Matthew 26:52 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

Matthew 26:52, NIV: Put your sword back in its place,' Jesus said to him, 'for all who draw the sword will die by the sword.

Matthew 26:52, ESV: Then Jesus said to him, “Put your sword back into its place. For all who take the sword will perish by the sword.

Matthew 26:52, KJV: Then said Jesus unto him, Put up again thy sword into his place: for all they that take the sword shall perish with the sword.

Matthew 26:52, NASB: Then Jesus *said to him, 'Put your sword back into its place; for all those who take up the sword will perish by the sword.

Matthew 26:52, NLT: 'Put away your sword,' Jesus told him. 'Those who use the sword will die by the sword.

Matthew 26:52, CSB: Then Jesus told him, "Put your sword back in its place because all who take up the sword will perish by the sword.

What does Matthew 26:52 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

Matthew does not name the disciple who jumped in to defend Jesus from the crowd that had come to arrest him. John, though, lets us know that disciple was Peter (John 18:10). Peter may have thought the moment of truth Jesus warned him about had come. Jesus told the disciples they would all abandon Him and told Peter that he would deny Jesus three times before morning (Matthew 26:30–35). Peter likely wanted to show Jesus that he was not afraid to die defending him right then and there. So, Peter drew the sword he brought with him (Luke 22:38) and swung it, cutting off the right ear of a servant (Luke 22:50). Peter is not a trained warrior, and some commentors suspect he was really aiming for Judas.

Jesus is not interested in an armed conflict in this moment. According to Luke, Christ immediately heals the servant's ear (Luke 22:51). Jesus rebukes Peter for trying to use violence to stop what is meant by God to happen in this moment.

Some have pointed to Jesus' words here as a reason to never take up arms in conflict. That is reading too much into this event. He does not tell Peter to throw the sword away, but to put it back into its sheath. We know from John's account that Jesus told his arresters to let His disciples go (John 18:8). In that context, Jesus seems likely to mean that He does not wish for Peter to die by the sword tonight in a foolish attempt to save Him. Christ, Himself, does not need to be protected by an earthly sword (John 18:36).

Jesus will go on to say that He does not need to be defended from what is happening because, ultimately, this is the reason He has come (Matthew 26:53).