The Gospel of John
1. We are now entering the last main division of the Gospel of John. Our Lord is now passing from the fellowship of His disciples to the preparation of the cross.
2. Chapter 17 records His great intercessory prayer. Now are we in chapter 18, which deals with our Lord’s betrayal and arrest.
3. The place of betrayal was the Garden of Gethsemane (18:1, 2). It was a place of prayer but Judas turned it into a place of betrayal (18:2-5).
4. Matthew, Mark, and Luke all record the prayers of our Lord at Gethsemane. John goes straight from our Lord’s great prayer of intercession in chapter 17 to His betrayal in chapter 18.
5. F.B. Meyer wrote, “The sequel was so fully narrated by the other evangelists that there was no need for the writer of this narrative to tell of the awful anguish, the broken cries, the bloody sweat, the running to and fro of the disciples, the sleep of the chosen three, the strengthening angel. He confines himself almost entirely to the circumstances of the Lord’s arrest” (Gospel of John, p. 308).
6. There are three key figures in our text.
I. A DECEITFUL APOSTLE – JUDAS ISCARIOT
II. AN OMNISCIENT SAVIOUR
III. A CARNAL APOSTLE – SIMON PETER
7. There were others there as well (18:1). Mark 14:33 mentions James and John along with Peter. There was, of course, a band of Roman soldiers and (police) officers from the chief priests (18:3). One of the officers is mentioned by name – Malchus (18:10).
8. But tonight we will just focus on the three key figures – Judas, our Lord, and Peter.
I. A DECEITFUL APOSTLE (18:2-5).
1. The worst crime ever committed was committed that day when our Lord was nailed to the cruel cross. And the worst act of betrayal took place in the Garden of Gethsemane when Judas Iscariot betrayed our Lord into the hands of His enemies (18:2-5).
2. There are many references to this betrayal in the Bible.
· Matthew 10:2 gives us a list of the twelve apostles. The list ends in verse 4 with these words, “…and Judas Iscariot, who also betrayed him.”
· We see the same thing in Mark 3:19 and Luke 6:16.
· In Matthew 17:22, Jesus said, “The Son of man shall be betrayed into the hands of men.”
· In Matthew 20:18, our Lord said, “Behold, we go up to Jerusalem; and the Son of man shall be betrayed unto the chief priests and unto the scribes, and they shall condemn him to death.”
· In Matthew 26:2, our Lord said, “Ye know that after two days is the feast of the passover, and the Son of man is betrayed to be crucified.”
· Matthew 26:16 says, “And from that time he (Judas) sought opportunity to betray him.”
· Matthew 26:21-25 says, that as they did eat, our Lord said, “Verily I say unto you, that one of you shall betray me. And they were exceeding sorrowful, and began every one of them to say unto him, Lord, is it I? And he answered and said, He that dippeth his hand with me in the dish, the same shall betray me. The Son of man goeth as it is written of him: but woe unto that man by whom the Son of man is betrayed! it had been good for that man if he had not been born. Then Judas, which betrayed him, answered and said, Master, is it I? He said unto him, Thou hast said.”
· Matthew 26:46 says, “Rise, let us be going: behold, he is at hand that doth betray me.”
· Matthew 26:48 says, “Now he that betrayed him gave them a sign, saying, Whomsoever I shall kiss, that same is he: hold him fast.”
· In Luke 22:48, our Lord says, “Judas, betrayest thou the Son of man with a kiss?”
· Matthew 14:10, 11 says, “And Judas Iscariot, one of the twelve, went unto the chief priests, to betray him unto them. And when they heard it, they were glad, and promised to give him money. And he sought how he might conveniently betray him.”
· In John 6:64, our Lord says, “But there are some of you that believe not. For Jesus knew from the beginning who they were that believed not, and who should betray him.”
· John 6:70, 71 says, “Jesus answered them, Have not I chosen you twelve, and one of you is a devil? He spake of Judas Iscariot the son of Simon: for he it was that should betray him, being one of the twelve.”
· John 12:4 says, “Then saith one of his disciples, Judas Iscariot, Simon's son, which should betray him.”
· John 13:2 says, “And supper being ended, the devil having now put into the heart of Judas Iscariot, Simon's son, to betray him.”
· John 13:11 says, “For he knew who should betray him; therefore said he, Ye are not all clean.”
· John 13:21 says, “Verily, verily, I say unto you, that one of you shall betray me.”
· Luke 22:21, 22 says, “But, behold, the hand of him that betrayeth me is with me on the table. And truly the Son of man goeth, as it was determined: but woe unto that man by whom he is betrayed!”
· There are a number of Scriptures that deal with Judas’ remorse and suicide. Matthew 27:3-5 says, “Then Judas, which had betrayed him, when he saw that he was condemned, repented himself, and brought again the thirty pieces of silver to the chief priests and elders, Saying, I have sinned in that I have betrayed the innocent blood. And they said, What is that to us? see thou to that. And he cast down the pieces of silver in the temple, and departed, and went and hanged himself.”
· More details concerning Judas’ betrayal and suicide are provided in Acts 1:16-20.
