What Would Jesus Say About Self-Protection?

Jesus spoke of loving one’s enemies and loving one’s neighbors as oneself. What do you think he would he say about self-defense?

Luke 22:35-38 He told the disciples to buy a sword if they didn’t have one. In days past when sent out to minister in Israel they had not carried swords, or money or baggage but had not been without what they needed. Now, in days to come they would be traveling the roads taking the Gospel with them to more distant communities. Having a sword and knowing how to use it would ward off some would-be robbers and thieves. However, if asked by a Roman soldier to carry their pack, they were to carry it twice as far as required. So we see the sword as not to be used to start a skirmish but to prevent them if possible.

Nevertheless at the time Jesus and the disciples left their last supper together and went out to the Mount of Olives to pray, Jesus considered the two swords they had were enough for the group.

A police and military group approached. Faced with overwhelming odds, Jesus told Peter, “Put your sword back into its place; for all who take the sword will perish by the sword. Do you think that I cannot appeal to my Father, and he will at once send me more than twelve legions of angels? But how then would the scriptures be fulfilled, which say it must happen this way?”  Matt. 26:52-54

That’s something to think about when contemplating military service.

In Jesus’ trial, he claimed that his kingdom was “not of this world.He choose not to defend himself and possibly protected his followers from being hunted down.

I imagine the disciples continued to carry swords for self protection as they carried the good news of God’s Kingdom of loving neighbors and enemies to other people and communities.


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