The Book of Luke, New Instruction for the disciples - Lesson 231
Luke 22:35-38, And he said unto them, When I sent you without purse, and scrip (bag for food), and shoes, lacked ye any thing? And they said, Nothing. 36Then said he unto them, But now, he that hath a purse, let him take it, and likewise his scrip: and he that hath no sword, let him sell his garment, and buy one. 37For I say unto you, that this that is written must yet be accomplished in me, And he was reckoned among the transgressors: for the things concerning me have an end. 38And they said, Lord, behold, here are two swords. And he said unto them, It is enough.
This instruction from Jesus Christ is given to the disciples in the upper room where the Passover has been celebrated and the ordinance of communion has been inaugurated by our Lord.
It appears to be the last instruction given before the group leaves the room and proceeds to the Mount of Olives.
While bring up this instruction, Jesus Christ refers to former instructions that he gave the disciples when he sent them into the villages and towns with power over devils, to heal the sick and preach the kingdom of God.
We read of this in: Luke 9:1-3, Then he called his twelve disciples together, and gave them power and authority over all devils, and to cure diseases. 2And he sent them to preach the kingdom of God, and to heal the sick. 3And he said unto them, Take nothing for your journey, neither staves, nor scrip, neither bread, neither money; neither have two coats apiece.
Similar instruction is given to the 72 disciples in chapter 10 of Luke where Jesus is careful to tell them to:
Carry neither purse, nor scrip, nor shoes: and salute no man by the way.
In our passage for today Jesus reminds them of this time where the disciples were sent without provision of money, food or even shoes.
He asks them if they lacked anything.
And they said they lacked nothing and this was in spite of the fact that they were sent without provision.
But that was a different time.
That was a time of different circumstances and Jesus makes it plain that the time has changed, conditions are different now and new instructions are needed for new circumstances.
This is indicated to us by our Lord using the words "But now."
By these introductory words He takes them from thoughts of the past and brings them to the present.
These words are used because there needs to be a change for conditions have changed.
When Jesus sent out the 12 disciples of chapter 9 and the 72 of chapter 10, He appeared to give them guidelines and principles which would govern their future missionary journeys.
It did not appear that these instruction were time related.
But here in our passage we see that they were.
In his sending out the disciples, Jesus gave them assurance of His presence and protection.
But now it almost seems as though Jesus were telling these men that they are on their own, and that they will have to handle their protection themselves.
And what about the sword instruction?
Peter would later be rebuked for using a sword to cut off the ear of the high priestís servant while attempting to resist the arrest of Jesus.
Matthew reported what Jesus said in Matthew 26:52, Then said Jesus unto him, Put up again thy sword into his place: for all they that take the sword shall perish with the sword.
So there seems to be a time to use the sword and a time to not use the sword.
This use by Peter of the sword was obviously not the right use of the sword.
Jesus did not tell Peter to get rid of the sword but to put it in his place.
In other words there is a time and a place for the sword but this was not the time nor the place.
So this passage in chapter 22 has some puzzling instructions in it but within the passage lie clues to its interpretation.
The clue that Christ gives us is that which is written of him in Isaiah 53.
Christ in verse 37 of our passage says this, For I say unto you, that this that is written must yet be accomplished in me, And he was reckoned among the transgressors: for the things concerning me have an end.
By saying this he was pointing the disciples back to Isaiah 53:12.
2Therefore will I divide him a portion with the great, and he shall divide the spoil with the strong; because he hath poured out his soul unto death: and he was numbered with the transgressors; and he bare the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors.
So Jesus Christ connects these instructions to his disciples with his death and departure.
There are big changes coming in the lives of the disciples.
Things were changing fast for them and the commandments of yesterday were not to be necessarily the commandments of tomorrow.
There is an old saying but an important saying, Be flexible in the hands of the Lord. "Blessed are the flexible, for they shall not be broken."
But the disciples yesterdays had been as little children walking with their father.
They enjoyed the experience of this, realizing there was no need to concern themselves, for father was there to attend to all the necessary things.
Fathers, do you expect your little children to provide for the things you provide for?
No, of course not, but when your children mature you will back off and let them provide, let them take care of that which you took care of in their yesterdays.
In the past they had been sent to preach and had seen how the promises of Jesus had been fulfilled.
Their needs had been brought to him and he provided for them instantly.
His power had healed the sick, his provision has fed the hungry.
His instruction had provided for all of their doubts.
They had lacked nothing.
But now they were urged to give more attention to their own financial support.
Under the new circumstances without Christís physical presence, God would not do for them what they should be doing for themselves.
This instruction even extends to the need for a sword for certain events in the future would even require the presence of a sword.
