METAPHYSICAL INTERPRETATION OF JOHN CHAPTER 18
18:1When Jesus had spoken these words, he went forth with his disciples over the brook Kidron, where was a garden, into which he entered, himself and his disciples. 18:2Now Judas also, who betrayed him, knew the place: for Jesus oft-times resorted thither with his disciples.18:3Judas then, having received the band of soldiers, and officers from the chief priests and the Pharisees, cometh thither with lanterns and torches and weapons.
THE NAME KIDRON means "turbid stream." Kidron represents the current of confused thoughts that sometimes pour in upon us when we try to go into the silence. The "garden" locates the current in the world of universal thought. But this is a small matter compared with the activity of the great personal self in the subjective consciousness, Judas, who "knew the place," and took advantage of its darkness to capture the I AM. He came with a "band" (combative thoughts) and "officers from the chief priests and the Pharisees" (the idea of priestly authority and religious guidance from the standpoint of the letter), bearing "lanterns and torches and weapons" (light of the intellect, the torch of reason, and the force of circumstances).
Judas, representing the life principle, at this phase of overcoming is not fully redeemed from carnal thoughts and desires.
When Jesus went "over the brook Kidron" and entered the garden of Gethsemane, He passed in His own consciousness from the without to the within.
18:4Jesus therefore, knowing all the things that were coming upon him, went forth, and saith unto them, Whom seek ye? 18:5They answered him, Jesus of Nazareth. Jesus saith unto them, I am he. And Judas also, who betrayed him, was standing with them. 18:6When therefore he said unto them, I am he, they went backward, and fell to the ground. 18:7Again therefore he asked them, Whom seek ye? And they said, Jesus of Nazareth. 18:8Jesus answered, I told you that I am he; if therefore ye seek me, let these go their way: 18:9that the word might be fulfilled which he spake, Of those whom thou hast given me I lost not one. 18:10Simon Peter therefore having a sword drew it, and struck the high priest's servant, and cut off his right ear. Now the servant's name was Malchus. 18:11Jesus therefore said unto Peter, Put up the sword into the sheath: the cup which the Father hath given me, shall I not drink it?
For the moment the personal will (the officers and soldiers, the executors of man-made laws) is here overcome. The second question is of the personality and milder. Jesus realizes that the time has come for Him to prove that the principles of almighty God are invulnerable and must stand. The I AM faced the condition unafraid (Jesus representing the I AM, answered, "I am he").
Your faith in the righteousness of your cause (Peter) may lead you to combat the ruling religious thoughts, and in your impetuosity you resent their counsel (Malchus, counselor) and deny their capacity to receive Truth (cut off the right ear); but good judgment and a broad comprehension of the
divine overcoming through which you are passing will cause you to adopt pacific means. "Put up the sword into the sheath."
"The cup which the Father hath given me" is the consciousness of eternal life. This must be attained by a crucifixion, an utter "crossing out," of the personal self, both on its objective and subjective planes of volition; hence "they led him to Annas" that other processes of the divine law might be carried out.
18:12So the band and the chief captain, and the officers of the Jews, seized Jesus and bound him, 18:13and led him to Annas first; for he was father in law to Caiaphas, who was high priest that year. 18:14Now Caiaphas was he that gave counsel to the Jews, that it was expedient that one man should die for the people.
"The band and the chief captain, and the officers of the Jews" are found in the intellectual realm, and it is before this tribunal that the Christ appears, to be tested and tried. Annas was a leading factor in the persecutions at the time of the ministry and crucifixion of Jesus. He represents intellectual opposition to spiritual Truth. His son-in-law Caiaphas, the high priest, represents a ruling religious thought force that is also entirely intellectual. He belongs to the religious world of forms and ceremonies, the "letter" of the word. The ruthlessness of these men shows how a merely formal religion will persecute and attempt to kill the inner Christ Spirit and all that pertains to it.
18:15And Simon Peter followed Jesus, and so did another disciple. Now that disciple was known unto the high priest, and entered in with Jesus into the court of the high priest;18:16but Peter was standing at the door without. So the other disciple, who was known unto the high priest, went out and spake unto her that kept the door, and brought in Peter. 18:17The maid therefore that kept the door saith unto Peter, Art thou also one of this man's disciples? He saith, I am not. 18:18Now the servants and the officers were standing there, having made a fire of coals; for it was cold; and they were warming themselves: and Peter also was with them, standing and warming himself.
