Bible Reading: John 18:1-11; Matthew 26:47-56
I have often thought that one of the most remarkable pictures in the New Testament is the way in which Jesus stood and answered those who came to arrest Him.
At all times during His suffering and death Jesus was in full control of Himself. Unless He allowed them to arrest Him, they could never have taken Him. Elsewhere in John’s Gospel, Jesus said about His life, “No man takes it from Me, but I lay it down of Myself. I have the power to lay it down, and I have the power to take it again” [John 10:18]. In Matthew’s account of the arrest of Jesus, it is clear that Peter’s use of his sword was totally unnecessary as Jesus said, “Do you think that I cannot now pray to My Father, and He will provide Me with more than twelve legions of angels?” Seventy-two thousand angels would have come to His rescue! Imagine the power that they would have, if one angel once killed 185,000 Assyrian troops who were threatening Jerusalem [2 Kings 19:35].
The religious leaders must have thought that Jesus was very dangerous. They sent a whole detachment of troops with their weapons to arrest Him! Jesus knew why they came and yet asked them, “Whom are you seeking?” [v.4]. When they said, “Jesus of Nazareth” He responded, “I am He” [v.5], and they drew back and fell to the ground! In the presence of the King, these godless men, not expecting His authority, fell to the ground.
We should not be surprised if someone crumples to the floor in the presence of God. It happened many times in the Bible. Abram fell to ground when God spoke to him [Genesis 17:3]. Joshua fell to the ground in the presence of God [Joshua 5:14,15]. Ezekiel fell on his face when he saw the glory of the Lord [Ezekiel 3:23]. Daniel was afraid and fell on his face [Daniel 8:17; 10:15]. Three of Jesus’ disciples fell on their faces when God’s glory was manifested to them [Matthew 17:6]. Paul fell to the ground when he met the glorified Christ [Acts 9:4 & 26:14]. Similarly, John fell at the feet Jesus when He appeared to him on the Isle of Patmos [Revelation 1:17].
I have heard people say that when people fall to the ground it is just an emotional or psychological experience. There are times when that might be the case, but sometimes in the presence of God people are simply unable to remain standing, and often in those times God is doing a supernatural work, even spiritual surgery, in a person’s heart. One day every knee will bow, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father!
Why is it important that we are not judgmental but instead have a discerning spirit when unusual things happen in the presence of God?
Why do you think that those who came to arrest Jesus could not remain standing as He responded to their coming?
Read Luke 10:19. What does it mean that Christ has given us His authority?