Copyright 1994 - 2019 Bill's Bible Basics
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Published On :
February 24, 2018
Last Updated :
February 25, 2018
The Sword Incident In The Garden Of Gethsemane, Was Jesus Condoning His Followers Taking Up Weapons For Self-Defense Or To Use Against Their Enemies?, Two Swords To Protect All Of Them?, "It Is Enough", Jesus Had To Fulfill His Father's Will, Malchus: The Depth Of God's Love Patience And Mercy, Love Your Enemies, By This Shall All Men Know, The Apostles Were Spared, Our Spiritual Warfare, Violent Religions: Islam And Roman Catholicism, Violence Isn't The Answer, Christians Should Not Ever Resort To Violence, Suggested Reading List
As I asked at the conclusion of part one of this article, by way of the incident which occurred that night in the Garden of Gethsemane, was Jesus condoning His followers taking up weapons to use for their own self-defense, or to use against their enemies?
Well, to be honest, many years ago when I was still young in our Christian faith, and before I had gained more wisdom and understanding regarding God's Word, it did in fact seem to me that Jesus was condoning the Disciples possessing swords. You see, because I was not yet properly grounded in the Bible, I was not aware of what some other verses stated. As a result, I arrived at an erroneous conclusion. Furthermore, I would dare say that this is precisely what some of my Christian brethren are doing today, in regards to the Second Amendment and the American right to keep and bare arms.
However, thankfully, through the passage of years, and as a result of my continued study of the Scriptures, I have now gained some new insight regarding the lessons I believe we are supposed to learn from the incident in Gethsemane. You have to admit that if we just look at this incident on the surface, there is something a little strange about it. First the Lord tells His followers to obtain swords, and then He turns around and admonishes them to not use them. Why even obtain them in the first place then?
Think about this for a moment. At that time, there were the Twelve Apostles, not to mention the seventy other Disciples whom Jesus had sent out on the road to preach the Gospel of the Kingdom. Then, of course, the Lord had other followers such as the women. If Jesus really meant for them to arm themselves to the hilt so that they could defend themselves against their Roman and Jewish enemies, why would He tell them "It is enough" after they had only acquired two swords? Obviously, two swords would not have been enough to properly defend all of them -- not even the Twelve -- against a band of Roman soldiers, or against an angry mob. In fact, I also suspect that if they had just acquired one sword, the Lord would still have said "It is enough". Let me tell you why I feel this way.
First of all, we know from the Scriptures that one reason why Jesus prevented His followers from committing further violence in the Garden of Gethsemane, is because He had to fulfill God's Will by dying on the Cross. This is quite evident from the verses which I shared with you at the end of part one. But then we have Jesus healing the ear of the servant of the High Priest after Peter had cut it off. In doing this, Jesus was sending a clear message regarding the depth of His Father's love, patience and mercy for and with a lost and dying world; including for pagans such as the Romans who had a plethora of gods and goddesses. The act of healing Malchus would in fact reinforce one of the lessons that Jesus had taught them all along, which is revealed in the following verses:
"But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you;"
Matthew 5:44, KJV
"Master, which is the great commandment in the law? Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets."
Matthew 22:36-40, KJV
"A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another. By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another."
John 13:34-35, KJV
"This is my commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you . . . These things I command you, that ye love one another."
John 15:12, 17, KJV
On a practical level, and possibly as a secondary reason, Jesus probably realized that the Apostles with their two swords were no match for the angry mob who had come out to apprehend Him. In fact, we know that once the mob had the Lord in their hands, the Apostles quickly fled the scene. So they weren't nearly as brave as they thought they were. Peter even went on to betray the Lord. Thus, by preventing more bloodshed on that night, Jesus had spared their lives so that they could go out into the world and fulfill their mission as His messengers.
However, I think that there is an even more valuable lesson which the Lord wanted to teach them by allowing the sword incident to occur in Gethsemane that night. That lesson had to do with the spiritual nature of their warfare, and the fact that they -- and we, by extension -- were not supposed to take up arms of any kind. In other words, new Disciples would be won, and the Early Church would grow, through the example of their love, dedication, perseverance and self sacrifice; unlike Roman Catholicism and Islam which would force people to convert at the edge of a sword centuries later. We all know about the so-called "Christian" Crusades and the various Inquisitions. I discuss these topics more at length in articles such as "Pontifex Maximus: Pagan High Priest to Roman Catholic Pope" and "Holy Qur'an and Islam: A Doctrine of Devils?".
As Jesus Himself had said that night "Thinkest thou that I cannot now pray to my Father, and he shall presently give me more than twelve legions of angels?". So it is evident that the reason why He told the Apostles to purchase swords was not for matters of defense at all. It was to teach them the exact opposite. He had to demonstrate to them through an unforgettable, physical example, that violence was not the way or the answer. Love was, and is, the way.
This one incident in the Garden of Gethsemane aside, every other verse that is found in the New Testament indicates that we are not to resort to any form of physical violence in order to defend ourselves, or even to fight against any government which we deem to be ungodly.
In light of all of the previous verses, as Bible-believing Christians, how can we possibly reconcile or justify owning and using guns? The simple truth -- if we are obedient to God's Word -- is that we can't. So either we believe in and submit ourselves to what God's Word tells us, or else we do the exact opposite. That is, we knowingly and stubbornly contradict the authority of God's Word, and we do our own thing. Dear friends, I have given you God's straight Word. What are you going to do about it?
With these thoughts I will bring this short article to a close. I trust that you have enjoyed it, learned something from it, and I pray that it has been a blessing in your life. If you have an account with Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr or with any other social network, I would really appreciate if you would take the time to click on the corresponding link that is found on this page. Thank you so very much! May God bless you abundantly!
For additional information, you may want to refer to the list of reading resources below which contain topics which are related to this article. All of these articles are likewise located on the Bill's Bible Basics website:
Civil Disobedience and Christian Persecution
Divine Protection: Do You Have Fear or Faith?
Don't Ever Underestimate Our Spiritual Enemy
Killing and the Phinehas Priesthood
Killing, Murder and Military Duty
Oh Israel, Why Will Ye Die?
School Shootings: The Second Amendment Controversy
The Fruits of Disobedience