1 When Jesus had spoken these words, he went forth with his disciples across the Kidron valley [brook], where there was a garden, which he and his disciples entered. 2 Now Judas, who betrayed him, also knew the place; for Jesus often met there with his disciples. 3 So Judas, procuring a band of soldiers and some officers from the chief priests and the Pharisees, went there with lanterns and torches and weapons. 4 Then Jesus, knowing all that was to befall him, came forward and said to them, "Whom do you seek?" 5 They answered him, "Jesus of Nazareth. "Jesus said to them, I am he." Judas, who betrayed him, was standing with them. 6 When he said to them, "I am he," they drew back and fell to the ground. 7 Again he asked them, "Whom do you seek?" And they said, "Jesus of Nazareth." 8 Jesus answered, "I told you that I am he; so, if you seek me, let these men go." 9 This was to fulfill the word which he had spoken, "Of those whom you gave me I lost not one."[1]

2271 Before his passion, as we saw above, our Lord prepared his disciples in many ways: teaching them by his example, comforting them with his words, and aiding them by his prayers. Now the Evangelist begins the history of the passion: first, he sets forth the mystery of the passion; secondly, the glory of the resurrection (20:1). Christ's passion was effected partly by the Jews, and partly by the Gentiles. Thus, he first describes what Christ suffered from the Jews; secondly, what he suffered from the Gentiles (19:1). He does three things regarding the first: he shows how our Lord was betrayed by a disciple; secondly, how he was brought before the high priests (v 13); and thirdly, how he was accused before Pilate (v 28).

In regard to Christ's betrayal, the Evangelist mentions three things: first, the place; secondly, the procedure; and thirdly, the willingness of Christ to submit to the betrayal (v 4). The place of the betrayal was shown to be appropriate in three ways: because it was outside the city; it was private and enclosed; and it was known to the traitor.

2272 The place of the betrayal was some distance from the city, and so Judas could more easily do what he intended. The Evangelist says, When Jesus had spoken these words, the words we have read above. But since what Christ said belonged to his prayer, it would seem more appropriate for the Evangelist to say, "When Jesus had prayed." The Evangelist put it the way he did to show that Christ did not pray because of any need of his own, since he was the one who, as man, prayed, and who, as God, heard the prayer. Rather, Christ prayed in order to teach us. Thus this prayer is described as "spoken words."

2273 He went forth with his disciples, but not immediately after this prayer, as Augustine notes.[2] Other things happened, omitted by this Evangelist, but mentioned by the others. For example, there was an argument among the disciples about who was to be regarded as the greatest (Lk 22:24); before setting out he said to Peter: "Satan demanded to have you, that he might sift you like wheat, but I have prayed for you that your faith may not fail" (Lk 22:31); again, the disciples recited a hymn with the Lord, as Matthew (26:30) and Mark (14:26) report. And so we should not think that they went out immediately after the words of the previous chapter, but that Christ said these things before they went out.

2274 He went forth across the Kidron brook. Matthew and Mark say that they went to the Mount of Olives, and then to a garden called Gethsemane. There is no conflict here, because all of them are referring to the same place, for the Kidron brook is at the foot of the Mount of Olives, where there was a garden called Gethsemane. In Greek, Kidron is genitive plural; and so in effect he is saying a brook "of cedars." Perhaps there were many cedar trees planted there.

It is fitting for this mystery that he cross a brook, because the brook indicates his passion: "He will drink from the brook by the way; therefore he will lift up his head" (Ps 110:7). Again, it is fitting that he cross the Kidron brook for Kidron is interpreted to mean an overshadowing, and by his passion Christ removed the shadow of sin and of the law, and stretching out his arms on the cross, he protected us under the shadow of his arms: "Hide me in the shadow of your wings" (Ps 17:8).

2275 The place was especially suitable for the betrayal. He says, there was a garden, which he and his disciples entered. This was especially suitable because Christ was satisfying for the sin of our first parent which had been committed in a garden (for paradise means a garden of delights). It was also suitable because by his passion he is leading us into another garden and paradise to receive a crown: "Today you will be with me in Paradise" (Lk 23:43).

2276 It was also an appropriate place because it was known to the traitor, now Judas, who betrayed him, also knew the place; for Jesus often met there with his disciples, including Judas, who was like a wolf among sheep: "Did I not choose you, the twelve, and one of you is a devil?" (6:71). This wolf in sheep's clothing, who had been tolerated among the sheep according to the profound plan of the master, learned where he could scatter the small flock when the time came.

2277 Since Judas had left the supper a while before the others, how did he know that Christ would later be in the garden? Chrysostom says that it was Christ's custom, especially at the major feasts, to bring his disciples there after supper and teach them the deeper meaning of the feasts, things that others were not ready to hear.[3] And so, because this was an important feast, Judas surmised that Christ would be going there after supper. It was Christ's custom to teach his disciples these sublime matters in the mountains or in private gardens, seeking places free from disturbance so they would not be distracted: "I will allure her, and bring her into the wilderness, and speak tenderly to her" (Hos 2:14).

2278 Now the Evangelist shows the procedure of the traitor. Notice, as we see from Luke (22:4), that after Judas had agreed with the chief priests to betray Christ, he looked for an opportunity to deliver him without disturbing the people. Consequently, he wanted to come to him privately and at night, because during the day Christ was always busy teaching the people. Yet even at night it was possible that he be hindered by a quickly gathering crowd, or by the darkness in which Christ could be spirited away or escape from their hands. So against the crowd, he armed himself with weapons, and against the darkness he brought lanterns and torches. And because some of the crowd might resist, he took a band of soldiers, not from the Jews, but from the governor. In this way, no one would dare to resist because they would see the marks of legitimate authority. Further, some Jews might resist out of zeal for the law, especially because Christ was being taken by Gentiles. For this reason Judas took some servants or officers from the chief priests and the Pharisees: "He has run against God with his head held high" [Job 15:26]; "Have you come out as against a robber, with swords and clubs?" (Lk 22:52)

2279 Now the Evangelist shows the promptness of Christ to willingly undergo betrayal: first, by voluntarily offering himself; secondly, by stopping one of the disciples who was resisting (v 10). In regard to the first, the Evangelist does two things: first, he tells how Christ identified himself to show his power; secondly, to show his patience (v 7). In regard to the first he does three things: first, he states the question Christ asked; secondly, he shows Christ identifying himself, I am he; thirdly, we see the effect this has (v 6).

2280 He does three things regarding the first. First, he recalls Christ's knowledge: Then Jesus, knowing all that was to befall him, came forward; "Jesus knew that his hour had come" (13:1). The Evangelist mentions this for two reasons: first, so that it does not appear that the question he is asking comes from his ignorance; and secondly, so that it does not seem that he is offering himself unintentionally and without knowing that they have come to kill him. He knew everything that would happen to him.

Secondly, he states Christ's question, for although he knew all these things he came forward and said to them, Whom do you seek? But this was not because of his ignorance, as we said. Thirdly, he gives their answer, Jesus of Nazareth. They were seeking him not to imitate him, but to slander and kill him: "You will seek me and die in your sin" (8:21).

2281 Now we see Jesus identifying himself and offering himself so that they can seize him. I am he, he says, that is, I am Jesus of Nazareth, whom you are looking for. The Evangelist adds that Judas was also there because he had mentioned before that Judas had left them (13:31). It could be expected that they might not recognize the face of Christ because of the darkness. But this darkness would not explain why they did not know Christ from his voice, especially those who were quite familiar with him. By saying, I am he, Christ shows that he was not recognized even by Judas who was with them and on close terms with Christ. This in particular shows the power of Christ's divinity. Judas ... was standing with them, that is, he continued in his evil to the point of identifying him with a kiss.

