Being Woven

“Fell to the Ground”

Leaves_fallingFall may be in the air for some.  I am a bit too low in the hemisphere to have it yet, but soon…soon.  Falling is what I am writing about today.  Not the kind where I fell because I tripped or lost my balance, but a falling that occurred several times in the Bible when the Power of God was stronger than they were.

So Jesus, knowing all the things that were coming upon Him, went forth and *said to them, “Whom do you seek?”  They answered Him, “Jesus the Nazarene.” He *said to them, “I am He.” And Judas also, who was betraying Him, was standing with them. So when He said to them, “I am He,” they drew back and fell to the ground.  John 18:4-6

After reading this chapter in John the other night, my husband and I were pondering this phrase at the end of verse 6: “and fell to the ground.”  Did they fall down and worship?  Did they fall down due to a moment of realization?  Why did they fall down?

Being the research librarian that I am, I looked up this phrase in the Blue Letter Bible in a number of versions and then checked the Greek and Hebrew.  Since the verse is in John, I will stay with the Greek for today…

πίπτω

piptō

  • descend from a higher place to a lower

    1. to fall (either from or upon)

      1. to be thrust down

    2. metaph. to fall under judgment, came under condemnation

  • to descend from an erect to a prostrate position

    1. to fall down

      1. to be prostrated, fall prostrate

      2. of those overcome by terror or astonishment or grief or under the attack of an evil spirit or of falling dead suddenly

      3. the dismemberment of a corpse by decay

      4. to prostrate one’s self

      5. used of suppliants and persons rendering homage or worship to one

      6. to fall out, fall from i.e. shall perish or be lost

      7. to fall down, fall into ruin: of buildings, walls etc.

    2. to be cast down from a state of prosperity

      1. to fall from a state of uprightness

      2. to perish, i.e come to an end, disappear, cease

        1. of virtues

      3. to lose authority, no longer have force

        1. of sayings, precepts, etc.

      4. to be removed from power by death

      5. to fail of participating in, miss a share in

Saul, who later became Paul, experiences this same fall…

As he was traveling, it happened that he was approaching Damascus, and suddenly a light from heaven flashed around him; and he fell to the ground and heard a voice saying to him, “Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me?”  Acts 9:4  (Acts 22:7)

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

At first, I was thinking that the men in John 18 fell down in worship even though they were coming to arrest Jesus, but I know that that is not so now.  They drew back and fell to the ground. (John 18:6b)  was a fall from terror or astonishment.

Other versions of the Bible replace “drew back” in John 18:6 with:

went backward

stepped back

retreated

went away backward

Matthew Henry, in his Commentary about John 18, states:  “See how he terrified them, and obliged them to retire (v. 6): They went backward, and, like men thunder-struck, fell to the ground. It should seem, they did not fall forward, as humbling themselves before him, and yielding to him, but backward, as standing it out to the utmost.”

There is fear in the meaning here…fear when Jesus proclaims Himself as “I am He,” Jesus the Nazarene…fear when a light flashed around Saul/Paul and then the voice of the Lord speaks to him.  In the verse below, there is fear when God speaks from the cloud and announces that “This is MY beloved Son….” 

Peter said to Jesus, “Lord, it is good for us to be here; if You wish, I will make three tabernacles here, one for You, and one for Moses, and one for Elijah.”  While he was still speaking, a bright cloud overshadowed them, and behold, a voice out of the cloud said, “This is My beloved Son, with whom I am well-pleased; listen to Him!”  When the disciples heard this, they fell face down to the ground and were terrified.  And Jesus came to them and touched them and said, “Get up, and do not be afraid.”  And lifting up their eyes, they saw no one except Jesus Himself alone.  Matthew 17:4-8

In Matthew 17, Jesus tells His disciples to “not be afraid.”  I love this because He touches them and gently prods them to get up and to let the fear go.  Does that not sound like our Lord?  Oh, YES!  He knows us and wants us to follow Him and not be afraid of Him.  It is in the knowing of Him that will ease our fears.  Spending time with Him, in His Word, in prayer, in communion, will draw us nearer.

Dear Jesus, I know that You are the One and Only LORD, the Son, the Savior.  I thank You for Your power in my life.  I am so very sorry that You went through such awful things for me, for others such as I.  But, I am so grateful that You fulfilled Scripture all the way through to this with more to come yet.  I pray I do right by You in what I say and do in this world.  If I fall down, may it be for worship and not because of fear.  I pray in Your Name.  Amen.

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