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Most of the articles on these WebPages have been written by godly men with a central belief in the Lord Jesus Christ. However as with most of us, they may have different beliefs concerning some particular doctrines. These articles have been made available for the purpose of “gleaning the good” where good can be found. I do not necessarily endorse all that is written by others, anymore than I expect others to endorse all that I write.

   Morning Thoughts by Elder Philip Conley

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 our courses.

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.


In Hope,

Bro Philip