Posted by: Omar C. Garcia | February 8, 2009

The Malchus Incident

Last year, I attended a fellowship to celebrate the first anniversary of the sobriety of a young man living in a recovery community. The young man’s testimony was a woeful story of a childhood steeped in abuse, teenage years spent wandering the country as a runaway, and the eventual intersection of his broken life with a healing community. The young man’s expression bore the unmistakable signature of hardship. His body was stamped with an assortment of crude tattoos collected on his troubled journey.

As this young man related his story, he made a fist with his left hand and held it out for us to see. The letters c, t, e, and d were etched just below each of his four knuckles. Then he made a fist with his right hand and held it out. The letters r, e, j, e were tattooed on each of the knuckles on this hand. When he placed his left fist next to his right fist the message became clear — rejected.

Rejection is a terrible thing. No one likes rejection. Anne Murray spoke for all of us when she sang, “I was born to reject rejection. If only for today, Show me that you want me, Show me that you need me, Send a little love my way” (from her song “Send a Little Love My Way”).

The Bible certainly affirms the significance and worth of all human beings. In Psalm 8, David marveled at the fact that the God who created the universe considers us as more prized than the planets. Jesus also affirmed the worth of people. He spent time with those rejected by society and became known as “a friend of tax-collectors and sinners” (Matt. 11:19).

Malchus is one of my favorite Bible characters (Luke 22:50-51 and John 18:10-11). He was the slave of the high priest. As a slave, it’s safe to say that Malchus understood what it felt like to be considered less than important by others. Malchus had followed Judas and the crowd to the Garden of Gethsemane where Jesus and His disciples were praying. He stood in the crowd and watched as Judas betrayed Jesus with a kiss — the ultimate rejection. And then, when the soldiers stepped forward to arrest Jesus, Peter reached for a sword, took a wild swing, and cut off Malchus’ right ear. Here are three things that we can learn from the Malchus incident.

No Insignificant People | Jesus had spent a difficult night in prayer in the Garden (Luke 22:41-44). He knew that the excruciating agony of the cross was just hours away. Jesus felt the weight of things and certainly had valid reason for ignoring others. Yet, when Peter injured Malchus, Jesus forgot Himself and ministered to this bleeding slave. The Malchus incident reminds us that Jesus came to serve (Matt. 20:28 and John 13:14) and that there are no insignificant people in His eyes. Jesus always affirmed the worth of people, even publicans and sinners. We need to be like Jesus and affirm the worth and significance of others (see Phil. 2:3-4).

No Insignificant Problems | When Peter injured Malchus, Jesus did not walk away from the situation. Instead, He touched Malchus’ ear and healed him. The Malchus incident reminds us that Jesus cares about the problems of humanity. There are no insignificant problems in His eyes (read Matt. 9:35-36). Three invitations in Scripture remind us how much God cares about our problems. First, Jesus invites those who are weary and heavy-laden to come to Him (Matt. 11:28). Second, God invites us to cast all of our cares and anxieties upon Him (1 Peter 5:7). And third, God invites us to commit our way to Him (Ps. 37:5). We can confidently accept His invitations and lay our concerns at His feet. And, like Jesus, we should minister to others in their time of need.

No Insignificant Price | The Malchus incident reminds us that there are no insignificant people or problems because of the price Jesus paid for our salvation. Malchus was in the garden on the night before the crucifixion when Jesus was betrayed and arrested. Within hours of healing Malchus’ injured ear, Jesus paid the ultimate price to redeem us (1 Peter 1:18-19). The cross reminds us that sin is the most expensive thing in universe. Pardoned, the cost falls on Christ. Unpardoned, the cost falls on the sinner. Jesus affirmed our worth by giving His life on the cross. We must share the liberating message of the cross with those living under the burden of rejection.


  1. Thanks for such an article!! A rejection is really pain full. I am sure that, most people in the world had experiences about rejections. People are rejected anyway during Thayer lifes, some how people experienced it!!!
    Jesus Himself was rejected greatly & He taught His people it!!!

    As I understood through your teaching today, Jesus is our comforts, hopes, all!!!

    Thanks again.
    Great fully,

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