Luke 22:38 often functions in a symbiotic relationship with Luke 22:51 to reinforce the picture of Jesus as a principled pacifist. If Jesus is countenancing some sort of violent action, his rebuke at his arrest makes it clear that he rejects the way of violence altogether. Some interpreters go so far as to suggest that Jesus commands the use of swords earlier precisely to rebuke their use later. Both verses, however, contain ambiguous Greek expressions, neither of which supports the contention that Jesus is rejecting violence per se. As with Luke 22:51, it is misguided to push Luke 22:38 in a pacifistic direction. The ambiguous ἱκανόν ἐστιν (“It is enough”) is not a rhetorical ploy to cut the conversation short, nor does it mark out violence-prone disciples as the “lawless ones” of Isa 53. Rather, once released from the neutralizing effects of Luke 22:51 as an interpretive control, Luke 22:38 offers an altogether different picture of Jesus’s stance toward violence.

The text of this article is only available as a PDF.
You do not currently have access to this content.