Jesus Arrested.* 1When he had said this, Jesus went out* with his disciples across the Kidron valley to where there was a garden, into which he and his disciples entered.a 2Judas his betrayer also knew the place, because Jesus had often met there with his disciples. 3So Judas got a band of soldiers* and guards from the chief priests and the Pharisees and went there with lanterns, torches, and weapons.b 4Jesus, knowing everything that was going to happen to him, went out and said to them, “Whom are you looking for?” 5They answered him, “Jesus the Nazorean.”* He said to them, “I AM.” Judas his betrayer was also with them. 6When he said to them, “I AM,” they turned away and fell to the ground. 7So he again asked them, “Whom are you looking for?” They said, “Jesus the Nazorean.” 8Jesus answered, “I told you that I AM. So if you are looking for me, let these men go.” 9* c This was to fulfill what he had said, “I have not lost any of those you gave me.” 10Then Simon Peter, who had a sword, drew it, struck the high priest’s slave, and cut off his right ear. The slave’s name was Malchus.* 11Jesus said to Peter, “Put your sword into its scabbard. Shall I not drink the cup* that the Father gave me?”d
12e So the band of soldiers, the tribune, and the Jewish guards seized Jesus, bound him, 13and brought him to Annas* first. He was the father-in-law of Caiaphas, who was high priest that year.f 14It was Caiaphas who had counseled the Jews that it was better that one man should die rather than the people.g
Peter’s First Denial.h 15Simon Peter and another disciple* followed Jesus. Now the other disciple was known to the high priest, and he entered the courtyard of the high priest with Jesus. 16But Peter stood at the gate outside. So the other disciple, the acquaintance of the high priest, went out and spoke to the gatekeeper and brought Peter in. 17Then the maid who was the gatekeeper said to Peter, “You are not one of this man’s disciples, are you?” He said, “I am not.” 18Now the slaves and the guards were standing around a charcoal fire that they had made, because it was cold, and were warming themselves. Peter was also standing there keeping warm.
The Inquiry before Annas.i 19The high priest questioned Jesus about his disciples and about his doctrine. 20Jesus answered him, “I have spoken publicly to the world. I have always taught in a synagogue or in the temple area* where all the Jews gather, and in secret I have said nothing.j 21Why ask me? Ask those who heard me what I said to them. They know what I said.” 22When he had said this, one of the temple guards standing there struck Jesus and said, “Is this the way you answer the high priest?”k 23Jesus answered him, “If I have spoken wrongly, testify to the wrong; but if I have spoken rightly, why do you strike me?” 24Then Annas sent him bound to Caiaphas* the high priest.l
Peter Denies Jesus Again.m 25Now Simon Peter was standing there keeping warm. And they said to him, “You are not one of his disciples, are you?” He denied it and said, “I am not.” 26One of the slaves of the high priest, a relative of the one whose ear Peter had cut off, said, “Didn’t I see you in the garden with him?” 27Again Peter denied it. And immediately the cock crowed.*
The Trial before Pilate. 28n Then they brought Jesus from Caiaphas to the praetorium.* It was morning. And they themselves did not enter the praetorium, in order not to be defiled so that they could eat the Passover. 29So Pilate came out to them and said, “What charge do you bring [against] this man?” 30They answered and said to him, “If he were not a criminal, we would not have handed him over to you.” 31At this, Pilate said to them, “Take him yourselves, and judge him according to your law.” The Jews answered him, “We do not have the right to execute anyone,”* 32* in order that the word of Jesus might be fulfilled that he said indicating the kind of deatho he would die. 33So Pilate went back into the praetorium and summoned Jesus and said to him, “Are you the King of the Jews?” 34Jesus answered, “Do you say this on your own or have others told you about me?” 35Pilate answered, “I am not a Jew, am I? Your own nation and the chief priests handed you over to me. What have you done?”p 36Jesus answered, “My kingdom does not belong to this world. If my kingdom did belong to this world, my attendants [would] be fighting to keep me from being handed over to the Jews. But as it is, my kingdom is not here.”q 37So Pilate said to him, “Then you are a king?” Jesus answered, “You say I am a king.* For this I was born and for this I came into the world, to testify to the truth. Everyone who belongs to the truth listens to my voice.”r 38Pilate said to him, “What is truth?”s
When he had said this, he again went out to the Jews and said to them, “I find no guilt in him. 39But you have a custom that I release one prisoner to you at Passover.* Do you want me to release to you the King of the Jews?” 40They cried out again, “Not this one but Barabbas!”* Now Barabbas was a revolutionary.
* [18:3] Band of soldiers: seems to refer to Roman troops, either the full cohort of 600 men (1/10 of a legion), or more likely the maniple of 200 under their tribune (Jn 18:12). In this case, John is hinting at Roman collusion in the action against Jesus before he was brought to Pilate. The lanterns and torches may be symbolic of the hour of darkness.
* [18:5] Nazorean: the form found in Mt 26:71 (see note on Mt 2:23) is here used, not Nazarene of Mark. I AM: or “I am he,” but probably intended by the evangelist as an expression of divinity (cf. their appropriate response in Jn 18:6); see note on Jn 8:24. John sets the confusion of the arresting party against the background of Jesus’ divine majesty.
* [18:10] Only John gives the names of the two antagonists; both John and Luke mention the right ear.
* [18:13] Annas: only John mentions an inquiry before Annas; cf. Jn 18:16, 19–24; see note on Lk 3:2. It is unlikely that this nighttime interrogation before Annas is the same as the trial before Caiaphas placed by Matthew and Mark at night and by Luke in the morning.
* [18:27] Cockcrow was the third Roman division of the night, lasting from midnight to 3 A.M.
* [18:28] Praetorium: see note on Mt 27:27. Morning: literally, “the early hour,” or fourth Roman division of the night, 3 to 6 A.M. The Passover: the synoptic gospels give the impression that the Thursday night supper was the Passover meal (Mk 14:12); for John that meal is still to be eaten Friday night.
* [18:31] We do not have the right to execute anyone: only John gives this reason for their bringing Jesus to Pilate. Jewish sources are not clear on the competence of the Sanhedrin at this period to sentence and to execute for political crimes.
* [18:32] The Jewish punishment for blasphemy was stoning (Lv 24:16). In coming to the Romans to ensure that Jesus would be crucified, the Jewish authorities fulfilled his prophecy that he would be exalted (Jn 3:14; 12:32–33). There is some historical evidence, however, for Jews crucifying Jews.