Article: Death by a Thousand Cuts | Br. Benoy J. Thomas
Wanted to share with you all a small mystery hidden in Matthew 26:47-52 – The backdrop takes us to a scene where Jesus was being arrested in Gethsemane after the betrayal of Judas, and you have Peter who boldly stepped to his Masters defense, pulls out his sword fearlessly and cut off the ear of the servant of the high priest Caiaphas. I’m not planning to answer why he picked the servant instead of Judas, but Jesus made a profound statement before he heals that ear saying, “for all who draw the sword will die by the sword”. All of you might have heard of the theological teachings of how Jesus calls for Non-Violence. On one hand, that is true, where he doesn’t want us to pick up the battle, but rather let him fight the battle on our behalf and on his terms. But today, I want to share with you the mystery that Christ wanted us born-again Christian beyond its literal sense. For us, the Sword that Christ was talking about was not a mere object, but rather the word of God. Eph 6:17, revealed to us through Paul talks about the Sword of the Spirit, which is the living Word of God that is affirmed to us again in the book of Hebrew 4:21 says is sharper than any double-edged sword.
While in college, studying Japanese, I had to study its Paleography and origins of oriental script writing. And during that time, I was introduced to a word called Lingchi in Chinese which means Death by a Thousand cuts. It was an antient torture mechanism where the convict was cut and left to bleed slowly to death. The Spirit too, takes us sinners and, cuts us slowly and consistently with his living word and carefully throughout our lifetime, lets us shed all off our self out. It’s not a onetime cut, it’s a lifelong journey of salvation. Paul declared this in his writing to the church in 1 Corinthians 15:31 by saying, “I die every day”
The question you might ask is why, and the answer to that lies in Matthew 10:39, where he states Whoever finds their life will lose it, and whoever loses their life for my sake will find it. Your journey of finding yourself in Christ and life eternal, does not begin till you’ve died to yourself. And that only happens through the Sword of the Spirit daily pruning us, molding us, cutting us for his kingdom, so that we might be perfected in his resurrection. So, all your pain, all your suffering, all your tears (Big or Small) are not in vain or pointless, but it’s rather all for the Glory of God. Your finish product not only earns your Eternal Life with the Master but brings out the best and makes you shine bright as a light for many souls around you. A perfect portrait of God’s masterpiece. Nothing in the Bible is a coincidence, and neither is why Gethsemane, which means Oil Press, was picked to stage this profound proclamation by Jesus to say, “for all who draw the sword will die by the sword”. But he needs to complete surrender to HIS will and Word to work on us to perfection.
Is it painful? Is it long? Is it hard? Absolutely! But Christ says, bear it cheerful, because I have overcome it (John 16:33) and my grace is sufficient in that journey to eternity.
But the question he wants to ask you today is: –
Are you choosing the Narrow Gate (Matt 7:13&14)?
Are you Living by the Sword each day (Matt 26:52)?
Are you dying to yourself everyday (1 Cor 15:31)?
Or are you choosing the low road, praying for the easy route out and escaping the potters perfect plan for his second best?
Benoy J. Thomas