Put Down the Sword & Drop the Stone: Disarming Christians Armed With Vengeance & Judgment

Today’s selected reading continues in the New Testament gospel narrative of the life and ministry of the Lord Jesus Christ as it was written and recorded by the physician Luke. More specifically, today’s passage is found in verses fifty-four through seventy-one of the twenty-second chapter of this New Testament book. “Then took they him, and led him, and brought him into the high priest’s house. And Peter followed afar off. And when they had kindled a fire in the midst of the hall, and were set down together, Peter sat down among them. But a certain maid beheld him as he sat down by the fire, and earnestly looked upon him, and said, This man was also with him. And he denied him, saying, Woman, I know him not. And after a little while another saw him, and said, Thou art also of them. And Peter said, Many, I am not. And about the space of one hour after another confidently affirmed, saying, Of a truth this fellow also was with him: for he is a Galilaean. And Peter said, Many, I know not what thou sayest. And immediately, while he yet spake, the cock crew. And the Lord turned, and looked upon Peter. And Peter remembered the word of the Lord, how he had said unto him, Before the cock crow, thou shalt deny me thrice. And Peter went out, and wept bitterly” (Luke 22:54-62).

 

            “And the men that held Jesus mocked him, and smote him. And when they had blind folded him, they struck him on the face, and asked. Him, saying, Prophesy, who is it that smote thee? And many other things blasphemously spake they against him. And as soon as it was day, the elders of the people and the chief priests and the scribes came together, and led him into their council, saying, Art thou the Christ? Tell us. And he said unto them, If I tell you, ye will not believe: And if I also ask you, ye will not answer me, nor let me go. Hereafter shall the Son of man sit on the right hand of the power of God. Then said they all, Art thou then the Son of God? And he said unto them, Ye say that I am. And they said, What need we any further witness? For we ourselves heard of his own mouth” (Luke 22:63-71).

 

            AND WERE SET DOWN TOGETHER! PETER SAT DOWN AMONG THEM! A CERTAIN M AID BEHELD HIM AS HE SAT BY THE FIRE, AND EARNESTLY LOOKED UPON HIM! THIS MAN WAS ALSO WITH HIM! AND HE DENIED HIM! WOMAN, I KNOW HIM NOT! AFTER A LITTLE WHILE ANOTHER SAW HIM! THOU ART ALSO OF THEM! PETER SAID, MAN, I AM NOT! AND ABOUT THE SPACE OF ONE HOUR AFTER ANOTHER CONFIDENTLY AFFIRMED, SAYING, OF A TRUTH THIS FELLOW ALSO WAS WITH HIM! FOR HE IS A GALILAEAN! PETER SAID, MAN, I KNOW NOT WHAT THOU SAYEST! IMMEDIATELY WHILE HE YET SPAKE, THE COCK CREW! AND THE LORD TURNED, AND LOOKED UPON PETER! PETER REMEMBRERED THE WORD OF THE LORD, HOW HE HAD SAID UNTO HIM, BEFORE THE COCK CROW, THOU SHALT DENY ME THRICE! AND PETER WENT OUT, AND WEPT BITTERLY!

 

            “Fear them not therefore: for there is nothing covered, that shall not be revealed; and hid, that shall not be known. What I tell you in darkness, that speak ye in light: and what ye hear in the ear, that preach ye upon the housetops. And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell. Are not two sparrows sold for a farthing? And one of them shall not fall on the ground without your Father. But the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear ye not therefore, ye are of more value than many sparrows. Whosoever therefore shall confess me before men, him will I confess also before my Father which is in heaven. But whosoever shall deny me before men, him will I also deny before my Father which is in heaven” (Matthew 10:26-33).

 

            “And I say unto you my friends, Be not afraid of them that kill the body, and after that have no more that they can do. But I will forewarn you whom ye shall fear: Fear him, which after he hath killed hath power to cast into hell; yea, I say unto you, Fear him. Are not five sparrows sold for two farthings, and not one of them is forgotten before God? But even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not therefore: ye are of more value than many sparrows. Also I say unto you, Whosoever shall confess me before men, him shall the Son of man also confess before the angels of God: but he that denieth me before men shall be denied before the angels of God. And whosoever shall speak a word against the Son of man, it shall be forgiven him: but unto him that blasphemeth against the Holy Ghost it shall not be forgiven” (Luke 12:4-10).

 

            WHEN THE TEST ARRIVES! THE TRIAL IS FINALLY HERE! THIS IS WHAT JESUS SPOKE OF! THIS IS WHAT JESUS DESCRIBED TO YOU! When you come to this particular portion of Scripture you will find Jesus having been laid hold of by the armed insurgent Judas Iscariot had led into the garden against Him. If you begin reading with and from the opening verse of this passage you will find Luke describing how they—the armed soldiers and guards whom Judas had personally escorted and led into the garden against Jesus—took Jesus, led Jesus, and brought Him into the high priest’s house. What we find when we read this particular portion of Scripture is not only the armed insurgent of guards and soldiers laying hold of Jesus and leading Him unto the high priest’s house, but you will find something else that is quite interesting when you consider it. Upon reading the words which are found in this passage you will find Luke writing how “Peter followed afar off.” We dare not and must not miss and lose sight of what is written here, for we know that in the garden all the disciples had fled from, abandoned and forsaken Jesus after Judas had betrayed Him with a kiss and after the guards and soldiers had laid hold on Him. Scripture does indeed and does in fact record how Simon drew one of the two swords they had with them and struck the ear of one of the servants of the high priest. It would be at this juncture Jesus would not only command Simon to put the sword away, but would also go on to declare unto him that those who live by the sword will die by the sword. Oh we dare not and must not miss and lose sight of this statement and how incredibly important it truly is, for it reveals something incredibly powerful about those who not only live by the sword, but those who choose to live by and according to violence. When Jesus declared that those who lived by the sword would indeed die by the sword He was actually declare unto Simon that those who choose to live according to violent means and the means of the world can and will themselves be consumed by those same means.

