“Then Simon Peter, having a sword, drew it and struck the high priest’s servant and cut off his right ear. (The servant’s name was Malchus).” John 18:10
Poor passionate Simon Peter jumping up to do what he assumed was the right thing to do. In John chapter 18 we come upon the garden scene as the Pharisees and soldiers are in dramatic pursuit of Jesus right before the trials and crucifixion. Although Jesus willingly chooses to surrender to them, Peter steps in to try to save the day as he cuts off the right ear of the high priest’s servant. Jesus, after reprimanding Peter, tenderly heals the ear.
How often have I stepped into something assuming I understand the bigger picture? As a mom, I’ve especially done this time and time again with my kids. Like when they’ve come home crying out about some injustice with either a teacher or friend. With my passion torch in hand, I’ve bolted into action by contacting the teacher or holding a grudge on the friend expecting some righted wrong. When the truth was made known, most of the commotion was part of a misunderstanding created from hurt feelings and lacking information from a very one sided story.
When I read this story, I think about something more than just Peter though. What about Malchus? Here is a servant just doing what he’s been told to do, going about his work when someone takes a sword and cuts off his right ear. The interesting part to me of this story is that all involved believed they were doing work for God. Peter believed he was helping Jesus and Malchus was being obedient to his master in charge of the temple.
Once I worked with another missionary whose methods of sharing the gospel were different than my own. We both worked for Christ, but didn’t see eye to eye. While I did pray for her, I struggled to back her up. I didn’t focus on the qualities that were favorable like her perceptiveness and perserverence in Bible study; instead, I focused on the issues that drove me nuts. In my heart I tore her down again and again. My sword kept striking her even though we were on the same team.
Now we know from Peter’s situation he and Malchus were not on the same team. However, I discovered something while reading though this passage I’d never noticed before. God made sure Malchus’ name was included in the scripture, in addition to, his story being shared in all four gospels. Not only is his name written, he also received the last healing before the crucifixion.
Malchus showed up to the Garden of Gethsemene to assist in arresting Jesus, was wounded by Peter, a man who followed Jesus and healed by the hand of Jesus. A healing miracle that reached out beyond believers and offered non-believers an opportunity to experience Christ.
I think God is telling me through this verse of scripture that he loves even those I disagree with. This statement may sound conceited and kind of silly. I mean, of course Jesus loves those I disagree with, He loves everyone, right? The thing is, when my emotions get bruised I don’t always live in a way that shows Jesus loves those I disagree with. He not only loves them, he knows every hair on their head (Luke 12:7) and cares for their wounds (Psalms 147:3), just like he knows and cares for mine.
I seldom know what affect my work for Christ will really do; this being said, I do pretty much know what will happen if I strike out at someone. There will be division and hurt. Just like there was with Peter and Malchus. Just like there was between me and my missionary friend. Thankfully though, I have the option of allowing Christ to do his miracles of healing and peacemaking. Now, to just tap into the peacemaker’s power instead of striking. If I can do that, no telling what relationships would be spared and what amazing work would be accomplished.
Malchus is my reminder that God deeply loves even those I struggle with. Plus, God deeply desires me to love them, too.