What did Jesus mean when he told his disciples to buy a sword? Part 2 of 2
Luke 22-36 Then said he unto them, But now, he that hath a purse, let him take it, and likewise his scrip: and he that hath no sword, let him sell his garment, and buy one.
In part 1 I dealt with what Jesus did not mean by the statement sell your coat and buy a sword.
So what did he really mean. Like all of the sayings of Jesus we must understand that we MUST and this is of vital importance, we MUST take them in context and with the understanding that EVERY single saying of Jesus had a deep and meaningful spiritual teaching that cannot be understood if we simply take them at face value and remove them from the context in which they were said.
So let's do just that. Let's put the verse BACK into the context that it was taken from.
With this verse we don't even need to go back very far to get the context.
This statement was made at the last supper just after Jesus had told Peter that Peter would deny him 3 times
Luke 22- 31 And the Lord said, Simon, Simon, behold, Satan hath desired to have you, that he may sift you as wheat:32 But I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not: and when thou art converted, strengthen thy brethren.33 And he said unto him, Lord, I am ready to go with thee, both into prison, and to death. 34 And he said, I tell thee, Peter, the cock shall not crow this day, before that thou shalt thrice deny that thou knowest me.
Jesus then reminds them of the time he sent them out on their mission where he told them to take no money bag or shoes. He asked them if they had lacked anything and they stated NOTHING.
Luke 22- 35 And he said unto them, When I sent you without purse, and scrip, and shoes, lacked ye any thing? And they said, Nothing.
The mission of the 12 can be found in luke 9 1-6 , Matthew 10 5-15 and Mark 6 7-13
This is where the 12 disciples were sent out to preach the gospel in pairs. They were not to take any provisions but rely on the hospitality of those that they went to preach to.
So Jesus was reminding them of that mission so they would remember how they did not lack anything even though they took with them nothing. They were physically supported.
Then Jesus makes his statement about selling the coat and buying a sword and stated BUT NOW...
Luke 22- 36 Then said he unto them, But now, he that hath a purse, let him take it, and likewise hisscrip: and he that hath no sword, let him sell his garment, and buy one
He says in the next verse that he must be numbered with the transgressors and the things concerning him have an end
Luke 22-37 For I say unto you, that this that is written must yet be accomplished in me, And he was reckoned among the transgressors: for the things concerning me have an end.
These 2 verses need to be taken together. The reason for the statement about the swords is important when we understand that Jesus was telling his disciples now was the time for him to be numbered with the transgressors and for his time to come to an end. It was that same night Jesus was arrested and the very next day crucified.
Jesus had first reminded them that while he was with them on earth they lacked nothing even when they had nothing. When he was with them physically on the earth.
BUT NOW after Jesus would be gone, the physical would end and instead would become the spiritual.
Jesus had told them that after he was to go away that the comforter, the holy spirit would come to them and guide them.
John 14-16 And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever;
John 14-26 But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.
Now Jesus needed them to understand that after he was gone physically that spiritually they would still be provided for but they had to be willing to follow him spiritually when he was no longer with them physically. Jesus was telling his disciples now is the time for me to die and for you to truly follow me. It was easy to follow me when I was with you but now you must do it spiritually
Verse 36 is then completely in the spiritual
Jesus didn't just tell them to sell their coat and buy a sword he told them to take a purse.
He did not mean a physical purse but the spiritual purse that will not get old, a heavenly purse. The purse he told them about in Luke 12
Luke 12- 33 Sell that ye have, and give alms; provide yourselves bags which wax not old, a treasure in the heavens that faileth not, where no thief approacheth, neither moth corrupteth. 34 For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.
Then he tells them to sell their coat and buy a sword. Again this is completely spiritual.
The coat was a vital part of a travellers inventory. Jesus didn't want them to sell their actual physical coat and buy an actual physical sword, he was telling his disciples it was time for them to put him first give up on possessions no matter how important they felt they were and follow him.
Jesus stated over and over that in order to follow him and be his disciple a person must be willing to forsake everything that they had.
Luke 14-33 So likewise, whosoever he be of you that forsaketh not all that he hath, he cannot be my disciple.
He explained in parables that he was the treasure worth buying and that a man must be willing to sell all in order to buy him.
