If You Don't Have a Sword, Sell Your Cloak and Buy One
Luke / Chapter 22 / V35-38
Then Jesus asked them, "When I sent you 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 fulfillment."
The disciples said, "See, Lord, here are two swords."
"That is enough," he replied. ~Lk 22:35-38
Jesus instructed His disciples to take their money, bags and shoes with them, as these were basic necessities for travelling. Ever since they became His disciples, they had never brought along these things with them. The reason was, Jesus, the all-abundant Lord provided for them whenever He sent them out. Therefore the disciples did not have to worry over these things.
Now the situation had changed. With the Lord being listed among the criminals and His disciples were about to lose their pillar of support, this prompted Him to prepare them against the coming persecution. Jesus’ instructions to the disciples to prepare their purses, bags and shoes were reasonable, but why did the Lord insist that they sell their cloaks to buy swords? Could it be that the Lord wanted them to defend themselves in the coming persecution with swords? However, when the Lord was shown two swords by His disciples, His reply was “that is enough.” If the swords were to be used as weapons against the Roman soldiers, would two swords be enough? On the night when the Roman soldiers apprehended Jesus, He forbade His disciples from retaliating by explaining that He could have summoned more than twelve legions of angels easily to protect Him. If one angel could kill more than one hundred thousand soldiers in a single night (2Ki 19:35), what purpose would two swords serve? The Lord must have other intentions for instructing His disciples to buy swords.
The actual meaning of “sell your cloak” is to be understood as “at all costs” – even to the extent of being deprived of clothes. “Buying a sword” is to sound the need to be alert and vigilant. The Lord wanted His disciples to remain alert and vigilant of the imminent persecution at all cost. When the disciples showed the swords to Jesus, it was an acknowledgment of having understood the severity of the matter. When the Lord said “that is enough,” He did not mean that the two swords were enough to fend off the enemy. Rather, He meant that as long as the disciples were aware of the coming dangers and kept themselves alert, that was enough.
Then, who did the Lord wish to protect with their “swords?” Was it Himself or the disciples? And who were the enemies to defeat, the Roman soldiers or the guards of the high priests?
On the night of Jesus’ arrest, Peter took a sword and cut off the ear of one of the high priest’s servants. After Jesus healed the ear of that servant, He reprimanded Peter, saying, “Put your sword back in its place… for all who draw the sword will die by the sword.” Clearly, Jesus did not want His disciples to use swords to defend themselves against His captors. All this while, Peter had misunderstood the words of Jesus and failed to perceive the true meaning of “buying a sword.” That very night was the triumphant moment for Satan – the Prince of Darkness, and the evil of man’s heart reached its peak. They were not even afraid to kill the Son of the Most High God. Satan did not overlook Jesus’ disciples and tried to sift them as wheat. He made use of this trial to bring out the worst in them, enticing them to sin and forsake God. At the moment when Peter drew his sword, he lost this spiritual battle against Satan; for he had forsaken the teachings of Jesus to love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.
The Lord through the buying of a sword, wanted His disciples to guard against Satan which was a thousand times more fearful than the Roman soldiers. With the “sword” the Lord wanted them to protect their hearts which were a thousand times more precious than their lives.
On that very night, the entire mankind failed including the disciples. Only Jesus remained perfectly alert and vigilant in both body and spirit. Even in extreme pain and agony, Jesus did not sin either in words or actions. The Lord had fought a victorious battle for the Father, accomplishing His eternal salvation plan for mankind. The “sword” of the Lord is indeed invincible with no equal in the world!
Under the cruelty of the cross, the Lord was silent like a lamb before its shearer. With such meekness and humility, no one would have expected the “sword” of the Lord to be so mighty and powerful! With His “sword,” He gave Satan a fatal blow on the head, completely crushing his authorities and powers; with His “sword,” He split the veil that divided God and Man in two and opened up a true and living way for sinners to enter into eternal life.