In our last devotional, The Upper Room, I wanted to introduce the thought of how our Lord has a perfect understanding of life – not just because He’s omniscient and knows everything about our life from beginning to end, but because His earthly ministry was literally a perfect life, yet, others didn’t appreciate Him for who He was. Instead, they didn’t like the fact that they couldn’t find a fault in Him!
Sound familiar? It seems like in every area of life someone always has something negative to say or complain about! Well, this week, we’re going to take a look at what happened in the Garden of Gethsemane, some of the “negative” things that happened and how the Lord handled them. The account of the garden can be found in Matthew 26:36-57, Mark 14:26-52, Luke 22:39-53, and John 18:1-12.
“And he that betrayed him had given them a token, saying, whomsoever I shall kiss, that same is he; take him, and lead him away safely. And as soon as he was come, he goeth straightway to him, and saith, Master, master; and kissed him.”
– Mark 14:44-45
“Jesus therefore, knowing all things that should come upon him, went forth, and said unto them, Whom seek ye? They answered him, Jesus of Nazareth. Jesus saith unto them, I am he. And Judas also, which betrayed him, stood with them. As soon then as he had said unto them, I am he, they went backward, and fell to the ground.” – John 18:4-6
I have always loved these verses – not because Jesus was betrayed by Judas, but rather that the power of God was shown in three little words. There they were, ready to take Jesus as a prisoner, they had weapons, lanterns, torches – nothing was going to get in their way! With all their preparations, what could go wrong? A multitude against a few former fishermen and their Master? Yet, they soon learned what was bigger, better and stronger than their multitude and weapons…the voice of God. Jesus spoke and BAM, they fell to ground! I think this teaches us that a few kind words spoken in the middle of a brewing “battle” is much more powerful and effective than lashing out. (As we’ll see that in the next cluster of verses…)
“And one of them smote the servant of the high priest, and cut off his right ear. And Jesus answered and said, Suffer ye thus far. And he touched his ear, and healed him.” – Luke 22:50-51
What amazes me in these verses is the diverse contrast of seeing what happened through human eyes and God’s eyes. Peter was ready to do anything to keep Jesus from being taken. He whipped out his sword and started hacking away! There was only one thing in his line of vision – protecting his Master. He was blind to everything else around him. On the other hand, Jesus saw things in a completely different light. He saw the big picture, the future, the end…but more importantly, He saw the people before Him. Recklessly, Peter cut off the ear the high priest’s servant…hurting others didn’t seem to bother him in his rage, as long as it furthered his purpose. In compassion, Jesus healed the servants ear…why? Because He saw a man, a person whom He would die for, no matter who’s side they stood on. Sometimes I think Believers can be a lot like Peter – they’re ready to fight. (In some areas, we need to fight!) Yet, when it comes to people who don’t know the Lord, we need to be like our Savior – compassionate. I find the whole situation in this passage interesting; just think about it, the Lord rebukes one of His own and heals someone on the “enemy’s” side.
Churches today have one of two problems; they either preach a “God is love” gospel with no punishment for sin, or they’re so judgmental over the littlest things, even the Christians don’t want to go around them. What if Believers could be like Jesus? Compassionate enough to offer a helping hand to the lost, but honest enough to call sin what it is in love. In another passage (John 18) we learn that the servants name was Malchus. I wonder how the Messiah’s act of healing affected his life, his beliefs? I also wonder how our actions are influencing others…