Lesson 102

The Gospel of John

World English Bible translation

 Today's Scripture

18:10 Simon Peter therefore, having a sword, drew it, and struck the high priest's servant, and cut off his right ear. The servant's name was Malchus. 18:11 Jesus therefore said to Peter, "Put up the sword into its sheath. The cup which the Father has given me, shall I not drink it?"

18:12 So the detachment, the commanding officer, and the officers of the Jews, seized Jesus and bound him, 18:13 and led him to Annas first, for he was father-in-law to Caiaphas, who was high priest that year. 18:14 Now it was Caiaphas who gave counsel to the Jews, that it was expedient that one man should die for the people. 18:15 Simon Peter followed Jesus, as did another disciple. Now that disciple was known to the high priest, and entered in with Jesus into the court of the high priest; 18:16 but Peter was standing at the door outside. So the other disciple, who was known to the high priest, went out and spoke to her who kept the door, and brought in Peter. 18:17 Then the maid who kept the door said to Peter, "Are you also one of this man's disciples?"

He said, "I am not."

 Today's Lesson 

This section of the Gospel of John has often been noted for its detail and the sense that the author is supplying specific detail for his own reasons. One instance of this tendency is found in verse 10 when we are told that the servant whose ear was cut off was named Malchus. Perhaps Malchus was someone known specifically by the early church for which this letter Gospel was written, or perhaps a relative who had known Malchus.


Another example is the specific naming of Annas and Caiaphas and the detailed understanding of their relationship and who would have been responsible for what occurred. The families that the High Priest came from during this time were indeed inter-related. In this passage, though Caiaphas is the High priest that year, Annas, who had also been High Priest in the past, seems to have been the "power behind the throne." Jesus is brought to Annas first. After He is questioned and after Annas has judged Him, He will be later taken to Caiaphas.


In this passage we also have a mysterious disciple in verse 15. This unnamed disciple first follows Jesus after He had been arrested and then gains Peter and himself access into the inner courtyard of the High Priest. We are never told who this disciple is but tradition has held that this disciple is John. That this disciple is the author is supported by the first-hand nature of much of what occurs. If this disciple were merely someone that the author knew or had interviewed it would have been little reason for not naming him.


This section also contains the first of Peter denials. The unnamed disciple enters the High Priest's house and then returns to the door in order to get Peter admitted. When he is bringing Peter into the courtyard, the woman who kept the door asks Peter if he is Jesus' disciple. Peter denies that he is a disciple to this maid who kept the door.


Peter is an interesting case. He is willing to risk his own life by wielding a sword in the presence of armed guards sent to arrest Jesus, but he is unwilling to acknowledge being Jesus' disciple to this servant at the door. Perhaps Peter thought that if he lied to her he would be able to sneak in and assist Jesus in some fashion. Perhaps he was simply frightened to be in a hostile place in the middle of the night.


In any case, even as Jesus is being brought before Annas and questioned, Peter is in the courtyard denying Him. This is to be the long, final night of Jesus' life on earth. The betrayer had led armed men to arrest Him. Even though Peter had drawn a sword, Jesus had prevented violence from irrupting. He knew that there was a purpose to the evening, a plan that needed to be fulfilled. He said, "The cup which the Father has given me, shall I not drink it?"


It was a bitter cup that He had been given and He would have to drink it, even to the dregs. But, He knew that the Father had given Him this cup. This was God's plan in action. Often life hands us a bitter cup as well. How much better we would bear it if we would only see that God is the one who offers the cup to us. We are in His hands. Nothing comes to us except through Him. The evil does not originate with God, but He is sovereign over evil. Evil cannot touch you unless God permits it to temper you for His own purpose.


What is God's purpose for your trials today? What is God trying to say to you through the circumstances of your life?


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