The American Wisdom Series

Pamphlet 1518
John chapter18

The "sword" is part of the Gospel Armor (Eph. 6:17), so on a spiritual level, when a true servant of God takes action with the "two-edged sword", depending on who you are, you may get your "ears lowered",

Jesus has just finished a very personal and heartwarming prayer for His disciples, thereby assuring you, His disciple, of the certainty of the things which He desires for you, especially that the Love of God be in you ("Therefore love one another as I have loved you", Jesus said repeatedly.) and that He Himself, the Word of God, be in you.

Now, the hour of His betrayal is come.

John 18:1
When Jesus had spoken these words, he went forth with his disciples over the brook Cedron, where was a garden, into the which he entered, and his disciples.
Cedron is the same as Kidron (2 Sam. 15:23) and means "dark or turbid". Webster's Dictionary, Tenth Edition, defines turbid as "confusion, crowd" as well as (2a): deficient in clarity or purity: FOUL, MUDDY <~depths of degradation and misery - C.I. Glicksberg>.

In understanding the meaning of Cedron, we can now see in verse 18:1 that Jesus brings His disciples and "crosses over" the waters of darkness and enters in into the Garden of God with them!  And when He finishes the work on the cross, anyone who is willing can cross over into that beautiful Garden of God, His Kingdom, as long they walk over Kidron with Him. (And there is no other way.)

This is so perfect! There is such incredible significance and so much to be absorbed from the meanings of the names of people and places and things in His Word, if we will only take the time to read them and look them up and dwell upon them.

Did you know that Gethsemane means "oil-press garden - wine-press, GATH, wine)"? (Smith's Bible Dictionary).

[2] And Judas also, which betrayed him, knew the place: for Jesus ofttimes resorted thither with his disciples.
Jesus and His disciples "often" gathered in the "oil-press garden", at the foot of the Mount of Olives, where that "Olive Oil", symbolic of the Holy Spirit, flowed abundantly from Him. The reason we are also told this fact is that Judas would have been with them all those times and so he "knew full well" where He could find the Messiah and His disciples.
[3] Judas then, having received a band of men and officers from the chief priests and Pharisees, cometh thither with lanterns and torches and weapons.
Here comes that "confused crowd" from the other side, of darkness & turbidity, coming into the oil-press garden. Do you think they have come here, as the disciples have so many times in the past, in order to receive of the precious oil, the Holy Spirit of truth, the Light of the world? They certainly didn't enter in with Him! NO! They are still in "darkness" for they carry with them "lanterns and torches" which is the only dim light with which they have to see! How sad, how truly sad!

Also, notice they came with "weapons", which means riot utensils like clubs and sticks and other mob type devices. This an example of the pitiful "spiritual" weaponry Satan's crew has. But the servants of the Most High, the disciples of Jesus Christ, as we will see when we get to verse 10, carry a very sharp, highly polished, two-edged sword, which we know from Rev. 1:16 is the Word of God.  And by the way, His disciples aren't afraid to wield it directly to the ears of Satan's own! Do you understand?

[4] Jesus therefore, knowing all things that should come upon him, went forth, and said unto them, Whom seek ye?
This scripture is very reassuring and comforting in that it first says, just so we all KNOW, that Jesus is fully aware of EXACTLY what is about to happen to Him and how He will be brutally beaten and crucified! So does He show any fear or weakness here? Do you think He went to the garden of the oil-press to hide from the confused religious crowd and make it more difficult for them to "find Him"?  No, He went forth to meet them half-way, and made it as EASY AS POSSIBLE for them to receive Him, should they actually want to "seek" Him.

In other words, because of His love, yes, even for this crowd of darkness, He is giving them every opportunity to "Seek Him", because the time will come when it is too late for them! Remember what He told them about "Seeking Him" back in chapter 7?

John 7:32
The Pharisees heard that the people murmured such things concerning him; and the Pharisees and the chief priests sent officers to take him.

