Journal Matt 26:47-75 (all references are from the ESV; changes in punctuation are mine)
Scripture: Now the betrayer [Judas Iscariot] had given them [the soldiers] a sign, saying, “The one I will kiss is the man; seize him.” And he came up to Jesus at once and said, “Greetings, Rabbi!”, and he kissed him.
Jesus said to him, “Friend, do what you came to do.” Then they came up and laid hands upon Jesus and seized him.
And behold, one of those who were with Jesus stretched out his hand and drew his sword. (He)…struck the servant of the high priest and cut off his ear.
Then Jesus said to him, “Put your sword back into its place (for all who take the sword will perish by the sword). Do you think that cannot appeal to my Father and he will at once send me more than twelve legions (around 60,000) of angels? But how then should the Scriptures be fulfilled…” (Matt 26:48-54a; see also Mark 14:49, Luke 22:49-50, and especially John 18:10 specifically identifying Peter as the hot head cutting of the ear.)
Observation: Disciples can be just as ornery, cantankerous, and unstable as the rest of us on a day-to-day basis. Maybe it is good that swords are not part of the daily dress code.
Application: Some days are good…and some are not so good.
My bet is that this bothered, even haunted Peter for a long time.
One of the best practices I have encountered is the reading of the Plan and writing of it. I am starting to realize that Scripture isn’t neatly divided into chapters and verse as standalone references, but it flows from each other into a larger and coherent storyline.
However, I realize that the narrative completes overarching principles and becomes doctrine so that I can hang my hat on factual certainties of the Purposes of God.
Up to this point, Jesus was preparing the Disciples for Gethsemane, “Get ready, for the Son of Man is going to be given up to the authorities to be killed for your Redemption and to fulfill prophetic purpose. Now, let’s go pray…”
The Twelve (Eleven? Was Judas in the Garden with Jesus praying? I do not remember…) declared, “We are with you Master, to the end!! To infinity and beyond!”, but, nodded off. Dawn arrives, Judas with soldiers in tow, Peter rubbing sleep out of his eyes realizing he was caught by surprise.
Peter pulls out his sword and does his best Zorro impression and slices the ear off the nearest and (probably) unarmed guy, Malchus. (Peter is no fool…he is from the docks, right?) Jesus tells Peter, “Put the sword back into the sheath, Pete…” and picks up the ear, places it on the obviously screaming and going into shock, Malchus, and heals him.
The point that I am thinking about today is that I can read and read, but if I am not PREPARING for THAT DAY, then I can revert to my worldly and fleshy reflexes. Preparation is a focused intention:
“If you put these things before the brothers, you will be a good servant of Christ Jesus, being TRAINED IN THE WORDS OF THE FAITH and OF THE GOOD DOCTRINE that you have followed. Have nothing to do with irreverent, silly myths. RATHER TRAIN YOURSELF FOR GODLINESS; for while bodily training is of some value, godliness is of value in every way…For to this end we toil and strive because we have our hope set on the living God…” (excerpts from 1 Tim 4:6-10)
Peter eventually got his head back on straighter, ultimately leading the first church in Jerusalem. But I wonder if every time he touched his ear, did his thoughts go back to the Garden and did he wince? He understood he was forgiven by the Master (just like Paul who was a murdering scoundrel—that is another story). But with every thought of sin, Peter had to exert himself to remember Grace.
Just like I do.
Prayer: Father, thank you for giving the Holy Spirit. If it wasn’t for you, then the exercise and process of “not being conformed to this world but being transformed (putting forth EFFORT) by the renewal of your mind…” (Ro 12:2a) I appreciate that you direct me to engage in this process rather than just wait for the “osmosis effect” to take place.
Forgive me for my wandering thoughts (especially at night). Help me to take every thought captive in your Name:
“…and take every thought captive to obey Christ…” (2 Cor 10:5)
Ricky Two Shoes