By John Rae

Blood Brothers and Sisters

The night of Jesus’ arrest, on the Mount of Olives, blood was shed twice. Jesus sweat drops of blood and the servant of the High Priest’s blood was shed when Peter took his sword and cut off the man’s ear. Peter was part of a group of Jesus’ followers who had all shown up, complete with their swords. They had come to the garden, in warrior mode, which is the default mindset that we enter, when we are just “doing our duty”. A warrior culture organizes itself around the principle of the blood brotherhood, where each member willing to spill blood, in the pursuit of their common goal. They become possessed by a counterfeit clarity.

Jesus chastises Peter, for his choice of problem-solving techniques, and then heals the man’s ear. In his contrition Peter says, "Lord, I am ready to go with you to prison and to death” Luke 22:33, but throughout that night Satan sifts Peter like wheat and he ends up denying Jesus three times. As day breaks, and just as Peter’s third denial takes place, as per Jesus’ prediction, the cock crows, and Peter is devastated. Something dawned on Peter, that morning, perhaps it was the revelation that he always thought that he could check out of his default mindset any time he liked but now sees that, by his own strength, he can never leave it. Or in more Biblical language, “The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak”, Matthew 26:41. Little does Peter know that by sundown, that day, Jesus would provide the passageway for Peter to escape from his captivity to the ways of the world.

In our modern culture, there is no lack of social reformers who are willing to spill the blood, metaphorically and literally, of whomever is labelled as the enemy and, as 21st century Christians, we can find ourselves caught in the crosshairs, of those who believe that they are just doing their duty for a better world. The blood brotherhood/sisterhood can be lethal.

After the resurrection, Jesus’ followers were redeemed from having to use violence as their default problem-solving technique, and were given the power to become His disciples, a group of blood brothers and sisters, organized not around the blood of vengeance, but ordered around the sacramental Blood of the Eucharist.

 

 

 

Blog photo description and credit - PICRYL.The arrest of Christ, the ear of Malchus cut off by St. Peter; the Agony in the Garden: Christ prays in Gethsemane (background). National Library of the Netherlands.

Last modified on Monday, 01 March 2021 20:27