Lessons on Leadership from Nehemiah
“Healing of Malchus”Categories: Miracles of Jesus
The tension is thick this dark night. Jesus and His disciples are praying in the garden when a large crowd appears. They come with swords and clubs, armed ready for battle. They came with one purpose, to arrest Jesus. This armed mob was led by Judas, the Apostle who chose wealth over the Savior. With a cruel kiss he betrays the Lord - the token of love now wielded as a cruel method of marking the one they came to take away.
The disciples are unsure what to do in the moment. Some begin to question if they should defend Jesus, even using swords. That’s when Peter does what he typically does, act first - seek permission later. His brashness here could be a desperate attempt to prove his boastful claim to Jesus he made earlier that night, that he would never betray the Lord - rather he’d be faithful to Jesus and stand by his side, even if it meant death. Now he’s swinging to prove it.
His sword hits the servant of the high priest. The fact he was hit by a sword tells us he was near the front of the crowd, likely indicating his role in this whole endeavor. He came as a representative of the High Priest. He came to make sure Jesus was arrested and taken to trial. In one moment hands are laid on Jesus, and in the next a sword is swung. Peter was likely swinging for his head. The servant probably ducked and got hit in the ear. Imagine the scene - a sword is swung, you’re hit in the head, sharp-burning pain erupts. You put your hand to your head and come away with a hand covered in blood. Fear and panic set in - how bad is it? Will I live?
But then Jesus… in a moment of immense love and compassion, touches the wound of this servant and heals his ear. This was the smallest miracle - it was just an ear. The man would live without an ear. But there is something far more powerful at play in this scene. Jesus reaches down to heal the man who came to take him to his death. This man wasn’t concerned with justice or righteousness. He wasn’t concerned with the innocence of Jesus, or the reality of who Jesus claimed to be. If he was he wouldn’t be there in the garden. He came as an enemy, and in a moment of fear and pain, Jesus showed his enemy true love. The Lord who had the power to call down legions of angels channeled that power to a small act of kindness. This is the last miracle Jesus would do before the cross - a foretaste of the greater love shown towards his enemies accomplished through his death and resurrection.
“Love your enemies.” He commanded it, and he lived it. It’s not easy. It’s the high path we’re called to travel, of responding with kindness and compassion to those who enter our lives with swords and clubs. In a world that treats as we have been treated, that swings swords towards those who hurt us or our loved ones, what a bright light when someone chooses to overcome evil with good, to imitate Jesus in those dark times.
The servant was named Malchus. Perhaps the reason John shared his name is that there were some who knew him. Perhaps he change, he believed, his heart was softened through the Savior’s kindness. Perhaps the servant of the high priest became the servant of the God most high. I don’t know. But I do wonder if every time he scratched that ear, if he thought back to that intense moment in the garden when he met faithful love face to face.
“Love your enemies.” It’s more than words. It’s a way of living. The way of healing, the way of peace, the way of love, the way of Jesus.
Righteous Savior, my heart aches reading the pages of your suffering. It mourns reading of what you endured for me, for my sins. What amazing love, what incredible grace you showed the world through facing those dark hours. I thank you for your demonstration of compassion towards your enemies. You lived what you taught, and you responded to the pain and betrayal shown to you with patience and kindness. Something as small as healing the ear of one who came to arrest you, wasn’t overlooked in your pursuit to redeem the world. Help me to see as you see, to love as you love, to treat my enemies with the same grace and kindness you showed yours - that you showed me. Give me the strength to answer harm with grace, and to seek the well-being of those around me just as you sought to seek and save the lost. Oh the riches of your goodness, oh the blessing of your faithful love. All glory belongs to you, the lamb that was slain, the king who reigns.