“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


The Ear of Malchus by James Tissot (Brooklyn Museum)

The Ear of Malchus by James Tissot (Brooklyn Museum)

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:

  1. Why is the name of the high priest’s servant important?
  2. 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.