Despite what many hypocritical Christians try to press with their ‘all scripture is inspired by God’ proof-texting (even though Jesus abolishes all of the Old Covenant which does not promote Agape [I Corinthians 13]), there is no such thing as a ‘Just War.’ The so-called ‘just war’ is just war, and an ugly and disobedient affront to the Prince of Peace.
But, if Jesus is opposed to violence, why did he tell his disciples to buy swords (Luke 22.36-37)?
Given how Jesus responds to Peter’s use of the sword (he rebukes him), and given everything Jesus says about loving enemies, doing good to them, turning the other cheek, and so on, it is clear that, whatever Jesus was up to in telling his disciples to buy swords, he clearly didn’t intend for them to use them.
A close look at the passage reveals Jesus’ purpose. Immediately after telling his followers to buy swords (Luke 22.36), Jesus says, “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.”(vs. 37). To fulfill prophecy, Jesus had to be viewed as a transgressor (Isaiah 53.12). He had to at least appear to be a political revolutionary to the Jewish authorities for them to feel justified in arresting him. His cleansing of the temple a few days earlier was likely calculated for the same effect. So, to fulfill the prophecies and to provoke the Jewish authorities, he had to have enough weaponry to justify being viewed as a lawbreaking revolutionary.
This is why, in the next verse, when the disciples say they have two swords, Jesus says “That is enough.” (vs. 38). Obviously, if Jesus ever intended for the disciples to use the swords, two would not be nearly enough. But two swords were enough to fulfill the prophecy by making Jesus seem like a transgressor.
When Peter used the sword to cut off the guard’s ear, Jesus rebuked him and then demonstrated the kind of power the Kingdom of God uses to advance its cause by healing the guard’s ear.
When Jesus later appeared before Pilate and was asked if he was the King of the Jews, Jesus responded that his kingdom is not of this world, and he points to the fact that his followers are not fighting as proof of this fact (John 18.36). So, a distinguishing characteristic that a person belongs to Jesus’ kingdom is that they refuse to fight their enemies. They rather pray for their healing and seek to serve them any way they can — including dying for them or beneath their violent hands, as Jesus did, if necessary.