10th May 2020

Put Down Your Sword

“And behold, one of those who were with Jesus stretched out his hand and drew his sword and struck the servant of the high priest and cut off his ear. Then Jesus said to him, ‘Put your sword back into its place. For all who take the sword will perish by the sword. Do you think that I cannot appeal to my Father, and he will at once send me more than twelve legions of angels? But how then should the Scriptures be fulfilled, that it must be so?’”
Matthew 26:51-54 (ESV)

It’s a strange aside in the story of Jesus’ arrest. There are hundreds of soldiers who’ve descended on those in a garden in the dark. Then one of them, Peter, decides to try to defend himself. What a preposterous picture, a fisherman with a sword against a detachment of professional Roman soldiers.

It’s a vivid picture of human beings. You have a grudge against me, so I answer in kind! Tit-for-tat. And yet Jesus says, “Stop.” Peter—put down your sword. Stop the cycle, stop this insane merry-go-round.

This small conversation is a microcosm of the big picture. Jesus is in the midst of giving himself, to take the punishment for sin—and all the grudges, squabbles, and eye-for-eye that goes along with it—on to Himself. Total forgiveness to all.

Have you ever forgiven until it hurts? Our natural reaction when pushed is to push back. It’s ingrained in our psyche, even in our physical reflexes. It can be uncomfortable to stop ourselves from retaliating. We have to give up our “rights”, the revenge we “deserve”. We have to put down the sword.

By every right, God could have wiped humanity and started over. We chose sin and polluted his perfect world. But God’s plan was never to take his revenge on us. He took that hurt into himself in Jesus. Instead of cutting off an ear, he let himself be cut and beaten and finally killed. He forgave us until it hurt. He took the pain and violence into himself in Christ, so much so that it killed him. Let’s remember this as we celebrate the 75th Anniversary of VE Day this weekend.

Prayer
Holy Father, may we join Jesus in stopping the cycle of revenge by putting up our swords and choosing to forgive, just as Christ has forgiven us? In Jesus’ name we pray.
Amen

Study presented by Greg Williams
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About the Presenter:
The Day by Day each Sunday is taken from ‘Speaking of Life,’ (https://www.gci.org/videos/media-speaking-of-life/), a public resource video on the USA website of Grace Communion International. Greg Williams is President of Grace Communion International and lives in North Carolina, USA.

Local Congregation:
You are welcome to attend one of our local Church congregations located throughout the UK and Ireland. For details of your nearest local congregation, check on our website, www.gracecom.church under the ‘Churches’ tab, or ring +44 (0)1858 437099.

Contact:
Email: admin@daybyday.org.uk

*Note that due to the coronavirus lockdown, Church Services are suspended for the time being. Contact is still as below. For live-streaming Sermons and Bible Studies go to our UK website www.gracecom.church

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