Simon Peter followed Jesus, and so did another apostle. Simon Peter (symbolizing the faculty of faith) and the "other disciple" (John, symbolizing love) always sustain and support the I AM man in every trial.
18:19The high priest therefore asked Jesus of his disciples, and of his teaching. 18:20Jesus answered him, I have spoken openly to the world; I ever taught in synagogues, and in the temple, where all the Jews come together; and in secret spake I nothing.18:21Why askest thou me? Ask them that have heard me, what I spake unto them: behold, these know the things which I said. 18:22And when he had said this, one of the officers standing by struck Jesus with his hand, saying, Answerest thou the high priest so? 18:23Jesus answered him, If I have spoken evil, bear witness of the evil: but if well, why smitest thou me?18:24Annas therefore sent him bound unto Caiaphas the high priest.
18:25Now Simon Peter was standing and warming himself. They said therefore unto him, Art thou also one of his disciples? He denied, and said, I am not. 18:26One of the servants of the high priest, being a kinsman of him whose ear Peter cut off, saith, Did not I see thee in the garden with him? 18:27Peter therefore denied again: and straightway the cock crew.
The high priest who questioned Jesus symbolizes a form of religious thoughts in man that follows the set rule of the letter of the law with little or no thought of its inner spiritual importance. Jesus (here representing the Christ) sets forth the Truth in plain, concise language, which however has no significance for the person functioning on the natural-religious plane of existence.
18:28They lead Jesus therefore from Caiaphas into the Praetorium: and it was early; and they themselves entered not into the Praetorium, that they might not be defiled, but might eat the passover. 18:29Pilate therefore went out unto them, and saith, What accusation bring ye against this man? 18:30They answered and said unto him, If this man were not an evildoer, we should not have delivered him up unto thee. 18:31Pilate therefore said unto them, Take him yourselves, and judge him according to your law. The Jews said unto him, It is not lawful for us to put any man to death: 18:32that the word of Jesus might be fulfilled, which he spake, signifying by what manner of death he should die.
The Praetorium symbolizes a state of despotism, where force and cruelty and tyranny exist. The Jews, symbolizing intellectual spirituality, would because of their religious traditions turn the Jesus over to barbarians to be crucified.
The Jewish priesthood taught persecution as the unavoidable heritage of their race; even Jesus told His followers that they would suffer persecution when they taught His doctrine. At the age of thirteen a Jewish boy is considered a man ready to meet "persecution" and receives the blessing of the rabbi. Although it is true that the spiritual mind and the mortal are at war, metaphysicians see that the persecution of the Jews in every land is the result of the affirmation of the law of persecution by those with the power of the word. "Every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof."
18:33Pilate therefore entered again into the Praetorium, and called Jesus, and said unto him, Art thou the King of the Jews? 18:34Jesus answered, Sayest thou this of thyself, or did others tell it thee concerning me? 18:35Pilate answered, Am I a Jew? Thine own nation and the chief priests delivered thee unto me: what hast thou done? 18:36Jesus answered, My kingdom is not of this world: if my kingdom were of this world, then would my servants fight, that I should not be delivered to the Jews: but now is my kingdom not from hence. 18:37Pilate therefore said unto him, Art thou a king then? Jesus answered, Thou sayest that I am a king. To this end have I been born, and to this end am I come into the world, that I should bear witness unto the truth. Every one that is of the truth heareth my voice. 18:38Pilate saith unto him, What is truth?
And when he had said this, he went out again unto the Jews, and saith unto them, I find no crime in him. 18:39But ye have a custom, that I should release unto you one at the passover: will ye therefore that I release unto you the King of the Jews? 18:40They cried out therefore again, saying, Not this man, but Barabbas. Now Barabbas was a robber.)
The Jews and the high priests and the officers who represent intellectual religious thought forces continued to work for Jesus' execution because they realized within their hearts that He was indeed a King, and they feared His spiritual power. The point to be considered by every follower of Jesus is His continued assertion that He is a King, right in the face of the desertion of His subjects and His imminent death; "a king! aye, a king! and every inch a king."
Barabbas was a prisoner charged with insurrection and murder. He was held at Jerusalem, and the Jews demanded that he be released instead of Jesus.
Metaphysically Barabbas represents the adverse consciousness (rebellion and hatred) to which man gives himself when he allows himself to oppose the Christ. Man gives free rein to this adverse consciousness when he would destroy the Christ or true spiritual I AM in himself, since it is through the Christ alone that an overcoming can be gained over the Adversary. This adverse state of thought (Barabbas) is of its father the Devil.