John 18:4-6, 17, and 25
4 So Jesus, knowing all the things that were coming upon Him, went forth and said to them, ” Whom do you seek?” 5 They answered Him, “Jesus the Nazarene.” He said to them, “I am He.” And Judas also, who was betraying Him, was standing with them. 6 So when He said to them, “I am He,” they drew back and fell to the ground. . . . 17 Then the slave-girl who kept the door said to Peter, ” You are not also one of this man’s disciples, are you?” He said, “I am not.”. . . Now Simon Peter was standing and warming himself. So they said to him, ” You are not also one of His disciples, are you?” He denied it, and said, “I am not.”
When God the Father identified Himself, he said, “I am.” In the Greek, that statement would be “ego eimi”, or simply “eimi.” We know this simple statement carried the weight of deity to the Hebrew culture because when Christ used it in the presence of the Pharisees, they attempted to stone Him for claiming to be God (John 8.57-59). Here we see that simple self-identification carrying the weight of truth for when Jesus uses it that night in the garden, those who have come to arrest Him are thrown to the ground with its utterance. Commentators here theorize that the veil hiding Jesus’s deity from man is pulled back for a moment and they saw Him in His glory. We really do not know, since the text doesn’t say. However, whatever happened, it certainly had an effect on those present.
But take note of a contrast, and irony, in this passage. Peter also used the word eimi two times. When asked whether he was a follower of Jesus, he answered, “Ouk eimi,” which is translated “I am not” (ouk being a strong word of negation). Thus, the same word that is used by Jesus to identify Himself as God is used by one of His disciples to reject Him! And Peter did not just say it once, he said it twice!
Words have meaning. Truth contains power for truth is derived from God Himself, the author of truth
(John 17.17). Jesus’s words were true, and they had a visible effect on His hearers. Because of his fear of man, Peter denied the truth, and his words were not accepted. They lacked the power and authority of truth, and so he had to assert them more than once.
What do our words say? Are they a witness of God’s truth, or a denial of the same?