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John 18 – Skeptic's Annotated Bible answered

A response and reply to the notes on John 18 in the Skeptic's Annotated Bible (SAB).

King James Version

SAB comment

My comment

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.

2 And Judas also, which betrayed him, knew the place: for Jesus ofttimes resorted thither with 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.

4 Jesus therefore, knowing all things that should come upon him, went forth, and said unto them, Whom seek ye?

(18:3-5) "Jesus ... said unto them, Whom seek ye?"
Did Judas identify Jesus with a kiss?
Jesus came forward first, willingly, only afterward Judas identified him.
As there were already three Gospels in circulation, John in his Gospel tries to give the things from his personal recollection that were not in the other Gospels. So John skips some of the well-known details, but adds some new material. The order of the events in Gethsemane is as follows:
  1. A great multitude arrives, Roman soldiers and servants of the high priest, verse 3.
  2. Jesus, knowing all things, comes forward of his own accord, and did not hide himself in the garden, verse 4.
  3. Jesus asks the multitude whom they seek. They do not recognize him in the dark, not even Judas who was with them, verse 5. If Jesus had wished, he could have escaped. But Jesus identifies himself here
  4. The soldiers fall to the ground, verse 6.
  5. Jesus again addresses the soldiers and asks them to let his disciples go, verses 7-8.
  6. Judas, who has now recognized the voice, comes forward and kissed Jesus, Matthew 26:49. This is the sign the soldiers have been waiting for. When Jesus identified himself, they may have thought one of his disciples was trying to deceive them, offering himself up as Jesus, while Jesus himself was getting away.
  7. The soldiers then try to grab Jesus, Matthew 26:50.
  8. The disciples, seeing the danger Jesus is in, ask Jesus if they should attack, Luke 22:49.
  9. But Peter does not wait for an answer and uses his sword to whack off the ear of Malchus, verse 10.
  10. After healing the ear of this servant, Jesus asks them if they could not have captured him in daylight, in the temple. Police is not afraid of the population when arresting criminals. It's only when they want to hide what they do, that they go out at night, Matthew 26:55.
  11. Jesus is now arrested, and led away, verse 12.
John simply omits some events, but does not deny the well-known kiss by Judas, and adds details not know to us already from the other three Gospels.

5 They answered him, Jesus of Nazareth. Jesus saith unto them, I am he. And Judas also, which betrayed him, stood with them.

6 As soon then as he had said unto them, I am he, they went backward, and fell to the ground.

7 Then asked he them again, Whom seek ye? And they said, Jesus of Nazareth.

8 Jesus answered, I have told you that I am he: if therefore ye seek me, let these go their way:

9 That the saying might be fulfilled, which he spake, Of them which thou gavest me have I lost none.

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.

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?

12 Then the band and the captain and officers of the Jews took Jesus, and bound him,

13 And led him away to Annas first; for he was father in law to Caiaphas, which was the high priest that same year.

(18:13) "And led him away to Annas first."
Was Jesus taken to Caiaphas or Annas first?
Only John tells us where Jesus was led to first. Nor Matthew, nor Luke, nor Mark tell us where he was led to first, but simply tell us that he was led to Caiaphas. At Caiaphas house the main events happened, such as the denial of Peter. As nothing really happened at Annas, the other gospel writers omit this detail.
And John also tells us that he was taken from Annas house to Caiaphas, verse 24.

14 Now Caiaphas was he, which gave counsel to the Jews, that it was expedient that one man should die for the people.

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.

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.

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.

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.

19 The high priest then asked Jesus of his disciples, and of his doctrine.

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.

(18:20) "In secret have I said nothing."
Did Jesus have secret teachings?

21 Why askest thou me? ask them which heard me, what I have said unto them: behold, they know what I said.

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?

23 Jesus answered him, If I have spoken evil, bear witness of the evil: but if well, why smitest thou me?

24 Now Annas had sent him bound unto Caiaphas the high priest.

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.

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?

27 Peter then denied again: and immediately the cock crew.

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.

29 Pilate then went out unto them, and said, What accusation bring ye against this man?

30 They answered and said unto him, If he were not a malefactor, we would not have delivered him up unto thee.

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:

32 That the saying of Jesus might be fulfilled, which he spake, signifying what death he should die.

33 Then Pilate entered into the judgment hall again, and called Jesus, and said unto him, Art thou the King of the Jews?

34 Jesus answered him, Sayest thou this thing of thyself, or did others tell it thee of me?

(18:38-38) "Jesus answered"
In Matthew (27:14), Jesus "answered to him never a word" when questioned by Pilate. But here, in the same situation, Jesus responds in some detail.
Was Jesus silent during his trial?
Jesus did not answer a word when he was accused as Matthew clearly writes (Matthew 27:12). But when the subject changes and Pilate wants to know more about himself, Jesus speaks freely.

35 Pilate answered, Am I a Jew? Thine own nation and the chief priests have delivered thee unto me: what hast thou done?

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.

37 Pilate therefore said unto him, Art thou a king then? Jesus answered, Thou sayest that I am a king. 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.

38 Pilate saith unto him, What is truth? 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.

(18:30) "What is truth? Pilate asked Jesus a very good question: "What is truth?"
It does not appear Pilate asked a question here. He sneered, and left after he had said it. And because there was no truth, he condemned an innocent man to death, even after admitting: “I find no fault in him.” Or wasn't that true?
Note that the Bible answers that question not with an argument, but with a person: I am the truth, chapter 14:6.

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?

40 Then cried they all again, saying, Not this man, but Barabbas. Now Barabbas was a robber.