So often when I start a conversation about religious differences, both of us come to the fight prepared to fight to the death for each of our beliefs, because we know we’re right. Our passion for our faith can be destructive to communicating with others and to growing in our faith, because we believe that we know everything or that we have nothing more to learn. Often times, we are Peter, using a sword to defend Jesus with, from anything or anyone that could endanger him as if the divine can be harmed by our opinions.
As they all stood there in shock, one man holding the side of his head and screaming in pain. No one was listening to anything Peter had to say right then. Armed guards had drawn back in shock and disgust. The other disciples reeling back in horror. All they could see was the bloody sword in his hands and the man’s ear on the ground. Even though Peter had never been a fighting man, he’d purchased a sword to defend Jesus, and hidden it for just such a moment to prove his faith. But Jesus didn’t congratulate him. His first words, whether the story is being told by John, Mark, or Matthew, was instruction first, lesson later. “Put up again thy sword into his place: for all they that take the sword shall perish with the sword.”
When Peter was convinced that he would have to fight someone to defend Jesus, he hurt someone unnecessarily, with Jesus standing right there ready to handle it better. Had Peter trusted in Jesus’ ability to handle things in his own way, to know the dangers and to share his story in a positive way, Peter would never have needed the sword to defend his faith in the first place. Jesus spoke words and touched people’s lives. Around him were men who made profit from him and those who built reputations. Sometimes our human error is in trying to win a fight that God told us to teach in love. In His ministry, we have to remember that He has a plan and He will use us as he sees fit, as long as we share His love first, and those that He wants to teach will be taught in their own way.