I LOST MY EAR (Lk. 22:47-53; Jn. 18:1-11)
I am Malchus, the servant to the High Priest of Israel. My name means “king.” Sometimes, I was called, “the little king.” I came from the same background of Herod, the King. I, too, was a Nabateans or a Edomites. Edom, or Esau, was the older twin of Jacob, the father of Israel. Being a servant to a High priest, in Israel, was like being Prime Minister of a country. In Israel, the High Priest ranked above the King. He was regarded as God’s emissary to the nation. The reason that I was in his Highness’s service was that he did not trust his own people. And I was with the High Priest at Herod’s request. What I am trying to convey is that I was no simple slave, but one who carried out the more essential tasks of the man who held the highest office in the land. I was ordered to stop Jesus from causing any inconvenience to the High Priest and his priests who were not exactly up front with the people. In my final attempt to apprehending Jesus of Nazareth, I lost and regained an ear all, at the same time.
It was long before daybreak, that we were ordered to follow a man by the name of Judas and arrest the Prophet Jesus. Judas had made a deal with our religious leaders to apprehend the Prophet while He was alone. This was not the first time that I had to take my Temple guards and lay in wait for Jesus. One time, we came very close to arresting Jesus. What stopped me was what Jesus was saying. I had never heard anyone speak like He did. We had many pretenders come to the Temple with unbelievable tales. But Jesus did not spin any tales. He spoke from His heart about repentance, forgiveness, faith and peace. There was no reason to shackle this Man and drag Him off to prison. I returned to the High Priest and his associates and reported that no Man ever spoke like this Man did. Of course, they were upset with my guards and me and called us ignorant peasants.
Now, at long last, we were entering this Olive Grove called, “Gethsemane.” This time, we were prepared to face the Man whom our leaders feared more than death. We were armed with small swords, clubs and sticks, unlike the Roman soldiers. We carried torches and lanterns and expected to face armed men. The truth was that we looked like a band of hoodlums. Just as we entered the garden, a voice came out of the dark asking, “Who is it you want?” We replied, “Jesus of Nazareth.” And the voice said, “I am He.” Jesus took us completely by surprise. He scared us. We, actually drew back, and fell to the ground. There was something in the air that we could not explain. We were not in charge. All of us felt that we were at the mercy of Jesus of Nazareth. He had rendered us completely helpless. His voice, alone, arrested us and kept us in check. We had expected a frightened man. Instead, we were frightened and trembling at His voice.
Then we heard His voice again, “Who is it you want?” Very timidly, I said, “Jesus of Nazareth.” Out of the dark, Jesus stepped forward accompanied by twelve people and said, “I told you that I am He. If you are looking for me, then let the others go.” We surrounded them quickly, except for one, who left us holding his robe. In the dark, we still could not put the Man and His voice together. Now, we required the help of Judas, so no one else would be arrested but Jesus. Disciples were known to protect their leaders and even lay down their lives for them. Judas was extremely helpful to us by identifying Jesus by kissing Him. I was right beside Judas when he betrayed His Teacher with a kiss. I, for one, was sick to my stomach, when I saw how low a friend could stoop. For such a friend, I preferred and enemy any day.
Just as Jesus was asking, “Judas, are you betraying the Son of Man with a kiss?” I felt a sharp edge, a quick pinch of pain and blood running down my neck. I reached up and found that my right ear was gone. A big guy produced a sword, out of nowhere, and swung at me first and cut off my ear. It would have been natural for us to draw our weapons and decapitate the culprit. Instead, we stood there and obeyed Jesus’ orders. He commanded, “Put your sword away! Are you trying to stop me from carrying out my Father’s will?” Next, Jesus touched my ear and I instantly felt healed as if nothing had ever happened. The feeling, I had when Jesus touched my ear, was out of this world. I mean it did not come from this world. There is no such a touch of healing in this world. Never again, would I experience anything that would come close to this sensation. It was a kind of warm and comfortable feeling of peace and serenity. I even shivered gently and hoped that this feeling would continue endlessly. I no longer felt as one of the arresting officers, but as one that had been captured by Jesus.
Jesus offered no resistance to us and we led Him to our boss without any interference. He did not behave like our enemy, but rather like a friend. We tried to talk to Jesus, but after He had told us that this was our allotted time and some hour of darkness, Jesus remained silent. He had nothing to say to His accusers and torturers. No one had any serious proof that Jesus had done any wrong. In desperation, my boss demanded that Jesus confess that He was the Son of God. Even then Jesus remarked, “You say that I am.” My boss took this statement to mean that Jesus did say it. He tore His clothes, pronounced the sentence of death on Jesus and ordered that I take Jesus to Pilate, the governor for execution. In my dumbfounded state of mind, I led an innocent and kind human being to our Roman hangmen. He, who had shown tender mercy to me, did not mind being taken to the Governor and then to the cross. He acted as if we were doing Him a favor. I did not know, at the time, that we were actually helping Him to carry out the will of His Father in heaven. I do know that He forgave us for what we were doing to Him before He died. This amazing Man, called Jesus, bore no ill feeling against us and prayed that God would forgive us for acting in ignorance.