READ: John 18:1-8
It was time for Jesus to be arrested. He was innocent, but those who hated Him wanted Him to put to death. If you were to read the account of Jesus’ arrest, at first glance, it seems that Jesus was overtaken by a multitude at His arrest. Jesus puts this thought to rest by revealing both His great power and great love here in Gethsemane. In fact, before Jesus stepped into His destiny at this moment in the Garden, He explained His love and power in a wonderful statement in John 10:15-18. Jesus said, “I lay down my life for the sheep…My Father loves me because I lay down my life that I may take it again. No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of myself. I have the power to lay it down, and I have the power to take it again.”
In this dramatic scene in the garden of Gethsemane, a number of troops and officers from the chief priests and Pharisees came with lanterns, torches, and weapons. This was not a handful of people that came to arrest Jesus. It was a large amount; there were at least 300 men ready to seize Jesus. Jesus was a threat to them, and they saw His power and authority in the last few years. They came ready to take Jesus with force; they knew that a small number of people wouldn’t work. As we will see, numbers didn’t matter to Jesus anyway.
Jesus knowing this, came forward and asked, “Whom are you seeking?” (John 18:4). Did you get that? Jesus didn’t run; He willingly came forward. This arrest was on His terms; He was coming forward, allowing them to arrest Him. When the crowd responded that they were looking for Jesus, He responded by saying, “I AM.” As soon as Jesus said this, those coming to arrest Him fell to the ground. This is not a picture of them tripping and lightly catching themselves on the ground. The great I AM was in their midst, and when He declared His name, there was so much power and authority that they fell violently to the ground! Jesus could have escaped with no problem. But Jesus remained, asking them again whom they were seeking and revealing again that it was He whom they wanted.
Jesus reveals His power again by making a powerful statement in Matthew’s account of His arrest in the garden. Jesus said, “Or do you think that I cannot now pray to my Father, and He will provide me with more than twelve legions of angels?” (Matthew 26:53). A legion was a term used for about 6,000 military men in the Roman army. Jesus was saying that He had so much power and authority that He can instantly get more than 72,000 angels to rescue Him at this moment (though He would never need an angel to rescue Him). Remember, one angel, defeated an army of 185,000 Assyrian soldiers! (2 Kings 19:35). The power of Jesus has been revealed in the garden of Gethsemane. Jesus confirms that He has power and that surely no one can take His life from Him. No one has power over Jesus!
Jesus wants to reveal something even more than His power here. He has gone to great lengths to communicate that He alone lays down His life, no one has the power to take it from Him. With that being said, don’t miss what Jesus is actually saying here. Jesus is saying that since no one has the power to seize Him and take His life from Him, He has used His authority and power to love. He alone was able to keep Himself from what was going to transpire after His arrest, but He didn’t. He willing lays down His life for you and me because of His great, great love. If Jesus only wanted to reveal His power here, He would not have gone to the cross, but He did go to cross to reveal His unconditional love for you!
At His arrest, Jesus once again proves His great love for humanity. He willingly gave His life so that you can have life, eternally and abundantly. No greater love exists like this: Jesus willingly laid down His life for you. Take comfort in God’s great love for you today. His love is amazing, life-changing, and will never end.
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