John 18:21 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

John 18:21, NIV: Why question me? Ask those who heard me. Surely they know what I said.'

John 18:21, ESV: Why do you ask me? Ask those who have heard me what I said to them; they know what I said.”

John 18:21, KJV: Why askest thou me? ask them which heard me, what I have said unto them: behold, they know what I said.

John 18:21, NASB: Why are you asking Me? Ask those who have heard what I spoke to them. Look: these people know what I said.'

John 18:21, NLT: Why are you asking me this question? Ask those who heard me. They know what I said.'

John 18:21, CSB: Why do you question me? Question those who heard what I told them. Look, they know what I said."

What does John 18:21 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

Jerusalem's religious leaders have already made up their mind to kill Jesus (John 11:53). They are so committed to this conclusion that they arranged to have Jesus arrested in secret (Mark 14:1–2). They've convinced false witnesses to lie about Him (Mark 14:55–59). While going through the motions of a trial, they even asked Jesus to explain Himself (John 18:19). Jesus has already responded that His teaching has always been public—none of these Jewish leaders are confused about what He has taught (John 18:20).

The remark Christ makes here is an appeal to fairness. While He has chosen to submit to arrest (John 18:7), abuse (John 18:22), and execution (John 19:15–16). However, He will continue to make it clear that every part of their condemnation is false. Jesus is challenging the religious leaders to present evidence against Him. "Prove it," in short, is His reply in this verse.