What Opened Their Eyes?
by Wayne Blank
"From that time forth began Jesus to show unto His disciples, how that He must go unto Jerusalem, and suffer many things of the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised again the third day. Then Peter took Him, and began to rebuke Him, saying, Be it far from Thee, Lord: this shall not be unto Thee." (Matthew 16:21-22 KJV)
"Then opened He their understanding, that they might understand the Scriptures"
On the fateful night when the mob came to arrest Jesus, Peter, and the others, still believed that Jesus was about to lead His followers in an uprising against, not only the ruling Romans (see Ancient Empires - Rome, also Vespasian), but the religious authorities (see Sanhedrin) who rejected Him. When Peter drew his sword against the mob, it was intended to prevent Jesus' arrest, and to prevent Jesus' death - the sacrifice of the Messiah was something that they wanted to prevent at all costs. They just didn't get it, yet.
Malchus was the personal servant of the high priest Caiaphas. He had the unfortunate fate of being the first one that Peter began his defense of Jesus with - Peter cut off his right ear (something that may indicate that Peter was left-handed - as they faced each other, Malchus' right ear would be on the same side as Peter's left hand, which had a sword in it) in the garden of Gethsemane.
It should be considered that Peter almost certainly wasn't just trying to cut off the man's ear, he was trying to take off the man's head - not as a criminal act of murder, but as a military act of war. Malchus survived only because he dodged sufficiently so that the sword just grazed his sideways-ducked head, cleanly taking off the ear, as Peter swung the weapon with everything he had (anyone who has had experience in the use of a sword or a saber knows exactly what Peter did, or tried to do, and that just taking off an ear is a lucky, or unlucky, depending on which end of the sword you're at, blooper).
Bold and impetuous Peter was the first to attempt to defend Jesus from arrest at the Garden of Gethsemane (The Mount Of Olives is shown in the photograph), to prevent the sacrifice of the Lamb of God:
"Then Simon Peter having a sword drew it, and smote the high priest's servant, and cut off his right ear. The servant's name was Malchus." (John 18:10 KJV)
Jesus then explained that if He were about to take over the world, at that time (see The Prince of Peace), He wouldn't need the help of humans to do it:
"Thinkest thou that I cannot now pray to my Father, and he shall presently give me more than twelve legions of angels? But how then shall the Scriptures be fulfilled [see Which Bible Did Jesus Use?, also Old Testament People Of The Future], that thus it must be?" (Matthew 26:53-54 KJV)
Fact Finder: (a) Even after finding the empty tomb on the resurrection morning, did Peter, and the others, still not understand that Jesus had to rise from the dead? (b) Just prior to His ascension, did Jesus Christ at last enable them, by means of the Holy Spirit upon them, to fully understand what He had been teaching them for years? Did He only then "open their understanding, that they might understand the Scriptures"?