Jesus shows that retaliation intensifies and continues an evil and that the retaliator can be consumed by it. He acknowledges that He had the power to retaliate, but He held His peace, giving us the example to follow. Verse 54 explains that if He had retaliated, God's will would not have been done!
The spirit of retaliation must be aborted before it leads to murder. We should approach it in the manner Jesus exemplifies here. We must make an honest and sincere attempt to reconcile with an offended brother. If the person truly is a brother, he will forgive quickly and go on with life without a grudge (Luke 17:1-4).
John W. Ritenbaugh
The Sixth Commandment (Part One) (1997)
The suddenness of Peter's reaction reveals a lack of forethought and patience. Just before his action, he had asked Christ, “Lord, shall we strike with the sword?” However, he did not wait for an answer (Luke 22:49-50). His abruptness reflects that he was moved more by his passion—his emotions—instead of upright, reasoned thought and godly principle. Such ungoverned passion rarely leads to righteous action.
Pride is also evident in his action. Perhaps he was even trying to impress his fellow disciples. Peter had boasted earlier that he would remain faithful to Christ even if the others were to stumble (Matthew 26:33). Initially, his strike may have appeared to be sparked by a courageous and noble faith, but it was wrongly motivated. It actually manifested more vainglory than faithful courage or nobility. Peter's carnality echoes the approach of many nominal Christians, inspired more by the desire to outshine others instead of a sincere passion to honor and glorify God.
Martin G. Collins
The Miracles of Jesus Christ: Healing Malchus' Ear (Part One)
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