2282 Now we see the effect of his revealing himself: they drew back and fell to the ground. As Gregory says, sometimes we read that the saints fall to the ground: "The king Nebuchadnezzar fell upon his face and did homage to Daniel" (Dan 2:46); "When I saw it, I fell upon my face" (Ez 1:28).[4] We also read that the evil fall: "Your men shall fall by the sword" (Is 3:25). Yet there is a difference. It is said that the evil fall backward: "Eli fell over backward from his seat" (1 Sam 4:18); while the saints fall on their face. The reason for this is given in Proverbs (4:18): "The path of the righteous is like the light of dawn.... The path of the wicked is like deep darkness; they do not know over what they stumble." Now those who fall backward do not see where they fall. And so those who are evil are said to fall backward because they fall over things that are invisible. Those who fall forward see where they are falling. Thus the saints, who willingly cast themselves down with respect to visible things, so they can be raised up to invisible things, are said to fall on their face because they humble themselves.

Mystically understood, we can say that by this falling backward we can understand that the Jewish people, who were a special people, because they did not listen to the voice of Christ in his preaching, fell backward, excluded from the kingdom.

2283 Now we see Christ questioning them a second time. First we see his question; secondly, he identifies himself; thirdly, he offers himself to them.

According to Chrysostom, there are two reasons why Christ asks them a second time whom they were seeking.[5] First, to teach the faithful that he was captured because he willed it: "He was offered because it was his own will" [Is 53:7]; he had already shown his power because when his enemies came against him, they fell backward to the ground before him. Secondly, he wanted, as far as he could, to give the Jews a reason to be converted, having seen this miracle of his power: "What more was there to do for my vineyard, that I have not done it?" (Is 5:4). And when they were not converted by the revelation of his power, he voluntarily offered himself to be taken by them. When Again he asked them, Whom do you seek? And they said, Jesus of Nazareth, he again identified himself and answered, I told you that I am he. It is obvious from this that they were so blind that they could not recognize him.

He offers himself when he says, if you seek me, to arrest me, then do what you want, but let these men go, my disciples, for it is not yet their time to be taken from the world by suffering: "I do not pray that you should take them out of the world" (17:15). It is clear from this that Christ gave them the power to capture him, for just as he saved his disciples by his own power, so, much more clearly, he could have saved himself: "No one takes it [my life] from me, but I lay it down of my own accord" (10:18).

2284 The Evangelist shows that the officers allowed the apostles to leave not because Christ persuaded them to do so, but because of his power, when he says, This was to fulfill the word which he had spoken. The officers let the apostles go because they were not able to hold them, since Christ had said that of those whom you gave me I lost not one.

2285 On the contrary. When our Lord said that none was lost, he was referring to the soul. How can the Evangelist adapt this to refer to the loss of the body? We may answer, according to Chrysostom, that our Lord was speaking (17:12) of the loss of both the soul and the body.[6] And if he spoke only of the soul we could say that here the Evangelist extends it to the loss of the body. Or, we could say, with Augustine, that we must understand these words to refer here also to the loss of the soul.[7] The reason being that the apostles did not yet believe in the way that those who do not perish believe. And so, if they had left the world then, some would have perished.


10 Then Simon Peter, having a sword, drew it and struck the high priest's slave and cut off his right ear. The slave's name was Malchus. 11 Jesus said to Peter, "Put your sword into its sheath; shall I not drink the cup which the Father has given me?"

2286 The Evangelist has shown how ready Christ was to suffer his betrayal since he willingly offered himself. He now shows this same readiness because Christ forbade a disciple to resist. First, he mentions the resistance of the disciple; secondly, his being restrained (v 11). In regard to the first he does two things: first, he shows the zeal of the disciple in striking the servant; secondly, we see the name of the servant.

2287 He says that the officers arrested Jesus, but that then Simon Peter, more volatile than that the other disciples, having a sword, drew it and struck the high priest's slave, who was among the officers, and cut off his right ear. This was not his intention; rather, he wanted to kill him, but the strike to the servant's head missed and struck the ear. Peter aimed for the head so that he could more easily show that he was doing it out of zeal for his Lord: "I have been very jealous for the Lord" (1 Kgs 19:10).

2288 Two questions can be asked about this. Since the Lord had commanded his disciples not to have even two tunics (Mt 10:10), why was it that Peter had a sword? I answer that Christ gave them this command when he sent them out to preach, and it was to be in effect until his passion. But when his passion drew near, Christ revoked it: "When I sent you out with no purse or bag or sandals, did you lack anything?" (Lk 22:35). And then (in v 36): "But now, let him who has a purse take it, and likewise a bag. And let him who has no sword sell his mantle and buy one." Because of this permission Peter understood that he was allowed to carry a sword.

How could he get a sword so quickly, since our Lord had spoken these words such a short time before? According to Chrysostom, Peter obtained the sword earlier, when he heard that the Jews were planning to deliver Christ over to the chief priests to be crucified.[8] Or, we could say, with the Interlinear, that "sword" is used here for a knife, which he probably had at the paschal meal, and which he took along when they left.[9]

2289 The second question is why Peter struck the servant of the high priest, since our Lord had told them not to resist evil (Mt 5:39). One could answer that they were forbidden to resist someone in order to defend themselves, but this did not apply to defending the Lord. Or, one could say that they had not yet been strengthened by a power coming from above: "Stay in the city, until you are clothed with power from on high" (Lk 24:49). And for this reason they were not yet so perfect that they could not resist evil entirely.

2290 Now the name of the servant is given. Only John mentions this name because, as stated below (v 15), John himself was known by the high priest, and so he also knew some of the priest's servants. Since John was certain of this servant's name, he gives it.

It is Luke (22:51) who adds that our Lord healed the ear. This is appropriate for a mystery: for the servant stands for the Jewish people, who were oppressed by the chief priests: "You eat the fat" (Ez 34:3). Peter, the head of the apostles, takes away this servant's sense of hearing, because he heard the words of the law in a defective way, in a carnal way. But our Lord gave him back a new sense of hearing: "As soon as they heard of me they obeyed me" (Ps 18:44). With this in mind the servant is fittingly named Malchus, which means "king," because through Christ we have become kings by having a new life: "You ... have made them a kingdom and priests to our God, and they shall reign on earth" (Rev 5:10).

2291 Now we see the zeal of Peter being restrained. First, we see Peter's zeal; secondly, the reason it was restrained (11b).

2292 The Evangelist says that Peter drew his sword, and our Lord said to him, Put your sword into its sheath. It was like saying that it was not defense that was needed, but patience, and that he was not allowed to use a material sword: "Ah, sword of the Lord! How long till you are quiet?" (Jer 47:6). The mystical interpretation is that this signifies that the sword of God's word was to be put into its sheath, that is, into the faith of the Gentiles.

2293 The reason Christ restrained Peter is given when he says, Shall I not drink the cup which the Father has given me? For one should not resist what has been arranged by divine providence: "Who has resisted him and has had peace?" [Job 9:4]. The passion is called a cup, a drinking vessel, because the charity of the one suffering gave it a certain sweetness, but in its own nature it was bitter. It was like a healing medicine which, because it gives hope of being cured, acquires a certain sweetness, although it has a bitter taste: "I will lift up the cup of salvation and call on the name of the Lord" (Ps 116:13).

The Father gave Christ this cup because Christ willingly underwent the passion by his own will and by the will of the Father: "You would have no power over me unless it had been given you from above" (19:11).


