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Christian Living

Spiritual Life

Impetuous Peter and Me

Imagine facing the worst event of your life, knowing exactly what is coming and how difficult it will be. Now imagine, while struggling through that dark moment, helping a friend and a foe in one selfless move. It is hard to fathom, but it did happen and is well documented.

It was in the Garden of Gethsemane. Jesus had been betrayed with a kiss and was being led away into the night to stand a mockery of a trial. In his best effort to protect his Messiah, Peter pulled his sword and severed an ear from the high priest’s servant. Then Jesus made a highly unpredictable move. He touched and healed the man's ear!

When Jesus restored the ear of that servant, He changed the lives of two men forever. Of course, being the man of compassion that He was, Jesus certainly saw this man suffering and in agony from such a brutal wound. Even though he was a 'bad guy', the love and compassion of Jesus reached beyond what the man was doing to the fact that he was hurting and needed healing.

When I was a child, I could not understand why Jesus would help someone who was there with the intention of hurting Him. I knew I could never be as loving and forgiving as Jesus and was not certain I wanted to try. As an adult, I am thankful for the grace and mercy He extends to me when I am the bad guy.

Another man’s future was changed that night. Jesus courageously rescued Peter that night. There Peter stood, bloody weapon in his hand, somewhat frustrated that he had missed his mark … the servant's head. Yet, his pride was perhaps somewhat pacified by the fact that he had made a notable statement of his allegiance to the Lord. He was more than willing to fight to protect Jesus.

In the moment between landing the blow and Jesus restoring the ear, Peter realized the consequences he would have to pay for that action. He probably saw what Jesus did for him the instant it happened. When Jesus healed the servant's ear, the evidence that would have supported prosecution for attempted murder vanished. There would be no argument in court against Peter regarding that incident. He was acquitted before he was accused!

Much in the same way Peter did that night, I commit a punishable offense, yet Jesus steps in and rescues me. It is after I have done the damage that I see His action on my behalf has removed the evidence against me. My slate has been cleared.

In Lamentations 3:21-23 the Bible says,

"Yet this I call to mind and therefore I have hope: Because of the Lord's great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness." (NIV)

I hear Jesus' voice ringing in my head and heart, "Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do." Here I stand, undeserving, wrong, yet loved completely. He reaches out with compassion and mercy to heal and to deliver me. His acts of love and compassion effectively restore and renew me.

When I am called to step up to the Judge's bench, there will be no evidence to hold against me ... "Just as if I had never sinned." He declares me “NOT GUILTY!”

Copyright © Gail Casteen, used with permission.

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