“Now Judas, who betrayed him, also knew the place, for Jesus often met there with his disciples. So Judas, having procured a band of soldiers and some officers from the chief priests and the Pharisees, went there with lanterns and torches and weapons. Then Jesus, knowing all that would happen to him, came forward and said to them, “Whom do you seek?” They answered him, “Jesus of Nazareth.” Jesus said to them, “I am he.” Judas, who betrayed him, was standing with them. When Jesus said to them, “I am he,” they drew back and fell to the ground. So he asked them again, “Whom do you seek?” And they said, “Jesus of Nazareth.” Jesus answered, “I told you that I am he. So, if you seek me, let these men go.” This was to fulfill the word that he had spoken: “Of those whom you gave me I have lost not one.” (John 18:2-9)
God is in control. How many times have you heard that statement? How many times have you either heard, or read, me either saying or writing that statement as a phrase expressing a significant biblical truth?
God is in control is a true statement evidenced throughout the Scriptures. It summarizes the doctrine known as the sovereignty of God. The sovereignty of God not only teaches that God is the supreme authority but also that He is in complete control of all which occurs. Absolutely nothing happens beyond His authority and sovereign will.
Concurrent with God’s sovereignty are His incommunicable attributes. You know what a communicable disease is? It is an illness that may and can be passed or shared with another person. There are some attributes which God possesses that human beings share to a lesser degree. These so-called communicable attributes include love, joy, peace, and long-suffering, for example (Galatians 5:22-23).
However, incommunicable attributes are those qualities which God alone possesses. These include His all-powerfulness (omnipotence), all-knowingness (omniscience), all-presence (omnipresence) and that He never changes (immutability).
God’s omniscience is displayed in today’s text. Jesus evidences, and therefore is one who possesses, this attribute. He knows all that is going to happen to Him in the unfolding hours up to and including His crucifixion and resurrection. Since omniscience is an attribute only God can possess, and Jesus displays this attribute, we can correctly conclude that Jesus is God. In fact, if you recall this is the entire point of John’s gospel (John 20:30-31). Jesus is God. Jesus is the great I Am.
Dr. John MacArthur explains that, “This “band of soldiers” refers to a cohort of Roman troops. A full cohort could have as many as one thousand men. Normally, however, a cohort consisted of six hundred men, but could sometimes refer to as little as two hundred. Though they were regularly kept at Caesarea, Roman auxiliary troops were brought into Jerusalem (to the Antonia Fortress near the temple) during feast days for added security (in order to ensure against mob violence or rebellion because of the large population that filled Jerusalem). The second group designated as “officers” refers to temple police, who were the primary arresting officers since Jesus’ destination after the arrest was to be brought before the high priest (vv. 12–14). They came ready for resistance from Jesus and his followers (“weapons”).
When the confrontation occurred, Jesus said, “Whom do you seek?” Their answer was “Jesus of Nazareth.” In other words, Jesus was forcing the group of soldiers, officers and religious leaders to publicly acknowledge they had come to arrest only Jesus and not the disciples who were with Him. In fulfillment of John 6:39, Jesus would lose none of His followers who the Father had given Him.
It is also interesting to note that when Jesus invoked the familiar “I Am” statement when He said “I Am He,” the soldiers and some officers from the chief priests and the Pharisees all drew back and fell to the ground. They were struck not only by the majesty of Jesus’ words but also His person (Isaiah 6:1-8; Luke 5:1-8; Revelation 1:12-20).
While the circumstances seem to indicate that Jesus is a victim of said circumstances, nothing is further from the truth. He is not only aware of the circumstances of what is happening and what will happen, but He is also sovereignly in control of all that would happen.
What was true then regarding His fulfillment of the Father’s will is also true regarding His will for our lives. He is not only aware of what is going to occur in our lives, but He is in sovereign control of all which occurs. This is a wonderful and comforting doctrine of biblical truth. It provides great confidence when we face circumstances beyond our immediate control. Those circumstances are never out of God’s control.
Take heart, take courage and take comfort in God’s sovereign control.
May God’s truth and grace reside here.
Soli deo Gloria!