John 18:28-40

John 18:28-40
Narrative Lectionary 434


28 Then they tookA JesusB from CaiaphasC to Pilate’s headquarters.D 

Notes on verse 28a

A “took” = ago. This is lead, bring, carry, guide, drive, go.
B “Jesus” = Iesous. From Hebrew Yehoshua (Joshua, the Lord is salvation); {from YHVH (proper name of the God of Israel; the self-existent and eternal one); {from havah (to become) or from hayah (to come to pass, become, be)} + yasha (to deliver, defend, help, preserve, rescue; properly, to be open, wide or free, which implies being safe. So, in a causative sense, this is to free someone)}. This is Jesus or Joshua in Greek – the Lord saves or the Lord is salvation.
C “Caiaphas” = Kaiaphas. 9x in NT. From Aramaic (as beautiful) OR from kefa (rock, stone) OR from Akkadian kaypha (dell, depression). This is Caiaphas. See
D “Pilate’s headquarters” = praitorion. 8x in NT. From Latin praetorium (headquarters, general’s tent, villa, place where the governor lives); from prator (leader, chief, president); from pareeo (to lead, go before). This is praetorium or preatorian guard. It is the place where the governor lives or the place where the praetorian guard of Rome lived. It could also mean courtroom. See

It wasE early in the morning.F They themselves did not enterG the headquarters, so as to avoid ritual defilementH and to be able to eatI the Passover.J 

Notes on verse 28b

E “was” = eimi. This is to be or exist.
F “early in the morning” = proi. 12x in NT. From pro (before, earlier than, ahead, prior). This is early, at dawn, during the daybreak watch.
G “enter” = eiserchomai. From eis (to, into, for, among) + erchomai (to come, go). This is to go in in a literal or figurative sense.
H “avoid ritual defilement” = me + miaino. Literally “not be defiled.” Miaino is 5x in NT. Properly, it means staining something or dyeing it. Figuratively, it refers to staining the soul as with sin. So, it is to pollute or corrupt in a ritual or moral sense.
I “eat” = phago. This is to eat or figuratively to consume like rust does.
J “Passover” = pascha. From Aramaic corresponding to Hebrew pesach (Passover or the offering for Passover); from pasach (to stop, pass over, skit over, to spare). This is Passover – used for the feast, the lamb of sacrifice, the day, and the festival itself. This is where the term “paschal” comes from as in the “paschal lamb.”

29 So PilateK went outL to them and said,M

Notes on verse 29a

K “Pilate” = Pilatos. From Latin Pilatus(may mean one who has skill with a javelin); perhaps from pilum (javelin) OR perhaps from pileus (a soft cap made of felt that was brimless and was associated with people who were freedmen). This is Pilate. See
L “went out” = exerchomai. Related to “enter” in v28. From ek (from, from out of) + erchomai (see note G above). This is to go out, depart, escape, proceed from, spread news abroad.
M “said” = phemi. From phao (to shine). This is to declare, say, or use contrasts in speaking to shed light on one point of view.

“What accusationN do you bringO against this man?”P 

Notes on verse 29b

N “accusation” = kategoria. 3x in NT. Probably from kategoreo (to accuse, charge, or prosecute); from kategoros (prosecutor or accuser; used in legal context, but also of Satan); {from kata (down, against, throughout, among) + agoreuo (speaking in the assembly)} OR from kata (see above) + agora (assembly, forum, marketplace, town square); {from ageiro (to gather)}}. This is accusation, complaint, criminal charge, or the person being accused in the charge. This is where the word “category” comes from, but it is in the sense of applying logic and offering proof.
O “bring” = phero. This is to bear, bring, lead, or make known publicly. It is to carry in a literal or figurative sense.
P “man” = anthropos. Probably from aner (man, male, husband) + ops (eye, face); {from optanomai (to appear, be seen); perhaps from horao (become, seem, appear)}. This is human, humankind. Used for all genders.

