"When those around him saw what was going to happen, they said to him, '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 answered and said, 'Permit even this.' And he touched his ear and healed him." Luke 22:49-51 This scene takes place in the garden of Gethsemane when the chief priests and elders came to seize Jesus to take him to be crucified. Now picture this. Realizing the horror of what was happening, one of Jesus's disciples takes his sword and cuts off the ear of the high priest's servant. Picture the blood flowing. Picture the looks on the faces. Picture the ear on the ground and the man shrieking in pain. Then - Jesus touches him and his ear is healed. What is hard to understand is how the crowd, after seeing this, could continue in their intention to take hold of Jesus and bring him to be crucified. What may be even harder to understand is that Jesus, who had just performed a miracle and could wipe them out with a word, allowed them to take him. How can we understand this? To understand it, we have to zoom out and look at the big picture. Looking at it in human terms, it's hard to understand how they could turn on him like this. But Jesus had to die. The story had to be played out. Jesus is the Lamb of God slain in atonement for man's sins. But no one understood that then. Note well: when an evil is taking place that makes no sense, there's a power behind it: Satan. He is a murderer. He is a liar. He deceives. And they were utterly deceived. That's so obvious, because by this time everyone had seen hundreds of miracles Jesus had performed ...yet they crucified him. The big picture shows a plot greater than one that human beings would conjure up. It was Satan himself, Satan's absolute determination to get rid of Jesus. It was Satan himself who was behind the priests' and the elders' hatred of Christ and their absolute passion to get rid of him. It was Satan himself who engineered this whole story. Satan thought he had won! There must have been shouts of jubilation in the halls of hell. "He's dead! We got him!" But God had a purpose in the crucifixion. Satan had caused the fall of mankind when Adam sinned, and from that day Adam's descendants would come into the world in a fallen human nature, lost sinners. But God sent his Son TO DIE, because Jesus died FOR US. The judgment on our sins was laid upon Jesus. He took the judgment in our place, and because of that atonement the sin debt has been paid for all who will come to faith in Jesus Christ. They are saved for all eternity. Picture the look on the faces of Satan's hordes three days later when Jesus ROSE FROM THE DEAD, victorious over Satan and victorious over death itself. Jesus won! He achieved the atonement needed for the salvation of all who would believe. "All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned, every one, to his own way; and the Lord has laid ON HIM the iniquity of us all." Isaiah 53:6 He paid a debt he did not owe, I owed a debt I could not pay, I needed someone to wash my sin away; and now I sing that brand new song, "Amazing Grace." for Jesus paid the debt that I could never pay.