The enigmatic “two swords” passage of Luke 22:35-38 that famously features Jesus’ command to the disciples, “the one who has no sword must sell his cloak and buy one” (22:35), has long plagued biblical interpreters. Scholars have attempted to explain this passage in many ways. Some have suggested that Jesus was speaking figuratively, not speaking of buying literal swords, but alluding to the future persecution of the disciples. Some suggest Jesus was preparing them to take up swords to defend themselves after his departure, preparing them for bandits along the way. Along these lines, still others suggest Jesus was referring more generally to the time of trial to come after his resurrection. This passage has even featured prominently in modern debates regarding Christian positions on guns and violence, some evangelical voices going as far to suggest that Jesus by implication encourages the right to brandish and use fire arms. As such, this text has factored into discussion of Christian ethics. In this episode David Burnett returns to the podcast and offers a new approach, one that reframes the passage through a careful treatment of the text within its wider narrative context and Luke’s use of scripture.
David A. Burnett- SBL Lk 22.35-38 Handout