Jesus and the Gun - Understanding Scripture
Luke 22:35-38 (ESV) says:
Scripture Must Be Fulfilled in Jesus
And he said to them, “When I sent you out with no moneybag or knapsack or sandals, did you lack anything?” They said, “Nothing.” He said to them, “But now let the one who has a moneybag take it, and likewise a knapsack. And let the one who has no sword sell his cloak and buy one. For I tell you that this Scripture must be fulfilled in me: ‘And he was numbered with the transgressors. ’ For what is written about me has its fulfillment.” And they said, “Look, Lord, here are two swords.” And he said to them, “It is enough."
In ancient Jewish culture, a man's cloak was one of his most valued possessions, for it did far more than just act as an outer garment. It was a blanket, a cushion to sit on, a sleeping pad, protection from the cold, an indicator of his station in life. He might not own more than one or two during the entire course of his life. And here is Jesus, telling his disciples that, if any one of them doesn't own a sword, he should sell his most prized possession in order to buy one.
Why would Jesus do that? He was instructing them to go out on their second missionary journey. He pointed out that, the first time they went out, they lacked for nothing. But Jesus knew something that they did not know—that this time, he would not be accompanying them in the flesh... ....because the rugged cross lay across his path. See, Jesus knew that he was about to be crucified. He also knew that, upon his crucifixion, the world was about to get a whole lot more hostile toward his disciples..... and history bears witness that it actually did do exactly that. The deaths that the disciples faced over the next few decades would indeed bear witness to the fact that what these men had seen with their own eyes had to be true—else why would they not just deny Jesus to escape their fates?
So Jesus knew that he was preparing his disciples to go forth into a world that was going to be suddenly more dangerous to them, and that they should be prepared to defend themselves if necessary. He was giving them all authority to do incredible things in his name, but there was going to be a time in which they did not yet know for sure, or necessarily believe, that they actually had that authority. When he was with them in the flesh, JESUS protected them. Pharisees, scribes, sadducees, even centurions understood HIS authority, even if they did not like it and conspired against it. With Jesus there, in the flesh, alongside the disciples, they had no need for a sword.....even though Peter carried one.
That's right..... Peter carried a sword when he was with Jesus (John 18:10-11, ESV):
Then Simon Peter, having a sword, drew it and struck the high priest's servant and cut off his right ear. (The servant's name was Malchus.) So Jesus said to Peter, “Put your sword into its sheath; shall I not drink the cup that the Father has given me?”
Possibly Peter simply carried a sword by personal habit, the same way many carry a pistol today, or possibly because he was carrying one of the two swords mentioned in Luke 22:38. Otherwise, why did he have it with him in the Garden of Gethsemane on the night Jesus was arrested? He did not know that an arrest was about to take place! He had no foreknowleadge of an impending need to defend anyone. Jesus and the disciples had gone there, ostensibly to enjoy the garden at night after a moving Passover dinner, and then a little later, to pray separately from the others with Peter, James, and John (the sons of Zebedee). When the chief priests and the crowd showed up to arrest Jesus, Peter sprang forth to defend Jesus (using deadly force to defend another) and cut off the priest's servant's ear.
What is Jesus's reaction? Does he rebuke Peter for defending him? No. Does he rebuke Peter for having a sword with him? No. After all, earlier in the evening he had strongly recommended that his disciples acquire swords. What he does do is to tell Peter and the others that what the priests have come here for MUST go forward so that the prophesies and the Kingdom of Heaven can be fulfilled. He doesn't tell Peter to get rid of the sword. He doesn't shame Peter for having it with him. He simply says, "put it away, so that I can do what has to be done". [See Addendum Here]
Jesus would have understood the gun the same way he understood the sword. The gun is the modern day sword. He might not have concerned himself with them most of the time, but he would have understood possessing them, carrying them, and using them in self-defense or the defense of others, or for dispatching an animal for food......for he understood a God-given right (with which we are endowed by our Creator)—which he, being fully God (which unlike Obama et al, he did not regard as something to be grasped after [Philippians 2:6]) had previously imparted to his creation—the human right to defense of self and others, even with use of deadly force if necessary, and by whatever means necessary. When he told his disciples to sell their cloaks if necessary to buy swords, he was not telling them to go forth and kill. No. He was telling them to go forth and spread the gospel, but to be prepared to defend themselves if necessary. He wants us to live in peace, in so far as we are able to, but he does not require us not to protect ourselves from robbers, thieves, and murderers. Nowhere in Scripture does he tell us not to do that.