IT'S NOT YOUR FIGHT
"Then Jesus said, 'When I sent you out and without purse, bag or sandals, did you lack anything?'
"'Nothing,' they answered,
"He said to them, 'But now, if you have a purse, take it, and also a bag, and if you don’t have a sword, sell your cloak and buy one. It is written: "And He was numbered with the transgressors," and I tell you that this must be fulfilled in me. Yes, what is written about me is reaching its fulfilment.'
"The disciples said, 'See, Lord, here are two swords.'
"'That is enough,' He replied." Luke 22:35-38 (The Message).
Why did Jesus seem to be contradicting Himself? Why no equipment then but fully equipped now?
Firstly, He questioned them regarding their preaching trip when He instructed them to rely on the partnership of the people to whom they would be ministering, to take care of their physical needs.
This is how God's kingdom works. It is a principle in His kingdom that those who preach the gospel should live off the gospel.
There is no such thing as using the world's system of buying and selling, i.e., fund raising, to raise money for the work of the kingdom. The kingdom of God derives its resources from giving and receiving which God initiates and multiplies supernaturally to meet all the needs.
Secondly, He made it clear that this situation demanded the world's resources because they would be in a conflict with the dominion of darkness. There would be no partnership with other people here; it would be every man for himself and they would be required to take care of their own needs in the crisis.
Strange that Jesus even instructed them to sell an important part of their clothing if necessary -- their all-purpose outer garment -- to buy a sword. It was not intended for battle but for self-defence. Peter used his sword to defend Jesus, not himself, and that was not His intention.
Jesus also explains His reason for His apparent contradiction. He would be falling into the hands of "transgressors", not people who were sympathetic to Him. He did not want His disciples caught up in the situation at the expense of their lives at this stage. They were not to be the victims of the injustice meted out to Him. Better that they were armed to defend themselves than to become the victims of some over-enthusiastic supporter of the religious crowd who were baying for His blood.
There would come a time in the disciples' lives when the use of the sword would be inappropriate. James would be beheaded; Peter would be imprisoned and awaiting the same fate because of their obedience to Jesus. They would submit to the hatred of the world system then, just as Jesus was doing now, without resistance because they were citizens of an everlasting kingdom.
It is important that we, as followers of Jesus, keep in mind that we are living in two kingdoms simultaneously. We are, of necessity, citizens of this world and subject to the systems of this world but we are also citizens of the kingdom of God and subject to the way God governs in His kingdom. We are to be in submission to Him and to apply the ways of His kingdom to the way we live in this world. We are "in the world but not of it."
At this point it was Jesus' fight. He had to stand alone in this conflict. He had to take on the entire kingdom of darkness and come out of it the winner so that, when His disciples entered the battle, all they would have to do would be to stand in the victory He won for them.
"Therefore put on the full armour of God so that, when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground and, after you have done everything, to stand." Ephesians 6:13 (NIV).
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