“And behold, one of those who were with Jesus stretched out his hand and drew his sword and struck the servant of the high priest and cut off his ear. Then Jesus said to him, ‘Put your sword back into its place. For all who take the sword will perish by the sword. Do you think that I cannot appeal to my Father, and he will at once send me more than twelve legions of angels?” (Matthew 26:51-53)
“And when he came, he went up to him at once and said, ‘Rabbi!’ And he kissed him. And they laid hands on him and seized him. But one of those who stood by drew his sword and struck the servant of the high priest and cut off his ear. And Jesus said to them, ‘Have you come out as against a robber? …’” (Mark 14:45-48).
“… He drew near to Jesus to kiss him, but Jesus said to him, ‘Judas, would you betray the Son of Man with a kiss?’ And when those who were around him saw what would follow, they said, ‘Lord, shall we strike with the sword?’ And one of them struck the servant of the high priest and cut off his right ear. But Jesus said, ‘No more of this!’ And he touched his ear and healed him” (Luke 22:47-51).
“Then Simon Peter, having a sword, drew it and struck the high priest’s servant and cut off his right ear. (The servant’s name was Malchus.) So Jesus said to Peter, ‘Put your sword into its sheath; shall I not drink the cup that the Father has given me?” (John 18:10-11)
Above are four eyewitness accounts of an incident at the Mount of Olives, four mentions of a certain servant of the high priest who had the misfortune of getting in the way of a sword swung in anger, four widely divergent views, but all in accord and none in contradiction.
Why does the Spirit see fit to mention Malchus four times (only once by name)—such a small detail in such an epic story? Who knows? May it not be because God has always been in the business of small details? May it not be because Malchus, and his relationship with Jesus, is as important as anyone else’s relationship with Jesus?
Here is a drama within a Drama, just as your life is, and mine. We do not know the sequel of Malchus’ life. But surely one man went home that night with a lot to think about.