The Lord Jesus Christ would be with His Father so of necessity the disciples would need to face their problems without His presence.
Certainly the Holy Spirit would be with them but this was a new economy with the disciples and receiving the guidance of the Holy Spirit required more that what a child could comprehend.
This new economy was for grown ups and that is what Jesus Christ is telling them.
This is the time to grow up boys, and stand on your own two feet.
The demands of the future necessitated a new outlook; a new approach.
Instead of relying on the presence of Christ where there was much hand holding as a father to a child, the disciples were now to act and to think more on their own.
Children are to grow up!
They are to go out into the big world to make their own decisions; earn their own money, manage their affairs where both failure and success can be expected.
So the Lord was teaching them the necessity of paying more attention to the normal matters of every day living.
Certainly serve me, but look to satisfying your needs, take a purse, provide for your food, and even take actions to provide for some measure of your and your familyís personal protection.
Now this instruction to provide for their personal protection did not include the use of a sword against the servant of the high priest, for we know that Peter was rebuked for that.
But the Lord here is telling his disciples in generalities that these things upon which they relied the Lord to do, are now to be their responsibilities.
Jesus Christ knew the future for these men and the future for all those who were his own.
The days were at hand when thousands would die for their faith.
We know from history the terrible torture that many would feel at the hands of the emperor, the burnings at the stake, the destruction and death that would occur in just a few years down the road when Jerusalem was destroyed.
There were to be times when fathers would be called upon to defend their children from those who wished to do them physical harm and cause them death.
He knew that fathers could not stand by and watch their families be ravaged or even killed without trying their best to defend them.
Christ told his disciples to prepare for the days ahead when they would be called upon to fight for their faith when that was necessary.
Peter was rebuked for his misuse of the sword but this did not include the complete abandonment of the sword.
Malchus, who lost his ear, was there as a servant of the high priest and there was no necessity for the use of the sword against him.
Certainly Peter would not have been rebuked if he had reacted in such a manner against one who was torturing a child.
There are times for the sword but those times must be regulated by the word of God.
The hand that holds the sword is to be the hand of the humble.
President Teddy Roosevelt said it this way: "Walk softly and carry a big stick."
It is to be a strong hand, but a hand that is under the control of the Holy Spirit.
There may be a time to fight and to die for the cause of Christ.
But there may be a time to surrender and to yield up oneís life.
Blessed is the man who is wise enough to submit when God and conscience lead in that direction.
God gives us His word and he expects us to make decisions as to the use of the sword in accordance with that word.
And so Jesus Christ warns his disciples that there are days ahead filled with danger and death.
He brings up Isaiah 53:12 where he is numbered with the transgressors, referring to his position between two criminals who were crucified with him.
Mark 15:27, And with him they crucify two thieves; the one on his right hand, and the other on his left. 28And the scripture was fulfilled, which saith, And he was numbered with the transgressors.
Jesus was to be dealt with as a criminal and it was to be expected that his followers were to be thought of in the same way.
In their former missionary journeys they were well regarded but that reputation was not to continue for from now on they were to be regarded as transgressors.
This was a hard saying for the disciples to grasp for they looked for a triumphal Messiah.
They did not look on Isaiah 53 as a basis for their Messiah.
They looked for a Messiah coming who would judge the wicked and liberate Israel.
Isaiah 53 did not speak of a triumphal king but rather spoke of a suffering Savior.
This was the Old Testament scripture that was needed at this time to turn the minds of the disciples to the reality of the moment and of their future.
This was the scripture that he spoke of as having to be fulfilled.
He had to be numbered with the transgressors and what is true about the Lord is also true about his followers.
Jesus had told them this truth in:
John 15:18-20, If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before it hated you. 19If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you. 20Remember the word that I said unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord. If they have persecuted me, they will also persecute you; if they have kept my saying, they will keep yours also.
Jesus knew what was to take place in their lives for they, by association with Christ, were also to be identified as criminals.
They must now be ready to endure menís rejection and persecution, not menís honor and praise.
The "But now" of our Lord in verse 36 is intended to focus the disciplesí attention on the change which was occurring in the minds of the people of Israel toward the Messiah.
Jesus asked His disciples if they had lacked anything when they went out before.
They responded that they had not lacked anything at all.
But why didnít they lack anything?
Because they were popular, as was their message, as was the "Messiah."
But now, a more complete picture of Messiah is available, and the people do not like what they see, even as Isaiah predicted.
No, the disciples are not to occupy themselves with thoughts of the kingdom which included popularity and position and power.
They must prepare for the rejection and persecution which Messiah was prophesied to experience, in order to eventually enter into the blessed kingdom in time to come.
The crown would come, but not until the cross was borne and the cross was very near.