This week, I want us to look at one of the healings that Jesus performed in His earthly ministry. In fact, it is the very last healing that He ever performed in the flesh, according to the Gospel writers. It is the Healing of the High Priest’s servant’s ear, a man named Malchus.
So, let’s look at a couple of different accounts of this event, beginning in the Gospel of Matthew (Matthew 26:47-56).
Verse 47 begins with the following phrase— “And while He was still speaking.” Now it is important to know what He was speaking to His disciples when the following event occurred. It was when Jesus was warning His disciples to watch & pray when He came back from prayer and found them sleeping.
Of course, we know that Jesus was telling His disciples—particularly Peter—what to do in order to be ready for the temptation that was coming—specifically the temptation to deny Him and turn their backs on Him when He was arrested. But what we might not so easily recognize is that it also was what Jesus had to do to be ready for His temptation that ranged from Judas’ betrayal that was about to occur all the way to His crucifixion.
Now regarding this betrayal at hands of Judas, we need to know that betrayals like this are not something that should catch us off guard. As Jesus said, “A servant is no greater than his master—if they persecuted Me, they will persecute you.” (John 15:20). I feel too often we get blindsided by these “Judas kisses,” but they are really to be expected. Church, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you as though some strange thing has happened to you! What would be truly “strange” is if a believer went their whole life and never got the “Judas kiss.”
But I want you to notice in Matthew 26:50 that Jesus called Judas “friend” here when He asked why he had come: You see, it was not that Jesus did not know the answer to this question or that Judas was betraying Him. He knew exactly why they had come. You see though, Jesus was a friend of sinners. His perception does not change of us when we are at our worst. He still befriends us to see us repent. An interesting side note, I think.
So, when this sign given by Judas was recognized, those with him took Jesus. But we see in verse 51 that one of those who was with Jesus (whom we know from another gospel was Simon Peter) drew his sword and cut off the ear of Malchus.
Now we will see this in a moment, but in Luke 22:49 we see that Jesus’ disciples actually asked if they should use their swords when they saw what was about to happen. Then we see how Jesus did not either tell them no or at least they did not wait until He told them no.
But what we need to understand is that a “sword” in their days was the equivalent of a handgun today. So, you could say that Jesus’ disciples were “packin’.” And interestingly enough—because Jesus had just mentioned that the time had come where having a sword is necessary (See Luke 22:36-38). However, when His disciples heard Him say this, they gathered up their two swords and showed them to the Rabbi, and He said, “It is enough.” Many read that as Jesus saying that a couple of swords was enough, but others see Jesus as saying, “That’s it! Enough of that!” In other words, enough of that mentality of the world that “counts on” natural, carnal things to protect and provide for us.
So, here is the point of these verses: Jesus was not advocating gun control in Matthew 26:52. We have just seen that His disciples even having their “guns” was at the Master’s approval and even His recommendation. But the lesson He gives His disciples here is that we do not lean on our own natural weapons for our defense. We trust that the Lord is our defender, and do not take matters into our own hands. Not that we don’t ever use weapons, but we don’t put our trust in them.
In fact, Jesus went on to say in Matthew 26:52 that the one who chooses to take the sword was the one who would die by it. What does that mean to you? I believe it illustrates to us that whatever we choose to put our trust in to protect us is what will then have to become our protection. We know this because Jesus went on to explain to His disciples in verse 53 that if He really needed to be delivered from these guys, then He could just call on a legion of His Father’s angels to do so.
So, the point is clear: we ought to put our trust in God and not in any physical, carnal device to protect us. Now this does not mean that we don’t use wisdom either. Again, Jesus had actually told them to get some swords at one point. No, it is obvious that He was stating that we need to know when to take it up and when to keep it in its sheath. As in everything, we must be led by the Holy Spirit. Amen.
Now I want us to go over and look at John’s account of this: In John 18:1-11, we have a little bit of a different take on what transpired early that morning. And one of the things that are unique about John’s account is what transpired in verses 4-8:
In these verses we see that when Jesus asked them whom they were seeking and they responded with “Jesus of Nazareth,” His response of “I am He” caused this group of men to draw back and fall to the ground. Someone might ask— “What was it about Him saying, ‘I am He’ that would yield such power?” Well, notice that the word “He” is italicized. That means that it was not in the original texts. Therefore, Jesus just said, “I Am!” Therefore, it was through Jesus declaring those same words that brought Moses to his knees from the burning bush, that caused these men to fall down. Likewise, just like when Jesus said, “I Am” they drew back and fell on the ground, sickness and disease and all other carnal things cannot stand in the presence of the Great I AM! The name of God is enough to cause the armies of hell to fall to the ground. Amen! What an awesome testament to the power of God’s name!
