Sermon #119  John’s Gospel
Title: Jesus taken, and Bound,
and Led Away
Text: John 18:12-27
Subject: Christ’s Voluntary Sacrifice
The title of my message is — Jesus taken, and Bound, and Led Away. Our text will be John 18:12-27. — “Then the band and the captain and officers of the Jews took Jesus, and bound him, And led him away.” Try to picture the scene.
(John 18:12-27) “Then the band and the captain and officers of the Jews took Jesus, and bound him, 13 And led him away to Annas first; for he was father in law to Caiaphas, which was the high priest that same year. 14 Now Caiaphas was he, which gave counsel to the Jews, that it was expedient that one man should die for the people. 15 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. 16 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. 17 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. 18 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. 19 The high priest then asked Jesus of his disciples, and of his doctrine. 20 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. 21 Why askest thou me? ask them which heard me, what I have said unto them: behold, they know what I said. 22 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? 23 Jesus answered him, If I have spoken evil, bear witness of the evil: but if well, why smitest thou me? 24 Now Annas had sent him bound unto Caiaphas the high priest. 25 And 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. 26 One 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? 27 Peter then denied again: and immediately the cock crew.”
There are five things in this part of John’s Gospel that stand out as matters of great importance and spiritual instruction. As we follow our Savior into the palace of Caiaphas the high priest, may God the Holy Spirit whose Word we have open before us be our Teacher.
1. Adorable Providence
The first thing that strikes me in this portion of Holy Scripture is the display of God’s adorable providence. Our great God rules and overrules all things, abounding toward us in all wisdom and prudence, making known to us the mystery of His will. According to His own good pleasure, He always works “all things after the counsel of His own will” (Ephesians 1:8-11). Nothing is more wonderful to contemplate or more comforting to remember than that. Never miss, never overlook, never lightly esteem these displays of God’s wise and good, adorable providence.
First, John reminds us that that this high priest, “Caiaphas was he, which gave counsel to the Jews, that it was expedient that one man should die for the people” (v. 14). Though Caiaphas did not know God and did not know our Savior, though he was nothing but a self-serving religious leader, God used him to proclaim as clearly as any man ever did the message of the Gospel he despised, — Substitutionary Redemption by the Sacrifice of Christ (John 11:50-52).
(John 11:50-52) “It is expedient for us, that one man should die for the people, and that the whole nation perish not. 51 And this spake he not of himself: but being high priest that year, he prophesied that Jesus should die for that nation; 52 And not for that nation only, but that also he should gather together in one the children of God that were scattered abroad.”
Next, it seems to me that the Holy Spirit inspired John to describe Peter’s denial display of the Lord Jesus in such a way that we could not miss seeing that the Lord Himself placed Peter in the place of temptation. No man is tempted of God; but no temptation comes without God’s decree. Our Lord Jesus told Peter what how he would deny Him three times that very night. Yet, Peter could not have gotten into the high priest’s palace, had God not placed that disciple there who was known to the high priest (vv. 15-16). That disciple went in first, got permission for Peter to come in, and then went back to the door and told the door-keeper that Peter had permission to come into the palace.
Third, we again see the display of His adorable providence in using the Jews to accomplish the fulfilment of the sacrificial type. According to the Levitical law (Leviticus 17:1-9) the sacrifice offered to God had to be first examined by the high priest before it was offered to God. So Christ our Sacrifice was brought to the high priest before He was sacrificed. Though Caiaphas said nothing about His innocence as the spotless Lamb of God, when Caiaphas sent Him to Pilate, Pilate declared Him to be without fault (1 Peter 1:17-20).
(1 Peter 1:18-20) “Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, [as] silver and gold, from your vain conversation [received] by tradition from your fathers; 19 But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot: 20 Who verily was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times for you.”
The first thing that stands out in our text is God’s adorable providence.
When carnal reason would demand
Why this or that my God ordained,
My heart in faith, Lord, humbly bend
Before Your throne, my God and King.
When doubts disturb me and distress,
When darkness seems to block my way,
Oh give me grace on this to rest, —
That thus it seemeth good to Thee!
