John, The Love of God
The best intentions sometimes do not solve the problem. We say things like, “his heart was in the right place.” Sometimes what we do makes things worse. Your best efforts to help sometimes hurt someone else. You didn’t think or plan for it to happen that way. It just did. You defend someone you love but hurt someone else in the process. You didn’t plan that either.
Sometimes our mouths speak before our mind think through all the implications. We say things that we regret later. Our motives begin from a good place but our emotions take over and make things worse than they should be. It happens to all of us because we are fallible humans. It happened to Peter.
There is NO doubt in our minds the depth of love Peter had for Jesus, His Master and Beloved Friend. At the last Passover dinner Jesus shared what was about to happen. Peter was up in arms ready to fight for his Lord. Jesus told him he, instead, would deny him three times before the night was over…before the rooster crows. Peter vehemently denied it. Good intentions.
In the garden Jesus is arrested while his betrayer, Judas looks on. Peter’s emotions jump to the surface. He pulls out a sword in defense of His Master (not sure he thought this through) and cuts off the ear of the Chief Priest’s servant! Jesus quickly heals the servant (protecting Peter) and the arrest moves forward peacefully. Jesus calms the situation. Peter, from a place of love, fearfully stays close by. He doesn’t run like the others. Good intentions.
Peter stays in the shadows, close by with another disciple. The other unnamed disciple was known by the Chief Priest, so he got Peter and himself into the courtyard, to be closer still. At the gate, Peter is asked, “Aren’t you one of this man’s disciples”? Peter’s first reaction is denial so he can get to where he wants to be…close to his Lord.
While Jesus is being interrogated by the Chief Priest, Peter tries to blend into the group warming themselves by the fire in the courtyard. He probably hears the loud voices and the slap across the face of his Master’s face as Jesus tells the Truth. Peter’s stomach is probably churning with emotional pain. His heart skips a beat at each slap. Peter is questioned again, “Aren’t you one of his disciples?” and Peter denies it once more so he could stay close by. Good intentions.
Then the ultimate question that struck fear in Peter’s heart, “Didn’t I see you in the garden with him?” This person was a relative of the man whom Peter had attacked by cutting off his ear! Still Peter controls every emotion inside him and denies knowing Jesus once more. His intentions might have been good but he lied openly to knowing Jesus. The rooster crows. Peter cries remorsefully.
All the good intentions do not cover the denial of knowing Jesus. Only the blood of the Savior that will be shed will cover the multitude of sin. Peter’s denial, good intentions, and emotional outbursts and our sin…all forgiven.
So, we cannot be too hard on Peter. What would you have done? What do we think, say and do when faced with “Aren’t you one of His disciples?” in the workplace or crowd who do not care to know Jesus. What if our lives depended on our answer? Will we quickly say “YES, I am one of His!”, or stammer around, considering the situation first?
Our first thought should always be love for Christ. That love should drive every word that comes from our minds and mouths. May we proclaim our Redeemer with no hesitation in any situation. May we go beyond good intentions to living life abundantly, holding nothing back. May we show and tell the world about Jesus by our words and actions in a Spirit of love.
Let’s learn from Peter. Cutting off their ears will not help them hear the Truth that will set them free. Don’t let fear drive us, let the love of Christ be our guide.
John 18, The Message
Seized in the Garden at Night
Jesus, having prayed this prayer, left with his disciples and crossed over the brook Kidron at a place where there was a garden. He and his disciples entered it.
2-4 Judas, his betrayer, knew the place because Jesus and his disciples went there often. So Judas led the way to the garden, and the Roman soldiers and police sent by the high priests and Pharisees followed. They arrived there with lanterns and torches and swords. Jesus, knowing by now everything that was coming down on him, went out and met them. He said, “Who are you after?”
They answered, “Jesus the Nazarene.”
5-6 He said, “That’s me.” The soldiers recoiled, totally taken aback. Judas, his betrayer, stood out like a sore thumb.
7 Jesus asked again, “Who are you after?”
They answered, “Jesus the Nazarene.”
8-9 “I told you,” said Jesus, “that’s me. I’m the one. So if it’s me you’re after, let these others go.” (This validated the words in his prayer, “I didn’t lose one of those you gave.”)
10 Just then Simon Peter, who was carrying a sword, pulled it from its sheath and struck the Chief Priest’s servant, cutting off his right ear. Malchus was the servant’s name.
11 Jesus ordered Peter, “Put back your sword. Do you think for a minute I’m not going to drink this cup the Father gave me?”
12-14 Then the Roman soldiers under their commander, joined by the Jewish police, seized Jesus and tied him up. They took him first to Annas, father-in-law of Caiaphas. Caiaphas was the Chief Priest that year. It was Caiaphas who had advised the Jews that it was to their advantage that one man die for the people.
15-16 Simon Peter and another disciple followed Jesus. That other disciple was known to the Chief Priest, and so he went in with Jesus to the Chief Priest’s courtyard. Peter had to stay outside. Then the other disciple went out, spoke to the doorkeeper, and got Peter in.
17 The young woman who was the doorkeeper said to Peter, “Aren’t you one of this man’s disciples?”
He said, “No, I’m not.”
18 The servants and police had made a fire because of the cold and were huddled there warming themselves. Peter stood with them, trying to get warm.
19-21 Annas interrogated Jesus regarding his disciples and his teaching. Jesus answered, “I’ve spoken openly in public. I’ve taught regularly in meeting places and the Temple, where the Jews all come together. Everything has been out in the open. I’ve said nothing in secret. So why are you treating me like a conspirator? Question those who have been listening to me. They know well what I have said. My teachings have all been aboveboard.”
22 When he said this, one of the policemen standing there slapped Jesus across the face, saying, “How dare you speak to the Chief Priest like that!”
23 Jesus replied, “If I’ve said something wrong, prove it. But if I’ve spoken the plain truth, why this slapping around?”
24 Then Annas sent him, still tied up, to the Chief Priest Caiaphas.
25 Meanwhile, Simon Peter was back at the fire, still trying to get warm. The others there said to him, “Aren’t you one of his disciples?”
He denied it, “Not me.”
26 One of the Chief Priest’s servants, a relative of the man whose ear Peter had cut off, said, “Didn’t I see you in the garden with him?”
27 Again, Peter denied it. Just then a rooster crowed.
Dear Heavenly Father,
Blessed be Your Name. This story of You leads us even deeper into the love you have for us. Continue to transform us.
In Jesus Name, Amen