As Jesus said “I Am He,” they all drew back and fell to the ground! (v.6).
"Operation Kiss” had commenced—the green
light given at the highest level. The target was
seen crossing the valley and entering the
olive orchard. This intel was from a mole within the
inner circle, a man who now personally led the task
force (John 18:1). Perceiving them to be armed and
dangerous, Pilate had ordered “a contingent of Roman
soldiers” (v.3)—up to 600 well-trained and equipped
men—to neutralize the threat. The Jewish authorities also
sent in their crack temple guards. This huge arresting
party came armed with “torches, lanterns, and weapons”
(v.3). There was no way the target could escape.
But Jesus was not planning an escape, nor resisting
capture (vv.10-11). Instead, He willingly offered Himself
up (vv.8,11). Stepping forward to identify Himself to
His captors, Jesus facilitated and ensured His own
arrest. He asked, “Who are you looking for?” “Jesus the
Nazarene,” they replied (vv.4-5).
Almost immediately, Jesus affirmed, “I Am He” (v.5). In
the Greek, the He is not in the original but was added by
the translators. Jesus simply said, “I Am,” twice (vv.5,8).
“I Am” is the language of divinity. It’s the covenantal
name of God Himself: “I Am Who I Am” (Exodus 3:14).
In an earlier brush with the Pharisees, Jesus boldly told
them that He was the “I Am!” (John 8:58).
At the very instant Jesus declared His identity, everyone in
the arresting party “drew back and fell to the ground” (v.6).
Even the mighty Roman soldiers, trained not to submit, bowed before Him.
Jesus was no helpless victim. On the contrary, Jesus sovereignly handed
Himself over to His captors in order to “drink from the cup of suffering the
Father [had] given [Him]” (v.11). He drank the cup that should have been our
What did Paul say about Jesus’ humiliation and exaltation in
What does it mean to you to know that Jesus is the great “I Am”? How does
it inspire you to read how Jesus faced His pain and persecution?