This Scripture text chronicles the arrest of Jesus. This is the end of the Jesus’ time on earth which turned the religious community on its ear; so much so that the Religious Community sought to have him arrested, trialed and killed. As with all dramas and/or crisis in our lives, God is not surprised and has a Plan. We know in hindsight that if Christ failed to die on the cross our eternal separation would be sealed. Though the next events would be painful, Jesus and Peter’s actions are illustrative of how we should or should not approach our impending crisis that will lead to our success.
The mob led by Judas comes into the Garden. The reaction of Jesus and Peter are the exact opposite. From the text, we see that Jesus was at a location that he visited often when in Jerusalem. Commentaries stated Judas led an armed mob because the leaders thought that Jesus would hide in the caves. Conversely, Jesus not only did not hide, but engaged in conversation. He showed his Lordship by stating not once but, twice “I Am He”. Jesus did not shirk from his ultimate task because the route would be difficult.
On the other hand, Peter not only recoiled at Christ’s destiny, but actively tried to subvert the very act that would lead to the eternal victory over death. In a prior scripture, he tried to get Jesus not to go to Jerusalem. In this text, he become violent and cuts off the ear of one of the servant.
This is not to beat upon Peter, because his actions are reflective of our attitudes and actions when facing a difficult dilemma. I heard a preacher state that before we enter God’s plan for us; we have to cross our Jordan. Too often, we want to enter into paradise without pain. Jesus illustrated in this text that “no gain without pain”. Jesus showed us how not to shrink the difficulties in our lives and face it with courage knowing that God is setting in motion something so much greater in our lives. The pain will be a distant memory.
Orletta E. Caldwell
St. Stephen A.M.E.