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Wednesday, November 10, 2010

11/11/10 Luke 22:35-38 Jesus and the Sword

35 Then Jesus asked them, “When I sent you without purse, bag or sandals, did you lack anything?”
“Nothing,” they answered. 36 He said to them, “But now if you have a purse, take it, and also a bag; and if you don’t have a sword, sell your cloak and buy one. 37 It is written: ‘And he was numbered with the transgressors’; and I tell you that this must be fulfilled in me. Yes, what is written about me is reaching its fulfillment.” 38 The disciples said, “See, Lord, here are two swords.” “That’s enough!” he replied.

(Peter cutting off Malchus' ear at Jesus' arrest)

Thoughts: How had the situation changed from when Jesus sent them out early in his ministry (Lk. 9:1-6; 10:1-16)?  Jesus speaks of this difference (22:35). This was not Galilee with the responding crowds, but Jerusalem with the mob controlled by Jesus' enemies.  This was a time of danger.  "There is a time for war and a time for peace" (Eccles. 3:8).  Jesus was telling them that they were in a time not of seeking hospitality, but a time of conflict.  His words, "That's enough" could very well not be talking of the number of swords but of his wanting to end this conversation.  In John 18:11 Jesus told Peter to "Put your sword away."  Later in Luke Jesus would tell his disciples "No more of this" when one (Peter)  struck the high priest's servant's ear; Jesus would ask rhetorically, "Am I leading a rebellion that you have come with swords and clubs?"  The point is, Jesus was NOT teaching his disciples to physically fight, but to beware that they were in dangerous times. 

Prayer: Lord, let your Spirit give me discernment to know how to act and react to the situation around me today.  Keep me from over-reacting (as Peter), but also keep me from falling asleep to the danger around me.

John Calvin abridged: The purpose of this discourse is to show his disciples that he had previously kept them from facing a burden that they were not ready to bear.  He shows that in the past they had it easy but now they must prepare for the harder warfare they were about to face.  Christ does not hurry us into battle while we are untrained and inexperienced, but before he sends us out he provides us with courage and the weapons we need. Christ does not call them to an outward conflict, but only compares this to fighting.  Just as a general, when calling his soldiers to arms asks them to focus on fighting and leave the other cares of the world behind, so Christ is asking them to take all they have to obtain the spiritual weapons they need. Christ reminded them that God had providentially supplied their needs in the past, and he would do so in their time of temptation and trial. He quotes Isa. 53:12 saying that he has not fulfilled his office completely (as was prophesied about the messiah) until he has been placed in the ranks with the wicked,  It was shameful and unintelligent that the disciples, after having been told so often to bear the cross, would interpret this that Christ wanted them to buy swords of iron.

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