“So Judas, having procured a band of soldiers and some officers from the chief priests and the Pharisees, went there with lanterns and torches and weapons. Then Jesus, knowing all that would happen to him, came forward and said to them, ‘Whom do you seek?’ They answered him, ‘Jesus of Nazareth.’ Jesus said to them, ‘I am he.’ Judas, who betrayed him, was standing with them. When Jesus said to them, ‘I am he,’ they drew back and fell to the ground.” –John 18:4-6
When I’ve watched “The Jesus Movie” cartoon with my kids, at this point in the story, the earth shakes and Jesus final two words “I AM” rumble with power, sending all those coming against him to their knees in awe. Doubtful it happened like that, but its a powerful illustration of the spiritual reality of the scene. “The ‘he’ is not expressed in the Greek: and ‘I am’ to Jewish ears was the name of Jehovah,” (Cambridge Bible for Schools and Colleges).
When God spoke to Moses from the burning bush, and Moses asked for His name, God answered, “I AM that I AM. You must say this to the Israelites, ‘I AM has sent me to you,” (Exo 3:14). And so Jesus, the Word of God manifest in the flesh (John 1:1,14), rightly identifies Himself many times in the Gospel as “I AM.”
In the midst of a night storm, Jesus appears to His disciples who are in a boat. “Do not be afraid. I AM,” (John 6:20).
Jesus said to the people, “For unless you believe that I AM, you will die in your sins,” (John 8:24).
He then tells them, “When you lift up the Son of Man, then you will know that I AM,” (John 8:28).
After washing His disciples feet, Jesus tells them, “You call me ‘Teacher’ and ‘Lord,’ and do so correctly, for that is what I AM,” (John 13:13).
We say we believe Jesus is the Son of God, but do we feel the weight of that? Do we understand the significance? Would we not ever fear if we knew that I AM was with us as He promised (Mat 28:20)? Would we not be alive with joy (1Co 15:22; Eph 2:5; Psa 30:11), seeing that the God of the universe (Gen 1:1; Col 1:16) has set our transgressions on Himself (Psa 65:3; Isa 53:5) and forgiven us a monstrous debt (Mat 18:23-27; Luk 7:42-43)? Would we not follow our masters lead and teachings in full obedience (John 14:15)? For He is great, and mighty to save (Zep 3:17)!
Dear Lord, let me see Your glory (Exo 33:18), so that I too can be humbled before Your mighty name. For I know You are a compassionate and graciously loving God (Psa 86:15) who exalts the humble (Jam 4:10; 1Pe 5:6). Give me the faith to step into the darkness of Your mystery (Exo 20:20-21) and go wherever You lead so as to be closer to Your mighty presence.