All the Gospels describe the arrest of Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane before his crucifixion and all of them describe the fact that in the tense moments of the arrest one of Jesus’ followers drew a sword and struck out, severing the ear of a man named Malchus, a servant of the high priest. John’s Gospel reveals that it was the impetuous Peter who did this, and who was stopped by Jesus (John 18:10). It is unlikely that Peter was aiming at the servant’s ear, and the injury was probably sustained when Peter swung with the sword at the man’s head and Malchus ducked – narrowly avoiding death, but sustaining the loss or partial loss of his ear.
It would not be surprising if this non-life-threatening injury had been ignored in the turmoil that must have accompanied Jesus’ arrest, but Luke adds a detail in this regard which none of the other gospel writers has. Luke tells us that Jesus “…touched the man’s ear and healed him” (Luke 22:51).
We must see this miracle in context. Jesus knew the terrible death that awaited him and had only just finished the agonizing prayer in which his sweat was “like drops of blood” (Luke 22:44). When the soldiers and officers of the high priest came upon Him in the dark and tumult of the arrest, Jesus’ mind must have been full of what was happening and what was about to happen to him. Humanly, anyone in this situation would hardly be thinking about one of the arresting group hurt in the tumult.
Yet the mind of Christ was such that even within that dark and emotionally swirling night, despite the shouting, running and confusion that clearly ensued, Jesus noticed the one who had been injured, focused on that and sought the man out, using His last miracle to help an enemy before he chose to forgo any further use of the divine power at His disposal in order to endure the things He knew He must suffer.
The many miracles and signs wrought by Jesus during his human ministry showed his compassion and care for others, but these were done in times of relative quiet and security. In Jesus’ last miracle, even as He was led away to His death, He still showed the love that placed His own needs, His own self, not first, but last.