30 They answered, “If this man were not a criminal,Q we would not have handed him overR to you.” 

Notes on verse 30

Q “criminal” = kakos + poieo. Literally, “evil doing.” Kakos is bad, evil, harm, ill. It is evil that is part of someone’s core character – intrinsic, rotted, worthless, depraved, causing harm. It refers to deep inner malice that comes from a rotten character. Can be contrasted with the Greek poneros, which is that which bears pain – a focus on the miseries and pains that come with evil. Also contrasting the Greek sapros, which deals with falling away from a previously embodied virtue. Poieo is to make, do, act, construct, abide, or cause.
R “handed…over” = paradidomi. From para (from beside, by) + didomi (give, offer, place, bestow, deliver; give in a literal or figurative sense). This is literally to hand over – hence to deliver, abandon, or betray. It implies a personal involvement.

31 Pilate said to them, “TakeS him yourselves and judgeT him according to your law.”U

Notes on verse 31a

S “take” = lambano. It does not refer to passive receiving of something, but active acceptance or taking of something whether it is offered or simply nearby. It focuses on individual decision and action.
T “judge” = krino. To judge, decide, think good, condemn, determine, pass judgment, stand trial, sue. This is judging whether it is done in court or in a private setting. Properly, it refers to mentally separating or distinguishing an issue – to come to a choice or decision, to judge positively or negatively in seeking what is right or wrong, who is innocent or guilty. It can imply trying, condemning, punishing, or avenging.
U “law” = nomos. From nemo (to parcel out). Literally, this is that which is assigned. It can be usage, custom, or law. This word can be used for human or divine law. It can be used specifically for the law of Moses or as a name for the Torah (the first five books of the Bible). Sometimes it is used for scripture as a whole, used of the Gospel, or of any theology. It is also used for the “tradition of the elders,” which would be the oral Torah – the tradition of the laws plus their interpretations as they were passed down over time. We must carefully consider which meaning of “law” is meant when we interpret passages the word is found in.

The JewsV replied, “We are not permittedW to put anyone to death.”X 

Notes on verse 31b

V “Jews” = Ioudaios. From Ioudas (Judah, Judas); from Hebrew Yehudah (Judah, son of Jacob, his tribal descendants, a name for the southern kingdom. Literally, it means praised); probably from yadah (to throw one’s hands into the air in a gesture of praise); from yad (hand). This is Jewish, a Jew, or Judea.
W “permitted” = exesti. Related to “was” in v28. From ek (out, out of) + eimi (see note E above). This is what is permitted or what is allowed under the law. It can mean what is right, what holds moral authority, or, more broadly, something that is shown out in public.
X “put…to death” = apokteino. From apo (from, away from) + kteino (to kill). To put to death, kill, slay. Figuratively, this word can mean abolish, destroy, or extinguish.

32 (This was to fulfillY whatZ Jesus had said when he indicatedAA

Notes on verse 32a

Y “fulfill” = pleroo. From pleres (to be full, complete, abounding in, occupied with). This is to fill, make full or complete. Properly, this is filling something up to the maximum extent that it can be filled – an appropriate amount for its individual capacity. So, this is used figuratively for furnish, influence, satisfy, finish, preach, perfect, and fulfill.
Z “what” = logos. From lego (to speak, tell, mention). This is word, statement, speech, analogy. It is a word that carries an idea or expresses a thought, a saying. It could refer to a person with a message or reasoning laid out in words. By implication, this could be a topic, line of reasoning, or a motive. It can be used for a divine utterance or as Word – Christ.
AA “indicated” = semaino. 6x in NT. From sema (a sign or mark). This is to give a sign, signify, indicate, make known, communicate. In John’s Gospel miracles are referred to as signs.

the kind of deathBB he wasCC to die.)DD

Notes on verse 32b

BB “death” = thanatos. This is death, whether literal or spiritual. It can also refer to something that is fatal.
CC “was” = mello. Perhaps from melo (something that one is worried or concerned about, something one pays attention to or thinks about). Properly, this is ready, about to happen, to intend, delay, or linger. This is just on the point of acting.
DD “die” = apothnesko. From apo (from, away from) + thnesko (to die, be dead). This is to die off. It is death with an emphasis on the way that death separates. It can also mean to wither or decay.

