As a Christian, God’s perfect timing is everything. When one considers the will of God for their life, often times it can be a bit confusing trying to navigate which road to take. When an opportunity arises, it’s hard to realize if it is God’s timing or not. Today, we will walk through an amazing passage of scripture to help us learn how to trust God’s timing.
“Jesus said, “But now I say to you: Take what you need. If you have money, take it—and a knapsack and a sword. Danger is imminent. For the prophetic Scripture about me ‘He will be accused of being a criminal’ will now come to pass. All that was prophesied of me will be fulfilled.” (Luke 22:35-37, The Passion Translation)
Danger Is Imminent
On the night of Jesus’ betrayal, the disciples found themselves reclining with their leader eating a Passover meal. There was one thing that was different about this meal then all of the meals before. This time, Jesus was using allegorical language surrounding the sacraments (see Luke 22:17-18). He declared that the next time the disciples drink wine with him, they would be in a new kingdom. He told each one to take their money, knapsack, and to bring a sword. He warned them that danger was imminent. The disciples wondered, could this be the time for the new kingdom?
Throughout scriptures, the disciples projected their own personal agenda onto Jesus’ ministry, many times in good nature. All in all, they wanted vindication against Roman oppression. In the ancient days, King David had ruled Jerusalem, now the Romand did. Like their forefathers, they wanted justice against their enemies. Who could blame them?
When Jesus came, he brought with him the kingdom of heaven. This type of language excited the disciples to the core. “Finally, the kingdom of heaven is returning to Jerusalem,” they thought (as one can concur reading the Gospels). Jesus was their leader, and on the night of his betrayal, he finally gave them the language they had been wanting to hear.
“If you have money, take it—and a knapsack and a sword. Danger is imminent…” (Luke 22:36)
Jesus was speaking, and the disciples were listening. They were ready to bring in His new kingdom. They had their swords and money. They were ready to fight with Jesus. The rest of the twenty-second chapter of Luke tells the story.
“No sooner had he finished speaking when suddenly a mob approached, and right in front of the mob was his disciple Judas. He walked up close to Jesus and greeted him with a kiss. For he had agreed to give the religious leaders a sign, saying, “The one I kiss is the one to seize.” Jesus looked at him with sorrow and said, “A kiss, Judas? Are you really going to betray the Son of Man with a kiss?” When the other disciples understood what was happening, they asked, “Lord, shall we fight them with our swords?” (Luke 22:47-49)
Swords Ready For Battle
The night of Jesus’ betrayal had come. From the disciples’ perspective, one of their very own had stabbed Jesus in the back with a kiss. They were ready to fight with Jesus, swords sharpened for battle. We can draw this conclusion by their first response to the mob attacking Jesus.
“Lord, shall we fight them with our swords?” (Luke 22:49)
This was the moment Jesus had prepared them for. They weren’t scared, instead of willing to fight for Jesus. All they needed was the final commander from their commander and chief. As soon as Jesus said the words, they were ready to strick. As the eleven waited for his command, one of them interpreted the momentary silence of Yeshua as a “go-ahead and strike” action.
“When the other disciples understood what was happening, they asked, “Lord, shall we fight them with our swords?” Just then, one of the disciples swung his sword at the high priest’s servant and slashed off his right ear. Jesus stopped the incident from escalating any further by shouting, “Stop! That’s enough of this!” Then he touched the right side of the injured man’s head and the ear grew back—he was healed!” (Luke 22:49-51, The Passion Translation)
The disciples swung their swords, and Jesus reprimanded them for it. Why? After all, didn’t Yeshua ask them to bring their swords in the first place? Did He set them up for failure? Why bring something if you were never planning on using it? The disciples were confused, “but Jesus, why did you tell us to bring a sword if you didn’t want us to use it?”
A Lesson of Timing
The answer was simple for Jesus’ perspective. It was a lesson on waiting on God. One of the reasons, He put the sword in their hand was so that they would learn a lesson on God’s timing. As they looked at the swords carried inside of their own hands, they would notice that the same weapon was being used their enemies. What made them any different? The sword made them like the very ones they were fighting against. Yeshua was showing them that in order to win against this enemy, a different timing needed to be used.
“Jesus turned to those who had come to seize him—the ruling priests, the officers of the temple police, and the religious leaders—and said, “Am I a criminal that you come to capture me with clubs and swords? Wasn’t I with you day after day, teaching in the temple courts? You could have seized me at any time. But in the darkness of night you have now found your time, for it belongs to you and to the prince of darkness.” (Luke 22:52-53)
Did you notice the word that Jesus used to describe the enemy? Timing. For the mob, it should have alarmed them that they found the perfect time to betray Jesus was in the darkness. If what they were doing was right, it would have been done in the light. Because it was in the dark, it was wrong and in the wrong measure of time.
Jesus specifically had the disciples carry their swords to battle, only to lay them down at the feet of Jesus. Jesus was teaching them to be armed and ready for a different type of battle. One that was fought in the spirit and not the flesh. The sword equipped the disciples for God’s timing. They would only use it as soon as Jesus gave the words, even if He never did. Because he knew their hearts for justice, he had to arm them to get their attention into what true justice was.
How To Trust God’s Timing
Jesus was walking into the most intense moment of suffering in human history, and yet still chose to use it as a teaching moment for his disciples. If they used the sword to solve their problems, they would no doubt have to use it for the rest of their lives. He put the same weapon into their hands that their enemies shared, and never released them to use it to reveal their power over them.
In this milieu, Jesus showed the disciples the secret of releasing God’s timing in your life. It lies in the ability to be totally prepared if only to surrender to the binding command of Jesus.
Sometimes, God attracts us through a method that we are most familiar with (the sword), only to position our hearts to lay it down at the foot of surrender.
In understanding God’s timing, consider this - can He trust you with a sword? You will never trust His timing if He first cannot trust you with yours. Trusting God requires us to consider His timing before our own. Can he trust you to lay down the most single important thing in your life for His glory? Just like the disciples, that may be the one thing He will require you to do.