“Jesus fully realized all that was going to happen to Him, so He stepped forward to meet them. “Who are you looking for?” He asked. “Jesus the Nazarene,” they replied. “I AM He,” Jesus said. (Judas who betrayed Him was standing with them). As Jesus said “I AM He,” they all drew back and fell to the ground!”
Jesus, with the rest of His disciples (bar Judas), crossed over the Kirdon Valley entering an olive grove (otherwise known as the garden of tears). It is there that Jesus was betrayed by Judas, one of His disciples, for a few silver coins. Yet what is intriguing about this exchange between Jesus and the Roman soldiers and Temple guards, is that after they asked where Jesus the Nazarene was and Jesus replied with ‘I AM HE’, they drew back and fell to the ground. Could it just have been through mere surprise that Jesus had given Himself up so quickly and easily? One would think not!
The only plausible argument is that Jesus’ words were full of such power and authority when He spoke, a fact highlighted by the Bible itself as in most versions, the ‘I AM He’ is capitalised, highlighting its importance. Yet more than how it is written, is the words Jesus spoke. The ‘I AM’ statement, often spoken by Jesus throughout the gospel of John, highlights Jesus supreme authority and equality with God Himself. Remember when Jesus said that before Abraham was ‘I AM’, or when He said, ‘I AM’ the way, the truth and the life, the true vine, the good shepherd, the resurrection and the life, the door, the light of the world and the bread of life1. Jesus again highlights to us in these verses, that even in His weakest and most vulnerable moments, He is who He said He was, He is our God and King, He is the great I AM. That is why they fell back, because the King of the earth and universe was addressing them.
1John 6:35,48, 8:12. 9:5, 8:58, 10:9, 11, 11:25, 14:6, 15:1