Judas betrayed Jesus for thirty pieces of silver. He had no spiritual or eternal perspective… –“but the worries of this life, the deceitfulness of wealth and the desires for other things come in and choke the word, making it unfruitful.” Mark 4:19

A cohort (600 soldiers) of Roman soldiers with weapons and many temple guards were sent to arrest one Man and 11 followers and when He said, I am He (–“I Am” – –“ego eime,” the Name of God) they fell backwards to the ground. Many commentators think this is a theophany — an appearance of the Jesus’ Divinity (like on the Mount of Transfiguration — Matt. 17:1-6 Also see Rev. 1:10-17 for a description of Jesus in His glory.) Also note how he stepped forward and boldly identified Himself (v.4). Jesus is in command. Jesus had prayed through (Matt. 26:36-46) and in total dependence on God and absolute submission to God He was empowered and ready.

He was ready to protect His sheep as the Good Shepherd. (vv. 8, 9) And He especially protected Peter who could have been arrested with Him if Jesus had not instantly healed Malchus’ ear (Luke 22:51). Even in this dark hour Jesus heals His enemy and reveals His mercy and His power. Jesus is in command.

Jesus is in command at the six trials they put Him through. He often questions His own accusers.

Religious trials — Jewish Leaders Civil trials — Roman Leaders
Before Annas — John 18:12-14 Before Pilate — John 18:28-38
Before Caiaphas — Matt. 26:57-68  Before Herod — Luke 23:6-12
Before the Sanhedrin — Matt. 27:1-2 Before Pilate — John 18:39 — 19:6

We often miss Peter’s bravery and love for Jesus in emphasizing His denial. He did try to stop them from taking Jesus in the garden, and he was only one of two (John most likely the other) who followed Jesus when they arrested Him. Yet he did deny Him and when the Lord looked at him he went out and wept bitterly. (Luke 22:61, 62) Peter denied Him for fear of his life. Did the scourges from a Roman soldier hurt any more than the betrayal of His close friend? We are called to deny Self not deny Jesus and self denial is always for our good in the end. We can often deny Jesus for much less – the fear of not fitting in with the crowd who ignores or rejects Him.

In verse 28 we see the Jews being concerned about not being defiled by entering a Gentile residence even as they illegally plotted the murder of an innocent Man. The ability to do something we know is wrong and then justify it shows the power of the flesh which is the power of self-deception. It was their envy that drove them to murder. They feared the loss of their power and went to this extreme to keep it. Envy will also kill the Christ in us.

Again we see the sovereignty of God as the Jews sought crucifixion not stoning per their Law. Crucifixion was the cruelest form of capital punishment and used only by the Romans and only then for the vilest offenders. Yet this fulfilled three prophecies. 1) no bones will be broken; stoning would break the bones of the person. (John 19:36); 2) to include both Jews and Gentiles in the collective guilt for the cross (Acts 2:23. 4:27); and 3) Jesus was to be lifted up as the snake in the desert. (Deut. 21:23; John 3:14; Ga.l.3:13) God uses the sinful choices of man but man is still responsible and accountable for his choices.

V. 36 Jesus’ kingdom (rule) does not come by rebelling against man but by submitting to Him — the King of kings.

What is truth? Usually the person who asks that question (Pilate) is the very one who doesn’t really want to know. Pilate was looking Truth in the face and did not see it, nor did the Jewish leaders. God’s truth is the light of God that reveals temporal realities in light of spiritual and eternal Realities. Knowing and meditating on God’s Word (truth) gives us God’s wisdom and perspective on the issues of life.

Pilate could find no guilt in Jesus. (John 18:38; 19:4, 6), nor could anyone else. Jesus was the spotless Lamb of God, the perfect sacrifice required by God. (Ex. 12:5; 1 Peter 1:19)

Give us Barabbas! He was a robber and rebel found guilty and sentenced to death. But Jesus died in His place. We are all Barabbas (Rom. 3:23), guilty and sentenced to eternal punishment but Jesus died in our place and set us free. 2 Cor. 5:21

–“Hail, King of the Jews!” Though the soldiers and the Jews meant this in mockery, the irony was that He is the King of the Jews and the King of kings. Even in this painful and humiliating trial, Jesus was in command.


Have you ever denied Jesus? Where are you most tempted to deny Him? What can you do to change this?

V. 36 Jesus’ kingdom (rule) does not come by rebelling against man but by submitting to Him — the King of kings. Jesus was the most humble Man that ever lived and yet the most powerful. God’s power flows through humility. (Phil. 2:5-11) Why do you think this is true?

Pilate looked Truth in the face and didn’t recognize it. How can we be blind to truth? What can we do about it?

Try to imagine the relief and hope Barabbas must have felt when he went from expecting to die on a cross to being instantly set free. Imagine him observing Jesus’ crucifixion. How do you think he would feel? How does this relate to our salvation? How could we ever take it for granted?

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