← Back

What did Jesus mean in Luke 22:36 about buying a sword?


Luke 22:36

ESV - 36 He said to them, "But now let the one who has a moneybag take it, and likewise a knapsack. And let the one who has no sword sell his cloak and buy one.

Clarify Share Report Asked November 07 2014 Mini Adewale Ademola

Community answers are sorted based on votes. The higher the vote, the further up an answer is.

Emilio 1992 Emo Tenorio Shomer
I humbly submit for your consideration that the Words spoken by the Lord Jesus to His friends mean exactly what they say, now I will grant you some words may have a deeper spiritual meaning ("SOD" that which profits). Let us examine the scripture closely for clues to the Lord’s message to His friends. (Ezekiel 33:6)

(Luke 22:34) Jesus dresses down His friend Simon Peter with a prophecy.

(Luke 22:35)”When I sent you without purse, bag or sandals, did you lack anything?
In this scripture Jesus acknowledges the twelve disciples past kingdom season and then transitions into a new world season with eleven friends.

(Luke 22:36) "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.

In this scripture Jesus is telling His friends to be prepared for what He knows will soon come upon them, remember the betrayal by Judas is in the back ground. 
Consider now if He was speaking spiritually of the Word as meaning a sword? 
Why then would He instruct them to sell their cloak to purchase what was already freely given them at supper? One must purchase in the world, but the kingdom is freedom. 

(Luke 22:38) The disciples said, "See, Lord, here are two swords." 
"That is enough," he replied.

In this scripture they answer in the affirmative as to possessing two physical objects that Jesus could see, and I humbly submit they are indeed metal swords. 
Also note there are only two swords among the eleven, meaning only some need to carry a sword to protect the larger group "That is enough" he replied.

(Luke 22:50) And one of them struck the servant of the high priest, cutting off his right ear.

Jesus rebuked Peter for striking a servant who was not a direct threat and only doing what his master had requested, also his back was to the sword in Peter’s right hand to enable the clean cutting of the right ear only. Shield in left and sword in right which was the custom

(Luke 22:56-59) Peter disowns Jesus at the fire because likely the servants relatives were seated among them wanting to exact revenge for their poor relative with the new ear problem, which was the custom.

Bottom line 
I submit the Lord knew the season had changed between the first disciple send off and the current one and He was equipping His friends to meet the coming challenges and dangers of this new season. (Luke 12:56)

The first training mission build their faith and the second would build their administrative discipline in the correct deployment and usage of weapons for defending themselves and spreading the Gospel message. (Psalms 149:6-7; Psalms 149:9)

Firearms and weapons do not limit the actions of those who would interact with me through reason, they limit only the actions of those who would choose to do so by force. (Psalms 149:8)
If you chose this civilized path of conduct, it is your moral and legal responsibility to obtain all the correct and proper training of their usage in very stressful situations.

"Those who hammer their guns into plows, will plow for those who do not"
Thomas Jefferson

In the Lord's freedom a sheepdog standing.................warrior on

October 02 2016 3 responses Vote Up Share Report

Mini Rev. R Vincent Warde
As a former Police chaplain and facilitator of clergy in Support of the 2nd Amendment (http://clergyinsupportofthe2ndamendment.org/) I have to offer my opinion.

Point One: Christ's reference to their prior missionary journeys indicates that the need to be armed is directly related to their future missionary journeys.

Effectively, Jesus said, "Your last journey was easy (See Luke 10:1ff) - but, in the future you will need to be prepared. You will not have the support of most people."

Traveling the roads back then was a very risky endeavor. Robbers and bandits were very common (Paul mentions this in 2 Cor 11:26) and it was common for travelers to carry arms to protect themselves

In short, the most logical reason - the one the fits the context best - is that the disciples needed to be able to defend themselves.

Point Two: The original Greek word (machaira) means any edged weapon or tool of any length.

While the context of most NT passages containing this word indicate that an edged weapon is in view, in many cases we cannot, in most cases, know how long the blade was. Looking at other Greek documents is very instructive.

"Homer mentions the makhaira, but as a domestic knife of no great size. In period texts, μάχαιρα has a variety of meanings, and can refer to virtually any knife or sword (taking the meaning of today's Greek μαχαίρι), even a surgeon's scalpel....... "(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Makhaira)

As is the case today, a knife of - say four to five inches - would be suitable for defense, but also would be absolutely necessary for everyday use while the disciples traveled. It would likely be used for everything from cleaning fish to cutting cordage to cutting and eating food. It is certain that each disciple would have carried some kind of knife for daily use. 

Point Three: The best interpretation of the disciples response is that each disciple possessed both a short and a long blade. 

