Perish by the Sword
But Jesus said to him, “Put your sword in its place, for all who take the sword will perish by the sword.”
After celebrating the New Testament Passover with His disciples, Jesus continued teaching them and fulfilling the prophecies about His final day. He reminded them that when He had sent them out before without money bags or knapsacks, they had still lacked nothing (Luke 22:35). God had provided for them.
But He had different instructions for the difficult time ahead:
“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. For I say to you that this which is written must still be accomplished in Me: ‘And He was numbered with the transgressors.’ For the things concerning Me have an end” (Luke 22:36-37; quoting from Isaiah 53:12).
To fulfill Isaiah’s prophecy, Jesus had to suffer as if He were a criminal. The disciples did not fully understand, but told Jesus they had two swords among them, and He replied, “It is enough” (Luke 22:38). Jesus was not intending for them to fight off the soldiers or even to use the swords—they were more to be props in the tragedy playing out that night.
But impetuous Peter, “having a sword, drew it and struck the high priest’s servant, and cut off his right ear. The servant’s name was Malchus” (John 18:10). Jesus told Peter to put his sword away, and He healed the servant’s ear (John 18:11; Luke 22:51).
Even in the midst of this terrible moment, Jesus continued His teaching. He didn’t want His followers to take the sword or perish by the sword.
He did not need them to fight for Him: “Or do you think that I cannot now pray to My Father, and He will provide Me with more than twelve legions of angels? How then could the Scriptures be fulfilled, that it must happen thus?” (Matthew 26:53-54).
For more about Jesus Christ, see the section on “Who Is Jesus?” For more about prophecies of Jesus’ first coming, see “Fulfilled Prophecy Is Evidence of God’s Existence.”