 

 

            Before I get into the words which are found in this particular portion of Scripture it’s actually quite intriguing to consider this particular truth—the truth that those who live by the sword can and will die by the sword. Pause for a moment and consider how incredibly powerful and pointed this statement and these words truly were when Jesus had spoken them unto Simon also called Peter. Simon had just taken one of the two swords the disciples had with them in the garden, and with that sword he had drawn it against one of those who accompanied Judas into the garden. Simon drew one of those swords and actually attempted to use it—perhaps out of fear within his own heart and soul at what was taking place before him, or perhaps even in a feeble and futile attempt to defend Jesus. Scripture is entirely and altogether unclear as to why Simon Peter would draw the sword—and not only draw the sword, but also take the sword and use it to strike off the ear of one of the servants of the high priest. The only thing Scripture reveals is that Simon also called Peter took and drew the sword which he perhaps had on his person and in his possession and used it against one of those who were led into the garden by Judas. What I can’t help but wonder what Simon would and could have done had Jesus not commanded him to put up the sword. Is it possible that Simon would have continued using the sword against others who entered into the garden on this particular night? Is it possible that Simon would have taken that single sword and attempted to launch a bloody campaign against those soldiers and guards which were present in the garden and had come out against Jesus with their own swords and staves? Scripture is entirely and altogether unclear what Simon would and could have done with the sword had Jesus not commanded him to put the sword away and back in its sheath.

 

            Oh I sit here today thinking about and considering this particular truth concerning Simon drawing the sword—and not only drawing the sword, but also using that sword to strike off the ear of one of the servants of the high priest—and whether or not he could have continued using that sword in the garden against those who themselves had swords and staves. Is it possible that Simon could have taken that sword and began engaging in a bloody and violent campaign there in the garden as he attempted to take out as many of the soldiers and guards which had come out against Jesus? Could Simon—this Galilaean fisherman whom Jesus invited to walk with and follow Him—actually have taken that sword and unleashed it against and upon those who had entered into the garden with swords and staves? I can’t help but wonder if Simon would have continued using the sword against those who entered into the garden and sought to inflict massage damage and casualties against those whom Judas had personally escorted. What’s more, is I can’t help but wonder how many Simon perhaps would and could have gotten to before he was perhaps overcome and overtaken by one or more who were present in the garden. Is it possible that Jesus recognized and understood the tremendous danger Simon was placing himself in when he took up the sword and drew it against that one who was present there in the garden? When Jesus emphatically declared unto Simon that those who live by the sword die by sword did He recognize and understand that had Simon been permitted to continue using the sword there in the garden he himself might have been struck with or struck down by the sword? There is a part of me that can’t help but wonder if Jesus recognized and understood that had Simon continued using the sword there in the garden on this night—sure he might have taken a few of the guards and soldiers out with it, however, it would have only been a matter of time before the rest of the guards and soldiers who were trained would and could have taken him down or taken him out.

 

            The more I think about and consider this particular truth surrounding Simon taking up and drawing the sword the more I can’t help but think about the fact that he not only could have potentially put himself in an incredibly dangerous position, but he could have put the other eleven disciples who were present there in the garden in a dangerous position. There is a part of me that thinks and feels that had Simon continued raising up the sword against those who were present in the midst of the garden on this particular night it would have only been a matter of time before they would have overcome, overtaken, and overpowered him and turned the sword against him. I am absolutely and completely convinced that when Jesus declared that those who live by the sword will die by the sword—not only was He emphatically declaring that those who live by violent means might very well die by those same means, but He was also declaring unto Simon that which he had and could have opened himself up to. It was indeed true Simon had opened himself up to violence when he took up and drew the sword against one who was present among them, and with that taking up of the sword he could have positioned himself in the position and place where he was vulnerable and susceptible to the same type of violence in which he was attempting to incite in the garden. Oh there is a part of me that can’t help but wonder if Simon would and could have continued using that sword against those soldiers and guards who were present in the garden and if he might not have succeeded in launching a campaign of violence in the midst of the garden. Here in the midst of this place of prayer, communion, intimacy and fellowship Simon called Peter might very well have launched a campaign of violence—and not only violence, but also vengeance against those who had come out against Jesus with swords and staves.

 

            A CAMPAIGN OF VIOLENCE AND VENGEANCE IN THE PLACE OF PRAYER! A CAMPAIGN OF VIOLENCE AND VENGEANCE IN THE PLACE OF FELLOWSHIP! A CAMPAIGN OF VIOLENCE AND VENGEANCE IN THE PLACE OF INTIMACY! We dare not and must not miss and lose sight of this particular truth and how incredibly important and necessary it is for us when we are reading this passage of Scripture. Simon called Peter took and drew up the sword which was perhaps present on his person and sought to use it against those who had entered into the garden against Jesus. We know that Simon had previously declared that he was ready, willing and able to go to prison, and even unto the death with Jesus, and here in the garden we find him taking up the sword in an attempt to unleash violence and vengeance against those who were present in the midst of it. Oh there is a part of me that can’t help but wonder if Simon called Peter would and could have continued unleashing the sword against those who were present in the midst of the garden. Is it possible that Simon could have unleashed a bloody campaign of violence and vengeance against those who were present in the garden as he continued unleashing the sword against them? We don’t know if Simon actually meant to strike off the ear of the servant of the high priest, or if he simply missed and as a result struck off the ear. Scripture is entirely unclear if Simon intended on using the sword to strike off the head of this individuals, or if Simon sought to inflict damage and harm to this particular individuals. Is it possible that Simon attempted to unleash the sword against someone else who was present on this night in the garden and instead of striking them struck the servant of the high priest and smote his ear off. We don’t know from what is present in the Scripture if that which Simon intended on doing was striking off the ear of the servant of the high priest, or if it was simply a misfire and poor aim because he wasn’t trained with the sword.

