by Ralph Bouma
Then the band and the captain and officers of the Jews took Jesus, and bound him, And led him away to Annas first; for he was father in law to Caiaphas, which was the high priest that same year (JOH 18:12-13).
Verse 28 continues, "Then led they Jesus from Caiaphas unto the hall of judgment: and it was early; and they themselves went not into the judgment hall, lest they should be defiled; but that they might eat the passover."
Each legal proceeding is significant. The first thing that happens is an apprehension. The second thing is that the accused is brought in for an arraignment, where he can plead innocent or guilty. There the indictment is brought against the accused. The accused goes from there to judgment.
We see this fourth Gospel revealing a detail omitted by the other gospels, that is, our Saviour's arraignment before Annas. Annas and Caiaphas were both high priests as we see in LUK 3:2-3, "Annas and Caiaphas being the high priests, the word of God came unto John the son of Zacharias in the wilderness. And he came into all the country about Jordan, preaching the baptism of repentance for the remission of sins." Annas was the magistrate before whom our Saviour was arraigned.
As in the Garden, so also at His arraignment, we see the Saviour's perfection displayed in lowliness and dignity. Our Lord Jesus submitted to those in the seat of human authority, notwithstanding His immeasurable superiority in His Divine nature. JOH 18:19-23 says, "The high priest then asked Jesus of his disciples, and of his doctrine. Jesus answered him, I spake openly to the world; I ever taught in the synagogue, and in the temple, whither the Jews always resort; and in secret have I said nothing. Why askest thou me? ask them which heard me, what I have said unto them: behold, they know what I said. And when he had thus spoken, one of the officers which stood by struck Jesus with the palm of his hand, saying, Answerest thou the high priest so? [See how Jesus retained His Dignity and innocence, yet submitted to their seat of human authority] Jesus answered him, If I have spoken evil, bear witness of the evil: but if well, why smitest thou me?" Jesus convicted them of their evil in His arraignment. One of the officers charged Jesus with contempt because of His answer.
The central theme of the Spirit is unmistakably the arraignment of the innocent God Man before the tribunal of ungodly men. Yet it is most significant that the Holy Spirit pauses as Jesus is led from Annas to Caiaphas to record the denial of Peter as we see in JOH 18:15-18. "And Simon Peter followed Jesus, and so did another disciple: that disciple was known unto the high priest, and went in with Jesus into the palace of the high priest. But Peter stood at the door without. Then went out that other disciple, which was known unto the high priest, and spake unto her that kept the door, and brought in Peter. Then saith the damsel that kept the door unto Peter, Art not thou also one of this man's disciples? He saith, I am not. And the servants and officers stood there, who had made a fire of coals; for it was cold: and they warmed themselves: and Peter stood with them, and warmed himself."
Peter's sin in this instance reveals the depravity of the human heart. Such a revelation of the depths of the depravity of the human heart not only reveals the character that needs to be made "meet" by God's grace to inherit eternal life, it also helps to understand why Jesus told Peter he needed conversion before he could effectively comfort the brethren as in it is written in ACT 2:34-40 -
"For David is not ascended into the heavens: but he saith himself, The Lord said unto my Lord, Sit thou on my right hand, Until I make thy foes thy footstool. Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly, that God hath made the same Jesus, whom ye have crucified, both Lord and Christ. Now when they heard this, they were pricked in their heart, and said unto Peter and to the rest of the apostles, Men and brethren, what shall we do? Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. For the promise is unto you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call. And with many other words did he testify and exhort, saying, Save yourselves from this untoward generation."
Peter understood the need of repentance. He understood why Christ died. At the arraignment of Christ, Peter was convicted of denying Christ.
Our text speaks of the amazing hardness of the human heart by nature, before conversion. After the band had witnessed the power of His Word, they took Jesus and bound Him. We sometimes wonder why our friends and relatives are so hardened against the Word of God. JOH 18:6-9 says, "As soon then as he had said unto them, I am he, they went backward, and fell to the ground. Then asked he them again, Whom seek ye? And they said, Jesus of Nazareth. Jesus answered, I have told you that I am he: if therefore ye seek me, let these go their way: That the saying might be fulfilled, which he spake, Of them which thou gavest me have I lost none."
They had witnessed His loving compassion, even to an enemy that sought His life's blood. JOH 18:10-11 says, "Then Simon Peter having a sword drew it, and smote the high priest's servant, and cut off his right ear. The servant's name was Malchus. Then said Jesus unto Peter, Put up thy sword into the sheath: the cup which my Father hath given me, shall I not drink it?"
Notice how our Saviour charged their conscience with His compassion in such an hour. LUK 22:51-53 says, "And Jesus answered and said, Suffer ye thus far. And he touched his ear, and healed him. Then [after He had shown such compassion] Jesus said unto the chief priests, and captains of the temple, and the elders, which were come to him, Be ye come out, as against a thief, with swords and staves? When I was daily with you in the temple, ye stretched forth no hands against me: but this is your hour, and the power of darkness." After Jesus demonstrated His compassion, they arrested Him.
This power of darkness becomes so significantly manifest in the timing emphasized by the word then in JOH 18:12-13, "Then the band and the captain and officers of the Jews took Jesus, and bound him, And led him away to Annas first; for he was father in law to Caiaphas, which was the high priest that same year." Jesus had to be bound, that we, being bound by sin and Satan, might be set free. These men, unknown to them, fulfilled every type and shadow the Scriptures prophesied concerning Him.
