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It was quite a moment at the Chris Tomlin Love Ran Red concert at the USF Sun Dome. Chris asked the audience to send in questions for him to answer, saying he’d never done this before at a concert. He read and answered several questions, and then he came to this one, “What is your favorite Scripture verse?” He immediately replied, “John 18:6,” and then he went on to explain why. But instantly, I knew why. It had been a favorite verse to me, too, from the moment my foot first touched the Mount of Olives in Jerusalem.
As soon then as he had said unto them, I am [he], they went backward, and fell to the ground.–John 18:6
A word study of the ESV English-Greek Reverse Interlinear New Testament reveals, Jesus answered them: “ego eimi” (I AM).
It is evident that it was the power of God that made these 600-plus men fall backward to the ground, but why did it happen when He said, “I am he”? In this verse, the word “he” is italicized. That means that the word “he” was not in the original text but was added by the translators to make the sentence grammatically correct. In this instance, Jesus literally said, “I am.” Since Jesus was God manifest in the flesh, His statement of “I am” carried just as much weight as when it was spoken to Moses (Exodus 3:14). This was nothing less than the Almighty God releasing His glory through this powerful statement of “I AM.” No wonder these men were knocked to the ground.
Our Israeli tour bus stopped at the top of the Mount of Olives. As I stepped off the bus, and my foot first touched the Mount of Olives, I became so aware of the holy presence of our Lord. I remembered God’s Word in Zechariah 14:4…On that day, His Feet will stand on the Mount of Olives, east of Jerusalem, and the Mount of Olives will be split in two from east to west.
My Lord and Savior Jesus Christ walked here, prayed here, ascended to Heaven here, and one day He will return here, splitting the Mount of Olives like the veil of the temple.
As I begin to walk down the steep incline down the Mount of Olives to the Garden of Gethsemane, my eyes begin to fill with tears for the sweat drops of blood pressed from my Savior as He wept and prayed, My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet, not as I will, but as You will.
Touching the huge olive tree I photographed above, estimated to be over 2,000 years old, I suddenly realize, He could have prayed here that night, beside this very tree. That night when He went further still after asking His disciples to pray with Him for just an hour…the place where Jesus was betrayed with a kiss.
Picturing the scene from John 18:4-6, Jesus knowing all that was going to happen to Him went out and asked them, Who is it you want?” When Jesus said, “I AM,” they drew back and fell to the ground.
I hear my dear Lord saying, “I AM,” right here where I am standing now. My God and my Savior Jesus Christ, the great “I AM.”
What power knocked 600 armed soldiers to their backs? The God of all creation, El Elyon, the Sovereign and Supreme Most High God, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob stood before them in living, breathing flesh and uttered His perfect, divine, and holy name: “I AM!”
Remembering Acts 1:11-12, This same Jesus, who has been taken from you into heaven, will come back in the same way you have seen Him go into heaven. Then they returned to Jerusalem from the hill called the Mount of Olives.
I will never be the same again...Lord Jesus, open the blocked artery that connects my head to my heart. Open my mind that I may understand the Scriptures, to have Your Feast every day until I see You Face-to-face. In the precious and holy name of Jesus Christ, I pray, amen.
* If you liked this post, you’ll love this book – Name Above All Names Devotional: Focusing on 26 Alphabetical Names of Christ