Luke 22:38, Two Swords: It Is Enough

And they said, Lord, behold, here are two swords. And he said unto them, It is enough.

//Just as Jesus is about to be captured and led into Jerusalem for his trial, he tells his disciples to sell their garments and buy swords. They reply that they have two swords already, and Jesus says that’s enough.

So what’s the story with these two swords? Why did Jesus make sure swords were available, only to never use them? We do read of Peter cutting off the ear of an opponent, but Jesus admonished Peter for his sword-wielding and promptly healed the man. So why ask for swords, and then decide, when two are found, that “it is enough?”

Surely, it wasn’t enough. The Gospel of John tells us that an entire Roman cohort came out to capture Jesus. The Greek word is speira, 600 men under a commander. Can you imagine two swords fighting off this trained regimen?

I began to wonder today if the two swords weren’t more symbolic than practical. Sometimes we forget how intimately acquainted the Jews were with their national history, as preserved in their holy scripture. Was Jesus merely alluding to scripture as he spoke these ominous words? The battle story that comes to mind is found in 1 Samuel, chapter 13.

Philistines had been raiding Israeli settlements and seem to have completely subjugated them. Verses 13:19-20 tell us that no one among the Israelites was allowed to forge a sword, or any weapon, for fear of an uprising. Nevertheless, Israel went to battle.

The Philistines boasted 3000 chariots, manned by 6000 charioteers, accompanied by infantrymen who were “as numerous as the grains of sand on the seashore.” King Saul mustered only an attacking army of 600. Moreover, Saul’s army owned only two swords! One was held by Saul and one by Jonathan, his son.

So it came to pass in the day of battle, that there was neither sword nor spear found in the hand of any of the people that were with Saul and Jonathan: but with Saul and with Jonathan his son was there found. –1 Samuel 13:2

Yet, the Israelites routed the enemy, because God was on their side.

Was Jesus, when requesting two swords, telling his followers to keep the faith because, as the holy scriptures promise, God’s presence—regardless of what happened in the garden of Gethsemane—would eventually lead to victory?

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1 Comment

  1. The Swords are not meant to be taken literally. When Jesus told them to take a Sword – He is actually referring to the Word of God which is the Sword of the Spirit. The reason for Two Swords being enough was because they would be sent out by TWOs and TWO was a testimonial requirement to put someone SPIRITUALLY to Death.

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