How Will You Fall When You See Jesus?

How Will You Fall When You See Jesus Christ?

 When you come face to face with Jesus Christ and you will, will you fall forward onto your knees before him, or will you be driven backward and be knocked down?"

In both Christ is a consuming fire: to those who rebel against him (the day of his coming shall burn as an oven Ps. 21:9) and a rejoicing light to those who serve him faithfully Lk 3:17) 

Matthew Henry Christ in the Garden John 18 Once, when they wanted to take Him by force and make Him a king, He departed from them (John 6:15); but now that He was to be scourged and crucified, He boldly advanced to meet them. This was in sharp contrast from the first Adam in Eden, who, after his sin, hid himself among the trees of the garden. So, too, Christ’s act and question here bore witness to the futility and folly of their "lanterns and torches and weapons.""And said unto them, Whom seek ye?" (John 18:4). Our Lord was the first to speak: He did not wait to be challenged. His reason for asking this question is indicated in the "therefore" of the previous clause—"Jesus therefore, knowing all things that should come upon him, went forth, and said unto them, Whom seek ye?" That which the Holy Spirit has here emphasized is the willingness of Christ to suffer, His readiness to go forth to the Cross. He knew full well for what fell purpose these men were there, but He asks the question so that He might solemnly and formally surrender Himself to them. Once, when they wanted to take Him by force and make Him a king, He departed from them (John 6:15); but now that He was to be scourged and crucified, He boldly advanced to meet them. 

This was in sharp contrast from the first Adam in Eden, who, after his sin, hid himself among the trees of the garden. So, too, Christ’s act and question here bore witness to the futility and folly of their "lanterns and torches and weapons.""They answered him, Jesus of Nazareth. Jesus said unto them, I am" (John 18:5). Why did they not answer, "Thee!"? Jesus of Nazareth stood before them, yet they did not say, "Thou art the one we have come to arrest." It is plain from this circumstance that they did not recognize Him, nor did Judas, who is here expressly said to have "stood with them." Despite their "lanterns and torches" their eyes were holden! Does not this go far to confirm our thought on the closing words of John 18:3—the Holy Spirit designedly intimated that something more than the light which nature supplies is needed to discover and discern the person of the God-man! And how this is emphasized by the presence of Judas, who had been in closest contact with the Savior for three years! How solemn the lesson! How forcibly this illustrates 2 Corinthians 4:3, 4: "But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost: in whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not." Even the traitor failed now to recognize the Lord: he too was stricken with dimness of vision. The natural man is spiritually blind: the Light shone in the darkness, and the darkness comprehended it not (John 1:5)! It is only as the light of God shines in our hearts that knowledge is given us to behold the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ (2 Cor. 4:6)!"

And Judas, also, which betrayed him, stood with them" (John 18:5). Only a few hours previous he had been seated with Christ and the Eleven, now he is found with the Lord’s enemies, acting as their guide. Some have argued that there is a discrepancy here between John’s account and what we read of in the Synoptics. In the latter we are told Judas had arranged with the soldiers that he would give them a sign, identifying the One they should arrest by kissing Him. This he did, and they laid hands on Him. But here in John 18 he is viewed as failing to recognize the Savior, yet there is no discrepancy at all. John does not relate what Matthew and the others give us, but instead, supplies details which they were guided to omit. John tells us what took place in the Garden before the traitor gave his vile sign. If the reader will compare Luke’s account he will see that the kiss was given by Judas at a point between what we read of in John 18, verses 9, 10."As soon then as he had said unto them, I am, they went backward, and fell to the ground" (John 18:6). Another reason why notice is taken of Judas at the dose of the preceding verse is to inform us that he, too, fell to the ground. Observe the words "they went backward."

 They were there to arrest Him, but instead of advancing to lay hands on Him, they retreated! Among them were five hundred Roman soldiers, yet they retired before His single "I am." They fell back in consternation, not forward in worship! All He said was "I am"; but it was fully sufficient to overawe and overpower them. It was the enunciation of the ineffable Name of God, by which He was revealed to Moses at the burning bush (Ex. 3:14). It was a display of His Divine majesty. It was a quiet exhibition of His Divine power. It was a signal demonstration that He was "the word" (John 1:1)! He did not strike them with His hand—there was no need to; He simply spoke two monosyllables and they were completely overcome.But why, we may ask, should our Lord have acted in such a manner on this occasion? 

