In Luke (22: 35-38) Jesus tells the disciples to get purses and haversacks. This seems to reverse His previous instructions. There is even mention of swords. Anyone care to shed some light on this passage?
In the verses you quote, Jesus admits that he is changing his instructions. Whereas before, the disciple were relatively welcome, from now on, they will meet with a hostile environment, signified by the haversack (to carry your own food) and the sword (to get your food by violence, if necessary). Jesus' message is for the disciples to get ready for hard times. Obviously the disciples did not understand him. They take him literally and come up with two swords. Jesus chooses not to correct them.
I got these comments from the footnotes of *La Bible de Jérusalem,*original edition.
“Swords” may be figurative - as you mentioned, Jesus maybe warning the disciples that the future will not be all sweetness and light.
A little later, in the garden of the Mount of Olives, when Jesus tells Peter to put down his sword, and heals the servant whose ear has been sliced off, he’s clearlying saying that armed resistance is not an option.
I look at the conflicting instructions (". . . sell your cloak and buy a sword . . ." ". . . Kepha, put up your sword . . .") as indicating two types of violence that His followers would be facing in the future.
One type is the usual type of violence that one sees from brigands, thieves, and robbers. This violence was to be resisted (". . .buy a sword . . .").
The other type was that which happened in the garden -- violent opposition to who the Christians were. This type of violence was not to be resisted.