In our eighth and final week of studying the “I am” statements of Jesus in the book of John, we are adding a “bonus” statement to the traditional seven. Typically, the passage in John 18 in which Jesus says “I am He,” is not included in what is studied. However, we felt it was a great passage to add to our series, because it gives us great insight into who Jesus is, specifically, I think, that He is both our Lord and our Savior.
If you have been baptized at some point in your life, you were probably asked a few questions during the ceremony. Usually one of these sounds something to the effect of the following:
“Do you accept Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior?”
Sounds pretty standard, right? The Christian believer accepts Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior through the ritual of baptism to publicly announce that this is how they will now be living their life.
In his sermon on Sunday morning, youth pastor Steve Valdez talked to our junior high and high school students about Jesus’ interaction with the Roman guards in the Garden of Gethsemane. If you would like a refresher, open up to John 18, and read verses 1-11. Jesus actually makes the statement “I am He” twice in the conversation, but with very different intentions each time, demonstrating both his Lordship and the saving grace he extends to humanity.
Verse six informs us that there was a powerful after effect of Jesus’ first declaration of His identity. They “drew back and fell to the ground.” Now because we are given no other information as to what may have caused this sudden toppling, it is clear that it is a result of Jesus’ innate power as God emanating from within Him. In this moment, Jesus is Lord. He is demonstrating his Godhood and telling the soldiers that they do not have power over Him, that his arrest is only happening with his submission.
6 When Jesus said, “I am he,” they drew back and fell to the ground. John 18:6
However, the story continues. After the soldiers get up and brush themselves off, Jesus asks them again, “Who are you looking for?” When they respond the same way as before, so does He. With one caveat, Jesus adds to his second declaration of identity a command to allow his disciples to go free, and to just take Him away.
8 Jesus answered, “I told you that I am he. If you are looking for me, then let these men go.” John 18:8
In this moment, Jesus is Savior. With full knowledge of the events that would transpire as a result, Jesus emphatically asserts that he is who he is. While doing so, he creates a path for those with him, who are also guilty of blasphemy and Sabbath-breaking, to go free. Jesus takes on the full extent of the punishment himself.
So how do we respond to this amazing moment in scripture? We reclaim Jesus as both our Lord and Savior. While they may seem like a no-brainer, I want to challenge you to honestly examine your attitude toward Him. I believe that most people tend to follow Jesus as either one or the other. Some of us tend to see Him as just our Lord. We follow his commands, doing the things he did, and generally can check off the boxes of the physical acts of obedience that we carry out as our way to be faithful. While that is certainly not a bad thing, we often start to see those things we do as what saves us from hell. Like the Pharisees, we start to view the rules and traditions we follow as our savior, rather than the One who instructed us to do them.
On the other hand, many of us tend to simply allow Jesus to be our savior. We gladly accept his grace and forgiveness at our baptism, but then live life in ways that tends to gratify ourselves. Our behavior does not reflect the claim that Jesus is our Lord, the one whom we have given our devotion and on whose words we set our ways.
We will all fall into these categories at some point. You probably identify as one of them right now. Take time to repent and pray. Ask God for forgiveness and realign your thinking with the great I Am.
Is Jesus your Lord?
Is He your Savior?
Or is he who you claimed he was, both Lord of your life and Savior of your soul?
Missed Sunday’s Sermon? Listen to the I AM Series [here].