“So Jesus said to Peter, ‘Put the sword into the sheath; the cup which the Father has given Me, shall I not drink it?” (John 18:11)
Jesus spoke these words in response to the actions of Peter in :10, when he drew his sword and cut off the ear of the high priest’s slave, who was in the group attempting to arrest Jesus. Jesus told Peter to put his sword back into the sheath — a command that may be more needed for some of His disciples today than many of us realize.
Peter here in John 18 is a picture of many Christians today — attempting to fight back at the world by using the world’s weapons: counter-threats, insults and arguments on Facebook and Twitter, political power, economic boycotts, pressure to remove THEIR monuments, protesting THEIR policies, and so on. But “warring according to the flesh” has never been Jesus’ program for His disciples.
Jesus’ word to us today is the same as it was to Peter that day: “Put the sword into the sheath.” STOP responding the world with the world’s own weapons.
— For one, Jesus never condoned His disciples seeking to harm others. He never commanded a Christian version of “Islam or the sword.” Christianity doesn’t spread by violence or pressure, but through hearts that have been convicted by the truth. Physical violence and politcal power plays don’t touch hearts.
— And beyond just “not harming” our enemies, Jesus even commanded us to go a step further: to actually do GOOD to our enemies. Jesus healed the ear of the high priest’s servant which Peter had cut off, living out what He had commanded us in Matthew 5:44, to love our enemies. THAT is our Model: do GOOD to your enemies, not attempting to “get back” at them.
The truth is, some Christians give more evidence of being disciples of Muhammad than Jesus — seeking to advance His kingdom by the sword, instead of loving their enemies. Jesus healed; Jesus did good — even to His enemies. And He commanded us to follow in His steps, and “put the sword into the sheath.”