Off the Cutting Room Floor

Here's part of the sermon that ended up on the cutting room floor for the sake of time and to allow me to go deeper in some other areas. But it resulted in not covering these verses, so here are my notes.

35 And he said to them, “When I sent you out with no moneybag or knapsack or sandals, did you lack anything?” They said, “Nothing.” 36 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. Luke 22:35-36)

Jesus is recalling the last time he sent them out on a mission. On there last mission they were, by and large, welcomed with open arms. They were not persecuted. Now the conditions have changed. It’s in keeping with the way Jesus often spoke that he’s speaking figuratively here. Like walking into a meeting a work and your team leader says, "They're going to fight this, so keep your guns locked and loaded." That's consistent with other uses of sword in the New Testament. But it's in keeping with the way the disciples heard him that they missed it. One commentator notes that when Jesus spoke literally, they took him metaphorically. When he spoke metaphorically, they took him literally. And that’s what you see in the following verses.

37 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.” 38 And they said, “Look, Lord, here are two swords.” And he said to them, “It is enough.” (Luke 22:37-38)

It’s possible Jesus is saying bring a literal sword for your self-defense. The fact that they already had two with them suggests they may have routinely carried swords—and these are really more like daggers. But even if Jesus meant a literal sword, it’s obvious from everything else he taught and from his response when one of them uses it at his arrest that his bidding is not to be done with a sword. There have been movements in history where people thought they were doing God’s bidding by evangelizing with a sword. It can’t mean this in the context of Jesus' teaching. And when you look at Luke's second volume, the book of Acts, there is no mention of disciples using swords are force in their mission. 

Not only that, the fact that Jesus says, “It is enough (singular),” suggests they have missed the point once again. If he meant literal swords, he would have more likely said, "They are enough. It's more likely he’s had enough. Enough talk. The lesson on violence will come later.