Jesus, Peter, and the Sword

by Anthony Barbato

In Luke 22:36, Jesus tells the disciples to take a sword when they go out to spread the gospel. Hours later, when Peter uses a sword to try to protect Jesus, Jesus rebukes him. The obvious question is why did Jesus tell the disciples to arm themselves but then rebuke Peter the first time he used such a defense?

It helps to go back to the previous time Jesus had sent the disciples out, which is referred to in Luke 22:35:

And He called the twelve together, and gave them power and authority over all the demons and to heal diseases. And He sent them out to proclaim the kingdom of God and to perform healing. And He said to them, “Take nothing for your journey, neither a staff, nor a bag, nor bread, nor money; and do not even have two tunics apiece. Whatever house you enter, stay there until you leave that city. And as for those who do not receive you, as you go out from that city, shake the dust off your feet as a testimony against them.” Departing, they began going throughout the villages, preaching the gospel and healing everywhere. Luke 9:1-6

Here Christ sends the disciples out to proclaim the kingdom of God, demonstrating miracles and authority over demons. He tells them they are to take nothing, no money, no equipment, no food. This of course wasn’t so they’d starve or become stranded, but it was to show them the Lord in His sovereignty would take care of all their needs. We then come to our next passage:

And He said to them, “When I sent you out without money belt and bag and sandals, you did not lack anything, did you?” They said, “No, nothing.” And He said to them, “But now, whoever has a money belt is to take it along, likewise also a bag, and whoever has no sword is to sell his coat and buy one. For I tell you that this which is written must be fulfilled in Me, ‘AND HE WAS NUMBERED WITH THE TRANSGRESSORS’; for that which refers to Me has its fulfillment.” They said, “Lord, look, here are two swords.” And He said to them, “It is enough.” Luke 22:35-38

So while before He commanded them to take nothing, now He’s telling them to take money and a weapon. Why?…

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