Regardless of opposition, God always comes out on top and shows He is always in control. ~~~ God prefers to have the odds stacked against His people, and the most important, most life-changing occurrence of this is in the life of Jesus. In John 18, we take notice that Jesus is in a garden, but we also take notice of the characters involved. There is Jesus with his band of disciples, and Judas with religious leaders, and Jewish officers, and Roman soldiers with torches and weapons. John doesn’t tells us the number of soldiers, but calls them a band, or a cohort. A cohort could be as much as a thousand soldiers, but sometimes as little as 200 men. What is not an option is to think that this was just a small crowd. The gospel of Matthew says it was a great crowd carrying swords and clubs. Team Jesus, with his band of fishermen, and Team Judas with his band of fighters. This appears, on the surface, to be an unequally matched, unimpressive line up card for a fight. But this is a showdown of power and control. Judas who left the upper room, and the light of the world, to go into the darkness and be led by man’s weak and temporal lanterns. Would that light prove effective in diminishing the Light of the World? This is the showdown So take notice who initiates the action. John tells us that Jesus is the one who steps forward and starts asking the questions. He is the one on the offensive here. Jesus asked the officers, “Whom do you seek?” They answer, “Jesus of Nazareth.” “I AM!” Now right after this statement, notice what the text makes clear to us. It tells us that Judas, the betrayer, was standing with the officers and Roman Soldiers, and chief priests and pharisees, so that we might know whose side Judas is on, and also that what happened next happened to Judas as well. When Jesus said, “I AM,” they drew back and fell to the ground. In this showdown of power, where it looks like Judas and the religious leaders and the soldiers have the upper hand in quantity and weaponry, Jesus shows them that He can overtake them with just the utterance of who He is. In that moment, the entire cast in the garden was put on notice as to who was in charge and who would be running the show. When Jesus opened His mouth, it was as if part of Jesus’ veiled glory was unleashed and burst through, and the soldiers carrying their weapons, and the religious leader carrying their pride, and Judas carrying His greed, were rendered powerless. And once again we see that God stacks the odds against Himself so that all are put on notice as to who is in total control. Some trust in chariots. Some trust in horses. But we trust in the name of the LORD our God.