Things Are True
by Pastor Dan Coburn
We are approaching my favorite time of year. Resurrection Day. I get excited about all the things surrounding the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ for our sins, according to the Scriptures. The most important is certainly the resurrection, as it was God’s seal of approval on everything Jesus said. Had he not been the first fruits of the resurrection, we wouldn’t be talking, arguing, or worrying about Him today.
Certainly one of my favorite accounts of the betrayal of Jesus is found in John chapter 18. It is a familiar story where Judas brings a bunch of soldiers and religious leaders to the garden of Gethssemane to arrest Jesus. Still, I see paintings, movies, and various other depictions of the scene, and there are always just a few (maybe a dozen) present. The Bible describes them as a “cohort” or a tenth of a legion. That would be six hundred men, and though I don’t know for sure how many soldiers there were, certainly that many were made available to Judas to accomplish his deed.
Let’s say for the sake of argument, there were only one hundred soldiers, and read on. As they approached, Jesus knew exactly what was taking place (vs 4) and asked “Whom seek ye?” They answered “Jesus of Nazareth” He replied: “I am he”, and immediately all His adversaries fell backwards and were pinned to the ground.
Can you imagine? You’re a Roman soldier, the baddest dude on the block. There are a hundred of you and with just a spoken word of your ‘would be prisoner’, you’re pinned to the ground. I don’t know if there was a mighty wind. I don’t know if there was a horrendous noise. I know from other gospel accounts, that Jesus said He had at His disposal twelve legions of angels. They were at the ready, and I believe it was a bigger miracle to restrain them than to summon them. However it was, I am convinced Steven Spielberg could not do it justice, and it begs the question, if you were standing there, and then you were lying there, would you still be there?
As wonderful as this is to contemplate, the most spectacular thing about this account is one little, two letter word, found in verse 5. If you look in your bible, you will find (probably in red letters) that Jesus identifies Himself as “I am he”. Please note: “he” is in italics. That’s because the word he was added when the bible was translated into english. I’m not one who picks apart the bible, in fact, I am of the mind set that God can, and has, preserved His word, intact for our benefit. Still, Jesus’ response to them was literally “I am”. This was the name God gave Himself in Exodus 3:14. It was a name the Hebrews wouldn’t even utter, and when Jesus used it speaking of Himself, repeatedly in chapter 8, the Pharisees accused Him of blasphemy and tried to kill Him. Yet it was with just these two words Jesus brought His enemies to their knees, then surrendered on His terms to do what He did for you.
Did I ever tell you how great our God is?