Put your sword in its place… Do you think that I cannot now pray to My Father, and He will provide Me with more than twelve legions of angels?
During this time a Roman Legion consisted of 6,100 foot soldiers and 726 horsemen. That’s quite a force! Can you imagine opening your front door to a legion of soldiers? It would be quite breath-taking to behold such an enormous force, not to mention be attacked by one.
Therefore this verse is pretty impressive. Jesus could have snapped his finger and lit up the sky with the host of heaven. And notice, not just one legion, but twelve. TWELVE!!! That’s roughly 80,000 angelic warriors descending upon the poor band of soldiers.
So, it’s not surprising that this verse was spoken to Peter just after he unsheathed his sword.
His one. measly. sword.
Bless Peter’s heart. He sure meant well. He was doing what he thought he should. He was attempting to solve the problem at hand. And although Peter’s quick response may have been a genuine show of devotion, it was indeed a blind convulsion of the flesh — cause Jesus had a larger plan.
So the Master was like, “Do you really think that highly of your sword, Peter?”
I think we can all relate. We unsheathe our sword to rectify a situation and to bring about a solution — without pausing to get God’s mind. A sense of justice surges through us when we perceive that we’ve been wronged, and especially if someone we love has been wronged. And sometimes we act in the heat of the moment.
Ever been there? I know I have. We raise our sword in the air with a glint in our eye. Justice… will be SERVED!
And the legions of heaven must let out a bit of a chuckle as they exchange glances. They know we mean well, but if they weren’t dispatched upon the scene, seriously, what difference would our little retributions make?
All it takes is for Jesus to snap His finger, but He takes a different approach. Often He’s simply not alarmed by what we consider a threat.
There’s always a bigger picture that the sword finds hard to acknowledge. The sword (no doubt, well-intentioned) can be rash, vindictive, and angry. So its good to check ourselves in the moment and refrain from the lust of immediate solutions. For “immediate solutions” can leave permanent wounds.
Allow this scene from Matthew 26 to encourage you.
Keep your sword in its place, listen, and submit to the Master’s plan. The legions of heaven have been trained to do the same.