John 18 (ESV)
When Jesus had spoken these words, he went out with his disciples across the brook Kidron, where there was a garden, which he and his disciples entered. 2 Now Judas, who betrayed him, also knew the place, for Jesus often met there with his disciples. 3 So Judas, having procured a band of soldiers and some officers from the chief priests and the Pharisees, went there with lanterns and torches and weapons. 4 Then Jesus, knowing all that would happen to him, came forward and said to them, “Whom do you seek?” 5 They answered him, “Jesus of Nazareth.” Jesus said to them, “I am he.” Judas, who betrayed him, was standing with them. 6 When Jesus said to them, “I am he,” they drew back and fell to the ground. 7 So he asked them again, “Whom do you seek?” And they said, “Jesus of Nazareth.” 8 Jesus answered, “I told you that I am he. So, if you seek me, let these men go.” 9 This was to fulfill the word that he had spoken: “Of those whom you gave me I have lost not one.” 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?” . . . Continue Reading
As I read through John 18, I’m struck by Peter in a new way. Not only did he have a sword, he knew how to use it. If Jesus was a pacifist (as many Christians claim), why was Peter armed? Jesus response wasn’t, “Peter, why do you have a sword?” but rather, “Put your sword into its sheath; shall I not drink the cup that the Father has given me?” (John 18:11)
What also stood out to me about Peter is his zeal to protect the Lord. Did it have anything to do with a previous interaction between Peter and Jesus? In John 13:37-38, Peter says, “Lord, why can I not follow you now? I will lay down my life for you.” 38 Jesus answered, “Will you lay down your life for me? Truly, truly, I say to you, the rooster will not crow till you have denied me three times.”
Was Peter out to show Jesus that not only would he NOT deny him but he would be willing to fight for and die for Him as they faced “a band of soldiers and some officers from the chief priests and the Pharisees, went there with lanterns and torches and weapons?” (John 18:3)
But then we find Peter standing by the campfire warming himself in John 18:17 The servant girl at the door said to Peter, “You also are not one of this man’s disciples, are you?” He said, “I am not.” They ask him again, “You also are not one of his disciples, are you?” He denied it and said, “I am not.” (John 18:25).
Then the heat gets turned up on Peter in John 18:26-27 where we read, “One of the servants of the high priest, a relative of the man whose ear Peter had cut off, asked, “Did I not see you in the garden with him?” 27 Peter again denied it, and at once a rooster crowed.”
It’s hard to read in verse 22 that “one of the officers standing by struck Jesus with his hand.” The first blow of many to come. For Peter who would deny Him and for me, who is no different than Peter.