Flashback Episode — Healing the Enemy: Luke 22:47-53

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During the night Jesus was arrested, Luke’s gospel records a powerful miracle that shows us just how much love Jesus has for humanity. This miracle is special because it happens simply because a miracle is needed to show God’s love. When we look at the circumstances surrounding this miracle, those who had faith in Jesus likely didn’t want this healing to happen, and those arresting Jesus probably didn’t want to show or demonstrate any faith in the one they were arresting.

However, Jesus uses this opportunity to demonstrate God’s love, and He does this in an amazing way.

Let’s read about what happened. Our passage is found in Luke’s gospel, chapter 22, and we will read it from the New Living Translation. Starting in verse 47, Luke tells us what happened:

47 But even as Jesus said this, a crowd approached, led by Judas, one of the twelve disciples. Judas walked over to Jesus to greet him with a kiss. 48 But Jesus said, “Judas, would you betray the Son of Man with a kiss?”

49 When the other disciples saw what was about to happen, they exclaimed, “Lord, should we fight? We brought the swords!” 50 And one of them struck at the high priest’s slave, slashing off his right ear.

51 But Jesus said, “No more of this.” And he touched the man’s ear and healed him.

52 Then Jesus spoke to the leading priests, the captains of the Temple guard, and the elders who had come for him. “Am I some dangerous revolutionary,” he asked, “that you come with swords and clubs to arrest me? 53 Why didn’t you arrest me in the Temple? I was there every day. But this is your moment, the time when the power of darkness reigns.”

This passage and miracle is amazing every time I read it. This event was likely what the disciples imagined would be the start of their rise to prominence. Every time before this, Jesus successfully evaded being arrested or trapped, but this time, the religious leaders’ mob had found Jesus with the help of the traitor.

The disciples knew the mob wasn’t interested in discussing or debating, and that the numbers of people present at this point favored the mob that had circled them. This looked like the point in time they had been preparing for in their minds when Jesus would step up into the leadership role they believed was coming.

However, this miracle is amazing, because while the disciples are preparing to fight, at the first hint of blood, Jesus calls for the situation to stop and He heals the member of the mob who was just injured. In essence, Jesus healed someone who was there as His enemy. Jesus healed someone whose goal was helping to bring about Jesus’ death.

This event, probably more than most others, demonstrates Jesus’ love, and God’s love, for humanity. While humanity was caught in a rebellion against God and more interested in sin that salvation, Jesus steps in as God’s representative and as a light in the spiritual darkness. While Jews, gentiles, and even one of Jesus’ own followers orchestrated the arrest that led to Jesus’ death, no one present for this event even suspected that Jesus chose the cross.

At the point Jesus described as the “time when the power of darkness reigns”, Jesus is more interested in healing those who are against Him than on trying to save Himself or escape. This event demonstrates God’s love for us because Jesus walked the path leading to death and all along the way, His focus was not on Himself, but on others. Jesus’ focus on others is clearly seen in His arrest, and when you are looking for it, you can see it in most every stage leading up to His last breath.

John calls Peter out as the disciple who began the defense and as the one who struck the high priest’s slave’s ear. However, while Peter seemed to be the first disciple to speak or act, it’s likely that most, if not all of the others would have done the same if given the chance.

By stepping up to defend Jesus, even while Jesus stopped the specific action, Peter displays an attitude that we all should have. Too often today, when faced with ridicule or hostility from the secular crowd in today’s world, we are too quick to back down, give up, or abandon our faith simply because the situation is challenging. A faith that is abandoned when challenges come is worthless. The only faith worth having is one that pushes back against the challenges and one that is strengthened when challenges come.

Jesus does not challenge Peter on his faith or on his desire to defend Jesus, even if Peter might feel like this is what Jesus did. Instead, Jesus challenged Peter on using a method of defending Jesus that does not demonstrate God’s love. In a fascinating way, through Jesus’ challenge towards Peter over using a sword, Jesus challenges every follower of Jesus throughout history regarding how they will choose to defend their faith.

Christian history has many examples where violence was used to defend the faith, and because of what Jesus challenges Peter about in this passage, I get the idea that Jesus would challenge every one of His followers who would lean towards violence as a way to defend their faith.

The last amazing thing I see in this miracle on the night Jesus was arrested is that Jesus let Judas Iscariot betray Him. It would have been easy for Jesus to have hidden, but that was not Jesus’ goal.

Jesus came to face the cross and death because His focus was on saving people for eternity. Jesus’ fight was not against humans or humanity, it was against the powers of darkness. While death doesn’t appear to be the way to win this fight, Jesus’ sees a bigger picture than we do and death in this case is the only way to justify God’s laws about sin while also opening the way for God’s merciful nature.

Jesus focused on helping and healing those who were intent on bringing Jesus to the cross, and this amazing miracle proves God’s love for all of humanity – including those who reject God and are hostile towards Him.

As we come to the end of another podcast episode, here are the challenges I will leave you with:

As always, seek God first and choose to place your love, hope, faith, trust, and belief in Him. Choose to show God’s love to the world around you and do so in a way that uplifts humanity like Jesus uplifted humanity. Jesus didn’t put people down. The only people Jesus challenged were those who felt like they were spiritually superior to others. Jesus loved those who were honestly searching and seeking God.

Also, be sure to always pray and study the Bible for yourself to learn and grow closer to God. While other people have ideas, always filter what you learn through the truth of God’s Word. If an idea runs counter to the Bible, it is not an idea that will stand the test of eternity.

And as I end every set of challenges by saying in one way or another, never stop short of, back away from, chicken out of, or abandon where God wants to lead you to in your life with Him!

Flashback Episode: Year of Miracles – Episode 46: When a mob comes to arrest Jesus, a fight almost breaks out. Only one person is injured, and Jesus chooses to heal this man even though he came wishing to do Jesus harm. Discover what we can learn about God from this event and from how Jesus responded when facing arrest.

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