Video Title: Does Jesus Command His Followers To Carry A Sword?
Instructor: Jerry Robinson
Length: 75 minutes
Table of Contents:
- 0:05 – Prayer
- 1:20 – Introduction
- 2:15 – Brief recap of our recent teaching of Christ’s Sermon on the Mount
- 17:34 – How modern Christians view weapons
- 22:22 – An examination of Luke 22:36, where Jesus instructs disciples to buy a sword
- 43:20 – Tough questions for those who think Jesus wants His disciples to carry and use a sword in self-defense
- 1:05:16 – A preview of upcoming teachings in 2019
- 1:07:00 – Conclusion/Closing Prayer
Video Description: The concept of preserving one’s own life, and especially the lives of our families, by preemptively killing a violent oppressor is commonly held today. In fact, any other reaction aside from preemptive killing of one’s mortal enemies is considered unthinkable by many Christians today.
The most common scriptural defense of the right of Christian “self-defense” of one’s life, property or country is rooted in an interesting comment made by Jesus on the final night of his life.
In an unusual phrase, Jesus urges his disciples:
“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 22:36)
At first glance, this verse does indeed appear to suggest that Jesus wanted his disciples to take up arms by saying to sell your cloak and buy a sword.
For centuries, this has one of the only New Testament verses commonly used to advocate violence and bloodshed by condoning the use of weapons by Christians against their enemies.
SIDENOTE: It is interesting to note that all four gospels recount the sudden appearance of swords in the Garden of Gethsemane at the time of Jesus’ arrest. (Matt 26:47,51-52,55; Mark 14:43,47-48; Luke 22:36,38,49,52; John 18:10-11)
In this teaching, we examine this seemingly difficult passage.
Was Jesus calling his disciples to a life of violence and bloodshed after spending his entire ministry calling them to non-violence?
Did Jesus instruct His disciples to buy a sword for use in self-defense? From who? From robbers? The Jews? The Roman Empire?
Did Jesus want His disciples to lead a violent revolt with these swords? If so, how could only two swords be enough to protect 12 men?
And if Jesus does want His followers to kill or maim with these swords? And does He still want us to love our enemies and to turn the other cheek?
If Jesus wanted His disciples to carry and sword and use it in self-defense, why didn’t His disciples ever use those swords beyond the Garden of Gethsemane?
What is the truth about this verse?
Was Jesus calling his disciples to a life of violence and bloodshed after spending his ENTIRE ministry calling them to pick up their cross and follow Him in nonviolence?
Are the weapons of the Christ follower’s warfare carnal? (2 Cor. 10:4)
Did Christ die so that we might place our trust in carnal weapons?
In addition to these questions, there are many more tough questions for those who think Jesus gave blanket approval of taking up arms when he instructed His disciples to “buy a sword.”
Another important historical point about this passage is that it was a capital crime for civilians living under the iron fist of Roman occupation (like in Judea) to carry weapons. By telling His disciples to carry swords, he was encouraging them to violate the law of Caesar. But for what purpose? After all, when Peter actually tries to use the sword he is harshly rebuked. So, which is it?
Does the Prince of Peace ultimately desire His followers to carry weapons?
The clear biblical answer is NO. And my reason for believing this is found in Christ’s very own words made right after his “command” to carry swords.
“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. And they said, “Look, Lord, here are two swords.” And he said to them, “It is enough.” (Luke 22:37,38)
Jesus ordered His disciples to carry a sword for the fulfillment of the prophecy that He would be found among transgressors. (Isa. 53:12)
Look no further. The answer is clear and concise. One has to blatantly avoid the context of this verse to not quickly discover what is occurring here. Clearly, Christ was acting in accordance with the fulfillment of Old Testament prophecy as he commonly does throughout his life. Specifically, Isaiah 53:12 in reference to the coming Messiah.
“Therefore will I divide him a portion with the great, and he shall divide the spoil with the strong; because he hath poured out his soul unto death: and he was numbered with the transgressors; and he bare the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors.”
He specifically connects his instruction for His disciples to buy swords directly to an Old Testament prophecy about him being “numbered with the transgressors.”
Put simply, when the officials came to arrest Jesus in Gethsemane, they happened upon an armed band of men hanging out in a grove of trees in the middle of the night. The two daggers among the 12 men were enough to make them suspect of a conspiracy to commit a crime.
In fact, Christ stresses this point of the appearance of Himself as being among transgressors (as if they were coming “out as against a thief with swords and staves”) at the time of His betrayal and arrest.
“In that same hour said Jesus to the multitudes, Are ye come out as against a thief with swords and staves for to take me? I sat daily with you teaching in the temple, and ye laid no hold on me. But all this was done, that the scriptures of the prophets might be fulfilled. Then all the disciples forsook him, and fled.” (Matt. 26:55,56)
This is a simple solution found right in the text itself. There is no need for any man to explain what Christ has said. With His disciples in possession of illicit weapons, they fulfilled the ancient prophecy.
It should be evident that Christ is not granting permission for 21st century Christians to purchase swords or firearms today as a form of self-defense in this text.
We conclude our teaching with these and many other tough questions that Christians should indeed wrestle with, and answer, if they believe that Christ is calling them to carry a weapon and use it against their enemies.
Enjoy the teaching!
I encourage you now to watch our latest teaching online. Once you have enjoyed this teaching, I recommend that you take three next steps.
Your Next Steps
2. Pray that God would you give you understanding and discernment about killing and self-defense. Seek to align your views not with your culture, but instead with God’s Word. You may not agree with everything we have said in this teaching, but it is important to know what you believe and why you believe it.
3. Embrace His Word and the culture’s scales will fall from your eyes on this highly controversial topic. That is our prayer for you.
We believe in the power of prayer. Send your prayer requests and praise reports here.
Next month, we will return with a powerful new teaching on how the early church viewed the sword. I greatly look forward to sharing this new teaching with you next month. The concepts that I have taught and shared in this teaching series have personally transformed me from the inside out over the past several years. It is my prayer that these same concepts will lead to radical changes in your own life — for His glory.
Blessings to you!
Jerry Robinson – TrueRichesRadio.com
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