18 June 2008

Reflections on God's Infinite Wisdom

I recently posted about the fact that I've been reading in the gospel of John, chapters 18-21. This portion of scripture deals with the betrayal of Christ in the garden up through the post-resurrection account of the overflowing nets and fish-fry that involves Christ telling Peter, "feed My sheep" numerous times.

I've been reading this chunk of scripture daily (as I am able) for the past two weeks or so, and the other day something stood out to me that I never fully took notice of before in John 18:7-11:

I don't exactly know why this stands out to me so much, but try to follow this. Peter essentially attacks Malchus with his sword, and other gospel accounts say that he cut off his ear (Mark 14:47 and Luke 22:50). We also know from Luke 22:51 that Jesus "touched his ear and healed him," a miracle that doesn't get much attention, but a miracle none the less! After Christ is arrested and taken to trial, Peter is still hanging around the mob scene, and is even recognized by one of Malchus' relatives (John 18:26), but still not captured or questioned. In fact, I might even go so far as to say that by the very act of keeping His disciples from being arrested that night, Christ performed yet another miracle, which we tend to take for granted sometimes.

These are some questions that came to my mind:
  1. Why didn't anyone seize Peter for attempted murder in the garden? There were plenty of witnesses to condemn him, and they most likely outnumbered Jesus and his couple of disciples. Wouldn't Peter's arrest have been useful in further incriminating Jesus as well?
  2. Of all the people he could have attacked, why didn't Peter head straight for that scoundrel, Judas? (I know this question is a digression, but it did come across my mind!)
  3. After Jesus healed Malchus (re-attached his ear), why wasn't anyone affected by having seen this miracle first-hand? Instead, everyone goes on as if nothing happened, determined only to seize Jesus.
  4. Why did Peter stick around the scene after attacking someone with a sword in the midst of a crowd of witnesses? (Can you imagine: in modern times he would be considered a stupid criminal, caught on video surveillance, returning to the scene of the crime--or worse, never leaving the scene of the crime!)
Just a few thoughts. If given more time and uninterrupted study, I could come up with more questions asking why. When trying to answer my own children's "why" questions, I sometimes have to resort to this answer:

God in His infinite wisdom designed it that way!

I know that's an easy answer, but it's actually a good place to begin. (And sometimes to end, when we cannot know or comprehend the answer in full.)

Of course our merciful God does give us some clue as to why in the scriptures:
(John 18:8-9) Jesus answered, "I told you that I am He; so if you seek Me, let these go their way," to fulfill the word which He spoke, "Of those whom You have given Me I lost not one."
God, in His infinite wisdom, allowed his disciples to safely avoid being arrested along with Jesus and placed on trial that night for any number of reasons. First on the list would be what John points out here, to fulfill the word which He spoke. He's referring to what Christ said in John 17:12, that He guarded them and not one of them perished, and also in John 10:27-30, that by His authority, His sheep cannot be snatched out of His hand. If there's a basic lesson to glean from that little bit it's this: Jesus keeps His word. That little bit of information may have been critically important for His disciples during the coming days and weeks following these events, as the Holy Spirit began to teach them what Christ meant when He was with them, and reminded them of what the scriptures say.

Jesus keeps His word.

His very own closest earthly friends couldn't always understand what He was trying to teach them, but after He ascended to the Father, His disciples began to understand that Jesus keeps His word. It's not just that what He says is true and trustworthy, but that He keeps his word. He fulfilled it. He, being God incarnate, made it come about or come true.

Jesus keeps His word.

Due to time and life constraints, I must leave my reflections here, but at least wanted to share them with anyone who might be interested. What stands out to you? What questions come to your mind, or perhaps what answers? What have you read lately that made you think,

God in His infinite wisdom...

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