In John 18:7-8, we can see that Jesus’ question of who they were seeking was a strategic question of wisdom: He was not asking this because He didn’t know the answer, but rather to use their answer to give His disciples a way of escape. Again, Jesus was thinking more about others than He was about Himself. I love the acronym for “JOY”—Jesus, Others, then Yourself. This was one of the reasons Jesus was anointed with the oil of gladness more than His companions.
Jesus’ words in John 18:9 are a good word of wisdom for all of us with ministries: those who follow us and attend our meetings are there for no other reason than God gave them to us. We think we go to a certain church because we chose to, but in many of these cases, it is because God gave us to the ministry. And if we are there because of God, then we ought to have a different mentality on what we do there. On the flipside of this, if we are the ministry that people are sent to, then we should never look at people as our source. God is the One who adds to the church and He alone gives the increase! Amen!
Now in verse 10, we have the apostle John’s account of the cutting off of the High Priest’s servant’s ear: He says, “Then Simon Peter…” Interestingly enough, none of the other gospel writers mention the name either of the ardent disciple or of his victim. But there is a reason for this.
First of all, John as usual was throwing Peter under the bus. This just shows how carnal even these great men of God could be at times. As much as John used to harp on love, he still had a little rivalry going on. (Compare John 20:4-6; 21:18-22) You see, they had faults and problems like we do but they were still mighty men of God. And why? Because look at Peter’s action here: He was courageous! He was bold! He was committed and He was faithful! But even though he was ready to die for Him right here, he was the very one who would deny him just a few verses later. This is what the Lord needs—not perfect people, but people with perfect hearts (Second Chronicles 16:9).
Secondly, John said that “The servant’s name was Malchus.” The likely reason John knew this man’s name was because the apostle John was "known to the high priest" (John 18:15-16). Therefore, the mention of the servant's name by him is quite natural. Of course, none of us even knows who Malchus was—but how many of you know that we do not have to know who He is to be happy that he got healed? Which is exactly what happened: In Luke’s account (Luke 22:51), we are told— “And He touched his ear and healed him.”
So, here is my point: This healing of Malchus’ ear teaches us two very important lessons:
This is a point the apostle Paul made in Romans 5:6-11 when he made the argument consisting of “How much more?” In other words, if God so loved the world that He gave us Jesus when we were lost and enemies of God, then how much more will He pour out His love on those who love and fear Him?
Yes, when we study the Gospels, we discover that time and time again, Jesus healed them ALL! (See Matthew 4:23, 9:35, 10:1, 12:15, 14:36). And the “all” here had to have certainly included people who had no idea who He was and even those who rejected the truth that He presented to them. Now you know that most of those people who came to Him that were sick, ill and infirmed were that way because of both natural and spiritual things. For instance, you know there was a good portion of those people who had been eating the wrong things and not exercising etc. and therefore brought their own physical problems on themselves, right? Yet Jesus healed them all! Also, you know that under the covenant they had with God, they were promised healing if they obeyed His commandments, etc., but if they didn’t, He would not take sickness and disease away from the midst of them. Therefore, you have to know a lot of these Jews were sick to start off with because they had not been keeping His commandments etc. Yet Jesus healed them all! Amen.
You see, I have heard of many people who have gone to healing meetings in our generation just to criticize and find fault and walk away being completely healed. Now that is grace, church!
Now for the second question:
We see Jesus doing this throughout His ministry. In Matthew 15:30-31 we are told how Jesus healed all who came to Him, and listed in this group of sick and infirmed persons was the “maimed.” Matthew said that the “maimed” were “made whole”! This is what happened with Malchus! He had his ear severed from him and God healed him (i.e. the maimed was made whole) Glory to God!
