A tale of two swords

Church bulletin:

Mark 14:46-49, “……….Then they laid their hands on Him and took Him. And one of those who stood by drew his sword and struck the servant of the high priest, and cut off his ear. Then Jesus answered and said to them, “Have you come out, as against a robber, with swords and clubs to take Me? I was daily with you in the temple teaching, and you did not seize Me. But the Scriptures must be fulfilled.”

So often Peter just doesn’t get what is going on. In the Garden of Gethsemane he reacts to the manhandling of the Lord Jesus by wielding a sword and slicing off the ear belonging to the servant of the high priest. We learn elsewhere that Jesus saved his skin by miraculously bringing the ear and the servant back together again. He then says to everyone present, especially the hapless Peter, “the Scriptures must be fulfilled”.

In this regard Jesus and Peter stand in stark contrast to one another. They approach this situation from two different perspectives because they represent two different ideals. Jesus is a scripturally minded man seeking to accomplish the purposes of God by the sword of the Spirit. Peter on the other hand is an earthly minded man seeking to accomplish the purposes of God by the sword of the flesh.

Peter’s sword represents the emotions, human wisdom, self-will, personal preferences, ambitions, etc. It is wielded when people either do not know the scriptures or they refuse to submit to the scriptures. All too often we hear of Christians ‘feeling led’ to do this or that rather than making decisions based upon Biblical precepts. Peter was led by his emotions and look at the outcome.

The Bible doesn’t answer all of our questions or provide specific information tailored to our personal circumstances, but it does teach us how to behave; it does provide the principles we need in order to navigate the providences and opportunities which come upon us. It is a light to our path and a lamp to our feet; or to follow the analogy we are using – it enables us to cut through the confusion, the uncertainty, and the sinful inclinations we are all prone to. It opens the way for us to honour the Lord in the way we conduct ourselves & the decisions we make.

There are always two swords set before us – the sword of the flesh which invariably causes problems and the sword of the Spirit which leads to the peaceable fruits of righteousness. The sword we choose ultimately comes down to who we are seeking to please – ourselves or the Lord Jesus Christ. Eph 6:17, “And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God”