Midnight in Gethsemane.
Jesus has been praying alone. In the distance the disciples can see the flickering lights as a group of soldiers crosses the Kidron Valley. They are led by Judas.
It all happened so quickly. A brief conversation, a hurried kiss on the cheek, and the soldiers step forward to take Jesus away. In the confusion and semi-darkness, Peter knows he has to act, has to do something to protect his master. Grabbing his sword, he takes a wild swing, aiming at no one in particular.
He lopped off the ear of the high priest’s servant. No doubt the servant fell to the ground and began screaming in pain. Blood must have come spurting out of the hole where his ear had been. The soldiers would have drawn their swords, ready to kill Peter. But before things get out of hand, Jesus touches the servant’s ear, healing it instantly. And just like that, the crisis is over.
This is our Lord’s final healing miracle.
It happened when the soldiers came to arrest him.
In less than 12 hours, he will hang on a cross.
But first he heals the servant’s ear.
It is a tiny slice of life, a midnight encounter, a small miracle on the way to the big miracle. And it is a revelation of the true heart of Jesus. In this story we see how Jesus treats his enemies. When they come for him, he does not resist. When they are hurt, he heals them. He receives their attacks and then is led away to die for the very men who are putting him to death. He will not use his divine power to escape their clutches. He only uses his power to heal those who have been hurt by his followers.
That brings us to the final words of Jesus before he was arrested. “Put your sword away! Shall I not drink the cup the Father has given me?” (John 18:11). Jesus was always in charge, even in the garden in the darkness of the night, surrounded by the soldiers who came to take him away.
Jesus did what only the Son of God could do. He healed the one who came to hurt him.
Lord Jesus, teach me to trust you when I am tempted to lash out. Where there is hatred, let me sow love. Amen.
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