At the Last Supper, Jesus told his disciples that in the face of the approaching temptations which would arise due to His crucifixion, they should arm themselves spiritually against those temptations. He employed the metaphor of selling your purse, scrip, and other valuables in order to buy a sword for some extreme and approaching danger (Lk. 22:36), to illustrate how they should arm themselves against the imminent temptation. Jesus unapologetically uses the example of self-defense in earthly matters to highlight the greater need for spiritual fortitude against spiritual conflicts. The disciples, as they often did, missed the point. They thought Jesus was calling them to armed conflict then and there (Lk. 22:38).
The turmoil we face certainly raises concerns about preparations which should be made to defend our families. The metaphor Jesus used hits home. If the nation is going to shambles, you might just sell that antique vase which great aunt Martha gave you in order to buy an AR-15 and some ammo. This preparation for self-defense isn’t sinful. It’s godly wisdom.
Self-defense is taught throughout Scripture. Exodus 22:2-3 protects the householder who kills a thief at night; there’s no murder-guilt for defending his castle. Elsewhere, Nehemiah calls the people of God to bear arms while rebuilding Jerusalem because of a clear threat posed by enemies (Neh. 4:13).
You may be asking, “How’s this a preparation to the Lord’s Supper?” In your preparations to defend our liberty, don’t miss Christ’s main point: preparing for turmoil means we should first prepare for temptation. Temptation to charge forward in ungodly haste to shed blood. Temptation to slink back in shameful timidity.
We face a whole host of temptations in normal times. In the midst of this political melee, the panic over the pandemic, the Big Tech overlords flexing their muscle, and the often anemic response of the church we are beset by what seems a greater than normal array of temptations. Temptation to fear man and virus. Temptation to wicked boasting and bluster. Temptation to slink to some flimsy hovel of “safety.” Temptation to rush forward with ungodly crowds. Temptation to gloom and despair. Temptation to soothe our worries in the bottle or on a webpage. These temptations assault us, and Christ invites us to arm ourselves spiritually first and foremost. Indeed, deliver us, O Lord, from evil.
Remember, taking up arms to defend ourselves against tyranny, or fleeing when Jerusalem is surrounded is lawful; but our trust isn’t in weapons. Our trust is in God alone. Only Christ is our true food, but we still buy earthly food. Similarly, we trust Christ alone as our defense; yet we aren’t sinning by making use of lawful means of defending ourselves against wicked men. But don’t miss the first things. Be nourished by Christ first, be built up in faith first. Then, when trouble comes, you’ll stand fast in both spiritual and earthly conflicts.
So come in faith and welcome to Jesus…