Once more he asked them, “Who are you looking for?”
And again they replied, “Jesus the Nazarene.”
“I told you that I am he,” Jesus said. “And since I am the one you want, let these others go.” He did this to fulfill his own statement: “I did not lose a single one of those you have given me.” (John 18:7-9)
Relate: There was a movie that came out about a decade ago called Hart’s War. It follows the experience of an idealistic young Lieutenant who was captured during WWII and sent to a German POW camp. The movie follows two plots, one is the trial of a black officer accused of murder. The second is the escape attempt of many other POWs using the trial as a screen for their activities. Both plots are devices to weave in an excellent look at issues like racism, cultural conflict (between Garman, American and Pole as well as the more obvious black vs white and captor vs captive), and what true freedom really is.
Near the end of the movie many of the POWs escape and in the process blow up a nearby munitions dump. The head of the German camp lines up the remaining American prisoners with plans to execute the lot of them when Bruce Willis (I mean Col McNamara) shows back up at the front gate. He had escaped, but he willingly returned to captivity to have this discussion with the German officer:
React: I was thinking about explaining the clip but it really does speak for itself, doesn’t it? A man who was free reenters a prison camp voluntarily to die so that others might live. If someone can’t grasp the redemptive analogies here…
Jesus had every right to walk free. He had the power to do so. He proved that with his answer, “I AM He.” The arrest in the garden was unjust and illegal. But Jesus didn’t care about His rights. He didn’t exercise His freedom or His power. His only concern was for those He came to save. “Take me, let them go.” Because He voluntarily, willingly walked to the cross, I can be free.
God, I am so grateful for Your sacrifice. Even as they came to you with swords and chains, Your concern was for others. Even as You began to walk down that fateful road to Your death, Your request was that those with You would be free. Your focus on Your purpose even at that final hour, Your love for us even in the face of torture and death… God, You are so worthy.