Commentary on the Gospel of John; Chapters 16-21
by Dave Brown
[Comments are given in brackets.]
16:1 These things have I spoken unto you, that ye should not be caused to stumble.
2 They shall put you out of the synagogues: yea, the hour cometh, that whosoever killeth you shall think that he offereth service unto God.
[This is how some things are today in the middle east, but it is not the Jews but the Arabs and many of the independent sects that think they are serving God by restricting the religion of Christians, and by persecution. Jesus is talking about many people in general; it -- seems they never change. We will see that this is fulfilled in much detail in the book of Acts. We even see it in some small radical groups in the United States.]
3 And these things will they do, because they have not known the Father, nor me.
[This was even typical in the USA when we had riots and many people who did not join in were killed indiscriminately. Although on a much smaller scale, their objectives were much like that of the of People’s Liberation army in China in the late 1940s. If they could launch such a massive persecution, they would. It is just a matter of getting those in authority supporting them.]
4 But these things have I spoken unto you, that when their hour is come, ye may remember them, how that I told you. And these things I said not unto you from the beginning, because I was with you.
[Jesus was with them and he protected them. We read of none of the apostles being killed while Jesus was still on this earth. Another reason may have been that they were not ready and prepared for these truths.]
5 But now I go unto Him that sent me; and none of you asketh me, Whither goest thou?
6 But because I have spoken these things unto you, sorrow hath filled your heart.
[Recall, they were perplexed by Jesus stating He would be gone for a little while and then back with them for a little while. They seem to accept this now even though they do not understand it. Sorrow would be natural, and it shows how they loved Jesus at this point. But their hopes still seemed to be in a political leader, despite being with Jesus for about three years at this point. We will see even in the Acts 1 (after Jesus ascends into heaven) they will still be confused in this regard. It will not be until they receive the baptism in the Holy Spirit (in Acts 2) that they will "get it." The Holy Spirit is the Comforter in the next verse.]
7 Nevertheless I tell you the truth: It is expedient for you that I go away; for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I go, I will send Him unto you.
[Why would this be expedient? His presence with them at this point was contrary to the independent action required of them by the Great Commission (see Matthew 28:18-20). The responsibility for converting others to Christ would start with the apostles, and ultimately become the responsibility of all Christians (i.e, “teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you” would include the commands of the Great Commission). Jesus saw His continued presence as being detrimental to this plan. Also, Jesus would become the focal point, just as many of our religious leaders have erroneously become today. He saw this as not being consistent with the distribution of the responsibility first to the apostle and ultimately to all Christians.]
8 And He, when He is come, will convict the world in respect of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment:
9 of sin, because they believe not on me;
10 of righteousness, because I go to the Father, and ye behold me no more;
11 of judgment, because the prince of this world hath been judged.
[The role that the Holy Spirit was to speak for Jesus (see verse 13). Our roles in preaching the gospel are no different. They are to speak...
- Of sin – that which separates all people from God, and that for which we are all guilty. This is to be overcome by faith in Jesus.
- Or righteousness – it would be the responsibility of the Holy Spirit (and ultimately of each one of us) to preach what is the opposite of sin: righteousness. Jesus could no longer speak of it Himself because He would soon be with the Father, so it was up to them (and us).
- Of judgment – this is a necessary part of preaching the gospel and it should not be ignored. Since Satan has already been judged, his final judgment and punishment in the lake of fire is what is described in Revelation 20:10. Those who follow the prince of this world will also be condemned as Satan was already.]
12 I have yet many things to say unto you, but ye cannot bear them now.
13 Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he shall guide you into all the truth: for he shall not speak from himself; but what things soever he shall hear, (these) shall he speak: and he shall declare unto you the things that are to come.
[There were certain things that they just could not understand until Jesus was crucified and resurrected. Even then it was necessary for the Holy Spirit (Comforter) to explain it to them in order from them to understand that Jesus would not be a political or military leader. The Holy Spirit is not making it up Himself, but it is in total agreement with Jesus for the words that He spoke to them. And so it is today when we read these words in scripture. They found it difficult to understand what most people even today cannot understand -- the nature of spiritual things. "Expedient" (Verse 7) -- is for the preaching of the gospel. We see how people erroneously idolize religious leaders today ... can you imagine the mobs that would accompany Jesus wherever he went? That would be if he were popular (which is not something to be expected). If he were not popular then their only perceived solution would be to kill him. God does not needlessly violate the free will of mankind, and so keeping Him on earth or having Him return did not fit His divine will. When He comes again it will strictly be for judgment.]
14 He shall glorify me: for he shall take of mine, and shall declare (it) unto you.
15 All things whatsoever the Father hath are mine: therefore said I, that he taketh of mine, and shall declare (it) unto you.
16 A little while, and ye behold me no more; and again a little while, and ye shall see me.
17 (Some) of his disciples therefore said one to another, What is this that he saith unto us, A little while, and ye behold me not; and again a little while, and ye shall see me: and, Because I go to the Father?
18 They said therefore, What is this that he saith, A little while? We know not what he saith.
[This did not make sense to them at this time. It was stated to increase their faith once Jesus was taken away for His execution. Then, after a very short time he appeared to them for another short time.]
19 Jesus perceived that they were desirous to ask him, and he said unto them, Do ye inquire among yourselves concerning this, that I said, A little while, and ye behold me not, and again a little while, and ye shall see me?
20 Verily, verily, I say unto you, that ye shall weep and lament, but the world shall rejoice: ye shall be sorrowful, but your sorrow shall be turned into joy.
21 A woman when she is in travail hath sorrow, because her hour is come: but when she is delivered of the child, she remembereth no more the anguish, for the joy that a man is born into the world.
[Many women will verify this despite there being a few exceptions. But a great analogy on how sorrowful the disciples would be -- to the point of just giving it all up and going back to their old life of fishing. This was fulfilled in great detail as Jesus came back and was with them to give them encouragement for 40 days before he ascended into heaven to be (physically) away from them as far as this earth was concerned. Spiritually they knew that he was always close by, as should we.]
