In the Garden

The last hours of freedom for the Lord Jesus were spent in the Garden of Gethsemane. Three of the Gospel accounts describe the confrontation of Jesus by Judas, the chief priests, the captains of the temple, and the elders. (Luke 22:52) It appears that not only were there temple guards, but the chief priests and elders were in the mob that came for Jesus.

Judas was necessary to lead the officials to Jesus (Luke 22:47) because:

The Gospel of John gives us an insight into this event that is missing in the other Gospels. We can always count on a spiritual or metaphysical perspective from the Beloved Disciple. After all, it was John that opened his Gospel with, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God.” (John 1:1-2) That is metaphysical, and spiritual.

The Apostle John tells it like this:
"Jesus therefore, knowing all things that should come upon him, went forth, and said unto them, Whom seek ye? They answered him, Jesus of Nazareth. Jesus said unto them, I am [he]. And Judas also, which betrayed him, stood with them. As soon then as he had said unto them, I am [he], they went backward, and fell to the ground. Then asked he them again, Whom seek ye? And they said, Jesus of Nazareth. Jesus answered, I have told you that I am [he]: if therefore ye seek me, let these go their way." – John 18:4-8

Most commentaries opine that the guards knelt in the presence of Jesus. The temple guards had come to arrest a rabble-rouser. It is hard to believe that they would kneel before Him. One possibility involves the God/Man nature of Jesus. On more than one occasion Jesus was able to control the minds of those seeking to harm Him. (Luke 4:30, John 10:39) Knowing what was approaching, when the guards attempted to arrest Him, His human nature was to repel them. But, His Divine nature immediately allowed them to take Him into custody.

An even better explanation is found in the text. Jesus said, “I am,” the name of God given to Moses on Mount Sinai. It is repeated three times in the text above. He did not say “I am he.” The “he” was inserted by the translators. Jesus was declaring His Sovereignty and the fact that He was God. It is possible that the countenance seen by the Disciples on the Mount of Transfiguration momentarily appeared and frightened the guards.

But they did not kneel. They fell backward. The Greek text clearly indicates this. The Greek word is pipto (Strong’s G4098), which means "to fall." There are four occasions in the New Testament describing kneeling. (Matthew 27:29, Romans 11:4 and 14:11, Philippians 2:10) On every occasion either one fell on his knees (Strong’s G1120), or bended his knee to kneel. (Strong’s G2578 and G1119) Kneeling is never described as “falling backward.”

Some day soon, “every knee will bow and every tongue will confess.” (Romans 14:11) How I look forward to that Day.

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