Today’s reading is about the start of the low-point for the disciples, having their Master, our Lord Jesus, betrayed and captured. This event is naturally recorded in all the gospel books, and I had to compare them to see what John wrote differently.
Gospel according to John is the only record in the 4 gospels naming the person who drew the sword to cut off the ear of the high priest’s servant – Peter.
It is also the only record that there was another disciple who followed Jesus, apart from the rest who fled – most likely to be John, who never mentions his own name in this gospel book anyway.
There is also the cruel record of Peter’s failure toward His Master when he denied Jesus, and this is contrasted with his action of what seems like great courage when he struck the high priest’s servant’s ear.
But few things that I had been taught and reminded over the years of discussing Peter’s denial:
- At least Peter stayed behind to follow Jesus when the other disciples fled!
- It is a great sin, comparable to Judas betrayal of Jesus, since the Bible wrote in 2 Tim 2:12 “If we deny Him, He also will deny us.”
- But instead of going into despair as Judas did, Peter repented and returned to the Lord.
It shows to me that Peter had overestimated his faith and love for his Master, but there is no doubt that his love was genuine. He could not imagine himself of falling into such a state of not even daring to acknowledge his Master, even as Jesus already warned him. I believe it is when he followed Jesus into the unfair trial when that reality of his powerful Master, as he had always known Jesus to be, could be overcome by the evil council. Despite Jesus telling His disciples beforehand that He will die and rise again, they never understood what that means, being brought down from the glory of their dream King and revolutionist, to a person stripped of his clothes, beaten till covered in blood, and condemned by not just his enemies, but also by all his previous supporters.
Rather than judging Peter, I feel it as a great warning to myself. It reminds me that I have to read the warnings of the Last Days and the book of Revelations over and over again, and ask myself if I understand what is to come, and prepare myself spiritually and mentally.
The perils of the Last days come in many forms, and they are not just earthquakes and pestilences. Sometimes we are absorbed by politics; sometimes we are absorbed by rumors about the inconsistency of the truth preached by the Church over the years. Sometimes we just do not wish to care, or sometimes we just cannot accept that there are false prophets and false brethren around us. But we have to step back from these happenings and read the Bible for ourselves, know the will of God and know that many things will happen in the last days that we will not like. We have to take ourselves away from things just right in front of our eyes and know for ourselves what is already written in the Bible, as words left by our Lord to warn us, and the never changing truth He has left for us already, and concentrate on fulfilling the will of God and upholding the truth.
“12 Therefore let him who thinks he stands take heed lest he fall.” 1 Cor 10:12