Q. Re 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
Would you please explain this verse about buying a sword? Is Jesus condoning self defense?
A. I think the Lord was warning the disciples that the times were changing. Before, He sent them out without anything and they were sustained through the generosity of the people. But now, knowing His death was near and there would be a concerted effort to eliminate all of His followers, He was warning them that they’d have to be prepared to take care of themselves.
Many scholars feel that because of other comments He made, such as when he rebuked Peter for attacking the High Priest’s servant and said that those who live by the sword will die by the sword, He was using extreme language to alert them and wasn’t suggesting that they prepare to defend themselves. Even with swords and the training to use them properly, they would have been hopelessly outnumbered.
This view is confirmed in the verses following. When they showed them the 2 swords they already had, He said “That’s enough.” (Luke 22:38) He wouldn’t have said that if He was actually telling them to buy weapons and prepare to defend themselves.