Those of you who regularly attend our church know that we have been talking about the power of seedtime & harvest and how to bear fruit in our lives. Well, today, I want to tell you about a Christmas miracle that occurred exactly like these things we have been learning. I want to teach you how Mary conceived a miracle and the Word was made flesh in her life.
You know, we all desire to see God’s Word—His promises—manifested in our life. Yes, we desire that His Word be made flesh—that is, real, tangible, etc.—in our lives. As the apostle John said in his first epistle—he was declaring to them the things which he had heard, seen, looked upon, and handled concerning the Word of life. Likewise, we want to experience the truth and not just hear it. Amen?
Well, there is a girl who gave birth (i.e. manifested) exactly what we all desire to experience, and her name was Mary. So, I want us today to look at what transpired in this young lady’s life that caused her to conceive her miracle.
THE WORD IN THE BEGINNING
But let’s begin in the first chapter of the Gospel of John, and we will go through the first 14 verses:
Verses 1&2 say, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God.”
Here, we have an obvious reference to both the account of Genesis 1:1 (i.e. “In the beginning”) and of Jesus Christ, the Son of the Living God, in His preincarnate position as “the Word”—or, the Logos. Now the term “Logos” basically describes “a statement, the expression or transmission of a thought, or a divine revelation or declaration.” The Scriptures are oftentimes what is being referred to when the word “logos” is used in the Word of God, but the fact is that both God’s Word and Jesus are one and the same in that they both reveal and express God’s love, goodness, grace, and truth.
Notice as well that the Word was said to be “before all things” (Compare Colossians 1:17). Likewise, God’s Word is already true, self-existent and eternal. It’s true—the only true reality—whether we see any fruit of it in our lives or not. This is critical to understand because the very source of everything is the Word. So, if we do not esteem the Word, then we can essentially miss our miracle. This is reiterated in the next verse.
Notice that John goes on to say in verse 3— “All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made.”
So, in the beginning, we see God making the heavens and the earth with His Word—that is, by speaking into existence all of the things that we see today. This is how God framed the world we live in today, by His Words. And notice that John said that without His Word nothing was made that was made—teaching us that God’s creative power is His Word. So, if we want to see life, light and love created in our life, we cannot have it apart from His Word.
John 1:4-9 goes on to say, “In Him was life, and the life was the light of men. And the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it. There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. This man came for a witness, to bear witness of the Light, that all through him might believe. He was not that Light, but was sent to bear witness of that Light. That was the true Light which gives light to every man coming into the world.”
Again, we see an obvious reference to the Beginning (i.e. Genesis): First of all, we see that life originated from within Him. Secondly, we see a reference to the very first words God spoke in the beginning— “Let there be light.” Many believe that the literal rendering here is— “Light be!” So, the Lord looked out into the darkness—to the world which was without form and empty—and called forth what this world needed, LIGHT.
And, church, this is how God’s children ought to operate as well—calling forth the things we desire to see with our mouths. But someone might say, “Well, I just believe it calling it like I see it.” Well then, that’s exactly the way you will continue to see it. That’s not what God did. He called into existence what He desired to see, which in this case was LIGHT.
Verses 10-13 go on to say, “He was in the world, and the world was made through Him, and the world did not know Him. He came to His own, and His own did not receive Him. But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name: who were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.”
Likewise, Jesus was not born on this earth simply of blood, nor by the will of the flesh or the will of man; He was born of God. We see this in the Gospel of Luke when the angel appeared to Mary, explaining to her that this miracle would occur the same way that the original creation occurred—by the Holy Spirit overshadowing her and the Word conceiving in her. (We will get into this in a moment)
And finally, in verse 14, John said, “And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.”
So, here we see again Jesus being described as the Mighty Logos, and John goes on to say He became flesh and dwelt among us. The word used for “dwelt” here literally means that He “tabernacled” among us. So, I see Jesus as being the One that even the Tabernacle itself was a type and shadow of. Glory!
But notice that it was this Word—the One who was, is, and evermore shall be the beginning and the end, the Alpha and the Omega, the Life, the Light, the Creator, and the Only True and Living God—it is this One who became flesh and dwelt among us!
But how did this miracle happen? How was the Word made flesh? In answering these questions, I believe we will find the answer of how God’s Word is manifested in our lives.
