Luke 22:35 – 38
35 He said to them, ‘When I sent you out without a purse, bag, or sandals, did you lack anything?’ They said, ‘No, not a thing.’ 36He said to them, ‘But now, the one who has a purse must take it, and likewise a bag. And the one who has no sword must sell his cloak and buy one. 37For I tell you, this scripture must be fulfilled in me, “And he was counted among the lawless”; and indeed what is written about me is being fulfilled.’ 38They said, ‘Lord, look, here are two swords.’ He replied, ‘It is enough.’
Jesus has already turned the conversation to a prediction of coming danger, of what would happen to him – and he has told the disciples that they will flee and Peter that he himself will deny Jesus. But now, he says this time, and the times coming, will be dangerous, not only for him, but also for them. They will need to take along all their resources; now they may not be able to rely on the charity of the people. They may need to marshall resources, take along whatever they have in the coming journeys, for he will be considered an outlaw, and as his followers they will also be considered outlaws. A time when a people are considered outlaws is a time when one must sell whatever he has to buy a sword. Jesus is speaking figuratively again – this is what such a time feels like. It is a dangerous time. But, of course, the disciples take him literally, saying “Lord, look, here are two swords.” It is their last night with Jesus, at least their last before the resurrection, and still they do not understand what Jesus is all about! It will take encounters with the Risen Christ, and the work of the Holy Spirit in their hearts before they will understand Jesus’ mission, and their own. For now, swords are not going to do them much good – in fact, a fight would only drive them further underground, make them sought by Rome and enemies of the state. This is certainly not what Jesus has in mind!
The disciples respond to a time of danger by looking for a way to fight back – don’t we all? They respond to danger, sword for sword, weapon for weapon, blow for blow. That is the instinctive human response. That is not, however, the way of the Kingdom of God, the Kingdom that Jesus brought. Jesus’ Kingdom is one of “Love your enemies; do good to those who persecute you.” It is not a meet violence with violence kingdom.
Jesus says, “It is enough”. He is not saying “two swords are enough for a battle”, they wouldn’t be! He is not saying, “it is enough to fight back.” That would make the situation worse! He is saying, “Are you so dense that you still don’t get it? Enough of this conversation; drop the subject!”
Let us, as Christians, be peacemakers, people who love rather than hate!