Mar. 9, 2012
When Jesus’ followers saw what was going to happen, they said, “Lord, should we strike with our swords?” And one of them struck the servant of the high priest, cutting off his right ear. But Jesus answered, “No more of this!” And he touched the man’s ear and healed him. Then Jesus said to the chief priests, the officers of the temple guard, and the elders, who had come for him, “Am I leading a rebellion that you have come with swords and clubs?” Every day, I was with you in the temple courts, and you did not lay a hand on me. But this is your hour – when darkness reigns.”
The last hours of Jesus’ life was winding down. Every act he does maybe the last time Jesus will perform this. One fact that stands out to me this Lenten season: so much of the last hours of Jesus life are not about him. It’s about what he can do for others.
We see it here. The guards and their escorts have arrived in the Garden of Gethsemane to arrest Jesus. It could have become what we’d call a barroom bawl. It starts out this way. One of the disciples, John’s Gospel tells us Peter, draws his sword. Why he had a sword with him, I’m not quite sure. Obviously, he was concerned that something crazy could happen. And now it does. Peter lashes out at the person before him, a servant of the Jewish High Priest Caiaphus. Caiaphus didn’t want to be a part of arrest. But he wanted an observer who could tell him every detail. So, he sent one of his servants, Malchus. In the garden, Malchus must be physically close to Peter. Emotions welled up in Peter and he had to do something. Adrenaline takes over as he cuts of Malchus’ ear.
Jesus does not want this scene to get out of hand. He stops the fighting immediately. Just to re-enforce his wishes, he reaches out and heals the removed ear.
This is not the first time Jesus has healed someone. We’d need a calculator to count the people Jesus healed. And there are many, many others not accounted for in scripture. Jesus is being arrested. But his focus isn’t on this. It’s on taking care of others first. Talk about selflessness.
Healing comes in many different ways. Today, I will be part of a celebration of the ultimate healing for Oscar Sieg. Oscar, and his wife Dolly, were some of the first people my folks met with they moved toWisconsinover 50 years ago. Their youngest daughter, Pam, is just a few months older than I am. Pam is my oldest friend. Not oldest in age; oldest in time we’ve been friends. I can’t remember a time when Pam and I weren’t friends.
The last few years, Oscar’s health has failed. Two weeks ago, I spent some time with Pam and her family. We were in Oscar’s room at the nursing home. Rick was waiting in our vehicle outside. Oscar could see our car. He kept asking where my husband was. He wasn’t concerned about himself. He was concerned about where my husband was. When Rick came into Oscar’s room, he was so excited to see Rick. Before Rick and I left, we gathered with the family, laid hands on Oscar and prayed for his ultimate healing. Today, we will celebrate this.
As we continue through the passion story these next few weeks, keep your eyes peeled for how many times Jesus is more concerned about other people than himself. In the world’s darkest hours, Jesus never stops doing what he came to do: to seek and to save the lost. As he does this, he reaches out not just to the people who were physically present with him. Ultimately, he is reaching out to all of humanity and providing for our needs. Thus, these hours are also our hours. And through this, I pray you will see Jesus’ great concern for you.
Let us pray: Turn your eyes upon Jesus. Look full in His wonderful face. And the things of earth will grow strangely dim in the light of His glory and grace. Amen.