[33] Then said Jesus unto them, Yet a little while am I with you, and then I go unto him that sent me.

[34] Ye shall seek me, and shall not find me: and where I am, thither ye cannot come.

Verse 34 documents that the question "Whom seek ye?" is not about looking for a flesh man. So here they are, the crowd of darkness, with a "spiritual decision" to make in the garden, where once again stands the "Tree of Life". (A lot of "testing" goes on in the gardens of God, doesn't it? )

We just read in verse 4 where Jesus gave them the "Test" question, "Whom Seek Ye?" Again, understand that Jesus is not asking them who they are "looking for" to arrest, because He already knows they are there to take Him and crucify Him. It is not a rhetorical question that He will ask twice! It has to do with whom they SEEK to WORSHIP, not crucify!

John 18:5
They answered him, Jesus of Nazareth.
Right words but, WRONG ANSWER! Jesus knew their hearts. Remember, this is a religious crowd who claims to worship God. OK, Jesus will now identify Himself to them as the "I AM", using the sacred name.
Jesus saith unto them, I am He. And Judas also, which betrayed him, stood with them.
Jesus said unto them, "Look fellas, I AM He", i.e. the true Messiah, right here with you!  And Judas was right there standing with them, i.e. on "their side". Imagine what must have gone through his mind when He heard Jesus identify Himself as the supreme "I AM". Gulp!
[6] As soon then as He had said unto them, I Am He, they went backward, and fell to the ground.
The Holy Spirit repelled their lie with such force it knocked them all down. Hey, maybe after this spiritual "knock up side the head" they will arise and throw down their torches and "seek the true Light"?  He just told them who He was and demonstrated it with power! So Jesus gives them another chance to correct their answer and accept [seek] Him or reject Him:
John 18:7
Then asked He them again, Whom seek ye? And they said, Jesus of Nazareth.
No, unfortunately they got up again, and gave the same wrong answer, with the same unchanged heart. So this test is over and they have all failed. One need not be perfect, but you must get a "see" to pass and cross over from darkness into the Eternal Garden of God, His Kingdom, i.e. you must cross over Cedron [Kidron] with HIM! There is no other way to enter in!
[8] Jesus answered, I have told you that I Am he: if therefore ye seek me, let these go their way:
Yes, He told them He was the I AM, but it didn't matter. So moving right along, Jesus tells them to let His disciples go their way! (For once they come into the Garden "with Him", they are HOME FREE, and LOST no more!)
[9] That the saying might be fulfilled, which he spake, Of them which thou gavest me have I lost none.
When you are "with Him", there is nothing to be worried about, i.e. your salvation is sure!
John 18:10
Then Simon Peter having a sword drew it, and smote the high priest's servant, and cut off his right ear. The servant's name was Malchus.
Peter was a card carrying member of the NSA, the National Sword Association, the forerunner of the NRA. Self defense is a very Christian principle. If you don't believe it then try coming against this Christian nation, or the individual Christians in it, and find out.

Of course the "sword" is part of the Gospel Armor (Eph. 6:17), so on a spiritual level, when a true servant of God takes action with the "two-edged sword", depending on who you are, you may get your "ears lowered", which is demonstrated for us in type by Peter lopping off the right ear (the "right" one that should "hear" right) in the case of this "little king". Malchus means "king".

"Malchus had advanced so as to seize the Lord, and thus became the object of Peter's attack." (Companion Bible note)
Note: I know it was supposed to be the "right ear" that was chopped off the "priest's servant" so that we could understand the spiritual application of the "sword", His Word. But knowing Peter I somehow have a hard time believing that he was aiming for an ear. I think the way Malchus got his right ear cut off was because he "ducked"... to the left... and was able to lower his head, all but his right ear, just below where his neck just was. Got the picture! This would also mean that Peter was left handed for instinctively you would duck "from" the direction of the blade coming at you.
[11] Then said Jesus unto Peter, Put up thy sword into the sheath: the cup which my Father hath given me, shall I not drink it?
Don't get rid of your sword Peter, but put it away in your sheath for now and don't interfere or prevent Satan from bruising His heel. The plan of God must be fulfilled as it is written! Jesus Christ must be crucified so all can bridge the darkness of Kidron and enter the Garden of God with Him.

