Malchus

William J. Stewart | Faces Surrounding Calvary

I would venture to say that it is quite possible some readers of this article may have never heard of the name, Malchus. He is not a significant individual within the pages of Scripture, and is not one whom we would spend great lengths of time studying. But it is worth our while to spend some time considering him as one of the “Faces Surrounding Calvary”.

Unless you look carefully in your Bible, it is probable that you will never see the name Malchus. And even if you do find him, you are likely to pass him by without a thought. For as the writers make mention of him, it is for but a moment. I can tell you now, even if you have no idea who Malchus is, you do know him, and have heard of him almost each time that you have heard the story of the cross.

Malchus was the recipient of a great harm, as well as a wonderful blessing within the same minute. It would not surprise me if that quick instant in his life had the power to completely change his life. Or if it did not, it should have. Mark writes, “Now His betrayer had given them a signal, saying, ‘Whomever I kiss, He is the One; seize Him and lead Him away safely.’ as soon as He had come, immediately he went up to Him and said to Him, ‘Rabbi, Rabbi!’ and kissed Him. Then they laid their hands on Him and took Him. And one of those who stood by drew his sword and struck the servant of the high priest, and cut off his ear.” John is more precise in his description of the events, writing, “Then Simon Peter, having a sword, drew it and struck the high priest’s servant, and cut off his right ear. The servant’s name was Malchus.”

Malchus was the unfortunate individual who was in the wrong place at the wrong time. As Peter swung his sword in defence of his Lord, he sliced through the right ear of Malchus, cutting it clear off. Imagine the pain… excruciating pain! Great harm was done to Malchus, such as would haunt him for the rest of his life.

But Luke gave us one more piece of information concerning this servant. He pens, “And one of them struck the servant of the high priest and cut off his right ear. But Jesus answered and said, ‘Permit even this.’ And He touched his ear and healed him.” Malchus, who moments before by the swipe of Peter’s sword was condemned to be a mutant for the remainder of his time on earth, was now whole again. His ear, which had not only been severed, but which had fallen to the ground at his feet was as good as new.

Jesus amidst the savage crew of soldiers and high priest representatives, whose desire was to take Him captive, took time to heal the wounded. Took time to heal an enemy. Malchus was clutching the side of his head in anguish one moment, and the next, his hand gently touched the ear he’d lost in amazement, for it was back in it’s rightful place.

We are told nothing more about Malchus. Just that he had lost an ear to Peter, and gained it back again by the hand of God. It is interesting to think about what happened after this event though. Malchus went along with the other servants and guards in taking Jesus to the high priest. But what was going through his mind? He had just felt the power of God. He had been healed from a wound that would have haunted him for life. He was made whole again.

We have no idea whether Malchus ever obeyed the gospel. We do know that he had reason to. He was a first hand witness, and recipient of the grace of God. Jesus healed his physical body. Did Malchus return for a spiritual healing as well?

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