Peter’s Two Swords

Right before Jesus Christ is betrayed and crucified, He tells His disciples that things are about to change.

During Christ’s ministry, the disciples did not need provision or protection; they had the Son of God.

But when the Son of God leaves, they are told to carry a purse and money and swords.

The disciples pipe up that they already have two swords with them.

Apparently, the Catholic Church has taken this episode as proof that Peter, representative of the Pope, has the authority over the two swords, which represent Church and State power.

Yes, this is ridiculous, but alas, that is the sort of application you’ll derive from the Bible if you read it allegorically.

In reading Ellicott’s Commentary, an excellent briefish commentary on the whole Bible, he had this to say about this Catholic interpretation. I think it is awesome.

The mystical interpretation which sees in the two swords the symbol of the spiritual and temporal authority committed to St. Peter, and to the Pope as his successor, stands on a level with that which finds the relations of the Church and the State foreshadowed in the “two great lights” of Genesis 1:16. Both are simply the dreams of a diseased fancy, and find their fit home at last in the limbo of vanities.

“The limbo of vanities” is sheer wordplay awesomeness.

Bravo, Mr. Ellicott, Bravo.

2 thoughts on “Peter’s Two Swords”

  1. I didn’t know they used the “two swords” to represent civil and religious power. Interesting. It just shows to what lengths the carnal man will go to, in order to justify his lust for power over others. BTW, you didn’t explain what you think Jesus’ counsel meant…?

  2. Frank,
    Sorry it took forever to get back on here. I got taken out of my groove for a bit.

    My take is that Jesus is telling them that the old time provision when Christ was with them is over. Now they need money and even protection. I suppose maybe he meant for opening cans or something, but I think swords were for protection. This is a verse that has to fit into our take on pacifism. We live in an evil and violent world; protection, particularly the protection of others, is something we should plan for while taking into account “turn the other cheek.” I find this another fascinating aspect of faith, finding the right action for the season.

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