Jesus will later say to Pilate that His kingdom is not of this world, else His servants would fight with the physical sword. No, He, must drink of the cup, which in this particular verse means pay the price on the cross, and fulfill the reason He came here. We also know from the other accounts of this same scene that Jesus will stoop down and pick up Malshus' ear and physically heal it, but he will still not be able to "hear" the spirit, only the physical sounds!

Next we will see Jesus bound and led to Annas, the father in law to the chief kenite, then on to Pilate.

Jesus has now been betrayed by Judas in the Garden of Gethsemane. A band of religious street thugs have taken the Son of God captive and have chained Him like a criminal and are about to haul Him off to stand before the children of disobedience, the sons of Cain.

John 18:12
Then the band and the captain and officers of the Jews took Jesus, and bound him,
This band of religious misfits and riffraff  took Him and bound Him, but after they had been literally "knocked down" by His words, "I AM", and had witnessed Him heal over the right ear of Malchus after telling Peter to sheath his sword, they would have certainly known that it was only because He "allowed them" to take Him that He could be bound. Don't forget, many times the scribes and Pharisees tried to have Him taken, but it was not His hour and so it didn't happen until it was His hour! Remember Jesus' words from the 10th chapter of John concerning His life?
John 10:18
No man taketh it from me, but I lay it down of myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This commandment have I received of my Father.
So with permission [otherwise they could have done nothing] from the Son of God, they bound Jesus and led Him away to the deposed high priest, Annas, father in law of the current high priest Caiaphas, whose name means "depression", which is the feeling one gets when reading about this murderous hypocrite.
John 10:13
And led him away to Annas first; for he was father in law to Caiaphas, which was the high priest that same year.
Annas was appointed high priest by Quirinus, governor of Syria, about 7 A.D. and was deposed by the procurator of Judea, Valerius Gratus, the predecessor of Pilate about 16 A.D. It was Valerius who appointed Caiaphas, i.e. the Roman government appointed the high priest, for it was not God who appointed him! Annas still bore the title of high priest and was a most influential figure. He was present at the interrogation of Peter and John following their arrest in Acts 4:6.
[14] Now Caiaphas was he, which gave counsel to the Jews, that it was expedient that one man should die for the people.
Remember God caused Caiaphas to speak the prophetic words concerning the death of Messiah in John 11:49-53, much in the same way He used the mouth of Baalam.
[15]  And Simon Peter followed Jesus, and so did another disciple: that disciple was known unto the high priest, and went in with Jesus into the palace of the high priest.
Yes, Peter was a follower of Jesus, but the Lord has already said to him that he will deny Him thrice. And if the Lord says a thing, it will be so!

Note: The Bible does not say who the "another disciple" was, but whoever he was he was certainly influential enough to be known by the high priest and invited into his palace. Both Nicodemus and Joseph of Arimathaea (my pick) were disciples of Christ and both were members of the Sanhedrin.

John 18:16
But Peter stood at the door without. Then went out that other disciple, which was known unto the high priest, and spake unto her that kept the door, and brought in Peter.
Can't you just see Peter politely waiting outside? What? This is the bold and brazen Peter who just lopped off some dude's ear. This is the same Big Fisherman who had the nerve to step out and walk on the water.

Here's how I see it:

Peter was probably lagging just behind the other disciple and did not go into the palace because the damsel (vs. 17) "who kept the door unto Peter", stopped him and wouldn't let him pass, though he tried to convince her he was with the other influential disciple.

