On Misinterpreting God’s Will

The night Jesus was arrested, before He was arrested, He gave instructions to His disciples.

Jesus reminded them He had sent them out in the past without purse, bag or sandals and they had lacked nothing.

Then He said, “But now, let him who has a purse take it along, likewise also a bag, and let him who has no sword sell his robe and buy one.” Someone says, Lord, here are two swords.” And Jesus says “It is enough.” (Luke 22:35-38).

The same night, they all go to the garden of Gethsemane, and while Jesus is praying they are approached by an armed mob come to arrest Jesus. Peter immediately pulls out one of the swords and takes a swipe at one of them, cutting off his right ear. Jesus then rebukes Peter saying, “Stop, No more of this,” touches the person’s ear and heals him. (Luke 22:47-51; John 18:3,10).

Can anyone really fault Peter? Jesus had just told Peter earlier that night he would need a sword. They point out two swords. Jesus says, “That is enough.” Then they are approached by an armed mob and Peter connects the dots and uses the sword. He must have been thinking, “Jesus is prophetic. He knew this would happen, so He told me to get the sword. Time to use it!” All the stars aligned. It all made sense. Who would have thought differently in the circumstances? But Peter was dead wrong.

Peter was dead wrong because he was not seeing the big picture, he didn’t see that Jesus had to go to the cross. Peter misinterpreted the part because he didn’t see the whole. Peter misinterpreted Jesus’ instructions because He misunderstood Jesus’ purpose.

I suspect after Jesus’ arrest and crucfixion Peter thought about this incident, trying to figure out why Jesus rebuked him for striking with the sword. We know Peter got the message because he later embraced martyrdom, insisting to be crucified upside-down, not believing he was worthy of the same death as his Lord.

I’ve missed the Lord like this before. I was sure the Lord was answering my prayer in the way I’d hoped He would. The circumstances all suggested the same thing. The stars aligned so to speak, and then things went a completely different direction, and I was left wondering how I had missed the Lord’s purpose so completely. Each time this has happened, it has forced me to reevaluate what had happened, and each time I ended up seeing the Lord’s way, though seemingly more difficult for me at the time, was ultimately better in the Lord’s bigger purpose for my life and those around me. Maybe you have had a similar experience.

I do take some comfort though in knowing I’m not alone, that even Peter misinterpreted God’s will and still went on to do great things for the Kingdom. GS

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