Let's examine the disciples response in Luke 22:38: 'The disciples said, "See, Lord, here are two swords." "That is enough," he (Jesus) replied.'

So what are the possible interpretations of this verse?

1) Between the eleven disciples then present, there were only two blades of any kind.

2) Between the eleven disciples then present, there were only two blades long enough to be useful for defense.

3) Each of the eleven disciples then present had two blades - one for every day use (a short, likely single edged knife) and a longer blade that would today be considered a long knife or a short sword.

We can rule out the first possibility as being impossible, because, as we have previously mentioned, at a minimum each disciple would need to have some kind of blade while traveling.

Moving on to the second possibility, this also does not fit. On their first journey, Jesus sent them out in groups of two. Both tradition and the New Testament (especially the Book of Acts) indicate that the disciples also traveled in groups of two to three. It therefore makes no sense for Jesus to approve of only two edged weapons, as this number would have many of the disciples defenseless.

The most logical interpretation is that when Jesus gave his command, the disciples each simply opened their garment and displayed both their every day blade and a longer blade - such as a long knife or a short sword. At the same time, they would have said, "See, I already have two blades." Seeing this, Jesus said that this was enough.

Conclusion: Jesus did tell his disciples to arm themselves in order to be able to defend themselves on the road in coming years.

Please note that this analysis is limited to this passage. The Bible has a great deal to say about how and when it is necessary and morally justified to use force, including deadly force. There are many good articles on the net that address this subject. I urge you to carefully read some of them. That said, there is no doubt in my mind that Jesus commanded his disciples to be armed.

March 12 2018 2 responses Vote Up Share Report

Mini Paula Harris
The sword is His word, alive and active. We must take the world off our shoulders.

October 01 2016 1 response Vote Up Share Report

Mini Tim Maas Retired Quality Assurance Specialist with the U.S. Army
Although Jesus experienced opposition during His earthly ministry prior to His crucifixion (even to the point of attempts to stone Him), I believe that, when He spoke of the apostles obtaining a sword, He was not necessarily directing them to physically arm themselves (especially since He rebuked Simon Peter just a short time later for using his sword during Jesus' arrest (John 18:11)), but was making them aware of the much greater opposition that they would face after His departure from them following His death and resurrection, and of the need for them to be prepared for the hardship and dangers that they would encounter, both from their opponents, and from the common hazards that came with travel in that time and place (as the apostles would be doing in spreading the gospel).

October 01 2016 0 responses Vote Up Share Report

Mini Chef william Gibson
The "peace symbol "has been used time and time again to deceive Christians and defeat them.The term "kill" is not what is said in the ten commandments! It says (in the rightful language) "Thou shall not murder." The lie that it says "Thou shalt not kill" has cost millions of lives. Do not be deceived! We are to defend the TEMPLE of the HOLY SPIRIT. We are not to live by blood: war, rape, murder and plunder, like Vikings of old! We should not only defend ourselves, but others. The forces of evil would have us do nothing! Evil exists when good men (and women) do nothing. Do not be deceived! May GOD BLESS you with a clear mind and conscience!

March 23 2018 3 responses Vote Up Share Report

Mini John Baucum
Firstly I am a senior with 2 years of Bible School. I’ve read The Bible about 5 times, and others much more. We are commanded to study, meditate and live by The Word. In the New Testament, we are to follow the teachings, and some of them are changed from Old Testament and Jewish Biblical Laws and teachings. 

We are to die freely and are never instructed to depend on our own might or weapons. Jesus did not imply a new approach to depending on God for future defence or warfare against anyone. 

In the Old Testament, God commanded His people to kill those races who never repented or sought after God. Today (NT Gentiles and all peoples), God is not instructing us to kill, enter a war conflict, etc... If one wishes to protect their family, etc... then I have no Bible instruction permitting this. If we defend ourselves, we can kill or cripple the attacker. I will present the gospel to them before they bleed out. No need to send them to Hell.

September 16 2022 0 responses Vote Up Share Report

Mini Greg Malcolm
There are some people who take this verse to mean that Jesus is advocating violence in self defense. But there is not one example of this being shown to be true in the new testament Bible. In fact in Mathew ch10 v16 he is sending them out as sheep and not as warriors. 

In Mathew ch5 v11-12 in the sermon on the mount, Jesus teaches us how to respond to those who are against Christians. Mathew ch5 v39: We are to turn the other cheek. Time and time again we are commanded to not retaliate to those who would harm or destroy Christians. I believe this verse is talking about the scriptures: Hebrews ch4 v12. 

I don't think it can mean anything other than this. I may be wrong but violence in retaliation towards the godless is not GOD's way for the believer in Christ. This planet is not our home and we are not put here to defend it with our lives: 1 John ch2 v15. it is dying and can not be saved. 