Be this my joy: — My Christ is Lord
And by all things performs His will.
Your providence I would adore,
And calmly, sweetly trust You still.
2. Astonishing Hardness
Second, the Spirit of God here gives us a display of the astonishing hardness of depraved hearts. We see this in the conduct of the men by whom our Lord was arrested. Some of them were Roman soldiers. Some were servants of the priests and Pharisees. Among them were Judas and the Pharisees. But in one thing they were all alike.
Don’t you find that astonishing? They all acted as if they had seen nothing out of the ordinary. — “They made their hearts as an adamant stone” (Zechariah 7:12). They saw these things and hardened their hearts, like Pharaoh, and went on coolly with their callous business. — “They took Jesus, bound Him, and led Him away!”
Oh, how hard the heart of man is! Nothing can break it! Nothing can penetrate it! — Nothing but omnipotent grace! Bless God, there is hope for such hard hearts!
John Trapp, quoting one of ancient writers, said, “The adamant stone is a legendary stone thought to be the hardest of all stones, harder than flint (Ezekiel 3:9), harder than the nether millstone (Job 41:24). Fire could not burn it, or even cause it to be heated throughout. It could not be broken by a hammer. Yet, this hardest of all stones, when soaked in a goat’s blood, is melted, dissolved and broken. So the hardest heart of the most obstinate sinner is melted, dissolved and broken when sprinkled with the precious blood of Christ, the sinner’s Scapegoat.
That is my hope and prayer to God for you. If God the Holy Spirit sprinkles your heart with the blood of Christ, if he will apply the blood to you, you will look upon him you have pierced and mourn.
Š Miracles will never penetrate your hard heart.
Š Judgment will never break your heart.
Š Affliction will never break it.
Š The law will never break it.
Š Hell itself cannot break the rebel heart of man.
Š But the blood of Christ can!
3. Amazing Condescension
Third, we have before us a marvelous display of the amazing condescension of our Lord Jesus Christ. Here is the Son of God, our Creator, the Sovereign of the universe taken prisoner and led away bound like a common malefactor. He is arraigned before wicked and unjust judges. He is insulted and treated with contempt. He had only to will His deliverance, and He would at once have been free. He had only to command the confusion of His enemies, and they would at once have been confounded.
This Man, Christ Jesus, is the Judge before whose bar Annas and Caiaphas and all their companions must soon stand, from whom they shall receive a sentence everlasting damnation. Yet, He condescended to be treated as a malefactor without resisting. — “They took Jesus, and bound Him, and led Him away” (vv. 12-13). Imagine that! When He was led away to slaughter, and bound with the sins of His people, our blessed Savior was led without the camp, to suffer without the gate (Hebrews 13:12). Isaiah tells us that He was “taken from prison and from judgment” when the Lord God “laid on Him the iniquity of us all” (Isaiah 53:6-8).
Truly the love of Christ to poor sinners is “a love that passeth knowledge!” To suffer for those we love, those who are in some sense worthy of our affection, is suffering that we can understand. To submit to ill-treatment quietly, when we have no power to resist, is submission that is both graceful and wise. But to suffer voluntarily, when we a have the power to prevent it, and to suffer for a people who crave your blood, unasked, unwanted, and unthanked — that is “love that passeth knowledge!”
Our Lord Jesus was led away captive and dragged before the high priest’s bar, not because He could not help Himself, but because He had set His whole heart upon us from eternity, by bearing our sins in His own body on the tree, by being made sin for us, and by being punished in our stead, the Son of God was determined to ransom our souls!
He was a willing prisoner, that we might be set free. He was willingly arraigned and condemned, that we might be absolved and declared innocent. “He suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that He might bring us unto God.” — “Though He was rich, yet for our sakes He became poor, that we through His poverty might be rich.” — “He was made sin for us who knew no sin, that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him.”
Substitution is the very heart of the Gospel. Our dear Savior suffered and died willingly and unresistingly, because He had come into this world as our Substitute and Surety, and by substitutionary atonement to purchase our eternal salvation.
