John 18:10 – 10 Then 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.
Peter had left his home and followed Jesus. He had promised to defend Jesus and stand with Him. When Jesus spoke of His coming crucifixion, Peter affirmed his loyalty and his life to the Master (Matthew 26:35).
On this night, the time of testing arrived. Guards from the Temple showed up to arrest Jesus. Peter had a sword, and he bravely stepped forward to use it – one against many. He would defend his Lord.
But Jesus stopped him. He told Peter to put the sword away, and then He healed the servant’s ear that had been severed by Peter’s attack. (Peter wasn’t blustering; he meant business.)
Can you imagine Peter’s confusion? He was committed to defending Jesus. Why did Jesus stop him? Weren’t his actions well intentioned?
The battle to be fought, however, was not one of weapons and swords. It was a battle of the soul, and Jesus had already braved that battle in the garden while Peter slept.
Jesus was still teaching Peter – “Not by might, nor by power, but by My Spirit, saith the Lord of hosts.” (Zechariah 4:6)
This is a lesson for me as well. In my humanness, I want to strike out at evil, squash the wicked, annihilate the hurt. I’m not saying that there is never a time for physical battle, but God’s Word reminds me that I am not fighting flesh and blood (Ephesians 6:12). Instead, my greatest battle is in the spiritual realm and must be fought with the spiritual weapons of prayer and God’s Word.
What does this mean for me today?
- That person who irritates me – respond with prayer and grace
- The person who gossips or slanders those I love – pray for her, and continue to walk in God’s light
- The lies that surround me in this world – respond with God’s Word
My battle is not against the person in the checkout line or the car in front of me. It is not with a family member or co-worker, no matter how trying the relationship may be.
My battle is with the prince of darkness and his mission — only God’s weapons can stand against him.
There are all kinds of memes on social media that advise me to remove people from my life when they disappoint or upset me. There is a place for boundaries, but I am really glad that Jesus chose to pray for me rather than ban me from His love.
I love Peter!
I love his stand-up-and-be-counted spirit.
I love his passion.
I know that he learned the lesson that Jesus was teaching because he later cautioned believers to “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour:” (I Peter 5:8).
The battle is real, and we are emmeshed in it every day. God has a sword for us to use, but it is not manmade.
Our battle weapon is His Word, and we only learn to wield it by reading and spending time with Him in prayer.