When a band of soldiers arrive at the garden of Gethsemane seeking to arrest Jesus of Nazareth, Jesus turns to them and says, “I am he.” In fact, this short phrase appears three times during this part of the narrative, which means that John is placing special emphasis on these words. So why are they significant, and what effect do they end up having upon the hearers? On this episode the hosts arrive at chapter 18 in their continuing study of the Gospel of John as Jesus is arrested and placed on trial by Israel’s chief priests.
Adriel Sanchez: A lot of people will say Jesus never claimed to be God and that’s one of the things we see over and over again in the Gospel of John. It’s not just that he says, “I am God.” It’s that he says, “I am Yahweh. I’m the Lord, the covenant god.” And so he goes even further.
Term to Learn
“Drama of Redemption”
We are to view the historical events recounted in Scripture as ingredients in a unified story ordered by God’s providence. There is no square inch of human history that is outside the mission fields of Son and Spirit. The biblical authors are witnesses to a coherent series of events ultimately authored by God. This series of events involves both divine words and divine deeds and, as such, is both revelatory and redemptive.
The Old Testament testifies to the same drama of redemption as the New Testament, hence the church rightly reads both testaments together, two parts of a single authoritative script. What unifies the canon is Divine Providence and this in two senses: formally, the Bible is the product of divine authorship; materially, the subject matter of the Bible is the history of God’s covenant faithfulness. It is the story of how God keeps his word: to Adam, Noah, Abraham, Moses, David, and so on. It follows that the Old and New Testaments are connected at a profound level, for the one story of God’s faithfulness to his covenant promise is told in two parts. The typological connections that link the two testaments are grounded on God’s acting consistently through time.
(Adapted from Kevin Vanhoozer, “Ten Theses on the Theological Interpretation of Scripture,” Modern Reformation July/August 2010, pp. 17–18)