Just before the first Easter, Jesus prayed in garden. After He was finished with prayer, Judas came with soldiers and kissed Him (it was a prearranged identification signal). Jesus was arrested by soldiers. One of the disciples, identified as Peter in John’s gospel, drew his sword and cut off the ear of a government servant whose name was Malchus. Jesus emphatically reprimanded Peter - no more of this, put away your swords. Not Now! Not that way! Jesus then took the opportunity to do a little teaching. He explained that “I” could call on the Father, could call down legions of angels to stop this arrest. But He said He wanted to fulfill Scriptures and “drink the cup” the Father has designated for Him. That is to say He wanted to obey the Father’s plan. Then Jesus healed servant’s ear. He went with the soldiers to be judged and, it says, everyone deserted Him and fled. (Matt 26:50-54, Mark 14: 46-50, Luke 22:49-51, John 18:2-11)
This story is recorded in all four gospel accounts so it must be important. Each has a little twist but they tell the same story. There are some lessons here for that apply in grief. Like Peter, did you want to cut off the ear of someone who came and inflicted pain on your child? Jesus, the one they loved, was in a life threatening situation. The disciples felt like striking out at ones perceived as enemies. How did you react when the one you loved, your child, was in a life threatening situation? Did you feel like striking someone, with a sword if you had had one at the time? Did you feel like hitting someone or something or suing? Were you outraged at the doctor; the other driver; the medicine that didn’t work; the EMT’s who came a little later than you thought they should? I could go on pointing at people and things parents have expressed their anger toward: viruses, cancer, the spouse (for things said or not said, done or not done, for decisions, or just because), the police, and God Himself.
Jesus knew the rage of his disciples. But He instructed them not to strike by the sword. He mentioned that if you live by the sword you will die by it. For some of you, your child died because someone else was living by the sword, so to speak. Oh, I’m sorry. It’s a chain reaction. One outraged outburst after another. Jesus did not want His ministry to be identified with such a chain. So He set His eyes to the Father’s purpose: to fulfill Scriptures and follow in obedience the road planned out for him by His Father.
Now, you are not Jesus, but He has a purpose in your life too. Are you willing to trust that He has a plan; that the plan is good; that it includes the death of your child? You are a human who has a significant part to play in God’s plan. As a personal comment, I am willing to trust that His plan in my life is good because God has already given His very own Son for my benefit, that is, for my very salvation. So while I don’t understand how the plan is good at time, I’m willing to wait and see because of His great costly love for me.
Other little lessons:
- The Father knows the name of the servant. He knows your name and the name of your child too. It’s personal with Him.
- Everyone deserted Jesus and fled. Still He obeyed and yielded to the Father’s plan. You may feel deserted too, but you can make faithful choices too.
- In the end, Jesus healed the injured servant. He is at work in your life too, for healing your injuries of grief.
- Jesus could have stopped the plan. He could have called down heavenly soldiers and stopped the arrest, judgment and crucifixion. He really could have made this other choice. But He is not a rebel. He showed He was actually obedient to authority, both the government and His Father. He trusted the Father. He did it for love for you. You too can trust the Father who planned your salvation at such a great cost even though your loss hurts so much right now, even though you can’t understand the path it seems God is calling you to follow. He is worthy of that trust.