Preparing for Battle
Jesus has just provided some very sobering instruction to His 12 apostles in the upper room at His last supper. He has told them He will be betrayed by one of His followers whom He has selected to for this position. He has even told them they in order to be great they must be servants of God and one another first. He has even taught them they are going to be honored and rewarded for their service to the Lord. Their mission is so important and has so much at stake that even Satan is looking to take them down and discourage them. Jesus tells them He will intercede for them just as He does for us today. He will not let them be discouraged. Even in times of trial and when we turn away from Jesus His offer of forgiveness always stands. His offer of forgiveness is their because we are failures and He is not. He is our perfect representative and He wants us to turn back to Him.
Jesus has been with them and as He has been with them He has watched over them He has protected His own and He has provided for them. The climax of His mission is about to take place, the earth is about to be shaken and they now need to get ready for a battle. So Jesus now is about to provide instructions for them concerning the fact that His time is just about up. What the Father has sent Him to do and what Jesus has planned since the beginning of time is about to be fulfilled. In this instruction Jesus provides for His apostles we will learn this morning that we need to be Prepared for Battle, we need to be Prepared for Battle.
Preparing for Battle
Preparing for Battle
We will find this lesson in Luke 22:35-38, Luke 22:35-38.
And He said to them, “When I sent you out without money belt and bag and sandals, you did not lack anything, did you?” They said, “No, nothing.” And He said to them, “But now, whoever has a money belt is to take it along, likewise also a bag, and whoever has no sword is to sell his coat and buy one. “For I tell you that this which is written must be fulfilled in Me, ‘AND HE WAS NUMBERED WITH TRANSGRESSORS’; for that which refers to Me has its fulfillment.” They said, “Lord, look, here are two swords.” And He said to them, “It is enough.”
Now remember Jesus has just told Peter that before this night ends he will deny Him. As Jesus begins to tell Peter about this we find there is something bigger than Peter and the other apostles going on. We see that Satan has asked to sift them like wheat. There is a Spiritual battle that is going on that they can't see and we can't see. This is the battle Jesus was His apostles to be prepared for now as we look at verse 35 we find Jesus asks His apostles a question. His question demands a negative response. Look at verse 35 with me. Luke writes, "And He said to them, " When I sent you out without money belt and bag and sandals, you did not lack anything, did you?" They said, "No, nothing."
Jesus is of course referring back to the time when He sent His apostles out in pairs to spread the message of the coming Kingdom. The apostles were given the power and ability to perform wonderful miracles and as they went about they were to be taken care of by the people in who's towns they would enter.
Why would Jesus posse this question His apostles, what was His point here. His point is to show them and us that their are Past Comforts
Jesus wants them to recall this wonderful lesson and He posses the question of, 'did you lack anything.' They of course remember this and it left an indelible mark and they responded to their Lord, 'No, nothing.' They didn't lack anything. They go into the towns and preach the coming of the Kingdom and heal people and cast out demons and perform incredible miracles and those who heard it were amazed at what God was doing in and through these men. These men were amazed also.
Jesus sent out the men twice. The first time was in Luke 9:3-6 and they return in 9:10. The second time they go out is when Jesus sends out the 70 in Luke 10:1-17 which there is no reason to think the 12 weren't a part of this event. Jesus wants His apostles to recall the event. In it they never went without. They would enter homes and they would eat what was provided and the people they went to minister to would welcome them in.
These men of course didn't go alone and the reason they didn't go without and the reason for the comfort in their mission had nothing to do with their charming personalities. Look with me at the Luke 9:1
And He called the twelve together, and gave them power and authority over all the demons and to heal diseases.
Do you see that the apostles were given the power and authority over all demons and to heal diseases. The power to do the things they did came from the One who gives Jesus power and authority, it is the Holy Spirit. These men were not alone and as they were going through the towns preaching the Kingdom of God being at Hand they were given the Holy Spirit so the Holy Spirit could minister through them to the people. In and of themselves they had no power to do anything. It was the Holy Spirit who gave them the ability.
The Holy Spirit gave them the power and authority over the demons because guess what the demons are not going to listen to you. They are going to listen to Satan their prince and they will listen to God. So the apostles need His help to get through this incredible ministry. These men recognized that something amazing happened and it was uplifting. At the culmination of this event the apostles return and look at the emotion they felt in Luke 10:17.
The seventy returned with joy, saying, “Lord, even the demons are subject to us in Your name.”
They had joy. As they went through the streets preaching the coming kingdom they saw miraculous results in the power and the authority they were granted by Jesus. Not only were they granted these powers by the Holy Spirit but the Holy Spirit provided for them and made sure they didn't have a need of anything. The Holy Spirit was working in a mighty way and the people were amazed at the work of the Spirit. While the apostles went about teaching and proclaiming the coming kingdom the people were enamored by it. There was such a stir at these miracles that people were receptive to the message.
Jesus wanted His apostles to find comfort in this event, these two events when they ministered for Him and they were received with gratitude and honor. They can be encouraged that when they went out the people welcomed them and they saw the work of the Holy Spirit transforming hearts, bodies and lives. It is so crucial they look to this past event because as they went out they were well taken care of. It was a picture of God's provision no doubt but something else was happening which will change dramatically in the next few hours.
