by Robert M. Solomon

Day 56

Read Mark 14:43-52

It was time for the sheep to be scattered. The betrayer Judas arrived with a crowd of armed men. As prearranged, he betrayed Jesus with the treacherous kiss of a false friend (vv. 44-45). The armed men ″seized Jesus and arrested him″ (v. 46). Imagine the scene. How would Jesus respond?

Jesus made it clear that the Scriptures must be fulfilled (v. 49; cf. Isaiah 53:7-12) and that He was prepared to go to the cross

Peter drew his sword and sliced off the ear of the high priest's servant (v. 47; John 18:10). John records the victim's name-Malchus. This being both a traumatic and transforming incident for him, Malchus could have been converted later and joined the church, and this may be the reason why his name is mentioned. Peter, the impulsive fisherman, had become a swordsman. To his credit, he had acted courageously, living up to his recent boast. He may still have harboured the idea that Jesus would turn the tables and establish His strong political kingdom. Surely swords would be necessary. The Lord who multiplied two fish could surely multiply the swords to gain an astounding victory! Earlier, when Jesus asked the disciples to sell their cloaks to buy swords, they misunderstood and told Him they already had two swords. And He said, ″That's enough″ (Luke 22:36-38). It is easy to see how Peter could have misunderstood Jesus and thought of using his sword to defend Him. The battle for the kingdom had begun. But one sword was hardly a match for an army of swords! However, there was another sword-not physical but spiritual-that was up to the task: the sword of the Spirit (Ephesians 6:17), which Peter later found had the power to cut open stubborn and sinful hearts (Acts 2:37).

Although not recorded in Mark's gospel, Luke 22:51 tells us that Jesus then healed the high priest's servant's ear. It was an act of compassion and a rejection of any idea that Jesus was leading an armed rebellion (v. 48). Jesus made it clear that the Scriptures must be fulfilled (v. 49; cf. Isaiah 53:7-12) and that He was prepared to go to the cross. Then ″everyone deserted him and fled″ (v. 50). Peter had the courage to carry a sword but not a cross.

The young man who ″fled naked″ (vv. 51-52), mentioned only in Mark, is believed to be Mark himself, who humbly notes that he too lost courage and joined the fleeing disciples.

Think through:

Why do you think the disciples may have misunderstood about the swords? How can we misunderstand Jesus and employ means to further His kingdom that are foreign to His ways?

Is it easier to carry a sword or a cross? Reflect on this in terms of your various situations-at home, at the workplace, in church, in your neighbourhood, and in the world.




About Author

Robert Solomon served as Bishop of The Methodist Church in Singapore from 2002-2012. He has an active itinerant preaching and teaching ministry in Singapore and abroad. He is the author of more than 25 books, including The Race, The Conscience, The Sermon of Jesus, and Faithful to the End.

Author of Journey Through Series:

Our Daily Bread Journey Through® Series is a publication of Our Daily Bread Ministries.

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