"I. AM. HE."

When my oldest son was just a toddler he would love to ‘wrassel’. “Let’s wrassel Daddy!” And then with all twenty-five pounds of himself he would then grab my leg and tug and grunt. “Oh, you got me,” I would say, and then carefully I would fall to ground and he would jump on top me and say, “I pinned you!”  But sometimes, just as he thought he had me beat, I would throw him way off onto the nearby couch or bed. Undeterred, he would run back and start tugging on the leg.

In John 18, the chapter which records Jesus’ betrayal, a similar picture is portrayed. Jesus has just finished praying and his own disciples were weary for sleep when Judas shows up with a gang of soldiers, church officers and Pharisees. These guys were carrying lanterns and weapons and clubs – they were ready to ‘wrassel’ the Son of God. John writes (18:4-6),

“Then Jesus, knowing all that would happen to Him, came forward and said to them, ‘Whom do you seek?’ They answered Him, ‘Jesus of Nazereth.’ 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.”

Did you see that? Jesus, although fully man was showing off His ‘God-ness!’ Just at His response, ‘I. Am. He.’ Jesus opened the door ever so minutely to His sovereign magnificently powerful control and tossed this gang of thugs aside like dust off His toe. Jesus was never in any real danger with this squadron of men, but for our sake, He completely surrendered Himself into their custody.

Even when Jesus’ own disciples tried to ‘protect’ Jesus from this gang of hoodlums, Jesus said (Matthew 26:52-54),

“Put your sword back into its place. ...  Do you think that I cannot appeal to my Father, and He will at once send me more than twelve legions [60,000] of angels? But how then should the Scriptures be fulfilled, that it must be so?”

Jesus knew the cost of our salvation. Jesus knew that we were powerless to save ourselves. Jesus knew that the only means for us to have life was that He had to suffer horribly and terribly and die – even if it meant surrendering Himself unto death by the weak hands of tiny men.

Easter is the celebration of the brightness of life resurrected from death. It is the brilliance of the day after a terrible stormy night. Has your heart ever truly measured the depth of Christ’s love for you? Have you ever asked, “Why did you surrender yourself to this torture when you could have avoided the pain?” And has the soul of your heart heard Jesus whisper, “I did this for you!” May we who believe in Jesus’ saving work celebrate life, but we may never ever forget the cost. 

JesusRiverside Church