Matthew 26:51-54 / Mark 14:47 / Luke 22:50-51 / John 18:10-11…
Jesus had told the disciples that things were going to get tough, and that they must prepare for rejection (Luke 22:35-38). But although Jesus mentioned carrying a sword, He was not advocating violence. He was simply saying that instead of expecting popularity, they would experience persecution. Still, Peter misapplied this truth to this situation, and probably felt like he was doing the most right thing at the moment.
We often do the same thing. We think we have good intentions, but they lead to bad actions. We have truth, but we lack trust. We have liberty, but we use it as license to protect our own self-interests, even in the name of ministry to others.
We may desire to do what seems right in the moment, but it is not as right an action as we think it to be. We make hasty decisions, not having patience and trust in the sovereignty of God. Peter knew that Jesus was God, but his flesh was “rash to do good”. We must be on guard today against such a presumption, especially when we, or someone we know, is persecuted. It is our pride that tells us “how dare they!”
It can be easier to deal with tribulation for ourselves, but when loved ones are involved, we feel a strong urge to intervene, sometimes when we shouldn’t. In such cases we must still cling to our Lord. Consider this; that when Job had lost his children already, this is when he said “though He slay me yet will I trust Him” (Job 13:15), and so he is also saying “though He slay someone I love, yet will I trust Him”.
Just because we are doing God’s business does not necessarily give us the right to attack. Indeed, we must remember that the wicked are caught in their own trap (Esther 9:25 / Psalm 7:15-16, 9:15-16). Defend the gospel, not yourself, and the glory of God will rest upon you (1 Peter 4:14). Instead of giving place to the devil (Ephesians 4:27), we need to give place to God (Romans 12:19 / Hebrews 10:30).