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.
Over the Passover, there were increased troops in Jerusalem to keep the local Jewish nationalists from having a revolt. Kind of like security was super-high on the 4th of July right after 9/11, it was a tense and symbolic time for Roman-Israel relations. Judas has gone out of the last supper and gathered some troops to help him get Jesus taken to the Pharisees.
Jesus has spent the last few hours praying. He has asked God the Father if there is any other way to do this plan, and the answer was always “No.” There were even angels sent to Jesus to minister to Him and help Him through this time.
There are a couple different words used for the people that Judas brought. Translators have their differing theories, but the consensus agrees that there were between 200 and 1,000 troops here to arrest Jesus. If the word that means the 1,000 is correct, 750 of them were on foot and another 250 were on horseback! Whatever you’ve seen in movies, coloring books, or even your imagination deserves another visit. 200 army men would be the equivalent of four complete NFL teams. There are only 22 men on the field at once, so imagine that many huge dudes, with torches and weapons, in armor, coming at night to arrest Jesus.
Whether it was a miracle of power or a natural response to Jesus’ boldness, when 200+ army men all fall down at once, something is going on! Jesus makes not effort to hide or avoid them. Even when they all approach and He starts with the first word, you know who is in charge. Jesus didn’t wait for them to explain themselves or show their intentions. He stepped up to them, and to make sure they were coming for what He thought they wanted, He engaged them.
Jesus’ boldness comes from knowing fully what God’s will was for the next 24 hours. Jesus wasn’t afraid to meet it since He was confident of His role in the events.
What thing would we boldly march into if we were convinced of God’s plan? What if those 200+ soldiers falling down was God the Father’s way of encouraging Jesus to take confidence in His identity as the Son of God? What 200 excuses and discouragements are you up against this week that just need you to say “I am a son of God in Jesus!” and they’ll all fall back?