 

            YOU’RE NOT AUTHORIZED FOR VIOLENCE! YOU’RE NOT TRAINED FOR VIOLENCE! I sit here today thinking about this particular portion of Scripture and I can’t help but encounter and come face to face with the tremendous truth that when Simon took and drew up the sword—not only was he not authorized for violence, but neither was he trained in and for violence. Having spent most of his life as a fisherman on the sea of Galilee, and having spent the last three and a half years walking with and following Jesus it is undoubtedly clear that Simon was never trained in violence, nor was ever trained in how to use the sword. Oh it was indeed true that during those days there were those insurrectionists who sought to incite a rebellion against the Roman occupation and unleashed the sword against many centurions and Roman guards present in the midst of the city. We know that even Barabbas who was a prisoner at the time of Jesus’ trial was being held on charges of sedition, insurrection, rebellion and murder. There is not a doubt in my mind that Barabbas had possibly taken up the sword, or perhaps some other weapon in his hands and used it in an insurrection in the midst of the land of Judaea in an attempt to rise up against Roman occupation. Simon called Peter was not only not trained in violence and trained with the sword, but neither was he authorized to use the sword and/or violence against others. In fact, during those three and a half years Jesus would speak unto and teach the disciples the exact opposite of this, for He would instruct and invite them to turn the other cheek, to bless those who cursed them, to pray for those who persecuted them, and to do good to them who despitefully used them. What’s more, is Jesus would also teach His disciples and followers the importance of loving their enemies—and not only loving their enemies, but also forgiving those who have trespassed against them.

 

            All of this is particularly and especially intriguing when you consider the fact that Simon could have continued on this bloody path of vengeance and violence there in the midst of the garden, and might very well have struck down some of the guards and soldiers whom Judas had personally escorted into the garden. Simon could have taken the sword which was in his hand and used it against as many of those who were present in the garden, and could have possibly inflicted a good amount of damage and violence against them. What’s more, is that Simon could have taken that sword and unleashed it against a number of soldiers and guards before eventually his luck and success might have run out. Oh there is a part of me that can’t help but wonder if Simon had been permitted to continue using the sword there in the garden it would have only been a matter of time before he himself was struck with the sword of another. It is impossible to state whether or not Simon could and would have died as a direct of being struck by the sword of another, or if that sword would have simply inflicted harm and bodily damage to him. I read the words which are found here in this passage of Scripture and I absolutely love the words which Jesus spoke unto Simon called Peter, for not only was Jesus making a general statement that those who live by the sword will die by the sword, but he was also specifically declaring unto Simon that if he continued to live by the sword he would and could have opened himself up to the same violence of the sword. We dare not and must not miss and lose sight of this, for not only did Jesus not authorize us to resort to violence and vengeance, but He also emphatically declared unto us that if we attempt to live our lives by and according to violent and vengeful means we position ourselves to suffer the same type of damage and fate as those to whom we have launched that vengeance and violence against.

 

            We dare not and must not miss and lose sight of this particular truth and how absolutely vital and critical it is for our own hearts and lives, for this concept of violence and vengeance actually has two distinct sides to it. On the one hand there is the side of violence and vengeance that speaks directly to the fact that we have never been authorized to use either means in an attempt to get our own way, or even to make a statement. Nowhere in any of the four gospels, nor even in any of the epistles will you find us being given the green light and authorization to resort to violence and vengeance against others—even those who have inflicted damage, harm, and offense against us. You will not find anywhere in the writings of the apostles Peter, Paul, John, and any of the other gospel writers any authorization given by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit to actively engage in violence against those who might trespass against us. There is absolutely no place in the entire New Testament that authorizes us to engage in vengeance against others, and even Scripture itself declares that vengeance belongs to the LORD. There in the garden Simon quite possibly thought that he could have unleashed violence and vengeance against and upon those who had entered into the garden, and yet he was never authorized by the Father, nor even by Jesus to use such means against others. What’s more, is that it was unto Simon whom Jesus declared that he was called to forgive seventy times seven. Pause for a moment and think about the fact that this same disciple who heard Jesus invite to forgive seventy times seven would actually take up the sword there in the garden and unleash it against the servant of the high priest. Scripture is unclear what Simon actually sought to do when he used this sword against this servant of the high priest and whether or not he intended to strike off the ear, or if he attempted to strike some other place on this servant’s body, or if he meant to strike someone else who was there in the garden and missed.

 

            This reality and concept of Jesus declaring unto Simon that those who live by the sword can and will die by the sword is a powerful statement that challenged Simon to abandon this reckless and careless path he was on. Had Simon continued along this bloody campaign of violence and vengeance there in the garden—not only could he possibly have opened himself up to being struck with and/or down by the sword, but he could have endangered the other disciples who were present in the garden with him. Oh this is something which we must needs pay close attention to when thinking about this time in the garden, for the words Jesus spoke unto Simon not only speak and apply to him, but they also speak directly unto us. If there is one thing we must needs recognize and understand when considering this particular passage and the words which Jesus spoke it’s that when we open ourselves up to violence and vengeance against those who might have wronged us and committed some trespass and offense against us—not only are we opening ourselves up to perhaps the same means and measure of violence and vengeance, but we might also open those around and with us up to the same means. There is a part of me that can’t help but wonder if Simon had continued on with this sword and had struck down more guards and soldiers present there in the garden it would have only been a matter of time before he himself might have been a victim to and of the sword. Those who entered into the garden with Judas were undoubtedly trained with the weapons they carried with them—a reality which is actually quite unique when you consider Simon and the other disciples. Although the soldiers and guards which accompanied Judas into the garden were not only armed with weapons, and although they were perhaps trained in the use of those weapons, the disciples themselves were not.

