John 18:1 After Jesus had said these things, he exited with his disciples across the Kidron Valley, where there was a garden, and he and his disciples went into it.
John 18:2 Judas, who betrayed him, also knew the place, because Jesus often met there with his disciples.
John 18:3 So Judas took a company of soldiers and some officers from the chief priests and the Pharisees and came there with lanterns, torches, and weapons.
John 18:4 Then Jesus, knowing everything that was about to happen to him, exited and said to them, “Who is it that you’re seeking?”
John 18:5 “Jesus of Nazareth,” they answered. “I am he,” Jesus told them. Judas, who betrayed him, was also standing with them.
John 18:6 When Jesus told them, “I am he,” they went away backwards and fell to the ground.
the awesome power of Jesus’ presence
John shows the awesome power of Jesus’ presence here. Soon, Jesus will submit to torture and death at the hands of a sinful and ignorant people. But at this point the focus is on who Jesus is. The words are the familiar ἐγώ εἰμι that mark the significant identity of Jesus.
In my Afterlife article, “Spring Up Oh Well” I show that John records Jesus identifying himself and his significance with seven famous “I am” statements:
- “I am (Ἐγώ εἰμι) the bread of life,” Jesus told them. “No one who comes to me will ever be hungry, and no one who believes in me will ever be thirsty again.1
- Jesus spoke to them again: “I am (Ἐγώ εἰμι) the light of the world. Anyone who follows me will never walk in the darkness but will have the light of life.”2
- Jesus said again, “Truly I tell you, I am (Ἐγώ εἰμι) the gate for the sheep.3
- “I am (Ἐγώ εἰμι) the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.4
- Jesus said to her, “I am (Ἐγώ εἰμι) the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me, even if he dies, will live.5
- Jesus told him, “I am (Ἐγώ εἰμι) the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.6
- “I am (Ἐγώ εἰμι) the true vine, and my Father is the gardener.7
Yes, Jesus submitted humbly to the cross for us. But make no mistake about this: he did it because he loved us. He has power and authority over all the universe.
Lord, thank you that we can approach the awesome power of your presence through prayer.
1John 6:35 CSB (see also John 6:41, 48, 51).
2John 8:12 CSB (see also John 8:18,24,28).
3John 10:7 CSB (see also 10:9).
4John 10:11 CSB (see also 10:14).
5John 11:25 CSB.
6John 14:6 CSB.
7John 15:1 CSB.