Put Your Sword Away
“I don’t understand,” races through Peter’s mind over and again.
Shaking and disoriented, he breaths heavy. There’s blood everywhere, it’s spattered across Jesus robe. Peter can taste the iron saltiness of it on his lips. He stands frantic with desperation over a mutilated piece of flesh. Angry tears blur his vision; he grits his teeth and, with trembling hands, moves to strike again.
“Put your sword away!” Jesus commands.
Peter barely recognizes his Lord and friend’s voice. The night is full
“Shall I not drink the cup the Father has given me?”
It felt like a fist to the jaw; everything Peter believed, being sifted like wheat.
Peter watches as Jesus leans over the man he just struck with his sword. The man, now on his knees, whimpers as he clutches violently at the right side of his head; blood running between his fingers, down his arm, dripping from his elbow.
Jesus leaned over him “touched the man’s ear and healed him.”
And Peter has seen this so many times, Jesus’ kindness, His goodness, His healing, His sovereign love.
“I don’t understand” races through his mind again as Jesus, the man he loved, the man he followed with all his strength, the man he had just given his life for, admonishes him, “All who draw the sword will die by the sword…”
“I don’t understand,” tormented Peter as he followed the prisoner Jesus through dark city streets and finally into the temple grounds.
“I don’t understand,” ravaged his heart as he denied he knew the man he loved, once, twice, three times.
“I don’t understand,” wrecked his soul as he caught Jesus’ eye from across the courtyard just as the rooster crowed.
“I don’t understand” sifted all of him like wheat as he fled the temple grounds.
“And he went out and wept bitterly.”
Just hours earlier, Peter thought he understood; he thought he knew. He promised he’d never deny Jesus, “Lord I’m ready to go with you to prison or death.”
Just hours earlier, Peter believed Jesus’ kingdom on earth would need swords and men willing to use them. It would require sacrifice, the willingness to die for Jesus, and also, the willingness to kill for Jesus.
The theology of control perverts everything, even our passionate love of God! Sovereign control manipulates love into a desperate defense of our broken ideology.
We see it evidenced throughout history: well-meaning Christians committed to murder in order to defend their idea of God.
The mindset is alive today. Open up Facebook and you’ll see it—well-meaning Christians attacking others to defend their idea of God.
It’s everywhere, well-meaning Christians preaching from church pulpits, political platforms, across the web and airwaves, attacking a person or organization in order to defend their idea of God.
Well-meaning Christians destroying families and friendships and derailing great moves of God; well-meaning Christians manipulating scripture to develop cult-like devotion to the desperate defense of ideologies absolutely contrary to the revelation of Jesus.
Understand, Peter didn’t truly defend Jesus; he truly defended his belief about Jesus. My point? While Peter’s defense was true, it wasn’t the truth that sets free.
Peter believed that, if the kingdom was to be established on earth as it is in heaven, at some point Jesus must assume control. There are still so many Christians today who believe this…
Except, Jesus never once modeled this.
Peter’s belief in the lie of sovereign control ultimately set him against the very revelation of Jesus and led him to do something perversely contrary to sovereign love.
Please get this, if your understanding leads to anxiety and fear, you don’t truly understand. Put your sword away!
If your love of God leads you to act out of fear, you need a greater revelation of His love. Put your sword away!
If you feel you must attack someone in order to defend your thoughts about God, it’s a good
If you find yourself desperate and insecure on God’s behalf, you don’t have the whole story. Put your sword away!
Desperation is not a sign of spiritual maturity, it’s a sign we are not yet sure in sovereign love; it’s a sign we’re still journeying into a greater revelation of His goodness, our minds still being renewed…
Jason Clark is a writer, speaker and lead communicator at A Family Story ministries. His mission is to encourage sons and daughters to grow sure in the love of an always-good heavenly Father. He and his wife, Karen, live in North Carolina with their three children.
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