When they which were about him saw what would follow, they said unto him, Lord, shall we smite with the sword? And one of them smote the servant of the high priest, and cut off his right ear.
This small band of Jesus’ disciples was no match for the army that came against them that night to take Jesus by force. But they weren’t trained soldiers, ready to fight a physical battle, but Jesus was preparing them to be spiritual warriors, to fend off the attacks of Satan and go forth to win the battle of men’s souls, to overcome the world and sin and temptation and gain victory for God and for righteousness. They were to build His church, not an army, to fight not with swords, but His Word.
This mission still took bravery, strength, courage, preparation, all with the power of God behind them, His Spirit within them, His command and commission authorizing them. Indeed, He would be with them in it, and He would go before them to prepare the way. But this wasn’t a task for the weak of heart, for the fearful, for someone whose heart was entrapped by the things of this world, because this is a battle not for land or wealth, but the hearts of men. And the enemy they would face was more dangerous and subtle than some sneaky Pharisees conniving in the dark.
It still took a willing heart to go forth to this battle, to lay it all on the line, to be willing to sacrifice for the cause of Christ. And these men who had agreed to follow Jesus when He first made that call upon their lives would go forward, marching under His command, to continue building His church, to preach truth, to live righteously, to honor God, and to impact the world for His Gospel. And He is still recruiting willing hearts to answer the call and go forward into the battlefield. He still needs soldiers to stand up against Satan and press on toward victory.
We are on the front lines of a battle—not to go out and take men’s lives, but to see them transformed, to see them won to the Victor’s side, to see their souls saved from hell and eternal life gained for Christ’s honor and glory. Are we willing to go out, then, and be part of the Lord’s army? Are we willing to spend our lives for Him in whatever He would ask of us that furthers His cause and brings others over to the winning side? We fight not with swords and staves, but armed with the full armor of God and the sword of His Word to see truth proclaimed and His light overcome the darkness.