All four Gospels record that in the melee that surrounded the arrest of Jesus in the Garden, someone cut off the ear of the slave of the high priest. Mark records it thus:
Mark 14:47 One of the bystanders drew his sword and struck the high priest’s slave, cutting off his ear.
The gospels do not record this incident in the same way. In Matthew, the slave’s ear is cut off; Jesus then rebukes his disciples, calling for calm, and rebukes the mob for their clandestine malevolence. In Mark, the slave’s ear is cut off but Jesus only rebukes the crowd. In Luke, all three elements are narrated and a fourth is introduced: Jesus heals the ear. In John, Simon Peter is named as the one who wielded the sword and Malchus is named as the slave. Jesus only rebukes his disciples. There is no healing.
Here is a nice opportunity to do some source criticism, given the elements that are the same and those that are different. [Read more…]