Here Are Two Swords

RublevRublev Shipmate
edited February 25 in Kerygmania
Jesus said, 'Let him who has no sword buy one... They said, Lord, look, here are two swords.' He replied, 'It is enough' (Luke 22: 36-38).

On the night of His arrest Jesus tells His followers to provide themselves with swords. Is He justifying the use of self defense here?

What about His commands about non-violence in the Sermon on the Mount: 'If anyone strikes you on the right cheek, turn the other also' (Matt 5: 39).

What is this text doing in the gospels ?

Comments

  • I'm pretty sure this was hyperbole, intended to point up "It's going to be tough and dangerous." If it was meant seriously, how could Jesus have considered two swords (among twelve--or even eleven) to be enough? And he seems entirely nonplussed when Peter comes out swinging with his sword during the Gethsemane incident. I conclude therefore that Jesus was speaking hyperbolically, and the "it is enough" may have been similar to the handwave that you do when you realize that your audience has completely missed your point.
  • I quite agree with @Lamb Chopped. It is more obvious if you include the whole passage which starts with Jesus asking whether, when he sent them out without money purse or bag or sandals, did they lack anything (answer: No) and he says that now things are different--take a money bag, and bag and sword (i.e., just like any other traveler would for protection), and oh, by the way, he is going to be treated like a criminal. When they take him literally and say "look, we have swords" he immediately terminates the conversation. They have (not for the first time) missed the point completely. And the proof of this is Jesus' reaction when Peter starts slicing-and-dicing.

    Now that I think of it, that must have added to Jesus' "Agony in the Garden"--the realization that his closest followers really didn't get it. He taught them so much and, at this point, he must have wondered if they were paying any attention at all.
  • Martin54Martin54 Shipmate
    edited February 27
    He doesn't have to justify self-defence. It's justified. Except against even civil society and authority abusing power. Mainly.
  • Rublev wrote: »
    Jesus said, 'Let him who has no sword buy one... They said, Lord, look, here are two swords.' He replied, 'It is enough' (Luke 22: 36-38).

    On the night of His arrest Jesus tells His followers to provide themselves with swords. Is He justifying the use of self defense here?

    What about His commands about non-violence in the Sermon on the Mount: 'If anyone strikes you on the right cheek, turn the other also' (Matt 5: 39).

    What is this text doing in the gospels ?

    I think a problem here is in the attempt to reconcile one Gethsemane story in one Gospel (Luke) with another Gospel (Matthew). While both in their own ways tell the story about the man Jesus, they both were written for different purposes and different audiences. Allow the two Gospels to speak for themselves.
  • RublevRublev Shipmate
    edited February 28
    This text of Luke comes into the category of Things We Would Rather Were Not In The Gospels.

    Some people also wish that Jesus had not turned the water into wine at Cana...
  • RublevRublev Shipmate
    On comparing gospel traditions:

    Throckmortons Gospel Parallels is a standard tool of NT hermeneutics.

    In considering the teachings of Jesus the SOM takes priority. So Matthew 5: 39 overrules Luke 22: 36.

    Wht would you not compare the gospels? What they do not say can be as interesting as what they do say.
  • Martin54Martin54 Shipmate
    Three times as much.
  • RublevRublev Shipmate
    Four times as much. And if you see Isaiah as being the fifth gospel you could make it five times.
  • Martin54Martin54 Shipmate
    Matthew and Luke have a quarter overlap.
  • RublevRublev Shipmate
    91% of Mark is in Matthew, 53% in Luke, but only 8% in John's gospel. Clement of Alexandria said that John was written as a supplement to the others: 'John, last of all, conscious that the outward facts had been set forth in the Gospels... composed a spiritual gospel' (Eusebius, Ecclesiastical History 6.14.7).

    Rather than presenting a chronological narrative of the life of Christ, it presents Him in his personal relationships with men and women. In the 'I Am' sayings he presents the great claims of Christ to answer the spiritual needs of everyone: He is the Bread of Life (6: 35), the Light of the World (8: 12), the Good Shepherd (10:7) and the Resurrection and the Life (11: 25). John mentions no parables but presents symbolic discourses instead (the Logos, the bread from heaven, the vine and the branches).

    He omits certain significant events such as SOM, the Words of Institution at the Last Supper and the agony at Gethsemane. There is no Transfiguration story because the whole gospel is a transfiguration of Jesus which expresses His glory: 'And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us and we have seen His glory' (John 1: 14).
  • Gramps49Gramps49 Shipmate
    91% of Mark is in Matthew, 53% in Luke, but only 8% in John's gospel. Clement of Alexandria said that John was written as a supplement to the others: 'John, last of all, conscious that the outward facts had been set forth in the Gospels... composed a spiritual gospel' (Eusebius, Ecclesiastical History 6.14.7)

    John was written from a totally different perspective than the other Gospels. The author uses a Greco-Roman biography genre. There is a definite differences in sources. John draws from an "I AM" source and a sayings of Jesus source much different from the others.

    There is some thought there was a Johannine Community that was eventually incorporated into the larger Christian church sometime in the second century.

  • MamacitaMamacita Shipmate
    Rublev wrote: »
    On comparing gospel traditions:

    Throckmortons Gospel Parallels is a standard tool of NT hermeneutics.
    I'm not sure what your point is.
    In considering the teachings of Jesus the SOM takes priority. So Matthew 5: 39 overrules Luke 22: 36.
    I too would be inclined to give the Sermon on the Mount a lot of weight in terms of Jesus' message. It seems a little odd to me, though, to speak of it "overriding" another statement of Jesus. I think I would put it, "the Sermon on the Mount, which appears in both Matthew and Luke, is an expansive piece of Jesus' teaching and a better source of guidance for Christian living than an apparently random verse in one of the Gospels which appears nowhere else."