12 So the band of soldiers and their captain and the officers of the Jews seized Jesus and bound him. 13 First they led him to Annas; for he was the father-in-law of Caiaphas, who was high priest that year. 14 It was Caiaphas who had given counsel to the Jews that it was expedient that one man should die for the people. 15 Simon Peter followed Jesus, and so did another disciple. As this disciple was known to the high priest, he entered the court of the high priest along with Jesus, 16 while Peter stood outside at the door. So the other disciple, who was known to the high priest, went out and spoke to the maid who kept the door, and brought Peter in. 17 The maid who kept the door said to Peter, "Are not you also one of this man's disciples?" He said, "I am not." 18 Now the servants and officers had made a charcoal fire, because it was cold, and they were standing and warming themselves; Peter also was with them, standing and warming himself. 19 The high priest then questioned Jesus about his disciples and his teaching. 20 Jesus answered him, "I have spoken openly to the world; I have always taught in synagogues and in the temple, where all Jews come together, I have said nothing secretly. 21 Why do you ask me? Ask those who have heard me, what I said to them; they know what I said."[10]

2294 Now the Evangelist describes how our Lord was taken by the officers and led before the leaders. First, he is led to one of the leaders, Annas; secondly, to another, Caiaphas (v 24). In regard to the first he does two things: first, he mentions how he was presented before Annas; secondly, how he was questioned by Annas (v 19). In regard to the first he does two things: he mentions that he is led to Annas' house; secondly, that Christ's disciples followed him (v 15). In regard to the first he does two things: he mentions what was done to Jesus; secondly, he describes the high priest before whom Jesus was brought (v 13b).

2295 Three things were done to Christ. First, he was seized; for he says, the band of soldiers and their captain and the officers of the Jews seized Jesus, who is not apprehensible: "great in counsel, incomprehensible in thought" [Jer 32:19]. Perhaps they were thinking of the Psalm (71:11): "God has forsaken him; pursue and seize him, for there is none to deliver him." Again, "The breath of our mouth, Christ the Lord, is taken in our sins," that is, on account of our sins, in order to free us: "Even the captives of the mighty shall be taken" (Is 49:25).

Secondly, Christ was bound, and bound him, who came to untie their bonds and break their chains: "You have loosed my bonds" (Ps 116:16).

Thirdly, he was led away, they led him to Annas, so that they might destroy him who came to lead all to the way of salvation: "You have led me, because you became my hope" [Ps 61:4].

2296 Two reasons can be given why Jesus was first brought to Annas. This could have been done by the order of Caiaphas, the high priest that year. Caiaphas did this because he would have had more of an excuse for condemning Jesus if Annas had already condemned him. The other reason was that they were nearer to the house of Annas, which was on their way. They were fearful that if the people became aroused Jesus might be taken away from them, and so they made straight for the house of Annas.

2297 Here the high priest is described by his relationship to Caiaphas, he was the father‑in‑law of Caiaphas. Then Caiaphas is described as high priest that year. We should remember that according to the law the high priest was to hold his office for life, and when he died to be succeeded by his son. But as the envy and the ambition of the leaders increased, not only did the son not succeed the father, but the office itself was not held for more than a year; and even then it was bought with money, as Josephus says. And so it is not out of character that in the year of that high priesthood, so wickedly obtained, that the high priest acted so despicably.

2298 He is described by the advice he gave: It was Caiaphas who had given counsel to the Jews that it was expedient that one man should die for the people (in 11:50). The Evangelist recalls this to prevent the hearts of the faithful from faltering. He shows that even by the prophecy of the enemy Christ was captured and killed, not because he was weak and lacked power, but for the salvation of the people, that is, so the entire nation would not perish. For the testimony of one's adversary is very effective; and truth is of such a nature that even its enemy is unable not to speak it.

2299 Now we see how the disciples joined Christ. First, how Peter and another disciple followed him; secondly, we see how they entered the place where Christ was; thirdly, how one denied him.

2300 In regard to the first he says, Simon Peter followed Jesus, because of his devotedness, but at a distance because of his fear, and so did another disciple, John, who out of humility does not mention himself. We can understand from this that the other disciples fled and abandoned Jesus, as Matthew says (26:56).

2301 In the mystical interpretation, these two disciples indicate the two ways of life in which Christ is followed: the active life, which is signified by Peter, and the contemplative life, signified by John. Those in the active life follow Christ by obedience, "My sheep hear my voice" (10:27). Those in the contemplative life follow Christ by knowledge and contemplation, "We will know and follow you" [Ps 4:3].

2302 These two disciples followed Christ because they loved him more than the others did; and so they were the first to come to the tomb (20:2). And it was these two who came because they were united to each other by a stronger bond of love; and so they are frequently mentioned together in the Gospel and in the Acts, where we read that "They sent to them Peter and John" (Acts 8:14), and again that "Peter and John were going up to the temple at the hour of prayer" (Acts 3:1).

2303 Now the order in which they entered is given: John entered first and then he brought in Peter (v 16).

2304 It was John who entered first, with Jesus, as this disciple was known to the high priest ... while Peter stood outside at the door. Although John had been a fisherman and had been called as a young man by Christ, he was still known by the high priest, either because John's father was a servant of the high priest, or a relative. John did not mention that the high priest knew him because he was proud, but because of his humility, so that the fact that he was the first to enter, with Jesus, into the court of the high priest, ahead of Peter, would not be ascribed to his virtue and superiority rather than to his acquaintance with the high priest. Thus he says, as this disciple, John himself, was known to the high priest. Consequently, he was able to enter with Jesus into the high priest's court, where Christ had been led. While Peter stood outside; this was like a foreboding of his future denial: "Those who saw me, fled outside from me" [Ps 31:11].

2305 Mystically understood, John enters with Jesus because the contemplative life is one of familiarity with Jesus: "When I enter my house, I shall find rest with her [wisdom]" (Wis 8:16). Peter stands outside because the active life is busy with exterior things: "Mary sat at the Lord's feet and listened to his teaching. But Martha was distracted with much serving" (Lk 10:39).

2306 Here we see how Peter was let in due to John's intervention, because the other disciple, John who was known to the high priest, went out and spoke to the maid who kept the door, with the intention of bringing Peter in, and then he brought Peter in. The mystical interpretation of this is that the active life is brought to Christ by the contemplative life: for just as the lower reason is directed by the higher reason, so the active life is directed by the contemplative life: "Oh send out your light and your truth; let them lead me, let them bring me to your holy hill and to your dwelling" (Ps 43:3).

2307 Now we see the denial of Peter: first, the circumstances or the incitement of his denial; secondly the denial itself (v 17b); thirdly, Peter strengthens his denial (v 18).

2308 The circumstances and incitement of his denial was the question of the maid who kept the door: The maid who kept the door said to Peter, Are not you also one of this man's disciples? She says you also because she knew that John was a disciple of Christ, but she did not mention this to him because of their friendliness. This incident shows how weak Peter was at that time, for he was incited to deny Christ under feeble circumstances. How weak these circumstances were is shown, first of all, from the person who asked him: for it was not an armed soldier or an imposing high priest, but a woman, and a door keeper at that. Secondly, from the very form of the question: she did not say, "Are you a disciple of that traitor?" but rather, Are not you also one of this man's disciples? This seemed to indicate a certain sympathy. We can learn from this that "By the word of the Lord the heavens were made, and all their power by the breath of his mouth" [Ps 33:6], because this same person who denied Christ at the questioning of a maid servant afterwards professed and preached the name of Christ before the chief priests (Acts 4:8).

2309 Now comes Peter's denial, when he says, He said, I am not. We should note, according to Augustine, that Christ is denied not only by those who say that he is not the Christ, but also by those who deny that they are Christians.[11] For Peter at this time did nothing other than deny that he was a Christian. Our Lord permitted Peter to deny him because he wanted the very one who was to be the head of the entire Church to be all the more compassionate to the weak and sinners, having experienced in himself his own weakness in the face of sin: "For we have not a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weakness, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sinning" (Heb 4:15). This is true of Christ, and it can also be said of Peter, with his sins.

Some say that Peter's denial did not come from fear, but from love: for he wanted to always be with Christ and to follow him all the time. But he knew that if he admitted he was a disciple of Christ, he would have been separated from him and expelled. But this does not agree with our Lord's words: for Peter did not deny Christ because he feared to be separated from him, but because he was not willing to lay down his life for Christ. Before, when Peter said, "I will lay down my life for you," Jesus answered, "Will you lay down your life for me? Truly, truly, I say to you, the cock will not crow, till you have denied me three times" (13:37).

