What does Luke 22:36 mean?
ESV: He said to them, “But now let the one who has a moneybag take it, and likewise a knapsack. And let the one who has no sword sell his cloak and buy one.
NIV: He said to them, 'But now if you have a purse, take it, and also a bag; and if you don't have a sword, sell your cloak and buy one.
NASB: And He said to them, 'But now, whoever has a money belt is to take it along, likewise also a bag, and whoever has no sword is to sell his cloak and buy one.
CSB: Then he said to them, "But now, whoever has a money-bag should take it, and also a traveling bag. And whoever doesn't have a sword should sell his robe and buy one.
NLT: But now,' he said, 'take your money and a traveler’s bag. And if you don’t have a sword, sell your cloak and buy one!
KJV: Then said he unto them, But now, he that hath a purse, let him take it, and likewise his scrip: and he that hath no sword, let him sell his garment, and buy one.
NKJV: Then He said to them, “But now, he who has a money bag, let him take it, and likewise a knapsack; and he who has no sword, let him sell his garment and buy one.
Verse Commentary:
Jesus is updating His instructions for the disciples' future travel. In the past, He told them to take only absolute essentials; those with whom they shared the gospel would provide what they needed (Luke 9:1–6; 10:1–12). Before, they weren't supposed to take an extra tunic or pair of sandals or a bag, but now they are. They will be going through places that will not be as hospitable as they are used to.

Paul certainly experienced this. He strongly insisted that church leaders should be financially compensated by those to whom they minister (1 Timothy 5:17–18). Yet he also recognized that financial concerns sometimes got in the way of ministry. When he arrived—alone—in Corinth, he realized that the people needed his teaching more than the discipline of supporting him. He found the tentmakers Aquila and Priscilla and worked with them to support his needs. Once Timothy and Silas arrived, they found work so Paul could concentrate on preaching (Acts 18:1–5).

Luke is the only gospel writer to include this section and the only one to comment on the swords. Literary analysis sees this as an example of the "Chekhov's gun" principle. This means that if an item—such as a gun or sword—is specifically mentioned in an early part of a story, it must reappear before the end. Luke is foreshadowing the sword that Peter will later use to slice off the ear of the high priest's servant (Luke 22:49–51; John 18:10–11).

Scholars debate over why Jesus tells them to bring a sword. Some say it's for protection from the bandits they'll meet on the road. Jesus later condemns Peter's inappropriate use of the sword. Notably, reaction to violence against the early church is largely passive (Acts 4:25–31; 8:1–3; 9:1–2; 12:1–5). Others say this is a metaphor for the Word of God (Hebrews 4:12–13) or for readiness to face a hostile world. It's possible that when the Sanhedrin tells Pilate that Jesus is leading an insurrection, they're noting that His followers carry swords and attacked a servant (Luke 22:49–50; 23:5).
Verse Context:
Luke 22:35–38 contains material unique to this gospel. Jesus updates the instructions He gave in Luke 9:1–6 and 10:1–12. As before, the disciples will travel, spreading the message of the kingdom of God. But they can no longer rely on the kindness of strangers as they build the church (Acts 1:8). Theologians and Bible scholars are typically more concerned about what Jesus means about taking swords. Next, Jesus leads the disciples to the Mount of Olives where He will pray before Judas returns with the soldiers to arrest Him (Luke 22:39–53).
Chapter Summary:
Luke 22 is a long chapter which records events leading to Jesus' political trials and crucifixion. He has successfully taught crowds at the temple and proved His authority over the religious leaders (Luke 19:47—20). Meanwhile the leaders have spent the week planning to arrest Jesus and have Him killed (Luke 19:47–48). This chapter records the Last Supper, the arrest on the Mount of Olives, and the trials before the Jewish religious leaders. Matthew 26, Mark 14, and John 18 cover much of the same information.
Chapter Context:
Luke 23 continues Jesus' trials before Pilate and Herod Antipas. He is then led to the cross where He forgives His murderers and saves a thief before He dies. In Luke 24, Jesus rises from the dead, meets two disciples while they travel, and explains to them how the Old Testament prophesied the death of the Messiah. In the final scene of the gospel, Jesus is reunited with His disciples, blesses them, and ascends into heaven.
Book Summary:
Luke was a traveling companion of Paul (Acts 16:10) and a physician (Colossians 4:14). Unlike Matthew, Mark, and John, Luke writes his gospel as an historian, rather than as a first-hand eyewitness. His extensive writings also include the book of Acts (Acts 1:1–3). These are deliberately organized, carefully researched accounts of those events. The gospel of Luke focuses on the earthly ministry of Jesus Christ. Luke's Gentile perspective presents Christ as a Savior for all people, offering both forgiveness and direction to those who follow Him.
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