Sermons

Summary: The Christian does not win in the war with evil by making the enemy suffer. He wins by suffering for the sake of the enemy. This is the new message of the cross.

William H. Taft, the 27th President of the United States, was a

big man in more ways than one. When he was inaugurated in 1909

at age 51 he weighed 325 pounds. His goal was not to become

President, however, but to be the chief justice of the Supreme

Court. In 1921 he achieved his goal and became the only man in the

history of our nation to hold the countries 2 most powerful offices.

Peter was like Taft in being the big man among the Apostles. He

was physically a big fisherman, but he was also the only man

selected to be the head of the 12, and the only man to be considered

the first head of the church.

The Catholic Church considers Peter to be the first Pope. Peter

also had the reputation of being the biggest human power on earth

with the keys to the kingdom. All of the stories about coming to the

golden gate of heaven involved dealing with Peter, and so he was

like Taft in the Christian realm. He was the only man in Christian

history to ever hold the 2 highest offices. He was the President of

the 12 and the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of the Christian

faith. He could bind up or set loose and so determine who would or

would not be in heaven.

Peter was a big man, but as we have seen in previous studies, he

made more mistakes than all the rest of the Apostles put together.

A big man can make big mistakes and make himself look small, and

Peter was a pro at it. His most violent mistake is the one is the one

we want to focus on. It happened in the account of the arrest of

Jesus. In Peter's impulsive act of drawing his sword and cutting off

the ear of the servant of the high priest, he taught a multitude of

lessons about the Christian and violence. We can only look at some

of them.

No situation is necessarily like another situation. Peter could

have said that Gideon with just a handful of men defeated a large

army, and so even though we have only two swords among us, by

God's power we can defeat this army of enemies who come to take

our Lord unjustly. It is a biblical truth that God can lead the

minority to victory over the more powerful majority. It runs all

through the Old Testament. This is the setting we have here in the

arrest of Jesus. We need to get the picture to see the high side Peter

was taking in coming to the defense of his Master. Peter was being

as bold and courageous as he ever was in his life, but it was zeal

without knowledge. The fact is, he was demonstrating his

willingness to die for Jesus. All 4 Gospels reveal this scene, and

Mark and Luke both used the word multitude. There was a vast

crowd of people who came to arrest Jesus. John tells us of the band

of soldiers and officers of the chief priests and Pharisees, but the

other Gospels tell of a multitude of people with swords and staves.

Matthew even calls it a great multitude.

Get the idea out of your head that the arrest of Jesus was by a

hand full of Roman guards, and that it was like a police officer

picking up a disturber of peace. This was a crusade, and the troops

were lined up to march as to war. We are talking hundreds of

people ready to engage in fierce battle to subdue and take Jesus into

custody. The enemies of Jesus expected and all out conflict with

heavy casualties, and so they came with an army. Peter had

delusions of grandeur to think he could fight this army. It is a

wonder he was not cut to ribbons. Jesus did a quick miracle to

restore the one victim of Peter's violence. Otherwise Peter would

have been killed on the spot.

The point here is that you cannot just transfer truth to any

situation and try to apply it where it does not fit. Every piece of a

puzzle fits somewhere, but it does not fit everywhere. You can't

take a biblical truth or principle and just squeeze it in anywhere

you like. It is true that one man with God is a majority, and that

God can use one man, like Samson, to win a battle over a thousand

Philistines. Does this mean a Christian can in every situation take

on a thousand enemies and be assured of victory? Not at all. A

Christian can take on foe, and if he uses violence out of God's will,

he will be a loser even if he draws first blood as did Peter in this

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