June 1 – Two Words

“Jesus the Nazarene,” they replied. I am,” Jesus said. (Judas, who betrayed him, was standing with them.) As Jesus said I am,” they all drew back and fell to the ground! (John 18:5-6)

Read: 2 Samuel 14:1 – 15:22, John 18:1-24, Psalm 119:97-112, Proverbs 16:8-9

Relate: Ego Eimi. I exist. It is I. I am. However you want to translate it, the words out of Jesus mouth threw the others to the ground. Judas, the betrayer, was there. A delegation from the priests and the Pharisees was there in all their stuffily religious zeal. A detachment of soldiers was there armed to the teeth. It didn’t matter. With two words, “I AM” they all fall down.

These men came to arrest Jesus. They wanted to control Him, to stop Him, to silence Him. They wanted to put Him in chains and take Him where He didn’t want to go. They thought they were in control of the situation. The religious delegates felt that they were the ones running the show. The soldiers felt they could handle anything that came their way. Judas thought… well, who knew what Judas was thinking. He clearly wasn’t. No matter. With two simple words, in Greek, “Ego Eimi” in English, “I AM” Jesus set them straight. The road He walked to the cross was completely and totally His choice. It was not forced on Him. He never lost control. What He did, Jesus did willingly.

React: Am I like the soldier? Do I think I can force the issue? If I have the right tools, the right weapons, am I the one in control? If only I am strong enough, if I undergo enough training or preparation, then I can be the one running the show. This is a popular lie from the world. If one has enough education, or self discipline, if one knows the right people then they can be the one running the show.

Am I the religious delegate? Do I think that by virtue of my self-earned righteousness that I can be the one running the show? We would never couch it in those terms, but how often do those in the religious world buy into this lie? If only I pray more, or fast more, then God must listen to me. If I stop what I am doing and bow my head to the east with every call from the minaret then surely God will listen to me. If I read my Bible more often, how could I not earn His favor? How dare He deny my request?

Am I Judas? Everyone thinks I am a follower of Christ. I believe I’ve got everyone fooled. Even God. Even myself. Even as my words and my appearance is that of being a friend of God, with my actions I betray Him. I think I’ve got everything under control. I can stop doing it anytime I want. As long as I say I’m sorry, He has to forgive my most recent betrayal. I think that an apology has it covered and that repentance is far too radical a step. “I’m in control” I think as I betray Him with a kiss.

Then He speaks two words…
And all illusions are shattered.

Respond: 

Dear God,
Please shatter my illusions. Knock me off my feet. That misconception of control, that idea of freedom, that I can do my own thing. Erase it from my mind. Forgive me for the audacity in thinking that if somehow I might be a little more righteous I might somehow control You. Forgive me for the temerity in thinking that I can be OK even as I betray You with my sin. Forgive me for thinking that I can run things with just a little more self discipline or force of will. You are in control. You are God. You are, “Ego eime.” Jesus, You are I AM.
Amen

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10 thoughts on “June 1 – Two Words

  1. A good reminder – like when God finally answered Job. He simply revealed who He was, and Job lost all objections and need to be justified. This scene, though, always fascinates me. With two words, Jesus made all of them fall to the ground, yet they still arrested him, still condemned him, still crucified him…Just like the many times God proves himself to us (his capability to handle anything we face) again and again, but we still deny him again and again…I do…

  2. Read a lot of commentary on Judas. Is he guilty of anything because he is part of the plan ? He is chosen. It says the devil entered Judas and Jesus says go , do what you must do. Perhaps Judas killed himself because he was chosen to perform this distasteful part. O what a dreadful curse. Judas was chosen in the mind of God even before creation.

  3. I taught this text last night. You might appreciate the book “Daring Faith” by Randy Harris and Greg Taylor. I really liked your attention to the perspective of individuals who were there.

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