A question to every man who ever failed: Why did Jesus put the man’s severed ear back on? We know Peter took a sword and cut it off. We know why. We can also guess that Jesus healed Malchus’ ear out of compassion. But there is something way deeper going on here. What does that have to do with every man who ever failed? Everything.
Peter failed in spectacular fashion. He bragged he would stand with Jesus even if everyone else fled. He fell asleep in the Garden. He assaulted the priest’s servant. Though he was warned about it in advance, he went ahead and denied Christ 3 times.
Saturday, the day after Jesus died, wouldn’t hurt so much if Peter didn’t love Jesus. That he abandoned Christ began to torment him. It could for the rest of his life. But right now, he doesn’t believe there is a rest of his life.
Saturday: his day to hide like a hunted animal. A day to let it sink in that there is nothing left to live for. He was a hair’s breadth away from the fate of Judas Iscariot. Worst of all, he lost his destiny.
Destiny is a mysterious thing. The same force that can inspire a man to greatness can—in his failure—torture him. The pain level depends on the size of the destiny. In his case, it was massive.
Peter was minding his own business when Jesus interrupted his whole life. Fishing all night, Peter caught nothing. His hands are red and sore from handling the heavy nets. Every muscle aches. He has nothing to show for a brutal night at sea.
The strange teacher says, “Let your nets down again for a catch.” Peter halfheartedly does as he is asked. The enormous catch terrified him. He begs Jesus to keep his distance, “I am a sinful man.”
That’s when he heard the words about his destiny. “Follow me and I will make you a fisher of men.” On Saturday, he’s just a fisherman again. It sticks in his throat to say it.
They say that regret is the cancer of life—if so, this Saturday, Peter is terminal. He could have prayed Psalm 69: 1 “Save me, O God! For the waters have come up to my neck. 2 I sink in deep mire, Where there is no standing; I have come into deep waters, Where the floods overflow me. 3 I am weary with my crying; My throat is dry; My eyes fail while I wait for my God. 4 Those who hate me without a cause Are more than the hairs of my head; They are mighty who would destroy me…”
“I sink in deep mire, where there is no standing” simply means that in the quicksand of despair, nothing that used to help you snap out of it works now. All of your comfort is gone. There is nothing to grab to save you. You will sink until you vanish.
Now it’s dawn on Sunday. Peter can’t know that at that moment, an angel is talking about him. Mark 16: 7 “But go, tell His disciples—and Peter—that He is going before you into Galilee; there you will see Him, as He said to you.” The angel added the words “and Peter.” Why? Because God knew Peter would have disqualified himself if the invitation was “for disciples only.” Wouldn’t you love to have seen Peter’s face when they told him the angel’s message?
So why did Jesus put the ear back on? He knew Peter’s destiny, and Peter couldn’t be in prison on the day of Pentecost. Jesus knew his destiny…like He knows yours.