The Apostle Peter was not the only one who stood with the enemies of Jesus as He surrendered Himself as our sin offering. Our text speaks of "the band and the captain and officers of the Jews," a mixed multitude of Jews and Gentiles. They represented those for whom our Saviour came to die. You and I were represented in that band. ROM 5:6-10 says, "For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly. For scarcely for a righteous man will one die: yet peradventure for a good man some would even dare to die. But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him. For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life." We have to see that it was our sins that condemned Him in His arraignment.
This reconciliation is what our Lord and Saviour was purchasing for members of that very band. ACT 2:22-23 says, "Ye men of Israel, hear these words; Jesus of Nazareth, a man approved of God among you by miracles and wonders and signs, which God did by him in the midst of you, as ye yourselves also know: Him, being delivered by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, ye have taken, and by wicked hands have crucified and slain."
Such honesty in preaching the gospel is what the Holy Spirit uses to convict sinners of their sins. ACT 2:37-38 says, "Now when they heard this, they were pricked in their heart, and said unto Peter and to the rest of the apostles, Men and brethren, what shall we do? Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost." This was now a converted Peter, not denying Christ, but proclaiming Him boldly to the multitudes. He could tell them to repent, because he had repented. You and I need to stand guilty at our arraignment before the God of heaven and repent. We must confess that we have crucified the Lord of life and glory.
These precious truths of the gospel are bound up in our Saviour's substitutionary suffering and death. ROM 5:17-18 says, "For if by one man's offence death reigned by one; much more they which receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness shall reign in life by one, Jesus Christ.) Therefore as by the offence of one judgment came upon all men to condemnation; even so by the righteousness of one the free gift came upon all men unto justification of life." The blessed atoning work of Christ takes the offense of sin and makes reconciliation with the Father. The word righteousness means being acquitted as innocent. This preaching of justification by the atoning work of Christ must be preached to all people. You and I can be found innocent before the bar of God's judgment in the perfect righteousness of Christ.
To set these malefactors free before the courts of heaven, our Substitute, as a Lamb without spot, had to be unjustly condemned. For us to be acquitted, Jesus first had to be made sin. 2CO 5:21 says, "For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him."
To voluntarily suffer for one who holds our closest affection is suffering we can somewhat understand. To illustrate, would you be willing to put yourself in peril to save your children, your wife or your husband? We see this in JOH 15:12-13. "This is my commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you. Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends." If we see a friend in peril, we are called upon, if need be, to put our own lives in peril to help him.
To suffer patiently when we are under authority against which we have no might is commendable. This is shown in 1PE 2:20-21, "For what glory is it, if, when ye be buffeted for your faults, ye shall take it patiently? but if, when ye do well, and suffer for it, ye take it patiently, this is acceptable with God. For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps."
However, the condescension of Christ to suffer voluntarily-unasked and un-thanked-for an ungodly band of malefactors, when He had the power to resist, is beyond the understanding of natural man. We see this in MAT 26:52-54, "Then said Jesus unto him, Put up again thy sword into his place: for all they that take the sword shall perish with the sword. Thinkest thou that I cannot now pray to my Father, and he shall presently give me more than twelve legions of angels? But how then shall the scriptures be fulfilled, that thus it must be?"
That ungodly band that came to apprehend Jesus did not understand such condescension. See the prejudice in the court where He was to be arraigned. JOH 18:14 says, "Now Caiaphas was he, which gave counsel to the Jews, that it was expedient that one man should die for the people." He was condemned before He ever set foot in the hall.
The band, the captain and officers of the Jews who took Jesus and bound him, sprang upon Him like a band of savage beasts. This was prophesied in PSA 22:12-18 Many bulls have compassed me: strong bulls of Bashan have beset me round. They gaped upon me with their mouths, as a ravening and a roaring lion. I am poured out like water, and all my bones are out of joint: my heart is like wax; it is melted in the midst of my bowels. My strength is dried up like a potsherd; and my tongue cleaveth to my jaws; and thou hast brought me into the dust of death. For dogs have compassed me: the assembly of the wicked have inclosed me: they pierced my hands and my feet. I may tell all my bones: they look and stare upon me. They part my garments among them, and cast lots upon my vesture." This shows the nature of those who sprang upon Christ.
Such cruel force wherewith they bound our Lord and Saviour is also foretold in ISA 53:5, "But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed."
The cruelty wherewith He was bound is also foretold in Joseph as a type of Christ. PSA 105:17-19 says, "He sent a man before them, even Joseph, who was sold for a servant: Whose feet they hurt with fetters: he was laid in iron: Until the time that his word came: the word of the LORD tried him."
As our sin-offering Christ allowed Himself to be bound by sinners that sinners might be set free from the tyranny of sin and Satan. He bore it patiently. He had done no wrong, but He allowed them to take Him, smite Him, bruise Him and wound Him. With one word He could have set Himself free. We need to see the depths of His love. We need to understand what He suffered to redeem us who deserved to be bound. He set us free from being bound by Satan, sin, the flesh and the cares of this world. We were like the maniac in MAR 5 bound by Satan. ROM 6:22-23 says, "But now being made free from sin, and become servants to God, ye have your fruit unto holiness, and the end everlasting life. For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord." If we live in sin we live in spiritual death. We cannot have spiritual life dwelling in us and live in sin. We must turn from sin to serve the living God.
By giving Himself to be bound and led, Jesus became the blessed Leader into glory of those who are bound. PSA 68:18-19 says, "Thou hast ascended on high, thou hast led captivity captive: thou hast received gifts for men; yea, for the rebellious also, that the Lord God might dwell among them. Blessed be the Lord, who daily loadeth us with benefits, even the God of our salvation. Selah." Jesus made death His captive. The power of sin and the service of Satan became captive to Him.
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