On Earth Peace
Goodwill toward Men
Part 2-The More Excellent Way
They could not understand how such a method could accomplish any good. Time and again even the Apostles failed to follow this more excellent way. Peter struck off the ear of the high priest's servant; Jesus rebuked him, saying, "Put up thy sword (carried in that land as a protection against wild beasts) into the sheath: the cup which my Father hath given me, shall I not drink it?" (John 18.11)
The Matthew account (Matt.26.53-54) clearly indictates that Jesus voluntarily allowed His persecutors to take Him captive, for He explained "Thinkest thou that I cannot now pray to my Father, and he shall presently give me more than twelve legions of angels? But how then shall the scriptures be fulfilled, that thus it must be?" This is the same thought as that given in John's account - "The cup which my Father hath given me, shall I not drink it?" If this be linked up with the words of Hebrews 5.8 we begin to see the Divine method, for there we read "Though he were a Son, yet learned he obedience by the things which he suffered." God's ways are higher than our ways, and His thoughts are superior to those of men, even as the Creator is above the created (Isa.55.8-9), in due time, He will be vindicated.
In order to bring peace on earth, God had so arranged His Plan that His Son should be the Redeemer of mankind, and that He should give His life amid conditions of evil which He was commanded to resist by the force of love alone. This is very clearly seen when on one occasion the Greeks (it is understood) desired Jesus to be their King, which would have avoided the cruel death on the Cross. But Jesus, in perfect subjection to the will of God, informed them that if He was lifted up from the earth to heaven then He would be able to "draw all men unto me."
When viewed in this light we can see the deep wisdom of the Heavenly Father, for in no better way could He prepare His dearly beloved Son for His future work as the Anointed Priest made "higher than the heavens." While Christ defeated the sin of the world by accepting it into His love, He at the same time learned obedience, demonstrated His absolute loyalty to God, and developed sympathy for those Whom He died to save. To this agree the words of the Apostle in Hebrews 5.1-5 "For every high priest taken from among men is ordained for men in things pertaining to God…Who can have compassion on the ignorant, and on them that are out if the way…So also Christ glorified not himself to be made an high priest; but he that said unto him, Thou art my Son, today have I begotten thee."
This method seems so futile without the Divine Spirit of enlightenment. That is the thought expressed by the prophet "He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth: he is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so he openeth not his mouth. He was taken from prison and from judgment: and who shall declare his generation? for he was cut off out of the land of the living" (Isa.53.7-8). So it seemed when He died, as they cruelly gibed Him: "If thou be the Son of God, come down from the cross….He saved others; himself he cannot save" (Matt.27.40-42). Nevertheless, He rose within three days to be the greatest Leader of all time because faithful to the Divine method in this Age of dealing with evil, and in due course "He shall see of the travail of his soul, and be satisfied," for, by virtue of the Atonement, it will be possible for God to pour out His Spirit on all flesh so that they will learn to love peace and good will.