These men are about to walk out of the upper room and make their way to the Garden of Gethsemane where Jesus will spend three hours pouring out His heart to the Father and at the end of His time in communion with the Father He will be betrayed by one of His own. The peaceful interaction Jesus displays in His earthly ministry is about to come to an end. See Jesus has rubbed the religious leaders of the day the wrong way. He has called them out time, after time, after time and they have become very angry, jealous and hostile toward Him but all in all Jesus' time on earth was marked with peace.
Even though He faced opposition their was some peaceful interaction and He was provided for in the ministry. Jesus wants His apostles to remember the times they were provided for because the memory of these past times of comfort are very important and can act as an encouragement for them when in the next few hours that will look so bleak and dreadful.
Jesus moves from having them recall past comfort to preparing for Imminent Conflict.
Verse 36 we find Jesus providing some more instruction, 36 And He said to them, "But now, whoever has a money belt is to take it along, likewise also a bag, and whoever has no sword is to sell his coat and buy one." Jesus wants His disciples to be prepared because the peaceful times of Jesus' ministry are coming to an end and not only are they coming to an end but it will be a violent end. It will come about in the next few hours and the apostles are going to be up for a serious battle very soon. So Jesus wants them to prepare for this battle.
The thing is this battle that is raging it seems as though it is a physical battle. Jesus tells them to take a money belt and a bag and for those who don't have a sword to buy his coat which is used to keep them warm at night to buy a sword. For those of us who take the Bible Literally this seem like a strange instruction but here is the thing when you take into account the context of this passage and what Jesus has been talking about along with the markings of His earthly ministry being peaceful and even if you read through the book of Acts and see how the apostles didn't put up a fight you should understand quite clearly Jesus is not being literal here but is using this as a metaphor for be prepared for a very severe spiritual battle.
Look Jesus just told Peter Satan has asked to sift you like wheat. So you know Satan is against them. When they went out to preach the coming Kingdom they were given authority to cast our demons and heal people. Their fight is not against the rulers of the world but the real battle is going to be spiritual. They need to be prepared for it and Jesus is telling them it is about to get harder.
There are two kinds of swords there is the large broad sword that is heavy and need two hands to hold and fight with. This sword is the smaller type of sword. It was light enough to use one hand with so you could have a shield in the other. It is for closer defense and fighting. Jesus wants His apostles to be on the defensive of the attacks that are about to happen and He wants them to keep up the fight.
The use of the lighter sword is significant as opposed to the broad sword. The broad sword is heavy and it is used as a slashing sword as you going into battle you can swing it back and forth and take out as many people as possible. The sword Jesus is talking about here is one for much closer combat it is one where you would have to trust like a dagger at someone. They idea of course is the fight is going to be very tight and you will have to be on the offensive and defensive.
There will be battles that arise, there will be fights and they will be persecuted, thrown in Jail, beaten, whipped, mocked, loose close friends and family, brought before religious leaders and Gentile Kings. Their are going to have to be on the defensive but at the same time be on the offensive with the gospel. All of these things will happen to break their spirit and to cause them to walk away from the faith. Jesus wants them to know it will not be easy but remember how you were provided for and what the Holy Spirit did and keep on fighting.
Paul understands this all to well. He knows he is fighting a spiritual battle not a physical one. He may be receiving physical abuse, he may be suffering in the flesh but it is not for the flesh that he fights it is for the spiritual wellbeing of those he gives the gospel to. Paul tells the Ephesian church to put on the full armor of God and he tells them this in Ephesians 6:12-17.
For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places. Therefore, take up the full armor of God, so that you will be able to resist in the evil day, and having done everything, to stand firm. Stand firm therefore, HAVING GIRDED YOUR LOINS WITH TRUTH, and HAVING PUT ON THE BREASTPLATE OF RIGHTEOUSNESS, and having shod YOUR FEET WITH THE PREPARATION OF THE GOSPEL OF PEACE; in addition to all, taking up the shield of faith with which you will be able to extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. And take THE HELMET OF SALVATION, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.
He also encourages Timothy repeatedly by telling him to keep fighting. We see this in 1 Timothy 1:18-19.
This command I entrust to you, Timothy, my son, in accordance with the prophecies previously made concerning you, that by them you fight the good fight, keeping faith and a good conscience, which some have rejected and suffered shipwreck in regard to their faith.
Than again in 1 Timothy 6:12
Fight the good fight of faith; take hold of the eternal life to which you were called, and you made the good confession in the presence of many witnesses.
Look at 2 Timothy 2:3-4
Suffer hardship with me, as a good soldier of Christ Jesus. No soldier in active service entangles himself in the affairs of everyday life, so that he may please the one who enlisted him as a soldier.
And Paul ends this encouraging word with this in 2 Timothy 4:7-8
I have fought the good fight, I have finished the course, I have kept the faith; in the future there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day; and not only to me, but also to all who have loved His appearing.
