Jesus under arrest
- 18:1 When Jesus finished his prayer, he led his disciples into an olive grove on the other side of the Kidron Valley.
- 18:2 Judas, who betrayed Jesus, knew exactly where they were going because Jesus often took his disciples there to talk with them.
- 18:3 So Judas went there, leading an armed detachment of soldiers along with some Temple police sent by Jerusalem’s top Jewish priests and Pharisees. They carried torches and lanterns to light the night.
- 18:4 Jesus knew what was going on and what was about to happen. But he stepped forward and asked, “Who are you looking for?”
- 18:5 They said, “Jesus of Nazareth.” Jesus said, “That would be me.” Judas, the betrayer, was standing right there.
- 18:6 When Jesus told the group, “That would be me,” they instantly backed up and fell.
- 18:7 Jesus repeated himself, asking, “Who are you looking for?” And again they said, “Jesus of Nazareth.”
- 18:8 Jesus said, “Well I already told you that’s me. So, if I’m the one you’re looking for, let these other men go.”
- 18:9 This fulfilled the prediction he made earlier, “I didn’t lose a single one you had given me.”1
Peter draws blood
- 18:10 Simon Peter whipped out the sword he carried. He took a swing at Malchus, a servant of the high priest, slicing off the man’s right ear.2
- 18:11 Jesus told Peter, “Sheath that sword of yours. Don’t I have to drink the cup of death the Father gave me?”
- 18:12 So the detachment of soldiers led by an officer and accompanied by the Jewish Temple police arrested Jesus and tied him up.
Retired high priest interrogates Jesus
- 18:13 They took him to the home of the high priest’s father-in-law, Annas.3 Caiaphas was the high priest that year.
- 18:14 Caiaphas was the man who told Jewish leaders earlier, “Don’t you realize it’s better for one man to die, so he can save an entire nation from dying?”4
- 18:15 Simon Peter and another disciple followed Jesus. That other disciple was someone the high priest knew, so he was allowed into the courtyard where Jesus was being held.
- 18:16 Peter stood outside the courtyard, by the entrance. The other disciple who knew the high priest went over to the servant girl who was standing guard at the door. He talked with her and then brought Peter into the courtyard with him.
- 18:17 The servant girl who stood watch at the front door asked Peter, “You’re not one of that man’s disciples are you?” Peter told her, “No, I’m not.”
- 18:18 Temple police and household servants waiting in the courtyard built a charcoal fire. It was cold waiting outside, so they warmed themselves by the fire. Peter stepped over there to warm himself, too.
High priest interrogates Jesus
- 18:19 The high priest5 started interrogating Jesus, asking who his disciples were and what he had been teaching them.
- 18:20 Jesus answered, “I’ve been open to everyone about what I teach. I’ve been teaching in the synagogues and in the Temple, where Jews gather for worship. I don’t have any secret teachings.
- 18:21 Why are you interrogating me? Ask the people who have heard me. Let them tell you what I said.”
- 18:22 When Jesus said that, one of the Temple policemen standing there slapped him in the face and said, “Is that any way to answer the high priest?”
- 18:23 Jesus answered, “If I said something wrong, tell me what it is. But if what I said was true, why did you hit me?”
- 18:24 Annas sent him, still tied, to the High Priest Caiaphas.
Peter chickens out
- 18:25 Simon Peter was still standing by the fire warming himself when someone came up to him with a question: “You aren’t one of his disciples, are you?” Peter said, “No I’m not.”
- 18:26 One of the servants of the high priest was related to the man who managed to get his ear cut off by Peter. He told Peter, “I saw you there in the garden with him. Am I wrong about that?”
- 18:27 Peter denied it one more time. That’s when a rooster started crowing.
Pilate’s turn to interrogate Jesus
- 18:28 It was early in the morning when they left the home of Caiaphas and took Jesus to the governor’s headquarters.6 They didn’t go into the building because that would have defiled them and they wouldn’t have been able to eat the Passover meal that evening.7
- 18:29 Pilate8 came outside his headquarters and said, “What do you have against this man? What’s the charge?”
- 18:30 They said, “We brought him to you because he’s breaking the law. We wouldn’t bring you an innocent man.”
- 18:31 Pilate told them, “Handle this case yourself, then. Judge him by your own law.” The Jews answered him, “We can’t. It’s illegal for us to execute someone.”
- 18:32 This fulfilled Jesus’ prediction about how they would kill him.9
Pilate: “Do I look like a Jew?”
- 18:33 Pilate went back inside his headquarters and called for Jesus. Pilate asked him, “Are you king of the Jews?”
- 18:34 Jesus said, “Is this your question, or is it a question someone told you to ask me?”
- 18:35 Pilate said, “Do I look like a Jew? It’s your own people and your top priests who arrested you and brought you here to me. Here’s my question. What did you do?”
Jesus has no kingdom here
- 18:36 Jesus told him, “My kingdom doesn’t exist anywhere in this world. If it did, my people would have fought the Jews so I wouldn’t have gotten arrested. But the fact is, my kingdom isn’t here.”
- 18:37 Pilate said to him, “Well then, you are a king, right?” Jesus answered him, “You’re the one who’s saying I’m a king. I was born into this world to tell the truth. Everyone who’s a fan of the truth listens to what I have to say.”
- 18:38 Pilate said, “Whatever. Who knows what truth is anyhow?” Pilate went back outside and told the Jews, “I don’t see any evidence to back your accusation against this man.
- 18:39 You’ve got a custom that calls for me to release a Jewish prisoner at Passover. Would you like me to release the king of the Jews?”
- 18:40 They yelled, “Not him! Free Barabbas!” Barabbas was a thief.
The Gospel of Luke, traditionally credited to a physician named Luke, is the only Gospel that adds a healthcare note. “Jesus said, ‘Stop! We’re not doing this.’ Then he touched the slave’s ear and healed it” (Luke 22:51).
Annas had been the high priest a couple of decades earlier, from AD 6-15. His family monopolized the top Jewish job for a quarter of a century. Annas or one of his relatives held the job from AD 17-41. Roman governors appointed the high priests.
The writer is referring to Annas and describing him as a high priest even though he is only a former high priest. We do the same when we refer to a former senator as “senator” out of respect for his past service.
See note for John 19:9.
It’s unclear why some Jews taught that they would become ritually defiled by going into the home of a non-Jew. Some scholars speculate that this rule developed because some Gentiles buried their babies in or near the area of their house. Jewish law taught that anyone who enters a place where someone lies dead will remain ritually unclean for seven days (Numbers 19:14). During that time, they can’t worship God or celebrate religious holidays such as Passover.
Pontius Pilate was the Roman governor of the province of Judea in what is now an area that includes Jerusalem and Tel Aviv. He ruled the region for a decade, from AD 26-36.