 

            One of the greatest truths found within the four gospel narratives of the life and ministry of Jesus the Christ is that you will not find anywhere in any of these gospels Jesus training His disciples and followers in the use of swords, or staves, or spears, or shields, or any other weapon that was used during those days. You can read and search through the four gospels all you want and you will not find anywhere a place where Jesus took His disciples aside and began training them in the use of the sword. With this being said—not only will you never find Jesus teaching and training His disciples in the use of weapons, but you will never find Him taking up a weapon Himself. Even when soldiers and guards came against Him there in the garden with swords and staves you will not find Jesus ever taking up the sword. We know that Simon called Peter appears to be the only one who would have taken up the sword and attempted to use it there in the garden, as Scripture makes it very clear that he struck off the ear of the servant of the high priest. Oh there is something to be said about this, for it reveals the absolutely astounding truth that not only did Jesus never authorize us to take up and use the sword, but He also never taught and trained us how to use the sword. When Simon took up this sword and attempted to use it he did so without authorization from Jesus whom the soldiers and guards had come against. Nowhere in the four gospel narratives will you find Jesus giving Simon or any of the other disciples the green light to take up one of the two swords they had with them and use it against another individual. Oh this is truly unique when you take the time to consider it, for it forces us to acknowledge the violence and vengeance that might be present within our own hearts, within our own minds, and within our own souls.

 

            A question I can’t help but ask as I sit here today thinking about this particular time in the garden is how much damage and violence we ourselves have inflicted against others. Oh we might not have taken up a physical and literal sword and used it against others, however, we might have used a different type of sword against them. Scripture speaks of a sharp two-edged sword proceeding out of the mouth of the rider on the white horse in the book of Revelation, and there is something to be said about this reality as I am convinced that the words which proceed forth from our mouths truly do have the power of life and death. It was James himself who wrote how the tongue has the power of life and death, thus indicating that it has the power to build up or destroy. Oh we might not have taken up a literal sword against those who have wronged us, but we have taken up a different sword—one that might not be as obvious and visible to others. The sword I am speaking of is the sword of our tongue and the sword of our mouth with the words which proceed forth from it. I am absolutely and completely convinced that we can inflict a great amount of damage using our tongue and the words which proceed forth from our mouths as our words can indeed be used like a sword against others. I myself have been guilty of using my tongue and words as a sword against others, and have indeed been guilty of inflicting damage and harm to others with my words. Please understand and recognize that this doesn’t even speak solely to that which we speak against and to another in their company and presence, but also what we speak against them in gossip and slander when speaking to others. Oh it is important for us to recognize and understand this within our hearts and lives, for we can be incredibly guilty of using our tongue and our words as a sharp sword in which we inflict damage, harm and violence against others—regardless of whether it is used in their company and presence, or whether it is done behind the scenes and behind their back.

 

            If there is one thing we must needs recognize and understand it’s that we have never been authorized by Jesus, nor even by the Holy Spirit to use violence and vengeance against others in this life. Regardless of whether it’s vengeance and violence with our words, or actual physical vengeance and violence using the means of this world, we have never been authorized to engage in such actions and activity in this life. It is absolutely necessary and imperative that we recognize and pay close and careful attention to this, for it calls and draws our attention to what we are truly capable of if we aren’t careful and if we aren’t convicted by the Holy Spirit. There in the garden Simon was convicted by the Lord Jesus Christ—not only to put down the sword, but also to recognize that those who live by and use the sword can an will also die by the sword. Oh I am absolutely and incredibly convinced that had Simon continued using the sword there in the garden—not only could and would he have opened himself up to violence against him by the soldiers and guards who were with Judas, but he would and could have opened up the other disciples to violence as the soldiers and guards might have turned their swords and weapons against them. Pause for a moment and consider how the scene in the garden could have taken an entirely different turn had Jesus not commanded Simon to put the sword down. Consider the fact that we might have an entirely different narrative and account of Jesus and the disciples in the garden had Simon not been commanded and instructed by the Lord Jesus Christ to put down the sword. Moreover, Jesus would also declare unto Simon that those who live by the sword will die by the sword. Oh there is a part of me that wonders if what Jesus was speaking unto Simon was something absolutely and incredibly challenging—namely, that if he continued using the sword there in the garden he might have opened himself up to perishing and dying by the sword.

 

            Oh dear reader I find it absolutely necessary and critical to draw and call our attention to this particular reality, for before we get into the denial of Simon called Peter we must recognize his actions with the sword. It was there in the garden Simon took and drew the sword which was present on his person and attempted to use it to inflict damage and harm. We must needs recognize and understand this, for no one takes up the sword without having the intention of inflicting damage and harm against another. There is not a doubt in my mind that when Simon took up the sword he had every intention of using it to inflict violence, vengeance and damage there in the garden. There is something inside of me that wonders if Simon sought to use the sword to strike down as many as he could there in the midst of the garden. Oh please mark my words and mark them well, for no one takes up the sword without attempting and intending on inflicting damage and harm with it. Simon did not take up the sword without having the desire and intention to inflict damage and harm against another—perhaps even others who were present there in the garden. With this being said I find it absolutely powerful that Jesus stopped and got to Simon after he had merely struck off the ear of the servant of the high priest. Jesus could have spoken unto Simon after he had perhaps struck down another soldier or guard there in the garden, and/or perhaps even after Simon had struck down multiple soldiers and guards whom Judas had personally escorted there into the garden. Jesus could have spoken unto Simon called Peter after he had struck down and killed someone in the garden and then at that time commanded him to put down the sword, however, He got to Simon before he could ever get to that point.

