Thursday in the Twenty-Seventh Week of Ordinary Time

Luke 22:35-38

Even God’s People Have Need of Necessities

Today’s passage is one that presents difficulties and so lends itself to different interpretations.  And as I have said before, my interpretations are only mine and no one need embrace them.  Only Luke records this saying of our Lord, which makes it harder to manage as we have little light from the other gospels.

The problem has to do with Jesus’ seeming approval of carrying swords.  The context is, of course, Thursday evening, the Last Supper, and Jesus’ final instructions to his disciples before his impending passion.  He has just told them of their upcoming desertion of him, which each of them has vehemently protested.  Jesus knows that in a few hours they will be without him physically for the rest of their lives, “for what is written about [him] has its fulfillment.”  Thus, matters on the ground are about to change drastically.  This calls for a new set of instructions to adjust to those matters.

Jesus first reminds them, through their own mouths, that they had never lacked anything, even when he sent them out with nothing (9:1-6; 10:1-12).  But now, he would no longer be with them.  The people to whom they would preach would not know the name of Jesus as did the lost sheep of the house of Israel (Matthew 10:6).  Of course, they would soon have the Holy Spirit, and the Church would be established, but God’s people must invariably reside in the real world where they too must require life’s necessities.  So Jesus says, “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.”  Wait a minute: a sword?  Yes, Jesus said sword.  And when the disciples respond, “Here are two swords,” Jesus says, “It is enough.”

Some say that Jesus said, “It is enough,” in exasperation at the disciples’ lack of understanding.  But Jesus did say to get a sword.  On the other hand, he did rebuke the disciples for defending him with the sword just a few hours later (Matthew 26:52).  I certainly agree with those who argue that Jesus did not allow the sword to be used in defense of the gospel, or to spread it, as history woefully records.  But Jesus does not condemn self-defense, no more than he condemns a moneybag (bank account) or knapsack (necessary supplies).  Christians live in a broken world along with everyone else and must share the world’s goods.  They too must eat, drink, buy and sell, defend their country, and yes, if need be, defend themselves and their families.  I’m glad we worship a practical Savior.

Author: The Reformed Baptist

My name is Stephen Taylor, ordained Baptist minister of eighteen years pastoral experience with a Ph.D. in Historical Theology from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas. Better than that, I am married to a godly woman, Karla, who has been very patient with me since 1989. I have two daughters, both of whom I homeschooled for extended periods of time, who became godly young women, and who ran off and married godly young men, all of which is very proper. The oldest daughter has even seen fit to bless me with a grandson and a granddaughter, and my youngest daughter with a grandson, all three of whom are bundles of exceeding joy. As you can see, I am quite blessed. This website is dedicated to helping people grow in the wisdom and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ through the gift of writing that the Lord has given to me. It is specifically about helping His people grow in godliness, the theme you see repeated above. I write devotions with this aim and hope that they might be of some help to God’s people. Full disclosure: I am of a Reformed bent, meaning that my understanding of Scripture is primarily informed by the Reformers and their successors of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. However, as a student of church history and theology, I strive to remain true to that teaching handed down once for all unto the saints through every age of the Church. I like to think of myself as a “catholic” Christian, as the Reformers thought of themselves. At any rate, feel free to read, pray, and contact me if you wish, or correct me if need be. As you can see, I tend to follow the church year. Of course, I make no special claims about these devotions. I know very well that others have written better and plumbed the depths of God’s word with greater insight. But if my musings help someone draw closer to the Lord, well then, I have my reward. Blessings to you and may the God and Father of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ speak to you that word which He knows you especially need to hear. Grace & peace, Stephen Taylor

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