The night was pitch-black and the acrid smoke of dozens of campfires filled the air. Jerusalem was bursting at the seams. It was Passover.
This year’s Passover was different from any before. The Nazarene, the one who some claim to be the Jew’s Messiah was in town. I heard whispers and murmurings about him for many months, but now, he was actually here, in the flesh. My master, one of the chief priests, along with the other chief priests and council members did not like it one bit. They claimed he was stirring up trouble, causing the people to question their authority and they were out to get him.
I want to share with you a most unusual occurrence, one that I’m sure will have a profound affect on the rest of my days. It was the night the chief priests, scribes and elders went to arrest the man who was the source of the unrest — Jesus. I was there because my master was part of the crowd seeking to bring him into custody.
We followed this fellow named Judas, who had actually been one of Jesus’s disciples. (That is what his followers called themselves.) That seemed odd to me. Why would he want to be part of such a thing? I heard he was offered some money if he would lead the council to Jesus. I suppose some people will do anything for money. Then, he actually went up to this Jesus, greeted him warmly and kissed him. What a hypocrite! It left a vile taste in my mouth because no one likes a turncoat.
The following events happened very fast. It was a blur of activity yet at the same time it seemed to be in slow motion.
I saw a flash out of the corner of my eye — the glow of firelight reflecting on something metallic. In the same instant, I felt the most searing pain I have ever felt in my entire life. My hand flew instinctively to my ear and all I felt was a warm, sticky oozing where my ear once was.
Before my mind could register what had happened, the man, Jesus, cried out. He was shouting at one of his own men, something like “those who live by the sword will die by the sword”. Then, the most amazing thing happened.
I was doubled over in pain when I noticed the man bend over to pick something up off of the ground. (I later realized it was my ear.) He cupped my chin in his hand and put my ear back in its proper place. For a brief moment, our eyes locked and I felt him look straight into my very soul. It was such a strange look; compassion, sorrow and resolve all at the same time.
My hair stood on end and my stomach churned. Why did he do that? Why did he care about me? I was part of the crowd there to arrest him. Why didn’t he just leave me there to suffer and perhaps bleed to death?
I barely stumbled along with the crowd back into the city, all the while trying to process what had just occurred. The one question that kept playing over and over in my mind — Who is this man?
I am just a simple servant and my lot in life is to follow my master’s bidding. I may not know a lot but I believe that there is much more to this Jesus than they think. I am tempted to believe he is who he claims to be — The Son of God.