[10] Then Simon Peter, having a sword, drew it and struck the high priest’s servant and cut off his right ear. (The servant’s name was Malchus.) [11] So Jesus said to Peter, “Put your sword into its sheath; shall I not drink the cup that the Father has given me?”

[12] So the band of soldiers and their captain and the officers of the Jews arrested Jesus and bound him.

John 18:10–12 ESV Read More

There are two kinds of boldness that happen here. One of them looks a lot bolder than the other.

Both moves were brave. Against all odds, the man took action in a hopeless attempt to beat the enemy. There were so many more there against the man than for him.

Both were convinced that they were doing the right thing. Maybe it was Peter’s doubt that made him only take off Malchus’ ear. A common attack and parry at the time was to try to lop off an enemy’s head and if you didn’t duck fast enough, you’d only lose an ear instead of the top of your head. (Ask me to demonstrate this to you in person sometime.)

Peter’s bold attack was a move to save them all. Jesus’ bold surrender was a successful move to save them all. Peter didn’t think about the whole plan. Instead of thinking all of that through (remember there were at least 200 army guys there with torches and weapons!) Peter acted and attacked. Jesus knew the plan and knew God’s will for the next 12 hours or so. He knew He would be arrested. He knew He would be unjustly tried. He knew He would die on the cross.

Jesus didn’t surrender to the Romans because He had given up. He had surrendered because He knew that was the path He was supposed to take. He knew that the will of God would be brought about by His submission, not by His violent attack.

You can give Peter a little credit for his bravery, but it doesn’t last long. Knowing and doing the will of God is always better than action that isn’t what Jesus wants. That’s why every church activity we do goes back to knowing and serving Jesus at its core. That’s why we champion groups and teams as places to be together with other people following Jesus first and as accomplishing a task second.

Anybody God made can chop off an ear. It takes a close relationship with Him to know and do His will.

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