Do you see some subtle consistencies found in the Bible?
In the last blog, we looked at the relationship between two of Jesus’ disciples, Peter and John. They seem to be constant companions, and must have been the best of friends. They along with the other disciples were with Jesus when He was arrested. All four gospel writers, writing at different times in different places, mention a specific event at the time of the arrest. “Then one of those standing near drew his sword and struck the servant of the high priest, cutting off his ear.” (Mark 14: 47) Matthew tells us the one who drew his sword was “…one of Jesus’ companions…” (Matthew 26: 51) Likewise, Luke says it was one of “…Jesus’ followers…” (Luke 22: 49). Only in the Book of John is the person who drew his sword clearly identified. “Then Simon Peter, who had a sword, drew it and struck the high priest’ servant, cutting off his right ear.” (John 18: 10) It’s easy for me to imagine that John would be standing close enough to his friend Peter to witness the event. This event gives me pause to think. It gives us some of those subtle consistencies so common in the Bible. So, let’s take a little side trip.
When Jesus was arrested, we know He had committed no crime, and that the Jewish leadership had to struggle to come up with some kind of offense. There’s an interesting exchange between the Jews and Pilate, the Roman. “So Pilate came out and asked, ‘what charges are you bringing against this Man?’ ‘If He were not a criminal,’ they replied, ‘we would not have handed Him over to you.’” (John 18: 29-30) Notice they couldn’t even come up with a specific crime! They will try to convict Him of blasphemy, and later argue that Jesus was claiming to be the king, but through it all, Pilate, who was certainly no friend of the Jews, still had to be honest and say, “…as for me, I find no basis for a charge against Him (Jesus).” (John 19: 6) This leads me back to the incident when Peter cut off the ear of the high priest’s servant. When the arrest was being made, it was not just officials from the chief priest and Pharisees, there was also a detachment of soldiers. So, from their point of view, this was a legal arrest. Chopping off the ear of an arresting official would have been a serious offense. Even though Jesus didn’t do it, it was done on His behalf, and He could have been charged. Why wouldn’t the Jews even mention this offense? They would have had plenty of witnesses!! To answer that question, we need to go to Luke’s version of the arrest. “But Jesus answered, ‘No more of this!’ And He touched the man’s ear and healed him.” (Luke 22: 51) Imagine the Jews mentioning this event, and Pilate asking to see the servant who ‘lost’ his ear!!
There’s one other thing I would like to mention about this event. Only in the account given to us by John, do we read the name of the servant who Peter struck. “…the servant’s name was Malchus.” (John 18: 10) Why did only John mention this, and how did he know the name? Mark and Matthew tells us that once Jesus was taken in to custody, “…everyone deserted Him and fled.” (Mark 14: 50). “…Then all the disciples deserted Him and fled.” (Matthew 26: 56) John gives us a little more information, telling us that “Simon Peter and another disciple (remember this is John) were following Jesus…” (John 18: 15) Now, if you continue reading this verse, you will see that John was “known to the high priest”. John was able to go into the high priest’s courtyard. “But Peter had to wait outside at the door. The other disciple (John) who was known to the high priest, came back, spoke to the girl on duty and brought Peter in.” (John 18: 16) John spoke to the servant and she immediately let Peter come in. Now we know why John mentioned the servant who ‘lost’ his ear. It was more personal to him. He was known by the high priest and would have been familiar with the servants in the household. All this careful attention to subtle detail certainly reinforces the veracity of the Bible.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Originally from Erie, Pennsylvania, Dan is a graduate of Otterbein College (now University). He graduated with a degree in education. From time to time Dan still substitute teaches. His interest in history led him to investigate the historical accuracy of the Bible. This, in turn, led to a full investigation of Apologetics.