Jesus tells his followers to buy a sword. Why does Jesus say that? I thought Jesus was the Prince of Peace.

Pastor Chris,
In Luke 22:35-38, Jesus tells his followers to buy a sword. Why does Jesus say that? I thought Jesus was the Prince of Peace.
~ Don

Thank you for your question. This is a passage that is easily misunderstood because we have such a different culture than first century Israel. A look at the Jewish cultural background is helpful to interpret these verses. It is also useful to study the “sword” that Jesus is referring to.

To put The Pulpit Commentary (an old standard, scholarly, multi-volume set, with somewhat archaic English) into my own words, Jesus was focused on the fact that He would soon be leaving this earth and the disciples would now be facing intense trials in the form of persecution. Whereas, before, when Jesus was physically with them, they were favorably received by the populace. After He (Jesus) leaves, they would need to be prepared for tough times. This commentary also says, “Of course, the advice as to the sword was not meant to be taken literally. It is one of those metaphors the Lord used so often in his teaching. For a similar metaphor still more elaborately developed, see Eph. vi. 17, and following verses” (Pulpit Commentary, Vol. 16, Luke, p. 201).

The MacArthur Study Bible says on a footnote on page 1527, “When Christ sent them out before, He had sovereignly arranged for their
needs to be met. Henceforth they were to use normal means to provide for their own support and protection. The money bag, knapsack, and sword were figurative expressions for such means (the sword being emblematic of protection, not aggression). But they mistakenly took
His words literally” (v. 38).

The disciples misunderstood Jesus. They took His words literally when He meant them figuratively. Jesus’ use of the word “sword” should not be taken literally because the Greek word used here means a short, dagger like instrument that was like an everyday knife. It would not be much of an offensive weapon. It was not the long battle sword we usually think of that conjures up pictures of knights going at each other during the Middle Ages. This small “sword” would be used more for practical purposes like slicing bread or even applying a condiment to your slice of bread. There was nothing unusual about carrying such knives in that culture. I remember my Grandfather always carried a small pocketknife. It was a useful tool for him, not really a weapon, although it could be used that way if needed. Also, Jesus Himself spoke out against Peter when he used his small knife to cut off the ear of the high priest’s servant in the Garden of Gethsemane. You find it in this same chapter of Luke in verses 49-51. Therefore Jesus was not thinking about swords for offensive purposes. Jesus was thinking of the practical things the disciples would need when He was gone. The disciples missed the point, so Jesus says in effect “Enough of this” because they were not getting His intended meaning.

I wonder how much we continue to misunderstand Jesus today.

~ Pastor Chris

Why is there evil and suffering in the world?

Pastor Chris,

Why is there evil and suffering in the world? 



The problem of evil and suffering are two of the most difficult questions that mankind asks.  However, both are actually answered in the first book of the Bible, Genesis.

The problem of evil is answered by the disobedience of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden.  When Adam and Eve gave in to temptation and sinned, evil entered this world.  We have been having problems with evil and sin ever since. 

Wasn’t Satan created perfect?  Yes, he was created without sin.  However, God has chosen to take the great cosmic risk by giving His creation free will.  In short, we can choose to follow the Lord or we can choose to sin.  In eternity past Satan was known as Lucifer.  Being a free moral agent, Lucifer allowed pride to surface and grow in his heart until he rebelled against God.  Satan then pursued Adam and Eve and was successful in leading them to sin and thus rebel against God.

The problem of pain is also answered in Genesis.  When Adam and Eve sinned, there was a penalty that God exacted, which included death, pain, a cursing of the ground, and painful toil (Genesis 3).

If God is good then why doesn’t He do something about these things?  He has.  He sent His Son to die on the cross to pay for our sins.  With Jesus’ resurrection from the dead we have a guarantee of all God’s promises.

Bad things happen whenever men and women buy Satan’s lie.

~Pastor Chris

Is advent biblical?

Pastor Chris,
Is advent biblical?

~ Ron


Good question.  The word “Advent” is not found in the Bible; however, “Advent” means “coming” or “arrival.”  So, it is a time when we remember the coming or the arrival of the Messiah.  The “Second Advent” is an expression referring to the Second Coming of Christ.

Advent is a church tradition.  It is not commanded, encouraged, or talked about in scripture.

I think there is value in the Advent tradition from a teaching standpoint and from a worship standpoint.  The various aspects of Advent (candles, wreath, Bible passages, and responsive readings) provide visual object lessons of spiritual truth related to the life of Christ.

The Jews have a number of traditions that remind them of spiritual lessons (the Menorah, the Feast of Tabernacles, and Passover to name a few).  Thus, to follow a tradition that honors Christ and the teachings of the Bible is a good thing.

Many Christians carry a cross or display a cross.  We are not commanded in the Bible to do this.  Many of us do so anyway because it reminds us of the price that Jesus paid to purchase our salvation.  The cross also becomes an item that non-Christians can see that will cause many of them to ask “What is this?”  “What does it mean?”  Believers then have an opportunity to tell the story of God’s love and forgiveness.  Advent can serve a similar purpose.

~ Pastor Chris