Some of Jesus’ Disciples Were Armed

Given some of the comments, I really wish I had taken the time to point this out in my latest Federalist piece on gun control…

So in Gethsemane, when the soldiers come to take Jesus, Peter takes his sword and cuts of the ear of the high priest’s servant, Malchus.  Jesus tells him to put it back in its sheath because those who live by the sword will die by the sword. (Matt 26:51-52).

“Ah-HA!” Cry people with a total lack of critical thinking skills.  “Jesus said not to ever use weapons to hurt people!”

So take a deep breath, step back from that tree trunk for a second, look at the forest, and ask yourself:  why was Peter walking around armed?

And Peter wasn’t the only one, according to Luke:  “When those who were around him saw what would follow, they said, ‘Lord, shall we strike with the sword?'”  (Luke 22:49).   For that matter, earlier in that chapter when Jesus says “let the one who has no sword sell his cloak and buy one,” the disciples had at least two swords that they were immediately able to take out and show him.

What then are we to conclude?  That Jesus categorically forbade owning weapons but completely overlooked the fact that some of his closest disciples were going around armed?  Or should we rather conclude that Jesus was telling Peter that he had more important things to do than die in battle?

One of these conclusions is reasonable.  One is completely idiotic.  Choose wisely.

 

 

This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

12 Responses to Some of Jesus’ Disciples Were Armed

  1. Art McAlpin says:

    Matthew,
    We shouldn’t cherry-pick scripture trying to justify our SELFish/sinful desires and actions, but we all do it. You quoted Luke 22:49, but not the verses which followed. Many people quote Luke 22:36 to justify their desire for SELF defense, but if you read all accounts of the Last Supper in the Synoptic Gospels, including John, you will see that Jesus was admonishing his disciples because of their fear, not advocating SELF protection. SELF-defense would go counter to everything else he taught. It’s easy to misunderstand the words of Jesus, his disciple did it all the time, so we shouldn’t rely only on one account of Jesus’ ministry to formulate an opinion on what Jesus taught. We must view all the gospels as a whole. If he seems to contradict himself in places, then we’re reading it wrong.

  2. Art McAlpin says:

    Matthew,
    We shouldn’t cherry-pick scripture trying to justify our SELFish/sinful desires and actions, but we all do it. You quoted Luke 22:49, but not the verses which followed. Many people quote Luke 22:36 to justify their desire for SELF defense, but if you read all accounts of the Last Supper in the Synoptic Gospels, including John, you will see that Jesus was admonishing his disciples because of their fear, not advocating SELF protection. SELF-defense would go counter to everything else he taught. It’s easy to misunderstand the words of Jesus, his disciples did it all the time, so we shouldn’t rely only on one account of Jesus’ ministry to formulate an opinion on what Jesus taught. We must view all the gospels as a whole. If he seems to contradict himself in places, then we’re reading it wrong.

  3. Matt says:

    Your charge of cherry picking is rather silly. I didn’t quote Jesus’ admonishment in Luke because I had already referenced his admonishment from the parallel account in Matthew.

    We should indeed view all of the gospels and all of scripture as a whole. And we are indeed misunderstanding God’s word if it seems to contradict itself in places.

    That is precisely why, due to all the places where weapons and violence are implicitly and explicitly permitted and even enjoined in Scripture, we cannot take Jesus to mean that all armaments and violence are categorically forbidden from Christians. Taking Scripture as a whole produces the doctrine of vocation, and some vocations do include authorization for violence in some circumstances.

    • Art McAlpin says:

      Matthew,

      Where did Jesus say that weapons and violence are implicitly and explicitly permitted and even enjoined?

      • Matt says:

        Just to be clear, I said that weapons and violence are implicitly and explicitly permitted and even enjoined in Scripture. Here are some examples from God’s Word off the top of my head:

        After being told to repent by John the Baptist, “Soldiers also asked him, ‘And we, what shall we do?’ And he said to them, ‘Do not extort money from anyone by threats or false accusation, and be content with your wages.” (Luke 3:14). This implicitly authorizes violence, as a soldier’s contentment with his wages requires their continuation, and their continuation requires doing the often violent job of a soldier.

        “Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God. Therefore whoever resists the authorities resists what God has appointed, and those who resist will incur judgment. For rulers are not a terror to good conduct, but to bad. Would you have no fear of the one who is in authority? Then do what is good, and you will receive his approval, for he is God’s servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword in vain. For he is the servant of God, an avenger who carries out God’s wrath on the wrongdoer.” (Romans 13:1-4) Here, Paul explicitly tells us that legitimate rulers bear the sword and carry out God’s wrath in service to God.

        Jesus explains to Pilate, “My kingdom is not of this world. If my kingdom were of this world, my servants would have been fighting, that I might not be delivered over to the Jews. But my kingdom is not from the world.” Implicit authorization of violence. While Christians do not act in violence on behalf of the Kingdom of God, while we sojourn here, we are citizens of worldly kingdoms where it is sometimes necessary to fight on their behalf.

        You could also throw in half the Old Testament, where God specifically commands the nation of Israel to engage in sometimes horrific levels of violence against those who threaten them in one way or another. God also often honors people specifically for violent actions.

        • Art McAlpin says:

          Matt,
          Wasn’t Jesus the first to teach mankind to regard everyone as a neighbor and to love them. And didn’t he tell us in Matthew 5:43 to love our enemies? How is it possible to Love someone and wish to harm them at the same time?

        • Matt says:

          Art,

          Our various vocations provide the specifics of *how* we are to love our neighbors. Accordingly, loving our enemies is no excuse for abandoning those vocations.

  4. Gunner Q says:

    “Jesus tells him to put it back in its sheath because those who live by the sword will die by the sword.”

    Okay. I’ll risk a violent death if in return, I can take out some bad guys first. It’s not like God ordered me to die in bed at age 90.

    Jesus would probably have been inconvenienced had Peter gotten killed immediately prior to His departure. “Dangit, Rock, I don’t have time to train your replacement. Stop this fighting!”

  5. Edward Dougherty says:

    Good afternoon, everyone

    For what it’s worth, I’ve attended Mass at a Roman Catholic Church in Detroit since 1992. This is in a neighborhood that, until recently with the new interest in building in Detroit, many would have avoided.

    During all this time, I have never felt the need to be armed while attending Mass. And there are few places I feel safer than in my church.

    Sincerely,

    Edward Dougherty

  6. YoreyC says:

    Interesting take. What of the admonition to learn war no more?

    • Matt says:

      The passages about learning war no more in Isaiah and Micah aren’t admonitions, they’re descriptive prophecies–indicative rather than imperative. The sections both begin with “It shall come to pass in the latter days…” and describe what shall be because of God’s actions rather than our own.

      We do have a foretaste of that reality in the Church–the kingdom of God on Earth–which neither needs nor possesses weapons or armies. However, every Christian is both a citizen of the kingdom of God and also their nation in this world. In the latter, God sometimes gives us vocations that require violence. So a Christian can bear the sword as a solider or other agent of their lawful government in service to their neighbors, even if they must not do so in service of the Gospel. I go into more detail on the subject here: http://thefederalist.com/2018/03/01/christians-prepare-defend-mass-shooters-church/

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Are you human? Enter the 3 digits depicted below *