In light of the awful tragedy at First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs, Texas this past Sunday Christians everywhere must enter into a dialog with one another and with their pastors on the issue of self-defense. Ask what are the Christian principles that guide us when developing an operational plan to protect people from increasing violence against church congregations? Mainly heavily armed and armored crazies, with a penchant for shooting children like Devin Kelly.
An CBS article quoted a firearm instructor who is teaching pastors and congregational security teams how to properly respond to the threat of active shooters in the church.
“The scriptures make it clear that Jesus has issued a very quotable directive that we are to arm ourselves with the tools and machinery of lethal force,” said Geoff Peabody.
Peabody teaches gun safety courses free of charge to local church members, from ministers to their security teams. But the deadly mass shooting at a Texas church that claimed 26 lives is sparking interest from religious leaders across the country packing heat to protect their congregation.(CBS Sacramento)
He is absolutely correct when saying Jesus issued a directive instructing us to arm ourselves.
Supreme Doctrinal Authority
When discerning the foundational elements of doctrinal truth, the paragon of insight only comes to us in the red words of Jesus Christ. Jesus’ words themselves set a doctrinal standard that overrides the opinion of any commentary, doctor, priest, pastor, apostle, or prophet. Jesus as our Creator and Savior has an infinite view into the structure of all things that our finite minds will never be capable of seeing (Col 1:14-19).
So when Jesus makes a statement, or He acts in a certain way in scripture, know that as God, every interaction, every statement, every word uttered is a timeless truth. Layered like a matrix of spiritual insight and principle that can be rightly applied to people’s lives, both in His day as well as ours thousands of years later. The Bible is clear, Jesus is the Way the Truth and the Light (John 14:6), everything he says can be expanded upon as a natural law principle, that can guide the church in uncertain times.
Jesus’ Advice Arm Yourself
So what was Jesus’ advice during the most uncertain, most trying times He and His disciples faced during his ministry? He told them to arm themselves with swords. He did this hours before his arrest at the Mount of Olives. As recorded in Luke, Jesus tells the disciples that he was to be put to death in fulfillment of scripture, and that they must arm themselves. He stated,
Then said he unto them, But now, he that hath a purse, let him take it, and likewise hisscrip: and he that hath no sword, let him sell his garment, and buy one. Luke 22:36
Then two verses later He was shown two swords that his disciples carried and he said these were sufficient, presuming the swords were sufficient weapons for defensive combat.
And they said, Lord, behold, here are two swords. And he said unto them, It is sufficient. Luke 22:38
Jesus was preparing His disciples then and there for an upcoming potentially violent encounter with authorities, and in subsequent verses that is exactly what happened.
Now the fact that Jesus had His disciples arm themselves with illegal Roman weapons, just before he knowingly walked into an government ambush is crazy enough, but what is even more crazy is what Jesus did after this. He effectively neutralized the entire violent scene by simply declaring to everyone that He was indeed Jesus of Nazareth. Scripture records the armed guards and even Judas Himself being flung to the ground in recognition of the authority of Jesus that day.
Jesus therefore, knowing all things that should come upon him, went forth, and said unto them, Whom seek ye? They answered him, Jesus of Nazareth. Jesus saith unto them, I am he. And Judas also, which betrayed him, stood with them. As soon then as he had said unto them, I am he, they went backward, and fell to the ground. John 18:4-5
Many scholars gloss over this garden situation, thinking Jesus showed His weak human side here. No, this is a scene depicting the full majesty of Jesus as sovereign over all nations and peoples. Soldiers, Judas, and even priests were literally super-naturally caused to kneel at the foot of Christ in submission. Jesus was in control of everything that day.
Peter, always quick to act and slow to comprehend failed to grasp the fact that Jesus spared many lives that day by assuming control over the garden situation. He instead pulled out his sword and swung at a man close to him slicing off his ear. His thinking was I must defend Jesus, when in reality it failed to compute (Luke 22:49) that the guards were on the ground and Jesus didn’t need his help in the least. So he foolishly lashed out at prisoners who were captured by the voice of Jesus Christ. As we know Jesus healed the man Peter maimed, further demonstrating his control of the situation. Note, He didn’t tell Peter to discard the weapon only to put it up for now.
He then takes the opportunity to scold Peter and the party of arresting officers by giving a mini sermon admonishing them all saying He could call down angels from heaven to save Him, but that wouldn’t be God’s will (Matthew 26: 52-56). As a result he allowed the arresting soldiers to take Him. This scene is rife with both spiritual and natural law lessons for us all.
The lesson here is when Jesus told the disciples to get swords, it wasn’t to defend Him, no, it was to defend one another and themselves. He was telling everyone to protect their fellow brethren in Christ. He volunteered to go to the cross in fulfillment of God’s plan of redemption. The disciples on the other hand escaped that violent encounter only because Jesus intervened. Blood would most certainly have been spilled that day had He not commanded the soldiers to kneel. Jesus knew that after the cross, and after His resurrection the disciples wouldn’t have that benefit of his miraculous power to fall back on, they were instead instructed to preserve their lives in an effort to preach the Kingdom of God. Please Sign-up for our Newsletter and Like us on Facebook, for updates
This is a poignant demonstration by our Lord and Savior of His power over everything including governments. The sword was to be used as a defensive weapon, not an aggressive one as Peter found out via Jesus’ sharp rebuke. It can even be inferred that Jesus knowing all things armed His disciples for the sole reason of teaching them two lessons. One that he is sovereign over all, and as sovereign He would not leave His subjects defenseless amidst violence and tribulations.
Remember this truth when government politicians seek to take your guns and your ability to defend yourself, they are doing something that not even Jesus did with His own disciples. The only people in this life that seek to disarm you are your enemies. As stated above Jesus is the absolute authority when it comes to doctrinal Truth, Truth that we can live be knowing it sets us on the straight and narrow of God’s will in life. Anyone who argues differently in the case of self-defense does so in spite of Jesus’ directives to arm ourselves. The church has become a clear target for radicalized leftist elements in this country, to allow harm to befall the innocent lives because we ignored the directives given to us by Jesus ourselves would be considered a major moral failing.
I leave you with this heart-wrenching video of one of the victims recounts how he lost his daughter and two grandchildren during the shooting, and he states if only his daughter had a gun he knows she would of used it to defend his grandchildren.
Pastors, Christians, take note, it is time to arm ourselves this next Sunday and preach the Biblical principles of self-defense that Jesus taught and can also be found throughout scripture. Don’t leave you congregation in the same defenseless situation this church was in this Sunday.