Repetitions jump out to me as I read scripture. I find that it is the Holy Spirit’s way of underlining essential points. And here I find Jesus repeating a phrase of exasperation.
And they said, “Look, Lord, here are two swords.” And he said to them, “It is enough.”Luke 22:38
But Jesus said, “No more of this!” And he touched his ear and healed him.Luke 22:51
I ask myself why? I think it is an important question to answer so that I can learn from the mistake they are making and not make them myself. It seems to me that the disciples have misunderstood what Jesus’ mission is on earth (Jn 12:16), leading to His expressions of exasperation.
In the first episode, the disciples knew Jesus was the Messiah, but they thought that the war was earthly and that it could be won on earth. So when they said that here are two swords, thinking they are going to go to war, Jesus says, “It is enough! (Cf. New Bible Commentary)
In the second episode, the disciples wanted to rescue Jesus from an attack of injustice. They were upset and emotional to see Jesus being betrayed and soon to be arrested. And thus, they took earthly action. Specifically, Simon Peter cut off Malchus, the high priest’s servant’s ear in the name of self defence. They undertook physical retaliation towards this threat. Jesus also then emphasized to them, “no more of this”.
I think on both occasions, the Spirit is demonstrating in scriptures, two scenarios stemming of the same vein. There is an element of recognizing that there is a problem but not seeing and addressing the spiritual aspect of it. When the disciples did not have a spiritual perspective and were fixated on the earthly problem, it produced in them a worldly response, which is natural and expected. What Jesus has been trying to show in his earthly ministry is that he is here primarily for a spiritual mission which is to save people for eternity. Even at this point in Luke’s gospel, Jesus has His face fixed on accomplishing this mission, to die on the cross which the disciples do not understand fully, and thus try to stop the process.
This is perhaps the reason why I am reminded of how Jesus responded to the massive injustice done to His messenger, John the Baptist, who in his own words, was the greatest man ever born of a woman before him (Luke 7:28). When John was arrested, Jesus withdrew (Mat 4:12). When John was beheaded, Jesus withdrew to a desolate place by himself (Mat 14:13). Throughout his ministry, he never strayed from his aim of saving His sheep through the preaching of the gospel and doing signs to authenticate himself as the Son of God. He did not engage in an earthly way, at least not without first engaging it in a spiritual way.
I also see that Apostle Paul understood this. He says that indeed we do not wrestle against flesh and blood but spiritual forces of evil. (Eph 6:12)
Jesus was consistent throughout his ministry. And so were His apostles as they matured.
To what may Jesus say the same of me? I think it is when I see problems from the earthly perspective and attempt to solve them solely through worldly means. I don’t see enough of God in my situation and thus do not see enough of God in the solution.
This rebuke of Jesus speaks directly to me. What am I doing or thinking right now that Jesus is saying to me “enough and no more of this”?
It truly makes me think of how I address my challenges at work and at home in my marriage and parenting. Many a time, I’m looking to fix the problem in an earthly manner, stumbling into sin to get what I want quickly instead of going to God.
Father, help me see You more and more in my situation and my solution.