Thursday, December 9, 2010

Swinging the Sword

The story is familiar. We have known it since childhood. On the night Judas betrayed Jesus, an armed crowd came at night to arrest him. To protect his master, Peter “reached for his sword, drew it out and struck the servant of the high priest, cutting off his ear” (Matthew 26: 26:51). The loyal disciple attempted to save Jesus with violence. Today’s Christians are familiar with Jesus’ out-of-the-ordinary response to Peter’s sword swinging: “’Put your sword back in its place…for all who draw the sword will die by the sword. Do you think I cannot call on my Father, and he will at once put at my disposal more than twelve legions of angels?’” (Matthew26:52-53).

I don’t have a sword, but if I did, I could neither swing it in a controlled manner, nor use it effectively to defend someone. Still, there is a message for me in these verses. How often do I take up the sword of independence, swinging away, trying to solve all my dilemmas? “I can do it. I can save you. I can handle this situation.” Acting on my own, I hack and hew with my sword, wearing myself out, and worsening the situation.

Did Jesus, creator of heaven and earth, need followers to protect Him? No, for He could call on God’s army of angels to obey His every command. Why do I not understand His willingness to protect me? Peter didn’t understand either. I have scriptures and the Holy Spirit to help me and still do not understand; there is no need to swing my sword. Almighty God, commander-in-chief of all the angels, is in control. I must rest behind His shield of power and love.

Oh God, help me lay down my sword and yield my “strength. “ Only then can I win my spiritual war.

Isaiah 58:11a “The Lord will guide you always; he will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land and will strengthen your frame.”

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