Without a Sword
A sermon delivered by Rev. Peter T. Atkinson
March 18, 2018
at Bethany Presbyterian Church, Zuni, Virginia
Matthew 26: 47-56
Ezekiel 33: 23-29
Let us pray,
Help us to see despite our eyes
Help us to think outside of our minds
Help us to be more than our lives
For your eyes show the way
Your mind knows the truth
Your being is the life.
In our journey from the Colt to the Cross, we have gotten to the part where time starts to move very quickly
Because the events of the Holy Week has now turned into merely a few jam packed hours,
at least the last three weeks have only been the story of a few hours. . .
Lord’s Supper, Gethsemane, now Betrayal and Arrest,
Just a few days after Jesus entered into Jerusalem on that Colt, and headed to the temple,
Now the trial and crucifixion are fast approaching, and Easter draws nearer,
we wonder could we face such darkness, without Easter’s glory rising securely in the future
So let’s look at this betrayal and arrest
Here Matthew’s rendering, this is Matthew 26: 47-56
47 While he was still speaking, Judas, one of the Twelve, arrived. With him was a large crowd armed with swords and clubs, sent from the chief priests and the elders of the people. 48 Now the betrayer had arranged a signal with them: “The one I kiss is the man; arrest him.” 49 Going at once to Jesus, Judas said, “Greetings, Rabbi!” and kissed him.
50 Jesus replied, “Do what you came for, friend.”[d]
Then the men stepped forward, seized Jesus and arrested him. 51 With that, one of Jesus’ companions reached for his sword, drew it out and struck the servant of the high priest, cutting off his ear.
52 “Put your sword back in its place,” Jesus said to him, “for all who draw the sword will die by the sword. 53 Do you think I cannot call on my Father, and he will at once put at my disposal more than twelve legions of angels? 54 But how then would the Scriptures be fulfilled that say it must happen in this way?”
55 In that hour Jesus said to the crowd, “Am I leading a rebellion, that you have come out with swords and clubs to capture me? Every day I sat in the temple courts teaching, and you did not arrest me. 56 But this has all taken place that the writings of the prophets might be fulfilled.”Then all the disciples deserted him and fled.
Look at the details of this. . .
Judas comes with the mob of men with clubs and swords,
the mob is from the Chief Priests and Elders
Then the betrayal kiss. . . saying “Greetings Teacher”
Jesus, says “Do what you came for”
They seize him. . .
One draws sword and cuts off the ear of one of the servants of the high priests
I always remembered that being Peter. . .
Jesus says put your sword back
Twelve legions of angels. . . . but scripture must be fulfilled
Am I leading rebellion? You could have taken me any time. . . but now because scriptures are being fulfilled.
Then disciples, desert and fled. . . .
We are familiar with the scene, I think
Today I want to take a look at Judas and Peter, especially, but really the last line,
All the disciples deserted him and fled
So all the disciples go away, let’s think about maybe why for each. . .
let’s look at Judas first, he may be the easiest to look at why he deserts. . .
Guilt right? Enough to lead him to suicide. . .
But what about why he betrays?
Is it just about greed and the thirty pieces?
Is it somehow that he was chosen to bear all infamy to fulfill the plan?
Or is it just somewhere in the middle. . .
Not what I ordered?
Disillusioned – Heaven on their minds
Iscariot - - from there, or is it sword carrier
The shame is we won’t know because he kills himself
No one ever got the exclusive interview. . .
But Jesus does say. . .
Put down your sword. . . . and they all deserted
Let’s take a minute on this
I had thought that the disciple who pulled the sword was Peter,
but that is not Biblical, probably something I picked up at the movies
And they all deserted. . .
But we do get to watch Peter’ desertion
Three times he denies
Peter. . . could you?
Fight or Flight, right?
Could you do it?
Think of what it means. . . because you don’t get a sword
So you don’t get to fight. . .
Have you ever tried to build something without the right tools?
It makes a mess, and eventually you just quit. . .
That’s like fighting without a sword especially when everyone else has a sword. . .
Bringing a knife to a gun fight
Taking a test when you read the wrong book
Me teaching a science class
Having a church dinner when you can’t bring a casserole. . .
That dog won’t hunt
Can you fight without fighting? No so run away. . . quit. . .
Hoosiers. . .
23 Then the word of the Lord came to me: 24 “Son of man, the people living in those ruins in the land of Israel are saying, ‘Abraham was only one man, yet he possessed the land. But we are many; surely the land has been given to us as our possession.’ 25 Therefore say to them, ‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says: Since you eat meat with the blood still in it and look to your idols and shed blood, should you then possess the land? 26 You rely on your sword, you do detestable things, and each of you defiles his neighbor’s wife. Should you then possess the land?’
27 “Say this to them: ‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says: As surely as I live, those who are left in the ruins will fall by the sword, those out in the country I will give to the wild animals to be devoured, and those in strongholds and caves will die of a plague. 28 I will make the land a desolate waste, and her proud strength will come to an end, and the mountains of Israel will become desolate so that no one will cross them.29 Then they will know that I am the Lord, when I have made the land a desolate waste because of all the detestable things they have done.’
Of all the sins and reasons they list for the destruction, it is only the sword, that is repeated
Depending on the sword
Surrounded by Egypt, Assyria, Babylon
No win situation, with sword, but with God?
Fully Rely on God, isn’t just a slogan for Frozen Yogurt, ie Sweet FROG F(ully) R(ely) O(n) G(od)
Wouldn’t the disciples be in the same situation if they fought back
The Romans have more Swords, always
It seems that the only way for Peter not to deny was to wield a different kind of sword, and lay himself at the feet of God’ Will
They all couldn’t, it was much to scary, can we?
What armor have we, what sword?
14 Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, 15 and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. 16 In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. 17 Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.
–Ephesians 6: 14-17
Is it enough?
It certainly is, but do we have enough faith to put it on. . .