1 When he had finished praying, Jesus left with his disciples and crossed the Kidron Valley. On the other side there was a garden, and he and his disciples went into it.
2 Now Judas, who betrayed him, knew the place, because Jesus had often met there with his disciples.
3 So Judas came to the garden, guiding a detachment of soldiers and some officials from the chief priests and the Pharisees. They were carrying torches, lanterns and weapons.
4 Jesus, knowing all that was going to happen to him, went out and asked them, “Who is it you want?”
5 “Jesus of Nazareth,” they replied. “I am he,” Jesus said. (And Judas the traitor was standing there with them.)
6 When Jesus said, “I am he,” they drew back and fell to the ground.
7 Again he asked them, “Who is it you want?””Jesus of Nazareth,” they said.
8 Jesus answered, “I told you that I am he. If you are looking for me, then let these men go.”
9 This happened so that the words he had spoken would be fulfilled: “I have not lost one of those you gave me.”
10 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.)
11 Jesus commanded Peter, “Put your sword away! Shall I not drink the cup the Father has given me?”
12 Then the detachment of soldiers with its commander and the Jewish officials arrested Jesus.
All within the course of a few minutes, Malchus went from being a servant, innocent victim, patient, and back to being a servant. This was a mini-drama inside a major drama.
The chief priests had come for Christ with a detachment of soldiers. They were about to haul him away, but Peter tried to show his loyalty to his master. He was probably aiming to kill but because he was merely a fisherman, he may not have had a lot of sword practice. Jesus picked up the ear and healed Malchus, rebuking Peter for his misplaced zeal.
Malchus walked away with his master, the high priest, while the king of kings walked away surrounded by soldiers. We can’t know what their interaction was like while they walked with Christ, but Malchus certainly had a lot to think about.
Why were they mistreating the person who had helped him?
What had he done wrong?
Malchus’ story is not unlike ours. We served sin, were victims of its treacheries, were healed by the Master, and became a different kind of servant. Then we get to marvel all the rest of our days of the One who led us out of that depravity.