‘I am,’ was a name with a significant meaning for the Jews, do you see the significance of the name?
When he had finished praying, Jesus left with his disciples and crossed the Kidron Valley. On the other side there was a garden, and he and his disciples went into it.
2 Now Judas, who betrayed him, knew the place, because Jesus had often met there with his disciples. 3 So Judas came to the garden, guiding a detachment of soldiers and some officials from the chief priests and the Pharisees. They were carrying torches, lanterns and weapons.
4 Jesus, knowing all that was going to happen to him, went out and asked them, “Who is it you want?”
5 “Jesus of Nazareth,” they replied. “I am he,” Jesus said. (And Judas the traitor was standing there with them.)6 When Jesus said, “I am he,” they drew back and fell to the ground. 7 Again he asked them, “Who is it you want?” “Jesus of Nazareth,” they said. 8 Jesus answered, “I told you that I am he. If you are looking for me, then let these men go.” 9 This happened so that the words he had spoken would be fulfilled: “I have not lost one of those you gave me.”
10 Then Simon Peter, who had a sword, drew it and struck the high priest’s servant, cutting off his right ear. (The servant’s name was Malchus). 11 Jesus commanded Peter, “Put your sword away! Shall I not drink the cup the Father has given me?”
12 Then the detachment of soldiers with its commander and the Jewish officials arrested Jesus. They bound him 13 and brought him first to Annas, who was the father-in-law of Caiaphas, the high priest that year. 14 Caiaphas was the one who had advised the Jewish leaders that it would be good if one man died for the people.
When the soldiers and officials came to arrest him, Jesus was praying in the garden. They came to him and asked who he was – was he the man they were looking for? When Jesus said “I am,” those who came to arrest him fell to the ground.
‘I am,’ was a name with a significant meaning for the Jews – it was the name God used when he first revealed himself to Moses in the book of Exodus – when God came to fulfil his promises to Israel. The act of promise-keeping was linked to the name I am because it could also mean I will be who I will be, or I will do what I will do. The name God used for himself was a promise to act in this world on behalf of his people.
The soldiers and officials fell before the man they had come to arrest and lead to death, in shock. Jesus wasn’t shocked or surprised though. Jesus knew what was going to happen to him – by coming to earth, he gave up his place at the Father’s side to die for humanity. Caiaphas advised the Jewish leaders that it would be good if one man died for the people – and he was right. But rather than the political good of the Jewish leaders, Jesus had in mind the eternal good of the people. Jesus was the one man who came, suffered and died for the people. This was the conclusion of God’s promise to act – ‘I will do what I will do,’ – what God did was die on a cross.
John, the author of this Gospel, also wrote Revelation, which looks forward to the day where everything – all creation, all people – will fall at Jesus’ feet and acknowledge him as God, as I am, as Saviour, and the one who acts to rescue his people.
Head: how has God proved that he will do what he will do, throughout the bible’s story? How has God shown that he keeps his promises?
Heart: do you trust God to fulfil his promises in Jesus? Does your life reflect your trust in God’s promise that judgement has fallen on Jesus and will not fall on you?
Hands: what’s something in your life you are holding back from trusting God with? What is a practical action you can take towards giving God full control of all parts of your life?
Prayer: Dear Heavenly Father, Thank you that you are the God who promised to act to save his people. Thank you that you keep your promises and you acted to save your people through Jesus. In the chaos of life, it can be hard to trust your word. Please me help me to see how keep your promises so I can know you will keep your promises in Jesus. Lord, Please be working in me by your Spirit, so that I will be able to give over every part of my life to you. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
A song to listen to: Fall Before Him
This Grow Daily was originally posted as part of The Spirit of Jesus series in 2016. During the School Holidays we take the opportunity to look back at the best of Grow Dailys over the years.