Have You Heard About Malchus’ Ear?
A devotional from Luke 22:47-53
47 And while he yet spake, behold a multitude, and he that was called Judas, one of the twelve, went before them, and drew near unto Jesus to kiss him. 48 But Jesus said unto him, Judas, betrayest thou the Son of man with a kiss? 49 When they which were about him saw what would follow, they said unto him, Lord, shall we smite with the sword? 50 And one of them smote the servant of the high priest, and cut off his right ear. 51 And Jesus answered and said, Suffer ye thus far. And he touched his ear, and healed him. 52 Then Jesus said unto the chief priests, and captains of the temple, and the elders, which were come to him, Be ye come out, as against a thief, with swords and staves? 53 When I was daily with you in the temple, ye stretched forth no hands against me: but this is your hour, and the power of darkness.
In our last reading it was the Lord Jesus himself that had encouraged his disciples to keep a weapon. He had told them to sell their coats if needed in order to obtain a sword (Lk 22:36 ) and they were able to produce a couple of among the twelve disciples. It is in this passage that we see one of those swords put to use, but the one who instructed the disciples to have a sword is the very one who on this occasion, rebuked them for using it. Here is a thought, just because you have them, doesn’t mean you have to use them. Isn’t that true of so many things? If you get a paycheck, the money doesn’t have to burn a hole in your pocket. If you have a right, you don’t necessarily have to exercise it. If you have a sword there is no obligation to swiftly stab someone with it. Just because you can, does not mean that you should!
When Judas brought the group to arrest Jesus one of the disciples had other thoughts about sword control. The Gospel of John tells us the name of this disciple, my favorite of the twelve, Simon Peter. At first, he asked the Lord for direction, that is always a good thing to do isn’t it? Peter said,“Lord, shall we smite with the sword?” I think in this special circumstance his question was a good one, don’t you? He prayed but why didn’t he wait for an answer? Peter acknowledged Jesus’ lordship, asked him for direction and before the answer came he started swinging. Peter was better at fishing than fighting it seems, he no doubt aimed for the head and only cut off the guys ear. John tells us the name of the ear deprived fella, his name was Malchus. Jesus picked up the ear, placed it back on Malchus and complete hearing was restored. The great physician may specialize in heart work be he can do great work on ears and eyes too.
Here are a few thoughts that I had on this wonderfully cool passage.
1. There is a lesson here on waiting.
If there is doubt then why not delay? Sure, it is possible to be crippled by permanent indecision but in my own experience rash speech and actions have gotten me in way more trouble than silence and stillness. Especially when it comes to fighting, physically or verbally we should be slow to speak and slow to wrath. (James 1:19)
Praying for guidance is wise but useless if we don’t wait for an answer. I have been known to make the mistake of Peter, seek guidance and start swinging before the answer comes. This has to stop!
2. There is a lesson here on the Bible.
The Apostle John gives the names of the people involved in this amazing miracle. When his gospel was distributed and becoming popular any skeptic could verify the facts.
“Hey Malchus, did you really lose an ear?”
“Did Jesus really attach it back on your head?”
“Can you really hear out of it?”
The surge of the Christian message and the popularity of the gospel letters and epistles at a time when the facts could be verified is a wonderful proof of their validity.
3. There is a lesson here on spiritual warfare.
If we try to do the work of God in our own power apart from the Lord’s guidance then all we will accomplish is to cause folks to stop listening. An angry tone and fighting spirit doesn’t usually win converts, believe me I have tried! There is hope for the Christian worker here however because Jesus can make those that can’t hear to listen.
4. There is a lesson here on the cross.
This was not a time to fight, that is not what Jesus wanted. He had the power to fight his arrest and refused it, why? He was submitting to the arrest and suffering in order to be the substitute for our sins. He sacrificed himself for you and I.
Thank you Jesus!