33 Then Pilate entered the headquarters again, summonedEE Jesus, and asked him, “Are you the KingFF of the Jews?” 

34 Jesus answered, “Do you askGG this on your own, or did othersHH tell you about me?” 

Notes on verses 33-34

EE “summoned” = phoneo. Related to “said” in v29. From phone (voice, sound, tone or noise; also a language or dialect); probably from phemi (see note M above) or phaino (to bring light, cause to appear, shine, become visible or clear). This is to call out, summon, shout, address. It is making a sound whether of an animal, a person, or an instrument.
FF “King” = basileus. Probably from basis (step, hence foot; a pace); from baino (to walk, to go). This is king, emperor, or sovereign.
GG “ask” = lego. Related to “what” in v32. See note Z above.
HH “others” = allos. This is other, another. Specifically, it is another of a similar kind or type. There is a different word in Greek that speaks of another as a different kind (heteros).

35 Pilate replied, “I am notII a Jew, am I? Your own nationJJ and the chief priestsKK have handed you over to me. What have you done?”LL 

Notes on verse 35

II “not” = meti. 17x in NT. From me (not, neither, never; rules out conditional statements and their implications) + tis (someone, anyone, anything). This is asking a question when you expect the answer to be no. It is if not, surely no. But it also keeps a small possibility floating – but could it be?
JJ “nation” = ethnos. Probably from etho (a custom or culture). This is people who are united by having similar customs or culture. Generally, it is used to refer to Gentiles. This is a tribe, race, nation, or Gentiles in general. This is where the term “ethnicity” comes from.
KK “chief priests” = archiereus. From archo (to rule, begin, have first rank or have political power) + hiereus (a priest literal or figurative – of any faith); {from hieros (sacred, something sacred, temple, holy, set apart; something consecrated to God or a god)} This is a high or chief priest.
LL “done” = poieo. Same as “criminal” in v30. See note Q above.

36 Jesus answered, “My kingdomMM is not from this world.NN If my kingdom were from this world, my followersOO would be fightingPP to keep me from being handed over to the Jews. But as it is, my kingdom is not from here.” 

Notes on verse 36

MM “kingdom” = basileia. Related to “king” in v33. From basileus (see note FF above). This is kingdom, rule, authority, sovereignty, royalty, a realm.
NN “world” = kosmos. Perhaps from the base of komizo (to carry, convey, recover); from komeo (to take care of). This is order, the world, the universe, including its inhabitants. Literally, this is something that is ordered so it can refer to all creation. It can also refer to decoration in the sense that something is better ordered and, thus, made more beautiful. This is where “cosmos” and “cosmetics” come from.
OO “followers” = huperetes. From huper (by, under, subordinate to another) + eresso (to row). This is originally a rower or someone who crewed a boat on the lower deck. It came to mean underling, servant, or attendant. It is also used in the New Testament of disciples under the gospel.
PP “fighting” = agonizomai. Related to “took” in v28. 8x in NT. From agon (a gathering or contest – as an athletic competition such as a race; also conflict, struggle, opposition or a fight; used figuratively in a positive sense – as fighting the good fight of faith; used in a negative figurative sense for effort or anxiety; properly, refers to a place where people gather, which implies the game or contest); from ago (see note A above). This is to struggle, strive, or fight. It could be contending to win a prize or against an adversary or in war. It can also mean striving to accomplish something. This is where the word “agonize” comes from.

37 Pilate asked him, “So you are a king?”

Jesus answered, “You say that I am a king. For this I was born,QQ and for this I cameRR into the world, to testifySS to the truth.TT

Notes on verse 37a

QQ “was born” = gennao. From genna (descent, birth); from genos (family, offspring, kin – in a literal or figurative sense); from ginomai (to come into being, to happen, become, be born; to emerge from one state or condition to another; this is coming into being with the sense of movement or growth). This is to beget, give birth to, or bring forth. Properly, it refers to procreation by the father, but was used of the mother by extension. Figuratively, this can mean to regenerate.
RR “came” = erchomai. Related to “enter” in v28 & “went out” in v29. See note G above.
SS “testify” = martureo. From martus (a witness whether having heard or seen something; witness literally, judicially, or figuratively; by analogy, a martyr). This is to bear witness, testify, give evidence. It is to testify in a literal or figurative sense.
TT “truth” = aletheia. From alethes (true, unconcealed; true because it is in concert with fact and reality – attested; literally, what cannot be hidden; truth stands up to test and scrutiny and is undeniable, authentic). {from a (not, without) + lanthano (unnoticed, concealed)}. Truth is literally that which is not or cannot be concealed. This word covers more than the sense of true versus false. It spoke of truth as that which corresponds to reality – reality as opposed to illusion. Thus, it includes, sincerity, straightforwardness, and reality itself.

