Luke 22:38 - It is enough!

Iver Larsen iver_larsen at
Mon Oct 22 02:55:45 EDT 2001

> > Steven Lo Vollu wrote regarding Luke 22:38,
> >
> >> GAR explains why they should get
> >> swords: the scripture that says he will be numbered with the
> transgressors
> >> must be fulfilled, and it will be fulfilled by the disciples
> having swords,
> >> like revolutionaries (see v. 50). When told they had two swords, Jesus
> >> responds hIKANON ESTIN ("It is sufficient."), i.e., it is sufficient to
> >> fulfill the scripture about him being numbered with the transgressors.
> >
> > I found this an interesting point, Steven, and I'm going to
> chew it over.
> > Just a question in regard to it: if the swords were part of the
> Lord's being
> > numbered with the transgressors, is there any significance in
> this not being
> > raised in the accusations made against him? I would have
> thought that the
> > being numbered with the transgressors relates to his death between two
> > thieves.
> The accusations made by the Jews before Pilate in Luke do seem to imply
> insurrection (Luke 22.23ff.; 23.13ff.). That the incident of Luke
> 22.50f. is
> not specifically raised in the charges of the Jews is odd, I
> think, whether
> or not my interpretation of hIKANON ESTIN is valid. Maybe what Luke writes
> in 22.23ff. is just a summary statement of more specific accusations that
> were made, including the incident of 22.50f.
> As for the prophecy being fulfilled by Jesus' death with the two thieves,
> note that Luke does not relate this prophecy specifically to that event
> (23.32ff.). Rather, he seems to have a different purpose altogether in his
> inclusion of that story (see 23.39ff.). This is one of the reasons it is
> hard to understand the relationship between Luke 22.36 and 37 (joined by
> GAR) if Luke *doesn't* link the swords to the fulfillment of the prophecy.
> Why mention the prophecy in a context where the reader is likely
> not to make
> the connection between it and its fulfillment, if indeed the
> fulfillment is found in 23.32-43?
> --
> Steven Lo Vullo

In Mark 15:28 the statement "he was numbered with the transgressors" is
found in the context of the crucifixion between two real transgressors. But
the verse is lacking from so many old mss that is looks like an addition to
the text, carried over from Luke, and stuck in a different place.
I would agree that this is too limited an interpretation of why Jesus quoted
Is 53:12. Psalm 53 is the most famous Messianic prophetic chapter, and the
disciples would probably be familiar with the immediately preceding words in
that same verse: "because he poured out his life for many." Also the
following words in the same verse: "For he bore the sins of many and made
intercession for the transgressors."
In this context, it seems to me that Jesus is trying to make the disciples
understand that it is the will of the Father that Jesus as the Messiah must
die in order to pour out his life. In order for this to happen he will be
considered by the Romans like a political rebel - although Pilate was not
convinced - and he will die in the same way as the other transgressors die.

The way I understand the GAR is in the context of the topic of Luke
22:35-36. Here Jesus indicates the changing times. Jesus used to be popular
among the masses because of all his healings. The disciples were therefore
also popular, and people were eager to invite them into their houses and
give them food to eat on their travels in Galilee. They did not need to take
anything along. But now - ALLA NUN in v. 35 - hard times are coming and they
need to prepare themselves mentally for such hard times. Jesus will be
unpopular and the disciples can expect the same. This change is necessary,
says Jesus, and it is a fulfillment of Isaiah 53. Even though Jesus did not
sin and was not a transgressor, he had to bear the sins of others and was
treated as if he was a transgressor. It is because of this suffering that if
the disciples were to use swords to defend him they would be opposing the
plan of God, not out of ill will, but out of ignorance - Peter had tried
that before.

The hIKANON is too ambiguous to be the basis for an interpretation one way
or the other. Rather, the phrase ought to be interpreted in light of the
larger context. And it is this larger context that suggest to me that the
intended meaning is "enough of this talk now." (You don't seem to understand
it anyway when you can even imagine that I was talking about physical
defense.) The fact that the disciples asked Jesus in 22:49 whether they
should strike with the sword shows that they had not understood. That Peter
went ahead and struck with the sword, expecting Jesus to answer yes, shows
even more fully that he had not understood. Again, Jesus had to rebuke Peter
for his lack of spiritual discernment. Peter did not understand what Isaiah
53 was all about - the atonement through suffering.

Best wishes,
Iver Larsen

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