2310 We see Peter strengthen his denial when we read, Now the servants and officers had made a charcoal fire ... Peter also was with them, standing and warming himself, so he would not seem to be one of Christ's disciples. Trying not to seem a disciple, he mixed with the servants and officers standing by the fire because of the cold, which sometimes occurs in March during the early spring. Peter was not attentive to the Psalm: "Be holy with the holy, persevere with those who persevere" [Ps 18:26]. Even the very time of the year corresponded to his heart, in which charity had grown cold: "Most men's love will grow cold" (Mt 24: 12).

2311 The high priest then questioned Jesus. First we see Christ's interrogation; secondly, his reply (v 20); thirdly, he is abused for his reply (v 22).

2312 Two charges were brought against Christ by the Jews: he had false and novel teachings: "What is this? A new teaching!" (Mk 1:27); and he was inciting civil discord, gathering his own followers: "He stirs up the people, teaching throughout all Judea, from Galilee even to this place" (Lk 23:5). Consequently, he is interrogated on these two points: first, about his followers, about his disciples, whom were thought to be misled; secondly, about his teaching, regarded as false.

2213 Now our Lord's answer is given: first, we see his manner of teaching; secondly, he asks for the testimony of others (v 21). Two things are done about the first: we see how Christ taught his doctrine; secondly, this is further described.

2314 He says, I have spoken openly to the world. This seems to conflict with "The hour is coming when I shall no longer speak to you in figures but tell you plainly of the Father" (16:25). So, if he had not yet spoken openly to his disciples, how could he have spoken openly to the world? I answer that he had not yet spoken openly to his disciples in the sense that he had set forth for them his most profound thoughts. But he did speak openly to the world in the sense that he spoke to many, publicly.

2315 This is described more fully as he says, I have always taught in the synagogues and in the temple. On the contrary, Matthew (c 16) shows that Christ taught his disciples when alone with them many things without using figures. This can be answered in three ways. First, what Christ said to the twelve disciples was not considered to be spoken in secret. Secondly, he did not teach these things to them with the intention that they be kept hidden. Thirdly, our Lord is speaking here of the teaching he gave to the people, which was not given to them secretly but in public places: "I have told the glad news of deliverance in the great congregation" (Ps 40:9); "I did not speak in secret, in a land of darkness" (Is 45:19).

2316 To support him he asks for the testimony of others, saying, Why do you ask me? Ask those who have heard me, what I said to them. First, he sends them to the testimony of others; secondly, he shows whose testimony he wants; thirdly, he gives the reason for this.

As to the first he says, Why do you ask me? He is saying in effect: You can find this out from others. And then he adds, referring to the second point, Ask those who have heard me: "Then the Pharisees went and took counsel how to entangle him in his talk" (Mt 22:15). Nevertheless, they could not find anything against him. Then he gives the reason for his request saying, they know what I said, and they can testify to this.


22 When he had said this, one of the officers standing by struck Jesus with his hand, saying, "Is that how you answer the high priest?" 23 Jesus answered him, "If I have spoken wrongly, bear witness to the wrong; but if I have spoken rightly, why do you strike me?" 24 Annas then sent him bound to Caiaphas the high priest. 25 Now Simon Peter was standing and warming himself. They said to him, "Are not you also one of his disciples?" He denied it and said, "I am not." 26 One of the servants of the high priest, a kinsman of the man whose ear Peter had cut off, asked, "Did I not see you in the garden with him?" 27 Peter again denied it; and at once the cock crowed.[12]

2317 After telling us of our Lord's answer, the Evangelist now shows how it was rebuked: first, we see the rebuke given by an officer; secondly, our Lord's defense of his answer (v 23).

2318 An officer reproached our Lord's answer, first of all, by an action. He delivered a reproving blow; for the Evangelist says, When he, that is, Jesus, had said this, one of the officers, of the high priest, standing by struck Jesus with his hand. This did not happen by chance; it had been predicted long before and many times: "I gave my back to the smiters, and my cheeks to those who pulled out the beard" (Is 50:6); "Let him give his cheek to the smiter, and be filled with insults" (Lam 3:30); "With a rod they strike upon the cheek the ruler of Israel" (Mic 5:1).

Secondly, the officer reproached Christ with words, saying, Is that how your answer the high priest? We can see from this that Annas was a high priest, and that Jesus had not yet been sent to Caiaphas. This is why Luke mentions two high priests: "in the high‑priesthood of Annas and Caiaphas" (Lk 3:2). Two high priests are mentioned because they alternated as high priests, but that year Annas [really Caiaphas] was the high priest.

2319 Earlier, when the testimony of those who had heard Jesus was being sought, and the chief priests had sent their officers to arrest him (7:32), they themselves were captivated by the words of Jesus and returned saying, "No man ever spoke like this man" (7:46). The officer who now struck Christ was incited to do so in order to show that he had not been one of those in the prior group. He thought that Christ had shown a lack of respect because in saying, Why do you ask me? Ask those who have heard me, he seemed to be finding fault with the high priest for asking a thoughtless question, and it is written: "You will not speak evil of a ruler of your people" [Ex 23:28].

2320 Jesus justified himself, saying, If I have spoken wrongly, in my answer to the high priest, bear witness to the wrong. That is, if your have reason to reproach me for what I have just said, show that I have spoken badly, because "Only on the evidence of two witnesses, or of three witnesses, shall a charge be sustained" (Deut 19:18). But if I have spoken rightly, if you cannot show I have spoken badly, why do you strike me? Why flare up against me?

Or, this reply of Christ could be referred to what he had said before this time: "Ask those who have heard me, what I said to them" (v 21). Then the meaning is: If I have spoken badly, in the synagogue and in the temple, which I should not have done, bear witness to the wrong, report what I have said to the high priest. But the officer was unable to do his. But if I have spoken rightly, that is, taught rightly, Why do you strike me? In other words: This is unjust: "Is evil a recompense for good? Yet they have dug a pit for my life" (Jer 18:20).

2321 A difficulty arises here for in Matthew our Lord commanded his disciples, "If anyone strikes you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also" (Mt 5:39). And we also read about Christ that "Jesus began to do and teach" (Acts 1:1). So, Christ ought to have done himself what he had taught others to do. But he did not do this. Indeed, he did the contrary and defended himself.

I say to this, with Augustine, that the statements and commands found in sacred scripture can be interpreted and understood from the actions of the saints, since it is the same Holy Spirit who inspired the prophets and the other sacred authors and who inspires the actions of the saints. As we read: "Moved by the Holy Spirit holy men of God spoke" (2 Pet 1:21); and "For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God" (Rom 8:14). Thus, sacred scripture should be understood according to the way Christ and other holy persons followed it. Now, Christ did not turn his other cheek here; and Paul did not do so either (Acts 16:22). Accordingly, we should not think that Christ has commanded us to actually turn our physical cheek to one who has struck the other. We should understand it to mean that we should be ready to do this if it turned out to be necessary to do so. That is, our attitude should be such that we would not be inwardly stirred up against the one striking us, but be ready or disposed to endure the same or even more. This is how out Lord observed it, for he offered his body to be killed.[13] So, our Lord's defense is useful for our instruction.

2322 Now there is mention that he was sent from one high priest to the other. First, it is mentioned that Jesus was sent to the other high priest; secondly, the narration of Peter's denial is completed (v 25).

2323 He says, Annas then sent him bound to Caiaphas the high priest, to whom he was originally being led. We saw before why he had been first brought to Annas. Note the wickedness of Annas: although he ought to have released Christ, since he was without fault, he yet sent him tied to Caiaphas.

2324 Now the second and third denials of Peter are presented: first, the circumstances of the denials; secondly, the two denials; and thirdly, the fulfillment of Christ's prediction (v 27).

