“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.” (John 18:10) “But Jesus answered and said, ‘Permit even this.’ And He touched his ear and healed him.” (Luke 22:51)
On the night that Jesus was arrested, John 18 records Peter’s attempt to defend Jesus by cutting off Malchus’ ear. But, Jesus tells Peter, “Put your sword into the sheath. Shall I not drink the cup which My Father has given Me.” Luke 22:51 then records Jesus healing Malchus’ ear.
There are several lessons in this small portion of scripture that teach us about difficult trials, the choices we make, and miracles God often orchestrates when we face trials.
Just before Jesus allowed Himself to be arrested, He begged God to remove the fiery trial He was facing. As He cried out earnestly to His Father He experienced such anguish that His sweat was like droplets of blood. Yet, His loving Father did not remove the fiery trial.
Have you ever been there? Ever begged God to remove or change something with great earnestness and pleading, only to find that the fiery trial remains? When this happens, there are many ways to respond. Many years ago, the Lord allowed a fiery trial in my life and I responded in unproductive ways.
· I fought against God.
I raged against God and my circumstances. I was angry and I felt I had been served up a huge plate of injustice and I wanted to let God know about it.
· I ran away from God.
This was my second response after anger. I turned my back on Him and severed my relationship with Him. No church, no Bible reading, no fellowship with other believers. I cut all ties that were in any way associated with the Lord.
· I lashed out at those around me.
Like Peter in our passage today, I pulled out my “sword,” figuratively speaking, and struck the people who were standing closest to me. My “sword” was often my mouth and the cutting words I spoke.
I engaged in other detrimental behaviors during this fiery trial, but instead of discussing those I would like to tell you about my present trial and how I am following Jesus’ behaviors which are found in John 18.
· Jesus was obedient.
God had plans for Jesus and Jesus chose to obey God’s plan; a plan Jesus did not desire. Jesus allowed Himself to be arrested and bound. He could have fought this very easily. As John 18:6 records, all He literally had to do was say His name “I AM” and everyone would have fallen over. But He did not, He accepted God’s plan. This must have been immensely difficult. No one wants to sign up for what appears to be a bad and painful road. I get it. But what if the only way to receive the blessings, is to walk down the road we do not want? What if this is the only way to see the good God has planned?
· Jesus wasn’t powerless.
Jesus wasn’t powerless during His fiery trial - His power was sheathed. He allowed Himself to appear weak, but inside His strength was still the same. As a believer in Jesus Christ, you and I have the same Holy Spirit power within us to experience victory on our toughest days. Our circumstances may look bad and we may appear physically weak, but we must not underestimate God’s power living within us! Tap into God’s replenishing source, the Bible. Get into it and keep reading until your Spirit is renewed. It is your never ending power supply. Also spend time in prayer, worship Him and enjoy fellowship with other believers.
· Jesus was at peace.
Jesus remained at peace throughout His trial. Hebrews 12:2 takes Jesus’ disposition a step beyond peace and indicates that there was even joy. “For the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame and has sat down at the right had of the throne of God.” Jesus had joy in His trial. Wow. In John 15 we learned that having joy means we experience a calm delight. We can have a calm delight on our darkest days because we know who is in control and He knows what is best for us.
On my nightstand, beside my bed, I have a little plaque that says this,
“I know not what the future holds, but I know who holds the future.”
I begin and end each day knowing this truth is real. We have no idea what each day holds, but praise God we know who is holding our day and gratefully it isn’t us!
As I move into the weeks ahead, I do not know what will unfold regarding my present trial, but since February (when the trial began) I have seen three incredible, earth moving, answers to prayer. They are nothing short of miraculous to me. Just as Jesus astonishingly restored Malchus’ ear, Jesus is restoring things in my life as well. Things I have prayed for more than 10 years are being answered in the midst of this trial. Tears spring to my eyes even as I type this because I am amazed by God’s goodness and faithfulness. As Stacy taught us in John 11 about Lazarus being raised from the dead, things I truly thought were dead, are coming to life. This is our God. The mighty, holy, awesome, loving, perfect, life giving, infinite, sovereign, wonderful, Lord Jesus. You are not alone, He stands with you, holding you and all of your circumstances.
If you are in a fiery trial and are not yet aware of any miracles, remember He is at work even when we cannot see Him moving. Sometimes our obedience, our peace and the power of the Holy Spirit are the miracles. I encourage you to be on the look out for mighty things to come in the midst of your fiery trial.
Much love to you,