Then Simon Peter, who had a sword, drew it and struck the high priest’s servant, cutting off his right ear. (The servant’s name was Malchus.) John 18:10 (NIV)
Here they are, they have ganged up and come to get Jesus. But they are up to no good. Jesus´ followers are with Him. At least Peter gets the notion he should try and defend His Master. So he lashes out. In his zeal for the Lord, he strikes out. He gets all caught up in the moment and draws his sword. He cuts another man. He hurts him on purpose. We read of the encounter and shake our heads at Peter. “How violent and how sad,” we might think. “Isn´t this Peter, the one Jesus told to look after His people?” Here we see the pillar of a man upon which the earliest church was built, acting like a rogue. He loses control and resorts to cruelty against Christ´s attackers. Do we pity poor Peter? Or are we the Peters of today? How does our zeal for the Lord demonstrate itself in our lives?
It happens to us as well. Someone comes up to attack the One we love. Someone comes to hurt Jesus, so what do we do? Do we lash out? Do we display our zeal for the Lord, but err in the way we do it? In our effort to protect and promote Christianity, do we often forget to be kind? Do our actions fall short of what our Lord asks of us? Do we lose compassion? Do we attack before our attackers get a chance? Do we lash out at someone when we think they have come with bad intentions? Should we leave Peter holding all the blame or can we see that we need a Saviour too.
The situation that looked so bad to the followers of Jesus that night was a necessary step in the salvation of our entire race. Little did they know what was really happening. Little did they know that God had been preparing that scary moment for centuries. It is part of His plan. It is not pleasant to know we must endure the trying times. But would it help to know that when we find oppression, it could very well mean that some great part of God´s plan is somehow being fulfilled? We might see the mob. We might feel the weight and the terror of the moment. But Christ is near us. He is by our side if we are by His. When we are with Him, things are as they should be. He is still in control. He can see what we do not. Our zeal for Him is good. But whenever we stop acting as Christ would have us act, then is our zeal being misdirected?
How then should we act? How can we correctly direct this zeal we feel towards the Lord? How can we use it in building up instead of hurting and damaging the name of God? Has the Answer to our questions been right before us? Can we see that the answer Is Jesus? We have limitations. He doesn´t! We stoop to unworthy actions. He does not! We fail to see where God is using our painful moment. He has never lost sight of what God is working on! If we can look to Him, He can handle the situation. If we choose to look to Him to find how to react, He will not fail us! He never has! We might pull out our swords. We might strike out at the assumed attacks. But Jesus never steps out of character. Jesus moves with love. Jesus points men to God. If we follow Him, will our zeal better reflect Him? Shall we try to control ourselves today? Shall we use our zeal for Christ in a positive Way as we walk now in our trying time?
Help us to keep our focus on You. We get so caught up with our situations that we forget You. Help make our zeal point us always towards God and to be a positive reflection of Your love even when we feel under attack!