God’s Renewing Word of Hope
John 18:19-40: Today’s reading begins with Jesus being questioned by the High Priest. Peter again denies knowing Jesus. Jesus is taken to Pilate, the Roman governor, for questioning.
The High Priest Questions Jesus
(Matthew 26.59-66; Mark 14.55-64; Luke 22.66-71)
19The High Priest questioned Jesus about his disciples and about his teaching. 20Jesus answered, “I have always spoken publicly to everyone; all my teaching was done in the synagogues and in the Temple, where all the people come together. I have never said anything in secret. 21Why, then, do you question me? Question the people who heard me. Ask them what I told them—they know what I said.”
22When Jesus said this, one of the guards there slapped him and said, “How dare you talk like that to the High Priest!”
23Jesus answered him, “If I have said anything wrong, tell everyone here what it was. But if I am right in what I have said, why do you hit me?”
24Then Annas sent him, still tied up, to Caiaphas the High Priest.
Peter Denies Jesus Again
(Matthew 26.71-75; Mark 14.69-72; Luke 22.58-62)
25Peter was still standing there keeping himself warm. So the others said to him, “Aren’t you also one of the disciples of that man?”
But Peter denied it. “No, I am not,” he said.
26One of the High Priest’s slaves, a relative of the man whose ear Peter had cut off, spoke up. “Didn’t I see you with him in the garden?” he asked.
27Again Peter said “No”—and at once a rooster crowed.
Jesus before Pilate
(Matthew 27.1,2,11-14; Mark 15.1-5; Luke 23.1-5)
28Early in the morning Jesus was taken from Caiaphas’ house to the governor’s palace. The Jewish authorities did not go inside the palace, for they wanted to keep themselves ritually clean, in order to be able to eat the Passover meal. 29So Pilate went outside to them and asked, “What do you accuse this man of?”
30Their answer was, “We would not have brought him to you if he had not committed a crime.”
31Pilate said to them, “Then you yourselves take him and try him according to your own law.”
They replied, “We are not allowed to put anyone to death.” ( 32 This happened in order to make come true what Jesus had said when he indicated the kind of death he would die.)
33Pilate went back into the palace and called Jesus. “Are you the king of the Jews?” he asked him.
34Jesus answered, “Does this question come from you or have others told you about me?”
35Pilate replied, “Do you think I am a Jew? It was your own people and the chief priests who handed you over to me. What have you done?”
36Jesus said, “My kingdom does not belong to this world; if my kingdom belonged to this world, my followers would fight to keep me from being handed over to the Jewish authorities. No, my kingdom does not belong here!”
37So Pilate asked him, “Are you a king, then?”
Jesus answered, “You say that I am a king. I was born and came into the world for this one purpose, to speak about the truth. Whoever belongs to the truth listens to me.”
38“And what is truth?” Pilate asked.
Jesus Is Sentenced to Death
(Matthew 27.15-31; Mark 15.6-20; Luke 23.13-25)
Then Pilate went back outside to the people and said to them, “I cannot find any reason to condemn him. 39But according to the custom you have, I always set free a prisoner for you during the Passover. Do you want me to set free for you the king of the Jews?”
40They answered him with a shout, “No, not him! We want Barabbas!” (Barabbas was a bandit.)
Today’s Key Verse: John 18:36a
Jesus said, “My kingdom does not belong to this world.”
What questions does Pilate ask Jesus? How does Jesus respond? Reread verses 36-38. What is your understanding of the “kingdom” that Jesus speaks of? In verse 37, Jesus says, “Whoever belongs to the truth listens to me.” What is your understanding of the “truth” that Jesus speaks of?
I pray, Lord Jesus, “your kingdom come; your will be done.” Grant me the courage to live in faith and make known to others your realm of grace and saving love. Lead me each day in the way of your truth. In your holy name I pray. Amen.
John 19:1-16a: Jesus is sentenced to death.