Then said Jesus unto Peter,
Put up your sword into the sheath: the cup which my Father has given me, shall I not drink it?
All Commentaries on John 18:11 Go To John 18
Cyril of Alexandria
Christ's bidding is fraught with the enactment of life according to the Gospel, and the spirit, not of the Mosaic Law revealed to the men of old time, but of the dispensation of Christ; which so dissuades us from using the sword, or offering resistance, that if a man choose to smite us on one cheek, and then to demand the other to be smitten, we ought to turn to him the other also; cutting out, as it were, by the roots the human weakness of our hearts. But, He says, in effect, even if no law had been laid down by Me concerning forbearance under evil, thy mind, Peter, has failed to reason aright, and thou hast made an attempt altogether un-suited to the occasion. For when it was the decree and pleasure of God the Father, that I should drink this cup, that is, willingly undergo, as it were, the deep sleep of death, in order to overthrow death and corruption, how then can I shrink from it, when so great blessings are certain to result to the race of man through My drinking it? The foregoing words well explain the drift of the passage before us. There is another passage also of a similar purport. Our Lord Jesus Christ, wishing to confirm the disciples in the faith, and to remove, in anticipation, the stumblingblock of His precious Cross, said once to them in His discourse, as they were halting on the way: Behold, we go up to Jerusalem; and the Son of Man is betrayed unto the hands of sinners: and they shall crucify Him, and shall hill Him, and the third day He shall be raised up. And the inspired Peter, not considering the benefits of His death, but only regarding the ignominy of the Cross, said: Be it far from Thee, Lord; this shall never be unto Thee. What answered Christ? Get thee behind Me, Satan; thou art a stumblingblock unto Me: for thou mindest not the things of God, but the things of men. For he that savourest the things that be of God, makes it his end and object to set at naught worldly honours, and to account as nothing the loss of reputation among men, so long as the good of his fellow-men is achieved thereby; for love, the Apostle says, seeketh not its own. But he who is absorbed in the contemplation of the things of men, deems the loss of the paltry honours of earth intolerable, and looks only to his own advantage, and feels no sympathy with the losses of others. Just as, in that passage, Christ called Peter an offence unto Him, though he was not wont so to be, and though he spoke out of love, which yet could not escape blame, because he looked only at the death on the Cross, and not at the benefits to result therefrom; Peter tried, so far as in him lay, to prevent that which had been resolved and determined for the salvation of all men. So also here we see him doing the same, by his passion and impetuous act with his sword. He is once more rebuked, not merely by the words: Put up thy sword into its sheath; but, according to another Evangelist, Christ added: For all they that take the sword, shall perish with the sword. And, to repeat once more what we said before, seeing that His capture was effected by His own Will, and did not merely result from the malice of the Jews, how could it be right to repel or thwart, in any way, and with a sword, too, the bold attack of His combined foes and the impious conspiracy of the Jews? He says, that God the Father gave unto Him the cup, that is, death, though it was prepared for Him by the obstinate hatred of the Jews; because it would never have come to pass if He had not suffered it for our sakes. Therefore also Christ said to boasting Pilate: Thou wouldest have no power against Me, except it were given thee from above. When Christ says that power was given Pilate from above, He refers to His own willingness to suffer death, and the consent of His Father in heaven.