I Am He

John 18:1-11

Jesus’ Authority

Think of “I am” statements of Jesus, what comes to mind first: bread of life (John 6:35); light of the world (8:12); the door of the sheep (10:7); the good shepherd (10:11); the resurrection and the life (11:25); the way, the truth, and the life (14:6); the true vine (15:1). Don’t so often think about 7 other occurrences of εγώ ειμι, I am, also found in John’s Gospel (John 8:24, 8:28, 8:58, 13:19, 18:5, 18:6, and 18:8), 3 of them in our text.

Given great meaning expressed in two words, sinful mankind’s foolishness plain to see. Judas, instrument used by Satan to accelerate progress to the Cross, was an insider yet he really wasn’t. Had been present when Jesus showed mastery over demons, wind and wave, incurable disease, even death. Yet comes with squad of Roman soldiers, temple police, religous leaders, lanterns, torches, weapons – an overwhelming show of force to take one man away from 11 defenders armed only with two swords. Didn’t seem to grasp that no amount of earthly force could prevail over the one he was going to betray.

A. true knowledge v.4a

right time

6 months earlier: told brothers his “time had not yet fully come” (John 7:8)

they even “sought to take him; but no one laid a hand on him, because his hour had not yet come” (John 7:30)

this night was different – “Jesus knew that His hour had come that He should depart from this world to the Father” (John 13:1)

right circumstances

Jesus conscious of OT prophecies regarding him – “knowing all things that would come upon Him”

short time earlier – made explicit point of Judas and his eating with them and betrayal being fulfillment of Scripture

day of resurrection – road to Emmaus, “beginning at Moses and all the Prophets, He expounded to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning Himself.” (Luke 24:27)

personal readiness

had agonized over what he was facing

Matt. 26:39 He went a little farther and fell on His face, and prayed, saying, “O My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as You will.”

Matt 26:42 Again, a second time, He went away and prayed, saying, “O My Father, if this cup cannot pass away from Me unless I drink it, Your will be done.”

John 18:11 So Jesus said to Peter, “Put your sword into the sheath. Shall I not drink the cup which My Father has given Me?”

and come to terms with it – listen to progression of Jesus thought, speaking of cup of his Father’s wrath

that it required this from Jesus gives a little insight into awful burden he was about to bear for those he loved

B. true mercy v.4b

Jesus took initiative

didn’t leave it for Judas to find him – went to meet them

eliminated need for Judas’ betrayal

gracious condescenscion to the max

once again there is mercy in the Garden offered in form of a question

where are you? who told you? what have you done?

each question an opening for confession and repentance

instead met by more sinful behavior – blame game

this time – not fallen man hiding himself, but perfect man revealing himself

the one who would in just few hours perform greatest act of mercy

receiving the penalty for sin that the really deserving might receive mercy

C. true power v.5b

his word (5-6)

εγώ ειμι: very simple words, incomprehensible significance

stating again what he declared John 8:58 – Jesus said to them, “Most assuredly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I AM.”

not simply the man from Nazareth saying “that’s me”

declaring that he is the eternal self-existent God

when said at the temple, tried to stone him (Johh 8:59)

here said in such a way that

hardened Roman soldiers put in fear

Judas also beginning to get the idea – who he was up against

same one who said “let there be light, firmament, dry land…..”

any wonder they would be in awe of that voice, those words

recognized voice of authority, terrified by it, at least momentarily

his command (8)

in no way to be understood as a plea bargain, negotiation

given as a command

“a beautiful merging of his mercy and his majesty” Morgan

able to guard his followers from unnecessary harm – in effect Jesus tied hands of enemies respecting the disciples

clear to any objective bystander that Jesus would only be taken as he allowed it

if he simply had to speak and soldiers retreated, what if….

D. true authority

put away your weapon (11a)

had already showed his supremacy over earthly manifestations of power

would soon show supremacy over “spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places” (Eph. 6:12)

shall I not drink the cup (11b)

authority to take the cup

authority to endure its contents

also who’s in charge throughout passage, who takes command

challenging the authorities – “whom are you seeking” (4, 7)

corraling Peter – “put up your sword” (11)

only when Jesus is finished with preliminaries is he arrested (12)

had sights set on Calvary and beyond – see John 10:17; Heb. 12:2 – only the I AM could do that

told his disciples he would lay down his life that he might take it up again

endured the cross, despised the shame because of joy set before him

Now mark the majesty of these next four verses. “Jesus therefore, knowing all the things that were coming upon Him, went forth.” (John 18:4) That statement is full of significance, bearing out and emphasizing the fact that the pathway of Jesus to His Cross was not the pathway of a Victim. All the way He knew all that was coming to Him. Perfectly familiar with it all, He “went forth,” went forth in majesty, never more majestic than when His eyes were set upon His Cross. G Campbell Morgan

Important to remember:

a perfect sinless man is an inadequate substitute – at best he could save himself

a willing victim is an ineffectual substitute – someone sacrificed to Roman politics and Jewish religious zeal accomplishes nothing

only one who has both power and authority to “lay down [his] life that [he] may take it again” (John 10:17) can be our Savior

was God’s actions to punish our sin willingly born by the God-man and then accept his payment in full on our behalf that’s important

Angel told Joseph: “call his name Jesus because he will save his people from their sins” (Matt. 1:21); Jesus told disciples he had “come to save the lost” (Matt. 18:11). In prayer in Garden told Father “I have finished the work which you have given me to do” (John 17:4). His final cry from cross: “It is finished” (John 19:30).

If Bible is true and word of God, if words have meaning, if these words mean what they say, then Jesus accomplished all that was necessary for our salvation by his life, death and resurrection. Nothing left to add to it – nothing necessary, nothing possible. The church can add nothing. Saints can add nothing. Good Christians can add nothing. We must come to the cross empty-handed, trusting in Christ and Christ alone to save us. Hear the words of Paul the apostle from Romans 10:9ff

“if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. …For “whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.””


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s