EveryoneUU who belongsVV to the truth listensWW to my voice.”XX 

Notes on verse 37b

UU “everyone” = pas. This is all or every.
VV “belongs” = eimi. Same as “was” in v28. See note E above.
WW “listens” = akouo. This is hear or listen, but it also means to understand by hearing. This is where the word “acoustics” comes from.
XX “voice” = phone. Related to “said” in v29 & “summoned” in v33. Probably from phemi (see note M above). This is a voice, sound, tone or noise. It can also be a language or dialect.

38 Pilate asked him, “What is truth?”

After he had said this, he went out to the Jews again and told them, “I findYY no caseZZ against him. 39 But you haveAAA a customBBB

Notes on verses 38-39a

YY “find” = heurisko. This is to find, learn, or obtain. It is to discover something, which generally implies a period of searching for it. This is to find in a literal or figurative sense. This is where the word “heuristic” comes from.
ZZ “case” = aitia. From aiteo (to ask, demand, beg, desire). This is a cause or reason. It can also be a legal crime, accusation, guilt, or case.
AAA “have” = eimi. Same as “was” in v28. See note E above.
BBB “custom” = sunetheia. Related to “nation” in v35. 3x in NT. From sun (with, together with) + ethos (see note JJ above). This is a habit, custom, or practice.

that I releaseCCC someoneDDD for you at the Passover. Do you wantEEE me to release for you the King of the Jews?” 

Notes on verse 39b

CCC “release” = apoluo. From apo (from, away from) + luo (to loose, release, untie; figuratively, to break, destroy, or annul; releasing what had been withheld). This is letting go, setting free, or releasing. So, it can be to discharge, dismiss, divorce, pardon, or set at liberty.
DDD “someone” = heis. This is one, a person, only, some.
EEE “want” = boulomai. This is to wish, desire, intend. Also, to plan with great determination.

40 They shoutedFFF in reply, “Not this man, but Barabbas!”GGG Now Barabbas was a bandit.HHH

Notes on verse 40

FFF “shouted” = kraugazo. 9x in NT. From krauge (a very emotional shout or cry generally or clamor against someone else; a cry of alarm, trouble, or grief); from krazo (to cry out, scream, shriek; onomatopoeia for the sound of a raven’s call; figuratively, this is means crying out urgently without intelligible words to express something that is deeply felt). This is to cry, shout, clamor. It is a screaming or shrieking that is often impossible to understand exact words in. It is sound expressing feeling/urgency. Properly, this refers to loud animal sounds.
GGG “Barabbas” = Barabbas. 11x in NT. From Aramaic bar (son literal or figurative, age); {corresponding to Hebrew ben (son literal or figurative, subject, age)} + Aramaic abba (father) {from Aramaic ab (father); corresponding to Hebrew ab (father literal or figurative – ancestor, chief, grandfather, etc.)}. This is Barabbas, meaning son of the father.
HHH “bandit” = lestes. 15x in NT– 3x “you are making [my house] a den of robbers” when Jesus cleanses the temple, 3x of Jesus’ arrest “did you come for me…as though I were a bandit?”; 3x of bandits crucified on Jesus’ left and right; 2x of the man falling into the hands of robbers in the Good Samaritan parable; 2x of the Good Shepherd speech (anyone who doesn’t come in by the gate is a bandit) in John 10:1, 8; 1x of Barrabbas as a bandit; and 1x Paul writes he is in danger from bandits. From leis (booty); from leizomai (to plunder). This is a bandit or thief – one who steals by violence/force out in the open as opposed to by stealth. These were part of armed gangs.

Image credit: “Jesus Died for Sinners” by John Paul Stanley of YoMinistry.

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