Heaven will be a place of learning and discovery. We won’t be omniscient, so we’ll have lots of questions. Like… Why did God allow Noah to load the two rattlesnakes?
More importantly, what happened to Bartimaeus? After receiving his sight, did he become a faithful follower of Jesus? Was he among the “hundred twenty” (Acts 1:15) before Pentecost? How about the Gadarene? Did he become a missionary to the Decapolis? Was the once-demon-possessed a Spirit-filled witness for Jesus? And the Leper? Did he become an evangelist, telling all about the cleansing power of the Holy Spirit?
I plan to plop down on a park bench beside the River of Life and interview Abraham and Moses, David and Jonah, Peter and Paul, Lazarus and Malchus? What was it like? What did you see and feel? What’s the rest of the story?
After sharing the Passover with His disciples, Jesus took the eleven Apostles out of Jerusalem, across the Kidron Valley, and up the Mount of Olives to the Garden of Gethsemane. There, in that quiet olive grove, Jesus prayed… and prayed… and prayed.
The serenity, the tranquility, was destroyed by the crashing and clanging of the mob. Judas knew where to find the Master. They had rested and prayed in the quiet garden many times. With the betrayer in the lead, “a company of soldiers and some officials from the chief priests and the Pharisees and came there with lanterns, torches, and weapons” (John 18:3).
A signal had been agreed upon. “ ‘The one I kiss, he’s the one; arrest him.’ So immediately he went up to Jesus and said, ‘Greetings, Rabbi!’ and kissed him” (Matthew 26:48-49). As the high priest’s hooligans “took hold of him and arrested him”(Mark 14:46), Jesus calmly inquired, “Judas, are you betraying the Son of Man with a kiss?” (Luke 22:48). Turning to the throng, Jesus said, “Have you come out with swords and clubs, as if I were a criminal, to capture me? Every day I was among you, teaching in the temple, and you didn’t arrest me” (Mark 14:48).
With that, Peter grabbed a sword and, taking careful aim, took a wild swing at the closest temple guard. He hoped to plant the blade in the middle of man’s forehead, but the fisherman missed his mark, and only cut off Malchus’s right ear (John 18:10).
All four Gospel-writers record the amputated ear (Matthew 26:51, Mark 14:47, Luke 22:50, John 18:10). Only the physician, Doctor Luke, records the healing. For a moment, Malchus was permanently disfigured, irreparably scarred. Then, compassionately, gently, graciously Jesus touched Malchus, erasing the damage and reattaching the severed ear (Luke 22:51).
The mob arrested Jesus, putting Him in heavy shackles, then noisily marched him back to Jerusalem for trial and execution.
But Malchus… What’s the rest of the story about Malchus? Why would John have remembered his name (John 18:10) after so many years if there wasn’t more to the story? Did the healing touch of Jesus change the man’s heart? Did Malchus repent, turning to Jesus for salvation and hope of eternal healing? Did Malchus become a faith-filled member of First Church in Jerusalem? Did Malchus and Peter become prayer partners? Might Malchus have fallen remorsefully and repentantly at the same rock where, moments earlier, Jesus prayed, “Abba, Father! All things are possible for you. Take this cup away from me. Nevertheless, not what I will, but what you will” (Mark 14:36).
Someday, in the sweet by-and-by, I hope to meet our brother Malchus. We’ll sit together for hours and recount the dark night in the Garden when he first saw the light.