Would Jesus Carry a Gun?

No, He wouldn't. But don't jump to conclusions.

By Tom Gilson Published on November 9, 2017

Seen on Facebook recently: Would Jesus carry a gun?

This is the kind of question a gun-control supporter would expect to hit hard against Christians who support the Second Amendment. And the answer seems obvious: No, Jesus wouldn’t carry a gun.

So Christians who want to follow Jesus’ example shouldn’t carry, right?

Not so fast.

We’re Not Called to Follow Jesus’ Every Example

Christians are called to be like Jesus, but not to follow His every detailed example.

First, Christians are called to be like Jesus, but not to follow His every detailed example. His calling was unique. For instance, when he spoke, he relied on himself as the authority. When He did it the crowds were “amazed,” because He spoke with authority, not as the scribes did. (Matt. 7:28-29) Try that way in your church. If the church has any brains, it’ll throw you out.

Jesus Had Other Good Solutions

Jesus was different. That difference matters for at least two of the reasons Americans own guns: for hunting and for self-defense.

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As far as we can discover from Scripture, Jesus didn’t hunt but relied on others to provide food. The only exceptions were when He miraculously fed the 4,000 and the 5,000. And I don’t know where He found the fish He was grilling in John 21:9, but He certainly didn’t go to work looking for money to buy it. Three verses earlier (John 21:6) He’d shown He could find food when and where it was needed. He didn’t need to go hunting.


Regarding self-defense, His needs were different from ours, too. Luke 4:28-30 tells of the first time his life was in danger:

Luke 4:28 When they heard these things, all in the synagogue were filled with wrath. And they rose up and drove him out of the town and brought him to the brow of the hill on which their town was built, so that they could throw him down the cliff. But passing through their midst, he went away.

He just passed “through their midst,” as if it were simple — which it was — for Him! It sure wouldn’t be for you or me. If we got caught in a mob trying to throw us over a cliff, we’d have to do something to defend ourselves. I don’t know how I’d handle it if I were caught in a mess like that, but the point is, Jesus had unique methods of His own. He was safe.

He just passed “through their midst,” as if it were simple — which it was — for Him!

In fact Satan was right — though he wanted to use it the wrong way — when he reminded Jesus, “He will command his angels concerning you, to guard you,’ and ‘On their hands they will bear you up, lest you strike your foot against a stone.’” (Luke 4:10-11)

Jesus really was under unique divine protection in his earthly ministry. In John 7:30, we read that the Jews were seeking to arrest Him, but “no one laid a hand on him, because his hour had not yet come.”

When the hour finally came to die for us, He knew it and He accepted it. He had come to die, but in a manner and for reasons that had been prescribed centuries before. He had no need to defend Himself from violence before that time. Even then he could have called down legions of angels to defend him (Matt. 26:53); He just chose not to.

An Example We Literally Can’t Follow

So it would be fair to say His life is an example of how to preserve yourself when you can simply slip out of a dangerous crowd, when you know how to call legions of angels to your aid, and when you know you’re being preserved for a death to come at a set time in the future.

Or in other words, this is one of the cases, in which Jesus’ example doesn’t fit us directly.

Freedom to Take Care of Our Needs

Would Jesus carry? No. But that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t.

Jesus really didn’t intend us to follow His example in every way. We shouldn’t preach the way He did (on our own authority). We can’t supply our food the way He did, and none of us can defend ourselves from danger the way He did.

So, the next time someone asks, “Would Jesus carry a gun?” you could ask them whether He’d be an organ transplant donor. He wouldn’t do that either. Some examples aren’t meant to be followed.

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