Skip to comments.Did Jesus Really Tell His Disciples to Buy Swords?
Posted on 10/29/2017 8:51:29 AM PDT by Kaslin
As expected, the response to my article Since When Did Jesus Get Connected to Guns? was fast and furious, especially from those who failed to read the article.
Many adamantly defended their right as Christians to defend themselves, while others pointed to the Second Amendment, despite my stating explicitly that I am not questioning our right to defend ourselves and that my article was not about the Second Amendment.
Others pointed to Luke 22:35-38, where Jesus apparently told His disciples to go out and buy swords, telling them they had enough with the two they had on hand. For these readers, this was justification for carrying guns for self-defense (again, I never questioned someones right to own a gun for self-defense).
Some readers went even farther, suggesting this was the way to avoid persecution in the future. As Aaron H. posted on Facebook, It's because we value life and recognize God is a giver of life, we protect ourselves, and give warning to would be persecutors, we won't stand for it, so we can have life. . . . Whenever we are disarmed, we are slaughtered.
Yes, he explained, Martyrdom is a romantic fantasy. History tells us, first is disarmament, next it's our Bibles, next it's our lives. It does not matter if it's guns, or swords. If guns did not exist, we'd cling to our sword or spears, and our Bibles.
Another wrote, The issue Dr. Brown is you cannot split our freedom to worship and our freedom to bear arms they are interconnected and they are supposed to be. Some people do not like this idea because they believe Jesus is a pacifist, He is not.
So much for Jesus calling us to turn the other cheek (Matt 5:38-42). So much for Him saying that it is the meek who will inherit the earth, the peacemakers who will be called children of God, and the ones who were persecuted for righteousness who are blessed (Matt 5:5, 9-12). So much for Him teaching that the world would treat us the same way it treated Him (Matt 10:25; John 15:18-20).
So much for Peter writing that we should follow our Saviors example, noting that when He was reviled, He did not revile in return; when He suffered, He did not threaten (1 Pet. 2:23). And so much for Paul explaining that it has been granted to you that for the sake of Christ you should not only believe in him but also suffer for his sake (Phil. 1:29).
That was for the old days. Now we have guns! No one will persecute us.
To repeat: I respect the purpose of our Second Amendment and I do not oppose our right to self-defense. And I am not advocating new gun control laws. Despite the somewhat ferocious response to my article from some quarters, those were not my issues at all. I was simply questioning the cultural phenomenon here in America in particular, in some geographical parts of the country that associated the gospel with guns.
Of course, I knew that readers would point to Luke 22:35-38, which is why I also cited it in my article, suggesting that it was the wrong passage to use in support of gun ownership.
To review the context, Jesus was in the Garden of Gethsemane, about to be betrayed, when He had this dialogue with His disciples.
When I sent you out with no moneybag or knapsack or sandals, did you lack anything? They said, Nothing.
He said to them, But now let the one who has a moneybag take it, and likewise a knapsack. And let the one who has no sword sell his cloak and buy one. For I tell you that this Scripture must be fulfilled in Me: And he was numbered with the transgressors. For what is written about me has its fulfillment.
And they said, Look, Lord, here are two swords. And he said to them, It is enough.
A very small minority of scholars believe that the real agenda of Jesus was the violent overthrow of Rome and that this passage hints at His real strategy. But not only does this go against the entire testimony of the New Testament and early Church, it also makes no sense contextually unless you believe that Jesus was saying that eleven disciples armed with two swords were ready to take on the armies of Rome.
Others say that Jesus was simply telling them that the days ahead would be much more difficult than in the past, because of which they would need swords for self-defense. But if that was the case: 1) Why were two swords enough? 2) Why did Jesus rebuke Peter just a few minutes later for using his sword against the soldiers who came to take Him (Luke 22:49-51; Matt 26:51-52; John 18:10-11)? 3) Why didnt the disciples use their swords to fight against their persecutors in the book of Acts?
Using the logic of some of those who believe that being armed is the key to avoiding persecution, why did the apostles merely pray together for boldness to preach and for miracles to be wrought through Jesus name when they were threatened (Acts 4:24-31)? Why didnt they plot a strategy of fighting back with their swords? Wasnt this what Jesus was telling them to do in Luke 22?
The fact is that the passage in Luke 22 says nothing about self-defense, other than noting that two of the disciples carried swords, something that was not uncommon for Galileans to do to protect themselves from thieves. That would be the equivalent of a Christian today having a gun at home in case of a home invasion. So if you want to use Luke 22 in that context, I wouldnt argue with you. (In other words, some of the disciples had swords; some of us have guns.)
But, as many scholars recognize, Jesus was being ironic with His disciples, saying to them, Look, the Scriptures teach that I will be numbered among the transgressors, the lawbreakers. So, we better make it look good. We need some swords!
When they took him seriously and literally, saying, Lord, we have two right here! He replied by saying, Enough with this! As rendered in the HCSB: Lord, they said, look, here are two swords. Enough of that! He told them (Luke 22:38).
As Robert H. Stein explained in his Luke commentary, The disciples misunderstood Jesus words in 22:36 by interpreting them literally, and their lack of understanding is most evident at this point. . . . Clearly two swords were not enough for any planned armed resistance. Jesus words are best understood as breaking off further conversation as in Deut 3:26, i.e., Enough of this [foolish] conversation.
