Summary: Jesus could have said, “I AM” and you are not. And the whole crowd that came to arrest Him would have disappeared! He spoke the universe into existence, He could have spoken these soldiers out of existence. For Jesus being arrested is something that He di
Many people call this passage the holy of holies passage. This is the time we see that Jesus is arrested and crucified. It is a time of deep grief for Jesus' disciples.
READ John 18:1-3
The word Kidron may have to do with Cedar trees but the word actually means dark or black. You can read in 2 Chronicles that this was the place where the priests when they cleansed the temple, they took anything that was unclean, and dumped it in the Kidron Valley.
They went into the Olive grove. Many think there was the Olive Press there. The purpose of the Olive Press is to crush the olive, remove the oil and the oil was used for various purposes. Even today we get much of the oil from the Mediterranean area, the Middle East.
Oil in Scripture is a symbol of the Holy Spirit. So we have all of these images joining together. Jesus is about to be crushed that the Holy Spirit can be released on us. He had told the disciples that it was good that He went away then He would send the Holy Spirit. But before that He Himself had to crushed for our iniquities and bruised for our sins.
Now Judas who betrayed him knew the place because they had often met there. So Judas came to the grove guiding the soldiers and some officials from the chief priests carrying torches, lanterns and weapons. Judas used his knowledge of Jesus and the disciples' behavior to lead a contingent of soldiers against him.
The contradiction of this passage is quite obvious. John is making a point. These people come out and there is a contingent. They come out with torches and knives and wearing armor; they were ready to go to battle to arrest the Prince of Peace! Contingent -- the word there in the Greek is normally used for 600 soldiers. Sometimes it might even refer to 200. But you have a minimum of several hundred soldiers coming out. In addition to that the soldiers were coming from the temple guard, who were trained in military service. They were also armed. So we may have as many as a thousand people to arrest Jesus!
We also see an element here of Judas' leadership. I have heard people talking to their children about leadership, as they raise them. They say if you get a group of people to do something that makes you a leader. That is what Judas did. I do not know about you, but I do not want to be that kind of a leader. There is a kind of leadership that is not good, and leadership for the sake of leadership is something we should not pursue. Instead as followers of Jesus, we should be pursuing servanthood. And as we serve, God will raise us up to positions of leadership! And it will be a servant-leadership.
Verse 4, Jesus knowing all that was going to happen to him, went out asked them, "Who do you want?" They said, "Jesus of Nazareth." He said, "I am He."
Something that we may miss here in the language -- the word here is ego emi, I AM. If you follow through the Gospel of John, there are about 20 "I AM" statements. And just in this passage alone, we have four of those.
Jesus says here I AM. He is stating from what was said in the burning bush from Exodus 3, as God is speaking to Moses, where God says, I AM THAT I AM. And how do they respond? The soldiers took a step back and fell down. We do not know if it is all of them, but I imagine it is about 1000 of them, because it says "they." The Word of God is powerful.
As the soldiers fell, Judas too was one among them. By the way, in some churches they promote falling down. This is an example of where at the Word of God, people fell down. Why? Because they were in rebellion against God! They were coming out to fight against Jesus.
Look at other examples where people fell down. Some people tell about Saul, who fell down and began to prophesy. Was Saul obedient to God? It is an important question we need to ask. If you want to fall down or have a ministry of falling down, please keep these things in mind. There is also Annanias and Saphira who fell down and died by the power of the Spirit. Keep these things in mind.
Later again Jesus asks in verse 7, "Who is it that you want?" My guess is like this -- this time they are saying, "Je..Je..Jee..sus of Nazareth." And He said, "I told you I am He, therefore let these go." And He did that to fulfill the prophecy that said, none of His would be lost.