Friday, February 10, 2012

John 18 9 to 18

John 18 9 to 18

9That the saying might be fulfilled, which he spake, Of them which thou gavest me have I lost none.
10Then Simon Peter having a sword drew it, and smote the high priest's servant, and cut off his right ear. The servant's name was Malchus.
11Then said Jesus unto Peter, Put up thy sword into the sheath: the cup which my Father hath given me, shall I not drink it?
12Then the band and the captain and officers of the Jews took Jesus, and bound him,
13And led him away to Annas first; for he was father in law to Caiaphas, which was the high priest that same year.
14Now Caiaphas was he, which gave counsel to the Jews, that it was expedient that one man should die for the people.
15And Simon Peter followed Jesus, and so did another disciple: that disciple was known unto the high priest, and went in with Jesus into the palace of the high priest.
16But Peter stood at the door without. Then went out that other disciple, which was known unto the high priest, and spake unto her that kept the door, and brought in Peter.
17Then saith the damsel that kept the door unto Peter, Art not thou also one of this man's disciples? He saith, I am not.
18And the servants and officers stood there, who had made a fire of coals; for it was cold: and they warmed themselves: and Peter stood with them, and warmed himself.

Key Observation:
Headline of Israel Dispatch: “Caiaphas, the High Priest, declares one man to die for all.”

I spoke yesterday of the care that Jesus took for his disciples, even when facing death on the cross and separation from God. The first verse of the passage today also refers to His care, that He loses none. I can well imagine poor Peter’s dilemma. Here the Lord has told him that he will deny his Lord three times before the cock crows, and then I think, has prophesied a second time that Peter will deny his Lord before the cock crows twice. My guess is that bold Peter denied to the Lord that he ever would deny Him, and so the Lord gave the second prophecy. In The Life of Christ in Stereo, I think it is apparent that six denials took place, but whether it did or not, certainly there were the three.

I quite imagine Peter not believing the Lord at this point, and wishing to be called anything but a failure, took the sword and acted out of desperation to prove his bravery to his Lord, cutting an ear off of one of the servants. I can imagine his bravado quite crushed when the Lord not only personally rebukes Peter, but then has the disdain to go and heal the servant’s ear. Talk about popping someone’s bubble! I think Peter was so confused and beaten mentally that he knew not what to do.

Add to that, in this passage I see my Lord getting Peter off the hook. In today’s slang, when Jesus healed the servant he might have said to the officer, “No harm, no foul.” Who else would the servants and the officers be after except Peter, the one who had resisted them? Jesus healing him most likely prevented at least Peter from being likewise arrested. So Peter has no idea what he is supposed to do, and he was noticed by many as being the one who resisted, and did his misdeed. Therefore to add to his misery there were now many who would testify against him.

Saying all of this in no way excuses his misdeed; perhaps it makes it more understandable. And it is wise to remember the good things that came through Peter after he was restored. The greatest mass evangelism of ancient time started the church growing with a loud bang; it is Peter who is powerfully used in Acts to preach to the thousands. But that is the way of Peter, for Jesus had told him upon his confession that upon this rock He would build His church, and yet in the very next verses (Mark 8) had to rebuke Peter sharply, saying, get behind me Satan. Peter was the one to walk with the Lord on the waves; he was also the one to sink, and had to be rescued by the hand of Jesus. I wonder if that scene was not a foreshadowing of his denial and restoration.

I have always wondered about the servant whose ear was healed. It has always seemed rational to me that such a one would be converted by such an act, but there is no evidence of it mentioned in Scripture. I wonder if the servant went home pondering the great miracle that had happened, and whether in the days to come, he did not come to know Christ. I wonder, could he perhaps be one of the thousands preached to by Peter on the day of Pentecost? If he was there, surely he would recognize the man who cut off his ear, and see the power of the Holy Spirit had changed him. It is, of course, unknowable, but would it not make a wonderful song to be sung in heaven? It may be that one fine day I will hear the testimony of this servant sung to myself. I certainly can hope so.

Christ Receiveth Sinful Men

1. Sinners Jesus will receive;
Sound this word of grace to all
Who the heavenly pathway leave,
All who linger, all who fall.

2. Come, and He will give you rest;
Trust Him, for His word is plain;
He will take the sinfulest;
Christ receiveth sinful men.

3. Now my heart condemns me not,
Pure before the law I stand;
He who cleansed me from all spot,
Satisfied its last demand.

4. Christ receiveth sinful men,
Even me with all my sin;
Purged from every spot and stain,
Heaven with Him I enter in.

Sing it o'er and o'er again;
Christ receiveth sinful men;
Make the message clear and plain:
Christ receiveth sinful men.

Lyrics: Erdmann Neumeister

No comments: