John 18:26 - One of the servants of the high priest, a relative of the man whose ear Peter had cut off, asked, "Did I not see you in the garden with Him?"
"Didn't I see you in the garden with Jesus?" Such a simple, innocent question on the surface. But Peter knew what it meant: "You look familiar. Hey, I think I've seen your face before. Aren't you the one who stepped into the torchlight just when we went to arrest Jesus? Aren't you the guy who cut my relative's ear off!?"
No wonder Peter was terrified. Peter had indeed cut someone's ear off in the garden, the result of terror and a wild swing with a sword—the ear of a man named Malchus, who was with the group arresting Jesus. And now here was Malchus' relative, demanding an answer. We can feel the tension in the air, the not-yet-spoken threats: "Nobody hurts my family and gets away with it. I could turn you in right now."
Peter bursts into denials. "Not me, I swear it, I don't even know this Man Jesus you're talking about," and the rooster crows. Peter has denied Jesus for the last time.
Was Malchus' relative satisfied? Did he believe Peter? Or did he look at Peter's tears and decide he wasn't worth pursuing any further, and let him go?
"Nobody hurts my family and gets away with it." Malchus' relative wasn't the only one in the high priest's house that night who had that attitude. Jesus Himself was taking His next steps toward the cross, willingly and deliberately, for just that reason.
For Jesus Himself had had family injured long ago in a garden—in the garden of Eden, in fact. Back at the beginning, the devil came into the garden to tempt and destroy Adam and Eve, and with them the whole human race. God took this very personally—not just as an attack on His creation, but something more. "Nobody hurts My family and gets away with it." And so God was born as the Man Christ Jesus into the family of humanity, to destroy the power of the devil and to restore us all to life and health.
You, you yourself, are the relative Jesus came to rescue and avenge. You are the one He loves more than His own life—the one He protected even at the cost of death. And you are the one with whom He shares His resurrected, eternal life—because He loves you as family.
THE PRAYER: Thank You for protecting me as Your own family, Lord. Amen.
Have you ever had to protect a family member, either with words or with actions?
Has anyone ever protected you because you are family? Tell the story.
What does it mean to you, that Jesus sees you as family?
Lenten Devotions were written by Dr. Kari Vo.
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