Jesus prepares the disciples for the clamity and confusion that is about to fall on them. After The Last Supper he talks to them of betrayal, who the greatest is, of denial, and the need to prepare for battle. The last element is of particular concern. Jesus in the garden rebukes Peter for using a sword, but here he talks about taking them. Surely Jesus is self-contradictory and imperfect, etc. etc. He says that two swords are enough and allows the disciples to take them. However, in context he is not planning an armed defence. Jesus was talking to the disciples in metaphor and they did not understand the illustration. This is what happens when abstract thinkers like Jesus communicate in non-literal language with concrete, sensory thinkers like many of his disciples. I can imagine him shaking his head in dismay as they pick up two swords, “Yeah, sure, two swords are plenty. Now let’s get moving or we’ll miss my betrayal!!!’
21 But the hand of him who is going to betray me is with mine on the table. 22 The Son of Man will go as it has been decreed. But woe to that man who betrays him!” 23 They began to question among themselves which of them it might be who would do this.
24 A dispute also arose among them as to which of them was considered to be greatest. 25 Jesus said to them, “The kings of the Gentiles lord it over them; and those who exercise authority over them call themselves Benefactors. 26 But you are not to be like that. Instead, the greatest among you should be like the youngest, and the one who rules like the one who serves. 27 For who is greater, the one who is at the table or the one who serves? Is it not the one who is at the table? But I am among you as one who serves. 28 You are those who have stood by me in my trials. 29 And I confer on you a kingdom, just as my Father conferred one on me, 30 so that you may eat and drink at my table in my kingdom and sit on thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel.
31 “Simon, Simon, Satan has asked to sift all of you as wheat. 32 But I have prayed for you, Simon, that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned back, strengthen your brothers.”
33 But he replied, “Lord, I am ready to go with you to prison and to death.”
34 Jesus answered, “I tell you, Peter, before the rooster crows today, you will deny three times that you know me.”
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’[b]; and I tell you that this must be fulfilled in me. Yes, what is written about me is reaching its fulfillment.”
38 The disciples said, “See, Lord, here are two swords.”
“That’s enough!” he replied.
- What does Jesus talk about in his after-dinner conversation?
- What do the disciples bring up?
- How is Jesus preparing his disciples?
- How have you been unprepared?
- How can you better be prepared for the spiritual growth that God wants for you?