Blessed… One More Miracle from the Prince of Peace

51 One of those with Jesus reached for his sword. Striking the high priest’s slave, he cut off his ear. 52 Then Jesus said to him, “Put the sword back into its place. All those who use the sword will die by the sword. 53  Or do you think that I’m not able to ask my Father and he will send to me more than twelve battle groups of angels right away? 54 But if I did that, how would the scriptures be fulfilled that say this must happen?” 55 Then Jesus said to the crowds, “Have you come with swords and clubs to arrest me, like a thief? Day after day, I sat in the temple teaching, but you didn’t arrest me. 56  But all this has happened so that what the prophets said in the scriptures might be fulfilled.” Then all the disciples left Jesus and ran away (Matthew 26:51-56, Common English Bible).

All four gospels tell of the high priest’s slave having his ear removed by a sword. Only John identifies the slave as one named Malchus. Matthew, in our lesson today has his focus on Jesus as the Prince of Peace. Luke has his focus primarily on the miracle. Healing is exactly where I would expect this physician to focus his understanding. This was a miracle right up Luke’s alley.

Jesus is in the garden. He has spent the last bit of time in prayer, asking the Father to remove this burden from him, but Jesus always includes, “Not what I want, but what you want.”

All the disciples with the exception of Judas, who was now making his appearance. He led the priests and the guards straight to Jesus so they could arrest him, all for a few bucks (or whatever their slang word for money might have been). Now Judas kisses Jesus, making the betrayal complete. The guards move forward and a sword is drawn, John says Peter drew the sword,  and the slave’s ear is cut off.

Jesus immediately goes into protection mode. He doesn’t want people to get hurt and with Roman soldiers probably present, he knew things could escalate quickly. Additionally, such a battle in the physical world was not Jesus’ way of doing things. It just doesn’t match up well with his ideas of forgiveness, grace, turning the other cheek and love.

Luke tells us a miracle took place next. Jesus healed the slave’s ear. What a display of compassion for one’s enemies. It was one of the last lessons Jesus taught in a physical way. It was him truly living out the idea of “Prince of Peace.”

Here is the deal to me. How could anyone, witness what happened to a slave named Malchus walk away from that place still wanting Jesus arrested and crucified? Though Matthew doesn’t talk about the healing, it is still important and noteworthy. An ear is cut off, Jesus picks it back up, places it back on the man’s head and it reattached and heals. That would classify as a miracle.

Nothing more is said of Malchus in the Bible. We know little that came to him. There is an old Italian legend that says Malchus is confined under a mountain and walks around a column. The legend says that his continuing life is punishment for his role in Jesus’ arrest. It says with each step he takes Malchus moves a little deeper into the ground and when his body disappears completely, the end of the world is at hand.

I prefer to think that Malchus grabbed the miracle he was given, repented and moved forward as a believer. As a first generation member of The Way, he would have been fairly important. Additionally, he had a great story to tell.

For me, this story is about Jesus’ compassion. He stopped those who had ideas of violence. Jesus demonstrated that even in our darkest hours, we are called to live in compassion and love. Our faith should never leave us.

Have a blessed day in the Lord.

Joy and Thankfulness,
Keith

Copyright 2017, J. Keith Broyles, All Rights Reserved.

Author:

Spirita Spiro (Esperanza for "Spirit's Breath) is rather new in my life. But the blog is not. I began writing a blog several years ago. It lived under the title, "The Pastor Ponders." Over the years I have tried several different names and "The Pastor Ponders" always seemed to fit best. I am trying again with Spirita Spiro. For 27 years I was a full-time pastor in the United Methodist Church. This year, August 2018, I semi-retired (I can't actually retire quite yet) and began teaching social studies. It is something I have always wanted to do and if I was going to do this, I needed to make it sooner rather than later. So, I made the move. I thought with the career change there also needed to be a name change to the blog and other things, such as spiritual direction. Spirita Spiro is my attempt to share some of my thoughts. I often share what I am thinking with my dog "Bishop," but he keeps his thoughts to himself. He will even go to sleep sometimes while I am sharing my thoughts with him. The truth is, if it doesn't involve getting his ears scratched, his belly rubbed or some kind of treat, he really doesn't care. I will say this for him, he never argues with me or tells me I am wrong. So, I decided to share some of my thoughts with whoever might come across this blog in their ramblings around the Internet. I live with my wife Cindy and our little dog in Lufkin, Texas. I spent the past 27 years as a full-time United Methodist pastor. Most recently I served as pastor of First United Methodist Church in Sweeny, Texas. I have also served United Methodist congregations throughout East Texas including rural Madison County (Elwood UMC), Lovelady (First UMC) and Kennard (Center Hill UMC), Canton (First UMC), rural Smith County (Mt. Sylvan UMC and Union Chapel UMC), Grapeland (First UMC), Tyler (Pleasant Retreat UMC), Santa Fe (Aldersgate UMC), Freeport (First UMC) and Oyster Creek (Oyster Creek UMC), Diboll (First UMC), and now Sweeny (First UMC). My wife Cindy and I have been married for over 40 years. We have two grown sons. Wayne and his wife Nikki and all our grandsons (Kaleb, Noah, and Jaxon) live in Southern California. Christopher and his wife Morgan and both our granddaughters (Jenna and Natalie) live in Tyler Texas. I enjoy preaching and all aspects of preaching from research to writing to the actual preaching event. I also love writing, reading, playing the guitar as well as a bit of drawing. I have spent quite a bit of time over the past two years working with paracord on various projects, mostly prayer ropes I usually give away. I sing bass with a local barbershop chorus called The Coastalaires. I have also recently begun doing a little wood carving. I also enjoy playing with Bishop, something he likes a great deal better than listening to my thoughts. I hold an Associate of Applied Science Degree in Business Data Processing, specializing in Microcomputers from San Jacinto College in Pasadena, Texas, a Bachelor of Science in Political Science with a minor in History from Sam Houston State University in Huntsville, TX, a Master of Divinity from Southern Methodist University in Dallas, TX and a Doctor of Ministry from Carolina University of Theology. When I was a student at Carolina, the school was in Iron Station North Carolina. They have since relocated to Manassas Virginia (Yeah, go figure, a school named Carolina geographically in Virginia). This blog is mostly devotional writing, but there are other things here too. Just about every week I will either post my sermon manuscript or a video of the worship service. On occasion, I will post something I see in society. Occasionally I write a short story, a poem, or a song and will post it here too. I will say this, my motivations for writing this blog are really selfish. I write it to get what I am thinking out of my head and onto something a bit more permanent. They say, after all, once something is on the internet it never really goes away. Still, I hope you enjoy reading it. And, should you desire, you can one-up Bishop and actually tell me what you think. Who knows, it might generate a bit of discussion between you and me and anyone else who might make their way here. With Joy and Thankfulness, Keith Sweeny, Texas May 2018

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