 

            CAN JESUS GET TO YOU BEFORE YOU IFNLICT TOO MUCH DAMAGE? CAN JESUS GET TO YOU BEFORE YOU INFLICT TOO MUCH HARM? If there is one thing I absolutely love when reading this passage of Scripture it’s that Jesus got to Simon before he could do any further damage and harm with the sword. Simon had taken up and drawn the sword against the servant of the high priest, and Simon had indeed struck off the ear of this servant of the high priest, however, Jesus was able to get to Simon before he could do any more damage and harm with the sword. Immediately after Simon had inflicted harm and bodily damage against this servant of the high priest Jesus would speak unto him and instruct him to put down the sword. What’s more, is that not only did Jesus get to Simon before he could inflict any more damage and harm, but He also undid and repaired the damage Simon had done. Scripture is absolutely incredible in that not only does it reveal that Jesus prevented Simon from inflicting any more damage and harm against others, but He also healed, repaired and restored the damage Simon had done. This is something we must needs recognize and pay close and careful attention to, for I am convinced it forces us to acknowledge something that might be incredibly critical within our hearts and lives—namely, that Jesus seeks to get to use before we are able to inflict further damage against others in this life, as well as repairing the damage we have already done. Jesus would prevent Simon from inflicting further damage against others there in the midst of the garden, and He would repair and undo the damage he had already done. Pause for a moment and think about how incredibly powerful this truly is when you take the time to truly consider it. Oh I am absolutely convinced that there are those among us whom Jesus needs to get to before they inflict any more damage and harm against others, as well as heal, restore and repair the damage they have done against others.

 

            As I prepare to get into Simon called Peter’s denial of Jesus at the house of the high priest I find it absolutely necessary to ask you who might be reading these words what violence, what vengeance and what damage you have inflicted against and upon others. If you are truly willing to be honest with yourself and with others I would ask you how much damage and how much harm you have inflicted against others. Even if that violence and damage has not been committed and performed with a physical sword or weapon we know that we have inflicted damage and harm against others with our words and with our actions. What’s more, is I am absolutely and completely convinced that perhaps the single greatest weapon we have at our disposal—one which we have access to all the time and one we are incredibly good at using—is that of our tongue and our words. We must needs recognize and understand that the single greatest weapon we have at our disposal is our tongue and our mouth—that which can be used to engage in hatred, in murder, in gossip, in slander, and in so much more. We dare not and must not miss and lose sight of this, for there are those among us who have been guilty of inflicting a tremendous amount of damage and harm against others because we have chosen to use the single greatest weapon at our disposal. There are those present among us who have been incredibly guilty of inflicting a great deal of damage and harm against others because we have taken up and chosen to use the weapon of our tongue and the weapon of our words. Perhaps one of the greatest questions we must needs ask ourselves when thinking about and considering this is not only how much damage have we already inflicted, but whether or not Jesus can get to use before we can inflict any further damage and harm.

 

            I absolutely love that Jesus was able to get to Simon before he was able to take and use that sword to inflict any further damage and harm in the midst of the garden. I find it truly astonishing and captivating when reading this passage that Jesus immediately spoke to Simon after he had struck off the ear of the servant of the high priest and commanded him to put away the sword. Jesus would immediately speak unto Simon and instruct him to put down and put away the sword before emphatically declaring and proclaiming unto him that those who live by the sword can and will die by the sword. With this being said I absolutely love how Jesus kept and prevented Simon from killing and putting to death anyone there in the garden. Oh it was indeed true that Simon did in fact use the sword to inflict damage and harm against one who was present in the garden, however, Jesus was not willing to allow Simon to put anyone to death with the sword. How absolutely wonderful and incredible it is to think about and consider this, for there in the garden—not only did Jesus prevent Simon from inflicting any further damage and harm, but He also repaired and healed the damage He had already done. There is not a doubt in my mind that the same reality which was present in the midst of the garden is present within many of our lives—even our lives as the saints of God and disciples and followers of the Lord Jesus Christ. I am convinced that there are countless men and women among us within our churches and houses of worship whom Jesus needs to get to before they are able to inflict any more damage and harm. Not only this, but I am also convinced that Jesus needs to and is willing to undo, heal and repair the damage we might have done with our swords, with our words, with our tongues, with our mouths and with our actions.

 

            There is something truly powerful about this encounter within the garden, for not only was Jesus able to prevent Simon from inflicting any further damage and harm against others, but He also kept each of His disciples safe. Even when soldiers and guards came against Him armed with swords and staves there would not be a single disciple who would be struck down and killed with one of those weapons. Oh think about the fact that the scene in the garden could have gone in an entirely different way had Jesus not spoken unto Simon and instructed him to put away the sword. Just as Jesus spoke unto Simon and declared that Satan desired to have both he and the other disciples that he might sift them as wheat, so also Jesus was speaking unto Simon here—and not only Simon, but also unto the other disciples who were present there in the garden. We must needs recognize and understand that it wasn’t just Simon there in the garden with Jesus, but James and John were also with Simon deeper and further in the garden with Jesus. The other eight disciples were present close to the edge and entrance of the garden, and I can’t help but think about and consider the fact that the words of Jesus not only spoke directly unto Simon, but also unto the disciples. Oh it was indeed true that Simon was the only one who had taken up the sword there in the midst of the garden, but we know and understand that there were two swords. THERE WAS A SECOND SWORD! THERE WAS A SECOND OPPORTUNITY! Stop and think about the fact that there was a second sword present there in the garden and not only could Simon have used the sword in his hand, but one of the other disciples could have used the other sword in their hand. What a tremendous sight it would and could have been like for two of the disciples of Jesus to each wield a sword in their hands and began using it to inflict damage and harm against those who had come against Jesus.

 

            THERE WAS ANOTHER SWORD! THERE WAS ANOTHER OPPORTUNITY! If there is one thing I absolutely love about this particular narrative it’s that when Jesus instructed Simon to put down the sword He was doing more than instructing him to put down the sword in his hand, for He was also speaking unto the other disciples and preventing them from picking up and taking the other sword in their hands. We dare not and must not miss and lose sight of this and how incredibly important it is when we truly take the time to consider it. Jesus’ words spoken unto Simon were not only designed and intended on calling him to put down the sword which was in his hand, but they were also designed and intended on preventing one of the other disciples from picking up the other sword and using it against those who had come into the garden. Oh with this being said I can’t help but wonder if perhaps the other sword would and could have been picked up by one of the sons of thunder—James and John. You will recall that not only did these two disciples command one who did not walk with them to cease casting out devils, but they also asked Jesus if they could call down fire from heaven upon the city of Samaria which did not receive Jesus on His journey unto Jerusalem. I can’t help but think about and consider the fact that it might very well have been one of these two disciples who picked up the other sword and joined Peter in a bloody campaign of violence and vengeance there in the midst of the garden. Jesus’ words were not only for putting down the sword, but they were also for picking up the sword, as we must needs acknowledge and understand that it’s about both the command to put down the sword that is present within our hands, as well as refusing to pick up the sword which we might not have in our possession.

