“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
Peter’s actions in the Garden of Gethsemane to protect Jesus from arrest is a well-known biblical narrative.
What is not as well known are the answers to two questions:
- Why is the name of the high priest’s servant important?
- Why does the Apostle John point out it was the right ear?
The name Malchus occurs only once in the Bible. In Hebrew, Malchus means “my king,” or “kingdom.”
Peter cuts off Malchus’ right ear. Jesus then heals Malchus and later says: “My kingdom is not of this world. If it were, my servants would fight to prevent my arrest.” (John 18:36).
The right ear is the ear associated with balance.
Most people think of “hearing” as the most crucial role of the ear. But doctors, nurses, and scientists will tell you that “balance” is the primary function of the ear.
There is a dangerous imbalance when Christ’s Kingdom is advanced by physical force. The Kingdom of Christ is advanced through love and truth.
There are no insignificant statements in Scripture. “The right ear of Malchus,” cut off by Peter and healed by Jesus, is a phrase that sends a very loud message to the followers of Jesus.
“The Word, not the sword, advances Christ’s Kingdom.
Christians declare the Truth in the Word with love.
Power politics is the earthly kingdom’s sword.
Love and truth come from the Divine Word.”
Make sure you know to which Kingdom you belong.
Good Post. Google says the right ear gives more balance to the body than the left ear.
“Then Simon Peter drew a sword and slashed off the right ear of Malchus, the high priest slave.” (John 18:10 NLT)
When the slave’s ear was cut off, gravity would put his ear on the ground. Right?
“But Jesus said, “No more of this.” And he touched the man’s ear and healed him.” (Luke 22:51 NLT)
That means Jesus picked the man’s ear up from the ground and put it back on. I’ll bet that man became a believer in Jesus, and we will meet him in heaven.
Amen! Without a doubt!
Wade, I’ve told this before but I think it’s worth telling again. My oldest cousin whose father was Rex Ray got a uncurable disease in China when she was five years old. Her favorite song was THIS IS MY FATHER’S HOUSE.
They told her she was going to be with Jesus. She asked her mother if she would go with her.
“No dear, Jesus will take care of you.”
A moment before she left this earth, she said, “Mama, which one is our house?”
I think that the ‘contrast’ between ‘earthly kingdoms’ and the Kingdom of God is immensely powerful and important to ALL Christian people.
I love the way the Brits speak of the Kingdom of God in their hymn “I vow to thee my country” when they say ‘there is ANOTHER country’ and describe it in this way:
“HER WAYS ARE WAYS OF GENTLENESS
ALL HER PATHS ARE PEACE”
The story of Malthus includes something more of the Kingdom of God: healing
no need for a reason to heal only the ones who ‘deserve’ it, no; no calling for ‘hubris’ that only we, the faithful, are ‘worthy’ of Christ’s ministering Hands;
no demand to ‘fight for’ the Kingdom of God through politics or power-plays or the mis-uses of ‘authority’ that deny the dignity of all human persons made in the image of God, no sanction of the desire to separate from Christ’s care those who ‘are different’, especially when these ‘different folks’ are suffering and wounded
gentleness and peace
I think the Brits have got it right.
Aggressive use of violence?
There are moral imperatives about the nature of war, especially when innocents are being harmed mercilessly, like the people of Ukraine including civilians, women, children, the elderly . . . . a response is ‘justified’ to defend the innocent against aggression. Hopefully the response will be something that deters the viciousness of the attack . . . and the deterrent is in proportion to what is needed to prevent harm to the innocent, yes. . . . .
But we are seeing in our own country a rise of something that divides and has already brought harm to the innocent. It is my own prayer that people of faith pause to consider that ‘excusing’ the mis-use of power in the ways of authoritarians may be one of the greatest of all sins: to ‘look away’ and say ‘it’s God’s will’, when minorities and the homeless and the elderly and the children who live on the edges of our society are threatened, and stones are thrown, and threats made, and yes, people killed who are innocent. We can look at the story of Malthus and KNOW that harming ‘the others’ is not ‘God’s will’.
Our Lord came bearing healing in His Hands. God have mercy those who abuse His Name in service to their own earthy agendas. May our eyes be opened. May we live NOW as much as is possible in that Christian realm that provides all with ‘gentleness’ and ‘peace’.
The story of Malthus is also a great lesson for those who preach ‘the wrath of God’ to futher early agendas.
Good post, Wade
What does “Mama which one is our house?” mean to you?
it means that the precious little one ‘sees’ her heavenly home and witnesses to her Mother that ‘all shall be well’ in the Kingdom of Our Lord. . . .
beautiful story, this, of a dying child’s last words on this Earth
I’ve always loved it.
You answered that better than I could have. Thanks!
I reread my uncle’s 38-page manuscript and learned my oldest cousin’s favorite song was not THIS IS MY FATHER’S HOUSE, but EVERYTHING IS ALRIGHT IN MY FATHER’S HOUSE.
The link below is a choir singing it.
Here is a story.
My twin brother, Hez was a wrestling coach in high school. His father-in-law rented an apartment which he had a key.
One day as he was near the apartment, a cop who had been a student said he had a tip that two bad guys were in it. Said they’d get away if he waited for backup but with his help, he wouldn’t have to shoot them.
When Hez opened the door a nude woman ran to a closet, and a nude man jumped out the window.
Cop said he’d get him, and for Hez to get the other one. The guy was hidden under bedcovers. Hez piled on top of him and a wrestle began. As fast as he got one arm pinned down, another arm came up. The wrestle lasted until the cop came back with his prisoner and took charge. Hez found out he’d been wrestling two people.