Thursday, October 4, 2007

Take the Sword, Leave the Cannoli

This post is a request for knowledge and wisdom from the readers. I had the unusual experience of reading a passage in Luke that I don't remember ever reading before. I don't think that I've ever heard a sermon on this passage. In fact, this passage seems contradictory to another story that Christians are fond of quoting. The verses in question are Luke 22: 35-38. The following is from the English Standard Version:

And he said to them, "When I sent you out with no moneybag or knapsack or sandals, did you lack anything?" They said "Nothing." He said to them, "But now let the one who has a moneybag take it, and likewise a knapsack. And let the one who has no sword sell his cloak and buy one. For I tell you that this scripture must be fulfilled in me: 'And he was numbered with the transgressors'. For what was written about me has its fulfillment". And they said, "Look, Lord, here are two swords." And he said to them, "It is enough."

I believe that Jesus had perfect knowledge about the events leading to the destruction of Jerusalem. I believe that he knew that his disciples would travel much beyond the safe bubble of their local communities, and do so with Jesus "numbered with the transgressors." After all, I have always heard that Thomas traveled to India and perhaps even farther. It seems logical that times would be tougher for the disciples under these circumstances.

However, if you follow this argument to one conclusion, it suggests that the "take no money, take no knapsack" part of the Gospel that IS so popular for Christians to quote is restricted by its confinement to the relatively safe time and place of Jesus rural ministry. But, if outside this box Jesus tells you Take the Money, Take the Knapsack, Take the Sword, then does this imply that other parts of the "Kingdom" preaching are also so limited? Does this imply a distinctly different Christian behavior within a Christian community as compared to interacting with a more dangerous world?

Your thoughts are definitely welcome.

No comments: