Thursday, April 25, 2013

I Am He

Water drops on hosta leaf

Now Judas, who betrayed him, also knew the place, for Jesus often met there with his disciples.  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.  So he asked them again, Whom do you seek? And they said, Jesus of Nazareth.  Jesus answered, I told you that I am he. So, if you seek me, let these men go.  This was to fulfill the word that he had spoken: Of those whom you gave me I have lost not one.  ––  John 18:2-9

The I AM - "ego eimi" occurs three times in the verses above.  Jesus uses the I AM - "ego eimi" statement twice to verify who He is. John 18: 5-6  John 18:8  This is in keeping with the reference to God as I am in Exodus 3: 14 and  Isaiah 41:4  Isaiah 43:10  Isaiah 43:25  I these I am statements He is establishing his equality with God the Father.

The circumstances of these statements of Jesus are well known.  Jesus has just betrayed by Judas.  Soldiers and officers of the temple have come with weapons to arrest Jesus.  The word translated as band in verse 3 is σπειρα speira.  It means: anything rolled into a circle or ball, anything wound, rolled up.  It also refers to a military cohort, the tenth of a legion which is about 600 men. It can also refer to 1/3 of a cohort which is two hundred men.  The soldiers were accompanied by the temple officers.  These temple police were the primary arresting officers because Jesus was to go before the high priest. They expected trouble from Jesus and His disciples so they came armed. They also brought lanterns. They were expecting the criminal Jesus and His band would be hiding in the dark and would attempt an escape.

Jesus came forward and asked the soldiers who they were after.  Jesus, knew that they were coming and why they were there.  His plan for redemption of His people was proceeding as planned.  Jesus could have miraculously escaped, but He didn't.  He did not do so because it was His time.  Jesus was voluntarily submitting to the coming ordeal that was planned by His Father.  He came forward. They did not need to search for Him.  They answered that they were  looking for Jesus of Nazareth.  Jesus answered them with "I am he."  By His asking this question, Jesus established that they were there only to arrest Him, therefore they were not to arrest the disciples. This showed His love and caring for the disciples. This answer surprised the temple police.  They drew back and fell to the ground.

Why did they fall to the ground?  You decide.  Those who came to arrest Jesus were expecting trouble.  The soldiers were trained to expect physical violence against them. They came They were surprised that there was no resistance.  They were surprised by the courage of Jesus.  OR, They were   responding to His I AM statement.  They were overcome by the statement of Jesus' claim of divinity.  Jesus had just answered their question by telling them He was God.  Perhaps with that announcement, Jesus manifested such glory that it literally threw the soldiers to the ground.

In the scriptures we find that falling to the ground was a common reaction to divine revelation.

Then he brought me by way of the north gate to the front of the temple, and I looked, and behold, the glory of the Lord filled the temple of the Lord. And I fell on my face.  Ezekiel 44:4   Then I heard the sound of his words, and as I heard the sound of his words, I fell on my face in deep sleep with my face to the ground.  Daniel 10:9  And falling to the ground he heard a voice saying to him, Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me?  Acts 9:4

Jesus asked them again, Whom do you seek?  The soldiers again answer "Jesus of Nazareth."  Again Jesus answers with, "I am he." Jesus again tells them He is the Messiah. He again looks out for His disciples and with authority commands the soldiers, "So, if you seek me, let these men go." Jesus the selfless Son of God shows His love for His true followers. Let these men go, I'll go with you without any fuss. Jesus, the I AM, voluntarily gave Himself up for His disciples.

Jesus is the I AM  Jesus willingly took the pain and blame for our sins. Jesus gave Himself for all who follow Him in earnest.  Jesus love us.

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