Today we will look at Luke 22:31-38
22:31 “Simon, Simon, pay attention! Satan has demanded to have you all, to sift you like wheat, 32but I have prayed for you, Simon, that your faith may not fail. When you have turned back, strengthen your brothers.” 33But Peter said to him, “Lord, I am ready to go with you both to prison and to death!” 34Jesus replied, “I tell you, Peter, the rooster will not crow today until you have denied three times that you know me.”
35Then Jesus said to them, “When I sent you out with no money bag, or traveler’s bag, or sandals, you didn’t lack anything, did you?” They replied, “Nothing.” 36He said to them, “But now, the one who has a money bag must take it, and likewise a traveler’s bag too. And the one who has no sword must sell his cloak and buy one. 37For I tell you that this scripture must be fulfilled in me, ‘And he was counted with the transgressors.’ For what is written about me is being fulfilled.” 38So they said, “Look, Lord, here are two swords.” Then he told them, “It is enough.”
I admit I don’t like this passage. Being commanded to buy a sword just sounds bad. What is Jesus up to? Is he calling for an armed revolt? Is the gospel to go forward in violence? Those are thoughts that first come to mind when reading the passage. Looking beyond that verse we notice that Jesus is reminding them of another time when he had sent them out. When he sent them out first, they were to take no money bag, no bag and no sandals. It was a lesson in God’s provision. Now they are to take everything and even go out and buy a sword. The times have changed. Now the persecution they will face will be more extreme. The sword is not for offence (if so they would all have had to carry them), it is for defence. The gospel is young and to provide for oneself and protect themselves would be necessary.
Strange thing, apparently the new testament church didn’t listen, or at least there is no record of it. We have no record of the apostles going out with swords. They were attacked many times but never countered with anything more than words. God provided for the movement of the gospel even without swords.
I think my problem with the whole notion of carrying arms is that I would be tempted to use it for more than defence. If I was threatened or attacked and I had a weapon with me, I would be tempted to use it in more than a defensive posture. In the heat of a fight it is extremely difficult to turn off the response even when you clearly get the upper hand. I know enough about the potential for my anger to come to those who can keep me from doing more than I should for help in restraining myself. If I am going to pick up a sword, let it be the Word of God. If I am going to wield it, let me first discern who the enemy truly is. The enemy is lies and the Word is truth. That is it’s proper use.