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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  • Jesus could blast fig trees. Why would he need to carry a gun?

    • Hmmm…

      The spoken word is to be our “firearm” as well.

  • Adagio Cantabile

    Christians are always being told we should not try to impose our Christian values on the secular society. Therefore, no one should be asking us “What would Jesus do?”

    • Chip Crawford

      Hey, we are actually pushing back on their attempting to impose their secular values on us. They should expect it. I wish I could say that with more strength, because there is not enough of it.

  • Hannah

    I appreciate this very much, Tom. It gets tiresome when I get landblasted for being a Christian and a supporter of gun onwership, as if the two are exclusive. Wonderful article as always!

  • Paul

    No Jesus wouldn’t carry arms, he asked his disciples to do it

    • Chip Crawford

      Yeah, Jesus drove the money changers out of the temple with a whip made of rope. Yes!

  • tz1

    Would Jesus carry a first aid bag? Would Jesus carry a large sack of food and other provisions? Would Jesus carry personal flotation devices?

    What is normal for the Son of God is often presumption for ordinary sinners, even redeemed ones. I can’t heal others nor myself, nor multiply food, nor walk on water or calm the wind and waves. I have to use secondary methods.

    John the Baptist did not say for Roman Soldiers to be righteous they would need to discard their swords, nor bother the Centurian with the sick servant about his position.

  • David Quelle

    But yet there is not a single example in scripture of one of His disciples defending themselves by using force. His followers were beaten, stoned and unjustly thrown in prison but there is no indication they ever fought back. It is so easy to pick and choose what example of Jesus’ that we want to follow. To presume He wants us to take up arms is not justifiable by the apostles example.

    • Andrew Mason

      They were faithful in the face of persecution, but nothing is said of how they responded to people breaking into buildings, or attacks on others. Beyond a certain point we are left to speculate and extrapolate. We know Jesus preached much of the OT, and that does include the taking up of arms in particular contexts.

    • That was the other topic I said wasn’t covered under this article. But see what Trilemma said about Acts 23.

    • Lana Stanley

      Yes, Jesus told them to arm themselves: Luke 22:36 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.

      • David Quelle

        The interpretation of that verse is open to considerable debate. If Paul had been following this commandment as you interpret it he would have had plenty of opportunity to use that sword. There is no indication he ever used the sword himself.

      • stan schmunk

        Now try Matthew 26:52-53

        • Chip Crawford

          Jesus did not work from a template. Those are very different circumstances. He instructed them according to what they had before them in Luke, knowing the circumstances. In Matthew, the rash act pre-empted his right to the response, well intentioned as the disciple may have been. He knew those circumstances as well. However, you have brought up a clear example that the disciples carried weapons, at least at times. Jesus would know that they had them. He was the leader and made the rules. Go to the bottom of the class. Sheesh.

  • Trilemma

    I don’t see any significant difference between having a gun to protect you against someone attacking you or having someone with a gun next to you to protect you against someone attacking you. In Acts 23, when Paul found out about the plot to kill him, he armed himself with two hundred soldiers, seventy horsemen, and two hundred spearmen.

    • That’s a great point.

    • David Quelle

      God often uses the state to accomplish tasks that he does not intend for his people to do themselves. In fact he will use ungodly men to accomplish His purposes (i.e. Nebuchadnezzar taking Israel captive).

      God provided for Paul with the Roman guard but I do not believe Paul would have picked up a sword himself. There is no indication anyway in scripture he would have taken up arms although if any believe ever had the justification to do so, it was Paul.

      Paul trusted himself to the sovereignty of God and believed that God could save him

      • Chip Crawford

        That was Paul’s leading perhaps, but does not indicate general direction. Peter had a sword on in the Garden, when he cut off the soldier’s ear. It was too hasty, and Jesus corrected the action. However, Jesus was aware he had the sword with him. Likely, it was a practice that one or more of the disciples carried them, or may be all. We note in instructions for missionary outreach that Jesus told groups to take or not take different things, according to that group and their particular mission. Be led; Jesus can still tell you what you should do, where and when.

