Luke 22:51, "And Jesus answered and said, Suffer ye thus far. And he touched his
ear, and healed him."
This morning, evidences of different things abound but oftentimes go unnoticed.
How many evidences are there in this natural world that cry out to the design,
wisdom, order, and power of a Creator? Indeed, the Scriptures talk about the
wisdom of the world that does not see the simplest evidences that God worked the
creation just as He said He did. (I Corinthians 1:27, Romans 1:20-21) How many
other types of evidences do we come across in daily life that are right under
our noses only to go unnoticed? Perhaps some of these evidences are not only
close to us in proximity, but they may also be pronounced and evident as well.
It is this type of pronounced evidence that we would like to examine as it
pertains to our negligence of it.
Our verse above is found after Christ's prayer in the garden of Gethsemane and
shortly before His mock trial before the high priest. As the band arrives in the
garden led by Judas Iscariot, Christ displays a great act of mercy upon those
men after one of his own disciples comes to His "aid." Since Christ's fate
seemed sealed that He would be bound and led away, Peter draws his sword to
fulfill his promise made to go to death with his Saviour. (Luke 22:33) From
Peter's action on this occasion, it seems evident that his promise (while
eventually broken later in the form of three denials of Christ) was not made in
insincerity. He did willfully break the vow he made, but he did not make the
promise insincerely with the full intention of breaking it.
However, Christ "overturns" Peter's action by healing the damage that Peter had
done. It is the opinion of the writer that Peter was not aiming at Malchus's
ear, but rather to kill him outright. The best way for an ear to be cut off in
this fashion is if the attacker aims for the head, the defender dodges and
feints, thereby leaving the ear as the highest, and most prominent target to be
sliced. Regardless of how that scene played out, Christ finishes the scene by
restoring the ear as it was before. Consider the sight! A person's ear has been
cut off, severed by a sword before your very eyes, and the man you intend to
bind and lead away captive heals the ear on the spot. What would be the logical
conclusion to make and decision to take?
Were we to see something like that today and be convinced that some magician's
trick was not at work, we would be filled with wonder and amazement and probably
want to spend some time with the healer. Certainly if our ear was the one that
was restored, thanksgiving and fellowship would seem the most logical points to
arrive upon for our actions. However, even though this great and prominent
evidence proceeded forth by the merciful hand of Christ Jesus the Lord, what
ended up playing out afterward? They indeed bound Him as they came there to do,
and they led Him away just as their original intent was to perform.
Some may say that these men were bound to do this thing, predestinated if you
will, and "could not do otherwise" on this occasion. However, such a fanciful
notion will not stand up to the scrutiny of Scriptures. Christ was indeed
delivered on this occasion by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God,
but it was not God's hand that moved these men to do the things that they did.
Rather, their wicked hearts and wicked hands did exactly what their wicked
pleasures wanted. (Acts 2:22-23) When God delivered His Son Jesus on this
occasion, He knew what they would do, given the opportunity, but He did not
actively engage them to their wicked work.
Was it any wonder that they did these things? Considering past performances, not
really. They tried to take Him numerous times, tried to stone Him a few times,
and each time, He slipped right from their presence and grasp. Why? His hour had
not yet come, and therefore, it pleased Him well not to be taken on any of these
occasions. On this occasion, He submitted to the shame that He would eventually
endure and declared this time as their hour and power of darkness. (Verse 53)
This does not mean that darkness had more power than He did on this occasion,
but rather, it means that darkness was going to have a season of doing things
that darkness delights in while Christ stood our place and bore our justice.
Therefore, when the providential hand of God upon His Son withdrew, He knew what
wicked men would do given the opportunity to do so.
Back to the evidences on this occasion. Since these men were not predestinated
and controlled by God to do what they did, the evidence was certainly there for
their minds to be changed. One might say that these men were all wicked and
unregenerate men, and due to the silence of Scriptures on this particular
occasion, they may have been. However, not all of those later the next day were
wicked goats, as Christ prays to His Father for their forgiveness at their
ignorant behaviour and action. (Luke 23:34) Christ has never, nor will He ever,
pray for forgiveness upon those that His judgment will be meted out upon
forever. It is the opinion of the writer that this was a mixed multitude that
were composed of some ignorant sheep and God-hating goats.
So, why did the evidence not sway them on this night? To answer this question,
why does evidence so often not sink in with us in our daily lives? Why so often
do we look back on some scene of our existence here and think, with woeful
sorrow, "Why didn't I see that then? It was right there, staring me in the face
- right under my nose." The reasons are numerous, more than this piece will
address, but let us examine a few and see how we should or should not proceed in
What happens when emotion gets heated and passions ignite? During times of
heightened emotional stress, people can ignore the obvious facts and
circumstances of a situation as they are following blind emotion. This mob that
came into the garden had probably been - as most all mobs are - sufficiently
prepped from some wagonmaster/pep captain. Getting a group of people
excited about something and putting them together is a classic way to heat up
emotions over logic. The lesson is not to run in "mob-like" crowds to the
neglect of our spiritual senses. All too often, we fall victim and prey to
overlooking the obvious, as this night showed the overlooking of a healed ear
that had been severed.
Another easy way to miss the evidence is to be focused on the wrong thing. If
our minds become dominated by the wrong things, we can miss the heeding and
inclination from the Holy Spirit about our proper courses. Sometimes the things
that dominate our thinking are not necessarily bad things - spouse, children,
friends, etc. - but these subjects are still not worthy of time domination in
our minds. The only fitting Subject for that is the same One that can put
severed ears back as they were before. If He dominates our thinking - we have
thoughts of Christ and things divine - then we are more apt to see His working
and nudging when it comes.
Finally, we can miss the evidence when we have been fed false information for
too long. If we believe a lie long enough, the truth seems hard to believe when
we hear it. Consider Jacob's case after believing for so long that his son
Joseph was dead. When the news came that Joseph was alive, Jacob believed not
the report until he had seen further evidence (the wagons) that Joseph was
indeed alive. Many that had nothing to do with the man Jesus (some even
responsible for apprehending Him) later saw further evidence that convinced them
of the truth about Him. Consider the Roman centurion who had, no doubt, had a
hand in many of the brutalities that Jesus endured. As he witnessed the
circumstances that surrounded the cross: darkness, earthquake, rending rocks,
etc., he declared that Jesus was a righteous man and the Son of God with full
certainty and assurance.
May we live our lives more attuned to Christ with our spiritual senses sharpened
and ready to see and perceive the things that He would have us do while we walk
here. To keep the senses sharp, we need to avoid the mob. To use their keenness,
we need to be skillful with the edge to exercise the fullness of the situation
and understand things for how they really are (not just one of the many aspects
of a situation). And, we need to always be ready to rightly divide what we know
and feel so that we try the spirits to see whether they be of God and also to
prove all things, holding fast to that which is good. (I John 4:1, I
Thessalonians 5:21) In so doing, may we not only see the wonderful mercies of
our Saviour in our lives but also rejoice in them, thank Him for them, and if
necessary alter what we had intended to do to: glorify Him rather than shame Him
(as these later did) by how we proceed moving forward.