John 18:1-6 When Jesus had spoken these words, he went forth with his disciples over the brook Cedron, where was a garden, into the which he entered, and his disciples. (2) And Judas also, which betrayed him, knew the place: for Jesus ofttimes resorted thither with his disciples. (3) Judas then, having received a band of men and officers from the chief priests and Pharisees, cometh thither with lanterns and torches and weapons. (4) Jesus therefore, knowing all things that should come upon him, went forth, and said unto them, Whom seek ye? (5) They answered him, Jesus of Nazareth. Jesus saith unto them, I am he. And Judas also, which betrayed him, stood with them. (6) As soon then as he had said unto them, I am he, they went backward, and fell to the ground.
In the past 5 chapters of the Book of John, we have witnessed the final teachings of Jesus to his chosen apostles and then concluding that session with a prayer. After that gathering in the upper room, he immediately goes to the Garden of Gethsemane to pray in private. The other three gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke) all record that event. While there praying, Judas has made a deal to betray him and a band of men come to arrest him.
In verse 4, we are told that Jesus knew exactly what was unfolding, and so he asked that band of men, “Whom Seek Ye?” The Leader of that posse, speaks up and responds “Jesus of Nazareth”. Jesus, knowing his ultimate mission, chooses not to fight. Chooses not to run, but instead allows himself to be arrested. For that reason, he simply says “I am he.”
But notice what happens upon Jesus opening his mouth .....
John 18:6 As soon then as he had said unto them, I am he, they went backward, and fell to the ground.
When Jesus claimed “I am he”, they stumbled backward and fell to the ground! Basically, Jesus knocked them back by the POWER of his voice! God wanted these men to know that this was no ordinary criminal. God wanted to impress upon these men that Jesus was no ordinary MAN. Jesus, by simply opening his mouth, was able to overpower these armed and trained soldiers.
What would your response had been had you been in that band of men coming to arrest Jesus? I don’t know about you, but I think that I would have to quickly reconsider my earlier decision. Remember, by this time, Jesus had been teaching and performing miracles for 3 years and his reputation was well spread. People knew that he was able to raise the dead, heal all manner of sickness, feed the masses and still violent storms. If that show of raw power isn’t enough to change their minds, What would it take for these men reconsider who he is?
By the same note, what about us? Are there really many people in this country that have not heard of Jesus. For those that generally believe in the existence of Jesus, what would it take to be convinced that he IS the Son of God and Savior of mankind. If you believe in those facts, what is it going to take for you to change your lives to live the life that he calls for us to live?
Matthew 16:24 Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.
Jesus requires us to deny ourselves and truly be followers of his. Following Jesus is much more than just making a claim to believe in his existence. Following Jesus means that we must reshape our lives to follow his pattern and teaching.
What is it going to take for you to truly be his follower?