Interesting thoughts in this entry:
1. Biblical locations add meaning to events
2. An angelic battle on a massive scale.
3. A record of the only external wound Jesus ever heals in the Bible: His last miracle.
4. God places a witness to Himself in the High Priest’s house
5. The High Priest’s slave becomes a Christ Follower.
6. Peter denies Jesus not because he was a coward, but because he is trying to avoid a fight.
I decided to take a look at a very strange incident in the New Testament. When the soldiers come to arrest Jesus, several strange and interesting things happen, one of which is Peter takes a sword and cuts someone’s ear off. Let’s take a look at this event:
Luke 22:35 Then Jesus said, “When I sent you out and told you to travel light, to take only the bare necessities, did you get along all right?” “Certainly,” they said, “we got along just fine.”36 He said, “This is different. Get ready for trouble. Look to what you’ll need; there are difficult times ahead. Pawn your coat and get a sword.37 What was written in Scripture, ‘He was lumped in with the criminals,’ gets its final meaning in me. Everything written about me is now coming to a conclusion.” 38 They said, “Look, Master, two swords!” But he said, “Enough of that; no more sword talk!” A Dark Night39 Leaving there, he went, as he so often did, to Mount Olives. The disciples followed him.40 When they arrived at the place, he said, “Pray that you don’t give in to temptation.”41 He pulled away from them about a stone’s throw, knelt down, and prayed,42 “Father, remove this cup from me. But please, not what I want. What do you want?”43 At once an angel from heaven was at his side, strengthening him.44 He prayed on all the harder. Sweat, wrung from him like drops of blood, poured off his face.45 He got up from prayer, went back to the disciples and found them asleep, drugged by grief.46 He said, “What business do you have sleeping? Get up. Pray so you won’t give in to temptation.”47 No sooner were the words out of his mouth than a crowd showed up, Judas, the one from the Twelve, in the lead. He came right up to Jesus to kiss him.48 Jesus said, “Judas, you would betray the Son of Man with a kiss?”49 When those with him saw what was happening, they said, “Master, shall we fight?”50 One of them took a swing at the Chief Priest’s servant and cut off his right ear.51 Jesus said, “Let them be. Even in this.” Then, touching the servant’s ear, he healed him.52 Jesus spoke to those who had come—high priests, Temple police, religion leaders: “What is this, jumping me with swords and clubs as if I were a dangerous criminal?
Lets try and live through the incident like we are in the story as opposed to just glossing over the information. First the location is meaningful.
They are at the Garden of Gethsemane which is at the foot of the Mount of Olives. The Mount of Olives is frequently mentioned in the New Testament (Matthew 21:1;26:30, etc.) as the route from Jerusalem to Bethany (the place where Lazarus was raised from the dead less than 2 miles away) and the place where Jesus stood when he wept over Jerusalem. Jesus is said to have spent time on the mount, teaching and prophesying to his disciples (Matthew 24-25), including the Olivet discourse, returning after each day to rest (Luke 21:37), and also coming there on the night of his betrayal (Matthew 26:39). At the foot of the Mount of Olives lies the Garden of Gethsemane. The New Testament, tells how Jesus and his friends sang together – “When they had sung the hymn, they went out to the Mount of Olives” Gospel of Matthew 26:30. Jesus ascended to heaven from the Mt of Olives as recorded in the book of Acts 1:9-12.
It is probably very quiet and peaceful and slow there as opposed to the crush of the crowds they are used to. The disciples and followers fall asleep as Jesus pulls about 50 feet away from them to pray. They did this regularly which is how Judas was able to find them. It says the disciples fell asleep “drugged by grief”. I would guess that as a result of what Jesus said at the last supper they were just now realizing what was taking place. I can only imagine the conversations they were having as they fell asleep trying to put together all the pieces. So stop to marvel at the meaning of the location Jesus is praying at. Jesus is about to be crucified and He is fully aware of the future. Above Him is the very place He will ascend into Heaven after His resurrection and also appear at His second coming.
I am also fascinated by the angel that comes to strengthen Jesus. I guess it is important for us to note that the second Jesus aligns Himself with God’s will, an angel is there immediately to strengthen Him. I remember the story in Daniel 10:12-14 where Daniel is praying and the angels Gabriel describes what went on in the heavenlies: “From the moment you decided to humble yourself to receive understanding, your prayer was heard, and I set out to come to you. But I was waylaid by the angel-prince of the kingdom of Persia and was delayed for a good three weeks. But then Michael, one of the chief angel-princes, intervened to help me. I left him there with the prince of the kingdom of Persia.”
So the fact that an angel was immediately by Jesus side for something the enemy wanted to make sure happened (Jesus’ death) shows that a heavenly battle of some large magnitude had already taken place with God’s angels beating and then holding back the angels of darkness so they could not delay or interrupt God’s plan. I wonder if Satan was wondering why God’s angels were standing by (in a position of power) and not trying to stop the execution of God’s son. And as soon as the angel strengthens Jesus it says He prays all the harder which leads me to believe the enemy was interfering with His prayers.
Jesus’ Last Miracle
OK so now in this quiet setting, disciples sleeping, Jesus praying, the group arrives to take Jesus which includes Judas, Roman soldiers and the High Priest’s main man Malchus with Malchus leading the party. Once they are upon the disciples Peter reacts by cutting off a piece of Malchus’s ear. In this story I always thought it strange that Peter would draw a sword and cut someone’s ear off. It seemed out of place. But when you read Luke you see that there was allot of sword talk prior to the incident which Peter, as usual, took literally (Luke 22:28).
What is also interesting about the servant is that he was the high priest’s head servant and also that he is mentioned by name. If he is mentioned by name, then that leads me to believe that he became part of the early church because Luke is mentioning him by name 50 years after the incident, otherwise I think he would just be referred to as the “High Priest’s servant” in an anonymous fashion. It also makes sense that Malchus would become a believer after the miracle. I see a calculated plan and a sense of humor on God’s part in all this. Later, after Jesus has been crucified and has risen again and the religious leaders are trying to play everything down saying Jesus is not who He said He was, people are showing up at the High Priest’s house and want to know the story of all that happened. And when they get to part of the story about the capture of Jesus, Malchus recounts the miracle of the healing of his ear every time the story is told. I can just see the High Priest ordering Malchus to shut up and not tell that part of the story. I get a chuckle out of thinking that every time the High Priest looks upon his main servant he has to be thinking about the miracle. So now there is a witness to Jesus’ divinity in the High Priest’s house. This also seems to be the only external wound that Jesus is recorded as healing in the Bible.
Am I the only one that finds it interesting that Peter is ready to fight for Jesus here against Roman soldiers but denies him later? Does this mean Peter’s denial later was to avoid a fight because Jesus had admonished him about fighting with a sword earlier rather than Peter being a coward as we all have in our minds?