Point of View – Ear Cut Off

Searching His Word
Seeking His Heart

Perhaps you remember the incident in the Garden of Gethsemane. Jesus had taken the disciples with him at a late hour to pray and to prepare for what He knew would be his most difficult task yet, his crucifixion.

He asks his followers to pray and watch and takes Peter, James, and John further into the garden. Then, He goes even further for his own private time.

Eventually, the temple guards, along with the religious leaders, and the high priest’s servants come with their clubs and swords to arrest Jesus.

Matthew would have been there but farther back from Jesus. He reports it this way:

Then the men stepped forward, seized Jesus and arrested him. With that, one of Jesus’ companions reached for his sword, drew it out and struck the servant of the high priest, cutting off his ear. Matthew 26:50-51

Mark basically reports the same information as Matthew.

Dr. Luke, however, has an interest in what happened to this servant’s ear. As he investigates the details, he discovers two new things.

…one of them struck the servant of the high priest, cutting off his right ear. But Jesus answered, “No more of this!” And he touched the man’s ear and healed him. Luke 22:50-51

So, we learn from Luke that it is the right ear (whatever that matters) and, more importantly, that Jesus heals the man. Even in the midst of the turmoil and danger, Jesus cares for this enemy who has been injured.

And now, we go to John’s description.

Then Simon Peter, who had a sword, drew it and struck the high priest’s servant, cutting off his right ear. (The servant’s name was Malchus.) John 18:10

Ah, two more pieces of the puzzle. Peter was the one swinging the sword and Malchus was the name of the poor recipient of the sword. Thank you, John, for once again giving us names.

John was closer in proximity to Jesus, thus observing Peter and Malchus. In addition, it seems that John had a relationship to Caiaphas, the high priest, and others in the court.

Simon Peter and another disciple [John] were following Jesus. Because this disciple [John] was known to the high priest, he went with Jesus to the high priest’s courtyard, but Peter had to wait outside the door. [John] came back, spoke to the girl on duty there and brought Peter in. John 18:15-16

Apparently, John knew Malchus and also one of Malchus’ relatives. John mentions this relative as one of Peter’s accusers in the courtyard scene. (John 18:26)

Once again, we see different points of view. Matthew and Mark mention the incident in passing. Luke investigates his interest as a doctor. But John has personal information. Our views are valued more when we personally know those involved and have done reliable investigation. Something good to remember as we give our points of view.

~ Joyce ~  

Writing – Part 2

Searching His Word
 Seeking His Heart

Last week in My Testimony About Writing, I shared about God’s call to write. I struggled trying to discern what the Lord wanted me to write. Of course, He rarely works on our time table, so I waited, watched, and listened.

That year, I attended a Bible study about the book of Matthew. I found myself noticing the lesser-known characters, the ones with only one or two verses. Often, their names weren’t even given, but they were important enough to mention. wondered what might be the rest of their stories. What was their background? How did they relate to Jesus? 

As I continued through Matthew, I was struck by the phrase, 

“He who has ears to hear, let him hear.” Matthew 11:15

Later, when Jesus told the parable of the sower and the seed, he said again,

“He who has ears to hear, let him hear.” Matthew 13:9

I began meditating on that phrase, thinking about it every time it came around. Jesus warned that, because of the people’s unbelief, their hearts had become calloused. The leaders did not put into practice the truths they had studied. 

“Otherwise they might see with their eyes, hear with their ears, and understand with their hearts and turn, and I would heal them.” Matthew 13:15

Jesus described the religious leader’s faith by quoting what Isaiah said.

“These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. They worship me in vain; their teachings are but rules taught by men.” Matthew 15:8-9

They had ears, but they didn’t hear.

In my pilgrimage of what to write, the Lord had impressed on me the lesser-known characters. He brought my attention to have ears to hear what he has to say. So, when I came to the two-verse story of the servant of the high priest having his ear cut off in the Garden of Gethsemane, it was like, this is it! This is who I am to write about.

I discovered from the other gospel writers that his name was Malchus and that Jesus healed his ear. It wasn’t much to go on, but I researched and wrote, trying to envision what might be the rest of Malchus’ story.

I was still working at the time so all too often the story got pushed to the back burner. Over and over I doubted. Who was I to think I could conquer such a task as writing a book? That’s when I first came across the quote I have on my desk. “The task ahead of us is never as great as the power behind us.”

The Lord provided a wonderful person to help me edit. Eventually, I acquired a publisher, then a capable person to help me make a video, take an author picture, and direct me to claim my website name.

It took seven years, but at last “Ears to Hear” became a reality. 

Next week, I’d like to share one more leg of the journey with you plus a challenge.

~ Joyce ~

 

Peter, To the Rescue

Peter and the disciples have had at least three warnings that Jesus will be betrayed, turned over to the Romans, flogged, and killed, but will rise again.

In spite of these looming thoughts, they experience the miraculous raising of Lazarus from his four-day death tomb. Then they march into Jerusalem with exuberant singing and palm-waving pilgrims who have come for Passover. The next day, the people eagerly gather to listen to Jesus’ teachings. Though some turn away and the Pharisees ask their incessant tricky questions, many people respond favorably. Even a few leaders seem to believe. Perhaps everything will be fine, just fine.

But later, Jesus says to his disciples,

23 The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified. 24 I tell you the truth, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds. 25 The man who loves his life will lose it, while the man who hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life. 27 Now my heart is troubled, and what shall I say? ‘Father, save me from this hour?’ No, it was for this reason I came to this hour. John 12:23-27

Peter’s mind calls up the warnings—”betrayed, turned over, flogged, killed.” No, this cannot be.

Fast forward to later in the week. Jesus and the disciples are sharing the Passover meal. Jesus teaches and prepares the men, warning and encouraging them. He prays with them and for them. He tells them that where he is going, they cannot go. Peter asks him, “Lord, where are you going?”

36 Where I am going you cannot follow now, but you will follow later.” 37 Peter asked, “Lord, why can’t I follow you now? I will lay down my life for you.” 38 Then Jesus answered, “Will you really lay down your life for me? I tell you the truth, before the rooster crows, you will disown me three times!” John 13:36-38

But we know Peter’s determined temperament. After their meal, the disciples follow Jesus to the Garden of Gethsemane. Jesus agonizes in prayer while the disciples fall numb with sleep. In the dark of night, Temple guards, along with some chief priests and Pharisees come to arrest Jesus. They move forward.

25 Then Simon Peter, who had a sword, drew it and struck the high priest’s servant, cutting off his right ear. (The servant’s name was Malchus.) John 18:10

So like the impetuous Peter, as he acts on an immediate impulse, grabbing the short sword out of his belt, swinging it up in the air, and slicing off the ear of Malchus in the process. (See my first book, Ears to Hear.) Up he goes, ready to defend Jesus, an honorable act. I’ll show him that I that I’m ready to die for him just as I said. But once again, Jesus brings him down.

11 Jesus commanded Peter, “Put your sword away! Shall I not drink the cup the Father has given me?” John 18:11

Peter has not yet heard what Jesus pointedly and figuratively told the disciples—”I must die. It is the reason I came to this hour.” He must drink the cup of redemption to redeem Peter and the disciples and the Jews and the Gentiles and future generations who believe in Him—namely me and you. It is why Jesus came, to bear your sin and mine on the cross.

As you picture Jesus’ bloodied, beaten body on the cross, see the words stretched across his arms from one hand to the other—”I bear the penalty for your sin.”

~ Joyce ~