If Jesus’s public ministry was today instead of 33AD, do you think he would own a gun? Do you think he would encourage others to own a gun?
Here is what happened when Jesus was arrested:
47 While he was still speaking, Judas came, one of the twelve, and with him a great crowd with swords and clubs, from the chief priests and the elders of the people. 48 Now the betrayer had given them a sign, saying, “The one I shall kiss is the man; seize him.” 49 And he came up to Jesus at once and said, “Hail, Master!”* And he kissed him. 50 Jesus said to him, “Friend, why are you here?”[j] Then they came up and laid hands on Jesus and seized him. 51 And behold, one of those who were with Jesus stretched out his hand and drew his sword, and struck the slave of the high priest, and cut off his ear.[k] 52 Then Jesus said to him, “Put your sword back into its place; for all who take the sword will perish by the sword. 53 Do you think that I cannot appeal to my Father, and he will at once send me more than twelve legions of angels? *
Much would depend on how the firearm is used.
A firearm is no different than any other tool. It has specific purposes - to hunt, for self defense, even for recreation.
For example, I suspect that, done through grace, the work of these hunters is in keeping with Christ’s call to care for the least of His children.
Considering that the roads in Judaea were unsafe enough (in a Roman province, yet!) that every traveler was advised to carry a sword, and considering that at one point Jesus advised his people to sell stuff so that they could have a sword to travel with (even though he had an allegorical point to make also), I think it’s pretty clear that Jesus was okay with owning a weapon of self-defense such as a gun. (And even though the Israelites were mostly farmers, they also owned hunting and self-defense weapons like slings.)
Other than in the Book of Revelation, we don’t really see Jesus carrying a sword. But if you are God Almighty, and the winds and waves move at your command, and you can work miracles and command legions of angels and face down the devil or walk away through angry crowds, your need for self-defense weaponry is not all that great. Jesus didn’t go to His crucifixion out of an inability to fight or a hatred of fighting. He chose not to fight because He took flesh in order to be crucified and rise again.
But He didn’t order any of the soldiers He met not to fight; He commended them for their faith. He was the God Who turned His Own cheek, but Who gave victory to David and Joshua. Every Israelite man of the right age was subject to being called up for war, according to God’s Law. (Unless you’d just gotten married, in which case you had a year off from serving in your tribe’s militia.)
Jesus’ sayings, and the entire force of the Bible and the teachings of the Church, say that you have to listen to God, think prudently about what’s happening, and then do the right thing. So Jesus didn’t make any rules saying “You have to own a weapon,” or “You may not own a weapon.” There are times when you defend yourself and others, and there are times when you turn the other cheek. There are times when you go out preaching with nothing, and there are times when you have to bring stuff along. And so on.
There wouldn’t be a point for Jesus to have one. A gun is an object, what your purpose for having a gun is the most important question. How does a person view the gun, a means to a selfish end, a means of protection, a tool for recreational use? The gun itself is insignificant the person possessing it and his motives are the debate and should not be overlooked.
And yet he said, “To him who strikes you on the cheek, offer the other also” not “take out your weapon”.
Did Jesus own a sword, a bow and arrow or a sling shot?
Right; so, if you’re struck on the right cheek (cf Mt 5:39), this means that someone has just given you a back-hand slap; in other words, they’re trying to insult you. So, what Jesus is saying is, “when someone tries to provoke and insult you, don’t take offense and retaliate.”
It’s not the call to pacifism (or the denial of self-defense) that some would have it be.
Would you agree with this?
It’s not necessarily the call to pacifism (or the denial of self-defense) that some would have it be.
Did Christ condemn self defense? No…nowhere.
Does the church? No…
2263 The legitimate defense of persons and societies is not an exception to the prohibition against the murder of the innocent that constitutes intentional killing. "The act of self-defense can have a double effect: the preservation of one’s own life; and the killing of the aggressor. . . . The one is intended, the other is not."65
2264** Love toward oneself remains a fundamental principle of morality. Therefore it is legitimate to insist on respect for one’s own right to life. Someone who defends his life is not guilty of murder even if he is forced to deal his aggressor a lethal blow:
If a man in self-defense uses more than necessary violence, it will be unlawful: whereas if he repels force with moderation, his defense will be lawful. . . . Nor is it necessary for salvation that a man omit the act of moderate self-defense to avoid killing the other man, since one is bound to take more care of one’s own life than of another’s.66
2265 Legitimate defense can be not only a right but a grave duty for one who is responsible for the lives of others. The defense of the common good requires that an unjust aggressor be rendered unable to cause harm. For this reason, those who legitimately hold authority also have the right to use arms to repel aggressors against the civil community entrusted to their responsibility.
On the sling shot, a maybe.
Why would God need a gun? :shrug:
NO. And I’m very much pro-gun. He would never need one, it’s like asking if he’d carry a bible or a dictionary or a phone book (because He knows all.) He might have had a cell phone, though.
