Sunday, June 6, 2010

Why did Jesus ask his disciples to arm themselves before going to the Garden of Gethsemane

The sword that Jesus asked the disciples to bring to the Garden, the one Peter eventually used to cut the ear off Malthus, Caiaphas' servant was a real sword that did real damage. People have over spiritualized this account. They have tried to preach it out of the biblical narrative. This happened at the end of the last supper, just before going to the Garden.

Luke 22:35-38 says:

35 [Jesus] asked them [the eleven apostles], "When I sent you out without a purse, bag or sandals, did you lack anything?"
They said, "No, not a thing."
36 He 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. 37 For I tell you, this scripture must be fulfilled in me: ‘And he was numbered among the lawless’; and indeed what is written about me is being fulfilled."
38 They [the disciples] said, "See, Lord, here are two swords."
"It is enough," he replied.
Jesus is peacemaker...right? So this story seems to go against the perceived nature of a nice non confrontational Jesus. Wait, didn't Jesus seem to say that he DIDN'T come to make peace? Let's see what he said.
Matthew 10

32 “Everyone who acknowledges me publicly here on earth, I will also acknowledge before my Father in heaven. 33 But everyone who denies me here on earth, I will also deny before my Father in heaven.

34 “Don’t imagine that I came to bring peace to the earth! I came not to bring peace, but a sword.

35 ‘I have come to set a man against his father,
a daughter against her mother,
and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law.
36 Your enemies will be right in your own household!’l]">[l]

37 “If you love your father or mother more than you love me, you are not worthy of being mine; or if you love your son or daughter more than me, you are not worthy of being mine. 38 If you refuse to take up your cross and follow me, you are not worthy of being mine. 39 If you cling to your life, you will lose it; but if you give up your life for me, you will find it.

Man, that doesn't sound like that "Jesus loves me" guy does it? Yes, HE DOES. Enough to want you and me to be ready for battle. The devil never brings a pocketknife to a gunfight. He's out to kill and destroy you. Yet Christians are defeated because they are not well armed for the fight to come.

Yet the Spirit of God is constantly revealing Jesus as one who knows what needs to be done. How to be armed for war. Paul wrote about this in Ephesians 6. What we don't understand is this armament was REAL in Paul's day. It had the net effect of causing Christians to recognize when they were not ready for war.

Ephesians 6

11Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.

12For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.

13Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.

14Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness;

15And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace;

16Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked.

17And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God:

The example was clear in the day it was written. This was the way soldiers dressed. Paul was saying what Jesus said. Get a sword and be ready to use it. Prepare for war.

Not just any sword, a sharp one, one that had two edges, one that could cut deep, one that could do some real damage. One that can cut even to the intentions of the heart.

Hebrews 4:12
For the word of God is living and operative, and sharper than any two-edged sword, and penetrating to the division of soul and spirit, both of joints and marrow, and a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.
So now to the question. Why did Jesus instruct the Disciples to bring a sword to the garden? To give them confidence and boldness. To be willing to confront. To allow them to manifest a warrior spirit when the enemy came. It was a living parable Jesus used to do training for warfare. When Peter used that sword, Jesus DIDN'T REBUKE Peter, he just told him to put it away. He was demonstrating the Glory of God.
John 18

2Now Judas, who betrayed him, knew the place, because Jesus had often met there with his disciples. 3So Judas came to the grove, guiding a detachment of soldiers and some officials from the chief priests and Pharisees. They were carrying torches, lanterns and weapons.

4Jesus, knowing all that was going to happen to him, went out and asked them, "Who is it you want?"

5"Jesus of Nazareth," they replied.

"I am he," Jesus said. (And Judas the traitor was standing there with them.) 6When Jesus said, "I am he," they drew back and fell to the ground.

7Again he asked them, "Who is it you want?"
And they said, "Jesus of Nazareth."

8"I told you that I am he," Jesus answered. "If you are looking for me, then let these men go." 9This happened so that the words he had spoken would be fulfilled: "I have not lost one of those you gave me."a]">[a]

10Then Simon Peter, who had a sword, drew it and struck the high priest's servant, cutting off his right ear. (The servant's name was Malchus.)

11Jesus commanded Peter, "Put your sword away! Shall I not drink the cup the Father has given me?"

Luke 22

49When Jesus' followers saw what was going to happen, they said, "Lord, should we strike with our swords?" 50And one of them struck the servant of the high priest, cutting off his right ear.

51But Jesus answered, "No more of this!" And he touched the man's ear and healed him.

52Then Jesus said to the chief priests, the officers of the temple guard, and the elders, who had come for him, "Am I leading a rebellion, that you have come with swords and clubs? 53Every day I was with you in the temple courts, and you did not lay a hand on me. But this is your hour—when darkness reigns."

Matthew 26
52 “Put away your sword,” Jesus told him. “Those who use the sword will die by the sword. 53 Don’t you realize that I could ask my Father for thousands of angels to protect us, and he would send them instantly? 54 But if I did, how would the Scriptures be fulfilled that describe what must happen now?”
Here in this confrontation, the disciples were ready for war. Ready to do battle. Ready to die. And even when they asked....Jesus didn't Say NO. The fight ensued, until Malthus lost an ear. Then Jesus stopped the fray. Not for peace. He didn't try to make peace with his enemies. Look. He heals, the soldiers fall back at his "I AM". He rebukes them for coming like cowards. He is bold in the face of torture and death. He is filled with purpose, even the purpose of drinking the cup he wanted to avoid if possible. Yet he says there is death in the sword. That admonition means that choose your weapons wisely. If you choose physical weapons you may die a physical weapon as a result. But in this fight choose a non flesh and blood weapon.

The disciples after the Baptism of the Holy Spirit got this. Boldness, a willingness to die a martyrs death, a lack of fear of those who would persecute them. They also had seen Jesus defeat death by the Power of the Spirit that now dwelled in them. They had the sword stronger than the sword Jesus instructed them to sell everything to buy before the Garden. We must be ready to do the same.

They now knew that the sword they carried in their mouth by the Spirit of God was more powerful than any physical sword anyone could carry. The BIBLE is NOT the Sword of the Spirit, it contains the Sword of the Spirit. The Word of GOD is the sword of the Spirit. The Word of God in our mouth must agree with the revealed word of God in the Bible. But it's the word of God in our MOUTH spoken in authority by the Power of the Holy Ghost that is the Sword of the Spirit.

We can be the same. We can walk in power and authority as Jesus did. As He demonstrated for US.

Christians have to stop bringing a pocket knife to a gunfight the devil wants to pick. The ultimate nuclear bomb in our mouth is the Word of God. It's above any weapon the devil can bring to the fight.

Let's do what Jesus instructs us to do. Get the Word of God in your mouth -- at any price.
one who has no sword must sell his cloak and buy
Prepare for War!


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Anonymous said...


Gene said...

Get the Word of God in your mouth at any price.