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The Snag of The Sword

An Exegetical Study of Luke 22:35-38


Thomas Kattathara

Lk 22:35-38 is peculiar because it is never proclaimed except on Palm Sunday in the Year C. Although it is a pragmatic instruction on mission, it puzzles us like the Apostles in the Upper Room. The Lord shortly before his arrest, asserting the importance of the teaching, mandates preparedness for mission in the post-resurrectional period of the Church. The shepherd must be prepared to defend the sheep under his/her care, even to the extent of being called «lawless» according to world standards. Lk 22:35-38 thus in no way contradicts the prior mission training sendings, rather endows the missionary with greater strategic responsibility and commitment in pastoral care. The book highlights the contextual, hermeneutical, and theological dimensions in the final teaching of Jesus in the Lukan narration.
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Chapter Three. Conundrum and Snag of the Sword in the Scene of Jesus’ Arrest (Mt 26:51–54; Mk 14: 45–47; Lk 22:49–51; Jn 18:10–11)


Chapter Three Conundrum and Snag of the Sword in theScene of Jesus’ Arrest (Mt 26:51–54; Mk 14: 45–47; Lk 22:49–51; Jn 18:10–11)

The puzzle and the inconvenience caused by the appearance and the use of the sword in the garden108 where Jesus is arrested, are not easily explainable. The puzzle is further complicated by the fact that all the Evangelists narrate the scene of the arrest and place the sword in the possession of seemingly different persons among the followers of Jesus. Only John identifies the person as Peter, who was in possession of the sword and who used it in a futile attempt to rescue Jesus from his enemies. This chapter tries to understand the literal use of the sword in all the four accounts in the Gospels, in the context of the arrest of Jesus.

In spite of the emphasis of Jesus on love and non-violence, how were the disciples found possessing weapons? Although the disciples were in possession of swords (Lk 22:38b), what prompted Jesus to ignore this fact which would contradict his purpose? The situation was complicated by the fact that till the end of his teaching ministry, his closest quarter failed to understand the teaching of Jesus. We attempt to understand the puzzle of the sword and the complicated situation of its use at the scene of Jesus’ arrest recorded by all the Evangelists.

Was it customary for the Jews of...

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