John P. Meier on Luke 22.35-38

In the second volume of his Marginal Jew series, John P. Meier offers his interpretation of Luke 22.35-38, a passage I’ve discussed in both of my last two posts (here and here):

In Luke 22:35–38 Jesus contrasts the relatively peaceful and protected time the disciples enjoyed during his public ministry with the crisis of fierce opposition that is about to break in both upon himself and upon them. Speaking metaphorically, Jesus enjoins the disciples to take special care and watch out for themselves: “But now let him who has a purse carry it, and likewise his traveling bag. And let him who does not have one sell his cloak and buy a sword” (22:36). As usual, the disciples fail to grasp Jesus’ metaphorical speech. Taking his words literally, they confidently display their weapons: “Lord, behold, here are two swords.” Jesus shows his disdain for their misunderstanding with a curt: “Enough of that!” (v 38, hikanon estin). Both the disciples’ misguided trust in weapons and Jesus’ peremptory rejection of such means of protection are replayed at the arrest in 22:49–51. One of the swords displayed at the Last Supper is zealously and foolishly put to use, and Jesus immediately commands an end to such futile attempts at defense. (2.716)

I suppose fundamentalists could argue that they’re in good company when it comes to taking Jesus literally when he was actually speaking figuratively, thereby misunderstanding what he had to say: even his closest disciples did it!

But, as Jesus would say, “Enough of that!”

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2 Responses to John P. Meier on Luke 22.35-38

  1. crystal says:

    I like the new look of the blog 🙂

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