The faithful are here to bring others to Christ so they can be saved. To be with Christ is the greatest gift GOD has to offer us and trading it in for a few more days, months, or years on this planet would be the greatest loss for anyone. Faith in GOD means trusting HIM with our lives and I for one pray that I will never betray that trust. I can only pray and hope you all will do the same for Christ just as HE did on the cross.

March 16 2018 0 responses Vote Up Share Report

Mini Tyrone Stacey
The best answer to this question that I have found, the scriptures and prophecy had to be fulfilled. In Is.53:12 it says that "JESUS was numbered with the transgressors" which is a lawbreaker, but we know the LORD was no criminal but by carrying a sword or two, made him and HIS disciples look like transgressors.
So when the Jews came into the garden of Gethsemane there would be no mistake, these are the transgressors.
We know in another passage the LORD JESUS said: "if we live by the sword we die by the sword".
JESUS would not contradict HIMSELF so at best, Lk.22:36 was a prophecy had to be fulfilled and JESUS and HIS disciples were in compliance with prophecy by looking like lawbreakers and playing their parts out.


ROMANS 10:9-13

March 17 2018 2 responses Vote Up Share Report

Mini mark T
Well this particular subject is very dear to my heart as a believer in Jesus Christ. 

I will tell you this history shows in Acts, and also with Constantine 314 AD. that many Christians were killed.They did not and I repeat they did not use any carnal weapons whatsoever to protect themselves and there is no evidence of that ever happening. 

So when Jesus said you know not what Spirit you are to Peter after he was tempted and Jesus says pray with me three times before he gave up they did not pray with him they went to sleep and Jesus shows that he was not tempted he suffered unto death.

He could have easily call down a legion of angels, his doctrines which are his teachings are true if a man strike you on One Cheek or from the other. Do you see him telling anyone to use a weapon?

Peter and Silas did no harm to that jailer before or after he was set free by the Angels. They went to his house and his whole family was saved this is a calling it's a high calling it's a price for those that God chooses to allow to be witnesses to die, our calling never ever will change God is the same today tomorrow and forever!

I say this with all humility before our Lord and savior that died for our salvation. We are to pick up our cross die daily and follow his teachings. This is what he said, "make men disciples" no 'protecting your flesh.' 

With love and honor first and foremost, to God almighty be praised forever. Thank you Jesus

March 23 2018 1 response Vote Up Share Report

Mini Tom R
I understand the pacifist's stand in this life. We don't have to look any further back in man's history than WWII and France to see how that principle worked out. Of course there are many more real world examples, but I believe that will suffice for now. 

But to say God does not condone violence is to ignore the rest of the Bible and is cherry picking, in my opinion. Two case points: Numbers 31:15-18 God commands thousands of unarmed women and children to be killed/murdered. For whatever justification used (now or then) it is, what it is. It's violence in the extreme and would be considered a crime against humanity by man's standards. But, man holds man to a higher standard than their own God.
Case 2: Numbers 15:32-36. God commands the killing of a person picking up sticks on the Sabbath.

We can cherry pick the Bible all we want to make ourselves feel better about our situation, or to make a point. But to say God does not condone violence is being blind to reality.

May 05 2020 0 responses Vote Up Share Report

Mini Sandra Plate
The most consistent reading of the text would be where Jesus is speaking in hyperbole as he often did to illustrate a situation. He says that he sent them out before in a certain manner and it was a good experience for them. He is now saying that they will go out in the future to an entirely different atmosphere. He is not advocating self-defense nor violence. He is speaking metaphorically. They will have great need and there will be fierce opposition. His latter statement to Peter to put the sword away and "those who live by the sword will die by the sword" is the rebuttal to the literal interpretation of his previous words. Although less clear, when he says "that's enough," I fully imagine him extending great patience that once again, they are not understanding his words. Imagine today someone saying this and eye-rolling, "Oh, yeah, that's enough for what's about to happen. Good going."

September 30 2020 0 responses Vote Up Share Report

Mini Ric Shannon
I believe that in Luke 22:36 that Jesus meant exactly what he said. I do NOT agree with any ideas of allegories or symbolism or even parables. I believe we are to be ready to fight with Him when He returns. Like Peter, take an ear or more.

October 10 2020 0 responses Vote Up Share Report

Mini Rotimi Akinsheye
In considering the ways of God we must count ourselves as having not apprehended if we are to gain wisdom Philippians 3:13. The prism through which God judges the actions of men is the intent of the heart 1 Samuel 16:7. It is the intent of the heart God will judge never mind the occasions leading to the event or the outcome. Proverbs 21:2

It will be ignorant to try to play the lawyer with God Luke 10:25-37. God's word can not be subjected to literal meaning or selective interpretations of men. For what is born of the flesh is flesh and what is born of the Spirit is Spirit John 3:6. Without revelation men see only the letters of the scriptures. 2 Corinthians 3:6.

