Sunday, February 4, 2018

In the Garden

As we read the eighteenth chapter of John's Gospel we find ourselves with Jesus as he leads some of his disciples into the garden.  There the minions of the high priest find Jesus who asks them, "Who are you looking for?"

When Jesus tells them he is Jesus of Nazareth they are taken aback--  literally.  But they picked themselves up from the ground and asked again, receiving the same reply.

But Peter.  Impetuous Peter, prepared apparently for any eventuality, had a sword.  Now I am puzzled.  Why in the dickens did a fisherman and disciple of the Christ come to the garden armed?
Why, to defend his Lord and Master, evidently, for he drew his weapon and struck Malchus upside the head, severing his ear.  No, no.  Specifically he cut off the man's right ear.

Two immediate responses by Jesus.  The first to Peter, "Put away your sword. Would you prevent me from pursuing the will of the Father?"  The second, an action: he replaced the ear and healed the wounded man, thereby demonstrating his love for a) his enemies, and b) the lowliest of men, for Malchus was a slave.

Anyway, I tried to recreate the action in my mind's eye, to picture the relative positions of the Lord, and Peter, and Malchus.  (And yes, Judas Iscariot was a witness to the scene as well, not as Christ's disciple, but as the guide to Caiaphas's crew.)  All kinds of questions.  Was Peter left-handed?  Was the ear lying on the ground or was it dangling by bits of flesh?  How many people were present?  Jesus and his eleven, a contingent of Roman soldiers under their commander, the high priest's people.  A bunch.

Jesus acted without dissembling and without rancor, and he knew full well what lay ahead for him.
We get all defensive, angry and bent out of shape if someone doesn't agree with us?  Can that be right?


Sharkbytes said...

I always was struck with the thought that living in times when swords were standard weapons, a lot of ears must have been cut off since they stick out, and the skull probably deflected many a less-powerful strike. Van Gogh... others. A non-fatal (probably for the most part) wound that would have been quite a memorial to "carry" for the rest of your life.

vanilla said...

Sharkey, thus a glancing blow intended to remove a head merely severed an ear? I don't doubt Peter's zealous intent to do mortal damage. What carnage might have ensued had he succeeded in that? At any rate I deem it fun to think about biblical things not mentioned in Sunday School class. Blessings.

Vee said...

When the disciples are pictured going hither and yon with Jesus, we never see their swords. Concealed carry, no doubt.

vanilla said...

Vee, perhaps Peter was the designated sword-bearer?