 

            I find it absolutely astonishing when thinking about and considering the words found in this portion of Scripture, for what is present before us it not only a command to put down the sword that was in the hand of one of the disciples, but also a command to the other disciples not to pick up the other sword. It is truly something worth thinking about and considering when reading the words found in this portion of Scripture, for we must needs recognize and understand that there was another sword. With there being another sword there was indeed another opportunity to pick it up and unleash it upon and against those soldiers and guards who had entered into the garden. With this being said, we must needs understand that there has always been another sword and there always be another sword. With there being another sword there will also be an opportunity and the temptation to pick it up and use it to inflict violence and vengeance against those who might have wronged and offended us. We dare not and must not miss and lose sight of this, for it draws and calls our attention to the absolutely incredible truth that there in the garden there wasn’t just one sword, which means there wasn’t just one opportunity to pick up the sword and use it against those who were present in the midst of it. Simon Peter had taken one of the swords and actually used it to strike off the ear of one of the servants of the high priest, and yet not only did Jesus get to Simon before he could have inflicted further damage with that sword, but Jesus also kept and prevented the other disciples from taking up the sword and attempting to do the same. Not only did Jesus prevent Simon from inflicting further damage with the sword which was in his hand, but Jesus also kept and prevented the other disciples from inflicting their own means of damage and harm.

 

            As I read the words found in this passage of Scripture I find myself encountering the tremendous truth that Jesus’ words were not only directed to the putting down of the sword, but they were also directed towards the refusal to pick up the sword. With this being said we must needs realize and understand that just because someone else has chosen to pick up the sword, and just because someone has actually chosen to use the sword that doesn’t mean we ourselves need to take up the sword. Just because someone else has chosen to pick and take up the sword and actually inflict damage with it does not mean that we ourselves need to pick up the sword which is before us. Any of the other ten disciples could have picked up the other sword which was present with and among them, and they could have joined Simon in unleashing a bloody campaign of violence and vengeance against those who were present in the garden. There is not a doubt in my mind that any of the other disciples could have picked up the other sword that was present there in the midst of the garden and could have easily joined Simon in striking down and striking against those soldiers and guards which were present in the midst of the garden. The truth of the matter, however, is that not only did Jesus cause the sword in Simon’s hand to be put down, but Jesus also prevented the other sword from being picked up. In all reality I am convinced that this is needed beyond measure in the culture, the society and generation in which we are living. In a day and time when we are surrounded with and by offenses and offenders there is the temptation to not only continue using the sword, but also to pick up the sword and use it together with others. Oh I believe with all my heart that one of the greatest things that is needed in this generation—particularly and especially among the disciples and followers of Jesus Christ—is not only the putting down of the swords some of us have within our hands, but also the prevention of others from picking up the swords which are before them.

 

            THE TEMPTATION TO CONTINUE USING THE SWORD! THE TEMPTATION TO PICK UP THE SWORD AND START USING IT! THE TEMPTATION TO START USING THE SWORD, THE TEMPTATION TO CONTINUE USING THE SWORD! In the culture, society and generation in which we are living there has never been a more striking and alarming time when not only do men and women need to put down the swords which they’re holding in their hands, but others need to make the decision not to pick up the swords which are before them. With the events that have ravaged this nation for more than a year now there has been the temptation to pick up the sword and begin using against others, while there is also the temptation to continue using the sword currently in our hands and unleashing damage and havoc all around us. Simon Peter drew the sword which quite possibly could have been on his person, and he actually began to and started using it. Scripture is entirely and altogether unclean whether or not Simon would have continued using that sword, but I find myself wondering if had Simon continued using the sword there might have been at least one other disciple who picked up the other sword and began using it. There is not a doubt in my mind that had Jesus not commanded and instructed Simon to put down the sword the temptation in the heart and mind of another to take and pick up the other sword might have been too great to resist. This is something we must needs acknowledge within our own hearts and minds, for Jesus’ words spoken unto Simon not only addressed putting down the sword, but it also addressed picking up the sword. Jesus’ words spoken unto Simon commanding him to put down the sword was also a statement unto the other disciples to abstain and refrain from picking up the other sword which was present among them.

 

            Perhaps one of the greatest challenges men and women face in this current political and social climate in which we are living is this need—even the urge to pick up the sword(s) which are before us. If there is one thing we must needs realize and recognize it’s that there are men and women among us who already have swords in their hands and are actively using them. With this being said, there are others who have swords in their hands and are still trying to decide if they are going to use them and if they are willing to use them. Still, there is another group of individuals who don’t have a sword in their hands, yet there is a temptation before them to pick up the sword. Oh they see others with swords in their hands and they even see them actively using those swords to inflict damage, harm, violence and vengeance against others, and they are forced into the place where they must decide whether or not they can and will take up the sword and begin using it. WHERE THERE’S ONE SWORD, THERE’S ANOTHER SWORD! WHERE THERE’S ONE SWORD, THERE’S MORE SWORDS! There is not a doubt in my mind that when and where there is one sword there is always another sword that might be close by and readily available and accessible. The more I read and study this passage of Scripture the more I am brought face to face with the awesome and incredible truth that when there is one sword in the hand of an individual—even if that individual is a disciple and follower of Jesus—there are bound to be other swords close by which others can pick up and begin using. With this being I am absolutely convinced that in this generation in which we are living Jesus is speaking unto and instructing us the same way He did unto Simon Peter. Just as Jesus commanded and instructed Simon to put down the sword which was present in his hand, so also is Jesus instructing us to put down the swords which are present within our own hands. What’s more, is that just as Jesus’ words was an additional command to the other disciples not to pick up the other sword that was present among them, so also Jesus is speaking unto us commanding us not to pick up the swords which were present all around us.

