37

Danielís Fishing Partner

The entire family gathered on Deborahís veranda to meet Danielís friend, John. With a guest at the table, what would have been a normal supper became a festivity. The delicious food Deborah had prepared put everyone at ease. After all had eaten their fill, the women cleared the bowls and cups and excused the children before returning to their seats around the table.

Deborah was the family member who had become friends with nearly everyone on the island over the years, as she loved to cook and invite people over for dinner. Rachel observed the excitement on the face of Deborah as John told of his life before Patmos. As soon as John finished one story, Deborah would say, "Please tell us another."

Both Daniel and Malchus were quiet as John spoke. Daniel was simply content to share his friend with those around the table, but Malchus was deep in thought, wondering if he should mention the experience he had had that night in the olive grove with the man that they called Jesus. Other than the brief mentioning of the event to Rachel and his parents, Malchus had not talked about his experience the night that Jesus healed his ear. He still felt the shared love with Jesus. He thought others might doubt, and he didnít want others to question what was so precious to him.

Tonight, however, seemed different, so Malchus decided to tell his story about the night the mob arrested Jesus in the olive grove. As Malchus began to speak, all fell silent. Those around the table listened eagerly to the excitement and drama of that night so long ago. At the point in the story when the warm blood flowed from Malchusís ear and Malchus confessed his tears of pain, those around the table couldn't help but wince as if in pain themselves. Then when he told them of the miraculous healing he had experienced at the hands of Jesus, he could sense their awe at what is generally thought impossible.

John had listened quietly to Malchusí account. It was Deborah who thought she could see in John's expression, while not a smile, a sense of joy in the uplift of the weathered wrinkles between his eye and temple. When Malchus had finished, John spoke, "Was the man with the sword named Peter?"

Leaning intently toward John, Malchus said, "Yes, that is what Jesus called him, but how could you know?"

"Because I, too, was there," answered John.

A hush came over the group as they waited to hear what else he had to say, "That same Jesus who healed your ear is the same Jesus I've been telling Daniel about."

Malchus continued, "Throughout my life I have been searching for a god. Ever since I was a boy in Spain, I have had a longing to know the one who created all of life. I knew there had to be a god. I just didnít know who he was. I have prayed in my time of need to Rachel's god, Jehovah. I became a proselyte in the Jewish faith where I have learned about Jehovah. Daniel has told me that your Jesus is the Son of Jehovah. Is that true?"

"Yes, for three years I walked with Jesus. His actions and his teaching proved that to me. Those who believe in Jesus will spend eternity with Him in heaven."

"Can your Jesus be my Lord?" asked Malchus.

"Yes, He can."

"What must I do?"

"Just confess your sins and believe in Him with your whole heart," answered John.

And so it was that Malchus and Rachel and all of their family confessed their sins and believed in Jesus. On the veranda, the sharing and loving continued throughout the night. At the first sign of light, John suggested that they be baptized; so they all went down to the nearby ocean inlet and were baptized one by one. By the time they had finished, the dawn had grown brighter and brighter, and it became full day with an orange sun in the distance rising up out of the ocean.

As his eyes surveyed his Maker's sunrise, and as he thought about the events of the previous evening, Malchus declared, "The strength and joy of Jesusí love are for me and all of my family."

John said, "My writings about Jesus include the story about Peter cutting off the ear of the servant of the high priest and about Jesus healing his ear. My writings will now be more complete, for I shall add the name ¬ĎMalchusí to the story. The name ¬ĎMalchusí will be read by generations yet unborn." (John 18:10)

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