John 18:21
Why askest thou me? ask them which heard me, what I have said unto them: behold, they know what I said.
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(21) Why askest thou me?—Comp. John 5:31. The pronoun “Me” is not the emphatic word as it is generally taken to be. The stress is on the interrogative, “Why, for what purpose, dost thou ask Me? If you want witnesses, ask them which heard Me.”

Behold, they know what I said.—Better, behold, these know what I said. He pointed probably to some who were then present. In the next verse there is a reference to the “officers” who, as we know from John 7:32; John 7:46, had heard this doctrine.

18:13-27 Simon Peter denied his Master. The particulars have been noticed in the remarks on the other Gospels. The beginning of sin is as the letting forth of water. The sin of lying is a fruitful sin; one lie needs another to support it, and that another. If a call to expose ourselves to danger be clear, we may hope God will enable us to honour him; if it be not, we may fear that God will leave us to shame ourselves. They said nothing concerning the miracles of Jesus, by which he had done so much good, and which proved his doctrine. Thus the enemies of Christ, whilst they quarrel with his truth, wilfully shut their eyes against it. He appeals to those who heard him. The doctrine of Christ may safely appeal to all that know it, and those who judge in truth bear witness to it. Our resentment of injuries must never be passionate. He reasoned with the man that did him the injury, and so may we.Why askest thou me? Ask them ... - Jesus here insisted on his rights, and reproves the high priest for his unjust and illegal manner of extorting a confession from him. If he had done wrong, or taught erroneous and seditious doctrines, it was easy to prove it, and the course which he had a right to demand was that they should establish the charge by fair and incontrovertible evidence. We may here learn:

1. That, though Jesus was willing to be reviled and persecuted, yet he also insisted that justice should be done him.

2. He was conscious of innocence, and he had been so open in his conduct that he could appeal to the vast multitudes which had heard him as witnesses in his favor.

3. It is proper for us, when persecuted and reviled, meekly but firmly to insist on our rights, and to demand that justice shall be done us. Laws are made to protect the innocent as well as to condemn the guilty.

4. Christians, like their Saviour, should so live that they may confidently appeal to all who have known them as witnesses of the sincerity, purity, and rectitude of their lives, 1 Peter 4:13-16.

21. Why askest thou me? ask them which heard me … they know what I … said—This seems to imply that He saw the attempt to draw Him into self-crimination, and resented it by falling back upon the right of every accused party to have some charge laid against Him by competent witnesses. (Also see on [1897]Mr 14:54.) We are told by those that have written about the Jewish order in their courts of judgment, that their capital causes always began with the defensive part; and that it was lawful for any to speak for the defendants for a whole day together; (though they did not observe this in the cause of Christ); and their method was not to put the defendants to accuse themselves, but to examine witnesses against them. Our Saviour therefore appeals to their own order, and says,

Why askest thou me? It was, saith he, no secret action; I spake publicly, ask them that heard me speak; they know what doctrine I preached, and can accuse me if I delivered any false doctrine.

Why askest thou me?.... He seems surprised at the high priest's conduct, that he should put such questions to him, who stood bound before him; was brought there as a criminal, and was the defendant, and not obliged to accuse himself; nor could it be thought, that whatever evidence or testimony he should give, would have much weight with the persons before whom he stood.

Ask them which heard me, what I said unto them; he appeals to his hearers, many of whom were then present; and these his enemies, even his worst enemies, so clear was his case, so free was his doctrine from sedition and blasphemy, so innocent was he in the whole of his deportment and conduct, that he even submits to have his case issued and determined by what his hearers should say of him; and these not his friends, but his enemies; see Isaiah 50:8;

behold, they, or these,

know what I have said; pointing at some persons present, perhaps the very officers who had been sent to take him before, but returned without him, declaring that never man spake like him.

Why askest thou me? ask them which heard me, what I have said unto them: behold, they know what I said.
John 18:21. “Why do you interrogate me? Ask those who have heard, what I said to them.” Similarly Socrates appeals to his disciples. The οὗτοι might be construed as if Jesus looked towards some who were present.

21. which heard] Better, who have heard; and ‘I have said’ should again be I spake.

they know] Or, these know, as if implying that they were present and ought to be examined. According to Jewish rule witnesses for the defence were heard first. ‘These’ cannot refer to S. Peter and S. John. S. Peter is still outside by the fire.

John 18:21. Τί με) Why ask Me, whom thou dost not believe? [It was suitable neither to the time nor to the place, for Him to set forth the particular dogmas of faith.—V. g.]—τί) This second τί depends on ἐρώτησον, ask.—οὗτοι, these) He points to the multitude then present, even these (here) know.

Verse 21. - Why askest thou me? If thou wantest evidence touching my design, my disciples, or my teaching, ask, interrogate, those who have heard me, what I have said to them. Lo, these (pointing to numbers in the angry crowd around him) know what I spake unto them (the ἐγώ at the end of this sentence is very emphatic). Christ thus rebukes the craftiness and hypocritical endeavor of his enemies to induce him to inculpate his disciples, or to give his prosecutors matter against him. To false witnesses he preserved an invincible silence, and before Caiaphas and Pilate he answered to many of their queries not a single word, insomuch that these governors marveled greatly. However, the case was altered when Caiaphas, in full Sanhedrin, officially challenged him to say whether he was the Christ, and adjured him to declare whether he was the Son of God. Then, on the most public scale, knowing well the issues of his declaration, and of his oath-bound word, he did not hesitate to confess that he was the Son of God, and would come in the glory of his Father, and that he was no less than the Christ of God. On the present occasion, when Annas was seeking to justify his own craft, and to utilize the disgraceful betrayal which he had diplomatically and cruelly contrived, Jesus refused to incriminate either himself or his disciples. Renan has the temerity to say that this great announcement was quite superfluous, and probably was never made. Any conclusion whatever may be derived from historical documents, if such liberties may be taken with impunity. John 18:21
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