As Jesus led his disciples out of the upper room, he asked them,
When I sent you without purse, bag or sandals, did you lack anything? (35)
This is referring to the two times he sent out the disciples to preach the gospel throughout Israel (Luke 9 and 10). At those times, he told the disciples to bring no provisions with them, but to rely on the hospitality of those they were reaching out to.
And at that time, at the height of his popularity, that was perfectly fine. Despite, hostility they might face, there would always be people to welcome them. (Luke 22:35b)
But now, the situation would be changing. Jesus would be “numbered among the transgressors,” (37-38) and they would face more hostility than ever. People who once might have welcomed them would do so no longer. So Jesus warned them, saying,
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. (36)
In short, “It’ll be even more dangerous for you out there than ever before because you follow me. Be prudent. Be careful.”
But Jesus’ disciples responded,
See, Lord, here are two swords. (38)
as if to say, “Lord, don’t worry. We’ll take anyone down that comes after us.” Peter would later show that exact attitude in the garden of Gethsemane.
So Jesus curtly and perhaps exasperatedly told them,
That is enough. (38)
Jesus’ point wasn’t that they should turn to violence against those who attacked them, but simply that they should be prepared to face a hostile world.
But Jesus’ words were not just for the disciples, they were for us.
As we’ll see later in John, Jesus specifically warns us that people will hate us on account of him. There will be persecution. And he basically tells us that we shouldn’t be surprised by this when it happens.
So while we are to love and reach out to those who are lost, we are also to be on our guard. People will hate us. People will betray us. People will hurt us. Even those we love.
Because of this, let us always remember the words of Jesus when he told his disciples,
I am sending you out like sheep among wolves. Therefore be as shrewd as snakes and as innocent as doves. Be on your guard against men… (Matthew 10:16-17)