Initially Jesus commands his twelve disciples to preach the kingdom of God, but with very particular instructions (which later He reverses).

“Then He called His twelve disciples together and gave them power and authority over all demons, and to cure diseases. He sent them to preach the kingdom of God and to heal the sick. And He said to them, “Take nothing for the journey, neither staffs nor bag nor bread nor money; and do not have two tunics apiece. “Whatever house you enter, stay there, and from there depart. And whoever will not receive you, when you go out of that city, shake off the very dust from your feet as a testimony against them.” So they departed and went through the towns, preaching the gospel and healing everywhere.” ‭‭Luke‬ ‭9:1-6‬ ‭

He then delegates seventy more disciples to do likewise but again it seems confined to cities and towns.

Then He said to them, “The harvest truly is great, but the laborers are few; therefore pray the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest. Go your way; behold, I send you out as lambs among wolves. Carry neither money bag, knapsack, nor sandals; and greet no one along the road.” ‭‭Luke‬ ‭10:2-4‬ ‭

And later this changes

“And He said to them, “When I sent you without money bag, knapsack, and sandals, did you lack anything?” So they said, “Nothing.” Then He said to them, “But now, he who has a money bag, let him take it, and likewise a knapsack; and he who has no sword, let him sell his garment and buy one.” ‭‭Luke‬ ‭22:35-36‬

What changed? What changed that now offensive weapons need to be carried? Does it have anything to do with a new mandate?

And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in all the world as a witness to all the nations, and then the end will come.” ‭‭Matthew‬ ‭24:14‬

and in Mark

“And He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature.” ‭‭Mark‬ ‭16:15‬

Because prior He says

“These twelve Jesus sent out and commanded them, saying: “Do not go into the way of the Gentiles, and do not enter a city of the Samaritans. But go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.” ‭‭Matthew‬ ‭10:5-6‬

What changed or what demarcation caused the change?

We have Jesus refusing Gentiles

But He answered and said, “I was not sent except to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.”” ‭‭Matthew‬ ‭15:24‬

Now all of a sudden the door is open to the Gentiles. Did He always have this in mind?

“And other sheep I have which are not of this fold; them also I must bring, and they will hear My voice; and there will be one flock and one shepherd.” ‭‭John‬ ‭10:16‬

What caused the change, given the instructions of change take place before His crucifixion.

  • I would just offer a suggestion that you edit slightly and focus on the text of Luke 22: 35-36. Otherwise it may be felt that you are asking about a 'topic' rather than a text. I repeat, it is only a suggestion. Up-voted in advance of your edit. +1.
    – Nigel J
    Commented Jul 11, 2019 at 5:43
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    @NigelJ that’s a great suggestion. Thank you Commented Jul 11, 2019 at 10:49
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    Regarding this issue we have only compared the various places in Luke. I did a multi search just now, and in Mark 6:7-11 I read the following: "Calling the Twelve to him, he began to send them out two by two and gave them authority over impure spirits. These were his instructions: “Take nothing for the journey except a staff—no bread, no bag, no money in your belts. Wear sandals but not an extra shirt". "Wear sandals but not an extra shirt". We are obviously dealing with some inconsistencies in the Gospels texts here. Commented Jul 13, 2019 at 5:40
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    I am just wondering if the apostles were sent out twice; once with sandals, and once without sandals. Because that would clarify the paradox. Commented Jul 16, 2019 at 8:25
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    I think the answer lies with αιρωσιν to take up (what you already have) because of the urgency of the matter I’m presuming. Where as Matthew uses κτάομαι which would mean don’t go out of your way to buy (buy another). So if you have a staff or sandals use them but if you don’t, just go I will provide... Commented Jul 16, 2019 at 10:08

2 Answers 2


This may not fully answer the question but may provide at least some understanding.

In Luke 22:25, 36, Jesus is preparing His disciples for what would happen at His trials, crucifixion and events that would follow. Up to this point in their preaching ministry, they had only gone to Jewish towns and would normally expect hospitality. After the Jesus, resurrection, they would travel much more widely (Acts 1:7, 8) and would often expect quite hostile reception. Thus, they should provide for themselves. The Cambridge commentary suggests:

"But now" This was an intimation of their totally changed relation to the world. There was no spontaneous hospitality, no peaceful acceptance, no honoured security, to be looked for now.

Commentators are almost unanimous in making similar statements as above, eg, Barnes, Expositors Greek, Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary, Gill, Bengel, etc.

The "problem" of the "sword" has caused much debate and there are, broadly, three suggestions about how to understand it. Regardless of which of the following is preferred, it was clear that Jesus did not intend that it be used offensively (Luke 22:50, 51).

  1. The "sword" is to be understood figuratively, "sword of the spirit" as per Eph 6:17, Heb 4:12. This is preferred by Ellicott and the Cambridge Commentary, Matthew Henry, Geneva Bible, Gill.

  2. The "sword" was intended only for self defense and nothing else as per Barnes, Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary, and indicated the great dangers the disciples would face.

  3. The "sword", μάχαιρα (machaira) is used in LXX to translate מַאֲכָלוֹת (maakeleth) in Gen 22:6, 10, the knife used for either preparing a sacrifice or preparing food.

I am unsure which of these to select as correct as all appear to contain some credibility. #3 is weak because μάχαιρα (machaira) is also used to translate other offensive Hebrew weapons as well. The first interpretation, while attractive, is weakened by the observation that all elements in the sentence are literal except "sword" which strains credibility. This leaves the second as the most consistent but still unattractive interpretation. See Matt 10:34.

  • I don’t see what is unattractive by self preservation with the most power offense weapon on the market. Thank you for the response. I will think on this further. +1 Commented Jul 12, 2019 at 1:24
  • I suggest it is unattractive only because the idea of Christians being armed for physical battle is unthinkable to many people, but not entirely myself. However, I would still be very loath to engage in any physical combat.
    – user25930
    Commented Jul 12, 2019 at 1:28

In terms of the first question.

The initial instruction to take only the "Bare minimum" with them when they went to preach and minister in the cities of Israel I believe is essentially so the cities they travel to who accept their teaching will have to help and support them. In doing so and offering hospitality those cities who accept them will be blessed.

Jesus says in MAtthew 10:41

Anyone who receives a prophet because he is a prophet will receive a prophet's reward, and anyone who receives a righteous man because he is a righteous man will receive a righteous man's reward.

Essentially he is setting the stage so the cities who accept the teaching of the disciples and take them in and offer hospitality will be greately rewarded for doing so. Those who reject them will forfeit the blessing and come under judgement.

As for the change in instruction:‭‭Luke‬ ‭22:35-36 But now, he who has a money bag, let him take it, and likewise a knapsack; and he who has no sword, let him sell his garment and buy one.

This comes much later after the ministry of the disciples has concluded. When this is stated Jesus has already entered into Jerusalem on Palm sunday (when he states the time for repentance is finished) following the last supper. This instruction comes right before he is taken captive in the garden of Gethsemany and what he follows it with provides the reason for the instruction.

For it is written: ‘And he was numbered with the transgressors’; and I tell you that this must be fulfilled in me. Yes, what is written about me is reaching its fulfillment.”

Jesus essentially says he needs his disciples to go and gather things that will make them "transgressors" of the law and so a prophecy can be fulfilled. Peter uses the sword to cut off an ear while Jesus is being arrested and so this is fulfilled that Jesus is taken captive in the pressence of transgressors of the law.

Similarly with ministry exclusively to Israel vs extending this to the Gentiles this is aligned with the timing of his ministry. Until his crucifiction the ministry is extended to Israel only. After this takes place it is broadened to include the gentiles.

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