There’s a saying that I’ve used before, “The enemy of my enemy is my friend.” It’s often used to refer to convenient alliances between two traditional foes against a third foe common to both whom neither can handle alone. In other words, “I know we are enemies, but let’s team up, because that guy is going to take us both down unless we work together.” Now no one is too big for Jesus to take on. But if He is setting the example for us, if He is being true to everything He told us to do, then the next miracle makes sense:
And when those who were around him saw what would follow, they said, “Lord, shall we strike with the sword?” And one of them struck the servant of the high priest and cut off his right ear. But Jesus said, “No more of this!” And he touched his ear and healed him. – Luke 22:49-51, ESV
We know from other passages that the man struck was a servant of the high priest and one of the mob who had come to “arrest” Jesus. It was Peter who struck with one of the swords Jesus approved of them carrying. Yet even though Peter was defending Jesus, Jesus not only calls for the hostilities to stop, but He then reaches out and heals the injured man who had come for Him. What?
Jesus told us to forgive. He demonstrates it here. Jesus told us to pray for our enemies. Jesus told us to be kind to our enemies. He does so here. Jesus told us He came for the sick (the sinful) and obviously, if this man was coming to arrest Jesus, he certainly fits the profile. Here He demonstrates through His actions that He was true to His words, even though He was in the worst of situations. So Jesus doesn’t just tell us to love our enemies and pray for them and seek to repay evil with good without having been put in the same situation. He has been there. And He can say, “Because I’ve been there, I know how hard it is. Yet I did it, and I expect you to do so, too.” Now we could say, “But you’re God and you’ve got power that we don’t have.” To which He could reply, “Why do you think I sent you My Spirit?” It’s not an argument we can win. He has provided us with the means to respond just as He did.
But it goes beyond that. Satan wants us all destroyed. Even those who unknowingly serve his purposes are his enemies and he seeks to destroy them just like he seeks to destroy us. While we cannot stand against Satan and his demons without the help of God, the point here is that we are all Satan’s enemies and it doesn’t make sense to fight against someone who doesn’t even realize he is in a bigger fight. As a matter of fact, that’s one of the reasons we’re suppose to be gentle and to lift them up in prayer:
And the Lord’s servant must not be quarrelsome but kind to everyone, able to teach, patiently enduring evil, correcting his opponents with gentleness. God may perhaps grant them repentance leading to a knowledge of the truth, and they may come to their senses and escape from the snare of the devil, after being captured by him to do his will. – 2 Timothy 2:24-26, ESV
If Christ can stand to heal one who sought to harm Him, we can stand to pray and be kind to those who seek ill will towards us. Yes, this is completely contrary to what the world teaches. Yes, it means sometimes taking a blow and doing nothing in return while we grit our teeth and stop ourselves from hitting back. But our Lord was led as a lamb to the slaughter and never called on the angels waiting in heaven to join the fray. He couldn’t if we were to be saved. Perhaps our Christlike response is what God wants to use to call another child to Him. Wouldn’t that be worth it?