."
There was a bowl of sour wine standing there. So they soaked a sponge in the wine, put it on a spear, and pushed it up towards his mouth. When Jesus had taken it, he cried, "It is finished!" His head fell forward, and he died.
(also Matthew 27:57-66; Mark 15:42-47; Luke 23:50-56)
John 19:31-42 - As it was the day of preparation for the Passover, the Jews wanted to avoid the bodies being left on the crosses over the Sabbath (for that was a particularly important Sabbath), and they requested Pilate to have the men's legs broken and the bodies removed. So the soldiers went and broke the legs of the first man and of the other who was crucified with Jesus. But when they came to him, they saw that he was already dead and they did not break his legs. But one of the soldiers pierced his side with a spear, and at once there was an outrush of blood and water. And the man who saw this (the apostle John) is our witness: his evidence is true. (He is certain that he is speaking the truth, so that you may believe as well.) For this happened to fulfil the scripture,
'Not one of his bones shall be broken.' (Exodus 12:46, Numbers 9:12, Psalm 34:20)
And again another scripture says -
'They shall look on him whom they pierced.' (Zechariah 12:10)
After it was all over, Joseph (who came from Arimathaea and was a disciple of Jesus, though secretly for fear of the Jews) requested Pilate that he might take away Jesus' body, and Pilate gave him permission. So he came and took his body down. Nicodemus also (a Pharisee and leading member of the Sanhedrin), the man who had come to him at the beginning by night (John 3:1-21), arrived bringing a mixture of myrrh (a gift of the wise men at Jesus' birth, and the drugged drink at his crucifixion) and aloes (crushed scented wood), weighing about a hundred pounds. So they took his body and wound it round with linen strips with the spices, according to the Jewish custom of preparing a body for burial. In the place where he was crucified, there was a garden containing a new tomb in which nobody had yet been laid. Because it was the preparation day and because the tomb was conveniently near, they laid Jesus in this tomb.
The life and ministry of Jesus on earth is over - tortured to death on a Roman cross and consigned to the grave. Everything he did, no matter how wonderful or wise - his miracles, his parables, the Sermon on the Mount - mark him as a superb teacher, a miracle-worker, a man of unsurpassed personality, but still a man. And sometimes,almost a madman from his seemingly more outrageous statements and claims.
In evidence of failure, his followers are desolate, mostly scattered and without hope. The few that remain prepare to give him a proper burial. There seems nothing left to suggest the birth, 2,000 years ago of a life and world-changing religion that claims to be unique, to come directly from the creator God of the universe, and which is offered freely to all the people of Earth and perhaps beyond.
THE NEW BEGINNING Spring cAD30
THE EMPTY TOMB
(also Matthew 28:1-8,11-15; Mark 16:1-8; Luke 24:1-12)
John 20:1-13 - But on the first day of the week, Mary of Magdala arrived at the tomb, very early in the morning, while it was still dark, and noticed that the stone had been taken away from the tomb. At this she ran, found Simon Peter and the other disciple whom Jesus loved (the apostle John), and told them, "They have taken the Lord out of the tomb and we don't know where they have put him."
Peter and the other disciple set off at once for the tomb, the two of them running together. The other disciple (the younger John) ran faster than Peter and was the first to arrive at the tomb. He stooped and looked inside and noticed the linen cloths lying there but did not go in himself. Hard on his heels came Simon Peter and went straight into the tomb. He noticed that the linen cloths were lying there, and that the handkerchief, which had been round Jesus's head, was not lying with the linen cloths but was rolled up by itself, a little way apart. Then the other disciple, who was the first to arrive at the tomb, came inside as well, saw what had happened and believed. (They did not yet understand the scripture which said that he must rise from the dead.) So the disciples went back again to their homes.
But Mary (Magdalene) stood just outside the tomb, and she was crying. And as she cried, she looked into the tomb and saw two angels in white who sat, one at the head and the other at the foot of the place where the body of Jesus had lain.
The angels spoke to her, "Why are you crying?" they asked.
"Because they have taken away my Lord, and I don't know where they have put him!" she said.
THE RESURRECTION OF JESUS AND HIS APPEARANCES TO HIS DISCIPLES
(also Matthew 28:9-10,16-17; Mark 16:9-14; Luke 24:13-44; Acts 1:1-5; 1 Corinthians 15:3-8)
John 20:14-31 - Then she (Mary of Magdala, crying outside the tomb) turned and noticed Jesus standing there, without realising that it was Jesus.
"Why are you crying?" said Jesus to her. "Who are you looking for?"
She, supposing that he was the gardener, said, "Oh, sir, if you have carried him away, please tell me where you have put him and I will take him away."
Jesus said to her, "Mary!"
At this she turned right round and said to him, in Hebrew, "Master!"
"No!" said Jesus, "do not hold me now. I have not yet gone up to the Father. Go and tell my brothers that I am going up to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God."
And Mary of Magdala went off to the disciples, with the news, "I have seen the Lord!", and she told them what he had said to her.
In the evening of that first day of the week, the disciples had met together with the doors locked for fear of the Jews. Jesus came and stood right in the middle of them and said, "Peace be with you!"
Then he showed them his hands and his side, and when they saw the Lord the disciples were overjoyed.
