7 The again He asked them: “Who are you looking for?” Then they said: “Jesus of Nazareth”.
8 Jesus replied: “I told you that I Am He. If then it is Me that you are looking for, allow these men to go.”
9 This was so that the word He had spoken might be fulfilled: “I have not lost one of those whom You have given to Me”.
In this incident we see the honesty and bravery of Jesus. He plainly tells the arresting band of men that He is the person they were looking for. He did not try and duck out of the question by saying that He was someone else. It is possible that if it was not a moonlit night, He would not have been easy to recognize. However, the moment He spoke He would have been recognized by the sound of His voice. This would have been a familiar sound to many of them, since He had been teaching publicly in the temple.
It is always the case that we also have to be honest about who we are. This may happen if we are expected to take part in some activity that is contrary to the ways of Jesus. It may be that we are called upon to tell a lie by saying that our boss is not in the office, when he is. It may be that we are told to make a statement that we know is untrue.
In such circumstances we must be clear that as a follower of Jesus we are unable to go along with what is asked of us.
God’s word tells us:
The LORD hates those who don’t keep their word, but He delights in those who do – Proverbs 12.22 (NLT).
Also in these verses Jesus shows the compassion that He had for His disciples. He tells the men to let the disciples go. This was a command, which they obeyed, since none of the disciples were arrested. Jesus did not want His faithful followers to get caught up in the wicked schemes of those who opposed Him.
In this dark hour His thoughts were for those who had faithfully left all to follow Him. It was not the right time for them to suffer in the same way that He was going to suffer. That would come much later, when they too were to take up their crosses and follow Him.
The grace and kindness of Jesus is always surrounding us to ensure that we are available to fulfil His purposes.