Jesus and Gun Rights
Big guns, small guns, machine guns, long guns, future guns, etc. Rightful ownership of firearms are a hot topic in America. We conceal carry to protect ourselves and our families. But would Jesus need protection? His ministry was unconventional and there were many times where He preached to the point of hostility towards the Pharisees. To find out whether or not he would, we have to understand God, and properly interpret some Biblical passages. Let’s take a look at some key components.
Is God proactive or reactive? Both scenarios yield different results. If God were to be reactive, then the ministry of Jesus would not have been foreknown, predestined, or planned. Putting it simply, Jesus would have needed a form of protection, as God could not have known what the Pharisees would have done. Maybe the will of the high priest would have superseded God’s foreknowledge. In this case Caiaphas could have easily assassinated Jesus, ending His ministry. We know from Scripture there were several occasions where the Pharisees pinned Jesus in a corner and wanted to kill Him.
Obviously, in order to provide salvation and a death on the cross, Jesus would have needed the means to protect Himself, to protect His ministry, and to protect God’s Will. However, this is Scripturally unsound. God is not taken by surprise. Jesus was the lamb who was slain before the foundation of the earth (Rev 13:8; 1 Pet 1:20). If God had preplanned the lamb’s death, then Jesus would not have needed protection. From a few key texts, we can identify God’s omniscience in practice and providential control over Christ’s protection.
Jesus Tells His Disciples to Buy Swords
Well, why would Jesus tell his disciples to buy swords, is he not condoning defensive protection? Yes, of course He is! However, the passage in Luke explains the need for the disciples to carry weapons, not Jesus. The Messiah forewarned His disciples of the impending hardships they would experience for the ministry, reminding them that God supplies all of their needs. He then says, “and he who has no sword, let him sell his garments and buy one” (Luke 22:36).“’Lord, look, here are two swords.’ And He said to them, ‘It is enough’” (v. 38).
Jesus knew Jerusalem was about to be hostile. He also knew that imparting the Great Commission on His disciples would send them to unheard of places across the earth, across terrain filled with wild animals and bandits. Jesus was not telling his disciples to prepare for a revolution, He was ensuring His disciples could defend themselves. He ends the conversation with a bit of irony. The disciples ask if two swords are enough, Jesus says “It is enough.” Enough for what exactly? Certainly not enough to fend off his betrayer’s detachment. Nor are two swords enough for twelve (soon to be eleven) disciples. Jesus did not need protection.
Legion of Angels Supersedes a Gun
In Matthew, as Jesus was sweating bullets in the garden of Gethsemane, the accuser, Judas, brings “a great multitude” (26:47) along with him to arrest Jesus. As they were taking him away, Peter drew his sword cutting off the ear of the servant, Malchus (Mat 26:51; John 18:10). Immediately Jesus rebukes Peter saying, “Put your sword in its place, for all who take the sword will perish by the sword” (Mat 26:52, NKJV). Jesus was paraphrasing an Old Testament passage from Genesis 9:6, “Whoever sheds the blood man, by man his blood by shed. For God made man in His own image.” He was also warning Peter that murdering another man, especially a Roman, would warrant capitol punishment. Jesus and His divine foreknowledge understood the repercussions of an impulsive act and protected Peter.
The subsequent verse is the kicker. “Or do you think that I cannot not 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?” (26:53-54, NKJV). If I was a betting man, a legion of angels (a Roman legion was six thousand, so twelve of those is 72,000 angels, if we identify the cultural context) would suffice for divine protection over a gun. When we think of carrying a gun, we most certainly are not carrying 72,000 rounds of ammunition, unless you’re a Texan.
As Jesus was led into the wilderness, Satan brought Him to the top of the temple. In the dialogue exchange, the devil told Jesus to throw Himself off the top as God will charge angels over Him (Luke 4:9-10). Satan took the Word of God, as usual, and pinned it against Jesus. Regarding divine protection though, Psalm 91 is actually another key to whether or not Jesus would conceal carry. The Psalm represents the divine care and protection of our sovereign Lord. Jesus, the fully divine, fully human, Son of God understands the Father’s Will.
Shortly following the Fall, God promised a redeemer, or Messiah (See Gen 3:15). Christ is the Messiah. Therefore, God’s plan is unavoidable. Jesus was under the divine, providential oversight of the Lord for His ministry so that He could suffer a death on the cross. It is because of this reason that Jesus would have no reason to carry a gun. It would show a lack of faith in the Father, and a poor understanding of His providence.
It is Biblically evident that Jesus would not have needed to carry a gun. At any given time, He could have called upon the Lord to provide safety. However, Christ’s ministry on earth was not to be safe. It was not for reputation, riches, or personal glory. Christ, out of the outpouring of the Father’s love, provided salvation to all whom he calls.