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Two Swords

Luke 22:36-38
36 Then He said to them, “But now, he who has a money bag, let him take it, and likewise a knapsack; and he who has no sword, let him sell his garment and buy one. 37 For I say to you that this which is written must still be accomplished in Me: ‘And He was numbered with the transgressors.’ For the things concerning Me have an end.”
38 So they said, “Lord, look, here are two swords.”
And He said to them, “It is enough.”

Now this is an odd comment for Jesus to make at the end of the Last Supper. Matthew and Mark's accounts of the end of the Supper makes a little more sence to me, all of them heading off to Gethsemane after singing a hymn. So it seems that on the road through Jerusalem to the Mount of Olives Jesus predicts Peter's betrayal. Then Luke's account has this odd statement about "he who has no sword...buy one."

I'm trying to put this all together and make some sense out of it. My thoughts are this. Peter veheminately defends his commitment to the Lord at all cost. Jesus exposes Peter's (and my) limitations, not in an attempt to humiliate Peter, but to prepare him for the impending disappointment with his denial of Christ (for which Jesus restores Peter's honor in John 21). Jesus reminds the disciples that when He sent them out that although thier provisions were limited, they didn't lack anything to complete their assignment. But now the cost is higher and the assignments more serious. What was a joyous experience in God's power working through thier lives (Luke 9:6) now was going to require them to function at another level, because Jesus' assignment on earth was coming to an end. And just like me, the disciples responded to this insight by defaulting to what they thought Jesus was saying.

Jesus promise to the disciples at the beginning was to make them fishers of men - not soldiers. The battlefield was Calvary. The battle against the "power of darkness" (v. 53) was fought and won by Christ. My "two swords" (a metaphor for my own ability and strength) are nothing in a war of this magnitude. When I try to wield them I only end up wounding someone in a foolish attempt to prove my valor (v. 49-51). What I want to understand is the responsibility I have been charged with - not to defend an earthly kingdom, rather the radical commitment to God's reign in the lives of men.

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This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on April 25, 2003 12:00 AM.

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