22 And ye therefore now have sorrow: but I will see you again, and your heart shall rejoice, and your joy no one taketh away from you.
23 And in that day ye shall ask me no question. Verily, verily, I say unto you, if ye shall ask anything of the Father, he will give it you in my name.
24 Hitherto have ye asked nothing in my name: ask, and ye shall receive, that your joy may be made full.
25 These things have I spoken unto you in dark sayings: the hour cometh, when I shall no more speak unto you in dark sayings, but shall tell you plainly of the Father.
26 In that day ye shall ask in my name: and I say not unto you, that I will pray the Father for you;
27 for the Father himself loveth you, because ye have loved me, and have believed that I came forth from the Father.
[There were certain things that in their infantile spiritual condition they just could not handle. This is a lesson to us not to overwhelm those who we are teaching with things that they are not ready for and cannot hope to understand. Instead of internalizing it for themselves they take our word for it -- after all, we are the experts, aren't we? Jesus wanted them to understand what it was that he was teaching, not just have them mouth back his sayings. We should follow this example for the ones we teach -- it is even more needful for us than it was for the infallible Son of God.]
28 I came out from the Father, and am come into the world: again, I leave the world, and go unto the Father.
29 His disciples say, Lo, now speak thou plainly, and speak no dark saying.
30 Now know we that thou know all things, and need not that any man should ask thee: by this we believe that thou came forth from God.
[They were confident within themselves -- what they needed was a lesson in humility. The crucifixion experience would certainly give that to them. Their subdued nature even after the miraculous events of Pentecost demonstrates how much this event as well as Pentecost itself, changed them.]
31 Jesus answered them, Do ye now believe?
32 Behold, the hour comes, yea, is come, that ye shall be scattered, every man to his own, and shall leave me alone: and (yet) I am not alone, because the Father is with me.
33 These things have I spoken unto you, that in me ye may have peace. In the world ye have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.
[This prophesy of Jesus will come true as we shall see. It is unbelievable that after being with Jesus for three years they still would not have the courage to stand with him. But then as we look within ourselves and our own weaknesses we have to identify with the disciples. It is easy to say how faithful we will be when things are going smoothly; it is quite another thing to actually do it under the threat of death.]
17:1 These things spake Jesus; and lifting up his eyes to heaven, he said, Father, the hour is come; glorify thy Son, that the son may glorify thee:
[Jesus speaks of His crucifixion as a glorification. But only because it was necessary to come first before He could be raised from the dead.]
2 even as thou gavest him authority over all flesh, that to all whom thou hast given him, he should give eternal life.
3 And this is life eternal, that they should know thee the only true God, and him whom thou didst send, (even) Jesus Christ.
[The eternal life that Jesus is talking about is after the resurrection and judgment at the end of time when Jesus returns in judgment (often called “Jesus' second coming”). Eternal life comes as the result of our knowing the one and only true God. "Know" here is much more than just a superficial knowledge of God. It is our “diligently seeking after God.” Hebrews 11:6): And without faith it is impossible to be well-pleasing (unto Him); for he that cometh to God must believe that He is, and (that) He is a rewarder of them that seek after Him.]
4 I glorified thee on the earth, having accomplished the work which thou hast given me to do.
5 And now, Father, glorify thou me with thine own self with the glory which I had with thee before the world was.
[Jesus would not be taken from this earth until the total work that God the Father had given Him was totally accomplished. Jesus now prays for glorification of Himself and of the Father. The statement in this regard is quite profound. In it we learn that Jesus was with the ‘Father” not only before He came into this world, but from eternity before the world was. Jesus attributes this time He had together with the Father as a time of great glory.]
6 I manifested thy name unto the men whom thou gavest me out of the world: thine they were, and thou gavest them to me; and they have kept thy word.
[This seems to be referring to the 11 faithful disciples (who became apostles), and a significant number of others -- Acts 1 indicates about 120 who also were faithful. The idea seems to be that these faithful followers of Jesus now had been faithful of keeping the law of Moses before Jesus came, and thus Jesus says that they belonged to God at that time.]
7 Now they know that all things whatsoever thou hast given me are from thee:
8 for the words which thou gavest me I have given unto them; and they received (them), and knew of a truth that I came forth from thee, and they believed that thou didst send me.
[Understanding that Jesus was sent into this world by the Father was a critical matter of faith. This made the difference between Jesus being “just a man” and His being the Son of God. The words that Jesus taught did not originate with Him, but they were words given to Him by the Father.]
9 I pray for them: I pray not for the world, but for those whom thou hast given me; for they are thine:
10 and all things that are mine are thine, and thine are mine: and I am glorified in them.
[It was not that Jesus had no concern for all people in the world. It is just that at this moment His concerns were with those closest to Him for their faithfulness in keeping His words and those of the Father.]
11 And I am no more in the world, and these are in the world, and I come to thee. Holy Father, keep them in thy name which thou hast given me, that they may be one, even as we (are).
[You can imagine how Jesus felt knowing he would have to leave his apostles and other followers pretty much "on their own." He had the normal feelings that any of us would have even though He knew that the Holy Spirit would guide them. Here He is facing up to the fact that they would no longer be in His direct supervision.]
12 While I was with them, I kept them in thy name which thou hast given me: and I guarded them, and not one of them perished, but the son of perdition; that the scripture might be fulfilled.
[Judas Iscariot, Psalms 41:9: “Yea, mine own familiar friend, in whom I trusted, who did eat of my bread, hath lifted up his heel against me.” As a horse or donkey might kick the one who offers them food.]
13 But now I come to thee; and these things I speak in the world, that they may have my joy made full in themselves.
14 I have given them thy word; and the world hated them, because they are not of the world, even as I am not of the world.
15 I pray not that thou shouldest take them from the world, but that thou shouldest keep them from the evil (one).
[They would have to stay in the world to preach the gospel. This was essential to the salvation of God's people after Jesus left them. The term “of the world” indicates those who are influenced by the evils of this world more than they are with the righteousness of Jesus and the Father.]
