“I’m telling you the truth! My ear was in the dirt!”
Sitting in a local tavern, two men began discussing recent events. Everyone seemed to be at odds, choosing sides either to believe the man called Jesus was the Messiah or they declared he was a criminal.
For the last three years news of Jesus and His band of disciples spread like wildfire. Water turned into wine, people raised from the dead, and small amounts of food being multiplied to satisfy thousands were just some of the stories flying around.
Malchus paid no attention to the stories. How could they be true? He was busy advancing within the palace guard and remained focused on the jobs set before him. He wanted to make a name for himself and draw the attention of the king.
He had been in the court when Judas came telling the guard how they could arrest Jesus. Malchus became excited hoping he would be chosen for the team who would arrest this man claiming to be the Messiah. His desire came true when he heard his name called by the chief guard.
As a servant of the high priest, arresting prisoners was a part of the job, a normal course of events, nothing to write home about. But this arrest was going to be different. Arresting Jesus was definitely different, he could feel it.
Anticipating a fight, the large army of soldiers armed themselves for battle. Horses were saddled. Shields and swords were gathered as adrenaline pumped through their blood. Led by Judas the army headed to Gethsemane, the quiet place where Jesus and His followers were said to be praying.
The next moments would be forever etched in Malchus mind.
“Greetings, Rabbi!”, Judas said and then kissed Jesus.
“Friend, do what you came for,” replied Jesus.
Confusion invaded the solitude. Soldiers advanced, grabbed Jesus and He was arrested. Jesus never uttered a word, never resisted. The expected fight never happened disappointing the army. Time seemed to stop, everyone just stood there.
Glinting metal caught Malchus eye as he turned his head toward the disciple named Peter. The sword came down faster than he could move out of its way. Cold steel came down hitting the side of his head forcing Malchus to his knees. Pain wretched his body. Blood pulsed from the side of his head. Malchus brought both hands to his head as he fell to his knees. He pried his eyes open to see his ear laying on the ground in the dirt.
Jesus, spoke. His words cut through the hysteria like a knife.
“No more of this!” Jesus said. Jesus reached out His hand, touched Malchus’ wound and instantly healed him.
Pain disappeared. Blood stopped flowing. Malchus’ heart continued to race. He couldn’t comprehend what just happened.
Time slowed to a crawl as Jesus met Malchus’ eyes. Malchus felt frozen. Jesus seemed to be looking into his very soul. Then, like a wave, Malchus felt love, indescribable love, flooding into his heart from this man who is said to be a criminal, Jesus.
Slowly Malchus rose to his feet.
The soldiers yanked Jesus to his feet and led him away.
The disciples fled in fear.
Malchus was left alone.
Malchus tried to gather his senses as he walked home. Thoughts bounced around his head as he tried to make sense of it all. Breaking it down step by step; the guard gathered to arrest a criminal named Jesus, Judas kissed Him, the guards arrested Jesus, his ear was cut off. Then Jesus, this man who was supposed to be a criminal, touched him and healed him.
None of this made any sense. How could this healer be a criminal? Why didn’t Jesus fight back or resist arrest? Why did all of Jesus’ followers run away? What the heck just happened?
Now, two days later, he still had no answers. He would have asked Jesus questions, but He was dead. Jesus had been crucified between two other criminals.
Malchus held the tankard of ale in his hands as he tried to sort through the last few days’ events. His friend tried hard not to roll his eyes as he listened to the story. Obviously, Malchus was crazy. Finishing their drinks they parted company. Maybe a good night’s sleep would help settle his thoughts.
Sunday morning Malchus woke. Without thinking he touched his ear finding it still healed. He didn’t have to be at the palace guard until Monday so he decided to take a walk. Mindlessly he walked through the town while he relived the strange events in his mind.
His walk brought him a short distance from a tomb.
The sound of weeping snapped him out of his stupor. He spied a weeping woman prostrate in front of a tomb with a large rock next to the opening. A man stood before the woman. Malchus overheard him say, “Mary.”
Wait a minute! That man? That man was Jesus! He wasn’t dead! He was alive!
Malchus fell to his knees. Truth stood before him hitting him harder than the blow of the sword.
Jesus was alive.
He was not dead.
The man, thought to be a criminal, was the long-awaited Messiah. He had been healed by the Son of God.
Malchus heart softened to accept the seed of faith planted in his soul.