« EelmineJätka »
you that I am He; if therefore ye seek me, let these go their way.” Our dear Lord is alone, and has neither sword nor spear; whereas Judas, the traitor, comes upon Him with a great multitude. We would think that our dear Lord had reason to entreat and beg, seeing that He stands against such numbers. But He advances and commands the Jews that they should let His disciples alone, and not lay hands on one of them. This is a stern command: Sinite hos abire, “Let these go;" and we see that it was not given in vain. For they, no doubt, set out with the thought that they would capture the whole company, Master and disciples. But this command compels them to desist from their intention of taking the disciples, although Peter did not deserve this, because he lay about him with his sword.
But why does the Lord give such a command ? It is not incorrect to say, tliat He wishes to show by this that He esteems His own life more lightly than the lives of His disciples; for He rescues them while He lets Himself be taken and bound. For the same reason He calls Himself a “Good Shepherd” who "giveth His life for the sheep;” and shows us His love as a special example, saying: “Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends. Ye are my friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you.” We clearly see that He is silent about His own person; the Jews do with Him what they please and He does not hinder them. But He wants them to let His disciples alone and to do no violence to them. This shows that He cares more for them than for Himself.
This was not done without a purpose. Our dear Lord Jesus wanted no partners in the sufferinge before Him. For, as the 53. chapter of Isaiah tells us, “The Lord hath laid on Him," on Him alone, “the iniquity of us all,” and this He had to bear alone and for this offer Himself as a sacrifice. True, the disciples also were afterwards compelled to suffer for the sake of Christ and His Word, as Christ had told James and John: “Ye shall indeed drink of the cup that I drink of.”
But the suffering of the Lord Jesus was a suffering for my sins, for thy sins, and for the sins of all the world; so that now, for Christ's sake, God will not only forgive and pass by these sins, but also bestow righteousness and eternal life upon me, upon thee, and upon all believers. For this reason Christ desired to be alone, and permitted no one to be seized nor to suffer with Him.
This should be preached in all churches throughont Christendom, and with all diligence should the people be continually taught to hope for the forgiveness of every sin, alone through the sufferings and death of Christ, &c. But this is not done by the abominable Pope and his scandalous scribblers and shriekers. Their tongues, indeed, confess that Jesus is the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world; but their actions give their words the lie. This they prove by their so woefully deceiving the poor people with their falsehoods ; telling them to invoke deceased saints, of these saints to seek pardon for their sins, and with the merits of these saints to console themselves, and in virtue of their doing this they receive indulgences. This is as much as saying that Christ desired associates
in His sufferings, and accomplished nothing by Himself.
That the Lord was afterwards crucified between "two thieves” has its peculiar signification, viz., to show for whom Christ's sufferings avail, and upon whom they are lost; of which, however, we have no time to speak at present. But here in the garden the word is: Sinite hos abire, “Let these go ;" I alone am fit for this work; to suffer and to die for the sins of the world is an office which belongs to me alone. Neither John, Peter or James can do anything in this; let all these go their way! I, “I am He;" me you must lay hold on, me capture, me bind, me crucify, unto me it is given to take away the sin of the world; and all who believe in me, that is, comfort themselves with my suffering and death, shall find a gracious God and eternal life.
This, then, is the second part of the history of those things concerning Christ which occurred in the garden. It teaches us: first, to bear in mind this terrible fall of the Apostle Judas, to abide in the fear of God, to avoid sin, and to be diligent in prayer that God may in mercy prevent us from falling as Judas fell; secondly, that we also, as true Christians, shall be sorely molested by the avarice of some Judas or other, that we must patiently endure this and cling to the consolation that Christ, though He may be weak in us now, will show His power at the proper time, and graciously protect and preserve us. The Ever-living Father of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ grant us this by His Holy Spirit. Amen.
CHIRIST REFUSING TO BE RESCUED BY PETER'S SWORD.
MATT. 26, 51-56. And, behold, one of them which were with Jesus stretched out his hand, and drew his sword, and struck a servant of the high priest, and smote off his ear. Then said Jesus unto him, Put up again thy sword into his place: for all they that take the sword shall perish with the sword. Thinkest thou that I cannot now pray to my Father, and He shall presently give me more than twelve legions of angels? But how then shall the Scriptures be fulfilled, that thus it must be? In that same hour said Jesus to the multitudes, Are ye come out as against a thief with swords and staves for to take me? I sat daily with you teaching in the temple, and ye laid no hold on
But all this was done, that the Scriptures of the prophets might be fulfilled. Then all the disciples forsook Him, and fled. This is the third and last part of the scene in
the garden, or at the mount of Olives. It relates how Peter drew his sword, intending to rescue his Master by force, after they had taken the Lord Jesus.
The facts here narrated, in the first place, teach us a necessary and useful lesson concerning the sword, or temporal power, showing who shall and who shall not wield it, and what punishment is due to him who presumes to bear it without a call. Secondly, whereas Peter in this case makes use of the sword to liberate Christ, and still Christ forbids his doing so, it becomes necessary here to treat the question, whether we dare or should defend the Gospel with the sword, so that the civil government may be properly instructed in both respects, and neither act contrary to its office, nor do more than its calling demands. Otherwise both Church and State would be unjustly dealt by, which injustice would be most certainly punished.
Now as far as Peter is concerned, it is manifest that he was a minister or ecclesiastic, whom it does not behoove to bear the sword, according to the words of Christ: “The princes of the Gentiles exercise dominion. But it shall not be so among you." Therefore, Peter does wrong in resorting to the sword for the Lord's protection, and Christ rebukes him for it. This was not a matter that could be decided with the sword, for Christ says: Even if our cause did depend upon our defence, “Thinkest thou that I cannot now pray to my Father, and He shall presently give me more than twelve legions of angels ?” This was as much as saying: It is now expedient for me to suffer; I will not have any one to draw his sword on my account and strike for my protection. But Christ administers this rebuke to Peter for the reason, also, that to him as a private person the sword did not belong. Therefore, He not only commands Peter to put up his sword, but also pronounces the terrible threat: “All they that take the sword shall perish with the sword."
We must duly heed these words; for by them the Lord makes a distinction among men, informing us that some wield the sword by divine commission. These are all they who, by the proper and ordinary means, are called to the temporal government for the purpose of ruling, of guarding and promoting the public weal, and of preventing public offences. Into the hands of these God gives the sword, that is, it is God's will and institution that they bear the sword, not for their own emolument, but for the good of their subjects, as St. Paul says: A ruler “is the minister of God, a revenger to execute wrath upon him that doeth evil.” For