Last night I was watching the fourth installment of Mark Burnett's mini-series, "The Bible," on The History Channel. One scene in particular jumped out at me, one that often gets overlooked when the story of Jesus' arrest is told.
Jesus is in the Garden of Gethsemane. He asks the disciples to pray, as He goes deeper into the garden to pray Himself. The disciples fall asleep, but Jesus agonizes in prayer, begging for "this cup to be taken from Me." In the end, He surrenders Himself to the Father's will. Soon after, Judas leads the crowd into the garden, and the soldiers capture Jesus. The disciples, awakened from their slumber, see what's happening, and they're ready to fight. They promised Jesus they would stand by Him, and now's their chance to prove it. Peter pulls out a sword, and in the melee, he cuts off Malchus' ear. Malchus is the high priest's servant. He falls to the ground in pain, as the fight continues.
But then Jesus speaks up: "Peter, put away your sword. He who lives by the sword will die by the sword." Then, in the middle of the fighting, the confusion, Jesus reaches out and touches Malchus' ear. He heals him. There's Jesus, being arrested, about to be put to death - and He's still doing what He's spent His ministry doing: bringing healing to others.
What jumped out at me as I watched this on the TV was who the characters were: Peter, follower of Christ; Malchus, servant to Jesus' enemy, the high priest. Peter was doing what seemed like the right thing - fighting for Jesus. In his zeal, he inflicts great pain on whoever is standing nearest, in order to protect His Lord. But Jesus makes it clear that what seemed to Peter to be the right thing, really wasn't. Peter, in spite of His zeal, missed what Jesus was doing. Then Jesus stepped in and brought healing.
Maybe you've been hurt by the followers of Jesus. So many Christians stand up for Jesus, for what is right, and though they may not swing a sword,they brandish words that create deep hurt. They think what they are doing is the right thing, and their zeal is admirable. But they miss what Jesus really calls us to do, to bring healing. So, since we don't do what we should, He does. He brings the healing to those who've been hurt, even when the hurt comes from His followers.
As I write, I realize that I'm Peter far too often. Maybe my words have caused hurt. I pray that God would open my eyes and let me see through His, that I might make things right, that I might be an instrument of healing.
So, for those who have been hurt by His followers, whether it was me or someone else in the church - I pray that you will see Jesus reaching out to you, with the healing touch that only He can provide, the touch that can make you whole again.