(Good Friday & The Arrest of Jesus the Nazarene)
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.” – John 18:6 (ESV)
Of all the times Jesus used the words “I AM” to identify Himself, this occasion might be the one with the greatest impact on his audience. The Temple Police with a band of Roman soldiers have been sent to find and arrest Jesus with the help of the betrayer Judas Iscariot. Filled with Satan Judas leads them to where he knows Jesus would be with the disciples. Like many other times, Judas knew they would be camping out on the ground in an olive orchard. But, not on this night and Jesus having prayed, knows what’s next. When the arresting officials come, Jesus asks them who they are looking for. “Jesus of Nazareth” they say. “I Am He,” Jesus says. They all fall over backward. It takes two times of Jesus asking and saying “I Am.” The words which Jesus spoke are found in passages we have considered over the past few days. (Mark 6; John 6, 8, 10, 14, 15). In each of them it refers to that act of Jesus whereby he stands guard over the spiritual welfare of his own, keeping them, sustaining service, and everlasting life in the mansions above. That’s our promise today.