7 Once more he asked them, “Who are you looking for?”
And again they replied, “Jesus the Nazarene.”
8 “I told you that I AM he,” Jesus said. “And since I am the one you want, let these others go.” 9 He did this to fulfill his own statement: “I did not lose a single one of those you have given me.”
10 Then Simon Peter drew a sword and slashed off the right ear of Malchus, the high priest’s slave. 11 But Jesus said to Peter, “Put your sword back into its sheath. Shall I not drink from the cup of suffering the Father has given me?”
Dear God, it’s interesting to see what John decides to tell us and what he leaves out. He tells us about Peter cutting off the ear, but he doesn’t tell us that Jesus healed the ear or why Peter had a sword in the first place (Luke 22:36-37). He also leaves out something else important. He doesn’t tell the part about Jesus praying on the Mount of Olives and the disciples praying with Him falling asleep. Hmmm. I wonder if he carried that shame the rest of his life.
But back to Peter. I already mentioned this in a previous journal, but I think it is significant to note that Peter was, indeed, ready to defend Jesus, follow Jesus, battle for Jesus, and die for Jesus. That’s just not how Jesus needed this to work out. This is evidenced by what John tells us in verse 8 with Jesus saying, “”And since I am the one you want, let these others go.” I don’t remember Matthew, Mark, or Luke giving us that detail. At some point, I am going to do a side-by-side comparison of every story the four Gospels give us so that I can get a better look at exactly what John wanted us to know that was unique to the other three.
I was watching a documentary on Bill Murray the other day, and a guy talked about a Taoist Proverb that has a principle I’ve clung to the last few years as things have and haven’t gone the way I wanted them to. To paraphrase quickly, it seems there was a man who had a prized horse:
- One day the horse ran away and his neighbor came over and told him it was such a shame that this bad thing had happened. The man replied, “Who is to know what is good or what is bad?”
- The next day the horse came back, but he brought with him 10 prized wild horses. The neighbor came and rejoiced with him remarking that it was such a great thing. The man replied, “Who is to know what is good or what is bad?”
- The next day the man’s son was trying to train one of the horses and broke his leg. The neighbor expressed sympathy for such a terrible thing happening, but the man replied, “Who is to know what is good or what is bad?”
- The next day the army came to conscript able-bodied men to go to war. The son was left behind because of his broken leg, and the neighbor rejoiced with the man, but the man replied, “Who is to know what is good or what is bad?”
And so the story goes on and on. Peter felt like a failure that night. John felt like a failure too. And they did, indeed, fail. Judas Iscariot failed that week as well. But in all of it, your plan prevailed. You didn’t need them to fail, but you allowed for their failure. They didn’t understand that Jesus’ death was good and fighting to save Jesus by cutting off an ear was bad. But looking back and telling the story years later, John was able to see a little more clearly and understand what you were up to.
Father, I am truly sorry for my failings. I really am. But on this Thanksgiving Day, I want to thank you for working around all of my faults and flaws to not only love me, but to do you will on earth through me. Maybe things could be done better if I was better, but I am able to sleep peacefully at night knowing that you are my God, you love me, and you forgive me. Thank you.
In Jesus’ name I pray,