God through His omniscience revealed to Jesus that Peter would deny the Lord three times, refuting Peter’s declaration that he would die for Jesus Jn 13:37,38. Peter had his opportunity later that night, when the mob came to take Jesus into custody. Using his sword, he attempted to behead Malchus, the high priest’s servant Jn 18:10. Human nature reveals our courage in the midst of our significant others, but when alone, discloses our cowardice side Mk 14:70,71.
God used three kinds of fire to sovereignly direct the free will of Peter to fulfill the Lord’s purposes in Peter. This message was not for Peter alone, but for every believer in Christ.
- Worldly Fire (produces sin) Jn 18:18; Ps 1:1; 1 Jn 2:15,16,17.
Fire for Sin Offering: was offered for the sin of the wrongdoer Lev 4:2,3.
-God’s purpose was to produce repentance and humility in Peter Mk 14:72.
- Fellowship Fire (strengthens relationship) Jn 21:9,12.
Fire for Peace Offering: God and man both fed on the same offering which speaks
of communion and fellowship Lev 7:29.
-God’s purpose was to restore the peace relationship between Peter and Jesus.
Peter denied Jesus three times, now Jesus asks Peter three times if he loves Him.
- Service Fire (glorifies God)
Fire for Burnt Offering: the whole sacrifice was offered to God Lev 1:9; Jn 21:17.
Tongues of Fire Ac 2:3 (Believers become God’s living sacrifice Ro 12:1 with fire falling
down from heaven upon us, just as Elijah’s sacrifice was totally consumed by heaven
1 Ki 18:38). However, since God’s fire is non-consumable Ex 3:2, the believer has the
power to complete whatever task the Lord has assigned him Php 2:13.
-God’s purpose was to send Peter and us, out to preach the Gospel in power and
The other part of this mystery involved Peter’s actions in Gethsemane. In his attempt to protect Jesus from the soldiers, Peter cut off Malchus’ right ear. Why did the Holy Spirit include this bit of information (right ear)? There must be a deeper meaning hidden in His words. By using the Bible to interpret itself, we find a few interesting passages that shed light on this mystery.
12 If any of your people—Hebrew men or women—sell themselves to you and serve you six years, in the seventh year you must let them go free… 16 But if your servant says to you, “I do not want to leave you,” because he loves you and your family and is well off with you, 17 then take an awl and push it through his earlobe into the door, and he will become your servant for life. Do the same for your female servant. Dt 15:12,16,17
The analogy is that Jesus, the door to salvation Jn 10:7 KJV, was pierced for our sins Jn 19:34. Jesus has set us free from Satan’s bondage Ro 6:18. Those who choose to love the Master will become His servants for life.
2 “These are the regulations for any diseased person at the time of their ceremonial cleansing, when they are brought to the priest… 14 The priest is to take some of the blood of the guilt offering and put it on the lobe of the right ear of the one to be cleansed, on the thumb of their right hand and on the big toe of their right foot… 17 The priest is to put some of the oil remaining in his palm on the lobe of the right ear of the one to be cleansed, on the thumb of their right hand and on the big toe of their right foot, on top of the blood of the guilt offering. Lev 14:2,14,17
Here God revealed that the sinner (diseased person), who desired to be cleansed of his sins and have the blood of Christ applied to his entire being, right ear (to be used to hear God’s voice—the Gospel Ro 10:17), right thumb (to do God’s works) and right toe (to walk in God’s righteousness). The oil (Holy Spirit 1 Sa 16:13) was then applied to the new creation for his guidance into God’s truth Jn 16:13.
But what is the meaning of “right” (ear)? Jesus gives the answer in His illustration of the lost and saved people being separated at His return.
32 All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. 33 He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left. Mt 25:32,33.
The right referred to those who belong to Jesus.
34 “Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. Mt 25:34
So, what was the mystery the Holy Spirit wanted to reveal just before Jesus gave His life for us at the Cross? By Peter cutting off Malchus’ right ear, Jesus was teaching that we are separated from God, unable and unwilling to know God, but through the Gospel (Jesus’ last miracle was attaching Malchus’ right ear back—representing God’s enemies Ro 5:10, who now can become God’s children Jn 1:12). The right and left ears are now both attached, but the right ear are those that have ears to hear who will believe the Gospel Mk 4:8,9 while the left are those who refuse to hear and be saved Mk 4:15-19; Ro 10:21; Ac 7:51. They resist the Holy Spirit’s drawing through the Gospel Jn 12:32.
As an illustration of God’s salvation, visualize that all the people in the world have a cancerous disease (sin Ro 3:23), which will kill them (separate them from God eternally Ro 6:23), but God in His mercy Eph 2:8 provides an ambulance (Gospel Jn 3:16) to take everyone to the hospital to be healed (salvation-all right ear people Ro 10:9). Yet, there are some, who refuse to ride in the ambulance to be healed (those are the left ear people Mt 23:37).