16 They are not of the world even as I am not of the world.
17 Sanctify them in the truth: thy word is truth.
[Does it not impress you how much everything with Jesus and God depends on truth and reality, while popularity in our world is all about trickery and deception? This illustrates what it means to be "of the world." It also tells us how we can be set apart and made holy for service to our Lord. It can only be done by the word of truth.]
18 As thou didst send me into the world, even so sent I them into the world.
19 And for their sakes I sanctify myself, that they themselves also may be sanctified in truth.
[Jesus was following the pattern set by His father.]
20 Neither for these only do I pray, but for them also that believe on me through their word;
21 that they may all be one; even as thou, Father, (art) in me, and I in thee, that they also may be in us: that the world may believe that thou didst send me.
[So what Jesus was praying for was in no way limited to just His apostles. We can see the need for unity today -- one reason that people do not believe in Jesus is because of the division that they see among his so-called followers. When they are divided and fighting with each other, it is no wonder that people are confused. If Christians would just be "one" in the teaching of the Bible this would not be a problem. So, Jesus is praying for this to happen. His praying for it indicates that it is feasible -- not just an irrelevant pipe dream, In many places, the Bible clearly teaches that the average person can understand the scriptures. Those who teach otherwise want to keep their followers ignorant of simple Biblical teachings.]
22 And the glory which thou hast given me I have given unto them; that they may be one, even as we (are) one;
23 I in them, and thou in me, that they may be perfected into one; that the world may know that thou didst send me, and lovedst them, even as thou lovedst me.
24 Father, I desire that they also whom thou hast given me be with me where I am, that they may behold my *glory, which thou hast given me: for thou lovedst me before the foundation of the world.
[This has a range of meanings, but perhaps the spiritual meaning of our being with the Lord is surely one of them. Eph 2:5-7: even when we were dead through our trespasses, [God] made us alive together with Christ (by grace have ye been saved), and raised us up with him, and made us to sit with him in the heavenly (realms), in Christ Jesus: that in the ages to come he might show the exceeding riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus:]
25 O righteous Father, the world knew thee not, but I knew thee; and these knew that thou didst send me;
26 and I made known unto them thy name, and will make it known; that the love wherewith thou lovedst me may be in them, and I in them.
[This is God's to give. Jesus said that whatsoever WE would ask would be granted. What does this say about what Jesus asks of his Father? Surely God will give all of this to Jesus, but we must have righteous hearts to receive it.]
18:1 When Jesus had spoken these words, he went forth with his disciples over the brook Kidron, where was a garden, into which he entered, himself and his disciples.
2 Now Judas also, who betrayed him, knew the place: for Jesus oft-times resorted thither with his disciples.
[Jesus was not trying to hide – there are many places where he could, but he knew what Judas was going to do.]
3 Judas then, having received the band (of soldiers), and officers from the chief priests and the Pharisees, cometh thither with lanterns and torches and weapons.
[They had no idea that Jesus was only about keeping His Father’s will and commands. You wonder how they could be so ignorant? The reason is that they did not listen to what Jesus taught, or they listened only to try to to get something on Him, Critical: WHY were they listening? Why do we?]
4 Jesus therefore, knowing all the things that were coming upon him, went forth, and saith unto them, Whom seek ye?
[Jesus only concern now was for the welfare of His disciples.]
5 They answered him, Jesus of Nazareth. Jesus saith unto them, I am (he). And Judas also, who betrayed him, was standing with them.
6 When therefore he said unto them, I am (he), they went backward, and fell to the ground.
[They could not believe that Jesus had no fear. They had heard of Jesus’ miracles and knew what he COULD do, and had no idea of why he would not fight them. Their reaction is one of fear.]
7 Again therefore he asked them, Whom seek ye? And they said, Jesus of Nazareth.
8 Jesus answered, I told you that I am (he); if therefore ye seek me, let these go their way:
9 that the word might be fulfilled which he spake, Of those whom thou hast given me I lost not one.
[All of the other gospels indicate that Judas kissed Jesus to identify him. It is clear from John the respect that they had for Jesus' power. and that he gave himself up willingly.]
10 Simon Peter therefore having a sword drew it, and struck the high priest's servant, and cut off his right ear. Now the servant's name was Malchus.
11 Jesus therefore said unto Peter, Put up the sword into the sheath: the cup which the Father hath given me, shall I not drink it?
[Again, Matthew and Luke indicate that Jesus healed Malchus' ear. The significance of all of this detail is that these events could be checked in the first century or shortly thereafter, so John feels comfortable in including them.]
12 So the band and the chief captain, and the officers of the Jews, seized Jesus and bound him,
13 and led him to Annas first; for he was father in law to Caiaphas, who was high priest that year.
[Probably his house was nearest to them, and he had great authority and influence in the Jewish nation. He had been himself a long time high priest; he had had five sons who had successively enjoyed the office of high priest, and that office was now filled by his son-in-law. It was of importance, therefore, to obtain his sanction and counsel in their work of evil.
(from Barnes' Notes, Electronic Database Copyright © 1997, 2003 by Biblesoft, Inc. All rights reserved.)]
14 Now Caiaphas was he that gave counsel to the Jews, that it was expedient that one man should die for the people.
[Recall, this was in John 11:49-50 shortly after the raising of Lazarus.]
15 And Simon Peter followed Jesus, and (so did) another disciple. Now that disciple was known unto the high priest, and entered in with Jesus into the court of the high priest;
16 but Peter was standing at the door without. So the other disciple, who was known unto the high priest, went out and spake unto her that kept the door, and brought in Peter.
[In all probability since that other disciple is not identified, it was John (although we cannot prove it). There seems to be considerable first hand detail given here. Of course, the Holy Spirit could have revealed this after the fact, but it is hard to find an example of where God does anything for us that we can do for ourselves.]
17 The maid therefore that kept the door saith unto Peter, Art thou also (one) of this man's disciples? He saith, I am not.
