John 18.4-6 cont.
4 Then Jesus, knowing all things that were to happen to Him, went out and said to them: “Who are you looking for?”
5 They replied to Him: “Jesus of Nazareth”. Jesus said (says): “I Am”. Judas, the one betraying Him, was also standing with them.
6 Then when He said: “I am”, they drew back and fell on the ground.
It is not unusual for people to fall to the ground or to bow down when they enter the presence of a monarch. It is an act of acknowledging the majesty of the monarch and the authority that is invested in them.
The scene that these verses depict in the garden of Gethsemane is only recorded in John’s gospel, and they are given to give us a fuller account of what took place there.
Jesus asked the arresting band who they were looking for. They said (say): “Jesus of Nazareth”. Jesus responded with: “I Am”.
At these words they all fell to the ground.
There have been a number of suggestions as to what caused this, such as they recognized His authority; they saw His bravery; they were impressed by His fearlessness in that He did not seek to hide from them, or run away.
It is also possible that it was that Jesus simple said those two words: “I Am”.
These words would have been familiar to Judas and to all the other Jews as the name of Jehovah, the unutterable word.
The Aramaic Bible gives us a clue as it translates the words of Jesus as: “I am the Living God”.
In that statement all the invested authority of God was seen in Jesus by those who were before Him. They could do no other than fall before His majesty. In that moment they may have seen something of the glory of God within Him.
For a moment they may have seen the word become flesh and dwelling within their midst.
Jesus stands in the world today as: “I am the Living God”.
This happens to all who in that moment receive Him as their Lord and Saviour. It is a moment when we clearly see that He is the Living God.
There are various times in our life when the Holy Spirit reveals to us the awesome majesty of Jesus. Those men in the garden received this revelation of the glory of Jesus just before their evil deed of arresting Him who knew no sin.
He may do the same to us. That is the opportunity for us to step back from the sin we are about to commit and to once again fall before Him as our Lord and Saviour.