Awakened,I really must pick you up on your paraphrase and what you suggested Jesus meant. You have put word's in the Lord's mouth that he never said and I don't think He ever meant (like many paraphrases). I for one find it offensive and also twisting what was actually said.What Jesus DID NOT SAY was "Don't use your sword because they are bigger than you". The implication being that if Peter had a weaker opponent then yes he could strike with his sword! NO way did he say that! you make Jesus sound like he was the leader of a revolutionary gang! Exactly what the leaders of the day mistakenly thought as well.What Jesus DID SAY " He who lives by the sword will die by the sword". It really is not difficult to understand this. The clue is in "lives by". In other words if someone lives their lives by meeting every opposition by wielding a sword then ultimately there is a good chance they will die by the same. 'What you sow you reap'!.We often say similar things like "If you run out in that road you will get run over". We don't mean that any one who runs across a road will get run over, but we know what is meant.So obviously Jesus did not mean that anyone who uses a weapon for any reason will die by similar means or that all resistance or armed forces are wrong. I am non a proponent of non-resistance or against legitimate use of force when needed by governments etc, but this is not what this about.Do we read anywhere of Peter or the other disciples taking up weapons after this to defend themselves? No, not in my bible! How could we ever come to the conclusion that Christians should prepare to defend themselves and their communities with weapons? This is just alien to the New Testament record and church history. What witness does this give unbelievers, that we should be fighting to hang on to life on earth. Do we really believe that we have an eternal home being prepared for us that is far better that what we have here?I remember hearing the testimony of an Iranian Pastor, who stood publically in calling for the release from prison of one of his flock. He said he knew this put him on the danger list for assassination, but gave a sermon about how he was prepared to lay down his life for his brother and death would be like just going into the room next door. A few weeks later he was killed and entered into the joy of his Lord. 'He did NOT say 'I'm ready for the assassins, I've got my gun and I'll go down fighting!' God forbid, No!
///Matthew 26:52///Many Christians, including the various Preachers and even moderators on SI have conflicting views and understandings in regards to the issues of pacifism and nonresistance. An honest unbiased conclusion would agree that the New Testament is unclear on the issue. Could this be because different times and different peoples in different situations might be led differently ?,
As the spectre of global violence rises, perhaps it is more and more necessary to understand the different ways Christians prepare themselves for physical conflict. We in the Western world are not immune to this, chatting comfortably about it may soon end.There are both swords of offense, and swords of defense. Jesus spoke of both in His parables, and it is really not possible from the scriptures to assert that passive submission is the only Christ-like response to violent aggression. When you think about it, Jesus' little visit to the temple in John 2:15 where He assembled the cords into a whip and started swinging was more aggressive than defensive. Wonder what He might have done with a sword if He'd had one??Ecclesiastes 3:3 says there is a time to heal and a time to kill, in that order I have noticed. Having experienced both of those times, I believe that the most important thing is to learn to hear the voice of the Holy Spirit, and obey from there. There is a time to turn the other cheek, and a time to "Go up, for the LORD will deliver them into your hand." Bloodshed may be involved, but we are called to be instruments in God's hand. For me, when it was time to kill, it was as normal as possible in the stress of war. I am grateful to God that I did not have to pull that trigger, but I carry an intense recollection of that time and what it felt like. Healing is always better...Somebody put up some sage advice on a marquee sign:"When attacked by a mob of clowns, go for the juggler..."
Jesus did not have any fear of his disciples being out-numered! It is funny to even think like that. The command was simple. The sword that Jesus asked his disciples to have is only for defense and not for attack. Peter was attacking the soldier here. We are not called to take an attacking stance in any issue.
Apart from the instance of Peter in the garden, where Jesus told him not to, can anyone give me just ONE example in the New Testament of a disciple of Christ using a weapon to defend themselves or this being suggested? If you can I might consider the position some are taking here. I cannot think of one instance in the gospels, Acts or letters.The church in China is growing and flourishing. The churches in the former Soviet nations are also growing and flourishing. This despite years of oppression and martyrdom. How did they succeed? By establishing a militia and fighting back? No, the Lord said He would build His church and the gates of hell would not prevail against it!Nothing can defeat a church or Christian that fully submits to Christ. But if we take up our own defense in the flesh we are already defeated.