· The apostle Paul refers to Judas’ betrayal in I Corinthians 11:23, where it says, “That the Lord Jesus the same night in which he was betrayed took bread: And when he had given thanks, he brake it, and said, Take, eat: this is my body, which is broken for you: this do in remembrance of me.”
II. AN OMNISCIENT SAVIOUR (JOHN 18:4).
1. Omniscience (God knows everything) is one of the attributes of God. When we talk of the “attributes of God” we are referring to the essential qualities of God.
2. Charles Ryrie, in his book Basic Theology, says, “God is more than the sum total of His perfections. When we have listed all the attributes we can glean from revelation, we have not fully described God. This stems from His incomprehensibility. Even if we could say we had a complete list of all God’s perfections, we could not fathom their meaning, for finite man cannot comprehend the infinite God” (p. 35).
3. Included in the attributes is the fact that God is a Spirit, God is life, God is self-existent, God is infinite, God is immutable or changeless, God is truth, God is love, God is eternal, God is good, God is merciful, God is sovereign, God is holy, God is omnipresent, God is omnipotent, and God is omniscient.
4. The Lord Jesus Christ has all of these divine attributes because He is God. He said to the soldiers, “I am He” (18:5), thereby identifying Himself as Jehovah God (cf. 8:24, 28, 58; 13:19; 18:5, 6, 8).
5. Our Lord’s deity is also seen in the way the Roman soldiers fell backward when He spoke to them (18:4-6).
6. This will happen again when our Lord’s enemies gather together at the Battle of Armageddon (cf. II Thess. 2:8, 9).
7. In the midst of this betrayal and chaos, our Lord did not forget His beloved disciples (18:8, 9). It is likely they too would have been arrested had not our Lord protected them (John 10:11, 15, 17, 18).
III. A CARNAL APOSTLE (18:5-11).
1. Peter had been sleeping when he should have been praying (cf. Matt. 26:40). Now he drew his sword and lopped off the ear of the high priest’s servant (18:10). Apparently his aim was not good.
2. This drew a rebuke from our Lord (18:11). The “cup” refers to our Lord’s approaching death on the cross. Our Lord prayed in the Garden of Gethsemane, “Father, if thou be willing, remove this cup from me: nevertheless not my will, but thine, be done” (Luke 22:42).
3. John and the others do not tell us that our Lord put Malchus’ ear back in place. Only Luke tells us (maybe because he was a physician). Luke 22:51 says that our Lord “touched his ear and healed him.”
4. More than likely Peter would have been arrested had our Lord not healed Malchus. Only John tells us it was Peter that cut off his ear.
5. Preachers often draw a contrast between Judas Iscariot and Simon Peter. The devil was working on both of them. John 13:2 says the devil put it in the heart of Judas to betray our Lord. Then in John 13:27 it says, “And after the sop Satan entered into him.”
6. In Luke 22:31, our Lord said to Simon Peter, “Simon, Simon, behold, Satan hath desired to have you, that he may sift you as wheat: But I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not: and when thou art converted, strengthen thy brethren.”
7. The main difference between these two apostles is that Peter was a backslider but Judas was never saved in the first place. Judas was an apostate, a wolf in sheep’s clothing.
8. Referring to the list of apostles in Mark 3:16-19, the great evangelist J. Wilbur Chapman said, “It is rather significant, it would seem to me, that his name should come last in the list of the apostles, and…would suggest to me not only that his name was last, but that it was there for some special reason, as I am sure we shall find out that it was. It is also significant that the first name mentioned in the list of the apostles in this third chapter of Mark was Simon, who was surnamed Peter. The first mentioned apostle denied Jesus with an oath, the one last referred to sold Him for thirty pieces of silver and has gone into eternity with the awful sin of murder charged against him. The difference between the two is this: their sins were almost equally great, but the first repented and the grace of God had its perfect work in him and he was the object of Christ’s forgiveness; the second was filled with remorse without repentance, and grace was rejected.
9. “The first became one of the mightiest preachers in the world’s history; the second fills us with horror whenever we read the story of his awful crime” (Classic Sermons on Judas Iscariot, p. 9).
10. Mark those words – Peter “became one of the mightiest preachers in the world’s history.” But it was this same carnal apostle who, referring to the cross, told our Lord, “Lord: this shall not be unto thee” (Matt. 16:22).
11. This same Peter was rebuked by our Lord. Jesus said, “Get thee behind me, Satan: thou art an offence unto me: for thou savourest not the things that be of God, but those that be of men” (Matt. 16:23). This same Peter was transformed into a mighty preacher of the Gospel.
12. This same Peter denied Jesus three times after bragging, “Though I should die with thee, yet will I not deny thee” (Matt. 26:35). But this same carnal Peter was transformed on the day of Pentecost to a mighty Gospel preacher, and Acts 2:41 tells us that 3,000 souls were saved that day.
1. I think all of us can identify with Simon Peter. I know I can.
2. Speaking of Peter, J. Allen Blair wrote, “How we need to guard against the flesh and its selfishness. Surely all of us are guilty of acting like Peter. Who could begin to estimate the number of ‘ears’ that have been restored by Christ because you and I have cut them off? Careless and indifferent, because of our carnal natures, we have said many things sharper than Peter’s sword. For this reason, we must live moment by moment dependent upon the strength and the power of the Son of God” (Living Eternally, p. 275).