 

            We must make absolutely no mistake about this, for just because we see someone else with a sword in their hand, and just because we see someone else actively using the sword that is in their hands does not mean we have to pick up our own sword and begin using it. In fact, I would dare say that if there is one place where swords should not be present and should not be used it’s in the house of the LORD where men and women gather together to worship the LORD. There is and there has been absolutely no place within the house of the LORD for men and women to take up the sword and attempt to exact their own violence and vengeance against and upon others. Regardless of whether it’s through gossip or slander, or through rants on social media, or lashing out against others with our words, or seeking to accuse and condemn another, or even judging someone else there is absolutely no room or place for men and women in the house of the LORD to take up swords. There is a great need within our hearts and our lives to pay close attention to this, for picking up and using swords can take place in a variety of different ways, and we must needs be cautiously and carefully aware of this temptation before us. Men and women among us in this generation might not pick up physical and actual swords as did Simon Peter in the garden, however, they can pick up swords which they use with and from their mouths and their lips. Men and women in the house of the LORD might not pick up a firearm and attempt to dislodge and use it against another, however, it was Jesus Himself who declared that if are angry at our brother without a cause—perhaps even if we feel we have a cause—we are guilty of murder.

 

            I am absolutely gripped and captivated with the words which Jesus spoke unto Simon in the garden, for with those words—not only did Jesus call for the putting down of the sword, but He also called for the need, and perhaps even feeling one has the right and is entitled to picking up the sword. Oh I can’t help but think about how many men and women not only feel as though they have the right and are entitled to continue using the sword they are presently wielding, but there are others who think and feel they are entitled to pick up their own sword. One of the most dangerous individuals in this generation and even within the house of the LORD is one who feels entitled and that they have the right to pick up the sword—and not only to pick up the sword, but also to use the sword. There is nothing more dangerous than a man or a woman who already has the sword in their hands, has already used it, and feels they are entitled to continue using it. Oh I’m so thankful that not only did Simon Peter put down the sword after he had already used it, but none of the other disciples picked up the other sword that was present with them. We must needs realize and understand that Simon chose to pick up that first sword and to use it there in the midst of the garden, and yet Jesus quickly commanded him to put it down. Simon had indeed picked up the sword and used it to strike off the ear of the servant of the high priest, and yet not only did Jesus command the sword to be put down, but he also undid and restored the damage that was done with that sword. I firmly believe that one of the greatest needs present before us in this culture and society is not only men and women putting down the swords which are in their hands, but also for Jesus to undo the damage they have done with those swords. Oh if you were truly honest with yourself and with the Holy Spirit I would ask you what and how much damage you have inflicted with the sword that has been present in your own hand. Not only this, but are you willing to drop your sword at the command of Jesus?

 

            WHEN SWORDS ARE PUT DOWN AND STONES ARE DROPPED! I can’t help but be reminded of the narrative in the eighth chapter of the New Testament gospel narrative written by the apostle John. It is in this passage we find a woman who was caught in the act of adultery being brought before Jesus while He was teaching in the Temple. The scribes and Pharisees who brought this woman before Jesus declared that the Law of Moses commands that such a woman be stoned and then asked Jesus what He thought concerning the woman. Initially Jesus simply stooped down in the ground and began writing in the dirt without saying a word acting as if He had not heard a word they said. When asked again the same question Jesus would declare unto them, saying, “He that is without sin cast the first stone.” What the apostle John writes next is truly remarkable, for he goes on to write how one by one beginning with the oldest all the way down to the youngest they departed from the Temple. Although Scripture does not specifically state that those who were present on this occasion had stones in their hands, I have to believe that those who attempted to accuse this woman also sought to judge her according to the Law. Jesus’ words not only caused this woman’s accusers to depart from the Temple, but also caused the stones which might very well have been present in their hands to fall to the ground. How absolutely beautiful it is to think about and consider how Jesus’ words not only caused this woman’s accusers to depart one by one, but His words also caused the stones which were present in their hands to fall to the ground one at a time.

 

            THE SOUND OF FALLING STONES AND DROPPED SWORDS! I find it absolutely incredible that two of the greatest things that are needed within our culture and society today in this generation is falling swords and dropped stones. If I am being completely and utterly honest with you who are reading these words it’s that with all the chaos, all the confusion, all the turmoil, all the offenses, all the unrest, all the violence, and everything that is going on around us there is a great need—not only for swords to be put away, but also for stones to be dropped and let go of. Two of the greatest temptations before us and two of the greatest things we are in danger of committing ourselves to that only further perpetuate the cycle of offenses and offenders is picking up swords to use them against others, as well as picking up stones to cast them at others. STRIKING OFF EARS & CASTING STONES! SWORDS OF VENGEANCE AND STONES OF ACCUSATION! I am absolutely and completely convinced that we have a great need before us to recognize the swords we choose to pick up and use are indeed swords of violence and vengeance and not only endanger us, and not only endanger those around us, but also those we attempt to use them against. What’s more, is that the stones we choose to pick up are used for nothing more and nothing less than accusation, condemnation, and judgment. Two of the greatest challenges we face within our hearts, our minds, and our souls during this generation is choosing to put down our swords of vengeance and drop our stones of accusation. Nowhere in any of the four gospels does Jesus authorize us to take and pick up swords to exact our own vengeance and violence against another, and nowhere in any of the four gospels does Jesus authorize us to take and pick up stones to accuse, condemn and judge others. In fact, Jesus commands the opposite within our lives as He commands us to not judge lest we ourselves be judged, and to put down the sword(s). Perhaps the single greatest question we must needs ask ourselves is whether or not we are willing to put down the sword(s) we have taken up in our hands, and to drop any stones we might be holding within our hands.

