“Jesus said to him (Judas), “Friend, do what you came to do.” Then they (the accompanying soldiers) came up and laid hands on Jesus and seized Him. And behold, one of those who were with Jesus stretched out his hand, drew his sword, and struck the servant of the high priest, cutting off his ear…” (Matt 26:50-51) Jesus said “No more of this!” and touched (the servant’s ear) and healed him. (Luke 22:51) “Then Simon Peter, having a sword, struck the high priest’s servant and cut off his right ear…” (John 18:10)
All three of these references are about the same situation: Jesus in the Garden, Judas betrayal, Soldiers grabbing Jesus, Peter cutting off the ear of the high priest’s servant. I am looking at this imagining me being in the place of Peter.
This morning I was feeling frustrated; the kind of frustration that is deep in the chest and doesn’t want to be addressed.
It was the kind of frustration that binds me up on the inside. Outside, the signs are: Frowning up to scowling; crossing my arms tightly, grinding my teeth, rocking-staring at nothing in particular, and I am sure other telltales.
I was going to write something about Jesus triumphing in the Garden or something related. But my thoughts wandered back to Peter.
What was Peter exposed to in such a short period of time at the Garden? “Come pray with me” says Jesus. Then it was “You three come pray with me separate from your fellows.” And then what was so embarrassing: “Wake up!! Can’t you stay awake and be with Me in My hour?”
All of these thoughts roiling around in Peter’s mind: Concern, embarrassment, not knowing what to do next, mentally wringing his hands until they are about to fall off and then-the soldiers appear with Judas (Judas!! Our companion!) leading them to seize Jesus.
Peter: “I have to do something…” and out comes the sword. The rest of the story is above. Only John names Peter; the other writers just say “…one of those that were with Jesus…”
My point for me today: I can tussle with overcoming frustration often. Many times I hold it in and try to control it. There are other times I inappropriately express myself although not with a sword. Peter was with the Master continuously for three years and at a particular point of trouble, failed. That could be me right now-when I am needed I forget all that I have learned at the feet of the Master.
The point for the man in the mirror is this: Jesus never abandons me. Not even disappointed. I may get a rebuke, a correction, or some such; but always “Get back on the path, son. We’ll get through this. Follow Me in my love for you. I have a work to complete in you.” Even at my worse, He reattaches the ear and says “Come on, catch up. We have a Way to go together…”
Lord God: Even now I feel that same frustration in my soul, right now, writing this. But, through Your Word that You led me in, I remember hope. I am not forsaken, I am not left behind, and I am just not anything but loved and cared for by You. I confess my frustration as the sin that it is (unbelief and self-reliance), repent, and I get back on the path, following after You. I can tell today I am going to struggle with this all the day long-but I will, by Your Graciousness and Mercy, keep my eye upon You. AMEN.