A Few Thoughts about Guns and Groans
A devotional from Luke 22:35-46
35 And he said unto them, When I sent you without purse, and scrip, and shoes, lacked ye any thing? And they said, Nothing. 36 Then said he unto them, But now, he that hath a purse, let him take it, and likewise his scrip: and he that hath no sword, let him sell his garment, and buy one. 37 For I say unto you, that this that is written must yet be accomplished in me, And he was reckoned among the transgressors: for the things concerning me have an end. 38 And they said, Lord, behold, here are two swords. And he said unto them, It is enough.
39 And he came out, and went, as he was wont, to the mount of Olives; and his disciples also followed him. 40 And when he was at the place, he said unto them, Pray that ye enter not into temptation. 41 And he was withdrawn from them about a stone’s cast, and kneeled down, and prayed, 42 Saying, Father, if thou be willing, remove this cup from me: nevertheless not my will, but thine, be done. 43 And there appeared an angel unto him from heaven, strengthening him. 44 And being in an agony he prayed more earnestly: and his sweat was as it were great drops of blood falling down to the ground. 45 And when he rose up from prayer, and was come to his disciples, he found them sleeping for sorrow, 46 And said unto them, Why sleep ye? rise and pray, lest ye enter into temptation.
Today my morning devotions led me to think about two unusual topics, guns and groans. I know, those aren’t what you expect to ponder while putting down your Lucky Charms and OJ. Let me explain.
What Jesus said about guns.
Of course our Lord did not specifically say anything about guns. Gun control was not a common topic in the lands surrounding Jerusalem at that time, primarily because there were no guns to discuss. Jesus did however have some things to say about self defense. In today’s reading the Lord revoked some previous instructions that he had given his disciples concerning what they were to carry on their travels. In Luke 10 he had instructed them to only carry the bare necessities, no extra coats, shoes or even a wallet. He sent them through a period of leanness in order to teach them dependence.
“Did you lack anything?” He asked, of course their answer was no, where God guides, he provides. “But now…” they were to go ahead and pack a bag with a wallet and surprisingly he said to include a sword. A sword? Jesus told his disciples to pack a weapon? Yes he did! Why do you reckon they were to include a sword?
Hunting? A sword is not exactly a good choice for that. I heard a man brag about killing a bear with a pocket knife. I told my grandfather, “wow, he must be brave!” Papaw said the fella’s story was true, he just didn’t tell about how the bear had been shot a few times already and was already on the verge of death. I can assure you that hunting with a sword would be a more effective diet than Keto or Atkins! So, why did Jesus instruct them to carry a sword? It wasn’t to cut their food! Can you imagine pulling out a sword on that sirloin at the Roadhouse? Me either. A letter opener? Nah! I submit that the sword was for self defense.
Some say he didn’t mean the sword to be taken literally but if the purse and scrip were literal in this passage so why wouldn’t the sword be literal too? Later we will see that Peter will misuse his sword and Jesus will rebuke him but even then he is not told to get rid of the sword but only to put it away. There is a Biblical expectation for a man to defend his family and to stand up for the defenseless. Back then, it meant that you need a sword but today a sword may not do the job. I don’t intend on bringing a sword to a gun fight so I will keep a more effective means of defense!
What about the groans?
That was a few thoughts about guns but what about the groans? In this passage we see a more effective weapon used than a mere sword or riffle, it is the weapon of prayer. Our Lord is praying earnestly as he approaches his ultimate earthly mission, the cross. He wrestles with the suffering that lies ahead, submitting to the will of the Father. One part of the passage stood out to me this morning as I read is in verse 44, “And being in an agony he prayed more earnestly…”. That day in the garden we find Jesus groaning in agony and yet his prayers are growing in intensity, his prayers increased with his pain. Often in my difficult times I find myself tired and tempted to avoid prayer. Am I the only one that finds it harder to be spiritual in bad times? I bet not. Our Lord gave us a wonderful example that day in the garden, when it is hardest to pray, pray hardest!
The prayer of my Lord for the first time was denied that day, the cup of suffering did not pass! The Father said no to the son so that he could say yes to us! I can approach the throne of grace only because of this truth. You and I have access to the most effective defense and most powerful weapon this world has ever known because my Jesus took the cup of suffering on our behalf!