[It was prophesied by Jesus that Peter would deny him three times before the rooster crowed. This is the first denial. It was a lie, but seems innocent enough -- Peter just wants to "fit in" and observe. Still, it is an inexcusable lie. How often do we deny Jesus like this?]
18 Now the servants and the officers were standing (there), having made a fire of coals; for it was cold; and they were warming themselves: and Peter also was with them, standing and warming himself.
19 The high priest therefore asked Jesus of his disciples, and of his teaching.
20 Jesus answered him, I have spoken openly to the world; I ever taught in synagogues, and in the temple, where all the Jews come together; and in secret spake I nothing.
21 Why askest thou me? Ask them that have heard (me), what I spake unto them: behold, these know the things which I said.
[This would be the more conclusive proof of what Jesus taught; they were not inclined to believe He was telling the truth, although we know He did always. Others testifying would be something they could give credence to.]
22 And when he had said this, one of the officers standing by struck Jesus with his hand, saying, Answerest thou the high priest so?
23 Jesus answered him, If I have spoken evil, bear witness of the evil: but if well, why smitest thou me?
24 Annas therefore sent him bound unto Caiaphas the high priest.
[Perhaps most of us have been in situations where everything that we say is being used against me, especially things that are in any way complimentary to our adversaries, so we can sympathize with Jesus at this point. Why even give a defense? They had already decided that he would be found guilty. Jesus is essentially saying -- why are you asking me about things that you already know? Of course, the reason was to get something on him.]
25 Now Simon Peter was standing and warming himself. They said therefore unto him, Art thou also (one) of his disciples? He denied, and said, I am not.
26 One of the servants of the high priest, being a kinsman of him whose ear Peter cut off, saith, Did not I see thee in the garden with him?
27 Peter therefore denied again: and straightway the cock crew.
[The was the fulfillment of Jesus' prophecy after Simon asserted that he would go to his death with (and for) Jesus. One of the other writers also said that Peter swore with an oath (Matthew 26:71) to demonstrate that he was not one of Jesus disciples. Perhaps nothing identifies Christians with the lawless as much as foul language.]
28 They lead Jesus therefore from Caiaphas into the Praetorium: and it was early; and they themselves entered not into the Praetorium, that they might not be defiled, but might eat the passover.
[Matthew 27:27-30:”The original word Praetorium here means, rather, the governor's palace or dwelling. The trial of Jesus [would take had taken] place outside of the palace. The Jews would not enter in (John 18:28), and it is probable that courts were held often in a larger and more public place than would be a room in his dwelling.”
(from Barnes' Notes, Electronic Database Copyright © 1997, 2003 by Biblesoft, Inc. All rights reserved.)]
29 Pilate therefore went out unto them, and saith, What accusation bring ye against this man?
30 They answered and said unto him, If this man were not an evildoer, we should not have delivered him up unto thee.
[They wanted the fact that they brought Jesus to trial to be sufficient reason for His crucifixion. Can you imagine anything quite as absurd? The real reason was that they did not have a legitimate accusation and to give a false one might prove extremely detrimental to them -- in fact they were afraid to give any response to this request.]
31 Pilate therefore said unto them, Take him yourselves, and judge him according to your law. The Jews said unto him, It is not lawful for us to put any man to death:
32 that the word of Jesus might be fulfilled, which he spake, signifying by what manner of death he should die.
[Technically, they were correct, but we see on other occasions that they take the law into their own hands, e.g., in the stoning of Stephen (Acts 7), so this was not the real reason for their refusal to kill Jesus themselves. At the same time, Pilate does not argue with them. It is interesting and seemingly Providential that in a sense "the whole world" crucified Jesus -- the Jews caused his condemnation, and the Gentiles performed the physical act of the crucifixion.]
33 Pilate therefore entered again into the Praetorium, and called Jesus, and said unto him, Art thou the King of the Jews?
34 Jesus answered, Sayest thou this of thyself, or did others tell it thee concerning me?
35 Pilate answered, Am I a Jew? Thine own nation and the chief priests delivered thee unto me: what hast thou done?
[Verse 33 is another question that cannot be answered with a yes or a no – because either response would be misleading. YES would imply Jesus was attempting to usurp Caesar; NO would not accurately state why God sent Him into the world. But Jesus does explain …]
36 Jesus answered, My kingdom is not of this world: if my kingdom were of this world, then would my servants fight, that I should not be delivered to the Jews: but now is my kingdom not from hence.
[This is an extremely significant verse, and it relates to all that we have been saying about how Jesus was misunderstood. He was being accused of violating the Roman law by making himself a king in place of Caesar. In a sense he was and is king, but not in any way that would threaten Caesar's kingdom -- of that he was TOTALLY innocent, and the accusation was a terrible distortion of the truth. If we can understand this verse we can begin to understand the nature of spiritual things, the Lord's church, heaven and all that it entails.]
37 Pilate therefore said unto him, Art thou a king then? Jesus answered, Thou sayest that I am a king. To this end have I been born, and to this end am I come into the world, that I should bear witness unto the truth. Every one that is of the truth heareth my voice.
38 Pilate saith unto him, What is truth? And when he had said this, he went out again unto the Jews, and saith unto them, I find no crime in him.
[An amazing question: "What is truth?" Today people dodge around it and say that everyone has their own truth, or that truth is relative. But there is only one reality. We may not have a good perception of it, but that does not change it. Jesus taught a single truth and a single reality.]
39 But ye have a custom, that I should release unto you one at the passover: will ye therefore that I release unto you the King of the Jews?
40 They cried out therefore again, saying, Not this man, but Barabbas. Now Barabbas was a robber.
[It seems clear that Pilate did not want to crucify Jesus -- he did whatever he could to avoid it, short of anything that really required courage on his part. Thus, his reluctance to have Jesus crucified cannot be een as a righteous act, but one motivated out of fear. This was a graphic representation that the Jewish leaders and their followers at this point rejected Jesus. They were given a chance here knowing that Jesus had never done anything at all wrong, and Barabbas was known to be avery evil person.]