In sum, then: 1) For the umpteenth time, Im not disputing the importance of the Second Amendment or our right to self-defense, nor do I have a problem with churches having good security; 2) I am disputing connecting the gospel with guns; 3) I am pointing out that Jesus words in Luke 22:35-38 should not be taken literally as a call for all of us to go out and buy guns.
That being said, if you made it this far and read the article in full, Id love to hear your response.
Ummm...yes. Yes he did!
But the point is, Jesus’s handpicked group had weapons on hand. I do not see this as a call to go out and acquire weapons (though most of us do that anyway) but it certainly throws ice water on pacifists.
As for his interpretation that Jesus needed some weapons around to shore up the charges against him, those charges were based upon his teachings and not his zealotry with armed insurrection.
Sounds to me like he was talking about Judas. "Let the one who betrayed me (and has the money to prove it) clear out of here. And he'd be wise to arm up on the way out."
Jesus was not anti-weapon. Weapons were used throughout the entire Bible for the defense of property, defense of person, defense of wealth. If God gives us something it’s obvious He wants us to defend it.
Self defense always permitted ,but not required except by those who have duties like parents who have children to raise.
Defense of others always required if possible.
Jesus died for our good and salvation.. He said forgive them for they know not what they do.
And we should sacrifice ourselves for good of others as did Christ for their good and when they know not what they do.
We should defend ourselves otherwise else we are committing suicide or sought martyrdom which is sinful.
Maybe these thoughts are Scriptural enough.
It would be nice to hear Opinions, Scriptural and logician reasons removed from Emotions to support either points of view.
Correct. (The Greek word translated “sword” is “machaira”, a single-edge weapon.) Peter even used his to slice off Malchus’ ear, which Jesus healed.
It was a figure of speech at the time. Jesus was just warning His disciples that they were about to become outlaws once they started preaching in His name.
It’s pretty clear that “those who live by the sword shall die by the sword” and forgive 70 times 7” and “turn the other cheek” and “..”give them your sandals” suggest martyrdom NOT sought out isn’t a sin, but a grace in the eye’s of God.
But we’re human and we DONT want to die or see our loved ones die.
Jesus said a lot of times the glory was after this life.
IF we followed his word.
Killing and Jesus’ words don’t go together. Not even in self defense, it would SEEM.
But then give to Caesar..that could mean military conscription too. Which would probably afford one the opportunity to kill.
Maybe Jesus just wanted us to use common sense in any given situation :)
If someone says “denounce Christianity or i will chop off your head”, I would hope I didn’t denounce him even if it cost my my life.
If muslims are at my gates and want to kill me and rape my wife, I think Jesus would say “What are you nuts, not defending yourself and your family!?! Don’t take me so literally!!! :)
I’m likely way off but at least it might open up some discussion on how to interpret the pacifistic statements.
Theologians are like public toilets. You can find one practically anywhere, and they're almost always full of crap.
The Bible (depending on the version you subscribe to) also tells us the battle (or battles ) with our enemies is going to happen. So in addition to personal weapons, we should also have Ranged weapons.
See 1 Samuel 17.
The story is one often quoted from Scripture.
To cut to the chase, Dr. Brown is saying you can’t be a Christian and a gun owner.
Although he (grudgingly) admits that maybe churches might have security, perhaps retired soldiers disqualified from serving, per their pious fellows, as deacons or elders due to their violent past.
Or he’s saying that the scripture cited says the opposite of what Jesus said ... because He was being ironic.
I suppose you must need a degree in theology to understand plain English, but I don’t recall from countless sermons and Sunday school lessons that Jesus was much of a stand-up comic.
This is as offensive as the Church 500 years ago opposed to a Bible in the `vulgate’ because then parishioners might start asking stupid questions. In so many words, he’s tinkling down our laymen legs.
Nehemiah. Nuff said.
Speaking of reading in context; the author is forgetting what follows the Garden of Gethsemane.
The apostles would be on the run or in hiding as hunted men. Every hand would be against them.
Jesus knew this. They would no longer be a unified group but on the run as individuals or pairs. Two swords would not be enough.
Why did Jesus rebuke Peter just a few minutes later for using his sword against the soldiers who came to take Him
Why was Peter rebuked?
First, it was necessary for the fulfilment of the prophecies for Jesus to be taken and crucified. Second, his followers must not be seen to be combatants of lawful authority.
However, in the coming days, Jesus followers would also be persecuted by the unlawful and would need to defend themselves from those who would prey upon those fleeing the authorities. Those living outside the law will be preyed upon by others living outside of the law and will need to defend themselves.
Clearly. He troop was clearly armed most all of the time. Never enough for an offensive operation, merely enough to defend themselves. Yeshua did not let the guard down until the garden, when he voluntarily surrender, because it was time for that to occur.
In never saw where the “turn the other cheek” dictat was for those who wanted to harm/kill you - it was pretty much a rehash of the Old Testament telling folks to treat the ass-hats with kindness as it would be akin to pouring hot coals over their heads.
Context, context, context.
Weapons for protection are neither always O.K. nor always to be condemned. I believe the context of protection is where any judgment about them would be, the same as it is when we proclaim it is not the gun that kills someone.
Maybe the Romans kept a gun registry, but not of swords...so swords was the smart way to go. “Be wise as serpents” and all that.
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