2007-04-26 - One on Wonder
Originally Published 1998-01-20 ~ The Cross Series, Part 21
Luke 22:49-53 And when those who were around Him saw what was going to happen, they said, "Lord, shall we strike with the sword?" 50 And a certain one of them struck the slave of the high priest and cut off his right ear. 51 But Jesus answered and said, "Stop! No more of this." And He touched his ear and healed him. 52 And Jesus said to the chief priests and officers of the temple and elders who had come against Him, "Have you come out with swords and clubs as against a robber? 53 "While I was with you daily in the temple, you did not lay hands on Me; but this hour and the power of darkness are yours." (NAS)
Jesus has just performed one undeniable miracle in tumbling some 300 to 600 men, most armed, with just a word. The entire group must have flinched again as Jesus repeated, "I AM." The second time, there was no unseen force that simply knocked them all to the ground. Some of the group must have been wondering, 'Just what happened?'.
John 18:10-11 Simon Peter therefore having a sword, drew it, and struck the high priest's slave, and cut off his right ear; and the slave's name was Malchus. 11 Jesus therefore said to Peter, "Put the sword into the sheath; the cup which the Father has given Me, shall I not drink it?" (NAS)
Those who authored Gospel accounts may had been kind enough to spare Peter the embarrassment of this moment. But John writing so very late, probably as late as 90AD with Peter martyred years before, may also have felt at liberty to name Peter in his record. Recall that Peter noted that they only had two swords for the group as they left the upper room. He obviously retained one of them.
I love Peter. He reminds me so much of things I see in me. He yells a question to Jesus, so sure of the answer that he has already drawn his sword and taken the backstroke. The burly fisherman was already on the downstroke, stepping into the swing as poor Malchus is ducking for his life and Jesus has not answered. Now, I doubt seriously that Peter was aiming for his ear. Peter meant to part Malchus' hair down to his belly button. But a combination of unrestrained zeal and the grace of God left the slave in agony on the ground, but not mortally wounded.
The pain must have been amazing. Jesus intervenes with a word of command and both sides cease instantly. It is completely clear at this moment Who is in control. In this moment, we are given a perfect example of Jesus using out blunders and sins for the Kingdom of God. The Lord now goes one-on-one with Malchus. With all attention centered on the wounded man. Jesus kneels and reaches down picking up the severed ear. Malchus may have looked up at Jesus hardly able to wonder what to expect next. Jesus moves carefully and holds the ear in the place it belongs and in an instant the pain is gone. The stunned man reaches up to find the impossible to be true. His ear is again part of his body. It is not hanging by a thread, there is no sign of bleeding or cut of any kind. There is blood on neck and cloths and on the ground all around him on the ground in silent testimony to the fact that Malchus did not dream that his ear had just been removed with a sword. I can only imagine this man frozen stiff with wonder, relief and thankfulness to this man before him.
How many men had just seen what had happened? Fifty, one hundred or more? Malchus would tell the story to unbelieving people for the rest of this life. Jesus had taken a moment in time and touched Malchus' life in an unforgettable way. All who saw the healing witnessed a second miracle in a matter of seconds. How many missed it? I bet Malchus didn't. The religious leaders were there. They must have seen it. Yet, there hearts were so fixed on their plans, the miracle went unheeded. Why not? They had already missed the resurrection or Lazarus so badly they wanted Lazarus dead (again) too. Were one of two or them finally forced to see the healing for what it was? Who can know? Jesus had just taken Peter's mistake and turned it into glory for the Father and an opportunity to reach out to those gathered around.
We have no evidence one way or the other that would tell is if Malchus or any of the men and soldiers gathered in the Garden of Gethsemane that night believed Jesus' claim to be God. It may have been that evening, the next day, a week, a month, a year, a decade later. But this single act must have struck the hearts of some of those present. Some of those must have been struck with eternal consequences. I hope Malchus did believe. Then you and I will get to meet him one day in Heaven, and hear him recount the story and the wonder he knew in his encounter with Jesus.
Lord Jesus, Please help us to be aware of the miracles around us. Life is moving so fast that things pass us by without notice that should strengthen our faith and blow our minds. The story of Peter here is an encouragement to us that there is nothing that we can do that You can not use for Your glory. Keep our hearts soft and pliable in Your hands so that we can be molded by the things You do and show us each day. Amen.
Grace & Peace,