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John 18:15

Context
Peter’s First Denial

18:15 Simon Peter and another disciple followed them as they brought Jesus to Annas. 1  (Now the other disciple 2  was acquainted with the high priest, and he went with Jesus into the high priest’s courtyard.) 3 

1 tn The words “them as they brought Jesus to Annas” are not in the Greek text, but are supplied to clarify who Peter and the other disciple were following. Direct objects were often omitted in Greek when clear from the context.

2 tn Grk “that disciple.”

sn Many have associated this unnamed other disciple with the beloved disciple, that is, John son of Zebedee, mainly because the phrase the other disciple which occurs here is also used to describe the beloved disciple in John 20:2, 3, 4, and 8. Peter is also closely associated with the beloved disciple in 13:23-26, 20:2-10, 21:7, and 21:20-23. But other identifications have also been proposed, chiefly because v. 16 states that this disciple who was accompanied by Peter was known to the high priest. As C. K. Barrett (St. John, 525) points out, the term γνωστός (gnwstos) is used in the LXX to refer to a close friend (Ps 54:14 LXX [55:14 ET]). This raises what for some is an insurmountable difficulty in identifying the “other disciple” as John son of Zebedee, since how could the uneducated son of an obscure Galilean fisherman be known to such a powerful and influential family in Jerusalem? E. A. Abbott (as quoted in “Notes of Recent Exposition,” ExpTim 25 [1913/14]: 149-50) proposed that the “other disciple” who accompanied Peter was Judas, since he was the one disciple of whom it is said explicitly (in the synoptic accounts) that he had dealings with the high priest. E. A. Tindall (“Contributions and Comments: John xviii.15,” ExpTim 28 [1916/17]: 283-84) suggested the disciple was Nicodemus, who as a member of the Sanhedrin, would have had access to the high priest’s palace. Both of these suggestions, while ingenious, nevertheless lack support from the text of the Fourth Gospel itself or the synoptic accounts. W. Wuellner (The Meaning ofFishers of Men” [NTL]) argues that the common attitude concerning the low social status and ignorance of the disciples from Galilee may in fact be a misconception. Zebedee is presented in Mark 1:20 as a man wealthy enough to have hired servants, and Mark 10:35-45 presents both of the sons of Zebedee as concerned about status and prestige. John’s mother appears in the same light in Matt 20:20-28. Contact with the high priestly family in Jerusalem might not be so unlikely in such circumstances. Others have noted the possibility that John came from a priestly family, some of which is based upon a statement in Eusebius (Ecclesiastical History 3.31.3) quoting Polycrates that John son of Zebedee was a priest. For further information on possible priestly connections among members of John’s family see L. Morris (John [NICNT], 752, n. 32). None of this is certain, but on the whole it seems most probable that the disciple who accompanied Peter and gained entry into the courtyard for him was John son of Zebedee.

3 sn This is a parenthetical note by the author.



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