Explore the Bible Study: I Am He

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If someone asked you to identify yourself, what would you use to convince them you were who you said you were? The Explore the Bible Study: I Am He, will reveal from John 18 a man, the Son of God, who did not deny who He was. In both words and deeds, it was obvious that He was Jesus, the Messiah. As we examine the way Jesus identified Himself, we should consider whether our words and deeds identify us as true followers of Jesus.

Jesus’ Habits Reveal Who He Is—John 18:1-3

Jesus has just spent time with His disciples during the Passover feast. He had instituted the Lord’s Supper and given His farewell discourse including the prayer for His disciples. This lasted into the evening and now, after saying “these things,” it was time to travel across the Kidron Valley to the garden of Gethsemane.

The valley ran north to south on the east side of Jerusalem. It lay between the temple and the Mount of Olives (Acts 1:12).

Other passages in the Bible reveal more about the garden and about the habits of Jesus.

  • First, based on this passage we see that this garden was a regular place for Jesus to spend time with His followers. This reveals Jesus’ habit of building relationships, teaching, and encouraging His followers. Judas knew this; thus, it also became a place for betrayal.
  • Second, we know this as a place of prayer. Matthew 26:41 tells us that “Jesus came with them to a place called Gethsemane, and he told the disciples, ‘Sit here while I go over there and pray.’” At this specific time, Jesus’ prayer was agonizing as He sought strength from the Father to face what He knew would come as He left the garden.

The habits of Jesus revealed His identity because it was through these habits that we know how much He loved His followers and how much He passionately desired to follow God’s will. 

What habits might reveal to others that someone is a follower of Christ?

Matthew tells us that, after praying a third time regarding what was about to happen, Jesus says to His disciples, “See, the time is near. The Son of Man is betrayed into the hands of sinners. Get up; let’s go. See, my betrayer is near.” (Matthew 26:45-46) Because Judas, the betrayer, knew the habits of Jesus, he was ready as Jesus left the garden. He arrived with a company of soldiers and some officials from the chief priests and the Pharisees.” They came there with lanterns, torches, and weapons.  

The term company could refer to a number between 200-600 soldiers in the Roman army. Between the forces arrayed against Jesus and the religious leaders, one would think that a major battle was about to take place! This is certainly an overwhelming group compared to Him and eleven disciples. 

This brings us to another amazing way in which Jesus identifies Himself.

Jesus’ Words Reveal Who He Is—John 18:4-9

When Jesus speaks, His words are powerful, because He is God, even when He is speaking to those who intend to harm Him. He again uses the phrase, “I am He” to identify Himself with God. He is the I am just as He was when Moses asked God who should he say sent him when he would stand before pharaoh in Exodus 3:14. God responded, “I AM WHO I AM”! When Jesus spoke these words, notice how this large number of soldiers and religious leaders responded—"They stepped back and fell to the ground.”  Jesus merely speaking these words caused them to become like dead men, falling to the ground. This is an amazing affirmation of the power of Jesus’ words.

Not only did Jesus speak with power but He also spoke with calmness and clarity. He was not caught unaware by the arrival of Judas and the soldiers, nor was He tempted to lie or lash out at them. 

Also, Jesus demonstrated His authority over Scriptures and His love for His disciples. He had prayed earlier regarding the disciples. He said He had lost none of the disciples except the “son of destruction” (Judas) in the fulfillment of Scriptures (see John 17:12). Like a Good Shepherd who was leading His sheep “through the valley of the shadow of death” (Psalm 23:4), Jesus was protecting His sheep as He had said He would.

Which of the words Jesus spoke in this passage help you understand more fully the identity of Christ? What can believers learn from the way Jesus spoke to His accusers?

Not only did Jesus’ habits and His words reveal His identify, but His actions also reveal who He is.

Jesus' Actions Reveal Who He Is—John 18:10-11

What do the actions of Simon Peter reveal?

What do the actions of Jesus reveal? Why didn’t Jesus let Simon Peter defend Him?

Are believers today acting more like Simon Peter or like Jesus?

Simon Peter’s rash actions put the other disciples in immediate danger and was an attempt to take God’s plans into his own hands. Throughout the Scriptures we see that men can’t bring about God’s plans in their own strength.

One obvious example involved Moses. His actions prohibited him from entering the Promised Land. Nearing the end of their forty years of wandering in the wilderness, the Israelites were running out of water. The result was rebellion against Moses and Aaron. Moses and Aaron prayed, and God told them to gather the assembly and speak to the rock. However, seemingly in anger, Moses did not speak to the rock; instead he said, “Listen, you rebels, must we bring you water out of this rock?” Then Moses struck the rock twice with his staff (Numbers 20:10–11). Moses tried to take God’s plans into His own hands instead of leading the people to see God’s plan and act on it. This was Simon Peter's problem, too.

Examine more of the actions of Jesus by reading the accounts of this event from Matthew and Luke. This will help you understand more fully the actions of Jesus as the Son of God. Place your cursor over the following passages or look them up in your own Bible: Matthew 26:51-54; Luke 22:50-51.

Jesus stopped Peter’s attack and healed Malchus’ ear (Luke 22:51). If Jesus had not intervened, the soldiers probably would have responded with deadly force or at least by seizing Peter and the other disciples. Jesus did not come to start a war. He came to drink the cup of His Father to suffer and die for the world’s sins. Simon Peter thought he could take on an entire Roman company and the religious leaders. In so doing, he could have thwarted God’s salvation plan, and Jesus wasn’t going to let that happen.

Believers can obediently involve themselves in God’s redemptive plan. However, if we attempt to bring about God’s plans through our own means, we risk missing out on seeing God work in ways that only He could work.

Your Life -- A False Identify or a Real Identity?

In 2022 a man was arrested in Scotland but denied he was the one who committed the crimes. According to BBC.com the Scottish court has ruled that the man arrested is US fugitive Nicholas Rossi. The man had claimed to have been the victim of mistaken identity, and insisted his name was Arthur Knight. But Edinburgh Sheriff Court heard that his tattoos and fingerprints matched those of Rossi. Authorities in the US are seeking Rossi's extradition over allegations of rape and sexual assault. It is alleged that he faked his own death and fled to Scotland to escape prosecution. He had spent the past year insisting that he was Arthur Knight, an orphan from Ireland who had never been to the US. (Source: BBC News, https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-scotland-63568949)

People who are fleeing prosecution for a crime often change their identity and go to great lengths to hide who they really are. However, when one is innocent, there is no need to hide your identity. Additionally, your identity will be verified by your actions. This certainly was the case for Jesus. He had committed no crime and had no reason to deny His identity on the day of His arrest. Yet, from our human perspective, it might have been tempting to deny He was who He said He was when the soldiers came to arrest Him.

Jesus’ identity as the Son of God was revealed by His: Habits, Words, and Actions.

What kind of habits would reveal you are a follower of Christ?

What kind of words would reveal you are a follower of Christ?

What kind of actions would reveal you are a follower of Christ?

Consider your own life. How would others verify your identity as a professing follower of Christ?

The downloadable teaching helps provide more details for this study, along with some tools you can use in guiding a group Bible study. 

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LifeWay Explore The Bible Resources

These teaching helps are intended to be used as a supplement to your study of Lifeway's Explore the Bible curriculum resources. Portions of this material are taken directly from content copyrighted to Lifeway Christian Resources Explore the Bible and is used with permission.  This material has not been reviewed by Lifeway Christian Resources. 

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