Matthew 13 - 44 Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto treasure hid in a field; the which when a man hath found, he hideth, and for joy thereof goeth and selleth all that he hath, and buyeth that field.45a Gain, the kingdom of heaven is like unto a merchant man, seeking goodly pearls: 46Who, when he had found one pearl of great price, went and sold all that he had, and bought it.
Over and over Jesus stated this. Sell everything and follow him.
Luke 12- 22 And he said unto his disciples, Therefore I say unto you, Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat; neither for the body, what ye shall put on. 23 The life is more than meat, and the body is more than raiment.24 Consider the ravens: for they neither sow nor reap; which neither have storehouse nor barn; and God feedeth them: how much more are ye better than the fowls? 25 And which of you with taking thought can add to his stature one cubit? 26 If ye then be not able to do that thing which is least, why take ye thought for the rest? 27 Consider the lilies how they grow: they toil not, they spin not; and yet I say unto you, that Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. 28If then God so clothe the grass, which is to day in the field, and to morrow is cast into the oven; how much more will he clothe you, O ye of little faith? 29 And seek not ye what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink, neither be ye of doubtful mind. 30 For all these things do the nations of the world seek after: and your Father knoweth that ye have need of these things. 31 But rather seek ye the kingdom of God; and all these things shall be added unto you. 32 Fear not, little flock; for it is your Father's good pleasure to give you the kingdom.
Matthew 19- 16 And, behold, one came and said unto him, Good Master, what good thing shall I do, that I may have eternal life? 17 And he said unto him, Why callest thou me good? there is none good but one, that is, God: but if thou wilt enter into life, keep the commandments. 18 He saith unto him, Which? Jesus said, Thou shalt do no murder, Thou shalt not commit adultery, Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not bear false witness, 19 Honour thy father and thy mother: and, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. 20The young man saith unto him, All these things have I kept from my youth up: what lack I yet? 21 Jesus said unto him, If thou wilt be perfect, go and sell that thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come and follow me. 22 But when the young man heard that saying, he went away sorrowful: for he had great possessions.23 Then said Jesus unto his disciples, Verily I say unto you, That a rich man shall hardly enter into the kingdom of heaven. 24 And again I say unto you, It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God. 25 When his disciples heard it, they were exceedingly amazed, saying, Who then can be saved? 26 But Jesus beheld them, and said unto them, With men this is impossible; but with God all things are possible.
And this is what Jesus was telling them to do. Not to go back to their lives before him but continue on with their new spiritual mission (we are told that Peter and some of the disciples did return to fishing after the death of Jesus,at least until Jesus showed himself after his resurrection)
So by giving up everything represented by the metaphorical coat they would then buy a metaphorical sword
The sword they would ‘’Buy’’ was the sword of the spirit, that would be given to them when they followed Jesus after his death. That sword is the word of God, who is Jesus.
Ephesians 6-17 And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God:
So Jesus was in fact telling them to forsake all that they held as important in life and buy him instead.
At first the disciples did not understand this. They did not understand the spiritual aspect of what Jesus was saying. They themselves took it literally and stated here are 2 swords, 2 actual real swords. To which Jesus stated ‘’it is enough’’
The Greek words translated as ‘’it is enough’’ are Ἱκανόν ἐστιν. Hikanon estin
They DON'T mean it is enough as in the numerical number 2 swords is enough but it is enough as in that's enough, enough already, stop this now.
The word sword μάχαιραι machairai is in the feminine plural common form. However the word Ἱκανόν Hikanon is in the nominative neuter singular form. It CANNOT refer to the swords. It is an idiom. Jesus was using this to end the conversation which they had failed to understand, not offer confirmation that the 2 swords were enough (which has already been shown was not enough).
They had missed the point and Jesus was letting them know that they had.
However later they did understand and we see that the disciples did exactly what Jesus had told them to do.
Acts 2-45 And sold their possessions and goods, and parted them to all men, as every man had need.
In context it is also called part of the apostles doctrine.
Acts 2-42 And they continued stedfastly in the apostles' doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers.43 And fear came upon every soul: and many wonders and signs were done by the apostles. 44 And all that believed were together, and had all things common; 45 And sold their possessions and goods, and parted them to all men, as every man had need. 46 And they, continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, did eat their meat with gladness and singleness of heart, 47 Praising God, and having favour with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved.
Jesus never meant for his disciples to buy actual swords. Or for that matter to sell their actual coat.
Jesus told them to give up everything that they felt was important in order to truly follow him.