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Call to arm

30-11-2015 - Posted by Andre Piet


Buy a sword

Because of the recent terrorist attacks in Paris many people in Western-Europe feel panicking. In this way threatening of violence comes very close. A logical question is how to protect best against it. If politics can’t give the answer, what can we do ourselves? I asked myself: do we need to arm ourselves against intruders. I also heard an argument from bible: Jesus instructed his disciples to buy a sword. Luke 22:36:

But now, he said, take your money and a traveller’s bag. And if you don’t have a sword, sell your cloak and buy one!

The disciples did literally what Jesus had said. Two verses later (Luke 22:38) they say to Jesus:

Look, Lord, they replied, we have two swords among us. That’s enough, he said.


Did Jesus intend to say that two swords should be sufficient for beating the army they should face? But shouldn’t that be absurd? Indeed, and I think that the words of Jesus ‘That’s enough’ also express that. It’s irony and a sigh because of their not-understanding: It’s good, leave it. By his words “and if you don’t have a sword, sell your cloak and buy one!” Jesus wanted to prepare his disciples for dark times. Not a comfortable cloak, but being armed should be important. Not literally, but spiritually.


Jesus didn’t mean literally swords and the proof for that is showed a few hours later in this history. Then he’s captured without any defence. On the contrary, he gives himself without reserve to the Roman soldiers. And when Peter wanted to defend his Master and hit the ear of the servant of the pontiff, Jesus reprimanded him with these words (Matthew 26:52):

 … Put away your sword, Jesus told him. Those who use the sword will die by the sword.

Self-defence was so legitimated that time, but Jesus decidedly rejected it.

not warring according to the flesh

Peter learned his lesson; many years later he wrote in his letter (1 Peter 2):

21 For for this were you called, seeing that Christ also suffered for your sakes, leaving you a copy, that you should be following up in the footprints of Him 22 Who does no sin, neither was guile found in His mouth; 23 Who, being reviled, reviled not again; suffering, threatened not, yet gave it over to Him Who is judging justly…

In contrast to muslims who are called to a physical Jihad (holy war), those who believe in Christ are called to a totally different battle. Paul writes in 2 Corinthians 10:

3 For, walking in flesh, we are not warring according to the flesh. 4 For the weapons of our warfare are not fleshly, but powerful to God …

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