This is part of a series studying Peter’s life and ministry. Click here for the entire series.
The setting is the Garden of Gethsemane
Shortly after Jesus agonized in prayer over His impending death, Judas, one of Jesus’ followers who had already allowed Satan to control him and was cooperating with the religious leaders who sought to kill Jesus (Luke 22:1-6), arrived with a contingent of temple and neighborhood policemen and Roman soldiers (Matthew 26:47; Mark 14:43; John 18:3). They came armed with swords and clubs and had lights so they could find Jesus.
The Apostle John tells us that Peter used one of the two swords the disciples had and cut off the ear of the high priest’s servant Malchus (Matthew 26:51; Mark 14:47; Luke 22:50: John 18:10). Some speculate Peter was aiming for the servant’s neck, but it was either too dark or the servant was too quick to respond, so he lost his ear rather than his whole head! Luke tells us that even here in one of Jesus’ darkest hours Jesus showed His love for others by miraculously re-attaching the servant’s ear (Luke 22:51).
Then Jesus rebuked Peter, “Put your sword back in its place, for all who draw the sword will die by the sword. Do you not think I cannot call on my Father, and he will at once put at my disposal more than twelve legions of angels? But how then would the Scriptures be fulfilled that say it must happen in this way?” (Matthew 26:52-54).
Ok, so now, instead of sleeping, Peter fulfilled his promise to protect Jesus but not in a way that fit God’s plan for Jesus.
How do you think you would have reacted in Peter’s situation—facing a mob which came out with weapons in the darkness to arrest your Master?
What positive character trait(s) do you see in Peter that you can emulate?