Have you ever experienced someone fixing a problem that you created?
That is what Jesus did for Peter when Peter drew his sword and cut off the ear of the high priest’s servant at Jesus’ arrest. “When his 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 ear. But Jesus answered, ‘No more of this!’ And he touched the man’s ear and healed him.” (Luke 22:49-51) John’s gospel identifies Peter as the one who struck with his sword, and Malchus as the name of the high priest’s servant.
It was God’s will for Jesus to be arrested and crucified, which was necessary for the atonement of our sins and Jesus’ subsequent resurrection to demonstrate God’s victory and authority over evil. Peter’s actions, though well intentioned, were mistakenly getting in the way of God’s will for Jesus and his plan for the salvation of all of mankind.
Jesus reverses Peter’s mistake with a miracle in touching Malcus’ ear and totally restoring it. This is a miracle that doesn’t get a lot of commentary, but think of its impact on Peter and Malchus. For Peter, Jesus is not only reprimanding him for resorting to violence, but miraculously healing the enemy. It may have kept Peter from being arrested for attacking the high priest’s servant. For Malchus, it is likely that he later became a follower of Jesus as evidenced by John being able to remember his name when he wrote his gospel sixty years later.
We all make mistakes, and sometimes a friend, spouse or colleague is able to step in and take action to minimize the consequences. A classic football example is a fellow team member who recovers our fumble. Other examples include a work colleague who spots a mistake we have made in a report and corrects it before it gets submitted to the boss; or a friend who saves us the embarrassment of not remembering the name of an acquaintance in a social situation.
One of Jesus’ many titles is “Wonderful Counselor.” When we make mistakes of any kind, we can go to Jesus and ask for his counsel in how we should remedy the mistake and ask for his grace to do what is necessary. If our mistake involves a sin, we can ask him to forgive us. If our mistake has offended someone, we can ask him for the grace to seek reconciliation. We can even ask him to prepare the heart of the person with whom we need to be reconciled.
I am reminded of the old hymn, O What a Friend We Have in Jesus. He is available to us 24/7. As Isaiah says, “Seek the Lord while he may be found; call on him while he is near.” He delights in helping us fix our mistakes when we humble ourselves and ask for his assistance.