If I was to ask many of you who Malchus was, you would probably have no idea. He’s one of the many people in Scripture who are briefly mentioned, and then heard of no more. It would be easy to pass over this man and not give him a second thought, unless it’s Easter, of course, and we’re reading the narrative of Jesus’ death and resurrection. “So who was this Malchus?” you may be asking. I’d love to tell you, as I’ve been thinking about him recently and about the encounter he had with Jesus. John is the only Gospel writer who actually names him (John 18:10). The other three writers refer to him only as the servant of the High Priest (Matthew 26:51, Mark 14:47 and Luke 22:50).
Malchus was unfortunate enough to be one of the crowd of people sent by the religious leaders to arrest Jesus. Impulsive Peter, reportedly, sliced off the man’s ear, in an attempt to prevent Jesus’ arrest. Jesus didn’t commend Peter for this, but rather rebuked him. ‘Put your sword back in its place’, Jesus said to him (Matthew 26:52). What was happening to Jesus was pre-ordained by God and prophesied in Scripture, and Peter’s assistance was not required.
I can imagine Peter taking a small step backwards, with a confused look on his face, and Malchus, holding his hand over the right side of his face, with blood dripping down his arm. He would have been in shock, but even more so, when Jesus touched his ear and healed him. Luke is the only writer who mentions this fact, whereas the others focussed on the brutal amputation.
Jesus didn’t have to heal Malchus’ ear, but He did. And I suspect that this event marked a turning point in this servant’s life. He most likely would have known about Jesus, and maybe even witnessed Him healing others, but now he’d personally encountered the Healer. Scripture leaves us wondering what happened to Malchus after this episode. He’s never mentioned again. We don’t know if he became a follower of Jesus or not, but I do believe that this encounter would have left an indelible imprint on his life. Maybe we’ll get to greet him in heaven one day.
When was the last time you had a life changing encounter with Jesus? Was it back at your conversion, all those years ago, or have you continued to encounter Him as you’ve journeyed along? He wants us to encounter Him afresh every day, as He knows that, when we do, we’re changed and can’t look at life the same way again. Our daily encounters may not be as traumatic or intense as Malchus’ was, but each encounter is significant, because it propels us forward in our walk with Him.
Prayer: Jesus I want to encounter You afresh today. You’re my Lord and I love You. Amen.
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