10 Then Simon Peter, having a sword, drew it and struck the high priest’s servant, and cut off his right ear. The servant’s name was Malchus. 11 So Jesus said to Peter, “Put your sword into the sheath. Shall I not drink the cup which My Father has given Me?”
Then Simon Peter, having a sword,
Peter had previously said that he would die for Jesus (Mt 26:33-35). He had a short sword under his tunic.
drew it and struck the high priest’s servant,
Peter, by a rash act, took a swing with his sword at the high priest’s servant. He attempted to take things into his own hands.
and cut off his right ear.
The servant must have ducked with his head to the left side. Instead of cutting off his head, Peter cut off the servant’s right ear (Lu 22:50). Physician Luke indicated that Jesus restored Malchus’ right ear (Lu 22:51).
The servant’s name was Malchus.
John names the high priest’s servant as “Malchus.” No other gospel names this person. Neither do the other gospels name Peter as his assailant.
So Jesus said to Peter,
Jesus rebuked Peter for the second time this very night (Mt 26:33-35).
“Put your sword into the sheath.
Peter thought Jesus needed defending by human might, but he did not understand that it was the will of God for Jesus to die for the sins of the world. His action was rash, albeit well intentioned. It could have seriously compromised Jesus’ purpose on earth.
There was no aversion to this situation from Jesus. There was no concern by Jesus about Peter’s use of the sword but only that the Father’s eternal plan might be disrupted.
Shall I not drink the cup which My Father has given Me?”
The metaphor of a “cup” often carries the symbolism of a person’s destiny of trouble and suffering (He 2:9). Here the “cup” was Jesus’ death on the cross. He was in the business of death in the place of sinners. Thus the “cup” is an idiom for the cross of Christ (Lu 9:22).
The apostles currently did not understand the need for Jesus to die on the cross (Lu 24:25). Jesus clearly viewed that His death was in the Father’s plan from eternity.
Peter’s denial of the Father’s purpose for Jesus to die on the cross was both a misunderstanding and useless exercise. This was a voluntary surrender by Jesus because His mission was vicarious.
There are times when we need to use judgment with zeal for the Lord.
There was a stark contrast between the actions of Jesus and Peter in our passage. One action was self-will and the other was God’s will. Jesus intentionally submitted Himself to the Father’s eternal plan, but Peter acted by impulse, by unrestrained zeal. Jesus chose to die. Rash action is not wise as a follower of Christ. Peter’s failure to take note of God’s plan misled him to take actions out of the will of God.
Christians often use misdirected attempts to defend Christianity.