19:1 Then Pilate therefore took Jesus, and scourged him.
2 And the soldiers platted a crown of thorns, and put it on his head, and arrayed him in a purple garment;
3 and they came unto him, and said, Hail, King of the Jews! and they struck him with their hands.
4 And Pilate went out again, and saith unto them, Behold, I bring him out to you, that ye may know that I find no crime in him.
5 Jesus therefore came out, wearing the crown of thorns and the purple garment. And (Pilate) saith unto them, Behold, the man!
[This was another attempt of Pilot to try to slither out of responsibility. The Romans charged Pilot with one main task -- to keep the peace within his jurisdiction. Any insurrection or unrest could well cost him his position if not his life.]
6 When therefore the chief priests and the officers saw him, they cried out, saying, Crucify (him), crucify (him)! Pilate saith unto them, Take him yourselves, and crucify him: for I find no crime in him.
7 The Jews answered him, We have a law, and by that law he ought to die, because he made himself the Son of God.
[This last phrase is, in a sense true -- Jesus came into this world willingly because he loves us. But they do not recognize his authority, nor the fact that the Father and the Holy Spirit were also part of making him the Son of God.]
8 When Pilate therefore heard this saying, he was the more afraid;
9 and he entered into the Praetorium again, and saith unto Jesus, Whence art thou? But Jesus gave him no answer.
10 Pilate therefore saith unto him, Speakest thou not unto me? Knowest thou not that I have power to release thee, and have power to crucify thee?
11 Jesus answered him, Thou wouldest have no power against me, except it were given thee from above: therefore he that delivered me unto thee hath greater sin.
[The singular "he" is used perhaps to emphasize that each one of those who favored Jesus' crucifixion was equally responsible -- it was individual and not collective responsibility. Since Pilate was appointed by God, these who put Jesus forth were attempting to use the sacred power of God to accomplish their purpose -- a greater sin than that of Pilate.
12 Upon this Pilate sought to release him: but the Jews cried out, saying, If thou release this man, thou art not Caesar's friend: every one that maketh himself a king speaketh against Caesar.
[Clearly they either failed or refused to recognize that there can be different kinds of kings in this world. What they said was true of a political king, but it was not true of a spiritual king.]
13 When Pilate therefore heard these words, he brought Jesus out, and sat down on the judgment-seat at a place called The Pavement, but in Hebrew, Gabbatha.
14 Now it was the Preparation of the passover: it was about the sixth hour. And he saith unto the Jews, Behold, your King!
[This might be seen as another attempt to save Jesus from crucifixion: (1) getting late toward the Sabbath Passover might be one attempt, and (2) their seeing Jesus in such an injured condition after what He had already been through might cause them to feel he He had already suffered enough, and (3) Jesus was obviously not attempting to be a political king. It seems Pilate here is speaking sarcastically.
15 They therefore cried out, Away with (him), away with (him), crucify him! Pilate saith unto them, Shall I crucify your King? The chief priests answered, We have no king but Caesar.
[This is really the height of hypocrisy -- had Jesus indicated his willingness to lead them in war against Caesar they would have followed him to the death. But because he would not do that, they rejected him, very much the opposite of what they said here.]
16 Then therefore he delivered him unto them to be crucified.
["Therefore" is not to imply the validity of their accusations, but the fact that they were getting rebellious and riotous. This seems to be the only thing that was motivating Pilate at this point.]
17 They took Jesus therefore: and he went out, bearing the cross for himself, unto the place called The place of a skull, which is called in Hebrew, Golgotha:
18 where they crucified him, and with him two others, on either side one, and Jesus in the midst.
[John is not directly stating "they crucified him," which, from the context appears to be an obvious foregone conclusion. He is merely stating the location. Readers back then knew what crucifixion was, as do we. We have witnessed preachers who do not think this is enough. They spend considerable time going into all of the various aspects that the pain entails. Such can be sickening to those who have total sympathy with Jesus' experience. We once saw a young man faint as a result. Do we really need to go beyond the details of the scriptures in this regard?
19 And Pilate wrote a title also, and put it on the cross. And there was written, JESUS OF NAZARETH, THE KING OF THE JEWS.
20 This title therefore read many of the Jews, for the place where Jesus was crucified was nigh to the city; and it was written in Hebrew, (and) in Latin, (and) in Greek.
21 The chief priests of the Jews therefore said to Pilate, Write not, The King of the Jews; but that he said, I am King of the Jews.
22 Pilate answered, What I have written I have written.
[Why what suddenly appears to be courage? Apparently, they had pushed Pilate to his limit, but we cannot help but see Divine Providence, as God the Father also wanted this statement to be made. Jesus was the fulfillment of the promise made to David that of his descendants one would sit upon his throne, and thus Jesus was the king of Spiritual Israel -- we will see this spelled out in Acts 2).
23 The soldiers therefore, when they had crucified Jesus, took his garments and made four parts, to every soldier a part; and also the coat: now the coat was without seam, woven from the top throughout.
24 They said therefore one to another, Let us not rend it, but cast lots for it, whose it shall be: that the scripture might be fulfilled, which saith, They parted my garments among them, And upon my vesture did they cast lots.
[The is recorded in Psalms 22:18; in fact Psalms 22 is quoted by Jesus in one of his last sayings on the cross: "My God, My God, why hast thou forsaken me?" Quite often the first verse of a Psalm (or other writing) was cited to refer to the entire chapter, Which is called the incipient. Read Psalms 22 to its end and you will see the details of which the crucifixion is described. Jesus is making a statement to those who are observing -- read Psalms 22 and it will explain what was going on there. Psalms 22 ends on a very positive note.]
25 These things therefore the soldiers did. But there were standing by the cross of Jesus his mother, and his mother's sister, Mary the (wife) of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene.
[One of the things that is so pathetic is recognizing how much Jesus loved his mother and his grief at what she was having to endure at this point. That must have been worse than the nails being pounded into his hands and feet.]
