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Jesus makes some astounding comments about being ready for great problems in our life as Christians. 

Luke 22:35 – 38

35 Then Jesus asked them, ‘When I sent you without purse, bag or sandals, did you lack anything?’

‘Nothing,’ they answered.

36 He said to them, ‘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. 37 It is written: “And he was numbered with the transgressors”[a]; and I tell you that this must be fulfilled in me. Yes, what is written about me is reaching its fulfilment.’

38 The disciples said, ‘See, Lord, here are two swords.’

Cross,Jesus,God,Holy Spirit,Daily Devotion,Hostile

‘That’s enough!’ he replied.

These verses are rather disturbing.  In some ways they seem out of character with the rest of what we read in the gospels.  For that reason, they need to be considered carefully and embraced as very important for our understanding of the Christian life. 

Jesus reminds the disciples of their mission trip.  They were sent out, along with others, to various towns and villages to bring the good news.  The instructions for them were to travel lightly and trust the Lord to provide for their needs through people they would meet along the way.  This all went wonderfully well, and they returned rejoicing in the blessings of God. 

Now Jesus makes it clear that life is about to change.  Now they need to have enough money and garments to wear.  Most confusing, and perhaps disturbing, Jesus says, “if you don’t have a sword, sell your cloak and buy one.” (v36) Previously they had met opposition but now it would become violent. 

The focus of Jesus’ comments is the cross.  In verse 37 he says, “It is written: ‘And he was numbered with transgressors’; and I tell you that this must be fulfilled in me. Yes, what is written about me is reaching its fulfillment.” The quote about being numbered with transgressors is from Isaiah 53 which provides a vivid picture of the ordeal of the Suffering Servant as he brings about forgiveness for his people through his death on the cross.  The fulfillment of God’s purpose of rescuing sinful people was about to take place when Jesus endured the cross as the sacrificial Lamb of God. 

The significance of this for the disciples is that as Jesus was “numbered with transgressors”, or more literally “with the lawless”, they would be considered as associates of a criminal.  Whatever hostility was directed to him would be directed at them as well.  This would carry through to their apostolic ministries and would continue for Christ’s people down through history.  Jesus’ strong words here are a preparation for them to expect all sorts of hardships.  Prior to this he had spoken about the cost of discipleship involving taking up a cross and following him.  Now it was going to become very real. 

That can seem very daunting for most Christians, but we need to understand it in the light of the very cross that loomed over Jesus at this point.  Because Jesus went to the cross, died and rose again we, as believers in him have a new life.  We find our identity and security, our hope and our peace in him.  Whatever hostility we may face will not be victorious over us because Jesus has already won the victory.  We may not face literal murderous hostility as Christians, although we might, but even if we do, it can bring no ultimate harm because in Jesus, we have unshakeable peace with God and utterly assured eternal life. 

There is still another question.  Did Jesus intend us to carry swords or modern weapons?  It is a difficult saying but we need to remember that when Peter used a sword at Jesus’ arrest, he stopped him and said, “all who take up the sword will die by the sword.”  It leaves us with the thought that Jesus comment in this passage about buying a sword was vivid language to communicate, “Be ready for anything!”

Head: Be ready for anything as you serve the Lord

Heart: Trust the Lord to take care of you in a hostile world.

Hands: Engage the task of serving the Lord, no matter what the difficulties

Prayer: Loving Father, help us to face a hostile world with the confidence of victory in Jesus. Guard us against discouragements and help us to truly take up our cross and follow our Lord Jesus. In Jesus’ name. Amen. 

A song to listen to: Man of Sorrows  

David Johnston 

Living Church – Creek Road 

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