John 18:5
They answered him, Jesus of Nazareth. Jesus saith unto them, I am he. And Judas also, which betrayed him, stood with them.
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(5) They answered him, Jesus of Nazareth.—He was known to many of them (John 7:32; John 7:46; Matthew 26:55); but this is probably an official declaration of the person with whose apprehension they are charged.

I am he.—Comp. Notes on John 8:28; John 8:58.

And Judas also, which betrayed him, stood with them.—He had advanced to give the signal of the kiss (John 18:4), and had again retreated, and was now standing with them. He is mentioned in accordance with the vivid impression which the fact left upon the Apostle’s mind. Judas, who had been one of them, who had been present with them, and had received bread from his Master’s hand on that very night, was now standing with the officers of the Sanhedrin and the Roman band, who had come to capture Him! The position of the words suggests also that Judas was in some way specially connected with the fact that on hearing the words “I am He,” they fell to the ground, as though fear passed from him to those with him.

18:1-12 Sin began in the garden of Eden, there the curse was pronounced, there the Redeemer was promised; and in a garden that promised Seed entered into conflict with the old serpent. Christ was buried also in a garden. Let us, when we walk in our gardens, take occasion from thence to mediate on Christ's sufferings in a garden. Our Lord Jesus, knowing all things that should come upon him, went forth and asked, Whom seek ye? When the people would have forced him to a crown, he withdrew, ch.A band - See the notes at Matthew 26:47; Matthew 27:27. John passes over the agony of Jesus in the garden, probably because it was so fully described by the other evangelists.

Lanterns ... - This was the time of the full moon, but it might have been cloudy, and their taking lights with them shows their determination to find him.

5. They answered … Jesus of Nazareth—just the sort of blunt, straight forward reply one expects from military men, simply acting on their instructions.

I am He—(See on [1887]Joh 6:20).

Judas … stood with them—No more is recorded here of his part of the scene, but we have found the gap painfully supplied by all the other Evangelists.

They tell him, Jesus of Nazareth. Christ was born in Bethlehem of Judea, Matthew 2:1; but his father and mother lived at Nazareth, a city of Galilee, Luke 2:4,39, where he lived with them, Luke 2:51; hence he was called Jesus of Nazareth, from the place where he lived, and most ordinarily conversed. Matthew 21:11 Matthew 26:71 Mark 1:24 10:47 14:67 16:6. Christ replies that he was the man; and it is particularly noted, that Judas was with this armed company.

They answered him, Jesus of Nazareth,.... Their answer is not, "thee"; for they knew him not, their eyes were holden, or struck with dimness, or blindness, as the men of Sodom were; or they that answered might be such, who never personally knew him: nor do they say "Christ", for they rejected and denied him as the Messiah; nor do they call him that deceiver, or seditious person, as they sometimes did, being willing to cover their malicious views and intentions; but Jesus of Nazareth, a name by which he was commonly known, being taken from his education and conversation in that place; though this was sometimes given him in a contemptuous way:

Jesus saith unto them, I am he; or "I am", respecting his name Jehovah, averring himself to be the Christ, and owning himself under the name they were pleased to call him by; which shows how willing he was to be taken by them, and may teach us not to be ashamed of him, or of any nickname we may bear for his sake:

and Judas also which betrayed him stood with them; this circumstance is recorded to show, that Judas at first did not know him any more than the rest; so that he might easily have passed them if he had pleased; and that Judas did not stand with them as an idle spectator; he came with them to betray him, and was looking out for him; though when he spake he knew him not: it also expresses the different company Judas was in; a little while ago, he was at supper with Christ, and the other disciples, and now he is at the head of a band of soldiers, and others, to betray him; and also his continuance in his iniquity and wicked resolutions and agreement; as yet he had no remorse of conscience, or sense of his sin: and it seems to be mentioned also with this view, to inform us, that he fell to the ground with the rest; which is related in John 18:6. The Jew (x) asserts, that there is a disagreement between the Evangelist John and the rest of the evangelists in this account: he observes, that when Judas came with his armed men to take Jesus, Jesus went out to meet them, and asked them, saying, whom Seek ye? they say Jesus of Nazareth; to whom he replies, I am he; and then Judas, that betrayed him, stood with them: but Matthew, in his Gospel, Matthew 26:47, and Mark, Mark 14:43; and Luke, Luke 22:47; relate, that Judas gave a sign to the soldiers, when they came to take Jesus, saying, him whom I shall kiss, lay hold on, and they did so. But here is no contradiction, John does not deny that Judas gave a sign to the soldiers; though he omits it, it being so particularly observed by the other evangelists, and only relates what is not taken notice of by them, and which no ways contradicts what they have asserted: the force of the objection seems to lie here; that, according to the other evangelists, Judas, as soon as he came into the garden, made up to Christ, and gave the signal by which he might be known, whereas he is here said to stand with the soldiers and officers; and that seeing such a signal was given, he must be, and was known by it, whereas he is here represented as if he was not known by them until he had made himself known to them; and that as soon as Judas had given the sign, they immediately seized him, whereas, according to this account, they did not, until some words had passed between Christ and them, and they first fell to the ground. In answer to which it may be said, that admitting that Judas did make up to Christ as soon as he entered the garden, and gave the signal to the soldiers, he might upon that immediately retire, and place himself among the multitude; either to give further directions and instructions to them, or that they might defend him from Jesus, should there be any occasion for it: and though it should be allowed that the signal was given by Judas before this, it might not be discerned by the soldiers, either not being near enough to observe it; or, as some think, being stricken with blindness, for a time, as the Sodomites were; or even supposing it was seen, and they knew by it which was Jesus, it is still a fuller proof of the courage and intrepidity of Christ to go forth, and present himself to them, and put the questions he did, and confirm unto them the truth of it, that he was Jesus whom they sought: to which may be added, that it does not appear that Christ was immediately seized by the soldiers, upon the signal given them by Judas, without some intervening words and actions; for though the signal and the seizure lie very near together in the accounts of Matthew and Mark; yet Luke relates many things between them, as the question of the disciples, whether they should smite with the sword; Peter's cutting off the ear of the high priest's servant; Christ's rebuking him, and touching the servant's ear, and healing it; and some discourse which passed between him, and the chief priests, captains, and elders. All which agree with the account the Evangelist John here gives.