26 When Jesus therefore saw his mother, and the disciple standing by whom he loved, he saith unto his mother, Woman, behold thy son!
27 Then saith he to the disciple, Behold, thy mother! And from that hour the disciple took her unto his own (home).
[Again, most believe that this disciple was John himself. Jesus wanted to be sure that his mother was properly cared for, and he could think of no one better to do this than John. Jesus had brothers (children of Mary -- Matthew 12:46) but for some reason he felt that John's family would be a better choice.
28 After this Jesus, knowing that all things are now finished, that the scripture might be accomplished, saith, I thirst.
[All things were now finished, and in particular, his mother would be taken care of. Notice Jesus' concern was that of a man. Could he not have taken care of her from heaven? We learn that God is often far more glorified by the natural processes than by the miraculous, or even those things that are controlled by Divine Providence. One possible scripture being referenced in this verse is Psalms 69:19-21: "Thou knowest my reproach, and my shame, and my dishonor: Mine adversaries are all before thee. 20 Reproach hath broken my heart; and I am full of heaviness: and I looked for some to take pity, but there was none; and for comforters, but I found none. 21 They gave me also gall for my food; and in my thirst they gave me vinegar to drink.]
29 There was set there a vessel full of vinegar: so they put a sponge full of the vinegar upon hyssop, and brought it to his mouth.
30 When Jesus therefore had received the vinegar, he said, It is finished: and he bowed his head, and gave up his spirit.
[John asserts that Jesus died at this point. James 2:26: "For as the body apart from the spirit is dead, even so faith apart from works is dead."
31 The Jews therefore, because it was the Preparation, that the bodies should not remain on the cross upon the sabbath (for the day of that sabbath was a high (day)), asked of Pilate that their legs might be broken, and (that) they might be taken away.
[It is so amazing that after doing so much evil they are so strict to keep their traditions. Often the two are disconnected, but diligence in one area of righteousness never assures it in another. There is no such thing as being too obedient. However, it is important that we never allow strict obedience in one area to mask the fact that we are being lax in another. "These you ought to have done, but not to left the other undone" Matthew 23:23).]
32 The soldiers therefore came, and brake the legs of the first, and of the other that was crucified with him:
33 but when they came to Jesus, and saw that he was dead already, they brake not his legs:
34 howbeit one of the soldiers with a spear pierced his side, and straightway there came out blood and water.
35 And he that hath seen hath borne witness, and his witness is true: and he knoweth that he saith true, that ye also may believe.
[If we believe that John was a good and honest man, we have to believe his testimony in this regard. Some have claimed that Jesus never died physically, or that his death was not at this point in time -- John here is giving his eye witness testimony that Jesus was, in fact, dead at this point.]
36 For these things came to pass, that the scripture might be fulfilled, A bone of him shall not be broken.
37 And again another scripture saith, They shall look on him whom they pierced.
38 And after these things Joseph of Arimathaea, being a disciple of Jesus, but secretly for fear of the Jews, asked of Pilate that he might take away the body of Jesus: and Pilate gave (him) leave. He came therefore, and took away his body.
39 And there came also Nicodemus, he who at the first came to him by night, bringing a mixture of myrrh and aloes, about a hundred pounds.
40 So they took the body of Jesus, and bound it in linen cloths with the spices, as the custom of the Jews is to bury.
41 Now in the place where he was crucified there was a garden; and in the garden a new tomb wherein was never man yet laid.
42 There then because of the Jews' Preparation (for the tomb was nigh at hand) they laid Jesus.
20:1 Now on the first (day) of the week cometh Mary Magdalene early, while it was yet dark, unto the tomb, and seeth the stone taken away from the tomb.
2 She runneth therefore, and cometh to Simon Peter, and to the other disciple whom Jesus loved, and saith unto them, They have taken away the Lord out of the tomb, and we know not where they have laid him.
[Again, the "disciple whom Jesus loved" is generally thought to be John. Note Mary’s first reaction was “they” – she did not know if these could be Jesus’ disciples or His enemies, and made no assumptions. “We” here is for sure Mary, but also probably the other women who were with her.]
3 Peter therefore went forth, and the other disciple, and they went toward the tomb.
4 And they ran both together: and the other disciple outran Peter, and came first to the tomb;
5 and stooping and looking in, he seeth the linen cloths lying; yet entered he not in.
[The details given here are those of an eye-witness -- he wants to make sure that we recognize the validity of his account. Apparently for some reason John was reluctant to enter; Peter on the other hand is being his typical impetuous self.]
6 Simon Peter therefore also cometh, following him, and entered into the tomb; and he beholdeth the linen cloths lying,
7 and the napkin, that was upon his head, not lying with the linen cloths, but rolled up in a place by itself.
[Jesus was apparently given a new set of modest clothes as opposed to the linen wrappings of the body. After this. detail of seemingly little significance other than to show that John had an eye for detail, the details of the tomb could never be forgotten even if he tried.]
8 Then entered in therefore the other disciple also, who came first to the tomb, and he saw, and believed.
9 For as yet they knew not the scripture, that he must rise from the dead.
[Jesus had taught it to them, but there is a big difference in being taught something and KNOWING it. We have discussed this before -- it really has to do with how they were perceiving the nature of the kingdom. The point here is although his body was gone, they did not conclude that he had been resurrected. Result ...]
10 So the disciples went away again unto their own home.
11 But Mary was standing without at the tomb weeping: so, as she wept, she stooped and looked into the tomb;
12 and she beholdeth two angels in white sitting, one at the head, and one at the feet, where the body of Jesus had lain.
13 And they say unto her, Woman, why weepest thou? She saith unto them, Because they have taken away my Lord, and I know not where they have laid him.
[Mary thought the obvious -- if the body was gone then someone would have had to have taken it away. Imagine the difference in the demeanor of Mary when she told the disciples ... they would have had to believe her or else feel like she was out of her mind. It is no accident that Mary, being the first to see the risen Lord, is a woman. God is impressing us with the value of their testimonies.]
