In the Gospel of John chapter 18 verse 11, Peter cut off the ear of a temple guard that was trying to arrest Jesus. Peter was defending Jesus, trying to protect Him from a punishment that was a result of false accusations. Jesus does not commend Peter for defending Him but instead Jesus rebukes Peter.
Now, this is not the first time Jesus rebuked Peter, Peter was first rebuked in Matthew chapter 16 for saying that he would not allow Jesus to be crucified. And Jesus had a similar response to Peter then.
Peter's mindset was often to ensue the safety Jesus, but Jesus' mindset was to accept the persecution that comes from doing God's will. Jesus was not a concerned with His personal comfort or safety but was always willing to sacrifice comfort in order to accomplish the Will of God (See John 4:1-42).
I think the struggle that Peter had is an example of the internal struggle within us all. One the one hand, we want to defend ourselves or those we see being persecuted for doing God's Will. We become extremely vociferous to prove that we are only guilty of doing what is right. We won't stop until the world knows that this great injustice that is happing to us is absurd and just plain wrong.
However this not the example we see in Jesus:
..."Like a sheep he was led to the slaughter and like a lamb before its shearer is silent, so he opens not his mouth."
Acts 8:32 ESV
This is not to say that Jesus never confronted anyone over sin or was unwilling to speak truth. If you read the Gospel of John chapter 2, you will see that Jesus is not afraid of confrontation nor is He sacred to speak the truth.
But, Jesus clearly exhibited that persecution is a method God has chosen (in His Sovereign Will) to expand His Kingdom according to Matthew 24:9-14. So it behooves any Christian to study the Gospel and see how Christ walked and learn to accept persecution that comes from professing and living for Jesus as opposed to fighting against it or compromising the truths of the Gospel to avoid being persecuted. Persecution may not be the preferred method of evangelism but in the life of a Christian it is a reality we all will face on some level.
This may mean we are talked about, humiliated, or even lose our lives, but the end result is others will come to know and receive Jesus. So my prayer is the Lord will give my brothers and sisters in Christ the grace to endure persecution and the strength to trust in Him as He expands His Kingdom. So let us turn the other cheek in the face of persecution because the end result is worth it.
Read the Word, Share the Gospel, Be accountable.
BY REV. JOSEPH M. MAY
LIGHT OF THE LAKES CHURCH, ARNOLDS PARK