Not understanding is Okay


            And He said to them, “When I sent you without money bag, knapsack, and sandals, did you lack anything?” 

            So they said, “Nothing.” 

            Then he said to them, “But now, he who has a money bag, let him take it, and likewise a knapsack; and he who has no sword, let him sell his garment and buy one.  For I say to you that this which is written must still be accomplished in me; ‘And he was numbered with the transgressors.’  For the things concerning me have an end.”  

               So they said, “Lord, look, here are two swords.”  And he said to them, “It is enough” (Luke 22: 35-38.)


             Here Jesus gave them a command that enabled his disciples to provide for themselves in his absence.  Jesus protected and provided for his disciples; when they had no food he made bread and fish from nearly nothing.  When they needed money, he provided that in a miraculous way.  When they needed shelter he produced willing persons who allowed them to stay in their’ homes.  Jesus is either telling these men that they need to protect themselves, or he is simply adding in large knife to the list of things that a man on the run may find handy, perhaps in the wilderness.  The Greek word for ‘sword’ is better translated as ‘dagger, large knife, or small sword as opposed to a large sword; used in sacrificing animals or cutting up meat’; something like what a butcher might use.  Jesus tells them to take a money bag, which anyone would do if they were leaving home for a period of time.  The same thing is true of the knapsack, which is referring to the type of bag a Sheppard would carry when he journeyed out in to the wilderness.  The dagger as well could be referring to an essential tool that most men who were traveling would have carried, for many uses. 

              Why might Jesus not be talking about using the swords against others seeking to kill them?  When the guards came for Jesus, shortly after this event, one of his disciples pulled out the sword and hacked at them, and cut off an ear of one of the guards.  Jesus responded to this action by saying, “Put your sword in its place, for all who take the sword shall perish by it.”  He even heals the man’s severed ear.  We see then that his intended idea of what the swords would be used for may not have included striking out in violence at another human being.  On the other side of the coin, it is entirely possible that he might have been telling the disciples to use the swords to protect themselves.  Scriptures like these do present a challenge to anyone who reads them.  The meaning in light of all of the teachings of Christ presents a view of nonviolence; however this scripture taken simply, clearly sounds as though Jesus wanted them to use the swords to defend themselves.

              The meaning of this passage is not entirely clear.  The temptation is to make it say something it might not say.  Uncertainly is a frightening thing, and this fear causes many people to try to force a clear meaning where there is none.  Humility is the ability to accept a lack of understanding and clarity and be okay with that.  This scripture is a lesson in accepting a lack of understanding.  Many cults begin when a person believes they know something that no one else before them has known; as if God has given them the answers to a question that has been unclear since the beginning of the church.  God has not promised to allow us to understand all of his ways, nor every scripture that he has laid out in his book.  He has promised to provide us with a wonderful ability to know him.  God the Father, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit do provide us with all that we need today, and often times we don’t need to know.  And to those who are seeking answers, sometimes God provides humility instead of clarity.  He makes a person’s heart okay with uncertainty, and gives them a peace and a rest in the absence of complete understanding.

“Lord heavenly Father, we come before You today and we ask and pray that You would provide us with humility, that we would be able to accept not knowing and understanding all of scripture.  Help us to accept what knowledge You have given us as being sufficient, and allow us to feed off of Your spirit daily, in our hearts.  Give us more of Your Holy Sprit, and more of Your truth today Father.  We love You Lord, we thank You and we praise You and we ask and pray all of these things in Jesus Christ’s name.  Amen.”  God bless all of you.

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