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Can you explain why the Lord says to His disciples in Luke 22.36, "He that hath no sword, let him sell his garment and buy one". It seems so contrary to the Lord’s previous teaching to them.

We need to look at the previous verse to understand the Lord’s words here. He indicates in v.35 that His disciples had learned the lesson of dependence in that they went forth to serve Him without the need of relying on purse, scrip, or shoes. The point is they lacked nothing, because they depended entirely on Him. "But now" the Saviour shows conditions were to change. When He sent them forth in Matthew 10 and Luke 9 they really wanted for nothing in His service, but soon they were to deny Him and forsake Him and move in independence of Him and they would pursue a natural course without Him, relying on the purse and the sword, the symbols of human power.

As to their dependence on Him in this they would fail, but also as to their defence of Him they would fail too. The Lord needed no carnal weapon to protect Him. The Lord’s words to them in v.36 are really a test. "He that hath a purse, let him take it", says the Lord. Will they learn the lesson of dependence? Then He says, "He that hath no sword, let him sell his garment, and buy one". The Saviour cannot be exhorting them to take up arms to defend Him or to be involved in aggression. Yet he says, "Buy a sword". How could the Lord who was meek and lowly of heart say, "Buy a sword"? What was the lesson the Lord was teaching them? It was simply this that He needed not their defence, for the Scriptures concerning Him must be fulfilled (v.37). Had His disciples learned this lesson? Sadly no, for note their reply: "Lord here are two swords". "It is enough", says the Lord (v.39). He said this with sadness, not implying that two swords would be sufficient among eleven men to defend Him, but, "It is enough, for I can see you do not understand my meaning, and I shall say no more now". Peter in the garden drew His sword to defend His Lord, but the other sword remained undrawn. Perhaps its owner in keeping his control remembered the Lord’s words!

John J Stubbs

When Adam and Eve sinned, it is recorded that they were naked (Gen 2.25). Before that, what covered them? Was it a certain glory that enveloped them?

There appears to be some misunderstanding on the part of the questioner. Before the fall recorded in Genesis ch.3, we are told concerning Adam and the woman which the Lord God had made (or builded), "And they were both naked, the man and his wife, and were not ashamed" (Gen 2.25). Thus they felt perfectly natural with each other; there was complete ease between them. Indeed, any sense of shame or embarrassment would have been entirely unnatural in their state of innocency. This is the only, and therefore the last, reference to nakedness in the Word of God without its being associated with shame and contempt.

How different does the record become after the woman and her husband had taken and eaten of the forbidden fruit! "And the eyes of them both were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together, and made themselves aprons" (Gen 3.7). The serpent had promised Eve that they would acquire knowledge: "your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods (or God – Elohim), knowing good and evil" (Gen 3.5). The immediate knowledge they acquired was that of their own nakedness; they realised what they had done and an awful sense of shame came over them.

The discovery of their nakedness was immediately followed by their own efforts to cover it, "they sewed fig leaves together, and made themselves aprons" (Gen 3.7). This is, of course, the first record we have of man’s attempt to remedy his fallen condition by his own device. Even to this day men seek to cover up their perceived deficiencies by their own efforts. However, the "filthy rags" of our own self-made "righteousnesses" (Is 64.6) will not make us fit to stand in the presence of God. The fact that they found it necessary to hide "themselves from the presence of the Lord God amongst the trees of the garden" (Gen 3.8) demonstrated that such aprons would hardly suffice to hide the guilt of their disobedience to God.

It has been well said that "Tolerated public nakedness is...a sign of deep-seated decadence in any society". There is no road back as naturists suppose. However, God’s way is forward; we are waiting for "the redemption of our body" (Rom 8.23). When love is perfected we shall not return to Eden conditions but we shall be clothed upon with glory (2 Cor 5.4).

David E West


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