 

            A SWORD IN ONE HAND, A STONE IN THE OTHER! I am sitting here today and I can’t help but get a strong and powerful picture within my spirit of men and women who are holding a sword in one hand, and a stone in the other. There are men and women among us right now who are grasping and holding on to a stone of accusation, condemnation and judgment in one hand, while they are holding a sword of vengeance and violence in the other hand. DOUBLE-FISTED “CHRISTIANS.” I am absolutely and completely convinced there are men and women among us within the house of the LORD who are holding on to a sword in one hand ready and waiting to execute vengeance and violence against those who have committed and offense against them, or perhaps those who have committed an offense against others. It’s important to note that when Simon Peter took up the sword and used it against the servant of the high priest the soldiers and guards didn’t seize and lay hold of them. The guards and the soldiers entered into the garden for one purpose and for one person and that was to lay hold of Jesus. Simon Peter witnessed the actions against Jesus and sought to take matters into his own hands by taking up the sword and using it against those who were present in the garden. We must needs recognize and understand that when we take up the sword—not only do we do so to exact vengeance and violence, but we do so to exact our own interpretation and understanding of such realities within our hearts and minds. Any time we choose to take up the sword and use it against someone else we do so to exact our own understanding and interpretation of violence and vengeance, and more often than not have not been authorized to do so by the living and eternal God.

 

            This imagery of men and women having a sword in one hand and a stone in the other is such that must be carefully considered and understood within our culture and society today. I am absolutely and completely convinced there are men and women who not only have a sword in one hand and a stone in the other but are ready to cast the stone and strike with the sword at a moment’s notice. With this being said we must needs recognize and acknowledge that those who have a sword in one hand and a stone in the other not only feel justified and entitled to do so, but they are also ready to use either one in a moments notice. Such men and women are ready to exact vengeance and violence if and whenever it is necessary and the opportunity presents itself and are willing to cast their stone(s) of judgment, accusation and condemnation against others. When David knew he was going to face Goliath he drew five smooth stones from the stream there in the valley knowing that he would use one to strike the giant. I can’t help but wonder if David knew that he would only need one stone to strike the giant, or if he had five stones in case he either missed, or more than one was needed. The reason I speak of and mention David taking five smooth stones from the stream and putting them in his sack is because while the stones he had would have been intended for the giant Goliath, I can’t help but wonder if while there are those among us who have a stone in one hand they also have a sack of stones at their side to draw from in case they need to hurl them at others. I am absolutely and completely convinced that we as the disciples and followers of Jesus Christ must free and deliver our hands from the swords we attempt to wield and the stones we attempt to cast. I know there are men and women who might very well feel justified and even entitled to strike with the sword and to cast their stones at others, however, such thoughts and actions are entirely and altogether antithetical to the gospel which the Lord Jesus preached. Nowhere in any of the gospels were we given license and permission to wield swords of violence and vengeance, nor cast stones of accusation and condemnation against others.

 

            One of the greatest questions we must needs ask ourselves is whether we are truly willing to put down the sword which might be in our hand, and if there is no sword presently in our hand then we must needs resist the temptation and urge to pick one up. Moreover, we must needs acknowledge whether we are willing to drop the stone we have within our hand which we might seek to cast at another who we might feel is guilty and deserves judgment. With this being said we must acknowledge and recognize that taking up the sword suggests we feel as though we know who deserves vengeance, while taking up stones suggests that we feel as though we know who deserves judgment. THE SWORD OF VENGEANCE AND THE STONE OF JUDGMENT! If we take up the sword within our hand, and if we attempt to use that sword then what we are truly saying to ourselves and others is that we not only understand vengeance but are also authorized to execute such vengeance against others. When we take up the stone within our hand—not only are we suggesting that we know and understand judgment that needs to be cast against another, but also that we ourselves are qualified to cast such judgment. To take up the sword and begin using it not only suggests the possibility that you feel entitled to execute vengeance, but also that you are authorized to do it. What’s more, is that to take up the stone and think to cast it at another suggests the possibility that we feel entitled to execute judgment and are even authorized to do so. There is a great need within our hearts, our souls and our minds to not only deliver and set ourselves free from feeling entitled and authorized to execute vengeance and judgment, but also to put down the sword(s) we are holding on to and drop the stone(s) we have in our hand.

 

            As I bring this writing to a close I feel it is absolutely necessary to call and draw your attention to the fact that what we find within this passage of Scripture—and not only in this passage, but also in the previous passage which describes Jesus in the garden—is both the temptation Jesus warned about, as well as the test and trial He spoke about. There is not a doubt in my mind the temptation Jesus warned about was in the garden when Simon Peter was tempted to take up the sword to execute vengeance and violence on behalf of Jesus Himself, while the test and trial which Jesus spoke about was Simon Peter being recognized by others and being pronounced as one of the disciples of Jesus. The question that must needs be asked here at this particular juncture is what we will do and how we will respond when the test and temptation arise within our lives. THE TEMPTATION TO EXECUTE VENGEANCE AND THE TEST OF DENYING JESUS! It’s actually truly interesting to think about and consider the fact that Simon Peter was not only faced with the temptation to execute his own brand of vengeance upon those who were present in the midst of the garden, but he was also tempted that same night to deny Jesus. What’s more is that not only was Simon tempted to deny Jesus, but he was tempted three different times to deny him. By the time that night was over—not only had he struck off the ear of the servant of the high priest thus exacting his own brand of vengeance, but he had also denied Jesus three different times. Is it any wonder why when Jesus turned and looked at him he went away and wept bitterly? We must needs pay close and careful attention to this particular reality for it forces us to acknowledge the temptation(s) we face within our own lives—the temptation(s) to take up the sword and exact vengeance and pick up the stone(s) to exact judgment—as well as the temptation to deny Jesus when we are given the opportunity to confess Him before men. The question I would like to leave you with is what will you do and how will you respond when your hour and moment of testing and temptation comes. What’s more, is we have a great need within our hearts and lives to be men and women who not only watch, but also those who pray that we might not fall into temptation when it arises and that we might stand in the hour of our testing and trial.

 

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