Inspirations

MALCHUS

The importance of the story of Malchus was enough to be written in all four Gospel accounts because the circumstances of the evening contrasted with Jesus’ mission.

A common Nabatean name, Malchus, means counselor. He may have been a Nabatean Arab slave from the lands between Syria and Arabia, but had become the servant of the high-priest Caiaphas. Josephus, the Jewish historian, shares that the high priests had the hardness to send their servants to perform unpleasant acts.

Matthew, Mark, and Luke mention that one of them, i.e. a disciple of Christ, drew a sword and in his attempt of striking the high priest’s servant, ended up removing his right ear.  However, John identifies the culprit who drew the sword as none other, but Peter who must have been left-handed. Obviously, Peter had misunderstood Jesus’ figurative application of buying a sword (Lk 22:36). Nevertheless, Jesus admonishes him that those who take up the sword will die by the sword.

Matthew, Mark, and Luke who wrote before the destruction of Jerusalem, do not disclose his identity or Peter’s, because it might have caused harm to both men. Therefore, the basic story given is that one of the disciples cut off the high priest servant’s ear. Matthew contrasts this incident with the fact that King of the Jews could at any time call up 12 legions of angels, but preferred that scripture be fulfilled. Mark uses the incident to emphasize how they are arresting the Servant of God as a thief when He was daily teaching at the temple. Luke relates how Jesus, as the Savior and Healer, takes a moment in the midst of turmoil to heal the servant’s ear. However, John who wrote after the destruction of Jerusalem, discloses the servants name, because he might have become one of the believers. Also, John’s point of the story is to show the importance of submission by the Son of God to the Father.

I think the story of Malchus’ ear having been restored by Jesus is parallel to our ears needing the Saviour’s touch.

Acts 28:27 For this people’s heart has become calloused;
       they hardly hear with their ears,
       and they have closed their eyes.
       Otherwise they might see with their eyes,
       hear with their ears,
       understand with their hearts
       and turn, and I would heal them.’

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