And suddenly, one of those who were with Jesus stretched out his hand and drew his sword, struck the servant of the high priest, and cut off his ear. But Jesus said to him, "Put your sword in its place, for all who take the sword will perish by the sword. Or do you think that I cannot now pray to My Father, and He will provide Me with more than twelve legions of angels? – Matthew 26.51-53
The end is coming. The soldiers have come to arrest Jesus and when Judas identified Jesus the soldiers came for Him.
Peter, in a very Peter-like manner, grabbed a sword, jumped up, and cut off a servant’s ear. Jesus put the man’s ear back on and said ‘put your sword away. Those who live by the sword will die by the sword.’ Previously Jesus had told the disciples to but a sword. When they said they had two to them Jesus said ‘that is enough.’
But now, when Peter uses a sword, Jesus says ‘put it away.’ He says that once people start depending on swords that becomes a way of life and that swords are going to point both ways. And anyway, Jesus could have called a legion of angles to protect Him if He wanted.
Jesus sort of settled the question of an armed church from the very start. That’s why we have never seen a Christian army using carnal weapons to accomplish its goals. God’s church survives when we respond to opposition with love.
I love the way the Getty song ‘O Church Arise’ words it:
Our call to war, to love the captive soul,
But to rage against the captor;
And with the sword that makes the wounded whole,
We will fight with faith and valor.
When faced with trials on every side,
We know the outcome is secure.
And Christ will have the prize for which He died:
An inheritance of nations.
Put the sword away. Pick up the sword of the spirit and respond to the enemy with love.