Led Away By Night

Flaming torches made their way through a small, dark garden as a warm breeze cut through the thick humidity, rustling the leaves on trees, Torchbushes, and vines. Judas led the way as soldiers and Pharisees followed close behind. Servants lit their path. Of them was Malchus. Thoughts about this secretive arrest rolled through his head. The Pharisees must be right. How dare this man—Jesus—claim to be the son of God. As they approached the disciples, the soldiers and Pharisees halted, waiting like hungry tigers for the ideal moment to snatch their precious prey. Judas stepped forward.
“You betray the Son of Man with a kiss?” The deep, calm voice questioned this traitor.
Judas froze, looking intently into Jesus’ face. No one moved for several seconds as the two searched each other’s eyes. Judas’ eyebrows furrowed and his eyes shifted shamefully while Jesus, face intent, calm, and all-knowing, stared piteously at the man.
Jesus then turned his attention to the soldiers and Pharisees, interrupting the silence with, “Who is it you want?”
“Jesus of Nazareth,” they answered solemnly, determined to take who they had come for.
“I am He. Let these men go; I am the one you want.”
He won’t fight? Malchus’s eyes shifted to the ground. He gives himself willingly? Lost in his own thoughts, Malchus was oblivious to the panicky disciples, who slowly stepped forward to protect their master.
“No!” they whispered angrily, “If he won’t protect himself, we will.”
Malchus lifted his head just as a scuffle broke out. Shouting became clear and he caught sight of a man leaping towards him. Hate burned in the man’s dark eyes as he raised a gleaming knife into the air. Dumbfounded into speechlessness and fear, Malchus raised his hands in a pathetic attempt to defend himself; but a sharp pain quickly shot through the left side of his head and blood gushed from the giant gash. As he cried in pain and fell to his knees, an outcry against the vengeful act broke out among the Pharisees, soldiers, servants, and disciples.
“No more of this! Put away your sword!” A resonating voice quieted them. Even Malchus’s terrible shrieks turned to audible whimpers and gasps. Leaning down on one knee, Jesus lifted Malchus’s face, which dripped with blood and tears. He covered the dark fountain of blood with his bare hand, yet said nothing, simply staring into the servant’s pain filled eyes. Malchus’s head throbbed unbearably and he could feel the warm blood streaming down his face, from where his ear had been only minutes ago. But he couldn’t help focusing on the ocean blue eyes before him. They resembled an ever peaceful sea, soothing the soul upon wading in. He became unaware of any pain or noise. All faded but the curious face before him. Not a wrinkle clouded the comforting expression. Under the penetrating gaze Malchus became acutely aware of every spiteful, hurtful, or even evil act he ever committed. He felt ashamed, embarrassed, and uncomfortable; but why did he feel as though Jesus knew about those actions? It wasn’t possible that he could know. But he did know; and though He knew, Jesus’ face depicted pity and love, not disappointment, not frustration, nor anger.
Jesus released his face and Malchus noticed the absence of pain. He gripped at the side of his head. There was no blood, no scar. His ear was Cloudy Night Moonthere again, as if nothing had happened. Astonished whispers abounded for several seconds and Malchus could hear Jesus murmur to himself. “Shall I not drink the cup the Father has given me?” His voice echoed with melancholy and his eyes reflected sorrow. “Let us go,” he directed the soldiers and Pharisees.
As they made their way out of the garden, Malchus remained. The cup the Father has given me…Malchus failed to wrap his mind around that statement. Could this man actually be the Messiah? The promised one? Whose birth has been foretold over the ages? An ancient prophesy resonated through his mind: “He was oppressed and He was afflicted, yet He opened not His mouth.” The ultimate realization of who Jesus was struck him with such force that he gripped at a near tree trunk for support. Horror and fear coursed through his body as he remembered the rest of the prophecy. “He was led as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before its shearers is silent, so He opened not His mouth.” It was Him.