We’ve looked at these verses in John one, that echo the verses in Genesis one. So, let’s go over to Luke chapter one, and see how Mary conceived the Word—the Light of the world—in her life:
Verses 26-28 tell us: “Now in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent by God to a city of Galilee named Nazareth, to a virgin betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David. The virgin’s name was Mary. And having come in, the angel said to her, ‘Rejoice, highly favored one, the Lord is with you; blessed are you among women!’”
Notice that the first word Gabriel spoke to Mary was “Rejoice.” Church, rejoicing is such a significant part to conceiving a miracle in our lives because, as you have probably heard me say before, our attitude determines our altitude. If we are downcast, depressed and discouraged, our hearts are not the fertile ground they need to be to have strength to conceive seed.
Now we have an interesting parallel here: Do you remember how Hebrews 11:11 said, “By faith Sarah herself received strength to conceive seed, and she bore a child when she was past the age, because she judged Him faithful who had promised”?
Now we know from studying the account in Genesis chapter 18 when this happened that Sarah was far from being full of faith when she initially heard the Lord’s messengers say that she would conceive and bear a child. We are told she actually laughed. Now we do not know if this was the kind of laugh that scoffed at the Word of the Lord or not. I personally do not believe it was. I believe it was more of a laugh that was saying, “Are you serious? Really?”—certainly not a laugh of “What a joke!” There is big difference in that. And the reason I believe this is because after Isaac was born, Sarah named her son, Isaac, meaning “laughter” and said, “God has made me laugh, and all who hear will laugh with me.” (Genesis 21:6). So, Sarah actually rejoiced in the promise of the Lord that she would bear her own child.
And guess what that did? Her rejoicing was the key to receiving the strength to conceive seed, for as Nehemiah 8:10 says, “The joy of the Lord is our strength.” Amen! So, by first telling Mary to “Rejoice,” the Lord was positioning her to receive the strength to conceive His Word! Amen!
Do you remember what the Lord prophesied in Isaiah 54, immediately after giving us the great redemptive chapter of Isaiah 53? He says in verse 1— “Sing, O barren, You who have not borne! Break forth into singing, and cry aloud, you who have not labored with child! For more are the children of the desolate than of the married woman, says the Lord.” We see again here that the key to the barren bearing children is found in this word “Rejoice!”
So, I believe we are seeing a pattern here: In order for us to receive the strength to conceive God’s Word, our attitude must be that of joy. We have to be excited at His Word. We must get thrilled with His Word. We must have a heart filled with praise, thanksgiving and worship for what the Lord has promised us. This is where the strength will come in us for the supernatural conception of our miracle! Amen!
And we know that Mary did this because later on in this chapter, Mary indeed did sing and rejoice in God her Savior (see Luke 1:46-55).
But that’s not all Gabriel greeted her with— He also called her “highly favored one” and told her both that “God was with her” and she was “blessed among women.” Let’s quickly look at what exactly we should be rejoicing in:
In Luke 11:27-28, we have an account of Jesus teaching, “and it happened, as He spoke these things, that a certain woman from the crowd raised her voice and said to Him, ‘Blessed is the womb that bore You, and the breasts which nursed You!”
Now we know that this woman was referring to Mary, the one who bore and nursed Jesus. She was evidently overwhelmed at the miracle she had seen of Jesus casting out the mute spirit and then hearing the words of wisdom that proceeded from His mouth. So, she apparently could not contain her excitement anymore and interrupted Jesus’ teaching with this exclamation.
Now do you think that she might have been speaking out of what she could relate to? She, obviously being a woman, was probably thinking—“Wow! Whoever the lady is who had the privilege of giving birth to this Man was super blessed! What an honor to carry and nurse this prophet that God has sent to us!”
But we still do this today! We look at the Mary’s, the John the Baptist’s, the Peter, James, John’s, etc., and think that these people were more blessed than us because they got to be a part of the Word being made flesh and walking among us.
But notice what Jesus responded to this woman’s statement with: He said, “More than that, (STOP!)”
More than what? More than the virgin Mary, who was favored and chosen by God to mother our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ! Wow! So what Jesus was saying here is that as blessed as Mary was and is to be chosen to be the mother of our Messiah, there are those out there who are more blessed than even her!
Now this is not an attempt to diminish or take away from her, for Mary was a blessed woman to be handpicked to be a handmaiden for the Lord, but this is an attempt to raise your value and make you to realize how these saints of old are not more blessed than you and I are today.
