Devotion for August 1, 2020

“When Jesus said to them, ‘I am he,’ they drew back and fell to the ground.” (John 18:6)

When Judas, the band of soldiers, and officials sent by the priests and the Pharisees said that they were looking for Jesus, Jesus replied, “I am he.” Perhaps this was merely an admission that He is Jesus, or perhaps Jesus is saying the divine name, I AM (Exodus 3:14).

Either way, what happens next is amusing. Immediately, the band of soldiers and the Jewish officials fell backwards, right to the ground. Jesus knocked over His enemies with a mere word. They did stand back up, probably shaking a bit. They did arrest Jesus. However, John recorded this amusing detail, so that you might know that Jesus went with these men willingly.

Jesus is the true God, the Almighty. Nobody can force Jesus to do anything against His will. Indeed, He really could have come off the Cross, if He wanted to.

That’s the point, He wanted to go with these men. He chose to die on the Cross. Even though Jesus felt real human fear, He didn’t wield His great power to protect Himself. His death was a genuine sacrifice.

Your God died for you. He died in your place. He died, so that you don’t have to die. Jesus said, “Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends. You are my friends” (John 15:13-14).

“God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8).

A Lamb goes uncomplaining forth, The guilt of sinners bearing
And, laden with the sins of earth, None else the burden sharing;
Goes patient on, grows weak and faint, To slaughter led without complaint,
That spotless life to offer, He bears the stripes, the wounds, the lies,
The mockery, and yet replies, “All this I gladly suffer.”
(“A Lamb Goes Uncomplaining Forth” LSB 438, st. 1)

Stay encouraged!
Pastor Mike

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Pastor Bailey
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