Mar. 5, 2012
Then Jesus asked them, “When I sent you without purse, bag or sandals, did you lack anything?
“Nothing,” they answered.
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. It is written: ‘And he was numbered with the transgressors’, and I tell you that this must be fulfilled in me. Yes, what is written about me is reaching its fulfillment.”
The disciples said, “See, Lord, here are two swords.”
“That is enough,” he replied.
I have to admit: when I read this passage, I was confused. I’ve read this passage before but I’m still trying to figure out what Jesus means. Maybe that’s why there is a big question mark, written by me at another time, at this passage in my bible.
In Luke’s gospel, these are Jesus’ last words at the Last Supper before he goes to the Garden of Gethsemane to pray. Jesus refers to an earlier time, when he asked the disciples to take only what they had with them into villages and teach people about him. The disciples affirm they received everything they needed in the villages
Now, Jesus alludes to an impending crisis; one that will involve him and eventually all the disciples. It’s a little warning sign. But here’s the problem. Jesus has a fondness for striking metaphors. I believe he’s warning his friends that the next period of time will be very difficult. Earlier, he sent them only with sandals. Soon, they will need armor to protect their hearts and minds. They will need a shield, a sword, for the nasty and hurtful things that will be said about them and Jesus.
Unfortunately, the disciples take Jesus’ words literally. Right away, they are looking for a sword. Once again, Jesus sees they don’t quite understand what he’s saying. For some reason, Jesus doesn’t take the time to explain his words. He simply moves on.
When I’m having a conversation with someone, I quite often think I can anticipate what they are going to say. Based on my assumptions, I jump ahead to what my response will be, rather than really listening to what they say. Not surprisingly, sometimes the person tells me something very different from what I expected. Egg is on me for thinking I “know” it when I really don’t.
Am I any different than the disciples in this story? Unfortunately, not. Listen carefully. That’s why we have two ears and one mouth.
Let us pray: Open our ears, Lord, and help us to listen, Open our eyes Lord, we want to see Jesus. Amen