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  • July 11, 2014 - Reflections

    By Jean S. Horner
    The other day while walking down a corridor in a public building, I saw what appeared to be someone walking toward me. On coming closer, I found it was my own reflection in a huge mirror. For a moment it frightened me. Somehow a full-length reflection of one’s self is a startling thing. ...

On Your Mark by Dr. George O. Wood


Returning Good for Evil

June 22, 2014

The men seized Jesus and arrested him. Then one of those standing near drew his sword and struck the servant of the high priest, cutting off his ear. (Mark 14:46,47, NIV)

Jesus never laid hands in anger on anyone. Whenever He touched someone, it was from love and compassion.

I recently had an experience where I thought I had done my very best. Long days and hours, difficult negotiation and roller coaster moments combined to bring a good result. Inwardly I felt I deserved appreciation and thanks for the leadership I provided. None was forthcoming. I felt like the poor wise man in Ecclesiastes 9 who saved a city by his wisdom, but no one remembered or thanked him.

Well into my self-pity, I come to this moment in Jesus’ life. Look at all He had done for others: healing persons of incurable diseases, casting out demons and returning the possessed individual to sanity and normality, even raising dead people to life. What does He receive in return?

Instead of a pat on the back, or a hug of endearment, violent hands are laid on Him. He is “seized.” Our Lord, who never caused harm, is now harmed.

It’s a lesson for us in several ways. First, we must serve Jesus and do our best whether anyone thanks us or not. Our task is to do His will. Second, our hands must be used to help and never to hurt. Not only must our hands never hurt, our words must not hurt either. Better to give thanks than curse. Better to help than harm.

It was not Roman guards who came to arrest Jesus in Gethsemane, but a “crowd” from the chief priests, teachers of the Law, and elders. In other words, the religious establishment felt threatened by Jesus; and thus, the decision to detain Him. Their example is mimicked all over the world.

Whenever religion has to use force to defend itself, it has no spiritual power from God; and thus, it must resort to defending itself with force. We see that all over the world today where dominant religions in a country persecute, seek forced conversion, discriminate against, tax more heavily, or marginalize those who do not practice the dominant religion. A religion that must use coercive power to uphold itself is a religion that is not from God.

All the Gospel writers record the arrest of Jesus and the fact that one of His companions took his sword and cut off the ear of the high priest. From the Gospel of John, we know who that disciple was — Peter! We also know the name of the servant — Malchus! (See John 18:10,11.)

The mention of Malchus by name intrigues us. We do not know the names of almost all the people whom Jesus healed except for Jairus, because of his daughter, and Bartimaeus and Lazarus. Now, we have the name of Malchus. Why?

Could it be these individuals subsequently served Jesus and became a vital part of the first Christian community? I suspect so.

Malchus gets more than the reattachment of his ear. His hard heart is healed. He’ll never be the same. When we do as Jesus did, when we return good for evil, the heart of the perpetrator is also touched. And, even if their heart continues to harden after we have done the good, we must never let our own hearts harden. We must do the good no matter what.

A prayer of response
Lord Jesus, may I learn anew from You the power of love — even for those who wrong me.

DR. GEORGE O. WOOD is general superintendent of the Assemblies of God.

On Your Mark

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2008 On Your Mark

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