Peter, Cuts of the Guards Ear

We know that Peter can be impetuous and outspoken.  We’ve seen it several times in this study.

Today, we are going to cover a very impetuous act.

So, let’s set the scene.  The Last Supper has ended and Jesus has gone to the Garden of Gethsemane to pray.  He’s taken Peter, John and James with him into his inner sanctum, but they cannot stay away.

Jesus was betrayed with a kiss

The guards have arrived to arrest Jesus and Judas has betrayed him with a kiss.

Luke 22:49-51 says, “When they which were about him saw what would follow, they said unto him, Lord, shall we smite with the sword?  And one of them smote the servant of the high priest and cut off his right ear.  And Jesus answered and said, Suffer ye thus far. And he touched his ear, and healed him.”

Corrupt nature warps our conduct to extremes; we should seek for the Lord’s direction before we act in difficult circumstances.   {Matthew Henry Concise Bible Commentary.}  This is in reference to the religious leader’s arrest of Jesus, but it can also be used towards Peter.  He was corrupted by his zealous zeal and anger.  Boy, do I understand that.

Peter was present and set out to defend Jesus

We have seen that the apostles were but scantily armed, there being only two swords in their possession. Peter evidently carried one of these, and stood ready to make good his boast that he would suffer, and, if need be, die in his Lord’s service. evidently struck a downward blow at Malchus’ head, and Malchus would have been killed had he not dodged.  {The Fourfold Gospel: or A Harmony of the Four Gospels.}

By the healing of Malchus’ ear and the words spoken to Peter, Jesus shows that the sword is not to be used either to defend the truth or to advance his kingdom. Had he not thus spoken and acted, Pilate might have doubted his words when he testified that his kingdom was not of this world. While we know better than to rely upon the aid of the sword for the advance of truth, we are often tempted to put undue trust in other “carnal weapons” which are equally futile. Wealth and eloquence and elaborate church buildings have but little saving grace in them. It is the truth which wins.  {The Fourfold Gospel: or A Harmony of the Four Gospels.}

Peter cut off the guards ear

John is the gospel in which tells us that this impetuous person was Simon Peter.  In John 18:10 we’re told, “Then Simon Peter having a sword drew it, and smote the high priest’s servant, and cut off his right ear. The servant’s name was Malchus.”

Clearly, John was familiar with the household of the high priest to know and name his servant.

In Matthew 26:47-58 Jesus says to Peter, “Then said Jesus unto him, Put up again thy sword into his place: for all they that take the sword shall perish with the sword.   Thinkest thou that I cannot now pray to my Father, and he shall presently give me more than twelve legions of angels?”

With one touch Jesus reached up and healed the guards ear

Even in these final moments, Jesus is warning not to fight by the sword.  He reiterates that he can call on the heavens for help if he desires.

Peter was zealous in the defense of his friend, Jesus.  He wanted to protect him.  However, Jesus spoke, in essence, saying “stand back and let this happen,” before healing Malchus ear.  The high priest may have been angered by this, but there is no doubt they witnessed a miracle first hand and could not deny that there was something special and different about this man.

Who are you protective of and zealous about defending?



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