The night had arrived. They had come to arrest Jesus. It wasn’t just Judas and a couple of guys either. It was a large army, a force to be reckoned with that showed up to arrest Jesus. They asked for Jesus the Nazarene. Jesus may have spent His teens and early adulthood in Nazareth, but we all know that He was born in Bethlehem. His legal name would have been Jesus of Bethlehem. Right then and there Jesus could have gotten off on a technicality. The name on the warrant was incorrect, but not Jesus. He stepped up and said ‘I am the One’. Ego eimi, I AM.
John 18:4-8 VOICE
“Jesus stepped forward. It was clear He was not surprised because He knew all things. Jesus: Whom are you looking for? Judas’s Entourage: Jesus the Nazarene. Jesus: I AM the One. Judas, the betrayer, stood with the military force. As Jesus spoke “I AM the One,” the forces fell back on the ground. Jesus asked them a second time: Jesus: Whom are you searching for? Judas’s Entourage: Jesus the Nazarene. Jesus: I have already said that I AM the One. If you are looking for Me, then let these men go free.”
I AM the One. As Jesus spoke these words the entirety of the forces who stood before Him fell backwards to the ground. Read that again. The subtlety of the words can slip right past us and we miss the importance of that single word ‘back’. They didn’t fall to the ground in worship, because they had suddenly realized who Jesus was. They didn’t quietly descend to the ground in awe and wonder. They fell backwards to the ground at the power of His name. They fell backwards and I imagine that they fell hard. ‘I AM the One.’ I AM met the force head on and right there, in that single moment, they all fell backwards. He could have chosen to wipe them from the face of the earth, but He didn’t. Jesus stood in quiet power, with forethought of purpose, with love and with dignity, and Jesus accepted the cup. Jesus chose to wipe away our sins instead.