Is there any legitimate reason given by scholars as to why Luke uniquely adds the account of Jesus healing the ear of Malchus after it being severed off?

In Luke 22:50-51, it is written,

50 And one of them struck the servant of the high priest, cutting off his right ear. 51 But Jesus answered, “No more of this!” And he touched the man’s ear and healed him. Berean Study Bible

Did Luke fabricate this story, or is it only added because Luke was a physician and it appealed to his field of work?

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To assume that it is a fabrication, is an option, however, it is not the only or best option, given the contemporary witnesses to substantiate these claims, given the acceptance of Luke's gospel by those apostles who were there at that time, given the values and ethics of the followers of Jesus.
Instead, let's look at some others much more plausible reasons:

  1. Luke was concerned primarily with the humanity of the God-man, Jesus. He has much detail with Jesus' care, His touch, etc. As such, the addition may have been an important detail for Luke to add, given what he was trying to accomplish with his writing.
  2. Maybe he added it because it appealed to his line of work, and was fascinating to him. That is a valid option.
  3. "Many have undertaken to draw up an account of the things that have been fulfilled among us, just as they were handed down to us by those who fro the first were eyewitnesses and servants of the word. With this in mind, since I myself have carefully investigated everything from the beginning, I too decided to write an orderly account for you, most excellent Theophilus, so that you may know the certainty of the things you have been taught." -Luke 1:1-4. The reason for this letter, is to give a very accurate account of what Jesus said and did.

I feel the most comfortable saying #1,3 are the most plausible reasons why he includes this story. Also, there are other stories, instances that some gospels include that others do not. Because another excludes it doesn't mean that it is false.

For example, Often times, when I do marriage counseling, one person will tell a story one way, and another will add more details. Sometimes they will also give a different bent to the same story. Does that mean that one is lying, or could it mean they are less detailed? Then, if the stories don't align, I will pursue asking a third-party, an eyewitness who can substantiate the claims (much like the contemporaries of Luke who were eyewitnesses to all Jesus said and did).


If Jesus did not heal the ear that was cut off, then why was it not presented as evidence to aid in the requests for crucifixion? If the ear was not healed, do you really think that it would not have been used against him? Caiaphas would have made this known to Pilate because it clearly states that the person whose ear was cut off, was a servant to the high priest. Yet, they did not mentioned it. Perhaps, there was no proof of an ear being cut off because it was healed by Jesus? Pilate asked what crime Jesus had committed. The only crime they claimed was that Jesus was claiming to be king and that meant that he opposed Caesar. True, it was not Jesus who cut off the man's ear but, do you really believe that they would have not held Jesus responsible for the event? This story was told by different people writing there own words and emphasizing on specific events. Luke may have felt this detail was important to include.

  • (+1) Hi Jessica, welcome to BHSE! Please take the Site Tour when you get a chance, which helps explain how the StackExchange format may be a bit different from other sites or forums you're familiar with. This answer is a good reflection on the passage in question, but could be improved by providing more substantive evidence - is there anything you can add which gives your Answer weight, or is it only an opinion? – Steve Taylor Feb 28 at 10:31

I don't know if you would consider John Chrysostom a scholar (he was a Church Father), but this is what he said about disagreements and inconsistencies in the Gospels in general:

What then? Was not one evangelist sufficient to tell all? One indeed was sufficient; but if there be four that write, not at the same times, nor in the same places, neither after having met together, and conversed one with another, and then they speak all things as it were out of one mouth, this becomes a very great demonstration of the truth.

But the contrary, it may be said, has come to pass, for in many places they are convicted of discordance. Nay, this very thing is a very great evidence of their truth. For if they had agreed in all things exactly even to time, and place, and to the very words, none of our enemies would have believed but that they had met together, and had written what they wrote by some human compact; because such entire agreement as this comes not of simplicity. But now even that discordance which seems to exist in little matters delivers them from all suspicion, and speaks clearly in behalf of the character of the writers.

Homily I on the Gospel According to St. Matthew


Was not Luke a physician? If so, I would think that this detail would be more significant to him. The healing of Malchus' ear also displayed the gentle & kind clam in Jesus in a time when others would be experiencing panic.


Yes it's a fabrication. This is easy to see when reading Mark's version of the story (Mk 14:47-50). Jesus doesn't reprimand his disciple for wounding the soldier, nor does he heal him.

So Luke obviously made it all up, but why? To show that Jesus was a lover of his enemies, and not just another bandit who planned to overthrow Rome and failed.

If Jesus really healed the servant of the High Priest, Mark would've mentioned it.

  • 1
    Mark would've mentioned it. - Mark's Gospel is rather notorious for its brevity. – Lucian Aug 16 '17 at 8:48

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