Dying is the Easy Way

Dying is the Easy Way

by Destin Harrison, a 2014 GCA Graduate, on the Life of Christ.  The paper is based on the following Scriptures:  John 18:10-11, 15-18, & 25-27 (ESV).

Then Simon Peter, having a sword, drew it and struck the high priest’s servant and cut off his right ear. (The servant’s name was Malchus.)  So Jesus said to Peter, “Put your sword into its sheath; shall I not drink the cup that the Father has given me?”…Simon Peter followed Jesus, and so did another disciple.  Since that disciple was known to the high priest, he entered with Jesus into the courtyard of the high priest, but Peter stood outside at the door.  So the other disciple, who was known to the high priest, went out and spoke to the servant girl who kept watch at the door, and brought Peter in.  The servant girl at the door said to Peter, “You also are not one of this man’s disciples, are you?”  He said, “I am not.”  Now the servants and officers had made a charcoal fire, because it was cold, and they were standing and warming themselves.  Peter also was with them, standing and warming himself…Now Simon Peter was standing and warming himself.  So they said to him, “You also are not one of his disciples, are you?”  He denied it and said, “I am not.”  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?”  Peter again denied it, and at once a rooster crowed.

Many of us use the phrase “I would rather die”  meaninglessly; but whenever it comes to some things, we honestly rather would.  It seems to some of us that to die a death of glory, fighting for something that we believe in, would be much preferable to living a life of obedient (and possibly uncomfortable) labor.  After all, all of the heroes and mighty men who are remembered today gave their lives up dying for a cause—whether it was for freedom, their faith, or country.  But we don’t often give much respect to those who gave their lives up living for a cause.  The William Wallaces, Robin Hoods, and Leonidas—like martyrs are much more fun to read stories about and watch in movies.  To join their ranks would be an honor, for any assertive man or woman in our day.  Those who go about their lives actually living, however, are much less revered and respected for their deeds.  Martin Luther may indeed be remembered, but in our day, he could not hold a candle to the adoration provided to those such as Martin Luther King, Jr.—who have given their lives for something great in the eyes of the world.  And those such as Tony and Anna Gryskiewicz, or Paul and Mechthild Clark, who gave up nearly everything to do as God commanded, are known and respected only by their friends and family.  Yet they have not given up less than their lives for the sake of Christ’s calling—only their lives have not been taken in death; they have given their lives away so that they may live for Christ’s calling.  Where some give their lives in death for freedom or for family, they have given their lives, in new life, to obey what God has commanded.  Yet they are the ones who are forgotten, who are not remembered with respect or looked back on with admiration.  Even though they may not be adorned in the same manner, they have not made a decision of less worth or importance;  in fact, they have likely made a more difficult decision, to give up everything so that Christ may take them wherever He would, without cause for personal glory or respect.

Peter was ready to die for his Lord.  He rose up against an army of much greater numbers than the few disciples who were standing with him—and not fighting, at that.  Striking the servant of the high priest was, in those days, equal to the crime of striking the high priest himself.  This was a crime of almost certain capital punishment.  Yet Peter was not afraid to die fighting for his Messiah.  He was ready to give up his life as those in tales of glory.  However, Christ asks of him something for which he is not prepared:  “Put your sword in its sheath; shall I not drink the cup that the Father has given me?”  Jesus had asked him to go on without Him, to watch Him die and continue to live out what he had been taught whenever He had been captured.  But no, Peter would rather die.  It is in this moment when Peter runs away in confusion, denying Christ, and cursing himself.

Dying may have been the easy option.  But God never calls us to take the easy way.  We must be ready to do whatever Christ asks us to do, no matter what He requires of us.  We may be able to say that we can die for Christ, and truthfully so.  But dying is not enough.  We must live for Christ in all that we do and follow wherever He would call.