Malchus was a personal servant of Caiaphas, the high priest who led the conspiracy to have Jesus arrested… and killed. Probably on orders from Caiaphas, Malchus accompanied Judas and the group who went to arrest Jesus while He prayed in the Garden of Gethsemane. As the situation there threatened to explode into chaos, Malchus found himself very much in the wrong place at the wrong time.
Jesus’ apostles felt cornered. They watched the horrifying scene unfold as the 2 groups met in the Garden. But, one of the apostles – Peter – decided to act. He unsheathed a sword and swung it, separating Malchus’ ear from his head! As Malchus held the side of his head in pain, Jesus rebuked Peter… warning him that “those who draw the sword will die by the sword” (Matt. 26:52).
I think Peter meant to cut his head off, but, lucky for Malchus, Peter was a fisherman and not a swordsman.
In the confusion, Jesus somehow managed to reach Malchus and heal his injury before being dragged away by the temple guard. Malchus, then, provided the object lesson in one last teaching to His disciples before Jesus’ crucifixion – one final reminder that His kingdom would not come by force or be spread by the sword.
What happened to Malchus after this incident – and whether he returned to Caiaphas, the man who was plotting the murder of his miracle-worker – is unknown.
Malchus was just a small player in this story; he is mentioned here, and then disappears. Have you ever wondered about this man, identified only as “a servant of the high priest”?
I wonder what happened to him? Was his life changed forever or just for a moment?
Was his life changed by the things he saw and the things he had heard….
This incident is recorded in all 4 of the Gospels and is the last recorded miracle of Jesus before He was crucified…, restoring someone’s ability to hear!
Do you hear things differently as a result of having met Jesus? Are you listening for what He is saying to you?
You can read the story of Malchus in all 4 gospels; John 18:10,11; Matthew 26:51; Mark 14:47; and Luke 22:51, but the servant and the disciple are named only in John. Also, Luke is the only gospel that says Jesus healed the ear.