14 When she had thus said, she turned herself back, and beholdeth Jesus standing, and knew not that it was Jesus.
15 Jesus saith unto her, Woman, why weepest thou? whom seekest thou? She, supposing him to be the gardener, saith unto him, Sir, if thou hast borne him hence, tell me where thou hast laid him, and I will take him away.
[She offers to be responsible for the body of Jesus. She would probably need to get help for this, but she knew that would be no problem.]
16 Jesus saith unto her, "Mary." She turneth herself, and saith unto him in Hebrew, Rabboni; which is to say, Teacher.
17 Jesus saith to her, Touch me not; for I am not yet ascended unto the Father: but go unto my brethren, and say to them, I ascend unto my Father and your Father, and my God and your God.
18 Mary Magdalene cometh and telleth the disciples, I have seen the Lord; and (that) he had said these things unto her.
[In verse 16 we learn that Mary recognizes the risen Lord. Verse 17 has often been misused. Other people (e.g. Thomas) did touch Jesus before He ascended into Heaven. It was probably a natural reaction for Mary (or any other faithful woman) in this circumstance to fall at the feet of Jesus and perhaps to embrace His feet. It is reasonable for Jesus to prevent her from doing this by letting her know. What she needed to do was to waste no time in doing that Jesus instructed her to do. “For” in verse 17 is not necessarily stating a cause, but it is stated so she would understand His instructions to her.]
19 When therefore it was evening, on that day, the first (day) of the week, and when the doors were shut where the disciples were, for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood in the midst, and saith unto them, Peace (be) unto you.
[John’s pointing out the first day of the week is significant. It is possible that they had started meeting on this day because it was the day when Jesus was resurrected. This also ultimately showed a difference from the Sabbath, which the Jews continued to keep.]
20 And when he had said this, he showed unto them his hands and his side. The disciples therefore were glad, when they saw the Lord.
21 Jesus therefore said to them again, Peace (be) unto you: as the Father hath sent me, even so send I you.
[This is the most abbreviated rendition of what has come to be called the "Great Commission." Let me interject Matthew's account, which will be quite useful to understand when we get into the book of Acts ... Matthew 28:18-20: "And Jesus came to them and spake unto them, saying, All authority hath been given unto me in heaven and on earth. Go ye therefore, and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them into the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit: teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I commanded you: and lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world." All nations -- not limited to, but definitely including, the Jewish nation.]
22 And when he had said this, he breathed on them, and saith unto them, Receive ye the Holy Spirit:
23 whose soever sins ye forgive, they are forgiven unto them; whose soever (sins) ye retain, they are retained.
[This is totally consistent with what will occur on the day of Pentecost, which we will cover in Acts 2. The apostles were not given some special gift to determine who should or should not be forgiven. The truth of the Holy Spirit will direct them, just as the Holy Spirit-inspired scriptures now direct all Christians in this regard.]
24 But Thomas, one of the twelve, called Didymus, was not with them when Jesus came.
25 The other disciples therefore said unto him, We have seen the Lord. But he said unto them, Except I shall see in his hands the print of the nails, and put my hand into his side, I will not believe.
26 And after eight days again his disciples were within, and Thomas with them. Jesus cometh, the doors being shut, and stood in the midst, and said, Peace (be) unto you.
[The implication here is that Jesus did not need to come to them through an open door. Eight days for us would put this on Monday, but it was the custom of the Jews in measuring time to count both the first and the last. So this was the next first day of the week.]
27 Then saith he to Thomas, Reach hither thy finger, and see my hands; and reach (hither) thy hand, and put it into my side: and be not faithless, but believing.
28 Thomas answered and said unto him, My Lord and my God.
[This is often called the account of "doubting Thomas." His skepticism was understandable, and it gave Jesus a chance for another object lesson. But he goes on to say that it really should not be essential that we have to see him resurrected to believe it ... the statements of credible witnesses should be sufficient ...]
29 Jesus saith unto him, Because thou hast seen me, thou hast believed: blessed (are) they that have not seen, and (yet) have believed.
[We do not need the direct physical evidence that Thomas asked for. Jesus said that those who trust the testimony of righteous men do not need this type of evidence.]
30 Many other signs therefore did Jesus in the presence of the disciples, which are not written in this book:
31 but these are written, that ye may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye may have life in his name.
[These last two verses tell the reason that John wrote this book. We would hope it has accomplished its purpose with all who are reading. This appears like John was going to stop here, but the Spirit moved him to add some more, so lets go on and consider Chapter 21.]
21 After these things Jesus manifested himself again to the disciples at the sea of Tiberias; and he manifested (himself) on this wise.
2 There was together Simon Peter, and Thomas called Didymus, and Nathanael of Cana in Galilee, and the (sons) of Zebedee, and two other of his disciples.
[[Sons of Zebedee = James and John. A total of 7 of the remaining 11 disciples. First appearances: several times to the women, and to the apostles at Jerusalem, and at the tomb, he bade them go into Galilee, giving them the promise of meeting them there: Matthew 28:7; Mark 16:7 This is the third time to the majority of the disciples alone.]
3 Simon Peter saith unto them, I go a fishing. They say unto him, We also come with thee. They went forth, and entered into the boat; and that night they took nothing.
[[There is nothing wrong with the disciples going back to their former occupations, since at this point they knew of no other alternative to supporting themselves. They were able to serve Jesus without working before the crucifixion as part of the charity given to Jesus. With Jesus “gone” this was no longer possible. However, once the church got established in the first century (Acts 2), they were able to support the apostles and other preachers of the gospel.]
4 But when day was now breaking, Jesus stood on the beach: yet the disciples knew not that it was Jesus.
5 Jesus therefore saith unto them, Children, have ye aught to eat? They answered him, No.
6 And he said unto them, Cast the net on the right side of the boat, and ye shall find. They cast therefore, and now they were not able to draw it for the multitude of fishes.
