The word ‘sword’ is mentioned 406 times in the Bible. Most of these references are in the Old Testament.
Yet, Jesus also speaks about the sword. One mention is in Matthew 10, another in Matthew 26.
Matthew 10 is also known as the Mission Discourse or the Little Commission, in contrast to the Great Commission at the end of the gospel Matthew 28:18–20. The Little Commission is explicitly directed to the “lost sheep of the house of Israel”, while the Great Commission is directed to all nations.
Matthew names the twelve apostles, or “twelve disciples”, in verses 1 to 4, and the remainder of the chapter consists almost entirely of sayings attributed to Jesus. In this chapter, Jesus sends out the apostles to heal and preach throughout the region and gives them careful instruction.
One of the most debated verses is verse 34:
“Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword.” (Matthew 10:34)
New Testament scholar R. T. France stated that the sword Jesus brings is not a weapon. but a sharp social division referring to men’s personal response to him:
“For I have come to turn
a man against his father,
a daughter against her mother,
a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law –
a man’s enemies will be the members of his own household.
Anyone who loves their father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; anyone who loves their son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. Whoever does not take up their cross and follow me is not worthy of me. Whoever finds their life will lose it, and whoever loses their life for my sake will find it.” (Matthew 10:35-39)
Matthew 26 covers the beginning of the passion narrative, the Jewish leaders’ plot to kill Jesus, Judas Iscariot’s agreement to betray Jesus to Caiphas, the Last Supper with the Twelve apostles and the institution of the Eucharist, the agony in the garden of Gethsemane and the subsequent vindication of Jesus’ predictions, that one of the twelve will betray him, and that Peter will disown him.
Shortly after the Last Supper and after the kiss of Judas, Jesus is arrested. One of Jesus’ disciples, identified as Simon Peter by the Gospel of John, attempted to stop them with a sword and cut off the ear of one of the arresting officers, known as Malchus, the servant of Caiaphas, the High Priest of Israel. Luke adds that Jesus healed the wound, while John, Matthew, and Luke state that Jesus criticized the violent act:
“Put your sword back in its place,” Jesus said to him, “for all who draw the sword will die by the sword.” (Matthew 26:52)
Both Christianity and Islam like to call themselves religions of love and peace. Yet, both the Bible and Koran are full of anger and violence.
No matter what kind of sword one brings, the sword cannot signify peace or love under no circumstances.