The Guards Falling Backwards by James Jacques Tissot

esus, knowing all that was going to happen to him, went out and asked them, “Who is it you want?” 5 “Jesus of Nazareth,” they replied. “I am he,” Jesus said. (And Judas the traitor was standing there with them.) 6 When Jesus said, “I am he,” they drew back and fell to the ground. John 18:4-6

I know I say this often, but there is so much in the Passion Story that I love. And it is so great that every year as we focus on the events of this week another aspect of Jesus’ life stands out. Last year it was Malchius, the servant of the High Priest that was attacked by Peter and healed by Christ in the Garden.

This year it is again events in the Garden that have arrested my attention. What happened as those soldiers and Jewish officials approached Jesus in the Garden? What did Jesus do? What did he look like? What happened that caused those men to fall back and stumble to the ground?

“I am HE”

I do not fully understand the power of that statement. But those men experienced it. Something happened in the moment that Jesus spoke those words that caused those around Him to fall.

It makes me think of Peter’s statement earlier in the Gospels, “Lord, where would we go? You have the WORDS of life.” (my paraphrase) Peter said Jesus had “words of life” — WORDS. Peter didn’t refer to something Jesus did or was going to do. He said Jesus had WORDS.

Who is this God we serve? Who is this God we worship? What God, with such power to speak the universe into existence, should be concerned about me and include me into His plan to redeem the nations to himself?