If we all agree that God is not an author of confusion 1Corinthians 14:33 then we must equally accept that our divergent views on the subject of the meaning of Luke 22:36 could at best be consider our perceptions. Job's friends equally had a similar point of view Job 42:7-8. We must, as true believers, learn to lean on the Holy Spirit for guidance in relating with the Word, especially when we are unclear. John 14:26

This is the conclusion of the matter if we have learnt anything about God we ought to know by now that it is impossible to put Him in a box. For clearly His ways are not our ways. Isaiah 55:8

March 28 2021 0 responses Vote Up Share Report

Mini Jonathan Mailand
John 15:13 King James says "Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends."

I’m not familiar with any scenarios in reality where someone could literally just offer their life as a sacrifice in place of someone else. Don’t get me wrong, there are non-violent ways of laying your life down for others: Firemen laying down their lives fighting a fire to protect us.; helicopter crews saving people from storms. 

But ultimately, if you were to lay your life down defending friends or family from a robber or home invader, that is also paying the ultimate price, selflessly; that’s also a sign of the greatest love.

With the text from matthew 26:52 "...Put up again thy sword into his place: for all they that take the sword shall perish with the sword." To my understanding this doesn't mean "Don't arm yourself or else you will die." Instead it means "Don't take your sword and instigate, or you shall die."

In conclusion, arm yourself and be prepared to defend your loved ones, but always as a last reserve. Never to start the fight.

June 13 2021 0 responses Vote Up Share Report

Mini Kenneth Heck
Christians are not required to physically defend themselves - they can choose to suffer and die as martyrs for Christ. Legends say that the apostles were all slain (some crucified) for their witness without physically defending themselves.

However, toward the end of the Church age, anti-God, anti-Christ forces will rise up so much that it will be necessary for Christians to physically fight for survival rather than permit the extinction of their religion and themselves. For example, we see in Rev 19:11- 2, Christ on a horse in heaven with sword going out of his mouth, making war with the beast and the kings of the earth. In my opinion,this occurs in the future when the kings of the east have crossed the Euphrates for the final battle with the beast (Rev 9:13-21)

So, Christ's advice to his apostles to buy a sword didn't truly apply only to them, but primarily to future generations. It has something of a prophetic nature in that it provides the needed justification (from Christ's own words) for Christians to fight when there is no other alternative to extinction. 

Wars have been getting more and more brutal in recent centuries. It was originally only a matter of armies battling each other, but now all civilians are considered as the enemy. Wiping out an entire population is quite possible with modern day nuclear weapons. What Christ implied in this verse has evolved into the modern global state of affairs.

When Christ stated the two swords are enough, it might have symbolically referred to one for Christians, and one for Jews, primarily Messianic Jews.

October 02 2016 0 responses Vote Up Share Report

Give us your guns 1 Ron Stauffer
It is my opinion that "kill," in "thou shall not kill," comes out of The Hebrew while "thou shall do no murder," - comes out of The Greek! The Hebrew "thou shalt not kill," means thou shall do no murder!

It would be "a good thing," if all who operates a 10 Commandments Board, on their property, would be sure that their 6th Commandment said "murder," rather than "kill!"

From High-Rider

March 23 2018 0 responses Vote Up Share Report

My picture Jack Gutknecht ABC/DTS graduate, guitar music ministry Baptist church
Good question, Adewale Ademola! Jesus' condemnation of violence does seem strange -- He rebuked Peter for cutting off the ear of the high priest's servant later in this chapter of Luke. I, too, have been puzzled by Jesus' saying here. But I think Jesus could be endorsing the legitimacy of self-protection as proposed in my Faithlife Study Bible (Lk 22:36). (as one of the 2 possible interpretations in the FSB, the Faithlife Study Bible).

September 17 2022 0 responses Vote Up Share Report

Add your Answer

All answers are REVIEWED and MODERATED.
Please ensure your answer MEETS all our guidelines.

What makes a good answer? ▼

A good answer provides new insight and perspective. Here are guidelines to help facilitate a meaningful learning experience for everyone.

  1. Adhere to the eBible Statement of Faith.
  2. Your answer should be complete and stand-alone.
  3. Include supporting arguments, and scripture references if possible. Seek to answer the "why".
  4. Adhere to a proper tone and spirit of love and understanding.
  5. For more info see The Complete Guide to eBible
  1. 4000 characters remaining