And What About Malchus?

Today’s Journey Through Scripture Readings: 2 Chronicles 30-31; John 18:1-18

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 told Peter, “Put your sword away! Am I not to drink the cup the Father has given me?” 12 Then the company of soldiers, the commander, and the guards from the Jewish leaders took Jesus into custody. They bound him 13 and led him first to Annas. He was the father-in-law of Caiaphas, the high priest that year. (14 Caiaphas was the one who had advised the Jewish leaders that it was better for one person to die for the people.)

Imagine if you can. You are in the army. Well, you are sort of in the army. The real army is the occupying force that is in control of your country. You are actually part of a paramilitary group passing themselves off as servants of the high priest. You are sitting around the “barracks,” minding your own business when your unit is ordered out to go make an arrest. This would be pretty unusual. Remember, you are in no way an official military or police group. But, being the good “soldier” you are, you go out with the intention of following your orders. Hey, its a diversion and in an era where entertainment options were limited, any diversions were welcome. What did you care if it was to go out and arrest some guy that was probably doing something really wrong? He had to be, why else would the high priest want him arrested. So off you go to the Garden of Gethsemane.

When you arrive there is a bit of a ruckus going on. You are there to arrest this man named Jesus. There was a stir earlier in the week when he came riding into Jerusalem on a donkey. It reminded lots of people of Judas Maccabees from the history stories. You don’t know what Jesus did and you don’t really care.

As the arrest is about to happen, Jesus admits he is the one we have come for, one of his disciples, the one called Peter, pulls out a sword, swings it and cuts off your ear!!! Man, that hurts. And now, to say you are angry, what an understatement. You are ready to tear this guy Peter limb from limb. You also have a whole unit of paramilitary “soldiers” who are ready to back you up. Peter and his little mob don’t stand a chance.

That is when the unexpected happens. Jesus, the guy you are there to arrest, bends over, picks up the ear and places it back on your head. Not only does the ear stay in place, the pain is gone too. It’s like nothing ever happened. How could you go tear this Peter guy apart now?


There is nothing more known of Malchus. While he is mentioned in all four Gospels, only Luke and John mention his healing and only John tells his name. None tell us what happened later though we do know he was canonized by both the Catholic and Orthodox traditions.

There are legends about Malchus. One says he ran away from Caiaphas had a few brushes with death from his pursuers and ended up living out the remainder of his life as a faithful disciple of Jesus.

Most names fade away into history. Malchus’ name did not. While none of the Gospel writers gave his name, it is clear the early church did know of him and seemed to speak favorably of him.

I cannot help but believe that the second Jesus put his ear back on his head, Malchus’ life changed in ways he would never have expected and he made the decision to become a disciple of Jesus.

Two thousand years from now, no one may remember our names. But, because of faithfulness, God will still know us just as I believe God knows Malchus. Thanks be to God.

Have a blessed day in the Lord.

With Joy and Thankfulness,

Copyright 2018, J. Keith Broyles, All Rights Reserved


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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