2325 The circumstance of Peter's second denial was his staying with the officers of the high priest who were standing near the fire. Chrysostom says that although Christ was on his way to Caiaphas, Peter still remained with the officers [by the fire]. Peter had become so preoccupied with his sin after his denial that he, who before was so ardent, now seemed not to care what happened to Christ: "No man repents of his wickedness, saying, 'What have I done?'" (Jer 8:6). For Chrysostom, Simon Peter was still standing and warming himself, although Christ had already left, unmindful of the saying: "Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the wicked" (Ps 1:1).[14]

But this interpretation is not acceptable because it would follow that Peter's second and third denials were made in the absence of Christ. This is contrary to Luke (22:61), who says that after the third denial of Peter, our Lord turned and looked at him. For this reason Augustine explains it another way and says that the Evangelist is giving a general view in his own way to show the connection and order of the denials. The Evangelist had said above that "the servants and officers had made a charcoal fire, because it was cold, and they were standing and warming themselves; Peter also was with them, standing and warming himself" (v 18). The Evangelist then interposes the examination of Christ by the high priest (v 19‑23), and immediately returns to continue the series of Peter's denials, using practically the same words as before, "Now Simon Peter was standing and warming himself" (v 25), that is, referring to the time before Christ was sent to Caiaphas.

2326 Then the Evangelist mentions the next two denials of Peter (v 25). Two things are stated about each: the circumstance of the denial, that is, the question, and the denial itself. There are two questions about the literal meaning. When Matthew speaks of the second denial, he says, "And when he went out to the porch, another maid saw him, and she said to the bystanders, 'This man was with Jesus of Nazareth.' And again he denied it with an oath" (Mt 26:71‑2). There seems to be two disagreements here. John says that Peter denied Christ by the fire (v 25), and Matthew says this happened as Peter was going out to the porch. Again, in Matthew, Peter is questioned by another maid, but John has him questioned by others, that is, a number of others, for he says, They said to him, Are not you also one of his disciples? (v 25). Luke also says that Christ was questioned by one person, "And after an interval of about an hour still another insisted, saying, 'Certainly this man also was with him'" (Lk 22:59). [This is the third denial in Luke, and his second denial is also instigated by one person, Lk 22:58].

We should say to these points that after Peter first denied Christ, he then got up and as he was going out to the porch another maid questioned him. Or, this maid told others that Peter was one of them, as Matthew says (Mt 26:71). Thus Peter denied Christ a second time. After this Peter returned so as to avoid seeming to be a follower of Christ and sat with the others. As he was sitting there, bystanders, who had heard it from the maid, questioned him again, as Matthew says (Mt 26:73). Or, one of the servants asked first, as John has here (v 26) and then other bystanders joined in. This was Peter's third denial.

About this third denial, John says, One of the servants of the high priest, a kinsman of the man whose ear Peter had cut off. This person testified to what he had seen, Did I not see you in the garden with him? And so after an interval of an hour Peter again denied it, the third time.

It is not important if other Evangelists say that the third question was asked by several persons, while John has it asked by one. For it is possible that this man, being more certain, asked first, and that incited the others to ask also. Those who were standing about said many things about this matter, and one Evangelist speaks of one of these, and another of something else. This happened because their main intention was not to note these details, but to show the statement Peter made and to show that what our Lord had said to Peter came true. Accordingly, all agree on what Peter said: "What the Lord speaks, that will I speak" (Num 24:13).

2327 Now he mentions the sign given by Christ which Peter recalled. And at once the cock crowed, moved by God's power, so that the prediction of the physician would be fulfilled and to demonstrate the presumption of the one who was sick.


28 Then they led Jesus from the house of Caiaphas to the praetorium [to Caiaphas, to the praetorium]. It was early. They themselves did not enter the praetorium, so that they might not be defiled, but might eat the passover. 29 So Pilate went out to them and said, "What accusation do you bring against this man?" 30 They answered him, "If this man were not an evildoer, we would not have handed him over." 31 Pilate said to them, "Take him yourselves and judge him by your own law." The Jews said to him, "It is not lawful for us to put any man to death." 32 This was to fulfill the word which Jesus had spoken to show by what death he was to die.

2328 Now the Evangelist tells about Christ's being handed over to the Gentiles: first, we see him delivered to the governor; secondly, Christ is examined by him (v 29); thirdly, the governor declares that Christ is innocent (v 38b). He does three things about the first: the place where Christ was delivered is stated; secondly, the time; thirdly, the way he was handed over.

2329 The place was the praetorium, for he says, They led Jesus to Caiaphas, to the praetorium. This is the place where judgment is given. In the army the commander's tent was known as the praetorium; and so this residence of the governor was also called a praetorium.

But how can Christ be led to Caiaphas, to the praetorium? One could say that Caiaphas had come ahead to the residence of Pilate to tell him that Jesus would be handed over to him. And so Jesus was led to Caiaphas when he was in the praetorium with Pilate. Or, one could say that since Caiaphas was the high priest, he had a large dwelling, so large that the governor lived there and made it his residence. Then the meaning is: they led Jesus to Caiaphas, to his residence, and so to the praetorium.

Or, one could say that the Greek text is better, which says, Then they led Jesus from Caiaphas to the praetorium. This takes away the problem.

2330 The time is mentioned, It was early, for their villainy was so great that they could hardly wait to turn him over to Pilate to be killed: "Woe to those who devise wickedness and work evil upon their beds! When the morning dawns, they perform it" (Mic 2:1); "The murderer rises at the light" (Job 24:14).

Here we find a difficult problem. The other three Evangelists say that early in the evening Christ was struck at the residence of Caiaphas, and questioned by him: "If you are the Christ, tell us" (Luke 22:67), and in the morning Christ was led to Pilate. But John says that he was led to Caiaphas. If we want to keep to the letter of the text, we could say that Caiaphas first saw Jesus when he was at the house of Annas, during the night, and at that time Christ could be examined by him.

But there still remains the difficulty that they say that Christ was struck at the residence of Caiaphas. This is solved by the Greek text which says that "they led Jesus from Caiaphas to the praetorium," because then during the night he was led from the residence of Annas to the residence of Caiaphas, where he was struck and examined by him, and in the morning he was led from Caiaphas to the praetorium.

2331 They themselves did not enter the praetorium, so that they might not be defiled, but might eat the passover. Here we see, first, their useless superstition, because they would not go into the praetorium. Secondly, we see the deference Pilate paid them, since he went out to meet them. A problem arises about the first point: that they would not enter the praetorium so as not to be defiled. The other Evangelists say that Christ was seized in the evening, on the day of the supper; and this would be the passover meal: "I have earnestly desired to eat this passover with you" (Lk 22:15). And then in the morning of the next day he was brought to the praetorium. Why then do we read so that they might eat the passover, since it was the day after the passover? Some of the modem Greeks say that we are now on the fourteenth lunar day of the month, and that Christ was crucified on the day the Jews celebrated the passover, but that Christ anticipated the passover by one day, since he knew he would be killed on the day of the Jewish passover. Thus, he celebrated the passover on the thirteenth lunar day, in the evening. And since the law commanded that the Jews should not have leavened bread from the fourteenth day of the first month to the twenty‑first day, they say that Christ consecrated leavened bread.

2332 This is not acceptable for two reasons. First, the Old Testament has no instance where anyone was permitted to anticipate the celebration of the passover. But if one was prevented, he could postpone it to the next month: "If any man of you or of your descendants is unclean ... he shall still keep the passover to the Lord. In the second month on the fourteenth day in the evening they shall keep it "(Num 9:10). And since Christ never omitted any observance of the law, it is not true to say that he anticipated the passover. Secondly, Mark (14:12) states explicitly that Christ came on the first day of Unleavened Bread, when they sacrificed the passover lamb; and Matthew says that "on the first day of Unleavened Bread the disciples came to Jesus saying, 'Where will you have us prepare for you to eat the passover?'" (Mt 26:17). So, we should not say that Christ anticipated the passover.

