Jesus replied, “eigo eimi”…



John 18:3 So Judas brought a detachment of soldiers together with police from the chief priests and the Pharisees, and they came there with lanterns and torches and weapons. 4 Then Jesus, knowing all that was to happen to him, came forward and asked them, “Whom are you looking for?” 5 They answered, “Jesus of Nazareth.” Jesus replied, “I am he.” Judas, who betrayed him, was standing with them. 6 When Jesus said to them, “I am he,” they stepped back and fell to the ground.

I’ve read this passage many times yet I’ve never noticed the second part of v.6 “…they stepped back and fell to the ground.” They are an armed group of officials approaching an unarmed Jesus, yet it’s the arresting party that falls to the ground. What gives?

I looked this up in one of my commentaries (a commentary is a companion book that helps explain the biblical texts). The Greek words for “I am he” (v.5) is “ego eimi” which literally means “I Am”. This is the name by which Moses referred to God when explaining to Pharaoh who had sent him to free the Hebrews. “I Am” sent me. So when Jesus says “ego eimi” in Greek he’s identifying himself with the great “I Am” of God. He is declaring his divinity. The arresting party, ethnic Jews, understood what Jesus meant so they fell at his feet.

So what’s the application here? I’m not really sure. I just thought this was interesting. Hope you’re having a wonderful Thanksgiving weekend! Blessings.


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