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Character Study during Jesus' trial

John 18:1-40, Peter Milsom, September 9, 2018

Sermon Notes:


  • Looking at Jesus on the way to the Cross
    • v37
    • A great statement from the Lord Jesus Christ
    • "Everyone on the side of truth listens to Me"
  • This is a decisive moment in the history of the world (and in Jesus' life)
    • Events are not controlling Jesus - rather He is in control
    • This was His hour
    • There was an intense spiritual conflict
  • People close to the events are tested in this spiritual conflict
    • We will be looking at some of the characters involved
    • Whose side are we on?
    • We live in intimidating times


  • The traitor
    • He saw all of the miracles of Jesus
    • He was present in the upper room and when Jesus washed the disciples feet
    • He was present when Jesus instituted the Communion remembrance
    • He was present when Jesus said someone would betray Him
  • What is going on his heart? Why did he do, what he did?
    • Judas had freely chosen to betray Jesus
    • A man so close to Jesus but never really knew and loved Him
  • Judas is a special case
    • Maybe there are elements of Judas in us?
    • Perhaps Jesus did not do what Judas wanted Him to do?
    • Do people refuse to believe in Jesus because He has not done what people want Him to?
    • It was night in his soul - though he realised his sin and wanted to return the blood money
    • He committed suicide
    • Are you on Jesus' side?
  • It is possible to be so close to Jesus and yet not know Him

Simon Peter

  • We are very familiar with his denials
  • He truly loves Jesus but he has frailties and weaknesses
    • These weaknesses become clear at this time, but he fails Jesus
    • Peter still seems to be fighting for Jesus not to die - He loves Jesus
    • Peter (and John) followed Jesus out of devotion - he did not abandon Him
  • Peter is challenged three times
    • The challenge against Jesus (and Peter) was very hostile
    • Would we have withstood?
    • His faith failed - he thought he was unworthy
  • A sign of a true disciple is that when we fail, it breaks our heart
    • However, his failure has not been dealt with
    • This is why Jesus restores him and tells him to "feed His sheep"
    • Do we find it easy to restore someone after they fail?
  • He is on the side of truth but fails (and is restored)


  • A governor in a troublesome province
    • The Jews had condemned Jesus without any real evidence
    • They wouldn't go into the palace as they would be unclean and couldn't celebrate the Passover but at the same time were handing over the Messiah to be executed
    • Pilate challenges the Jews
  • He examines Jesus and begins to ask questions
    • "What is truth?"
    • He is a man of his time - 'no such thing as absolute truth'
    • He is cynical
    • Lots of people have doubts - not always a straight denial of the Truth
    • Jesus is the Truth!
  • He is being asked what side is he on
    • He avoids this question
    • Agnostics drift through life not answering this question
    • He tries to avoid the issue ... but Pilate fails
    • Quote from Terry Pratchet


  • A condemned criminal - to be executed the following day
    • What was it like to be in this position?
  • The door opens as he is set free
    • Jesus died in his place
  • What did he do?
    • Did he go back to his old ways
    • Did he go to look at Jesus' dying?
    • Was he moved by what happened?
    • Was he on the side of Truth?
    • Was he moved by grace?
  • A wonderful picture of the gospel
    • Jesus dies in our place for our sins
    • He takes our physical death and eternal punishment

Closing Remarks

Sermon Passage:

John 18:1-40

1When Jesus had spoken these words, he went forth with his disciples over the brook Cedron, where was a garden, into the which he entered, and his disciples. 2And Judas also, which betrayed him, knew the place: for Jesus ofttimes resorted thither with his disciples. 3Judas then, having received a band of men and officers from the chief priests and Pharisees, cometh thither with lanterns and torches and weapons. 4Jesus therefore, knowing all things that should come upon him, went forth, and said unto them, Whom seek ye? 5They answered him, Jesus of Nazareth. Jesus saith unto them, I am he. And Judas also, which betrayed him, stood with them. 6As soon then as he had said unto them, I am he, they went backward, and fell to the ground. 7Then asked he them again, Whom seek ye? And they said, Jesus of Nazareth. 8Jesus answered, I have told you that I am he: if therefore ye seek me, let these go their way: 9That the saying might be fulfilled, which he spake, Of them which thou gavest me have I lost none. 10Then 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. 11Then said Jesus unto Peter, Put up thy sword into the sheath: the cup which my Father hath given me, shall I not drink it? 12Then the band and the captain and officers of the Jews took Jesus, and bound him, 13And led him away to Annas first; for he was father in law to Caiaphas, which was the high priest that same year. 14Now Caiaphas was he, which gave counsel to the Jews, that it was expedient that one man should die for the people. 15And 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. 16But 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. 17Then saith the damsel that kept the door unto Peter, Art not thou also one of this man's disciples? He saith, I am not. 18And 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. 19The high priest then asked Jesus of his disciples, and of his doctrine. 20Jesus 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. 21Why askest thou me? ask them which heard me, what I have said unto them: behold, they know what I said. 22And 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? 23Jesus answered him, If I have spoken evil, bear witness of the evil: but if well, why smitest thou me? 24Now Annas had sent him bound unto Caiaphas the high priest. 25And Simon Peter stood and warmed himself. They said therefore unto him, Art not thou also one of his disciples? He denied it, and said, I am not. 26One of the servants of the high priest, being his kinsman whose ear Peter cut off, saith, Did not I see thee in the garden with him? 27Peter then denied again: and immediately the cock crew. 28Then 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. 29Pilate then went out unto them, and said, What accusation bring ye against this man? 30They answered and said unto him, If he were not a malefactor, we would not have delivered him up unto thee. 31Then said Pilate unto them, Take ye him, and judge him according to your law. The Jews therefore said unto him, It is not lawful for us to put any man to death: 32That the saying of Jesus might be fulfilled, which he spake, signifying what death he should die. 33Then Pilate entered into the judgment hall again, and called Jesus, and said unto him, Art thou the King of the Jews? 34Jesus answered him, Sayest thou this thing of thyself, or did others tell it thee of me? 35Pilate answered, Am I a Jew? Thine own nation and the chief priests have delivered thee unto me: what hast thou done? 36Jesus 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. 37Pilate therefore said unto him, Art thou a king then? Jesus answered, Thou sayest that I am a king. To this end was I born, and for this cause came I into the world, that I should bear witness unto the truth. Every one that is of the truth heareth my voice. 38Pilate 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 in him no fault at all. 39But 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? 40Then cried they all again, saying, Not this man, but Barabbas. Now Barabbas was a robber. (KJV)

Other sermons:
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« When evil triumphs The Humanity of Jesus - the making of a Perfect Man Smitten by God »

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