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 18:4-9
Wow! How do we account for a band of tough Roman soldiers falling prostrate before a single unarmed man? It would seem that Jesus is NOT a victim! At the moment when Jesus seemed weak, He showed that He was strong.
Now do you know why he wanted us to know that Judas was there? Because he wants us to know that Judas has no power at all. All Jesus has to do is say His name and they all went down. Now in the other gospels you have Jesus on His knees and on the ground in anguish. Not in John’s gospel. Jesus is standing up and the whole Roman army on the ground. You see, he wants us to know that He has power over them. Do you know those disciples saw that, didn’t they? He wanted them to know, He wanted us to know, He wanted Judas to know and the whole Roman army to know and all the Jews to know that He was in control. That He was laying His life down. That nobody was taking it away from Him. And He just said “I am” and woof ‑‑ a thousand people went down.
Now, one commentator said: “Well, evidently what happened here is somebody fell in the front and…” See. That’s a typical line, oh, that’s a typical line. It goes along with the ones who said Peter didn’t walk on water there was a sand bar. And you know, all of that. Typical. Jesus said “I am” and the whole pile went down just like that. Now they were soldiers, they aren’t stupid. They weren’t standing one inch behind each other. They were in some kind of formation. They knew what they were doing. They fell down because of the power of His word. All He had to do was say His name, the name of God, and they collapsed on the spot. There He is one, single unarmed lonely figure and they are an army, equipped and manned for war and He simply speaks His name and they collapsed. Now you tell me whose got the power.
There flowed from Jesus such a power and such a commanding authority which made Him so infinitely strong that they couldn’t even stand up in His presence. This is another sign by John to show us that this is no victim, this is Jesus Christ the majestic victor and He has everything in control. He revealed His power. And I think most of all for the delight and the faith of the disciples who would see that He was not a victim.
Now, you know, if you study the Bible ‑‑ an interesting Bible study sometime to do, is to study the concept of the word of His power. God created the world by His word and God said … right? Let there be light. And God said … this … And God said … and when Christ comes in judgment at the end of the age, the Bible says He has a sharp sword … where? … coming out of His mouth. You see, it is the Word of God that is powerful; it is the Word of God that will judge men. It is the word of God that will condemn men. It is the word of God that is incisive. And you read in Revelation, you read in Acts 10, you read in Acts 17, you read in Matthew 13 that Jesus Christ is coming to judge. And the Bible says He will judge by the word out of His mouth. And the mob tasted just a little bit of that kind of judgment power. And they fell helpless at His feet.
Now do you see what John is showing us here? This is no victim; this is the majestic Son of God displaying power. The whole pile fell down … supreme power. So we see His supreme courage and His supreme power.
Jesus suffered and died voluntarily.
- He didn’t die because He couldn’t help it;
- He didn’t suffer because He couldn’t escape.
- All the soldiers in the world could not have taken Him, unless He had been willing to be taken.
- They couldn’t have hurt a hair of His head, if He hadn’t given them permission.
Jesus was a willing sufferer. His mission: our redemption. He loved us, and gave Himself for us, cheerfully, willingly, gladly, in order to make atonement for our sins. Why?
Hebrews tells us Jesus did it for “the joy set before Him” That’s why He endured the cross, the shame, and gave himself over to be tried and killed.
J.C. Ryle says: “We have a Savior who was far more willing to save us than we are willing to be saved. “