A Permanent Mark

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Jesus answered, "I told you that I am he. If you are looking for me, then let these men go." This happened so that the words he had spoken would be fulfilled: "I have not lost one of those you gave me."

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.)

Jesus commanded Peter, "Put your sword away! Shall I not drink the cup the Father has given me?" John 18:8-11

But Jesus answered, "No more of this!" And he touched the man's ear and healed him. Luke 24:51

Insight

Often, when we explore today's story, our attention goes directly toward the betrayal of Judas, the calmness of Jesus, or the rashness displayed by Peter. But, it's a minor character that I want to bring to the forefront - Malchus, the high priest's servant. His encounter with Jesus left a permanent mark.

Malchus's ear suffered collateral damage during the scuffle to arrest Jesus. A sword drawn by Peter cut it off. In a few hours, the wounds of Jesus would heal the brokenness of humanity. But, at that moment, as chaos unfolded around Him, another person's wounds mattered more. 

Healing Malchus is the last miracle Jesus performed before conquering the cross. Facing opposition, and with His life hanging in the balance, Jesus did what Jesus does: serve, heal, and love. Compassion on full display for His disciples and adversaries to witness. Jesus met the power of hate with the stronger power of His love.  

What happened to Malchus? We don't know. His name never appears in the Bible again, so we're left to speculate how the healing touch of Jesus influenced the trajectory of his life.  

My best guess is that even if Malchus wanted to return to his normal life, he couldn't shake that experience. Constant reminders throughout the day brought him back to that day.  Every time the birds chirped, he remembered. Every time beautiful music played, he recalled. Every time he looked in the mirror, he saw the touch of Jesus on his life.

And, every time those cues came, Malchus wrestled with the reality that Jesus loved him in spite of his opposition. The same reckoning needs to take place in our own hearts.

While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. While we were God's enemies, Christ was on our side reconciling us to Himself (Romans 5:8-10).  He met our struggles, shortcomings, and sin with unconditional love. 

This is the word Jesus wants us to hear today. It's the same message the Holy Spirit whispers into our soul. Take a moment to listen.  

Reflection

  • What wounds of yours has Jesus healed?

  • Where do you need to hear that Jesus loves you relentlessly?

Prayer

God, You healed my soul. You brought life to dry bones. You spoke life into my spirit. And for that, I am forever grateful. I will live as one touched by Your grace. In Your name, Jesus. Amen.


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