He Who Has an Ear… Matthew 26:51-54
“51) And behold, one of those who were with Jesus reached and drew out his sword, and struck the slave of the high priest and cut off his ear. 52) Then Jesus *said to him, “Put your sword back into its place; for all those who take up the sword shall perish by the sword. 53) Or do you think that I cannot appeal to My Father, and He will at once put at My disposal more than twelve legions of angels? 54) How then will the Scriptures be fulfilled, which say that it must happen this way?”” Matthew 26:51-54
With one swipe of the sword, Peter almost invalidated the whole mission of Jesus. (John 18:10-11) He almost turned it into a bloody insurrection with the potential of bringing down the wrath of Rome to squash both Jesus and His followers. All of history hinged on what Jesus did next.
First, Jesus restrained Peter and had him return His sword to its sheath. The Christian message is about love and forgiveness and not about violence and death. I tremble at the thought of using this text to defend the use of arms for the purpose of self defense. Other Scriptures may make that case, but Jesus definitely was not promoting resistance or self defense in this context.
Second, according to Luke 22:51, Jesus quickly healed the slave of the chief priest. Think about this scene. He reached down and picked up the bloody severed ear, tenderly put it in place and healed the slave. Time stood still as Jesus loving looked into the eyes of the servant while the chief priests, officers of the temple guard and elders watched in dismay. (Luke 22:51-52)
With this act, Jesus proved He was not short of healing power, love or grace during His darkest hour. In fact, restoring the severed ear ranks as one of the most profound miracles Jesus performed. Other explanations could be proposed for making the blind to see, the deaf hear or even the crippled walk, but this was indeed a visible manifestation of healing. Jesus instantly restored a severed ear.
His next words were as much for the sake of His disciples as for the mob; “52) … Put your sword back into its place; for all those who take up the sword shall perish by the sword. 53) Or do you think that I cannot appeal to My Father, and He will at once put at My disposal more than twelve legions of angels? 54) How then will the Scriptures be fulfilled, which say that it must happen this way?””
Not only was the grace and healing power of Jesus still intact, so was His position of commander of the hosts of heaven! He could have appealed to the Father for more than 12 legions of angels. Roman legions varied in size from 3,000 to 6,000 soldiers. Either way, the number is staggering. Jesus was making it clear that He had options available had He decided against going to the cross.
Think about this, He had the forces available to destroy the god of this world in an instant, but only enduring the suffering of the cross could redeem humanity from the curse of the fall and change the human heart. Removing Satan and his cohorts would do little to change human civilization or history if the core of human nature remained unchanged.
It was here the impact of His time of wrestling in Gethsemane becomes manifest. He was resolved with a resolute heart to go to the cross. He would not use His grace, healing powers or Divine authority on Himself. He healed and delivered others, but not Himself. He endured the cross with 100% of His humanity without appealing to His Divine nature.
Biblical prophecy was about to be fulfilled. Jesus was under the authority of Scripture. He was not about to go rouge and change the plan the Father laid down from before the foundation of world. (Ephesians 1:3-14)
Daily Bible Commentary By Terry Baxter: Cofounder of GoServ Global
He Who Has an Ear… Matthew 26:51-54