2333 Accordingly, Chrysostom explains this another way.[15] He said that Christ fulfilled the law in all matters and did observe the passover on the proper day, that is, the fourteenth day, in the evening. But the Jews were so intent on killing Christ that they did not observe it on the proper day, but on the day following, the fifteenth. Thus the sense is: so that they might not be defiled, but might eat the passover which they had neglected the day before.

This is not acceptable either, for in Numbers (9:10) it is said that if anyone is prevented from eating the passover on the fourteenth day of the first month, he is to eat it, not on the following day, but on the fourteenth day of the second month.

2334 Therefore we should say with Jerome, Augustine and other Latin Fathers, that the fourteenth day is the beginning of the feast; but the passover refers not just to that evening, but to the entire time of the seven days during which they ate unleavened bread, which was to be eaten by those who were clean.[16] And because the Jews would have contracted uncleanness by entering the residence of a foreign judge, they did not enter so that they might not be defiled, but might eat the passover, that is, the unleavened bread.

See their wicked blindness, for they feared becoming defiled from a gentile man, but did not fear to shed the blood of a God and a man, "Those who laid you waste go forth from you" (Is 49:17).

2335 Now we see the deference Pilate showed them when he says, So Pilate went out to them, to take Christ, whom they were offering, and said, What accusation do you bring against this man? In this examination of Christ, we see first, how Christ is examined before his accusers by Pilate; secondly, how Christ is examined by Pilate in private (v 33). Concerning the first he does two things: first, we have Pilate's questioning; secondly, his generous concession to the Jews, Take him yourselves.

2336 Concerning the first, we have the examination by Pilate, and then the malicious reply of the Jews. When Pilate saw Jesus bound and brought by so may seeking his condemnation, he said, What accusation do you bring against this man? Their reply was, If this man were not an evildoer, we would not have handed him over. They are saying here: We have already examined and condemned him, and are now handing him over to you to be punished. They were regarding their own judgment as sufficient for Pilate. Yet they were not speaking truly when they said he was an evildoer, for "He went about doing good and healing all that were oppressed by the devil" (Acts 10:38). They were acting like the Psalm says, "They requite me evil for good" (Ps 35:12).

2337 Luke is different, for he says that the Jews accused Christ of many crimes: "He stirs up the people, teaching throughout all Judea, from Galilee even to this place" (Lk 23:5). I reply that, as Augustine says, the Jews said many things to Pilate at that time, and it could be that they first said what John reports, and then said what Luke tells us.[17]

2338 The Evangelist now mentions Pilate's generous concession (v 31): first, we see this concession; secondly, the Jews refuse it; and thirdly, we see the reason for their refusal (v 32).

2339 Pilate said, Take him yourselves, intending to do them a favor. Festus did the same to Paul: "But Festus, wishing to do the Jews a favor, said to Paul, 'Do you wish to go up to Jerusalem, and there be tried on these charges before me?'" (Acts 25:9). Or, this could be said as a taunting remark: for they had already examined and condemned Christ, and Pilate wanted those who had condemned Christ as an evildoer to pass the sentence, because "It was not the custom of the Romans to give up any one before the accused met the accusers face to face, and had opportunity to make his defense concerning the charge laid against him" (Acts 25:16). So the meaning is then: You want my judgment, but Take him yourselves and judge him by your own law, for I will never be that kind of a judge.

2340 The refusal of the Jews is mentioned when he says, The Jews said to him, It is not lawful for us to put any man to death. This seems not to agree with Exodus [22:18]: "You will not permit a sorcerer to live." And they regarded Jesus as a sorcerer.

According to Augustine the meaning is, It is not lawful for us to put any man to death on a feast day, but it is lawful on other days.[18] Or, according to Chrysostom, the Jews had lost much of their power: for they could not pass judgment on a crime against the state.[19] But here they intended to condemn Christ especially for matters against the state: "Everyone who makes himself a king sets himself against Caesar" (19:12). This is why they said, It is not lawful for us to put any man to death, for crimes against the state, although we can do this for some sins against the law, for this kind of judgment was reserved to them. Or, it could be said that some things are not lawful either because they are prohibited by divine law ‑ and they were not prohibited from doing this by divine law ‑ or because they are forbidden by human law ‑ and in this way it was not lawful for them to put anyone to death, for such power was now in the hands of the governor.

2341 There is another question: How then could they have stoned Stephen (Acts 7:58)? Chrysostom answers this by saying that the Romans allowed the Jews to make use of their own laws, and because the punishment of stoning was part of their law, the Romans allowed them to do this.[20] But in the law death on the cross was abhorred: "A hanged [on a tree] man is accursed by God" (Deut 21:23). And so they did not use this kind of death. The Jews, in their malice, were not satisfied just to stone Christ, they wanted to condemn him to the most disgraceful of deaths, as we see from Wisdom (2:20). Thus they now say, It is not lawful for us to put any man to death, meaning the death on the cross. Or, one could say that Stephen was stoned during a change of governors, when many laws were violated.

2342 The Evangelist gives the reason the Jews refused when he says, This was to fulfill the word which Jesus had spoken to show by what death he was to die. The words this was to fulfill do not indicate the intention the Jews had, but the arrangement of God's providence. For Jesus had said (Mt 20:19) that it was by the Gentiles that he would be crucified and killed, but that he would be handed over to them by the Jews. So, in order that this be accomplished, the Jews were unwilling to judge and kill him themselves.


33 Pilate entered the praetorium again and called Jesus, and said to him, "Are you the King of the Jews?" 34 Jesus answered, "Do you say this of your own accord, or did others say it to you about me?" 35 Pilate answered, "Am I a Jew? Your own nation and the chief priests have handed you over to me; what have you done?" 36 Jesus answered, "My kingship [kingdom] is not of this world; if my kingship [kingdom] were of this world, my [ministers] servants would fight, that I might not be handed over to the Jews; but my kingship [kingdom] is not from the world." 37 Pilate said to him, "So you are a king?" Jesus answered, "You say that I am a king. For this I was born, and for this I have come into the world, to bear witness to the truth. Every one who is of the truth hears my voice." 38 Pilate said to him, "What is truth?" After he had said this, he went out to the Jews again, and told them, "I find no crime in him. 39 But you have a custom that I should release one man for you at the Passover; will you have me release for you the King of the Jews?" 40 They cried out again, "Not this man, but Barabbas!" Now Barabbas was a robber.[21]

2343 Above, the Evangelist told how Pilate examined Christ before those who accused him; here he describes how Pilate questioned him in private. First, the Evangelist gives Pilate's question; then, the answer of Jesus (v 34). In regard to the first he does two things: first, we have Pilate's question; secondly, we see Christ asking the reason for the question, Do you say this of your own accord?

2344 In regard to the first, note that Pilate, as a just judge, and as one proceeding cautiously, did not immediately agree with the accusation of the high priest, "You shall not follow a multitude to do evil; nor shall you bear witness in a suit, turning aside after a multitude, so as to pervert justice" (Ex 23:2). Rather, Pilate entered the praetorium again and called Jesus aside, because he had serious doubts about him. So he called Christ over to examine the case more closely and to allow Christ to answer in more peace and away from the shouts of the Jews: "I searched out the cause of him whom I did not know" (Job 29:16).

2345 Then Pilate said to him, Are you the King of the Jews? This shows, as Luke says (Lk 23:2), that the Jews were accusing Christ of this crime, although John says only that "If this man were not an evildoer, we would not have handed him over" (18:30), and may other crimes were laid on him. But the charge about his being a king touched the heart of Pilate most, and that is why he questioned him only about this: "For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks" (Mt 12:34).

2346 Then (v 34), Jesus is seen questioning his examiner: first, we have Christ's question; then Pilate's answer, Am I a Jew?

