So just as Mary was common enough to receive the annunciation, shepherds to be the first to see the child, and a poor beggar like Bartimaeus to receive the gift of sight (Mark 10:46), this slave [who lost his ear] was common enough to bear the message that God's love is not confined to those who receive it through one story and not another. Jesus did not want to make the slave promise to become his follower. He did not even want to make him confess that he believed in God. He simply wanted to make him well. A gesture of wondrous promise and daunting challenge.

His action is a promise, for it assures us that God's love leaves none of us behind; it unites all humanity in a way that is bigger than anything that might divide us. And it is daunting for exactly the same reason — because it means that God's love extends to people we regard as our enemies or do not regard at all. It means that we must come to terms with the fact that God loves everyone — the mean-spirited, the stingy, the dishonest. It means that God loves the politician who abuses his power and the parent who abuses hers, the road rager and the drug-dealer, the pimp and the punk. He loves the smug and the self-centered, the inveterate criminal and the incurable racist. And, more to the point, Jesus' action means that we must decide what it means for us to sheath the sword of self-righteousness and to love them too; to object to the people we find objectionable but to find it in our hearts to care about them as well.

Erik Kolbell, Were You There?