Funny how everyone here is quoting Our Lord and no one mentions this rather pertinent remark,
“But now if you have a purse, take it, and also a bag; and if you don’t have a sword, sell your cloak and buy one.” (Lk 22:36)
Perhaps Christ isn’t so easily characterized as anti-weapon as some here have suggested…
37 For I tell you, this scripture must be fulfilled in me: ‘And he was numbered among the lawless’; and indeed what is written about me is being fulfilled."
38 They [the disciples] said, “See, Lord, here are two swords.”
“It is enough,” he replied. (NRSV)
The interpretation of the verses can follow either a strictly physical direction in which swords must be used, or a nonphysical one in which swords must not be used, during Jesus’ last hours. The surest and clearest direction is the nonliteral one.
Violent use of the swords
Jesus says to the disciples to buy swords, but when they show him two, Jesus says the two are enough. The first direction, the literal one, is inadequate for two reasons.
First, the obvious question is: two swords are enough for what? Are they enough for a physical fight to resist arrest? This is hardly the case because during Jesus’ arrest a disciple (Peter according to John 18:10) took out his sword and cut off the ear of the servant (Malchus according to John 18:10) of the high priest. Jesus sternly tells Peter to put away his sword, “No more of this!” and then he heals the servant, restoring his ear (Luke 22:49-51). Resisting arrest cannot be the purpose of the two swords.
Second, were the two swords enough for an armed rebellion to resist the authorities and to impose the new Jesus movement in a political and military way? Jesus denounces this purpose in Luke 22:52, as the authorities are in the process of arresting him: “Am I leading a rebellion that you have come with swords and clubs?” The answer is no, as he is seized and led away (v. 54).
So the physical interpretation of Luke 22:36 (the two swords were intended to be used) will not work in the larger context. Two swords are not enough to resist arrest, to pull off a revolt of some kind, or to fully protect themselves in the Garden of Gethsemane.
The contextual meaning of the swords
First, Jesus reminds the disciples of his mission for them before he arrived in Jerusalem (Luke 9:3; 10:1-17). Did they need a purse, a bag, or extra sandals? No, because people were friendlier, and their opposition to him was spread out over three years. Now, however, he is in Jerusalem, and he has undergone the compacted antagonism of religious leaders seeking to trap him with self-incriminating words. When the authorities are not present, they send their spies. The atmosphere is therefore tense, and the two swords—no more than that—represent the tension. Jesus’ mission has shifted to a clear danger, and the disciples must beware. However, he certainly did not intend for his disciples to use the swords, as we just saw in the literal interpretation, above, for he is about to tell Peter to put away his sword.
Second, “For I tell you, this scripture must be fulfilled in me: ‘And he was numbered among the lawless’” (Luke 22:37). By far the clearest purpose of the two swords is Jesus’ reference to Isaiah’s prophecy (53:12). He was destined to be arrested like a criminal, put on trial like a criminal, and even crucified like a criminal (but his arrest, trial, and execution were based on false evidence. He did nothing but good.) Yet, he was hung on the cross between two thieves, which is also a fulfillment of Isaiah’s prophecy (Luke 23:32; 39-43). What are criminals known for carrying with them? Weapons, and to be numbered among criminals, Jesus must also have weapons. That is why he said that only two swords would be enough—to fulfill this prophecy. Also, Matthew mentions fulfilling prophecy (26:54). If Peter had kept on physically using the sword to prevent Christ’s arrest, prophecy would not have been accomplished smoothly and without hindrance. Jesus says that he could call on twelve legions of angels to protect him, meaning he is destined by God to die; he was not permitted to stop even the mighty Roman Empire from fulfilling its role (Matt. 26:53). That is why Jesus told Peter to put his sword back in its place (Matt. 26:52). And in Luke he says to Peter after the disciple cut off an ear, “No more of this!” (22:51).
The third and final nonliteral interpretation says that Jesus frequently used physical objects (seeds, lamps, vineyards, coins, lost sheep and so on) to teach nonphysical, universal truths, and the same is possibly true of the two swords. This interpretation of clarification is supported by Matt. 10:34: “Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth, but a sword.” As seen in this article on Matt. 10:34, in context he does not mean a physical sword that cuts up and bloodies the family, but a spiritual and moral one that may divide it up nonphysically. And it is precisely Luke who clarifies Jesus’ meaning of “sword” as nonliteral, in the two parallel passages of Matt. 10:34 and Luke 12:51. If Luke does this in 12:51, then why would he not shift slightly the meaning of “sword” in 22:36-38?
Jesus Himself made a weapon and used it to drive out the moneychangers, so, it’s not about His opposition to weapons per se.
The first question was whether Jesus would need a gun personally, and the answer is no.
The second question was whether He would be opposed to anyone else owning a gun for self-defense, and the answer you have given is no.
If I may ask, was the intent of the thread to discuss firearms ownership, or to discuss violence one human being on another?
I took the thread at its clear, literal meaning, not having anything to do with violence, per se, but a question regarding the use of this particular tool.
Right. I didn’t mention it above, but yes, Jesus wouldn’t own a gun (why would He need to?)
yes. He had an axe and a knife because they were tools of his trade.