June 19, 2008 - Thursday of the 4th Week after Trinity

Daily Lectionary: Proverbs 22:1-21; John 18:1-14

Then Simon Peter, having a sword, drew it and struck the high priest's servant, and cut off his right ear. The servant's name was Malchus. So Jesus said to Peter, "Put your sword into the sheath. Shall I not drink the cup which My Father has given Me?" (John 18:10-11)

In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. What would Jesus do without Peter!? Peter, throughout the Gospels is always ready to fight for Jesus. To prove to Jesus just how much faith He has. Just how much on Jesus' side He is. Just “for Jesus” He is. You want to get to Jesus? You've got to get through Peter! Yes, Peter will save Jesus even if it means some hack and slash against a poor servant in the Garden.

The problem is, however, that if Peter saves Jesus, Peter is doomed. If Peter saves Jesus, then no one can be saved. Not Peter. Not you. Not me. Jesus asks Peter if he thinks he can stop Jesus from drinking the cup of God's wrath from which He is about to partake. Do you want Jesus to suffer or to be rescued from those bad men? If Jesus doesn't get arrested, if He isn't tried, if He isn't crucified, no one will be saved from their sins. It's really not that different than the temptations the devil threw at Jesus in the wilderness--trying to get Him to be some other kind of Son of God than He is, some other kind of Savior than He came to be.

Thankfully, Jesus doesn't listen to the devil. And He doesn't let Peter save Him. Instead, He saves Peter and the rest of the world from sin. We see where Peter's “strong faith” ends him up: weeping outside the city after he denies Jesus three times. Peter fights in the garden. But it's not long until he gives up Jesus completely.

But Jesus never wavers. He goes obedient to the cross and dies for our sins and Peter's sins. He suffers what we all should suffer. He conquers sin and death for you and for me and for Peter.

Don't grab a sword and fight for Jesus. Instead, live in your Baptism in which Jesus has marked you as His own. Don't cut off the servant's ear to save Jesus. Instead, open your ears to hear His Word. Don't try to stop Jesus from dying, but receive the body given into death and the blood shed on the cross to keep you in the faith. Jesus has drunk the cup of God's wrath and so He can give you the cup of your salvation. In the Name of Jesus. Amen.

A Lamb goes uncomplaining forth, The guilt of sinners bearing. And laden with the sins of earth, None else the burden sharing; Goes patient on, grows weak and faint, To slaughter led without complaint, That spotless life to offer, He bears the stripes, the wounds, the lies, The mockery and yet replies, “All this I gladly suffer.” (LSB 438:1)