2347 The Evangelist says, Jesus answered, asking a question in return, Do you say this of your own accord or did others say it to you about me? There are two reasons why someone asks a question. Sometimes it is to find out something that the questioner does not know; as when a student questions his teacher. Sometimes one asks a question about things he already knows in order to learn what answer will be given; as when a teacher questions his student. Now our Lord knew both what he asked about, and what answer would be given, and thus he was not asking out of ignorance, "All are open and laid bear to the eyes of him with whom we have to do" (Heb 4:13). Rather, he asked so that we might know what the Jews and Gentiles thought, and at the same time be taught about that kingdom.

2348 Pilate answered, Am I a Jew? Why did he answer this way? Because our Lord had asked him whether he said this on his own. Pilate showed by this that it was not his concern to inquire if Christ was the King of the Jews; it was rather the affair of the Jews, whose King he said he was. By giving this answer Pilate showed that it was others who had told him that Christ was the King of the Jews. Accordingly he says, Your own nation and the chief priests have handed you over to me, by bringing this charge against you. He says, your own nation, because, considering his human nature, Christ was born a Jew: "For I hear many whispering. Terror is on every side. 'Denounce him! Let us denounce him!' say all my familiar friends" (Jer 20:10); "A man's enemies are the men of his own house" (Mic 7:6). And we read chief priests, because the greater their power the greater their crime: "And in this faithlessness the hand of the officials and chief men has been foremost" (Ezra 9:2); "I will go to the great, and will speak to them; for they know the way of the Lord, the law of their God. But they all alike had broken the yoke, they had burst the bonds" (Jer 5:5). If they have handed you over to me, What have you done? It's unbelievable that they would have handed you over to me except for some serious matter.

2349 Now Christ's answer is given: and first, the mistaken impression about his kingdom is corrected; secondly, the truth is established (37b). As to the first he does two things: the mistaken impression is corrected; and a sign is given as proof, if my kingdom were of this world....

2350 The false idea of Christ's kingdom is rejected by his saying, My kingdom is not of this world. The Manicheans misunderstood this, and said that there were two gods and two kingdoms; there was a good god, who had his kingdom in a region of light, and an evil god, who had his kingdom in a region of darkness, and this darkness was this world, because all material things, they said, were darkness. The meaning would then be, My kingdom is not of this world, that is, God, the Father, who is good, and I, do not have our kingdom in this region of darkness.

But this is contrary to, "God is the king of all the earth" (Ps 47:7); and again, "Whatever the Lord pleases he does, in heaven and on earth" (Ps 134:6). Thus we should say that Christ said this for the sake of Pilate, who believed that Christ was claiming an earthly kingdom in which he would reign in the physical way that those of earth do, and so should be punished by death for trying to reign unlawfully.

2351 Sometimes the word kingdom means the people who reign, and sometimes the authority to reign. Taking the word in its first sense, Augustine says, My kingdom, that is, my faithful ‑ you "have made them a kingdom ... to our Lord" (Rev 5:10) ‑ is not of this world.[22] He does not say they are not "in the world" (17:11), but that they are not of this world, because of what they love and imitate, since they have been wrested from it by grace. For this is how God has delivered us from the power of darkness and has brought us into the kingdom of his love.

Chrysostom explains this sentence by taking kingdom in the second sense, and says, My kingdom, that is, the power and authority which makes me a king, is not of this world, that is, does not have its origin in earthly causes and human choice, but from another source, from the Father: "His dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away" (Dan 7:14).[23]

2352 Here he shows by clear signs that his kingdom is not of this world: first, a sign is given; secondly, the conclusion is drawn (v 36).

2353 In regard to the first, note that one who has an earthly kingdom, whether by right or by force, needs associates and ministers to keep him in power: the reason being that he is powerful through his ministers, not all by himself: "There was a long war between the house of Saul and the house of David; and David grew stronger and stronger, while the house of Saul became weaker and weaker" (2 Sam 3:1). But the heavenly king, because he is powerful by himself, gives power to his servants; and consequently he does not need ministers for his kingdom. And thus Christ says that his kingdom is not of this world, because if my kingdom were of this world, my ministers would fight, that I might not be handed over to the Jews. When Peter started to fight for Christ (18:10), he forgot that he was not of this world. Still, our Lord did have some ministers, the angels, who could have rescued him from the hands of the Jews, but he chose not to be rescued: "Do you think that I cannot appeal to my Father, and he will at once send me more than twelve legions of angels?" (Mt 26:53).

2354 But my kingdom is not from the world, that is, because Christ does not need such ministers, he concludes that his kingdom is not from the world, that is, does not have its source from this world. And yet it is here, because it is everywhere: "She [Wisdom] reaches mightily from one end of the earth to the other, and she orders all things well" (Wis 8:1); "Ask of me, and I will make the nations your heritage, and the ends of the earth your possession" (Ps 2:8); "And to him was given dominion and glory and kingdom, that all peoples, nations and languages should serve him" (Dan 7:14).

2355 Now our Lord reveals the truth about his kingdom: first, we see the circumstances for this; secondly, the revelation itself; and thirdly, the effect this revelation had, What is truth?

2356 In respect to the first, note that Pilate understood our Lord's statements to mean that he did have a physical kingdom, but far away: "The unspiritual man does not receive the gifts of the Spirit of God ... and he is not able to understand them" (1 Cor 2:14). Accordingly he was in a hurry to know the truth, and so said, So you are a king?, you also?

2357 When he answers, You say that I am a king, Christ first says that he is a king; secondly, he shows the nature of his kingdom (v 37); thirdly, he mentions those over whom he reigns, Every one who is of the truth.

2358 With regard to the first, note that our Lord's answer about his kingship was so worded that he neither seemed to be clearly asserting that he was a king ‑ since he was not a king in the sense in which Pilate understood it ‑ nor denying it ‑ since spiritually he was the King of Kings.

He says, You say that I am a king, in the physical sense in which I am not a king; but in another way I am a king, "Behold a king will reign in righteousness, and princes will rule in justice" (Is 32:1).

2359 He shows the character and nature of his kingdom when he says, For this I was born, and for this I have come into the world, to bear witness to the truth. This is explained in two ways.

In one way by Augustine, so that the kingdom of Christ is his faithful, as was said above. Thus, Christ reigns over his faithful; and he came into the world to gather his faithful to himself and establish a kingdom: "A nobleman went into a far country to receive a kingdom" [Lk 19:12]. The meaning then is this: For this I was born, that is, for this purpose I was born in the flesh. He explains this saying, and for this I have come into the world, by physical birth ‑ for this is the way he came into the world, "God sent his Son into the world" [Gal 4:4] ‑ to bear witness to the truth, that is, to myself, who am the truth, "Even if I do bear witness to myself, my testimony is true" (8:14). And to the extent that I manifest myself, the Truth, to that extent I establish my kingdom. For this cannot be done without manifesting the truth, which can only be done fittingly by me, who am the light: "The only Son, who is in the bosom of the Father, he has made him known" (1:18); "It was declared at first by the Lord, and it was attested to us by those who heard him, while God also bore witness by signs and wonders and various miracles and by the gifts of the Holy Spirit" (Heb 2:3).

2360 Chrysostom explains it differently, this way.[24] You ask if I am a king, and I say that I am: but I am a king by divine power, because for this I was born, that is, born from the Father, by an eternal birth; just as I am God from God, so I am king from king: "I was appointed king" [Ps 2:6], and then follows, "Today I have begotten you" [v 7]. Then when he adds and for this I have come into the world, it is not to explain the previous words, but to refer to his birth in time. It is like saying: Although I am an eternal king, yet I have come into the world for this, to bear witness to the truth, that is, to myself, that I am a king from God the Father.

2361 Now he shows over whom he reigns. Before (10:11), he said that he was a shepherd and those under him were sheep; that is the same as what he is saying here, that he is a king and his subjects are the kingdom. This is so because a king is to his subjects as a shepherd to his sheep; and just as a shepherd feeds his sheep ‑ "Should not shepherds feed the sheep?" (Ez 34:2) ‑ so a king supports his subjects. He said in particular, "My sheep hear my voice" (10:27); accordingly, he also says here, every one who is of the truth hears my voice, not just outwardly, but with an interior belief and love, and carrying this out in action: "Every one who has heard and learned from the Father comes to me" (6:45). But why does a person hear my voice? Because such a one is of the truth, which is God.

