Two Swords

Luke 22:35-38: John 18:1-6, 10, 11

And [Jesus] said unto them, When I sent you without purse, and scrip, and shoes, lacked ye any thing? And they said, Nothing. Then 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. 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.

And they said, Lord, behold, here are two swords.

And he said unto them, It is enough…

When Jesus had spoken these words, he went forth with his disciples over the brook Cedron, where was a garden, into the which he entered, and his disciples. And Judas also, which betrayed him, knew the place: for Jesus ofttimes resorted thither with his disciples. Judas then, having received a band of men and officers from the chief priests and Pharisees, cometh thither with lanterns and torches and weapons.

Jesus therefore, knowing all things that should come upon him, went forth, and said unto them, Whom seek ye? They answered him, Jesus of Nazareth. Jesus saith unto them, I am he. And Judas also, which betrayed him, stood with them. As soon then as he had said unto them, I am he, they went backward, and fell to the ground…

Then Simon Peter having a sword drew it, and smote the high priest’s servant, and cut off his right ear. The servant’s name was Malchus. Then said Jesus unto Peter, Put up thy sword into the sheath: the cup which my Father hath given me, shall I not drink it?

ADAM CLARKE (1760-1832): I must here confess that the matter about the swords appears to me very obscure. I am afraid I do not understand it, and I know of none who does.

MATTHEW HENRY (1662-1714): Some think it is spoken ironically: “Two swords among twelve men! you are bravely armed indeed when our enemies are now coming out against us in great multitudes, and every one with a sword!”

C. H. SPURGEON (1834-1892): A smile must have passed over the Saviour’s face as He saw how they had misunderstood Him! He did not mean that they should literally carry swords, but that they should now have to go through an alien world and to meet with no friends or helpers…He could never have thought of their fighting that He might not be delivered unto the Jews, since for that purpose two swords were simply ridiculous! They had missed His meaning, which was simply to warn them of the changed circumstances of His cause—but they caught at the words which He had used and exhibited their two swords.

THOMAS GOODWIN (1600-1679): Some interpreters hence observe that it is lawful to wear defensive weapons. There is the clearest evidence for it here, for they did not only wear swords, but Christ bids them, if they had no swords, to sell their garments and buy swords. And when Peter had done this mischievous act, in drawing his sword and striking the high priest’s servant, Christ did not bid him fling it away, but only to put it up again into its place.

H. A. IRONSIDE (1876-1951): He said unto them, “It is enough”―that is, no more talk about that. He was not speaking about actual defense.

J. C. RYLE (1816-1900): Our Lord, seeing their dullness of understanding, dismisses the subject. The disciples took His words about the swords literally, but He was talking figuratively. If they could not see His meaning now, they would later. At present, He said “enough” and for wise reasons would say no more.

MATTHEW POOLE (1624-1679): Our Saviour doth doubtless speak in a figure.

HUGH  LATIMER (1483-1555): In this world God hath “two swords;” the one is a temporal sword, the other a spiritual. The temporal sword resteth in the hands of kings, magistrates, and rulers, under Him; whereunto all subjects be subject, as well the clergy as the laity, and punishable for any offence, Romans 13:1-4.

CHARLES SIMEON (1759-1836): God has appointed magistrates as his vicegerents in the world, and has put the sword into their hands “for the punishment of evildoers, and the support of them that do well,” Romans 13:4; and if they should forbear “to execute wrath” upon those who violate the laws, they would themselves be guilty of a dereliction of their public duty.

HUGH  LATIMER: The spiritual sword is hands of ministers and preachers; whereunto all kings, magistrates, and rulers, ought to be obedient; that is, to hear and follow, so along as the ministers sit in Christ’s chair; that is, speaking out of Christ’s book. The king correcteth transgressors with the temporal sword; yea, and the preacher also, if he be an offender. But the preacher cannot correct the king, if he be a transgressor of God’s Word, with the temporal sword; but he must correct and reprove him with the spiritual sword; fearing no man, and setting God only before his eyes, under whom he is a minister, to supplant and root up all vice and mischief by God’s Word; whereunto all men ought to be obedient.

JOHN GILL (1697-1771): The church’s weapons are not carnal, but spiritual; not the sword of the civil magistrate, but “the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God,” Ephesians 6:17; Christ’s kingdom, being not of this world, is not supported and defended by worldly means, or carnal weapons.

MATTHEW HENRY: Christ’s ministers, though they are His soldiers, do not “war after the flesh,” 2 Corinthians 10:3,4… The Word of God is the sword of the Spirit, the only offensive weapon in all the Christian armoury; and we may say of it as David said of Goliath’s sword, “None is like that” in our spiritual conflicts.

JOHN GILL: The sword of the Spirit is sharper than a “twoedged sword,” and is said to come out of the mouth of Christ (Revelation 19:13-15), with which He pierces into and cuts the hearts of men…One of its edges is the law, which sharply reproves and menaces for sin, threatening with curses, condemnation, and death; and which, in the Spirit’s hand, cuts deep into the hearts of men, lays open the corruption of their nature, and the swarms of sin which are in them; it causes pain and grief, working wrath in the conscience; it wounds and kills, and is therefore called the letter that kills, 2 Corinthians 3:6. The other edge is the Gospel, which cuts in pieces the best of men; all their works of righteousness, which it removes from their justification and salvation; and all their wisdom, holiness, freewill power, and creature abilities.

MATTHEW HENRY: Peter must put up his sword, for it was the sword of the Spirit that was to be committed to him―weapons of warfare not carnal, yet mighty. When Christ with a word felled the aggressors, he showed Peter how he should be armed with a word, “quick and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword,” Hebrews 4:12―and with that, not long after this, Peter laid Ananias and Sapphira dead at his feet, Acts 5:1-10.

ADAM CLARKE: He uses no sword but the sword of the Spirit.

HUGH  LATIMER: God will have the faith defended, not by man’s power, but by His Word only, by the which He hath evermore defended it, and that by a way far above man’s power or reason, as all the stories of the Bible make mention.


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