Monday, July 7, 2014

The Unused Sword

By Bill Williams

    A part of the conversation between Jesus and His disciples at the final Passover feast centered around swords. In Luke 22:35-38, we read; “And He said to them, ‘When I sent you out without money belt and bag and sandals, you did not lack anything, did you?’ They said, ‘No, nothing.’ And He said to them, ‘But now, whoever has a money belt is to take it along, likewise also a bag, and whoever has no sword is to sell his coat and buy one. For I tell you that this which is written must be fulfilled in Me, AND HE WAS NUMBERED WITH TRANSGRESSORS; for that which refers to Me has its fulfillment.’ They said, ‘Lord, look, here are two swords.’ And He said to them, ‘It is enough.’”
    There is a change in the ministry. They had walked around in relative peace, but with the final entrance into Jerusalem, the hostility was rising. But was Jesus condoning violence among His followers? The disciples brought two swords forward and Jesus claimed that they were enough to fulfill what was written about Him in Isaiah. Two swords to start a rebellion against the Jewish leaders and the Roman oppressors? This seems unlikely. Later that evening…
   So Jesus, knowing all the things that were coming upon Him, went forth and said to them, “Whom do you seek?” They answered Him, “Jesus the Nazarene.” He said to them, “I am He.” … Simon Peter then, having a sword, drew it and struck the high priest’s slave, and cut off his right ear; and the slave’s name was Malchus. So Jesus said to Peter, “Put the sword into the sheath; the cup which the Father has given Me, shall I not drink it? (John 18:4-11)”
    The approach of the soldiers with Judas heralded the betrayal, arrest and execution of Jesus. When they arrived, Jesus confronted them powerfully and Peter, misunderstanding his Lord’s intent, takes out his sword to fight. But his actions were halted by none other than Jesus. He healed the enemy soldier and told Peter to put the sword away, it was not needed. Fulfilling God’s will did not require swords. So Peter ran away.
    But what about that second sword? Who had it? What happened to them? Scripture doesn’t say.
    However, we have “a sword”. Injustice runs rampant. We are betrayed by friends. We may be treated poorly by those around us. And in those moments, we have a choice to make; to make war or allow God to reign. The disciple with the second sword, when seeing the cost Jesus was willing to make, lay his sword aside and let Jesus do what He came to do. What choice will you make?

- Bill Williams preaches for the Jackson Church of Christ in Jackson, MO.  He may be contacted through the congregation's website:

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