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In the middle of Wednesday night of Passion week Judas arrived at the Garden of Gethsemane on the Mount of Olives leading a mob from the Jewish religious leaders to arrest Jesus.  He knew where Jesus would be, for He was accustomed to stay there with His disciples during the feasts (Luk 22:39, Joh 18:2).  And according to the garden’s name which means an olive press, God had sovereignly ordained it as the place where His Son would be pressed for the oil of His Spirit that would be poured out for our salvation—that Spirit that subjects one’s own will to the will of the Father, even unto death, knowing in faith that God is able to raise us up from the dead.  But even though Jesus through prayer had surrendered Himself to the will of the Father and freely given Himself into the hands of His enemies, Peter rashly struck a slave of the high priest named Malchus with one of two swords they had among them.  For rather than keeping watch and praying with Jesus for deliverance from such temptation, especially after his worldly boasts that he would never deny Jesus and even die with Him, he had fallen asleep with the other disciples.  Considering their little band was outnumbered by the multitude sent to arrest Jesus, which was also well-armed to meet the sort of resistance Peter put forth, what harm might easily have come to all of them right then?

What did Jesus do to quickly intervene and defuse the situation?  See Luk 22:51.  At the same time, how many things does Matthew record that Jesus said to Peter about why it was inappropriate for him to strike with the sword?  See Mat 26:52-54.  What else does John record that He also said to Peter?  See Joh 18:11.  Considering that His words, “Stop! No more of this” (Luk 22:51) were sufficient to communicate that Peter’s actions were wrong, why might Jesus have taken such care, even in the midst of the chaotic events that were happening, to provide a four-fold explanation for why his actions were wrong?  See Joh 15:15 and consider that for those who are called into a covenant relationship with God as friends, there are things that He wants us not only to obey, but to understand; cf. 1Co 11:2-3a.

As the natural inclination of fallen man in such a situation is to do as Peter did and strike with the sword, what do both Matthew and John record that God would have us not only do, but understand why, when faced with a similar situation?  See Mat 26:52, Joh 18:11.  For what overarching reason does Paul remind us that a Christian should put the physical sword (or its modern counterpart) back in its sheath?  See 2Co 10:3-4; cf. Eph 6:12 for why.  What armaments does Paul say in Eph 6:13-18 we as Christians should use instead?  With what did Peter later write that we should arm ourselves?  See 1Pe 4:1-2.

For what specific reason of first importance does Jesus say it is inappropriate for a Christian to strike with the sword?  See Mat 26:52.  Hence, if we comprehend no other reason for which we should not resort to violence in furthering even what we know to be a good cause, even God’s cause, ought we not to avoid it for the simple reason of self-preservation?  Cf. 1Co 6:19-20.  What does this truth also remind us about the law of sowing and reaping?  See Gal 6:7-8; cf. Job 4:8, Pro 1:31.  In what way did the Jewish nation and its leaders who took up the sword against Jesus later perish by the sword of the Romans?  What does this remind us about why we need not act on our own behalf in defense of the truth, as Peter did, for there is One who with perfect justice is able to repay the wicked far more effectively than we can and with no danger to ourselves?  Cf. Rom 12:17-21.  Behold then the perseverance and faith of the saints in such circumstances: see Rev 13:10 and note[1].

For what second reason does Jesus give in Mat 26:53 for why it was inappropriate for Peter to strike with the sword?  What does this reason reveal about the lack of faith God’s people often have in such situations?  Do we realize that when confronted by such potential dangers, God is not impotent to protect and deliver us, should He choose to do so according to His wise purposes, for He commands innumerable angels (Psa 68:17), a single one of whom could easily preserve us from whatever forces the world could muster against us?  Cf. 2Ki 6:15-23, Psa 91:8-12, Dan 3:16-18.  Are there times when, like Peter, we are tempted to intervene on God’s behalf, to just do something, but lack faith to realize that God is perfectly capable, indeed, far more capable than we are, of watching over His word to accomplish His purposes, and the best thing we can do is not get in His way?

Earlier in the garden Jesus could easily have escaped before Judas arrived with the mob; what do His words in Mat 26:53 communicate about His ability even then to escape, if He so wished, when the events had already begun to unfold and He was surrounded as if by bees (Psa 118:10-12)?  What does this teach us about the great truth that the world did not take His life from Him, but that He laid down His life for the world?  Cf. Joh 10:17-18.

[1] Therefore we must not avenge ourselves, because God will repay (Rom. 12:19); and therefore we must suffer with faith and patience, because persecutors will be paid in their own coin.  Matthew Henry.

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