Dudes With Swords
I’ve been studying John 18 as part of the sermon series at our church. And one of the more humorous stories about Jesus’ arrest in the Garden of Gethsemane is Peter’s ill-advised attempt to defeat the armies that came to arrest Jesus.
Here is Peter, fisherman, not a soldier, brandishing this sword. I’m guessing he got it a used sword shop. It’s probably rusty and too heavy to carry. His goal was to crack the head of Malcus, the lead soldier.
Only problem was that Peter was a fisherman, not a soldier. He swung wildly and missed badly. Fortunately he was next to Jesus and Jesus healed Malcus ear, that had been chopped off, and told Peter to put his sword away.
That’s great advice, by the way, for you and for me. Put your sword away. Too often we try to defeat the enemies of sin, temptation, and the devil with the cheap, heavy swords of our own effort.
That’s why we fail. That pornography addiction? We flail at it with our own cheap swords of self-effort. I’ll quit one day. I’m just going to stop, right now.
The problem is that the flesh is too strong, the devil too powerful, and the world is too enticing. You need something, or rather Someone, supernatural, to defeat your enemies. But here is the good news. Jesus, in that very same garden, surrendered to the will of the Father. He took the cup of suffering and the cross. And on that cross He defeated sin and death. He loosed our chains.
So, we don’t have to fight our enemies on our own. We can claim, through Jesus, victory over temptation. But the way to find that victory is not by trying harder. It’s by putting our sword away and embracing Jesus. It’s by allowing His Spirit to rule in us. It’s by realizing, as Peter did later, that we’re powerless to fight sin on our own.
This is the power of the gospel message.
Daniel Darling is an author, pastor, and public speaker. His latest book is Crash Course, Forming a Faith Foundation for Life. Visit him on Facebook by clicking here, follow on him on Twitter at twitter.com/dandarling, or check out his website: danieldarling.com.