Thursday, February 12, 2015
John 18:1-11 conclusion
John give us one final proof of Jesus' lordship, power, and authority in this passage when He heals Malchus.
Here is Jesus, face to face with the crowd. Malchus is in the crowd, and he isn't just one of the servants of the high priest; he is "the" servant, probably the head of the high priest's household. Right behind Judas, he is probably leading the rest of the crowd. Jesus is making certain of the safety of His disciples when suddenly one shouts and Peter flings his blade toward Malchus, missing his head, but cutting off his ear. Come on, Peter. Nobody aims at an ear -- you want to make the first blow count, and you aim at the head. But Peter is not a swordsman, and he isn't helping Jesus the right way, either.
Have we tried to help Jesus in the wrong way? Have we tried in the flesh, instead of in the Spirit? Even when our intentions are good, like Peter, we can try to do a good thing in the wrong way. Sometimes the result is that a sinner's ear gets removed. Oh, we need to be honest with ourselves here. I bet we all have "cut off" a sinner's ear before. Have we approached an unbeliever in a way that actually made it harder for him or her to hear the gospel? Have we displayed behavior that made it more difficult for them to respond to the gospel than before they met us?
Why do we make these mistakes? Why does Jesus have to come behind us and fix our messes?
Well, one reason is lack of spiritual preparation. Peter was sleeping when he should have been praying. Jesus had said to him and the others, "Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation." We simply MUST put on our spiritual armor each day, before the moment comes and we are not prepared.
Another problem was that Peter relied on a carnal weapon to win what was a spiritual battle. And we do that, too. Paul tells us that
The weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty through God
to the pulling down of strongholds. (II Cor. 10:4)
We must try to use a spiritual approach, found in the Word, and not try to solve our problems through carnal means.
Lastly, Peter was looking at things with the wrong perspective. He saw the mob as the problem, so he just attacked. But Jesus looked beyond the mob and linked up with the will of the Father. Verse 11 says, "Shall I not drink the cup the Father has given me?" If we aren't careful, we will be using up all of our energy looking at the immediate problem instead of trying to discover God's will in the situation. Are we working ourselves to exhaustion trying to solve a problem and getting few results? Perhaps we need to pray as Jesus did, and ask God to show us His will, and how He wants us to respond.
Malchus' ear being healed is actually recorded in Luke's gospel, in chapter 22, verse 51: But Jesus answered, "No more of this!" and he touched the man's ear and healed him. In His last miracle before His crucifixion, He shows us again His power and authority.
John makes some things truly clear for us in this passage. Jesus was not taken against His will; He willingly offered Himself as the sacrifice for our sin. He wasn't a victim of that angry mob; He was totally in control the entire time. What a comfort to us -- if He was in control during those hours when the powers of darkness were so much at work, then in our own lives when circumstances do seem out of control, Jesus knows and is working in the events and circumstances that we encounter. We can find courage in this knowledge to trust Him, even when we don't understand everything that is happening.