[[Obviously a miracle – to give them success in their occupation and to provide something for them to eat. Providing food and work success in this way demonstrated that, in general, Jesus did not disapprove of their doing what they could to support themselves in the interim before they received the Holy Spirit on the day of Pentecost. We also know that Jesus approved of Paul working as a tent-maker (Acts 18).]
7 That disciple therefore whom Jesus loved saith unto Peter, It is the Lord. So when Simon Peter heard that it was the Lord, he girt his coat about him (for he was naked), and cast himself into the sea.
[It seems "naked" here is probably in his underwear -- probably more modest that most bathing suits today; but still not the attire for greeting the Lord. But we have to admire and love Peter -- always taking the lead.]
8 But the other disciples came in the little boat (for they were not far from the land, but about two hundred cubits off), dragging the net (full) of fishes.
9 So when they got out upon the land, they see a fire of coals there, and fish laid thereon, and bread.
[Jesus, as a servant, had prepared the fire and had already laid some fish on it, but He also wanted them to provide some fresh fish.]
10 Jesus saith unto them, Bring of the fish which ye have now taken.
11 Simon Peter therefore went up, and drew the net to land, full of great fishes, a hundred and fifty and three: and for all there were so many, the net was not rent.
12 Jesus saith unto them, Come (and) break your fast. And none of the disciples durst inquire of him, Who art thou? knowing that it was the Lord.
13 Jesus cometh, and taketh the bread, and giveth them, and the fish likewise.
14 This is now the third time that Jesus was manifested to the disciples, after that he was risen from the dead.
[Manifested to the disciples alone; previous: to ten of them, John 20:19; again to eleven of them, John 20:26; and at this time to seven of them, John 21:6.. Jesus' appearances were quite significant because one of the ways that the enemies of Jesus were trying to counter his resurrection was in saying that the disciples had taken the body. One of the other gospel writer states that the "religious leaders" requested the soldiers to state that while they slept the disciples came and took the body. This is a strange request since the penalty for a Roman soldier who fails to keep what is guarded was death; and how would they know it was the disciples if they were asleep? But no matter, if we respect the apostles as a faithful and good men, we will realize this as truth.]
15 So when they had broken their fast, Jesus saith to Simon Peter, Simon, (son) of John, lovest thou me more than these? He saith unto him, Yea, Lord; thou knowest that I love thee. He saith unto him, Feed my lambs.
16 He saith to him again a second time, Simon, (son) of John, lovest thou me? He saith unto him, Yea, Lord; thou knowest that I love thee. He saith unto him, Tend my sheep.
17 He saith unto him the third time, Lovest thou me? Peter was grieved because he said to him the third time, Lovest thou me. And he said unto him, Lord, thou knowest all things; thou knowest that I love thee. Jesus saith unto him, Feed my sheep.
[This passage requires explanation, since a different Greek word is used in Peter's response than what Jesus was asking. The two words translate love are:
- Agapao -- to love in a social or moral sense; and
- Phileo -- to be a friend to (fond of [an individual or an object]), i.e. have affection for (denoting personal attachment, as a matter of sentiment or feeling; while agapao is wider, embracing especially the judgment and the deliberate assent of the will as a matter of principle, duty and propriety (Strongs Greek definitions).
[While we do not want to make TOO much of this word difference, it is significant. First of all, Peter had turned away from the life-long dedicated serving of Jesus to go back fishing. "More than these" was not just the disciples, it was his whole dedicated life. Jesus called him for life, not just while Jesus was on the earth. "Feed my sheep" was a command to preach the word ... we will see that command obeyed in Acts 2.]
[Also is the inference that Jesus does not JUST want a love of the emotions -- he wants a love of reason -- a love of the mind. Many think they love Jesus because of the feeling it gives them ... perhaps listening to music or being with others. Our love for Jesus needs to be personal and reasoned out, not just something we have to make us feel good.]
18 Verily, verily, I say unto thee, When thou wast young, thou girdedst thyself, and walkedst whither thou wouldest: but when thou shalt be old, thou shalt stretch forth thy hands, and another shall gird thee, and carry thee whither thou wouldest not.
19 Now this Jesus spake, signifying by what manner of death Peter should glorify God. And when He had spoken this, He saith unto him, Follow me.
[This final command was to get Peter back into a dedicated service to Jesus. Every Christian does not have to have a dedicated full time job as a preacher (if you think about this it would be infeasible -- someone has to support the full time preachers); but Peter was an apostle and the leader of the apostles, next to Jesus. He should not have been even thinking about going back to fishing. It seems Peter understood that Jesus was talking about his dedication unto death.]
20 Peter, turning about, seeth the disciple whom Jesus loved following; who also leaned back on his breast at the supper, and said, Lord, who is he that betrayeth thee?
[This last compound clause is in further description of who Peter saw at this point, i.e., John. Peter, James and John were the "inner-three" -- the closest to Jesus and those most entrusted by him. Peter should not have been concerned about John, and this demonstrates that he is still thinking in a worldly temporal way. After all, Jesus is back!!! He can do anything! Surely he will restore Israel to its rightful prominence in the world.]
21 Peter therefore seeing him saith to Jesus, Lord, and what shall this man do?
22 Jesus saith unto him, If I will that he tarry till I come, what (is that) to thee? Follow thou me.
23 This saying therefore went forth among the brethren, that that disciple should not die: yet Jesus said not unto him, that he should not die; but, If I will that he tarry till I come, what (is that) to thee?
[I have been told by Mormon elders that John did not die and in fact is still alive. I asked where he was but they would not tell me. As can be seen clearly from verse 23, Jesus was not saying that John would not die; that was not the point at all. The point was a slam at Peter -- what is wrong with you worrying about John when you should be worried about yourself?]
24 This is the disciple that beareth witness of these things, and wrote these things: and we know that his witness is true.
25 And there are also many other things which Jesus did, the which if they should be written every one, I suppose that even the world itself would not contain the books that should be written.
[This gives us another point regarding biblical interpretation. What we have is adequate. Anything more would be too much. It would obscure rather than to reveal. The New Testament is a document that most people can read in just a few days. This is by design.]
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