So the other influential disciple, suddenly realizing that Peter wasn't with him inside the palace, went to the doorperson [am I politically correct or what?] and said to her, "Excuse me, he's with me!", and she let Peter pass, no questions asked! Now she looks at him real good as he passes by (he's probably grinning with that "see I told you" look) and so later she recognizes him as one of Jesus' disciples.

[17] Then saith the damsel that kept the door unto Peter, Art not thou also one of this man's disciples? He saith, I am not.
Just wait until the reality of what Peter just said settles in this Big Fisherman's heart at the crow of the cock!
John 18:18
And the servants and officers stood there, who had made a fire of coals; for it was cold: and they warmed themselves: and Peter stood with them, and warmed himself.
How well do think Peter blended in with this "band" that just "took Jesus" (vs. 26)?  There is no need to wonder what, or should I say who, the topic of discussion was?
[19] The high priest then asked Jesus of his disciples, and of his doctrine.
"Tell us about your students and what it is that you teach them!"

This lawyer style tactic of the high priest, called entrapment, is designed to get Jesus to say something that they can declare blasphemous and use it against Him. With that in mind you have to just love the answer He gives, which is most unsatisfactory to the high priest. Also, no doubt it was rumored that His disciples were a secret sect, a cult of some sort. He therefore addresses and answers both questions with the following remarks.

[20] Jesus answered him, I spake openly to the world; I ever taught in the synagogue, and in the temple, whither the Jews always resort; and in secret have I said nothing.
Jesus tells the high priest that He taught publicly, right out in the open, in the synagogue, in the temple, and in open public gatherings of Judeans (for a moment there I thought it said Jewish Resorts). He said He has absolutely nothing to hide!

"So why ask me?", Jesus said. "Why don't you ask them which heard me what I have said unto them? They know what I said."

[21] Why askest thou me? ask them which heard me, what I have said unto them: behold, they know what I said.
This is much too brilliant a statement for one of the officers which stood by.
John 18:22
And when he had thus spoken, one of the officers which stood by struck Jesus with the palm of his hand, saying, Answerest thou the high priest so?
Imagine striking the Son of God and speaking with such arrogance and condescension?
[23] Jesus answered him, If I have spoken evil, bear witness of the evil: but if well, why smitest thou me?
John 18:24
Now Annas had sent him bound unto Caiaphas the high priest.
The preliminary hearing is over and it is time for this case to go to trial!

Note: John does not record the trial in his gospel.

[25] And Simon Peter stood and warmed himself. They said therefore unto him, Art not thou also one of his disciples? He denied it, and said, I am not.
Peter denies Christ again!
[26] One of the servants of the high priest, being his kinsman whose ear Peter cut off, saith, Did not I see thee in the garden with him?
Uh oh! This is a much more positive ID, for this accuser is "all ears", so to speak! He says, "Don't I know you? Didn't I see you in the garden?"

The "band" is growing restless and the pressure is on Peter to back up his other denials a little more convincingly. The reply "I am not His disciple" just isn't cutting it! So, as it is recorded in Mark 14:71, Peter used some "street language", some of the "four letter words" of his day, words that disciples of Christ, Christians, don't use [usually].

[27] Peter then denied again: and immediately the cock crew.
Peter, this big old lovable fisherman with a heart of gold, will suddenly realize as he is acting so un-Christian like, that the words of Jesus have just come to pass, exactly as He said they would.

Peter wept. (Mk. 14:72)

Next we will see Jesus taken before the Roman authorities, as the plot to have Him crucified thickens.

Though John does not record the trial of Jesus, only the preliminary hearing, Caiaphas, the high priest and his kenite associates would stoop lower than a snake's belly and even bring in false witnesses to testify against Christ to prove their case against Him.

Note: In his book, "The Drama of the Lost Disciples", author George F. Jowett shows that Caiaphas and company actually lost their case by failing to convince a majority of the Sanhedrin that Christ was guilty of any crime, due mostly to Jesus' brilliant defense team of Joseph of Arimathaea, perhaps the wealthiest and most influential man of his day (read "The Traditions of Glastonbury", by E. Raymond Capt), and Nicodemus.

