Listen to this morning’s Scripture Song – Psalm 121
Read the “1113 Evening and Morning“ devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon.
“3 Judas then, having received a band of men and officers from the chief priests and Pharisees, cometh thither with lanterns and torches and weapons. 4 Jesus therefore, knowing all things that should come upon him, went forth, and said unto them, Whom seek ye? 5 They him, Jesus of Nazareth. Jesus saith unto them, I am he. And Judas also, which betrayed him, stood with them. 6 As soon then as he had said unto them, I am he, they went backward, and fell to the ground.” (John 18:3-6)
Sometimes when we reflect upon the arrest and crucifixion of the Lord we mistakenly think that He was a victim of circumstances that were completely out His control. However, every event surrounding His death was ordered by Him. He did not cause sinful men to act as they did toward him, but he did allow them to do what He knew what was already in their hearts, and He controlled every aspect of their actions to the extent that everything that happened to Him was exactly as He planned. He stated in Matthew’s gospel that He could have called down twelve legions of angels and put a stop to the whole thing, but that was not what He had planned (Matthew 26:53).
In the text above, we see the band of soldiers (σπεῖρα – speira – a tenth of a legion or 600 men) falling to the ground after Jesus spoke three words: “I am he.” Interestingly, in the Greek the word “he” is understood, but is not stated. It literally says, “I am” (Ἐγώ εἰμι). This phrase is very important for us to understand. It is recorded often in the Gospel of John, and is a direct reference to His deity. When Moses asked the Lord at the burning bush what His name was, God said: “I AM” ((Exodus 3:13 – 14). Someone once described “I am” as pertaining to God in “the eternal present tense.” God is not “I was” or “I will be,” but always, “I AM.” He dwells outside of time.
In John’s Gospel we see this phrase many times. Here are some of them.
- “And Jesus said unto them, I am the bread of life: he that cometh to me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on me shall never thirst.” (John 6:35)
- “Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying, I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.” (John 8:12)
- “I said therefore unto you, that ye shall die in your sins: for if ye believe not that I am he, ye shall die in your sins.” (John 8:24)
- “Then said Jesus unto them, When ye have lifted up the Son of man, then shall ye know that I am he, and that I do nothing of myself; but as my Father hath taught me, I speak these things.” (John 8:28)
- “Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Before Abraham was, I am.” (John 8:58)
- “Then said Jesus unto them again, Verily, verily, I say unto you, I am the door of the sheep.“ (John 10:7)
- “I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep.” (John 10:11)
- “Say ye of him, whom the Father hath sanctified, and sent into the world, Thou blasphemest; because I said, I am the Son of God?” (John 10:36)
- “Jesus said unto her, I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live:” (John 11:25)
- “Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” (John 14:6)
- “I am the true vine, and my Father is the husbandman.” (John 15:1)
Notice also that Jesus commands his captors to let his disciples go. The word, “let” (ἄφετε from ἀφίημι – aphiēmi) is in the imperative mood, which “expresses a command to the hearer to perform a certain action by the order and authority of the one commanding” (BLB). We know that this order was completely obeyed as all of the disciples retained their freedom. Even Peter, who took a sword and attacked one of the soldier was permitted to leave without any punishment. Jesus was calling the shots.
Not to belabor the point, but I also noticed in chapter nineteen that Jesus was even in control of the exact timing of His death. The soldiers came to break His legs so that Jesus would die more quickly, but when they arrived on the scene, they had discovered that he was already dead. Just to be sure, one of them took a spear and pierced His side, These events were in direct fulfillment of what was prophesied regarding Him in the Old Testament (Exodus 12:46; Psalm 34:20; Psalm 22:16; Zechariah 12:10). Consider also the following verses:
“14 I am the good shepherd, and know my sheep, and am known of mine. 15 As the Father knoweth me, even so know I the Father: and I lay down my life for the sheep. 16 And other sheep I have, which are not of this fold: them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice; and there shall be one fold, and one shepherd. 17 Therefore doth my Father love me, because I lay down my life, that I might take it again. 18 No man taketh it from me, but I lay it down of myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This commandment have I received of my Father.” (John 10:14-18)
“Now is my soul troubled; and what shall I say? Father, save me from this hour: but for this cause came I unto this hour.” (John 12:27)
Nobody took Jesus’ life away from Him, He freely gave it. He came to die. He “set [his] face like a flint” to the Cross (Isaiah 50:7). He was doing exactly what He willed to do, and He did it for you and me.
“For the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost.” (Luke 19:10)
He was in complete control of His circumstances the entire time. He is also in complete control of all of your circumstances. You need not fear what men can do to you; just fear God and yield to His will for your life.
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