John 18:12-14,19-24 Exploring the Passage

Below are some preliminary questions to assist in the study of this passage. For a comprehensive study of the passage, download the Study Guide (PDF download).

1. According to Mark 14:55 (printed below), why did the chief priests seek evidence against Jesus? What does this tell you about the justice of His trial?

Now the chief priests and the whole council sought evidence against Jesus so that they might put him to death… (Mark 14:55)

The chief priests sought evidence against Jesus “so that they might put Him to death.” This commentary reveals the injustice of Jesus’ trial. Prosecutors seek conviction because they have evidence; they do not seek evidence in order to condemn the defendant.

2. The chief priests finally produce two witnesses. What is their testimony against Jesus? See Mark 14:57-58 (printed below) To what incident in Jesus’ ministry are they referring?

Then certain men stood up and bore false testimony against him, saying, (58) We heard him say, I will destroy this temple that is made with hands, and in three days I will build another, one that is made without hands. (Mark 14:57-58)

The two witnesses testify, “We heard him say, I will destroy this temple that is made with hands, and in three days I will build another, one that is made without hands.” They are referring to the incident recorded in John 2:13-22.

3. When He is forced to answer the question, “Are you the Christ, the Son of the Blessed One?” how does Jesus reply? See Mark 14:62 (printed below) What does this tell us about Jesus’ commitment to the truth?

And Jesus said, I am; and you shall see the Son of man sitting at the right hand of the Mighty One and coming on the clouds of heaven. (Mark 14:62)

When Jesus is forced to answer the question, “Are you the Christ?” He responds by telling the truth, “I am.” He does so even though He knows that they will use His testimony as evidence to condemn Him to death. This shows us Jesus’ commitment to the truth. By His reply Jesus is teaching us that it is better to die than to lie.

4. How does the high priest respond to Jesus’ answer? See Mark 14:63-64 (printed below)

Then the high priest tore his clothes and said, What further need have we of witnesses? (64) You have heard the blasphemy; what do you think? And they all condemned him as being worthy of death. (Mark 14:63-64)

The high priest identifies Jesus’ answer as blasphemy, a crime that was punishable by death under Jewish law. Note that the high priest does not evaluate Jesus’ claim in light of the evidence (cp. John 10:32-33,37-38). On the contrary, despite the evidence in support of Jesus’ claim, he pronounces it to be blasphemy.

5. What charges do the Jewish leaders bring against Jesus when they appear before Pilate? See Luke 23:1-2 (printed below) Why do they bring charges that are different from the ones recorded in Mark 14:63-64 (printed above under question #4)

So the whole assembly rose and brought him before Pilate. (2) They began to accuse him, saying, We found this man subverting our nation, and forbidding men to pay taxes to Caesar, and claiming that he himself is the Christ, a king. (Luke 23:1-2)

When they appear before Pilate, the Jewish leaders charge Jesus with inciting the Jewish nation to rebel against Rome, instructing the people not to pay taxes, and claiming to be a rival king. These were offenses that would be punishable by death under Roman law.