I all things, our Lord Jesus humbled Himself to be both our Substitute and our Example (1 Peter 2:21-25).
(1 Peter 2:21-25) “21 For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps: 22 Who did no sin, neither was guile found in his mouth: 23 Who, when he was reviled, reviled not again; when he suffered, he threatened not; but committed [himself] to him that judgeth righteously: 24 Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed. 25 For ye were as sheep going astray; but are now returned unto the Shepherd and Bishop of your souls.”
Look at what He said to Caiaphas about His preaching (vv. 19-21).
(John 18:19-21) “The high priest then asked Jesus of his disciples, and of his doctrine. 20 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. 21 Why askest thou me? ask them which heard me, what I have said unto them: behold, they know what I said.”
4. Abiding Sinfulness
Fourth, I dare not ignore the fact that the Holy Spirit has here set before us an undeniable display of the abiding sinfulness that is to be found in all true believers, the corruption that yet remains in every true Christian, and will remain in us as long as we are in this world, in this body of flesh. We see this fact strikingly exemplified in the conduct of the Apostle Peter.
And all this takes place immediately after receiving the Lord’s’ Supper — after hearing the Savior’s last discourse, — after hearing the plainest possible warnings, — after hearing His Savior pray that great prayer as his High Priest that is recorded in the previous chapter, — having nothing to gain by his denial!
“Let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall!” —Peter’s fall is recorded in the Book of God repeatedly because it is intended to be a lesson to the us all.
5. Abounding Grace
But I cannot send you home without reminding you of this fifth thing set before us in this event, and that is the unfailing, immutable, abounding grace of God our Savior. — “Where sin abounded grace did much more abound; That as sin hath reigned unto death, even so might grace reign through righteousness unto eternal life by Jesus Christ our Lord” (Romans 5:20-21).
O poor sinner, come to Christ. In Him the grace of God superabounds!
Come humble sinner, in whose breast
A thousand thoughts revolve;
Come with your guilt and fear oppressed,
And make this last resolve.
"I'll go to Jesus, though my sins
Like mountains round me close;
I know his courts, I'll enter in,
Whatever may oppose.
"Prostrate I'll lie before his throne,
And there my guilt confess;
I'll tell him I'm a wretch undone
Without his sovereign grace."
I'll to the gracious King approach,
Whose scepter pardon gives;
Perhaps He may command my touch,
And then the suppliant lives!
Perhaps He will admit my plea,
Perhaps will hear my prayer;
But if I perish, I will pray,
And perish only there.
I can but perish if I go,
I am resolved to try;
For if I stay away, I know,
I must forever die.
But if I die with mercy sought,
When I the King have tried,
This were to die (Delightful thought!) —
As sinner never died!”
Resolving thus I entered in,
Though trembling and depressed;
I bowed before the gracious King,
And all my sins confessed.
Sweet majesty and awful grace,
Sat smiling on His brow,
He turned to me His glorious face,
And made my eyes o’erflow.
He held the scepter out to me,
And bade me touch and live;
I touched, and (O what mercy free!)
He did my sins forgive.
I touched and lived, and learned to love,
And triumphed in my God;
I set my heart on things above,
And sang redeeming blood.
Come sinners grieved, with sins distressed,
And ready to despair,
Take courage, though with guilt oppressed,
Jesus still answers prayer.
Come enter in with cheerful haste,
You may His glory see.
You may His richest mercy taste—
He has forgiven me.
Listen to sermons at FreeGraceRadio.com
 Danville — Sunday Morning — May 15, 2011
Kingsport Sovereign Grace — Sunday Evening — May 15, 2011
Tape: John #119
Reading: Ephesians 3:1-21
 Here, within the crowded palace of the high priest they had made a fire to warm themselves because it was cold. What a striking revelation that is. Just a very few hours earlier, our Lord Jesus knelt in prayer in the open air of Gethsemane. There, as He prayed, He broke out into a bloody sweat. What agony He endured, what a load pressed Him down, as He anticipated being made sin for us!