2362 But since all of us are from God, all are of the truth and hear his voice. We can answer this by saying that all are from God by creation, and this is one way we are of God. But besides this, some are said to be of God because they love and imitate him. We read before, "You are not of God" (8:47), that is, considering your affections, but you are of God by creation. Every one hears my voice, with belief and love, who is of the truth, that is, who has accepted the duty of loving the truth.

2363 He does not say, "Every one who hears my voice is of the truth," because it would follow that we are of the truth because we believed. But actually, we believe because we are of the truth, that is, because we have received the gift of God which enables us to believe and love the truth: "By grace you have been saved through faith; and this is not your own doing, it is the gift of God" (Eph 2:8); "For it has been granted to you that for the sake of Christ you should not only believe in him but also suffer for his sake" (Phil 1:29).

2364 Now the Evangelist tells us the effect of Christ's answer. We can see from this that Pilate abandoned his idea that Christ had an earthly kingdom, and now thought of Christ as a king in the sense of one who teaches the truth. He desired to learn this truth and to become a member of this kingdom and so he said, What is truth? He was not asking for a definition of truth, but wanted to know that truth by whose power he could become a member of this kingdom. This indicates that truth was not known by the world and had vanished from almost everyone, as long as they remained unbelievers: "Truth has fallen in the public squares, and uprightness cannot enter" (Is 59:14); "Truth has decayed in the children of men" [Ps 12:1]. But Pilate did not wait for Christ's answer.

2365 Apropos of this question, note that we find two kinds of truth in the gospel. One is uncreated and making: this is Christ: "I am the way, and the truth, and the life" (14:6); the other truth is made, "Grace and truth came [were made] through Jesus Christ" (1:17).

By its nature truth implies a conformity between a reality and the intellect. The intellect is related in two ways to reality. An intellect can be related to things as a measure of these things; that would be the intellect which is the cause of these things. Another intellect is measured by things, this would be an intellect whose knowledge is caused by these things. Now truth is not in the divine intellect because the intellect is conformed to things, but because things are conformed to the divine intellect. While truth is in our intellect because it understands things, conforms to them, as they are. And so uncreated truth and the divine intellect is a truth which is not measured or made, but a truth which measures and makes two kinds of truth: one is in the things themselves, insofar as it makes them so they are in conformity with what they are in the divine intellect; and it makes the other truth in our souls, and this is a measured truth, not a measuring truth. Therefore, the uncreated truth of the divine intellect is appropriated, especially referred, to the Son, who is the very concept of the divine intellect and the Word of God. For truth is a consequence of the intellect's concept.[25]

2366 Now, (v 38) we see Pilate's finding in regard to Christ: first, Pilate states his innocence; secondly, we see his intention to show mercy (v 39).

2367 Concerning the first, note that Pilate, as Augustine says, was eager to free Christ.[26] When he had asked Christ, What is truth? he suddenly realized how he could free Christ by means of a custom which allowed him to release a prisoner at the time of the passover. And so, not waiting for an answer to his question, he decided to make use of this custom to do this. This is why the Evangelist says about Pilate, After he had said this.

Pilate heard the cries of the Jews, and thinking that he could calm them and then listen to Christ's answer to this difficult question under more tranquil conditions, went out to the Jews again, and declared Christ's innocence, I find no crime in him, that is, nothing deserving death: "He committed no sin" (1 Pet 2:22). But even if he did commit a crime, I, who have authority in these matters, and especially the authority to judge of matters against the state, I wish to free and release him.

2368 Accordingly he says, But you have a custom that I should release one man for you at the Passover. First, he offers to release Christ; secondly, the Evangelist gives the reply of the Jews.

2369 This practice was started by Pilate or some other Roman governor as a favor to the people. Wishing to free Christ using this custom Pilate said, Will you have me release for you the King of the Jews? He did not call him this as if this were a crime, but to heighten their malice. It was like saying: Even if he is the king of the Jews, which is not your role to judge, but mine, still, if you want me to, I will release him for you.

2370 The Jews cried out again, Not this man, but Barabbas! Then to indicate the malice of the Jews, the Evangelist mentions the crime committed by the one they wanted released, saying, Now Barabbas was a robber: "Your princes are rebels and companions of thieves" (Is 1:23). This fulfills the words of Jeremiah (12:8): "My heritage has become to me like a lion in the forest." "But you denied the Holy and Righteous One and asked for a murderer to be granted to you" (Acts 3:14).

[1] St. Thomas refers to Jn 18:6 in the Summa Theologiae: III, q. 44, a. 3, ad 1.

[2] Tract. in Io., 112, ch., 1, col 1930; cf. Catena Aurea, 18:1-2.

[3] In Ioannem hom., 82, ch. 1; PG 59, col. 447; cf. Catena Aurea, 18:1-2.

[4] Commentarium in Esaiam, 9; cf. Catena Aurea, 18:3-9.

[5] In Ioannem hom., 83, ch. 1; PG 59, col. 448; cf. Catena Aurea, 18:3-9.

[6] In Ioannem hom., 83, ch. 1; PG 59, col. 448; cf. Catena Aurea, 18:3-9.

[7] Tract. in Io., 112, ch. 4, col 1931; cf. Catena Aurea, 18:3-9.

[8] In Ioannem hom., 83, ch. 2; PG 59, col. 449; cf. Catena Aurea, 18:10-11.

[9] Interlinear (Theophyl); cf. Catena Aurea, 18:10-11.

[10] St. Thomas refers to Jn 18:20 in the Summa Theologiae: III, q. 42, a. 3, s. c.

[11] Tract. in Io., 113, ch. 2, col. 1933; cf. Catena Aurea, 18:-17.

[12] St. Thomas refers to Jn 18:23 in the Summa Theologiae: II-II, q. 72, a. 3.

[13] Tract. in Io., 113, ch. 4, col. 1934-5; cf. Catena Aurea, 18:22-24.

[14] In Ioannem hom., 83, ch. 3; PG 59, col. 451; cf. Catena Aurea, 18:25-27.

[15] Chrysostom-(This is NOT what Chrysostom says in In Ioannem hom, 83.3.452) Chrysostom says that the whole feast was called the Passover and that Christ died on the high day of the Feast, on which day the Passover was customarily/formerly celebrated.) This should probably be looked at by a better Latinist.

[16] Augustine, Tract. in Io., 114, ch. 1, col. 1936; cf. Catena Aurea, 18:28-32.

[17] De consensus evangelistarum, 3, ch. 8; PL 34; cf. Catena Aurea, 18:28-32.

[18] Tract. in Io., 114, ch. 4, col. 1937; cf. Catena Aurea, 18:28-32.

[19] In Ioannem hom., 83, ch. 4; PG 59, col. 452; cf. Catena Aurea, 18:28-32.

[20] Ibid.; cf. Catena Aurea, 18:28-32.

[21] St. Thomas refers to Jn 18:35 in the Summa Theologiae: III, q. 47, a. 3, obj. 3; q. 47, a. 6, ad 2; Jn 18:37: ST III, q. 3, a. 8, obj. 1; q. 12, a. 3; q. 35, a. 7, obj. 3; q. 40, a. 1.

[22] Tract. in Io., 115, ch. 1, col. 1938-9; cf. Catena Aurea, 18:33-38.

[23] In Ioannem hom., 83, ch. 4; PG 59, col. 453; cf. Catena Aurea, 18:33-38.

[24] In Ioannem hom., 83, ch. 4; PG 59, col. 453; cf. Catena Aurea, 18:33-38.

[25] Summa-truth.

[26] Tract. in Io., 115, ch. 5, col. 1941; cf. Catena Aurea, 18:38-40.