“Who is it you want?” “I am he.” “I told you that I am he. If you are looking for me, then let these men go.” (John 18:4-8)

Jesus is responding* to a group of soldiers, together with officials of the Jewish chief priests, who came to arrest Jesus on order from the high priest.

Here is the text:
When he had finished praying, Jesus left with his disciples and crossed the Kidron Valley. On the other side there was a garden, and he and his disciples went into it. Now Judas, who betrayed him, knew the place, because Jesus had often met there with his disciples. So Judas came to the garden, guiding a detachment of soldiers and some officials from the chief priests and the Pharisees. They were carrying torches, lanterns and weapons. Jesus, knowing all that was going to happen to him, went out and asked them, “Who is it you want?” “Jesus of Nazareth,” they replied. “I am he,” Jesus said. (And Judas the traitor was standing there with them.) When Jesus said, “I am he,” they drew back and fell to the ground. Again he asked them, “Who is it you want?” “Jesus of Nazareth,” they said. Jesus answered, “I told you that I am he. If you are looking for me, then let these men go.” (John 18:1-8)

Why didn't Jesus escape arrest?

We see in this text that Jesus did not evade arrest. He is accepting his arrest. Why would a person accept arrest, especially when they knew what could and likely would - as Jesus did - happen to them?

Sectarian teachers put forth that what is happening is that God became man in Jesus so that God could die on the cross to cleanse the sins of humanity.

Let's analyze this closely.

First, why would the Supreme Being - the Creator of everything and the Controller of everything - need to sacrifice Himself in order to cleanse people's sins? Why would the Person who creates all laws be subject to them? The concept is sacrifice - that someone has to sacrifice to cleanse sins. Why would God be subject to this rule? And be sacrificed as an animal might be sacrificed as described in the Old Testament?

God makes the rules. He is never subject to them.

This entire teaching is ridiculous - first that God has to become a man. And then that God would undergo beatings and torture and death on the cross to cleanse people's sins.

And then, that the Supreme Being could ever die. God never dies.

What is this? That God could die? They say that God became a man so He could die for our sins. So God died?

This is not only an illogical concept. It is something that Jesus never taught. Jesus prayed to God, evidenced throughout John Chapter 17 and mentioned in John 18:1. If Jesus was God who would he be praying to?

First, God never becomes a man. He is always God.

Second, the Supreme Being is never subject to the rules of sacrifice.

Third, the Supreme Being can cleanse anyone's sins at any time, just by willing it. He could cleanse the sins of all humankind with one thought.

Fourth, the Supreme Being never dies. He is eternal, and never has to take on a temporary physical body as we do.

So back to why Jesus would allow himself to be arrested. After all, he could have left that spot, or hidden himself.

He answers this with his statement to Peter as Peter tried to defend Jesus in the coming verses:
“Put your sword away! Shall I not drink the cup the Father has given me?” (John 18:11)
And we find Jesus describes what the "cup" refers to, within a previous prayer:
“Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but Yours be done.” (Luke 22:42)
So the "cup" being discussed here by Jesus relates to doing the will of the Supreme Being. Jesus is doing God's will.

This means that Jesus is serving the Supreme Being, and he understands that being arrested is part of his service to the Supreme Being.

And herein lies the secret reason why this part of Jesus' life - his arrest, persecution and the eventual murder of his physical body - can serve to cleanse or purify us.

It is because by understanding that Jesus was willing to give his life in his service to the Supreme Being - it illustrates the extent of his love for God.

Understanding Jesus' love for God

If we understanding this - if we truly and sincerely do - this understanding will cleanse or purify our consciousness. This is because by seeing Jesus' love for the Supreme Being, we gain a glimpse of the unconditional love that exists within the spiritual realm between the Supreme Being and His loving servants and playmates.

We gain a glimpse of the pure love between the Supreme Being and His loving servants. And by having that glimpse of their relationship, we are purified because we are given a glimpse of the lovable nature of the Supreme Being: That someone would love Him so much that he would allow his physical body to be tortured, persecuted and murdered. (And only Jesus' physical body died - Jesus left his physical body and returned to the spiritual realm after appearing to his disciples, as evidenced in later verses.)

This is also why Jesus said that “I am the resurrection and the life." (John 11:25). If we understand Jesus' love for the Supreme Being, we gain access to the loving relationships between God and His loving servants, and this allows us access to our personal relationship with the Supreme Being.

So we can put away these speculative teachings about the Supreme Being becoming man and dying for our sins.

Jesus practiced loving service to the Supreme Being with total commitment. And if we get that, and strive to put that into practice even in a small way, we have the opportunity to turn our lives around. This is illustrated by Jesus' most important teaching:
“‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.' This is the first and greatest commandment." (Matt. 22:37-38)

*Here is the translation of these verses from the Gospels of Jesus:
Thus Jesus, knowing everything that would happen to him, approached and said to them, “Whom do you seek? “Jesus of Nazareth,” they replied. He said to them, “I am he.” And Judas, who arranged for his arrest, was standing with them. Thus after he said to them, “I am he,” they drew back and fell to the ground. He then asked them again, “Whom do you seek?” And they said, “Jesus of Nazareth.” Jesus replied, “I have told you that I am he: If you seek me, then let these others go on their way.” (John 18:4-8)