“Simon, Simon, Satan has asked to sift all of you as wheat. But I have prayed for you, Simon, that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned back, strengthen your brothers.”
But he replied, “Lord, I am ready to go with you to prison and to death.”
Jesus answered, “I tell you, Peter, before the rooster crows today, you will deny three times that you know me.”
Then Jesus asked them, “When I sent you without purse, bag or sandals, did you lack anything?”
“Nothing,” they answered.
He said to them, “But now if you have a purse, take it, and also a bag; and if you don’t have a sword, sell your cloak and buy one. 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.”
The disciples said, “See, Lord, here are two swords.”
“That’s enough!” he replied.
With these words, Luke wraps up his account of the Last Supper, doing so on an ominous note. Recall that the disciples have been discussing which of them will be the greatest and Jesus has set them straight on a few points. Here He hints about Peter being tested in his faith and falling short that very morning and how that will take place at the instigation of the Evil One. Yet even so, when that phase passed, He tells Peter to “strengthen” his brothers in their faith. He reminded them that in the past, when He sent them out on their own with literally nothing, they had lacked for nothing because of the providence of God, and so it would be in the future.
Yet now, He was about to leave them; they would be moving into a new era in which they would have to operate outside of His literal presence in this dark world, and they would need their “purse” and maybe even a sword; yet God would provide.
John in his account includes Jesus’ promise of the Holy Spirit; Luke omits it and the result in Luke’s narrative is that we leave this scene with a clear sense of foreboding. How is it that God would see them through the coming trials?
I will not pretend to know why Luke left the narrative without telling of the promised Holy Spirit, but I would suggest that his approach leaves us with a sensation similar to that experienced by the disciples who, not understanding what Jesus had promised, must have headed out to pray with their heads spinning and feeling very unsure of what was to become of them.