So Judas, having procured a band of soldiers and some officers from the chief priests and the Pharisees, went there with lanterns and torches and weapons. Then Jesus, knowing all that would happen to him, came forward and said to them, “Whom do you seek?” They answered him, “Jesus of Nazareth.” Jesus said to them, “I am he.” Judas, who betrayed him, was standing with them. When Jesus said to them, “I am he,” they drew back and fell to the ground. (John 18:3-6 ESV)
I love this passage! When Jesus is being arrested by a band of soldiers and chief priests, he shows his complete control of the situation. “Whom do you seek?” They answered him, “Jesus of Nazareth.” Jesus said to them, “I am he.” The literal words in the Greek are “I am”, which is the equivalent of God’s name given to Moses at the burning bush in Exodus 3. As soon as he said it, the crowd arrayed against him drew back and fell to the ground. Why? Some would say they were on a hill and lost their balance and fell backward (doesn’t seem very likely that they would all fall however). Some say they were bowing low because they were so offended by Jesus using God’s name. But the soldiers were Roman and not aware of Jewish history and language. The only plausible explanation that fits with the rest of the Gospel is that Jesus was flexing his muscle. “I AM.” For just a brief moment he shows the world that he is God and has the power to utterly crush them if he chose. Whoa! Pretty frightening for the crowd! So, why did Jesus do this? Afterward he begins directing the scene and makes sure that his disciples are all allowed to go free. He flexes to set them free! Then he goes with them and willingly lays down his life. Jesus was always pouring out his life for his friends.
Are you beginning to see how great Jesus’ love and care for you is? He flexes OR submits himself to persecution for you, whichever the situation requires for your rescue. How do you pour your life out for others?
Thank God for the continual commitment to pour out his life for you.
McCheyne’s Bible Reading Plan: 2 Sa 10, 2 Co 3, Ez 17, Jn 18