I AM in the Garden of Gethsemane

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I AM in the Garden of Gethsemane

I’ve already mentioned that John doesn’t
have the Agony in the Garden—we saw the agony in chapter 12, verse 27—that was the
extent of it. John does have Jesus in the garden praying
with his disciples [John 18], and then the contingent of soldiers come out and the guards
come out to arrest the unarmed Jesus. And Jesus comes out of what appears to be
. . . he’s in an enclave with his followers, and Jesus comes out and says [John 18:4],
“Whom are you looking for?” And they say, “Jesus, the Nazarean.” Jesus of Nazareth. And Jesus says, “I AM.” Jesus says “I am he,” that name of the
divine from Exodus 3, from parts of Second Isaiah. And when Jesus . . . and just picture the
scene . . . You have this armed contingent coming out to apprehend the unarmed Jesus,
and Jesus says, “I AM.” And in response to that, the soldiers, the
guards, all fall back. Those with arms fall back to the ground helpless. This detail is, in effect, a theophany, a
manifestation of the divine. This is how one responds in the face, in the
presence, of the Divine One. And it sets the entire telling of the Passion
in John’s Gospel in that context.

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