First, that it might be clearly shown He was more than "Jesus of Nazareth": He was "God manifest in flesh," and never was this more unmistakably evidenced. Second, that it might appear with absolute dearness that He voluntarily delivered Himself up into their hands—that it was not they who apprehended Him, but He who submitted to them. He was not captured, for He was not to (passively) suffer merely, but to (actively) offer Himself as a sacrifice to God. Here is the ultimate reason why it is recorded that "Judas also, which betrayed him, stood with them": the traitor’s perfidy was needless and the captor’s weapons useless against One who is giving up Himself unto death and was soon to give Himself in death. If none had power to take His life from Him (John 10:18, 19), none had power to arrest Him. He here showed them, and us, that they were completely at His mercy—helpless on the ground—and not He at theirs. How easy for Him then to have walked quietly away, unmolested! First, they failed to recognize Him; now they were prostrate before Him. What was to hinder Him from leaving them thus? Nothing but His Father’s will, and to it He submissively bowed. 

Thus did the Savior give proof of His willingness to offer Himself as a sacrifice for sin. In the third place, it left these men without excuse. Every detail in connection with our Lord’s passion had been determined by the Divine counsels, yet God did not treat those who had a hand in it as mere machines, but as responsible moral agents. Before Pilate sentenced Christ to death, God first gave him a plain intimation that it was an innocent Man who stood before him, by warning his wife in a dream (Matthew 27:19). So here with these Roman soldiers, who may never have seen Christ before. They cannot plead in the Day of judgment that they were ignorant of the glory of His person: they cannot say that they never witnessed His miraculous power, and had no opportunity given them to believe on Him. 

This exhibition of His majesty, and their laying hands on Him afterwards, makes their condemnation just!It is very striking to observe that the Lord Jesus had uttered the same words on previous occasions, but with very different effects. To the woman at the well He had said "I am" (John 4:26), and she at once recognized Him as the Christ (John 4:29). To the disciples on the storm-lashed sea He had said, "I am" (John 6:20—see Greek), and we are told "they willingly received him into the ship." But here there was no conviction wrought of His Messiahship, and no willing reception of Him. Instead, they were terrified, and fell to the ground. What a marvelous demonstration that the same Word is to some "a savor of life unto life," while to others it is "a savor of death unto death"! Observe, too, that His Divine "I am" to the disciples in the ship was accompanied by "Be not afraid" (John 6:20); how solemn to mark its omission here!Vividly does this forewarn sinners of how utterly helpless they will be before the Christ of God in a coming Day! "What shall He do when He comes to judge, who did this when about to be judged? What shall be His might when He comes to reign, who had this might when He was at the point to die?" (Augustine.) What, indeed, will be the effect of that Voice when He speaks in judgment upon the wicked!"As soon then as he had said unto them, I am, they went backward, and fell to the ground." This was a remarkable fulfillment of an Old Testament prophecy given a thousand years before. It is recorded in the 27th Psalm, the whole of which, most probably, was silently uttered by the Savior as He journeyed from the upper-room in Jerusalem, across the brook Cedron, into the Garden. 

"The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The Lord is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid? When the wicked, even my enemies and my foes, came upon me to eat up my flesh, they stumbled and fell" (verses 1, 2). Let the reader pause and ponder the remainder of this Psalm: it is blessed to learn what comforted and strengthened the Savior’s heart in that trying hour. Psalm 27 gives us the musings of Christ’s heart at this time, Godwards. Psalm 35 recorded His prayers against His enemies, manwards: "Let them be confounded and put to shame that seek after my soul: let them be turned back and brought to confusion that devise my hurt" (verse 4). Still another Psalm should be read in this connection, the 40th. That this Psalm is a Messianic one we know positively from verses 7, 8. verses 11-17 were, we believe, a part of His prayer in Gethsemane, and in it He asked, "Let them be ashamed and confounded together that seek after my soul to destroy it; let them be driven backward and put to shame that wish me evil" (verse 14). Thus was both Messianic prophecy fulfilled and prayer answered in this overwhelming of His enemies."Then asked he them again, Whom seek ye?" (John 18:7). "This second question carries a mighty conviction, a mighty triumph with it over their conscience as if He had said, I have told you I am; and I have told it you to purpose, have I not? Have you not learned by this who I am, when your hearts are so terrified that you all fell down before Me! They had been taught by woeful experience who He was, when He blew them over, flung them down with His breath; and it might have turned to a blessed experience had God struck their hearts, as He did their outward man" (Mr. Thomas Goodwin).

My prayer: God we your saints fall down before you in worship, on our knees, to our face before you.. We know our Lord Jesus. We welcome him into our lives. God forbid we as your enemies not know you until they heard "I Am" and were driven backward and knocked down. Amen!


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