“Jesus therefore, knowing all things that would come upon Him, went forward and said to them, ‘Whom are you seeking?’
“They answered Him, ’Jesus of Nazareth.’
“Jesus said to them, ‘I am He.’ And Judas, who betrayed Him, also stood with them. Now when He said to them, ‘I am He,’ they drew back and fell to the ground.” John 18:4–6
One of the apostle John’s goals in writing his account of the gospel of Jesus Christ was to present an orderly account that was not a repetition of the gospel accounts previously written by others. Doubtless he was familiar with the accounts of Matthew, Mark, and Luke and knowing what they had already recorded he intentionally left out parts of the story they had included where he felt he could and still maintain internal continuity within his own account.
One of the significant events not included in John’s account is Jesus’ hours of prayer, wrestling with his Father over his impending sacrifice, in the garden of Gethsemane. John’s record merely says that Jesus and his disciples went to the garden and nothing more.
At this point the story moves to the account of Jesus’ arrest. All the gospels record this event but here, once again, John’s account differs in the details included. John recalls this event beginning with with a very different exchange from the one the other gospels relate.
As the mob of soldiers approach Jesus and his disciples Jesus is reported to have stepped forward to meet them and to have inquired, “Whom are you seeking?”
To which the leaders of the mob reply, “Jesus of Nazareth.”
Jesus then answers, “I am he.” And at these words those in the mob all step back and fall to the ground.
Ellen White records, in the book The Desire of Ages, that as Jesus said the words, “I am he,” his divine glory had flashed through his humanity and it was this momentary revealing of his divinity that had caused the mob’s collapse.
I’ve always been amazed that those in the mob still had the temerity to get up off the ground and actually arrest Jesus. He’d revealed who he really was, the Messiah, the divine Son Of God, and still they continued to fight against him.
Friends, I believe that eventually all of us, if we don’t submit and yield ourselves to the transforming power of Jesus, will, knowing who it is that we’re fighting against, take sides against Jesus to seek his destruction. Jesus will have done all that he could to make himself known to us, and while we may believe lies and possess a twisted understanding of God, we’ll still know that we have chosen to fight against God.
O friends, while the conflict is not yet engaged chose to side with Jesus. Look to Jesus in the pages of scripture and seek him in the privacy of your own daily times of prayer. He’ll accept you and he’ll strengthen you to stand for him as his witness, just as he stood for you as your Savior.