Reading: John 18: 1-19:42
How many times have you read this story? How many times have you heard this story? My guess is that your answer is a lot. We remember the night that Jesus was betrayed so often. It is an important tale in our faith story.
As often as I've heard this story, when I recently reread it, I was struck by the role of Malchus, who was Caiaphas' slave. Peter draws his sword and cuts off Malchus' ear. Ouch! I'm sure Peter let the emotions of the moment get to him when we did that. Jesus tempered the situation by telling Peter to put his sword away. What was about to happen needed to happen.
I didn't know much about Malchus so I looked him up. The story of Peter doing this to him appears in all four gospels, but only in John is he called by name. Only in the Gospel of Luke do we learn that Jesus healed his ear on the spot. Thorton Wilder actually wrote a short play entitled, "The Servant's Name Was Malchus," which appeared in the collection "The Angel That Troubled the Waters and Other Plays."
As we look this week at all the characters in Christ's passion, let us not forget Malchus. He should remind us of Christ's healing power, even in troubled times, and that the events of this week, while hard to hear, were necessary. After all, was it not Jesus who said following Peter's scuffle with Malchus, "Am I not to drink the cup that the Father has given me?" --Chad Hershberger, Camp Mount Luther Director
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