Jesus said to them again, "Yes, peace be with you! Just as the Father sent me, so I am now going to send you."
And then he breathed upon them and said, "Receive holy spirit. If you forgive any men's sins, they are forgiven, and if you hold them unforgiven, they are unforgiven."
The risen Jesus and Thomas
But one of the twelve, ("doubting") Thomas (called the Twin), was not with them when Jesus came. The other disciples kept on telling him, "We have seen the Lord", but he replied, "Unless I see in his own hands the mark of the nails, and put my finger where the nails were, and put my hand into his side, I will never believe!"
Just over a week later, the disciples were indoors again and Thomas was with them. The doors were shut, but Jesus came and stood in the middle of them and said, "Peace be with you!"
Then he said to Thomas, "Put your fingers here - look, here are my hands. Take my hand and put it in my side. You must not doubt, but believe."
"My Lord and my God!" cried Thomas.
"Is it because you have seen me that you believe?" Jesus said to him. "Happy are those who have never seen me and yet have believed!"
Jesus gave a great many other signs in the presence of his disciples which are not recorded in this book. But these have been written so that you may believe that Jesus is Christ, the Son of God, and that in that faith you may have life as his disciples.
THE APPEARANCES OF JESUS - Concluded
The risen Jesus and Peter
John 21:1-14 - Later on (after Jesus had appeared to "doubting" Thomas), Jesus showed himself again to his disciples on the shore of Lake Tiberias (the Sea of Galilee), and he did it in this way. Simon Peter, Thomas (called the Twin), Nathanael (also known as Bartholomew) from Cana in Galilee, the sons of Zebedee (James and John) and two other disciples were together, when Simon Peter said, "I'm going fishing."
"All right," they replied, "we'll go with you."
So they went out and got into the boat and during the night caught nothing at all. But just as dawn began to break, Jesus stood there on the beach, although the disciples had no idea that it was Jesus.
"Have you caught anything, lads?" Jesus called out to them.
"No," they replied.
"Throw the net on the right side of the boat," said Jesus, "and you'll have a catch."
So they threw out the net and found that they were now not strong enough to pull it in because it was so full of fish! At this, the disciple that Jesus loved (John) said to Peter, "It is the Lord!"
Hearing this, Peter slipped on his clothes, for he had been naked, and plunged into the sea The other disciples followed in the boat, for they were only about a hundred yards from the shore, dragging in the net full of fish. When they had landed, they saw that a charcoal fire was burning, with a fish placed on it, and some bread. Jesus said to them, "Bring me some of the fish you've just caught."
So Simon Peter got into the boat and hauled the net ashore full of large fish, one hundred and fifty-three altogether (the number of known types of fish in the Sea of Galilee or the world according to one of the various traditions). But in spite of the large number the net was not torn.
Then Jesus said to them, "Come and have your breakfast."
None of the disciples dared to ask him who he was; they knew it was the Lord.
Jesus went and took the bread and gave it to them and gave them all fish as well. This is already the third time that Jesus showed himself to his disciples after his resurrection from the dead.
HIS COMMISSION TO PREACH THE GOSPEL TO THE WORLD
(also Matthew 28:18-20; Mark 16:15-18; Luke 24:45-50;; Acts 1:6-8)
John 21:15-23 - When they had finished breakfast (of fish at the lake-side) Jesus said to Simon Peter, "Simon, son of John, do you love me more than these others?"
"Yes, Lord," he replied, "you know that I am your friend."
"Then feed my lambs," returned Jesus. Then he said for the second time, "Simon, son of John, do you love me?"
"Yes, Lord," returned Peter. "You know that I am your friend."
"Then care for my sheep," replied Jesus. Then for the third time, Jesus spoke to him and said, "Simon, son of John, are you my friend?"
Peter was deeply hurt because Jesus' third question to him was "Are you my friend?", and he said, "Lord, you know everything. You know that I am your friend!"
"Then feed my sheep," Jesus said to him. "I tell you truly, Peter, that when you were younger, you used to dress yourself and go where you liked, but when you are an old man, you are going to stretch out your hands and someone else will dress you and take you where you do not want to go." (He said this to show the kind of death - by crucifixion - by which Peter was going to honour God.)
Then Jesus said to him, "You must follow me."
Then Peter turned round and noticed the disciple whom Jesus loved (the apostle John) following behind them. (He was the one who had his head on Jesus' shoulder at supper and had asked, "Lord, who is the one who is going to betray you?") So he said, "Yes, Lord, but what about him?"
"If it is my wish," returned Jesus, "for him to stay until I come, is that your business, Peter? You must follow me."
This gave rise to the saying among the brothers that this disciple (John) would not die. Yet, of course, Jesus did not say, "He will not die,", but simply, "If it is my wish for him to stay until I come, is that your business?" (According to tradition, John was the only apostle not martyred and who died a natural death in old age.)
EPILOGUE TO THE GOSPELS
John 21:24-25 - Now it is this same disciple (the apostle John) who is hereby giving his testimony to these things and has written them down. We know that his witness is reliable. Of course, there are many other things which Jesus did, and I suppose that if each one were written down in detail, there would not be room in the whole world for all the books that would have to be written.
to top of page
on to Acts of the Apostles with "people, places etc ..." OR back to J B Phillips with Notes