The Arrest of Jesus, I am He (John 18:1-13), Commentary

Jesus, knowing all that was going to happen to him, went out and asked them, “Who is it you want?”  Jesus knows all things, yet he permits confession. Who do you seek? They were looking for him, Jesus of Nazereth.  I am he.  I am that I am (Exodus 3:14). I am the Lord, I do not change (Mal 3:6). I am the Lord that is my name (Isaiah 42:1). I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting (Acts 9:5).  By his spoken admission the guards were forced to the ground. He could have ended all of them there, but chose instead to show us his Love for us, by accepting the cross. Who do you seek? Do you seek Jesus for salvation or that you may persecute him?  Will you fall to the ground willingly before Christ, or find yourself forced back and to the ground? Every knee shall bow at the name of Jesus (Phil 2:10).

I told you that I am he. He told them already, and they could not withstand it.  I told you I am the one you seek, and yet you can do nothing. It is only that I permit you, that you can take me.  If you are looking for me, then let these men go- Jesus saves his disciples, who were more than eager to depart and leave him. In this we see a brutal honesty among the authors, to admit their cowardice in abandoning Christ. Yet we also see the selflessness of Jesus.  The time for payment of sin has arrived, and He lets us go. He lets us escape from our punishment, and takes it upon himself, sparing us.

Then Simon Peter, who had a sword, drew it and struck the high priest’s servant- Peter acted rashly, not submitting to the will of God. Jesus had already shown he could have easily defended by His own means. Still, Peter sought his own way. This is not out of character for Peter, which we can believe lends to the Gospel’s credibility. While he was bold here, it was not long after he denied the Lord altogether to spare his own life.  The servant’s name was Malchus- The author of this Gospel knew this man.

Shall I not drink the cup the Father has given me? Can we say this to ourselves in our trials? Or should we draw our swords without thinking? God brings us through all things.  Then the detachment of soldiers with its commander and the Jewish officials arrested Jesus- As if He was a criminal, they bound him, and brought him to the High Priest.

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