Jesus warned against using violence to solve problems or achieve one's goals. We must seek peaceful and nonviolent solutions to the challenges we face in life.
Matthew 26:51-54 - An Eye for an Eye
Hello and welcome to the Bite-Sized Gospel with Aneel Aranha. Today we will reflect on Matthew 26:51-54. Listen.
[When they arrested Jesus], one of Jesus’ companions reached for his sword, drew it out and struck the servant of the high priest, cutting off his ear.
“Put your sword back in its place,” Jesus said to him, “for all who draw the sword will die by the sword. Do you think I cannot call on my Father, and he will at once put at my disposal more than twelve legions of angels? But how then would the Scriptures be fulfilled that say it must happen in this way?”
When Jesus said, "those who live by the sword will die by the sword," he was warning against the use of violence to solve problems or achieve one's goals. The saying is a common proverb that means those who rely on violent means to achieve their ends will likely become victims of the same violent means they use.
In the Garden of Gethsemane, Peter lops off the ear of one of the high priest's servants. Jesus scolds Peter, telling him that his violent act was not the way to respond to his arrest. Jesus knew that his arrest was part of God's plan for him and that he must willingly submit to it. Instead of using violence to defend himself, Jesus chose to surrender himself to his captors, ultimately leading to his crucifixion and resurrection.
Jesus's words carry a broader message for all of us. As his followers, we are called to live in a way that aligns with his teachings of love, peace, and nonviolence. Peter's violent reaction in defense of Jesus may have seemed noble, but it actually went against these teachings.
Jesus's rebuke reminds us that our own understanding of what is right may not always align with God's greater plan for us. Violence only begets more violence, and it is not the way to bring about lasting change or solve problems. Instead, we are called to seek peaceful and nonviolent solutions to the challenges we face in life.
Let us heed Jesus's call to reject the cycle of violence and retribution, and to embrace the way of love and forgiveness that he taught. An eye for an eye, as Gandhi said, will only make the whole world blind. It is up to us to restore sight to it.
May the Spirit be with you.