Picture this: On the night of his betrayal, Jesus and his disciples have just had communion. They are about to go to a time of prayer in the garden when Jesus says, “Hey, Jack! (emphasis mine) Whoever has no firearm, let him sell his garment and buy one.” The disciples reply, “Look what we have with us, Lord. A totally pimped out AR-15 and a sweet Kimber .45.” And Jesus says, “It is enough” (Luke 22:35-39). You read it the way you want to – I have a great imagination.
What the heck? Are you pickin’ up what I’m layin’ down? Besides the fact that the weapons then were actually swords? I’d like to point out a few factoids to the “I like my Jesus passive and pale” crowd.
— Jesus expects them to have swords and anticipates a time when those without swords would need to acquire them.
— Among eleven disciples, two of them already open carry – almost a 1:5 ratio.
— Jesus expects them to open carry in his presence as they travel from the city to the garden prayer meeting.
When the authorities come to arrest Jesus in the garden, how do the disciples respond? Do they use the sword? Reportedly one did:
“Then Simon Peter, having a sword, drew it and struck the high priest’s servant, and cut off his right ear. The servant’s name was Malchus. So Jesus said to Peter, “Put your sword into the sheath. Shall I not drink the cup which My Father has given Me?” (John 18:10-11).
It’s as if Jesus is saying, “Though we have a right to employ our swords in defense of this unrighteous arrest, we are intentionally putting aside our lawful right, and I am allowing myself to be taken without resistance.”
Two additional points:
1. Christ is willingly laying down his life, though he has the right to use a sword and angelic legions to deliver himself from this unjust arrest (Luke 22:51, John 18:11).
2. Those who are quick to resort to violence will die by violence (Matt 26:52). The Lord hates the one who “loves violence” (Psalm 11:5).
The sword is not always the appropriate response, especially in persecution for Christ. There is greater protection than swords. All of this is consistent with Old Testament teachings, particularly with regard to David—who was skilled in the use of weapons against bears and lions. In today’s terms we’d be talking about a .44 magnum, not a .22, in the hands of someone too young to be in the army.
We might be tempted to think this was just for dealing with animals that could threaten sheep. But aren’t humans worth even more protection than sheep? Scripturally, whatever is not forbidden is permitted.
I’m not claiming that ownership of weaponry for the purpose of self-defense is required of the believer. It is not required, but is permitted by Scripture. In fact I would go as far to say, encouraged by Scripture.
Image:Courtesy of: http://papertoys.wikidot.com/wiki:medieval-brodsword-paper-models