What is grace to me? The dictionary defines “grace” as … the free and unmerited favor of God (in Christian belief). What better example of “grace” is there than the gift and promise of salvation given through the death and resurrection of Christ His son? None I tell you, NONE! Sure, we could look at story after story of how “grace” was displayed throughout the bible, we could look at events in our own lives, and even the testimonies of friends and family, we can see “grace” in all this. However, inevitably when I think about the “grace” of God, I am always drawn to, not a story, but just a brief moment in the Bible. Let’s take a look…
In all four gospel accounts it is mentioned, but only Luke, the physician, shows us the “grace” from all sides: Matt 26:51-54, Mark 14:44-47, John 18:3-11 and finally in Luke 22:47-51 where it tells us –
While he was still speaking a crowd came up, and the man who was called Judas, one of the Twelve, was leading them. He approached Jesus to kiss him, but Jesus asked him, “Judas, are you betraying the Son of Man with a kiss?” When Jesus’ followers saw what was going to happen, they said, “Lord, should we strike with our swords?” And one of them struck the servant of the high priest, cutting off his right ear. But Jesus answered, “No more of this!” And he touched the man’s ear and healed him.
This moment always stands out to me, because on the very cusp of torture and death that He knew he would face, he reaches out in “grace” for all of humanity. You might say, “come on Zack, Jesus healed this dudes ear, not all of humanity”! I say “all humanity” because there was multiple receptions of “grace” in this one action.
1st) Jesus tells Peter in Matt. to “Put your sword in its place, for all who take the sword will perish by the sword.“- This command saved Peter’s life at the time, only for him to deny Jesus moments later. “Grace”…yep!
2nd) He follows this command with a statement that rules, “..do you think that I cannot now pray to My Father, and He will provide Me with more than twelve legions of angels?” (a Roman legion was about 5,200 men, so 62,400 angels at his disposal, one angel could put down at least 185,000 men (2 Kings19:35), that means that 62,400 angels could easily put down 11,544,000,000 men, I doubt that they sent that many to go pick up Jesus). “Grace”…yeah, the Romans got that too!
3rd) In John, he identifies Peter as the Aggressor and the servant of the high priest, Malchus, who was leading the march, who was either pretty quick at dodging or was thankful that Peter was terrible with a sword, had his ear chopped off by Peter and reattached by the very man he was coming to capture. Ironic that this last miracle performed before the crucifixion of Jesus was for an ENEMY who has come to make sure that He was arrested. “Grace”…I think so!
4th) Matt., Mark, and John all mention the fact that the Scriptures must be fulfilled, Jesus told Peter(John 18) to return his sword to its sheath saying, “Shall I not drink the cup which My Father has given Me?” This is where “grace”, in its most effective and reactive way ever, would impact all of humanity forever. Knowing that He had to bear the cross and all that came with it in order to enable mankind to see eternal glory one day was why this could not escalate.
On the verge of death, “grace” was given in a single moment, to ensure “GRACE” would be available to all until we see His Kingdom Come.