Luke 22:36 - Is Christ advocating (future) violence?


“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.”

A surgeon (he’s Catholic) asked me what this text meant as we worked together this week; I did not know the answer. Am wondering if anyone else has any insights?

Christ is telling Peter and the disciples of the hard times ahead; trying to get them into the mindset of what to expect. “Remember what it was like when I sent you out before? There were no problems right? – Well THIS is going to be different; you will need to take things with you that you didn’t before…”

Including a sword! Curious then that the very next words have TWO swords offered and Jesus seems to dismiss them. Is this because the swords must wait till the future time Christ was warning about??

This certainly does not seem to fit with the overall ethic of Christ who talked of giving up ones life in love even for a sinner; who talked of loving ones enemy; who would eschew violence even as He was mistreated and tortured and crucified.

In addition, there is no evidence in Acts that the early disciples had anything to do with violence; making one suspect they realized it was clearly not a call to violence. Was it perhaps a call to the use of violence in self defense??

I’m leaning toward seeing this comment as a sort of non-literal hyperbole; an exaggeration for effect of emphasizing just how awful it will get. Maybe that’s because it would be so hard to fit with everything else Christ said…

Any other ideas??


(Will be out in Southern Cal visiting my mom who had surgery this week and I may not have internet access… Will catch up later if necessary :smiley: )


I believe the overall context of the New Testament teaches that some cases of violence in just defense is okay.


Many commentators take Jesus’ “dismissal” of the disciples’ swords (Enough!) as verification that they indeed had mistaken as literal his ironic mocking of their reversion to their past inclinations to provide for themselves.


And shortly after this, Jesus rebukes Peter for using one of those swords in his defense. I don’t think Jesus was talking about violence in self defense–I’m inclined to think that (as usual) the meaning of his saying is deeper than the surface of the words themselves.

Here’s a thought on the meaning of this–I don’t know if this is what Jesus is meaning by this passage, but thinking on ‘sword’ brought to my mind the ‘armor of God’.

The sword of the Christian:
Eph 6:17 And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God:

The provisons of the Christian:
Jhn 6:35 And Jesus said unto them, I am the bread of life: he that cometh to me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on me shall never thirst.

The purse of the Christian:
Luk 12:33 Sell your possessions and give to the poor. Provide purses for yourselves that will not wear out, a treasure in heaven that will not be exhausted, where no thief comes near and no moth destroys.