The Last Miracle

Again He asked them,  “Who is it you want?”

And they said,   “Jesus of Nazareth.”

“I told you that I am He,”  Jesus answered.  “If you are looking for me, then let these men go.”  This happened so that the words He had spoken would be fulfilled:  “I have not lost one of those You gave me.”

Then Simon Peter, who had a sword, drew it and struck the high priest’s servant, cutting off his right ear.  (The servant’s name was Malchus.)

Jesus commanded Peter,  “Put your sword away!  Shall I not drink the cup the Father has given me?”  John 18:7-11.

I guess Jesus just wanted to be sure who they were looking for right?

At the first pronouncement of His identity the men drew back and fell to the ground, and my impression makes the cause His power of presence and word.  The second time He asked the question was exploratory more than anything else, for He wanted to know how determined they were to arrest Him.

They answered His question unequivocally.

God gives us humans chances to prove Him wrong about our intentions, attitudes and habits.  The trouble with us is we keep proving Him right every time, so that, as the Scripture says, He is justified when He judges.  The men from the Pharisees and high priest knew their business to be dark in design yet they were determined to carry it out.  The fallen angels and humanity were in a game of chicken with God and expected Him to swerve first.  Unfortunately for humanity and the fallen angels, God’s power gives Him the advantage of eternity, resurrection and endurance, which means He controls the outcome by being in complete control of Himself.  The crash left Him dead for three days and humanity as a whole with a false sense of victory.

But Sunday’s coming…

I’m really impressed by Jesus the more I know Him.  Peter gets excited and cuts off an ear (probably aiming for the head and Malchus ducked).  The Master rebukes him and heals the man’s ear (the story of the healing is in Luke 22:51).  What does it say about Jesus that He could do this thing in the face of betrayal, false accusations, a bogus arrest and eminent death?  He didn’t deserve to be arrested let alone tried for the crime of rebellion.  In the face of injustice He could be healing, calm, submissive, willing to sacrifice the moment for the hope of eternity.

I like the fact that John knew the servant’s name to be Malchus (partly because John was known in the high priest’s household), because that affirms my suspicion the man became a follower of Jesus.  How could he not?  A man would have to be hardened to the point of rigormortis to not be touched in the heart as well as healed in body by such an act of love and mercy.  Facing the worst possible scenario Jesus rose to the heights of grace that gave the man evidence of His divinity—and not only Malchus but every man in the mob coming after Him unjustly.

I like to think Malchus went back with them in a daze, devotion and duty warring for his attention, but completely convinced of Jesus’ innocence.  The others with him had to be either unaware of the healing or just plain too worked up by mob rule for it to matter for them to ignore this last miracle of Jesus (besides the resurrection, of course).

Again, we see Jesus’ more concerned for His disciples than for Himself.  He remains in command of the situation by requesting the men with Him be left alone to go free.  I don’t think I’d have the presence of mind to think about them or anyone in such a situation; Jesus, however, did.

The contrast between the world’s ability to respond to crisis and the follower of Jesus couldn’t be more stark.  If we conform to the mind of Christ, we gain His calm, peace and grasp the big picture.  He wasn’t worried for Himself since He already knew the outcome to be set in stone.  His death would save mankind.  He would be resurrected, though for a time the darkness caused Him to cry out in agony.  We have much to learn about facing our demons and trials of faith, but one thing is certain, this example displays grace in the face of injustice, calmness in the face of insanity, and a sense of purpose through the worst the world can throw at a man.  Jesus is our Prototype in all things and never more poignantly so as in this moment.

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