THE DECISION IS YOURS
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.
Why would Jesus tell his disciples to sell their cloaks, an important piece of clothing, to buy a weapon? I believe that this verse gets overlooked far too many times. Too many Christians have been told that Christ followers need to be “nice.” Somehow, I do not find that in the Bible. Do we need to be understanding? Yes, but there comes a time when we reach a bridge that requires us to take measures that the culture perceives as “not nice.” When Jesus first sends his disciples out into the world he first empowers them with the Spirit of God and he tells them to take nothiing, but basically not to waste their time with those who are not interrested in God's message (Luke 9:1-9). Now contrast this to the time when Jesus is about to be taken away from the disciples and he tells them to be prepared with a weapon and a means of survival. Is this for offense or defense purposes? It could be both, but I believe that it was most likely for defense because things were about to get very rough and their lives would now be in mortal danger. Jesus warns his disciples that “the ruler of this world” was coming (John 14:30). On the other hand, we are told that our offensive weapon is the sword of Truth (Heb. 4:12).
The disciples were not called to hide while expecting God to take care of things to reclaim the world for us. On the contrary, they were told to go out into the world and take back this world from the enemy (even though Jesus did win the War it is up to people to participate in the battles that are being waged all around us). We can all make excuses for not getting involved in our local government, whether it is the City Council or local School Board. Stepping out was most certainly not convenient for the first disciples. Their families had to accept their resolve and choose to hold down the fort, or they had to cut ties.
The disciples were by no means popular with the Jewish establishment, in fact they were seen as troublemakers and heretics. There is no question that their families were socially challenged as we saw was the case with Jesus and his family when they tried to take him back home (Matt. 12:46-50) or when we see his brothers taunting him because they believed him to be a “conspiracy theorist” and a joke (John 7:3-5). The disciples were challenging the political norms in their communities which meant that they consciously went out into the community to tell people about God’s way by pointing them to the real Messiah. They were keenly aware of the current Jewish and Roman political structure, and they knew exactly where to go to make headway. They were not disengaged citizens, neither should we be disengaged from our society.
Paul’s assignment was more like ours is in our day. He was called to challenge the establishment of the Gentiles (the Roman Empire), those who had no clue who the God of Israel was. God knew that this mission would be very challenging because the people were steeped in other forms of worship and Jesus would be seen as an add-on deity much like he is in our culture (Acts 9:15-16). The morals of the Roman Empire rivaled those of the twenty first century westernized cultures, only our depravity is much worse because it has become a forceful and militant movement that is directly and intentionally opposed to the things of God. How did this happen on this side of the cross? We are where we are today, because many professing Christians allowed themselves to be lulled to sleep by their misguided religious leaders into accepting the lies of the enemy while rejecting the inerrancy of Scripture. Still other groups of professing Christians were more afraid of becoming unpopular in their social spheres, too scared to speak up, or too “busy” to get involved as they watched society and any existing godly moral values implode as the enemy conquered territory that was once held by God’s people.
We all have a choice, we can either be an instrument of God the Almighty and trust in Him while taking back territory, or we can hide and do nothing and be used as a tool for the devil (the prince of the air, Eph. 2:2). The decision is ours to make while we can still exercise our God given gift of freewill (because that is at stake as well).
What will you choose?