So, who is it that Jesus said is more blessed than even Mary? He goes on to say, “More than that, blessed are those who hear the Word of God and keep it!”
Now we’ve been talking for over a month now about the importance of the Word of God in our lives. We have been seeing how having the Word sown in our hearts is what produces kingdom results in our life. Well here, we see this reinforced because Jesus is essentially saying that those who apply this kingdom principle into their lives (i.e. hearing the Word and keeping it) are the ones who are blessed all the more. Amen!
So, since Jesus is the Word of God, we can see what Jesus was alluding to: If hearing and keeping the Word of God is like it being sown into our hearts, then Jesus was basically saying that those who hear the Word and keep it are doing the same thing that Mary did.
You see, she physically carried the Word of God, Jesus Christ, in her womb, but those who hear and keep the Word are carrying the Word of God, Jesus Christ, in their hearts spiritually. Glory to God! Therefore, every one of us who have received the Lord Jesus Christ, the Word of God, into our hearts are doing spiritually what Mary did physically—we are carrying Christ in us, the hope of glory! (Colossians 1:27)
Therefore, we can be confident that just as Gabriel declared to the virgin Mary that she was “highly favored,” that she was “blessed among women,” and that “God was with her,” we can rejoice in the truth that we too carry the same blessedness and favor that she did and that we carry God in us. It doesn’t matter what our experiences were or what our situation is; we are blessed and highly favored because God is with us! Amen!
Now this greeting provoked something in Mary. Verse 29 says, “But when she saw him, she was troubled at his saying, and considered what manner of greeting this was.”
And this is exactly how many of God’s people react when they hear God’s messengers telling them that about the good news of Christ. They cannot “conceive” how God highly favors them, how God is with them, and how He would bless them. But again, the key to conceiving the miracle is in rejoicing in the gospel before we see the manifestation. We must get happy and believe in our hearts the good news of all that Christ is in us and all that we are in Him no matter what our experiences say to us. Hallelujah!
Then the angel said to her in verses 30-33: “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God...” So, Gabriel encouraged her not to be afraid, and there is a specific reason for this: It is because fear stunts our faith. In short, he was saying to her— “Don’t fear because you’ve found favor.” Church, I’ll tell you—When you discover the favor you have with God, fear will be a distant memory.
And in verse 31 Gabriel continues to say, “And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bring forth a Son, and shall call His name Jesus. He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Highest; and the Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David. And He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of His kingdom there will be no end.”
So, what Gabriel was essentially explaining to Mary was that the Word was going to conceive in her. The same WORD that created everything we see today will be the same WORD that will create this miracle in us. Glory!
And notice Mary’s response to this news and then Gabriel’s reply: “Then Mary said to the angel, ‘How can this be, since I do not know a man?’ And the angel answered and said to her, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Highest will overshadow you; therefore, also, that Holy One who is to be born will be called the Son of God.”
Does this sound familiar? This is exactly what was happening in Genesis chapter one when God spoke light into existence—the Holy Spirit was hovering over the face of the waters. What this shows us is that while the Word has its part in the miracle working process, the Holy Spirit has His part. He is the One who performs the Word—the power of God that brings into manifestation the Word spoken. Amen! Thank God for the Holy Spirit! The Spirit and the Word agree!
Then notice what Gabriel goes on to say in verses 36-37: “Now indeed, Elizabeth your relative has also conceived a son in her old age; and this is now the sixth month for her who was called barren. For with God nothing will be impossible.”
Amen! Nothing is impossible with God! And as Jesus told us elsewhere, all things are possible to them that believe His Word—which is exactly what Mary did in the next verse: “Then Mary said, ‘Behold the maidservant of the Lord! Let it be to me according to your word.’ And the angel departed from her.”
So, if you are barren and have a need to conceive a miracle in your life today—desiring fruit—then your key is taking God’s Word and speaking it over the barrenness in your life, calling forth the fruit you desire, and letting the Holy Spirit do the work of bringing that miracle to pass. When you take God at His Word and essentially say, “Behold, the servant of the Lord! Let it be to me according to your word!” this is how you too can conceive the Word and see it made flesh—that is, manifested and birthed in your life. Amen.