|Cherry-picked for your convenience!|
This keeps coming up, and rather than re-write the same argument over and over, I’m putting it here so I can more quickly reference.
This meme is making the rounds and while the Bible quote is correct, it is also cherry-picked completely out of context. Jesus explains his reasoning for buying swords in the next line, which, for some unfathomable reason, always gets left out. After ordering the purchase of the weapon, Jesus says:
"It is written: ‘And he was numbered with the transgressors’; and I tell you that this must be fulfilled in me. Yes, what is written about me is reaching its fulfillment."
And clearly, the swords were only procured for that reason, as they come back with just two. Two swords against a mob, let alone Roman soldiers, is a recipe for suicide and massacre. It’s clear, that’s not Jesus’ thinking at all, as when they show him the swords Jesus says, "That’s enough!” (Luke 22: 38) Meaning any weapons found among Jesus' inner circle would be enough to make an accusation against him so he could be taken and the process of his sacrifice could begin—which is exactly what happened.
But for those who remain unconvinced, there is the later incident when Peter actually draws one of the swords and strikes. Jesus sharply rebukes him, “Put up again thy sword into his place: for all they that take the sword shall perish with the sword.” Matthew 26:52
And that’s where we get that line from, which is in concert with Jesus’ previous sentiments throughout his ministry. Consider his Sermon on the Mount, and his explanation of the Beatitudes: “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.” (Matthew 5: 9). It has been pointed out that there is sometimes a peace that can only be found on the other side of war, but that’s clearly not at all what Jesus was talking about, and what Matthew was writing about. The rest of Matthew 5 is a message of non-violence, culminating in the oft quoted:
You have heard that it was said, ‘Eye for eye, and tooth for tooth.’ But I tell you, do not resist an evil person. If anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to them the other cheek also. Matthew 5: 38-39
And finally, lest we have any doubt whatsoever, Jesus addresses the entire concept of violence carried out by any of his apostles/disciples in the use of their “armament”:
Do you think I cannot call on my Father, and he will at once put at my disposal more than twelve legions of angels? But how then would the Scriptures be fulfilled that say it must happen in this way? Matthew 26: 53
Anyone who doubts that Jesus preached peace should probably review Matthew 5 in its entirety, “But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your Father in heaven.” Matthew 5: 44.