Sell Your Cloak and Buy a Sword

In Matthew 22, as Jesus prepared to leave from his last meal to go to his execution, he said to them,…he that hath no sword, let him sell his garment and buy one.

Did Christ literally instruct his followers to acquire swords or is this symbolic language- a metaphor for studying his Word, perhaps? We will follow with more but it does not take too much thought to see that a pistol is analogous to the sword. The sword was the personal weapon of choice down through the ages. Why did Peter possess the sword that he wielded when the Lord was arrested? Because the Lord told him to have one, of course.

Another passage that is often quoted is the one where Jesus stated, “He that lives by the sword, dies by the sword.” Was this a command to practice pacifism in the face of enemies that would kill us and take the things that we hold dear? Isn’t our understanding of what is right and wrong about public policy intimately enmeshed with our views about the underpinnings of morality? In other words, when we discuss certain “universal” values, such as the sanctity of human life and the dignity of individuals, aren’t most of us coming from a Judaeo-Christian perspective?

I suggest that even most of you that carefully adhere to empirically secular methodology, have feelings about right and wrong that go back to what you or your parents (or grandparents) learned about the Ten Commandments and the Sermon on the Mount. If you are offended that Christ instructs us that self defense should be a priority, ask yourself whether it is because of certain unexamined “theological” beliefs that you reject the suggestion that Christ has a warrior side to his personality as well as the gentle nature with which he is associated.

After all, Christ (Yehoshua) was a Jew named after Joshua (Deliverer in Hebrew), a great warrior of the Old Testament. Even those that reject the authority of the Scripture often appeal to a belief system that is essentially Judeo-Christian but in favor of a more pacifist approach. Those that read the Bible with a view towards basing our lives on Biblical principles tend to see matters more in terms of spiritual warfare with powers and principalities in heavenly places. Warfare always has spiritual, psychological and physical components to varying degrees.

But is it rational to be unarmed in a world that contains very little mercy for the defenseless? The same Spirit that inspired men of old under the Old Covenant, also inspired the New Testament. Those prophets and other men of the Bible, including the author of the Book of Hebrews (see Hebrews 11) held the “Men of Valor” in very high regard. In the light of the New Testament teaching, as well as the “old”, we have to acknowledge the role of warrior as having relevancy to present day scriptural practice. One of the goals of this website is to raise public awareness and educate military, police and civilian shooters as to the high degree of honor Biblically placed on men (and women) that train and risk their lives for honorable purposes. Jesus told the Disciples many times that he was sending them out among wolves!

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