    On the other hand, I think whatever is attributed to Jesus deserves some consideration, while certainly looking at the context, as @Lamb Chopped' stated above. Jesus advising his followers that things were going to get rough was realistic. This is the same Jesus who earlier taught his followers to be as wise as serpents and innocent as doves and that he came "not to bring peace but a sword". The bigger question, I think, is how to reconcile the Sermon on the Mount with Jesus' more difficult teachings.
    Wh[y] would you not compare the gospels?
    Comparing the gospels is fascinating, enlightening, good biblical scholarship, and so much more. I just think it's more fruitful when the comparisons are more directly focused.
    What they do not say can be as interesting as what they do say.
    Indeed.
  • Mamacita wrote: »
    Wh[y] would you not compare the gospels?
    Comparing the gospels is fascinating, enlightening, good biblical scholarship, and so much more. I just think it's more fruitful when the comparisons are more directly focused.
    What they do not say can be as interesting as what they do say.
    Indeed.
    And how the Gospels differently use the same stories, and how Luke and Matthew adapt Mark for their own purposes is also fascinating and enlightening, and also instructive on how we can recontextualise scripture for our own cultures.
  • SirPalomidesSirPalomides Shipmate
    St Cyril of Alexandria, in one of his homilies on Luke, says,
    But the divine disciples did not understand the deep meaning of what was said, but supposed rather that He meant that swords were necessary, because of the attack about to be made upon Him by the disciple who betrayed Him, and by those who were assembled to seize Him. For this reason they say, "Lord, behold, here are two swords." And what is the Saviour's reply? "It is enough." Observe how, so to say, He even ridicules their speech, well knowing that the disciples not having understood the force of what was said, thought that swords were required, because of the attack about to be made upon Himself. Fixing His look therefore upon those things which happened to the Jews because of their wicked conduct towards Him, the Saviour, as I said, ridicules their speech, and says, "It is enough:" yes, forsooth, two swords are enough to bear the brunt of the war about to come upon them, to meet which many thousand swords were of no avail.

    Other fathers (e.g. Chrysostom) I've read commenting on this passage say something similar.
  • I have no insight into first-century idiom in another language, but it sounds close enough to 'that's enough!' for me - like LC's hand wave. Or, if you like, raised eyebrows and a big sigh.
  • Martin54Martin54 Shipmate
    Rublev wrote: »
    Jesus said, 'Let him who has no sword buy one... They said, Lord, look, here are two swords.' He replied, 'It is enough' (Luke 22: 36-38).

    On the night of His arrest Jesus tells His followers to provide themselves with swords. Is He justifying the use of self defense here?

    What about His commands about non-violence in the Sermon on the Mount: 'If anyone strikes you on the right cheek, turn the other also' (Matt 5: 39).

    What is this text doing in the gospels ?

    The answer's all there in Luke. So why do you ask?
  • RublevRublev Shipmate
    To have a questioning faith is to have a faith that can deal with the complexities of life. Some people make an unconscious pact with God that they will believe as long as He protects them from harm. They forget the bit about persecutions. So their unquestioning faith collapses in a crisis.

    The difference between good and bad theology is shown in the disputes between Jesus and the Pharisees. This is why He gets angry when the Pharisees would rather keep the rules of the Sabbath than see the miraculous healing of a man with a withered hand. Their response is not to believe or praise God, but how to destroy Him (Mark 3: 1-6). Good theology liberates and heals. Bad theology oppresses and binds people.

    To come back to Luke 22, there is both the text and its interpretation. They can both be discussed. Jesus makes the curious statement that 'the one who has no sword must sell his cloak and buy one' (Luke 22: 36). His, disciples respond, 'Lord, look, here are two swords.' He replied, 'It is enough' (Luke 22: 38). You could interpret that either as being that two swords are sufficient or that Jesus has had enough of the discussion. When the officers of the Temple come to arrest Him and Malchus is injured with a sword, the response of Jesus is to say, 'No more of this!' and heal him (Luke 22: 51). Jesus does not resist His arrest - as He advocates in SOM. So that would seem to confirm the interpretation, 'Enough of this discussion.'
  • Martin54Martin54 Shipmate
    It interprets itself.
  • RublevRublev Shipmate
    Scripture is an ongoing revelation. But the books of the Bible do comment upon each other. They have conversations, reinterpret and argue. And Jesus promised His disciples that the Holy Spirit 'will teach you everything and remind you of all that I have said' (John 14: 26).
  • Martin54Martin54 Shipmate
    In this instance Jesus Himself explained it fully at the time.
  • RublevRublev Shipmate
    I'm glad you agree.
  • Martin54Martin54 Shipmate
    Who with?
  • SirPalomidesSirPalomides Shipmate
    edited May 3
    Speaking of swords, I'm getting all kinds of nicks and cuts reading Martin's edgy posts.
  • Martin54Martin54 Shipmate
    It's a broad sword.
  • Martin54Martin54 Shipmate
    And mea culpa, mea maxima culpa for finishing a sentence with a preposition.
  • goperryrevsgoperryrevs Shipmate
    Just to note that μάχαιραν is ambiguous, and could well refer to a short sword, or a large knife, rather than a soldier’s weapon. Useful for fighting off animals and keeping bandits at bay, I’d guess.

    https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Makhaira
  • OhherOhher Shipmate
    Martin54 wrote: »
    And mea culpa, mea maxima culpa for finishing a sentence with a preposition.

    Not a real rule. Never was.
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