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THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO LUKE - Chapter 22 - Verse 36
Verse 36. But now. The Saviour says the times are changed. Before, he sent them out only for a little time. They were in their own country. Their journeys would be short, and there was no need that they should make preparation for a long absence, or for encountering great dangers. But now they were to go into the wide world, among strangers, trials, dangers, and wants. And as the time was near; as he was about to die; as these dangers pressed on, it was proper that they should make provision for what was before them.
He intimates that they should now take money, as it would be necessary to provide for their wants in travelling.
And he that hath no sword. There has been much difficulty in understanding why Jesus directed his disciples to arm themselves, as if it was his purpose to make a defence. It is certain that the spirit of his religion is against the use of the sword, and that it was not his purpose to defend himself against Judas. But it should be remembered that these directions about the purse, the scrip, and the sword were not made with reference to his being taken in the garden, but with reference to their future life. The time of the trial in Gethsemane was just at hand; nor was there time then, if no other reason existed, to go and make the purchase. It altogether refers to their future life. They were going into the midst of dangers. The country was infested with robbers and wild beasts. It was customary to go armed. He tells them of those dangers-of the necessity of being prepared in the usual way to meet them. This, then, is not to be considered as a specific, positive command to procure a sword, but an intimation that great dangers were before them; that their manner of life would be changed, and that they would need the provisions appropriate to that kind of life. The common preparation for that manner of life consisted in money, provisions, and arms; and he foretells them of that manner of life by giving them directions commonly understood to be appropriate to it. It amounts, then, to a prediction that they would soon leave the places which they had been accustomed to, and go into scenes of poverty, want, and danger, where they would feel the necessity of money, provisions, and the means of defence. All, therefore, that the passage justifies is—
1st. That it is proper for men to provide beforehand for their wants, and for ministers and missionaries as well as any others.
2nd. That self-defence is lawful. Men encompassed with danger may lawfully defend their lives. It does not prove that it is lawful to make offensive war on a nation or an individual.
The meaning is, let him procure one at any expense, even if he is obliged to sell his clothes for it—intimating that the danger would be very great and pressing.
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