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Lent is a time for Christians to fully examine their relationship with the Lord. Through prayer, sacrifice and service, we develop an understanding of what it means to "take up your cross and follow me." (Mark 8:34) As Christians, we are called to live Christ's life- not to study the life of Jesus and try to be like Him, but actually let Him live through us.

In my own journey this Lent, Our Lord is asking me to fully understand His love. Through several prayer experiences, I hear him calling me to this deeper understanding of His love- not just with my head, but with my heart. And the key to understanding that amazing love is to understand His suffering. My intellect understands that the Lord suffered, but I have never explored His suffering with my heart. His love is greater than His suffering, but how great was that suffering?

I am participating in an independent Threshold Bible Study called People of the Passion by Stephen J. Binz. In this study, I will explore the meaning of discipleship through the people who encounter Jesus during His passion. These people witness and are impacted by the suffering of Jesus. They saw the suffering of our Lord first hand. It is my hope that by going on this journey through their eyes, I will have a better understanding of His suffering and then of His love.

Please know that I am not a scholar. I have no formal education in theology, philosophy or church history. I'm just a regular person trying to make sense of what Jesus is asking me to do- to love like He loves.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Day 10- Simon Peter Fights Back with a Sword

John 18:10-11

Then Simon Peter, who had a sword, drew it, struck the high priest's slave, and cut off his right ear.  The slave's name was Malchus.  Jesus said to Peter, 'Put your sword back into its sheath.  Am I not to drink the bup that the Father has given me?"

Matthew 26:51-56

Suddenly, one of those with Jesus put his hand on his sword, drew it, and struck the slave of the high priest, cutting off his ear.  Then Jesus said to him, "Put your sword back into its place; for all who take the sword will perish by the sword.  Do you think that I cannot appeal to my Father, and he will at once send me more than twelve legions of angels?  But how then would the scripture be fulfilled, which say it must happen in this way?"  At that hour Jesus said to the crowds, "Have you come out with swords and clubs to arrest me as though I were a bandit?  Day after day I sat in the temple teaching, and you did not arrest me.  But all this had taken place, so that the scripture of the prophets may be fulfilled.  Then all the disciples deserted him and fled.

Admit it.  You want to cheer for Peter.  You want to see Him protect the Lord and keep this whole thing from happening.  At least that is my reaction.  But, as we see in both of these passages, Peter's reaction wasn't right.  Jesus preaches that violence isn't the answer.  And that these coming events are the will of the Father which Jesus had whole heartedly surrendered to.  His disciples were ready to fight for His life, but Jesus was ready to lay it down for theirs.  And for the rest of humanity.  It is quite clear that the disciples didn't understand why Jesus was surrendering.  And that is why they fled.  They didn't understand why Jesus wasn't fighting and they weren't ready to face what was going to take place.  They probably feared their own safety.  I have to admit, I probably would have ran too. 

The human part of us has that inate sense of fight or flight.  It is a survival instinct.  Whenever we meet conflict, the instinct kicks in.  And, some of us put it into daily practice in a variety of situations.  I am more of a flight person.  I run in the face of conflict.  If I can't resolve it and make all parties happy, I will probably leave the room.  But, when I am passionate about something, I am ready to fight.  And the fight can get down right nasty. I usually don't make the best decisions during the fight.  And that is never good.

As we see in this account, the disciples fought and then fled.  But Jesus did the opposite.  He broke up the fight and even healed the victim (see Luke's account).  Then He surrendered.  What is He teaching us here?I'm not quite sure how to apply this to my life.  I am sure there are situations where I must stand up for what is right and the fight is necessary.  And I am sure there are situations where it is better for me to leave in order to defuse the situation.  But when am I to peacefully stay and surrender?  I guess each situation is unique in this matter.  And the only way to figure out what to do is to know the will of the Father.  Jesus surrendered because He knew that is what His Father wanted.  It was His will.  And He didn't choose the legions of angels but He chose His father's will.  For us.  It's neat to see how all roads lead to His amazing love.

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