In any event, we know from the other gospel accounts of the trial that Caiaphas became enraged (lost his cool) at the words of Jesus, and incited his crowd of goons to lead Jesus early the next morning straight to the praetorium, i.e. the courthouse, to try and get Him convicted by the Roman government and sentenced to death.

John 18:28
Then led they Jesus from Caiaphas unto the hall of judgment: and it was early; and they themselves went not into the judgment hall, lest they should be defiled; but that they might eat the passover.
Isn't this typical of religious hypocrites? This religious vigilante group, who is trying to have an innocent man executed, will themselves not enter the courtroom for RELIGIOUS REASONS. It is because they might contaminate their self righteous little bodies by accidentally touching someone who has ingested some Twinkies or other leavened bread. You see, during the preparation day before the First Day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread they were to rid themselves and their entire houses of all "leaven" and leavened products. Leaven was symbolic of sin and getting rid of it was an act of purification. Can you believe this? They are worried about touching leaven while in their hearts they seek to murder the True Bread of Life.

So Pilate gets up and comes out to them. What an accommodating guy!

[29] Pilate then went out unto them, and said, What accusation bring ye against this man?
"What's the charge against this man?", asks Pilate.
[30] They answered and said unto him, If he were not a malefactor, we would not have delivered him up unto thee.
"That's your answer?"

They knew they didn't have a case against Jesus strong enough to have Him crucified. Hence they brought Him in bound like a criminal and made it appear as if they had already found Him guilty and worthy of death. So they answered, "Hey, do you think we would have brought Him to you if He wasn't a criminal? What kind of people do you think we are?"

We see this same tactic used today by the "left eared" media who "convicts" and seeks to destroy people with "right ears" merely on charges. Never mind if the charges are true or not, because just the seriousness of the charges makes one guilty.

Anyway, the Sanhedrin was not permitted by Roman law to carry out death sentences. We can see the hand of God in all of this, because if they had the power, according to the law of Moses the execution would have been by stoning.

[31] Then said Pilate unto them, Take ye him, and judge him according to your law. The Jews therefore said unto him, It is not lawful for us to put any man to death:
So the accusers couldn't give Pilate a substantiated charge and he told them to "bug off", and go conduct their own trial.

They told him they already did but they didn't have the power to execute criminals. Again, the penalty would have required stoning to death, which would not have fulfilled the scriptures which already declared He would be crucified, not stoned.

[32] That the saying of Jesus might be fulfilled, which he spake, signifying what death he should die.
Jesus MUST die by the cross, not by stoning.
John 18:33
Then Pilate entered into the judgment hall again, and called Jesus, and said unto him, Art thou the King of the Jews?
Jesus was King of Israel, not just of Judah.

Note: If you do not know the difference between an Hebrew, an Israelite, a Judahite, and a Judean, then we suggest you obtain "The Abrahamic Covenant", by E. Raymond Capt, which is a good booklet for starters. You can purchase a copy from Artisan publishing at

So Pilate has come back into the judgment hall after his "go 'round" with the Jews and called Jesus asking Him, "Are you King of the Jews?"

[34] Jesus answered him, Sayest thou this thing of thyself, or did others tell it thee of me?
"Did you come up with that question on your own, Pilate, or have others suggested it to you?" Christ knew Pilate's question was incorrect.
[35] Pilate answered, Am I a Jew? Thine own nation and the chief priests have delivered thee unto me: what hast thou done?
"What do I know", says Pilate, "Am I a Jew?" In other words he was not familiar with their religion. "Your own nation and chief priests have delivered you to me.  What have you done, anyway?"
[36] Jesus answered, My kingdom is not of this world: if my kingdom were of this world, then would my servants fight, that I should not be delivered to the Jews: but now is my kingdom not from hence.
Jesus assured Pilate that He was no threat to Rome or to Caesar. If He was then His servants would have fought and He would never have been delivered to that gang of reprobates. He did not come as King to reign at the first advent.
[37] Pilate therefore said unto him, Art thou a king then? Jesus answered,Thou sayest that I am a king.
"Those are your words Pilate."

