Thousands marched from the Capitol to the Washington Monument in Washington, D.C., on Saturday, January 26, to rally for gun control. Many carried signs with a variety of sayings including "Gun Control Now," and "What Would Jesus Pack?" That is an interesting question. If Jesus lived today, would he own a gun?
Several churches sponsored the march
Gun control is an issue that divides the country. The march that took place on Saturday was organized by members of the local Arena Stage and co-sponsored by the Washington National Cathedral, and several other churches, along with the group One Million Moms for Gun Control. With so many churches represented the first inclination would be to say, "Jesus would not own a gun," but that conclusion is not necessarily based on Scripture.
Jesus disciples expected to carry a sword
As Jesus neared the end of his life on earth, he gave specific instructions to his disciples. They were to be prepared. On the night he was betrayed, just before Judas arrived, he told his disciples things were about to change.
"And He said to them, “When I sent you out without money belt and bag and sandals, you did not lack anything, did you?” They said, “No, nothing.” 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 coat and buy one. For I tell you that this which is written must be fulfilled in Me, ‘And He was numbered with transgressors’; for that which refers to Me has its fulfillment.” They said, “Lord, look, here are two swords.” And He said to them, “It is enough.” – (Luke 22: 35-39 NASB)
The words "But now" indicate a transition. Things were changing. They didn't have guns then, but Jesus did expect them to have and carry swords, because he foresaw a time when they would need them. He knew he was about to be betrayed, arrested, and killed, and the lives of the disciples would be changed. Of the eleven disciples they had two swords. That's a ratio of almost 1:5.
Purpose of the sword
In New Testament times swords had a variety of purposes but Jesus was warning his followers that things were changing. The following day he would be crucified and the disciples would be living in a hostile world. From this point on they would have to provide for their support and supplies, and they would have to protect themselves. He even said that if they didn't have a sword to sell their cloak or robe to buy one. He wasn't saying get a sword to advance the Gospel, it was for defense. This can be seen in verse 49.
When those around Him saw what was going to happen, they asked, “Lord, should we strike with the sword?” Then one of them struck the high priest’s slave and cut off his right ear.
But Jesus responded, “No more of this!” And touching his ear, He healed him. (Luke 22:49-51 HCSB)
In the parallel passage found in Matthew 26, Jesus warns his disciples to put their sword away, "…because all who take up a sword will perish by a sword." He knew it was his time and allowed himself to be arrested and killed to fulfill the Scriptures.
Today we still live in the hostile world Jesus warned about. After violent tragedies like the Sandy Hook shootings, it is understandable why some people want gun control. It is also understandable why some people don't want it. Murder is against God's Word, self-defense is not. The problem is not the gun, but is found in the heart. Jesus came to change hearts, and that's the real answer.