Vs. 1, “When he had finished praying, Jesus left with his disciples and crossed the Kidron Valley. On the other side there was an olive grove, and he and his disciples went into it.” Many of us are quite familiar with Jesus and the disciples going to pray at the garden in Gethsemane (vs. 1-11). Because the synoptic Gospel’s thoroughly cover the prayer, John gives us more details to the arrest that night. It a dramatic scene as a detachment of Roman soldiers along with some of the chief priests and Pharisees come to capture Jesus. Jesus’ response to affirm His identity was a revelation that caused the whole group of arresting men to draw back and fall to the ground (vs. 6)! Jesus knew this was going to transpire and was ready. Notice how the Shepherd was prepared to protect His sheep (vs. 9). Upon the arrest, they first send Jesus to one of the former high priest, Annas (vs. 12-14, 19-24). This is an unlawful interrogation and a violation of their own laws. Meanwhile, Peter is fulfilling Jesus’ prophetic words that he will deny Him three times (vs. 15-18, 25-27). In the latter half of our chapter (vs. 28-40), Jesus stands before Pilate the Roman Governor. Though the Israelites had their own ruling council in the Sanhedrin, they did not have full autonomy from Rome. They could not sentence a person to die (vs. 31), except for only law if a person violated the sanctity of the temple. Pontius Pilate was known as a brutal man who controlled Judea with a strong arm. Perhaps the Sanhedrin could uses his history of violence for their motive. However, upon questioning Jesus, Pilate has found no reason to convict Jesus of their accusations. We are informed in the Gospel of Luke that Pilate also sought a second opinion from Herod who ruled over Galilee. Once his enemy, Herod didn’t find any reason to convict Jesus either. In a final move, Pilate used the annual practice of granting pardon to a prisoner and surely though they would release Jesus over a Barabbas (vs. 39-40).
Regarding application…Are You Listening? Vs. 37, “You are a king, then!” said Pilate. Jesus answered, “You are right in saying I am a king. In fact, for this reason I was born, and for this I came into the world, to testify to the truth. Everyone on the side of truth listens to me.” It is ironic that Jesus is seemingly on trial, but the tables are turned spiritually. It is Pilate, the Jews, and all of us who are on trial. Question: Will we accept the testimony of truth? If we do not, we will stand condemned. Which side are you on? When Jesus speaks, those who believe will listen. This past Sunday, the message at Roots was in the Gospel of Matthew where Jesus called Matthew to follow him. Matthew heard Jesus’ voice, the Shepherds voice and he followed him. There are many voices in this world that will try to have you hear them out. Take time today to drown out the noise and listen to the voice of truth!