Wednesday, August 03, 2005

Very Puzzling

Here's a passage I find quite baffling:
“Simon, Simon, Satan has asked to have all of you, to sift you like wheat. 32 But I have pleaded in prayer for you, Simon, that your faith should not fail. So when you have repented and turned to me again, strengthen and build up your brothers.”
33 Peter said, “Lord, I am ready to go to prison with you, and even to die with you.”
34 But Jesus said, “Peter, let me tell you something. The rooster will not crow tomorrow morning until you have denied three times that you even know me.”
35 Then Jesus asked them, “When I sent you out to preach the Good News and you did not have money, a traveler’s bag, or extra clothing, did you lack anything?”

“No,” they replied.
36 “But now,” he said, “take your money and a traveler’s bag. And if you don’t have a sword, sell your clothes and buy one! 37 For the time has come for this prophecy about me to be fulfilled: ‘He was counted among those who were rebels.’ Yes, everything written about me by the prophets will come true.”
38 “Lord,” they replied, “we have two swords among us.”

“That’s enough,” he said.

Holy Bible : New Living Translation. 1997, c1996 (electronic ed.) (Lk 22:31). Wheaton: Tyndale House.


JMG said...

I have had a devil of a time getting this post to publish right.

Here's my question: What did Jesus mean when he told his disciples to go out and buy a sword? I know that he was referring back to the time when he sent the disciples out on a missionary journey without him and told them not to take any provisions with them. He was teaching them about faith. But here, he wants them to take plenty of supplies and even a sword. What is going on here that I'm missing?

Tony Arnold said...

A very interesting passage. I am not sure I agree with the commentary in my study Bible, but here it is:

"The apostles had relied upon the generosity and charity of others up until now, but Jesus was warning them of the impending perils and trials ahead. Sensing they had taken Him too literally, He ironically responded with "that is plenty" when the two swords were presented."

An interesting note is that in the greek text, the "you" in v.31 is plural, implying all the apostles.

An intriguing and scary take on it is that Christ was making sure the apostles had swords available in preparation for v.49-50. Was this so the scriptures would be fulfilled and God's glory revealed in the healing of the soldiers witnessed by His oppressors? Also, another opportunity for Christ to demonstrate that His kingdom will not be brought to fruition with swords, war, and human motivations and methods?

I cannot ignore the fact that these two sword incidences occur back to back. I hope Preston posts. He usually has some keen insight.


JMG said...

I thought of that as well. Almost immediately after that, Peter cuts off the soldier's ear (trying to kill him, no doubt), and Jesus tells him that those who live by the sword die by the sword. So it's pretty apparent to me that Jesus couldn't have been saying that from now on the disciples should go around attacking those who attack them.

Yeah, Preston is one smart dude, judging from what I've read from him the last couple of months.

jettybetty said...

I had no idea what this meant--so I have been going through every commentary I could find--and they all seem to agree--the sword is an allegory meaning their lives will change and they will be much more difficult. It is interesting that when Peter cut the soldier's ear off--Jesus immediately healed him--actually I think everyone should have gotten a clue He was who He said He was from that alone--at any rate, He should have made the point He didn't want his disciples going around and cutting people's ears off.

Also, in Eph 6:17 the Word of God is called a sword--could that be connected?

Here's another interesting scripture, Matthew 10:34--"Don't imagine that I came to bring peace to the earth! No, I came to bring a sword." I suppose the sword is allegorical here, too????

Here's another interesting scripture about swords (albeit American Standard is the only translation I found with sword) Romans 13:4--"for he is a minister of God to thee for good. But if thou do that which is evil, be afraid; for he beareth not the sword in vain: for he is a minister of God, an avenger for wrath to him that doeth evil."
Here's NLT on that one--"The authorities are sent by God to help you. But if you are doing something wrong, of course you should be afraid, for you will be punished. The authorities are established by God for that very purpose, to punish those who do wrong."
This is speaking of governments here--and God places them to punish those who do wrong!?

I better go, I just remembered this was your blog and not mine. Hope Preston comments so we can see what he has to say. Thanks for inspiring me to do a word study on "sword" this morning!


JMG said...

Thanks for the additional verses--and comment all you like!

JMG said...

I found some commentary that kind of
goes along with what you said, Tony:

Jesus' words at Luke 22.36, "Let the one having no sword sell his outer garment and buy one," would not indicate that his disciples were about to enter into a hazardous life. Rather, he desired to have a sword available among his followers on that night in order to demonstrate clearly that, though they would come into circumstances that could easily provoked armed resistance, he did not intend to resort to the sword but would give himself up volunarily in harmony with God's will. Thus, when Peter did react and try to put up armed resistance, lopping off the ear of Malchus, Jesus ordered him: "Return your sword to its place, for all those who take the sword will perish by the sword." Certainly, Peter's sword and the other one at hand would have availed little against such a large group of armed men, and by trying to use them, they would undoubtedly have 'perished by the sword.' As it was, later that day Jesus could plainly state to Pilate: "If my kingdom were part of this world my attendants would have fought that I should not be delivered up to the Jews. But as it is, my kingdom is not from this source."

So the way I read this, it was to illustrate a specific point at that time. I also noticed that immediately after he tells them this, he takes them to the garden where, before he begins to pray, he tells them to pray so that they won't be overcome by temptation. Perhaps he wanted them to "eavesdrop" on his prayer for God's will to be done and not his, and perhaps the temptation he wanted them to overcome was to do things in the way of the world--using their swords.

Mike Kear said...

In verse 35 Jesus reminds the disciples that while he was with them they had everything they needed, which they acknowledge. He said to them, "When I sent you out without a purse, bag, or sandals, did you lack anything?" They said, "No, not a thing."

Then, in warning them of the upcoming crisis, he uses metaphor, as he often does, to let them know that he will still be with them and they will still have everything they need. He says, "But now, the one who has a purse must take it, and likewise a bag. And the one who has no sword must sell his cloak and buy one."

It would be like an extremely rich father who has always taken care of his children saying to them, "I've always taken care of you, haven't I?" And the children would answer, "Yes, we haven't lacked a thing!" Then the father would say, "Well, then you'd better go get a job."

Jesus was using a metaphor to say that just as he'd supplied all their needs when he was with them personally, he would still provide for them when he was in the midst of the passion and when he was no longer with them physically.

Unfortunately, like us, the disciples took his metaphor literally. In my analogy, it would be like one of the children saying, "OK, Dad, I've acquired a paper route!"

Jesus gives the disciples a gentle rebuke in verse 38, "It is enough."



JMG said...

A very interesting perspective. Makes a lot of sense.