Last week, in Lessons Before the Cross, Part 3, we saw that because God allows us to go through trials for very good reasons. But now that we understand “why” we go through trials, He wishes to convey to us some vital truths on “how” to go through them!
“And He said to them …’he who has a money bag, let him take it, and likewise a knapsack; and he who has no sword, let him sell his garment and buy one…’ So they said, ‘Lord, look, here are two swords.’ And He said to them, ‘It is enough.'” (Luke 22:35-38 NKJV)
Is it just me, or is this passage a bit confusing? Up until now, Jesus has always encouraged the disciples to not worry about anything. He sent them off without provisions. He exposed them to deadly storms, and then He has calmed them (See Mark 4:37, Luke 8:23). He taught them that everything they need on this Earth can be provided for them by God. But now He tells them that they need to do something. What is Jesus saying here? That God’s provision is only enough for certain situations? That there are times when we must rely on ourselves?
What Jesus is trying to teach us here, friends, is that we, also, carry responsibility in what happens to us, and according to this passage, our responsibility is three-fold:
1. “he who has a money bag, let him take it” (vs. 36a)
So if we have money, we are to take it. This doesn’t mean that those who have no money won’t make it through the trial. Far from it. He is saying that those who do have money must be willing to use it for the good of God’s kingdom!
2. “and likewise a knapsack;” (vs. 36b)
A knapsack is something that we use to carrying things that we know we will need. Each trial we endure gives us tools that we can use for the next one that comes along. We must remember the precious lessons we learn, and we must carry these lessons with us so that we can use them the next time we go through troubled times!
3. “and he who has no sword, let him sell his garment and buy one” (vs. 36c)
This third point is just a bit different from the first two. In His instruction concerning the money bags and the knapsack, Jesus only says to take them if we have them. This means that God will provide the funds and the tools for those who don’t have them. But in this third instruction, Jesus is telling us that we are not to enter into trials without a sword!
Now the disciples become a bit worried here. I can just imagine them busily checking their inventory of weaponry, and it is with relief and satisfaction that they say: “Lord, look, here are two swords.” (Luke 22:38a). And though this doesn’t seem like very many swords for a band of 12 men, Jesus says to them, “It is enough.” (Luke 22:38b, NKJV).
In the moment, Jesus was obviously referring to physical swords. But what about today? We don’t use swords for protection anymore. Is Jesus telling us to go out and buy guns?
I don’t think so. I believe that Jesus’ reference here to buying a sword is highly symbolic. In Eph 6:14-18 we are given instruction as to what armor we should always be wearing. The sword is specifically mentioned, and with it, the symbolic explanation: “…and the sword of the Spirit which is the Word of God.” (Eph 6:17)
Am I putting meaning into Jesus’ words that He didn’t mean to have there?
I don’t think so. We are told that “the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword…” (Heb 4:12, NKJV), and the Word of God is divided into two powerful parts: The Old Testament and the New! Let’s remember that Jesus told His disciples that two swords were “enough”!
God can provide, yes, and He does so with all power and might. But our job is to be adequately armed with the living Word of God. For when we are, we will have all of the weapons we need for facing each and every trial that we must endure!
In His love,
Lyn Chaffart, Speech-Language Pathologist, mother of two teens, Moderator for The Nugget, a tri-weekly internet newsletter, and Scriptural Nuggets, a website devoted to Christian devotionals and inspirational poems, with Answers2Prayer Ministries; Author of “Aboard God’s Train: A Journey with God Through the Valley of Cancer.” Follow me on Twitter: @lynchaffart
(To access the entire “Lessons Before the Cross” series, please click here.)