Talk about bodacious!
On the night He was betrayed, Jesus told Peter and the disciples that Zechariah 13:7 referred to them personally, and that it was going to happen shortly:
“All of you will be made to stumble because of Me this night, for it is written, ‘I will strike the Shepherd, and the sheep will be scattered.’ But after I have been raised, I will go before you to Galilee” (Mark 14:27-28).
You’d think that should settle it, especially for Peter. The One he properly identified as “the Christ, the Son of the Living God” told them that God’s Word would be fulfilled in their lives. He even offered an assuring promise of His coming resurrection and their soon regathering after the crisis.
But not for Peter. No, Peter had something for Jesus. He would prove to Him that Peter, not God was in control of this night. Peter, not God, would determine if Messiah should die. Peter, not God, would decide who would scatter and who wouldn’t.
“Hold on there Jesus, that’s not going to happen. Not on my watch. I will never forsake you. These other weaklings might fold, but not me. I’m Peter, and I don’t need God!”
You have to give Peter credit. He tried to deliver on his boast. When the soldiers came into the garden to arrest Jesus, Peter pulled out his little ceremonial sword and cut off one of the soldier’s ears! That was a suicide mission if I ever read about one. A sure-fire way to either die in place or at least go to jail with Jesus!
I imagine Jesus looking at Peter with one of those, “You have got to be kidding me, Peter. Or should I say, ‘Simon,’ your before-you-met-me name. You stand there with your little sword trying to change the mind of God, the fulfillment of prophecy, and the most climactic and decisive event in history?”
But the Scriptures!
After Jesus told Peter to put up his little sword and quit throwing his little “I don’t like what God is doing here” fit, the Lord compassionately healed the poor soldier’s ear. Then he turned to the arresting contingent and says this:
“But the Scriptures must be fulfilled” (Mark 14:49).
Mark makes sure we get the point in the next verse: “Then they all forsook Him and fled.”
Mark rearranged the events of the night Jesus was betrayed to highlight the contrast between the way the disciples led by Peter dealt with the reality that Zechariah 13:7 was being fulfilled and the Lord Jesus’ reaction. The disciples responded by resisting, boasting, and living out of their strengths. Jesus dealt with that same reality by relying on His Father as He watched and prayed.
It was a tough lesson Peter learned that night: You can’t control God, and He doesn’t need you to fix the things you think are broken in your life. Put up your little sword, Simon. Jesus isn’t impressed. The Scriptures must be fulfilled.
Put Up Your Sword!
Maybe it’s time for you to put your little sword back in its sheath. Maybe you’ve been asking Jesus to look at your sword, and hoping He’ll do what you want. Maybe you’re facing your dark night of life in the same way Peter did—by protesting and relying on your own strength.
Before it ends badly for you like it did for Peter—in a heap of tears and repentance—try relying on Jesus, and watching, and praying.
The choice is yours; you can fix and fail, or trust and triumph.
Question: When do you find yourself wanting to pull our your sword of self-protection?