It was not an easy fight for the apostles and it will not be an easy fight for us. And I think for many of us it has been an easy fight. We live in a country that was founded on the basis of being able to worship and serve the Lord. Although it hasn't always been easy we don't have the same kind of issues as many other country such as most Arab nations and Communist countries where they dictate what people are to believe and not believe. In terms of persecution this country has not really faced it and if you take a survey of most church I know for certain you will find that they have become very complaisant. You will find on their Websites how their churches are fun and exciting and inviting. They will help you with your felt needs but they will never give you what you really need. A good dose of the Bible so you can learn to fight the good fight of your faith. They will never prepare you in knowing God and Jesus Christ or the Holy Spirit in the way that matters. They will never give you the sword, The Bible, and you will never learn how to deal with true persecution when it all sets in. If this country ever faces the kind of persecution that happens in other countries you will see who are the real Christians and who aren't. The church that stay standing are the ones who are complaisant and the ones that fall or go underground are the ones who have taken up the sword.
So Jesus encourages His apostles by reminding them of Past Comfort, He then proceeds to tell them to be prepared for Imminent Conflict. Now He lets them know the His Mission is about to end, He tells them about the Mission Completion.
We see this in verses 37 and 38. He continues in verse 37 and says to them, "For I tell you that this which is written must be fulfilled in Me, 'AND HE WAS NUMBERED WITH TRANSGRESSORS'; for that which refers to Me has its fulfillment." Jesus quotes Isaiah and in this quote of the text Jesus is making it clear to His apostles and to us He will suffer.
Therefore, I will allot Him a portion with the great, And He will divide the booty with the strong; Because He poured out Himself to death, And was numbered with the transgressors; Yet He Himself bore the sin of many, And interceded for the transgressors.
He will die with sinners, robbers, thieves. It is going to happen it has been foretold and as we will see next week there was no other way for this to happen. He had to suffer and die. An innocent man had to die for the guilty. Jesus did nothing wrong but He still died for the sake of all mankind. He died to reconcile man to God. To fix a broken relationship. Paul understood this look at what He wrote to the Corinthian church. He says this in 2 Corinthians 5:20-21.
Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were making an appeal through us; we beg you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.
Paul also says this to the Roman church when he talks about righteousness being imputed or being ascribed to us, given to us. Look with me at Romans 4:22-25
Therefore IT WAS ALSO CREDITED TO HIM AS RIGHTEOUSNESS. Now not for his sake only was it written that it was credited to him, but for our sake also, to whom it will be credited, as those who believe in Him who raised Jesus our Lord from the dead, He who was delivered over because of our transgressions, and was raised because of our justification.
Jesus suffered and died to pay for the sins of all mankind and in His death He paid the penalty and in His resurrection He made man just before God. Here Jesus is telling His apostles He will suffer, the hostility that has been boiling up in the religious leaders toward Him is about to boil over and they are going to try Him in a kangaroo court accusing Him of crimes He did not commit and inciting the crowds to have Him hung those who listened to His teaching and followed Him for the past three years possibly even those who were healed by Him to call for His execution. Jesus is warning them this is going to happen and when it happens there will be suffering that will come upon them as well. This is the reason why He wants them to be prepared for the Spiritual Battle that lies ahead.
The problem is these men don't have their mind set on the Spiritual but on the physical. They hear Jesus talk about getting swords and they are still so focused on the physical Kingdom He they believe He will usher in at this very moment. They hear Him talking about being betrayed and how He will be numbered with transgressor so they think it is time to have a physical fight. The war is on and they look around and they see two swords.
Verse 38, "They said, Lord, look, here are two swords." They completely misunderstand what Jesus is telling them. They are so focused on the physical they don't even see the spiritual. They are ready to fight alongside Jesus but they are not ready to fight in the same way Jesus fights. Not yet in way. Remember the only reason they were able to go out and be provided for and teach people about the coming Kingdom is because Jesus had given them power and authority to do so. It was the Holy Spirit who revealed that to them and did the work in and through them. The Holy Spirit is the only one who can open their eyes even now to what Jesus is saying because only the Spirit can show us Spiritual things. The Spirit will do this in a might way in Acts 2 but right now they aren't ready. Their focus is only on the physical.
Jesus than turns and tell them at the end of verse 38, "It is enough." Jesus is not telling them two swords are enough. Although since it is a spiritual battle two physical swords are more than plenty. No what Jesus is actually doing here is telling them the conversation is over. He notices they aren't getting what He is saying and He knows the time is coming for Him to be betrayed so He puts an end to the conversation. Its enough talk lets go.
Jesus knows that in time they will understand but the time has come for Him to go and compete the Mission He has come to complete. It is time for Him to go to the cross and die. So in His shed blood He can wash away the sins of the world. Than on the day of Pentecost the Holy Spirit, the Comforter will come down on these men and give them total recall of what Jesus has taught and He will seal them for all eternity to be with Jesus in Heaven, worshiping Him and the Father for who they are and what they have done and do for all mankind. The Holy Spirit gives us the strength and provides for us what we need to fight the spiritual battle and a good reminder to fight for the souls of others and to share the gospel in the midst of persecution is the truth of how Jesus suffered a gruesome death so we can have freedom in Him.