Put your sword back in its place,” Jesus said to him, “for all who draw the sword will die by the sword. Do you 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
In a world so dominated by random or planned violence and conflict, it is good to be reminded of the peaceful words of Jesus as he faced his own arrest. His command to Peter, after he had chopped off the ear of the High Priest’s slave, that those who “take the sword will die by the sword” has been interpreted in different ways over the years (even as a justification for pacifism).
Difficult a subject as it is to grasp, there are many times throughout the bible when God, or even the example of Jesus at the Last Supper (see Luke 22: 36), advocates the use of violence for people defending themselves. Yet, Jesus – with those thousands of angels at his disposal – encouraged a different way. And this is why he rebuked Peter because he was considered to be acting aggressively and not entirely defensively as his own life wasn’t threatened.
Jesus instead chose his fate to die on that cruel cross so that we might live. That’s a sacrifice worthy of our defending!
Prayer: Lord Jesus, we thank you for your ultimate sacrifice and for commanding us to think of peaceful means to de-escalate difficulties that we may encounter as we face conflict or difficult discussions, Amen
Action: Give thanks today to all the peacemakers working throughout the world.