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Context Please! What did Jesus mean by “Carrying a Sword”?

Matthew 10: 32-36 (HCSB) reads;

32 “Therefore, everyone who will acknowledge Me before men, I will also acknowledge him before My Father in heaven. 33 But whoever denies Me before men, I will also deny him before My Father in heaven. 34 Don’t assume that I came to bring peace on the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword. 35 For I came to turn a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law;36 and a man’s enemies will be the members of his household.

A “sword”! Wait a minute…didn’t Jesus come as a peacemaker? In fact in the book of Luke it reads;

Luke 22: 36-38 (HCSB)

36 Then He said to them, “But now, whoever has a money-bag should take it, and also a traveling bag. And whoever doesn’t have a sword should sell his robe and buy one. 37 For I tell you, what is written must be fulfilled in Me: And He was counted among the outlaws. Yes, what is written about Me is coming to its fulfillment.” 38 “Lord,” they said, “look, here are two swords.”“Enough of that!” He told them.

So here is the context for the two scriptures above;

In Matthew 10: 32-36 Jesus was indicating to the disciples that division would come, and even with family members. This division would come as a result in the belief in Jesus and His Word.

In Luke 22: 36-38 Jesus is not contradicting his stance on non-retaliation as his words in Luke 6:29 (HCSB), when Jesus rebuked Peter for his use of the sword reads;

29 If anyone hits you on the cheek, offer the other also. And if anyone takes away your coat, don’t hold back your shirt either.

Jesus was sending His disciples on their way, and knew that with the message they were going to preach they would need to have a way of self-defense. The “two swords” was nothing out of the ordinary culturally speaking; the “two swords” had many other uses besides self-defense and the size of them was more like large knives.
Biblical scholars agree mostly that when Jesus said “Enough of that!” Jesus was exclaiming a rebuke of the disciples for taking His words literally.

We must always look at the context of scripture before making a judgment on it. What Jesus was teaching his disciples was revolutionary and it was not going to be accepted with open arms. Remember the Gospel was what put Jesus on the cross! The majority of the Apostles met horrific deaths and tortures at the hands of the Romans.

God Bless

Brian Mason

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About beaconapologetics

A Christian Apologist. A follower of Jesus. A defender of the Christian Faith