Malchus and Peter

John 18:10-11.

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.

Then said Jesus unto Peter, Put up thy sword into the sheath: the cup which My Father hath given Me, shall I not drink it?

Peter simply couldn’t stand by and watch while his Master was arrested! A man of action for his entire life, he pulled his sword out of its sheath and attached Malchus, the servant of the High Priest. Malchus must have put up a good bit of resistance, for all that Peter was able to do was to slice off his ear.

I was surprised at the amount of commentary I found on this act of Peter. Some have construed it to have a great deal more meaning than others: Since Malchus was a servant (slave) of the High Priest, Peter was symbolically attacking the religious authority of the day; that it was cowardice on Peter’s part, since, if he were holding the sword in his right hand, he could only have cut off the right ear from behind; and many other ideas which seem to me to be stretching the importance of this act.

Rather, I’m thinking Peter was remembering his promise that he would go even unto death in defense of Jesus (Matt. 26:35) and that his attack was impulsive and carried out on the nearest victim.

Some have wondered why any of the disciples carried a weapon. It is probable that Peter’s sword was a short sword, not the long one of the centurions; that it was easily concealed by his clothing; that it had to do with his work as a fisherman. Also, this was a time, like our own, when thieves and murderers were ubiquitous. Having some sort of weapon was only common sense.

John doesn’t tell us the rest of that small moment, but Luke 22:51 does. Jesus rebuked Peter (“Suffer ye thus far!” In other words, “That’s enough!”) and He touched Malchus’ ear and restored it.

He then addressed Peter again, telling him to sheath his sword, and saying, “You must not try to keep Me from doing the work that the Father has appointed to Me. The time has come. There will be no more avoiding the priests and the Pharisees.”

Attacking Paul

The judaizers from Jerusalem  not only attacked what Paul taught; they also attacked him personally, impugning his integrity and calling his apostleship into question.

I think it’s pertinent that we never hear the names of these rascals, but Paul is known around the world and through the centuries.

If they were to be successful in shaking the new believers in Galatia in their faith, then they had to shake their faith in Paul. Why, you may wonder, would anyone want to do either of those things?  What did the judaizers have to gain? Was it a matter of authority and control?  Were the judaizers simply untaught themselves? Did they truly believe that the Law still needed to be observed in order for people to obtain salvation?

Probably a little of all the above.  I’m inclined toward their dislike of giving up authority, myself. It will be interesting to see what we learn as we walk through the book.

When Paul heard what was going on in Galatia, he wasted no time in penning a strong reproof, gentled with great love, to his converts.  In fact, he was in such a hurry to write to them that he didn’t wait for an amanuensis (secretary) as was his usual practice, but he wrote the letter with his own hand. Toward the end of the book, he refers to how large a letter it is.  Paul very likely had some kind of vision problem, and wrote in large letters, taking up lots of manuscript. That he did it in his own writing was a proof of his strong desire to help the Galatians get back on track.

The Birds

deblinda

The three of us were enjoying some beach time.  We got a little hungry around noon.  Because we are amazingly well-organized, we had brought along a box of crackers, some Colby cheese, some peanut butter.  We even stopped and bought a cheap knife on the way to the beach so we could slice the cheese. We each had a bottle of water, and we figured we were good to go.

Davina pulled the crackers, cheese, and knife out of her bag. She handed the cheese to Deb, who set to work making tidy, neat little slices. Deb is your consummate hostess.  She wondered what she could use for a cutting board. I’m actually surprised that she didn’t put the cheese slices in a pretty little swirl on a paper towel for each of us 🙂

Good thing she didn’t.  While Davina was crackling the cracker wrapper, and Deb was slicing cheese,  the foraging scout for The Mob came around and cocked his beady little eyes at us.

Then he signalled his buddies. “Squawk!  Food!!  Right here! Right here!”duck the gulls

A whole flock of his closest relatives dropped on us like an open bag of feathers, swooping down from the front and the back and practically sitting in our laps, looking for a handout. One of them grabbed a cracker right out of Davina’s hand, and when she hollered, the gulls jumped and took two steps away from us.

“Crazy ladies, guys. Gotta be careful. One has a knife.”

They never took their eyes off of us.  They watched intently while, using a backhanded technique, we passed cheese and crackers, then peanut butter crackers, back and forth to each other. Deb hid behind her magazine to eat, and I cupped my snacks in my hands. Still they watched. . .waiting. . .knowing. . . and yet–they were too birdbrained to figure out exactly what was going on. hiding

Slowly, they began to move away. They hadn’t found the fabulous feeding grounds they’d been expecting.  But one stayed back, standing maybe three feet away, never taking his eyes away from our hands and faces.

“Davina, give me a couple of crackers,” I said. “Let’s see if we can get them to come back.”  I held the crackers between  my thumb and pointer fingers, as high up as my arm would go. gulls

I have very short arms.

Then we waited maybe two seconds before the mob re-gathered, clamoring for whatever they could grab.

They reminded me of the gulls in Finding Nemo.  “Mine! Mine! Mine! Mine!

Whoosh!  A big ugly dude grabbed the cracker out of my fingers, and the rest of the birds sat there looking at me.

“So, is that all ya got, lady? None for the rest of us?  Come on, that’s not fair!  Where’s ours? Huh? Huh??”

Eventually they moved off to greener pastures, but the sentry stayed with us for a while. He was not happy. He kept shaking his head at me. sentinel gull

Deb and Davina took a walk, leaving me alone with my jailer.  He kept hopping up closer, closer, trying to see if I still held anything on my lap.

I think I’ll have nightmares tonight.