(x) R. Isaac Chizzuk Emuna, par. 2. c. 56. p. 445, 446.

They answered him, Jesus of Nazareth. Jesus saith unto them, I am he. And Judas also, which betrayed him, stood with them.
John 18:5. Ἰησοῦν τὸν Ναζωραῖον “Jesus the Nazarene,” cf. Acts 24:5, Ναζαρηνός occurs Mark 14:67, etc. ἐγώ εἰμι, “I am He”. He had already been identified by Judas’ kiss, Matthew 24:47, but Jesus wished to declare Himself as one who did not fear identification. That the kiss was superfluous is, however, no proof that it was not given. Εἱστήκει δὲ καὶ Ἰούδας … This remark is inserted not to bring o t that Judas fell to the ground with the rest (Holtzmann), but to point out that Judas had not only given directions, but had actually come, and now confronted his Lord and companions.

5. Jesus of Nazareth] Or, Jesus the Nazarene (Matthew 2:23), a rather more contemptuous expression than ‘Jesus of Nazareth’ (John 1:46; Acts 10:38; comp. Matthew 21:11). ‘The Nazarene’ in a contemptuous sense occurs John 19:19; Matthew 26:71; Mark 14:67. It is sometimes used in a neutral sense (Mark 10:47; Luke 18:37; Luke 24:19). Later on the contempt of Jews and heathen became the glory of Christians (Acts 2:22; Acts 3:6; Acts 4:10; Acts 6:14).

I am he] The ‘he’ is not expressed in the Greek: and ‘I am’ to Jewish ears was the name of Jehovah. We have had the same expression several times in this Gospel (John 4:26), John 6:20, John 8:24; John 8:28; John 8:58, John 13:13 (see notes in each place). Judas, if not the chief priests, must have noticed the significant words. There is nothing in the narrative to shew that either the whole company were miraculously blinded (Luke 24:16), or that Judas in particular was blinded or paralysed. Even those who knew Him well might fail to recognise Him at once by night and with the traces of the Agony fresh upon Him.

which betrayed him, stood] Literally, who was betraying Him (John 18:2), was standing. This tragic detail is impressed on S. John’s memory. In this as in the lanterns and torches, which he alone mentions, we have the vividness of the eye-witness. S. Luke (Luke 22:47) tells us that ‘Judas, one of the twelve, went before them, and drew near unto Jesus to kiss Him.’ Apparently, after having done this, he fell back and rejoined Christ’s enemies, standing in the foreground.

Verses 5, 6. - They answered him, Jesus the Nazarene. Jesus saith unto them, I am he. Then, in all probability, the miscreant, the son of perdition, said," Hail, Master!" and kissed him; and there followed before and after his act the sublime replies given, "Companion, wherefore art thou come?" and "Judas, betrayest thou the Son of man with a kiss?" John, however, overwhelmed with the majesty and spontaneous self-devotion of the Lord, calls attention to the language he addressed to the "baud" which surrounded him. In some royal emphasis of tone he said, "I am (he)," and the same kind of effect followed as on various occasions had proved how powerless, without his permission, the machinations of his foes really were. In the temple courts, and on the precipice of Nazareth, the murderous Jews and Galilaeans were foiled (compare the murderers of Marius and of Coligny) by the moral grandeur of his bearing; and when he said, I am he, they went backward, and fell to the ground (χαμαί for χαμάζε). Whether this was a supernatural event, or allied to the sublime force of moral greatness flashing in his eye or echoing in the tone of his voice, we cannot say, but associating it with other events in his history, the supernatural in his case becomes perfectly natural. It was so that he whose "I am he" had hushed the waves and cast out the devil, and before whose glance and word John and Paul fell to the earth, as if struck with lightning, did perhaps allow his very captors (prepared by Judas for some display of his might) to feel how powerless they were against him. It is remarkable that our narrative should place between the "I am he" and its effect, the tautologous remark if there be nothing to explain it, Now Judas also, who was Betraying him, was standing with them. This implies that Judas had taken some step equivalent to that described in the synoptic narrative. There is some momentary consolation in the thought that the traitor fell to the ground with his gang, and for an instant saw the transcendent crime he had committed in betraying the innocent blood with the kiss of treachery and shame. Thoma sees in the approximation of Judas the approach of the prophetic Beast to the true King, and endeavors out of the letters of his name to read the number 666! It is true that John 13:27 represents Satan as having entered into Judas. He stood there, he fell there, with the powers of darkness. What a moment: The devil may have tempted Christ to blast his emissaries with the breath of his nostrils; but, true to his sublime mission, he is occupied only with the safety and future work of those who knew that he had come out from God. John 18:5Of Nazareth (τὸν Ναζωραῖον)

Literally, the Nazarene.

Stood (εἱστήκει)

Imperfect tense. Rev., correctly, was standing.

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