It’s me. Rachel. I feel like this summer is flying by – school has already started for most kids in Nashville. I don’t know, maybe it’s just me – but there’s something weird about starting school when it’s still so stinkin’ hot outside. I digress. I am getting WAY off track.
ANYWAY… we’re starting something new here on FreeCCM.com. Starting today – and for the next few Fridays – we’ll be posting some devotionals that were inspired by some of Skillet’s latest songs. Today, we’ll be reading John 18:10-11 and talking about how we define “Heroes” and how we should START defining “Heroes”, according to Jesus.
Ready, set, read!
“Then Simon Peter, who had a sword, drew it and struck the high priest’s servant, cutting off his right ear. (The servant’s name was Malchus.) Jesus commanded Peter, ‘Put your sword away! Shall I not drink the cup the Father has given me?’” – John 18:10-11
If Jesus had known Peter was carrying a sword, he would have put a stop to it. He knew Peter belonged to a group of radicals called the Zealots who were furious about Rome’s oppression against the Jewish people. Peter was prone to get angry at times, even violent.
But Jesus hoped Peter had changed. It had been several years since this young, hotheaded revolutionary walked away from his family’s business to take after Jesus. He was livid over how the Romans treated the Jews. They were abusive and harsh. But Jesus tried to show Peter a different way to respond.
“If you live by the sword, you’ll die by the sword,” Jesus told him.
Those of us without a hero go lashing out at every injustice and offense. We see ourselves as vigilantes for what’s right. After all, who else is going to stop them? No wonder Peter carried a weapon under his clothes. He couldn’t see a better way.
We don’t carry real swords, of course, but our weapons of choice can be just as dangerous. It’s a sharp tongue that cuts down other people. It’s the cold silence with which we freeze others out. It’s the slander we speak against them. It’s the poisonous anger that boils up inside us.
Peter didn’t understand the kind of hero Jesus came to be. He only had the human perspective. So when Jesus spoke about liberating Israel, Peter thought it was from Roman rule. When Jesus spoke of a new kingdom, Peter thought it was an earthly one.
But Jesus was talking about so much more. He was talking about spiritual freedom. He was talking about a Heavenly kingdom. Peter underestimated the kind of life Jesus promised to bring.
There is a new kind of hero that Jesus introduced to us. It’s not very gratifying to our human desires; it doesn’t seem very effective; and it feels like we’re letting others get away with their abuses. But it’s the superhuman way. It’s the way of the divine. And quite frankly, it’s the only way that works. It’s the way of trusting Jesus, our hero.
No one else can heal the ills of our society. No one else can restore our marriages. No one else can bring justice to the persecuted or restore fathers to the fatherless. Only Jesus.
When Jesus admonished Peter to put away his sword and he miraculously replaced Malchus’ ear, he was showing a more heroic way. It was the kind of heroism that gives life, rather than takes it.
At this moment in the Garden of Gethsemane, Jesus needed to surrender because his death on the cross would bring eternal life to every generation to come. This was God’s plan; this was the “cup” Jesus needed to drink. And without knowing it, Peter was fighting against this purpose.
Laying down our swords doesn’t mean we’re victims. It means we’re embracing the kind of heroism that Jesus demonstrated. He gave his life on the cross so that others wouldn’t have to. As we seek to live like Jesus, we’ll find that our own sacrificial responses show Jesus to everyone around us.
And now an update from Skillet..
Have a blessed weekend!