The time had come. Jesus had shared His last Passover meal with the disciples. He had given them instructions to love one another, to abide in Him, and the promise of the Encourager, the Spirit of Truth to guide them through this life. And He had prayed to His Father to protect them, make them holy, and bring them at last to be with Him in His Heavenly Home. Then, they had crossed the Kidron Valley to a grove of olive trees.Judas, the traitor, knew of the place, and he brought there the company of soldiers and temple guards assigned him by the religious leaders to arrest Jesus.
And Jesus, knowing what would happen, stepped forward to meet them. “Who are you looking for?” He asked.
When they replied “Jesus of Nazareth”, He faced them full on. “I AM He,” Jesus proclaimed. And they staggered back from Him, falling to the ground.
Long ago, when God commissioned Moses to return to Egypt and lead Israel out of bondage, Moses had asked God what His Name was. God had replied “I AM THAT I AM.” And He had told Moses to tell Israel that “I AM” had sent him to lead them.
So Jesus, facing the treacherous Judas and the armed mob that had been sent to arrest Him, announced Himself as Almighty God, totally outside the reach of their power. And by speaking His Name, He totally defeated them, bringing them to the ground.
All that followed, His arrest, His trials, and finally His crucifixion– all of that was an act of sovereign surrender, a total impossibility, carried out according to the plan of Jesus and His Father for our benefit. The creator of all willingly submitted to His arrest; the immortal willingly submitted to death. And, in so doing, He destroyed the one who had the power of death, and made possible again a relationship between God and man.