Saturday, July 14: All who draw the sword will die by the sword
We return to our occasional reading from beginning to end through the Gospel of Matthew, which emphasizes Jesus' divine nature and his status as the Messiah—as the Son of David, the Son of Man, and the Son of God.
Read Matthew 26:50b-54
Then the men stepped forward, seized Jesus and arrested him. With that, one of Jesus' companions reached for his sword, drew it out and struck the servant of the high priest, cutting off his ear.
"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?"
Jesus may have submitted to the authorities—and to his Father—yet one member of his group (John informs us it was Peter) is not so level-headed. But Jesus rebukes him and utters what has become one of his most-quoted sentences, which has achieved near-proverb status in our culture. What do you think Jesus means in this immediate context? When it's spoken today by a variety of people, do you think they're usually trying to make a similar point?
One thing that's pretty clear here is that violence is not a problem-solving technique for Jesus or his followers. But what about in other contexts, like nations using death and destruction either to prevent some other evil or to get its own way? As much as you're able, set aside for a moment any long-held views you have on this topic, in either direction, and look at Jesus' words through Jesus' eyes.