On Luke 22:35-38 and armed resistance

And Jesus said to them, “…whoever has no sword is to sell his coat and buy one…” They said, “Lord, look, here are two swords.” And he said to them, “It is enough.” (Luke 22:35-38)

If Jesus’ affirmation that two swords were enough was meant to be a call to armed resistance now for the church, his whole arrest and execution would have been an embarrassing shambles for his cause, with twelve disciples desperately trying to share two swords to fight off, first an angry mob, then soldiers of the Roman army – the fiercest and most ruthless army yet to have policed an empire. And it would have been an embarrassing anticlimax to the ministry of one who had preached love for enemies and turning the other cheek.

As it was, one of Jesus’ followers did draw his sword and attempt a skirmish – and was told off by him. Whatever Luke 22:35-38 means, it cannot mean that Jesus’ followers are in any way permitted to take up arms.

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