I had just graduated from a Hebrew academy. My courses included Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek languages. So with a class of ten students, some of different believes, we were going to Israel on a tour of the Holy Land.
We left New York and had a great flight. We arrived late that afternoon, had a meal and rested for the next day’s tour. Our guide arrived early the next day. He told us we were first going to stop, at the Kidron Valley, where Jesus had proclaimed the word of God. He explained also that this was the brook that David had crossed with his faithful followers as he fled from Absalom his son.
When we arrived, we could see that the brook ran through the Kidron Valley between the temple mount east of Jerusalem and the Mount of Olives. It was also by the Garden of Gethsemane (the name means oil press.) where our lord was arrested.
There were a few of us who were not believers as some, but we felt this would be exciting to see. As we walked into the garden, our guide said look at the rows of these trees. So that you may know, the olive tree has a name which is elajon. I was caught up in the moment, I yelled out God! He smiled at me. He said very well. Our guide said, take a walk around and see for yourself how beautiful this garden is.
I broke away from every one and sat down on a stone. I wondered saying to myself, could this be the stone Jesus prayed on that night? Again I recalled the words of our guide, the trees name is elajon. The oil represents the Holy Spirit. Could this be why he came here? Well I am taking this too far now. As I arose, I slipped and fell back. My arm and my hand slipped into the crack between two stones. The straps of my carry bag also. I could hear the guide saying well let’s move on. As I pulled very hard, my strap caught on a round covered wrapped wax container. Inside there was a piece of paper, like papyrus, that looked like, or seemed to be, a letter of some kind. I rushed and put it in my bag as I ran to the bus.
Andrew said to me are you okay? I said sure am, but did not say a word about the container. We returned that evening to the hotel and I went to my room to rest. As I put the bag down, I recalled the letter. I open the container which was covered with dirt. The letter was very fragile. I began to read and was shocked it was written in Hebrew. It read if this letter is ever found and read by one who does not believe or doubts the truth, take heed. I was brought up in Jerusalem as a young man, self-educated. My father was Syrian and I was a doulos (a slave) but within the inner circle of the leader of the high priest of Jerusalem.
At this time in my life, there was man who was called the Son of God. He was hated by many. As I did my work every day in the temple, he would come and teach. I would listen. At times, as he was speaking, he would look around and his eyes would catch my eyes looking at him, and I would turn away. I never heard any one speak like he did.
I put the letter down and thought to myself, I just could not believe what I was reading. Again I began to read. I also saw him heal people who could not see, or walk. One day as I was working at the temple, there were a crowd of people running to the temple yelling this man called Jesus, has raised Lazarus from the dead. We saw this with our own eyes, they yelled. The Pharisees and Chief Priest questioned them.
I had heard the Chief Priest, Caiaphas say a while back, this man must be stopped. The High Priest who was installed by Annas was Caiaphas’s father in-law. The High Priest said it is better for one man to die for the people so the Romans do not take our land. Again I stopped reading, my heart was pounding. I put the letter down; I closed my eyes, as if I could see all this before my eyes. I began to read again. The High Priest gave the command that he must be brought before us, he must be arrested. He sent a band of 1,000 men, with the officers of the Chief Priest and Pharisees to get him. The Chief Priest said to me, go with them. I had to go, I was his doulos (servant), and I had to obey. As I read on, tears came into my eyes because I knew what was going to happen.
The reason I wrote and hid this letter he states, is for what is about to take place. Many had seen what had happen also. Yet we were told never to speak about it. He continued when the Christ said, who do you seek? They yelled Jesus of Nazareth, he said “ego eimi” (I am he). We all fell back. I went for him, my eyes caught his eyes. As Peter drew his sword he cut my ear off. The pain was so great I fell to the ground. Jesus told Peter to put away his sword. He took my ear and placed it back. At that very moment I was healed.
How could I say Malchus’s ear was healed, who would believe me? No blood on the ear, as if it was never touched. He looked at me and our eyes met. I fell back. After the trials, they killed him. But I heard him say, “I give my life, no one takes it”. Then I heard the centurion say truly this man was the Son of God.
I said to myself, I was the last man he healed before he died for me. Maybe someone will find this letter. Many, who saw all this, may write about it someday. For you see, my real name is Malchus. They called me Malchus which means (king) but I was a slave. The Christ was a King; sold for 30 pieces of silver who became a slave for you and me. If you know the truth, live the truth. Do not be like me and live in torment all your life.
I sat down and read the letter again and again. And then the light came on for me. Jesus knowing he was going to die, could have touched this man, and killed him. Instead Jesus healed him. He would be the last man healed while on earth. The darkness would be cast out, eternal life brought forth. My eyes were opened. To have faith, hope, trust, and believe. Come Lord Jesus, I am casting my sword away. Amen
Frank Ferrera Sr.