I like to plan my sermons a couple of months in advance. It’s what I do. One of the things it does it helps not only me get into the groove and start thinking about things, but it helps the worship leader start thinking ahead.
And so, this morning I was flipping through my Bible and I saw a passage marked up with the word “Wow!” written next to it. I had to stop and read it. Why did I write “Wow!” next to something and do a double underline. And then I read the passage
“The 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…The disciples said, “See, Lord, here are two swords.” Luke 22:35-38
No wonder I wrote “Wow!” next to that and did a double underline. So out of character for Jesus, right? So not like what we think of him, right? So many times we see Jesus as meek and mild, preaching peace and love. In fact, many people like to point out that Jesus preached on love more than anything else in the Bible. And we’re to love our neighbors as our selves. And we’re to show this love to others. And we’re to bear one another’s burdens. And so on.
But why does he tell them to bring swords and a purse and a cloak. One thing we forget is that Jesus is a mighty warrior. He stands and fights against the gates of hell for us. He fights the ultimate battle so that we don’t have to. He saves us from the tyranny of the Devil.
In fact, we read of him being a mighty warrior when he comes again
“I saw heaven standing open and there before me was a white horse, whose rider is called Faithful and True. With justice he judges and makes war. His eyes are like blazing fire, and on his head are many crowns. He has a name written on him that no one knows but he himself. He is dressed in a robe dipped in blood, and his name is the Word of God. The armies of heaven were following him, riding on white horses and dressed in fine linen, white and clean…On his robe and on his thigh he has this name written ‘King of Kings and Lord of Lords.'” Revelation 19:11-14, 16
Dude. Talk about a warrior. Talk about fighting and power and might.
All of this makes me think of the Jedi. People admire the Jedi. They are keepers of the peace. The mantra that young padiwans learn from a very early age is “There is no emotion, only peace.” They preach peace. They live peace. And yet they carry lightsabers. They carry one of the most deadliest weapons known in the Star Wars universe. The Jedi are peaceful until the need arises for them to fight. And they do fight. You have Yoda who is known as a wise teacher but we also see him as a mighty warrior. You have Mace Windu who is a wise sage yet is a kick butt fighter.
The Jedi were peaceful peace keepers first but when the need arose, they also arose to the occasion and did what was necessary. And they carried lightsabers.
What does this mean for followers of Jesus. We are to love as we have been loved. We are to turn the other cheek when struck. We are to be willing to carry each others’ burdens. We are to be willing to go an extra mile for someone we don’t like. And yet Jesus tells his disciples to carry swords.
There is a time to love and a time to fight. Our battle, though, isn’t against the flesh and blood of this world. As a follower of Jesus Christ, our battle is against the dark powers of this world. We will be attacked. The enemy, the devil, prowls like a lion looking for whom he may devour. And as followers of Jesus, we need to stand guard. We need to stand guard not just for ourselves but for others as well.
In fact, we are to wield the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. We are wield it strongly and bravely. This is the only offensive weapon we have. And just like the Jedi, it is the only offensive weapon that they have.
One of the things I’ve noticed about the force is that it is much easier for the Jedi to push something away than to move something forward. The force is something that is defensive not an offensive weapon. They only use the lightsaber for when they are being attacked.
As followers of Jesus though, we are to use the sword of the Spirit at every chance we get. We are to know it. Live it. Have it. Hold it tightly. What does this mean? Hold it close. Study God’s word. Study it and know it. Hold it fast. And when the enemy, the devil, attacks, you can wield it strongly and quickly.
To tell the truth, I don’t know exactly why Jesus told his disciples to carry swords. And when Peter actually does use his sword and cuts off someone’s ear, Jesus tells Peter to put it away. He didn’t say not to carry it but to just put it away. It wasn’t time yet.
There will be times of peace in our lives. And there will be times we are going to be attacked. Jedi’s always carry around their lightsaber. They always have it with them. And we who are followers of Jesus should always keep the sword of the Spirit with us, on us, in our mind, in our souls.
So followers of Jesus, carry your swords. Be ready in season and out of season. Know that you need your sword of the Spirit with you at all times. Love as you have been loved. But also be willing to fight when necessary. Just like the Jedi, live the peace, but just like Jesus, love as you have been loved and stand strong in him for his is the ultimate warrior.