Jesus and the Sword

Is Jesus Anti Weapon?

weapons-273968_1280Did Jesus ever condemn weapons or the use of weapons?  Is Jesus anti weapon?  Those are fair questions.  After all Jesus didn’t carry a weapon.  He didn’t promote violence.  He didn’t fight against the guards who came to arrest him upon the night of his betrayal.  It is clear that during Jesus’ ministry on earth, he consistently demonstrated and promoted peace.  Jesus spoke about weapons, but what exactly did he say?

We need to remember that the sword was the most advanced hand held weapon known to man during Jesus’ time on earth.  The sword was also the most common weapon of that particular era.  In order to have a strong biblical perspective on weapons, we need to understand what Jesus taught about the sword.

Jesus allowed and even encouraged his disciples to carry a sword

Jesus allowed his disciples to carry swords.  In fact, he encouraged them to purchase a sword.  “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’s enough!” he replied.”  Luke 22:36-38

Remember the details of Jesus’ arrest on the night of his betrayal…  “Put your sword back in its place,” Jesus said to him, “for all who draw the sword will die by the sword.  Do you think I cannot call on my Father, and he will at once put at my disposal more than twelve legions of angels?  But how then would the Scriptures be fulfilled that say it must happen in this way?” Matthew 26:52-54

Jesus specifically told Peter to put his sword away, but notice that he didn’t tell Peter to get rid of his sword.  It is possible that there was a very good reason that Jesus wanted Peter to keep his sword.  Maybe it was to protect others or even defend himself.  Jesus said those who live by the sword will die by the sword.  However, that was not a reference to carrying a sword for protection.  Rather it was a reference to a lifestyle of violence.  Jesus didn’t tell Peter to sheath his sword because he didn’t like swords.  He told Peter to sheath his sword because there was a greater purpose and plan at hand.

Jesus is most concerned about our heart

Jesus didn’t call for confiscation of weapons.  There is no biblical evidence to suggest that Jesus is against weapons or any other inanimate objects.  That means there is no biblical evidence that Jesus is against swords.  And we should understand that our application of scripture does not just apply to the sword.  It should apply to weapons that are commonly used in our era, such as firearms.  Therefore, it is reasonable to believe that Jesus is not against firearms.

It is clear throughout scripture that Jesus is concerned with our heart.  Jesus desires that our attitudes reflect his love for us.  And it is no different when it comes to our use of the sword.  Weapons have and can be used to protect innocent life.  Jesus doesn’t want us to live for violence, but that doesn’t mean that he doesn’t want us to protect life.  Let’s be careful to not get those two things confused.

Jesus is the giver of life.  And life is worth protecting.  “This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters.” 1 John 3:16

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