As I get older Good Friday means more and more to me.
In a way it feels like a contradiction between sorrow and joy, grief and gladness.
A long awaited promise. The Lamb provided.
The Man acquainted with grief who carried our sorrows.
Whenever big events of God’s story get celebrated or remembered I’m always drawn to the seemingly insignificant characters within the story whose lives intentionally or inadvertently are part of it.
I’m fascinated by the lives of people who get mentioned in the narrative only in a sentence or two but who are unquestionably changed by the events.
The night that Jesus was arrested, and the crowd had come to seize him Peter jumps out in His defense and strikes Malchus, a servant of the high priest, and cuts off his right ear. Jesus scolds Peter and tells him to put his sword away. The hour had come and the events leading to the crucifixion were quickly unfolding and that was not what His kingdom was about.
I am completely fascinated by this piece of the story as insignificant as it may seem.
I don’t know how long Malchus had been working for Caiaphas and chances are his allegiance laid with that of the high priest. If Caiaphas trusted him, he probably heard the things said about Jesus straight from those plotting to kill Him when they had gathered in the palace. They wanted to wait until after the festival to arrest Him and Malchus was probably aware of this. When Judas had kissed Jesus and Jesus is arrested Peter, with his protective way about Jesus, pulls out a sword and strikes Caiaphas’ servant and cuts off his ear. I can imagine his distress and possible terrible physical pain to see his ear no longer attached to His body. His immediate response might have been to strike back and I don’t know what the rest of the crowd might’ve done after witnessing what had just taken place. Earlier that evening Jesus had been praying in agony about the things to come and came back to the disciples to wake them up so they would pray. His anguish had been such while He prayed that it caused Him to sweat blood, and even though He had prayed for the cup to pass from Him, He was committed to God’s will. This makes me think that His mind was completely preoccupied by the heavy burden that now laid ahead.
This next part is what blows my mind. After Jesus chided Peter for impulsively attacking the high priest’s servant, Jesus turns around and healed his ear. The grief and sorrow that weighted on His shoulders did not stop him from making sure Peter remembered what they stood for, but also restoring the damage to his enemy. He laid His hands on Malchus’ ear and grows/gives him a new ear. He closed the wound and healed him. I’m completely speculating now, but I imagine that this caused havoc in this guy (not to mention that heeellooo! everyone just watched Jesus put an ear back on this guy and probably were like wwhaat?!?). The very man that he was being paid to arrest restored his damaged body. The very man he had been paid to seize and deliver to the high priest had given him back what one could say he rightly deserved taken away. He must’ve replayed that instant in his mind over and over later that night and maybe he said to himself that Jesus truly is the Son of God. I’m pretty sure he was never the same.
THIS. BLOWS. MY. MIND. In a thousand pieces blown. It says so much about Jesus’ character. SO MUCH.
This story really is a small part of the most important story. It gets lost because the crucifixion is the most important thing being told here but I absolutely love it. I’m amazed at so many things in this passage.
Grateful to be a part of His story and for His infinite care about ours.
Yesterday grief was but our hope is anchored in what tomorrow will bring.