10 Then Simon Peter, having a sword, drew it and cut off the right ear of the servant of the high priest. Now his name was Malchus.
11 Then Jesus said to Peter: “Put the sword back into the sheath. Shall I not drink the cup which the Father has given to Me”.
Both Luke and John state that it was the right ear that Peter cut off. Assuming that Peter was right handed he would have to draw his sword across the servants face.
The servant would have been at the front of the arresting party, so he was in the front line of any attack from the disciples. He may have been showing a defiant stance, which Peter intended to cut down. Seeing the sword come towards him he would have sought to turn his head away, causing his ear to take the force of the blow.
It is only in Luke’s gospel that we read that Jesus healed the servant’s right ear.
But Jesus answered and said: “Stop this”, and touching his ear He made it whole – Luke 22.51.
This is the true character of the divinity of Jesus, that in the face of opposition, in the face of His own physical attacks, and in the face of His own imminent torture, Jesus reaches out to those who would kill Him to bring physical healing and restoration.
It is very probable that John may have known the name of the high priest’s servant, since John was probably known to the high priest. This was possible through his business as a fisherman.
By mentioning his name we see the genuineness of Johns’ account. It is a touch that gives validity to his being an eyewitness.
Do we know any more about Malchus? The answer is that he is not mentioned again in the rest of the New Testament. It is possible that Malchus was known to those to whom John was writing. Had he received Jesus as His Lord and Saviour and become part of the church? It would be nice to think so, but we do not know.
From this incident we learn that the ways of Jesus are very different from the ways of the world. Jesus said:
“To the one who strikes you on the cheek, offer him the other one also” – Luke 6.29.
Jesus lived this out in this incident in Gethsemane. We also must be encouraged to do things how Jesus would do them, not rushing into the world’s defensive mode. The ways of Jesus may also mean that we have to drink the same cup as Him.