Jesus is now going to tell Pilate why He was born.

To this end was I born, and for this cause came I into the world, that I should bear witness unto the truth. Every one that is of the truth heareth my voice.
Do you hear His voice? His voice is His word, and His word is truth. Remember?
John 17:17
Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth.
And we also read in chapter 14 that Jesus is the truth:
John 14:6
Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.
So if ever you hear someone ask, "What is truth?",  now you know the answer!
[38] Pilate saith unto him, What is truth?
Well lookie there! Someone just asked the question.
And when he had said this, he went out again unto the Jews, and saith unto them, I find in him no fault at all.
I'll bet this going in and out of the judgment hall is getting to be pain in the you-know-what to Pilate!

There's also something else we should keep in mind as we read Pilate's words. His wife had a dream that troubled her greatly, because in that dream she was told, and obviously convincingly so, that Jesus was a just and innocent man. So she told her hubby Pilate not to have anything to do with the convicting of this innocent man. Here is the account in Matthew:

Matthew 27:19
When he [Pilate] was set down on the judgment seat, his wife sent unto him, saying, Have thou nothing to do with that just man: for I have suffered many things this day in a dream because of him.
So with his wife's words ringing in his ears (yes, wive's words do clang in their husband's ears which is why men have trouble hearing everything they say) Pilate returns outside the hall and tells the Jews, "I find in him no fault at all." Nadda! Nevertheless, Pilate has a solution to the problem:
John 18:39
But ye have a custom, that I should release unto you one at the passover: will ye therefore that I release unto you the King of the Jews?
But Pilate "blew" any chance he had when he incited the mob with the words "King of the Jews".
[40] Then cried they all again, saying, Not this man, but Barabbas. Now Barabbas was a robber.
Barabbas wasn't just a robber, he was also a murderer! Here's the record:
Mark 15:7
And there was one named Barabbas, which lay bound with them that had made insurrection with him, who had committed murder in the insurrection.
Now, as we've learned so many times before, there is always more food, more meat, call it hidden Manna, if one takes the time to "seek". Let's look at the meaning of the name "Barabbas" from Strong's Concordance:
Barabbas, bar-ab-bas', Greek 912; of Chaldee origin [Hebrew 1347 (ga'own) and Greek 5 (Abba)]; son of Abba; Bar-abbas, an Israelite :- Barabbas.
"Bar" in Greek means "son" and "Abba" means "father"
ab-bah', Greek 5; of Chaldee origin [Hebrew 2 ('ab (Chaldee))]; father (as a vocative) :- Abba.
So "Bar-abbas" means "son of (the) father".

Now consider the choice of those OUTSIDE the HALL of JUDGMENT! They have two sons before them and the CHOICE is THEIRS. They can choose the Son of the True Father, Jesus Christ, or the son of the father who produces murderers. Remember the words of Christ in John 8:44 concerning this father?

John 8:44
Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it.
Now that we know the significance of the choice, let's listen again to Pilate giving them their choice between the two sons:
Matthew 27:17
Therefore when they were gathered together, Pilate said unto them, Whom will ye that I release unto you? Barabbas, or Jesus which is called Christ?
They chose Bar-abbas! Incredible, isn't it?

To study the Bible is the noblest of all pursuits; to understand it, the highest of all goals.
We pray that with the guidance of the Holy Spirit, you accomplish both.

The "American Wisdom Series"


Published by:

Rhine Publishing Co.

If you would like to have your essay published
as part of the American Wisdom Series
submit your manuscript to Rhine Publishing Co
at the address above for consideration, or e-mail us
at the address shown on our home page.

Click Here to Return to "The American Wisdom Series" home page.