Day 93: The Way Of The Warrior - The Warrior's Journey®

Day 93: The Way Of The Warrior

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The Way Of The Warrior

Our recent devotions have targeted Jesus’ last day of his natural life.  We noted his arrest in Gethsemane, then his sham trial before Annas.  He was a former Chief Priest, whose business was selling animals to worshippers who needed a sacrifice for Passover.  Jesus disrupted Annas’ enterprise, and Annas was trying to rid himself of this menace.

Annas tried reasoned questioning.  Jesus answered him, then pierced Annas with his own questions.  It was brutal.  Jesus was perfectly calm, but quickly carved him open like a turkey. He skewered Annas about the illegal trial and his illegal questions.

When he had said these things, one of the officers standing by struck Jesus with his hand, saying, “Is that how you answer the high priest?” (Jn. 18:22).  The guard did not like his boss getting put back on his heels.  If Annas was concerned about justice, it was at this moment he should arrest the guard for his illegal act, of hitting a defendant.

Crickets…Annas wasn’t concerned with justice.  But Jesus was.  Does he snap the ropes, and dust the guard?  I would.  Instead you will see the character of a King.

Jesus answered him, “If what I said is wrong, bear witness about the wrong; but if what I said is right, why do you strike me?” (18:23).  Jesus challenged the illegality of the blow.  Annas didn’t.  Jesus responded to the abuse with meekness – not weakness. Meekness is strength under control.  It was against Jewish law to strike or harm a prisoner or defendant.

Later the Apostle Paul was brought before another High Priest.  Will he act like the Lord? And looking intently at the council, Paul said, “Brothers, I have lived my life before God in all good conscience up to this day.” And the high priest Ananias commanded those who stood by him to strike him on the mouth. (Acts 23:1, 2).  Ananias ordered guards to punch Paul in the mouth!  Paul’s response to being hit? Then Paul said to him, “God is going to strike you, you whitewashed wall! Are you sitting to judge me according to the law, and yet contrary to the law you order me to be struck?” (Acts 23:3).  Paul is someone who acts like me – angry and impulsive!  Open mouth insert foot, Paul.

Those who stood by said, “Would you revile God’s high priest?” (23:4). And Paul said, “I did not know, brothers, that he was the high priest, for it is written, ‘You shall not speak evil of a ruler of your people.'” (Acts 23:5). He must have wanted to shrink to a penny and roll away. Instant humility.  It’s better to be meek like Christ, rather than reckless like Paul or me.

Back to Annas.  What will he do with Jesus from Nazareth? Annas then sent him bound to Caiaphas the high priest. (Jn. 18:24). Annas could not intimidate him, so he left him tied, like a criminal, to continue the humiliation. Annas could not best Jesus with guards, or intimidation, or legal arguments, he resorted to degradation. “I’ll show him!”  Harrumph!

Don’t forget about Peter.  He’s in the background. Remember he’s chilly.  Now Simon Peter was standing and warming himself. So they said to him, “You also are not one of his disciples, are you?” He denied it and said, “I am not.” (18:25).  Strike two. Strike one was 18:17. Peter was more concerned with his body than his soul.  Aren’t you glad you’re not like that?

Contrast Jesus in front of the High Priest.  He was bold, unafraid and articulating solid moral and legal arguments. In contrast Peter, was weak and cowardly before servants, denying the truth, with evasive answers.  Are you more like Jesus, or Peter?

You remember Peter’s brash statement? Peter said to him, “Lord, I am ready to go with you both to prison and to death.” (Lk. 22:33).  It’s easy to make Peter a punching bag.  We all see the contrast.  But haven’t we all at some time been like Peter?

Jesus was inside with the legal elites who had power over his life.  In his trials Jesus acted with authority and majesty.  He never groveled to save himself.  Peter’s informal trial was being held simultaneously outside in front of servants.  Even a courageous man, like Peter can do a face plant.  Remember he was going to fight hundreds of men in Gethsemane, now he’s a wilting flower, in front of servants, not people of authority.

One of the servants of the high priest, a relative of the man whose ear Peter had cut off, asked, “Did I not see you in the garden with him?” (Jn. 18:26).  Here’s a fastball down the middle of the plate, knock it outa the park, Peter!  Peter again denied it, and at once a rooster crowed. (18:27).  Swing and a miss!  Strike three.  Peter’s informal trial ends with a thud.

Luke’s account reads: But Peter said, “Man, I do not know what you are talking about.” And immediately, while he was still speaking, the rooster crowed. And the Lord turned and looked at Peter. (Lk. 22:60, 61).  They were within eyesight of one another.  Can you imagine the Lord turning and looking at you?  It would not be your wife’s: “I told you so…” look. The word ‘looked’ means: to look at with the mind.  There’s communication between them.

The ‘look’ generates a thought: And immediately the rooster crowed a second time. And Peter remembered…  (Mark 14:72). Peter had not been thinking and remembering but reacting. And Peter remembered the saying of Jesus, “Before the rooster crows, you will deny me three times.”  (Matt. 26:75).  In high stress and tension situations we react, rather than rationalize.  Jesus helped Peter remember, though it was uncomfortable.  Will the Lord do that with you?  Yup.  Sometimes we are knuckleheads. Ask your wife or…

What happened next? And he went out and wept bitterly. (Matt. 26:75).  His reaction to remembering — remorse.  Whether this led to immediate repentance we do not know. The Lord prompted the reaction.  Peter was content with the unredeemed, rather than the community of believers.  When his brain got rewired by the Lord’s look, then came a crisis, leading to eventual repentance. Repentance is hard spiritual work, based upon honesty.  Peter had not been honest with the Lord, nor with others.

The Lord carefully and lovingly challenged Peter with just a look.  He could have yelled: “I TOLD YOU SO!” with public disgrace and humiliation.  Jesus let the communication be private between Peter and himself.  Aren’t you glad he treats you this way also?  The Lord often challenges and protects you simultaneously.  You’ll know it when it happens.

The Lord’s Passion is still in the early stages.  The next few hours are stampeding toward him.  He will meet them with courage, and with grace.  What a savior!

By Nathan Werner

The Warrior’s Prayer

Dear Heavenly Father,

The deeds of man fade in comparison to your Son.  I’m overwhelmed by his majestic character.  Thank you for his willingness to suffer for our benefit: So Jesus also suffered… in order to sanctify the people through his own blood. (Heb. 13:12). I don’t not understand this completely Father, but I stand in awe of Jesus’ willingness to take my place, to give me eternal life.  I accept his gift to me knowing I didn’t not earn this, but with joy I take it.  Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends. (Jn. 15:13). He bore our iniquities so we could live with him forever: And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also. (14:3). Your generosity is incomprehensible and glorious.  I receive it as a perfect gift.

Then as I ponder these truths, let them manifest themselves in my life.  Don’t let me remain the same, but change my thoughts, my behaviors to match those of your Son.  I yearn to let people see Jesus in me, though I am a cracked and broken vessel.  Use me for your glory, so others will marvel at the Lord’s goodness through his stunning sacrifice. I hesitate to ask, since I am still far from being an image of Him. Yet continue to work in me, so people only see his glory and not my failings.  I want to see Him magnified so others can experience redemption.  I pray this in Jesus’ name.  Amen.

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