A Servant of the High Priest by Wil Triggs

Inspired by Jeese Meekins' message at Men's Gathering on April 7, here is a post-Easter musing I wrote of what might have happened to Malchus, after his encounter with Jesus in the garden and those post-Resurrection weeks, years even, that followed...

When his grandfather came into view, Janek dropped the olive branch he was playing with and ran to greet him. “Grandpa!” he exclaimed.

Malchus caught him in his arms and pulled him up to hug him. Little Lenka, too, joined them with a circle dance of joy around them. It did Malchus’ heart good to see his son’s son and daughter.

Yatniel heard his son and daughter greeting his father before he saw them. His and Malchus’ eyes locked on one another, a mix of surprise, familiar memories, rifts of the past, joys, sorrows, all there in an instant.

These visits were not common and often unexpected. There was never really any way to know when Malchus would be freed from service with enough time for the journey and visit.

Malchus’s son and the children’s father, Yatniel was a challenge and a sort of heartache for Malchus, but a good Roman son (and Yatniel was certainly that if he were anything) would never close the door to his father. It would be a shame to do so.

So here they all were—three generations together for a meal and time together. 

It was a holiday whenever Malchus appeared. They washed, ate, reclined. It was a welcome moment of rest. 

Until Janek begged to hear the story again. It happened every time he came.

Yatniel wanted to stop him. He hated this, but he also could not deny his children this rare time with their grandfather, so Malchus would tell his story, again . . .

We came to the garden—the priests, their servants, the military, enough of us to wage a little war. There was a lot of anger, hatred even, and when we got there, only a handful of people were in the garden. What was all this—so outnumbered were the band of people there. It was baffling really.

One of us stepped forward, embraced, kissed even, the one who had been kneeling and apart from the others. Some of the military guards advanced but stopped. There was some talk and then all of us fell down.

I was right there in the middle of it with my master.

We stood up and there was a small commotion. It happened quickly. One of his band drew a blade but instead of hitting his target, in the heat and darkness of the night and the moment, he struck me.

It was a single act followed by silence. Even I did not cry out, but my ear, the blood, the pain. It did hurt. It felt like water flowing into my head, but it was blood, my own blood and it was everywhere. I could not hear from that side of my throbbing head. I clutched where my ear had been and tried to stay the flow.

With all the men in our little army, no one responded with a weapon; no one in fact did anything. If it had been the high priest, there would surely have been an intervention, but since it was only his servant, nothing happened. The only one to respond was the one who had been kissed. He came to me, held my ear in his hand, and instantly made it right. The bleeding stopped as did the pain. I could hear better than ever before.

This was not the last time I would see him, but it was the last time I saw him before he died.

Yatniel held his tongue. There weren’t very many people left who were alive back then, Yatniel told himself. His father was one of the last. Some had moved away, or run away, but time passed. Soon, they would be gone. 

These others who had begun to follow the sect, surely they would die out. The stories would slow to a trickle or evolve into fables, and that would be the end of it.

Lenka was young, maybe too young to understand, but just starting to grasp the wonder of it. 

Janek did not want his father to know, but a fire was beginning to burn in his heart, burning and warming at once, whenever Malchus got to what came next—the next time Grandpa saw Jesus, after he had died. It meant that Grandpa would see him yet again and next time, everything would be healed—everything, not just an ear.

Soon it would be time to go. Janek and Lenka threw their arms around Malchus. Janek reached up to his Grandpa’s ear to touch the reality of it all. His finger traced the path of the scar from bottom to top, perfectly healed, but still there, a mark for all to see as long as Malchus walked this earth.