        • David Quelle

          Your point is well taken and I do believe that different situations require different actions.

          However, apart from scripture can you provide an example where the use of a weapon actually helped advace the kingdom of God and spread the gospel. I believe there are far more examples of martyrdom than the use of arms for effectively converting souls.

          • Chip Crawford

            Please explain how widespread martyrdom, eliminating the conversion force, aids in winning souls? That wouldn’t work well with the US armed forces, and witnesses are required to retain their bodies in God’s earthly army as well. Don’t offer otherwise; it’s one thing that is dispensational. 🙂

      • Trilemma

        If a husband has his wife killed by arranging for another man to kill her,  then the husband is guilty of murder by proxy.  If the 40+ Jews had attacked and the Romans killed them, then Paul would have killed them by proxy since he arranged for the Romans to kill them on his behalf. 

        A Roman soldier is a weapon.  If Paul would use a Roman soldier provided by God as a weapon to defend himself with deadly force, why wouldn’t he use a sword provided by God to defend himself with deadly force?

  • Hmmm…

    One of the Pauline revelations was the authority of the believer. Jesus said: “In my name …” do this and that. Well: Matthew 10:7 And as ye go, preach, saying, The kingdom of heaven is at hand.
    8 Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out devils: freely ye have received, freely give.
    Mark 9:39 But Jesus said, Forbid him not: for there is no man which shall do a miracle in my name, that can lightly speak evil of me.

    For those who have dispensationalized verses such as the above, you did so on your own. One of the purposes and results of the outpouring of the Holy Spirit in the late 60’s, early 70’s was to restore the revelation to this generation, of a believer’s right and commission to use his name to carry on his ministry, and to use in his stead. It was not just to the first century or the apostles who lived in Jesus’ time.

    Many are still carrying out that commission. The greater miracles are overseas because they don’t have those rebuttals that are already forming in your head if you have read this far. Others are still happening in and through American and other believers, who receive the commission and know that Jesus is the same yesterday, today and forever. John 14:12 Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believes on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do; because I go unto my Father.

    Jesus both provided and intended his followers to take up his name he included in their inheritance for their protection, resistance to the works of the devil and more. Many do so as part of their Christian walk these days. More can. It is a return to the full Gospel that is increasingly needed in this time in which we live. God has made provision for “whosoever will …” If you won’t, for various, even lofty seeming reasons, his grace for you is frustrated.

    In addition, there are countless examples of personal deliverance and preservation. They are essentially contained in the parts of the Body of Christ who will believe the scriptures which deal with this. There’s a wrong spirit behind many evils that has to yield to the name of Jesus spoken in faith. Some caught in a robbery where the shooter said to get down on the floor and went around to those who had seen him, cried out at one couple that he could not shoot them. His gun just would not work on them. But it is using the name of Jesus, not saying “in his name,” “in your son’s name,” etc. It’s the name of Jesus Given Us under Heaven, and God intended we use it in this realm right now where it is needed. Just cry out Jesus if disaster looms before you,. Call on the Lord and be saved from the harm. Jesus is a name known in three realms.

  • childofjehovah

    Rom 13:3 For rulers are not a fear to good works, but to evil. And do you wish not to fear the authority? Do what is good, and you shall have praise from the same.
    Rom 13:4 For he is God’s servant to you for good. But if you do evil, fear; for he does not bear the sword in vain; for he is God’s servant, an avenger for wrath to the one practicing evil. Submit sword for gun. same intended outcome. and in submitting to our leaders and authority, the founders were clear in the 2nd amendment, “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed” So on more ways then one gun ownership is absolutely biblical.

    • stan schmunk

      What does the phrase ‘well regulated militia’ mean to you?

    • Mark

      if the bible says we have the right to bear arms, that’s all the proof we need to do the OPPOSITE. The bible and it’s teachings are backwards and based on hatred and intolerance. It is logical to do the opposite

  • Mark

    pretty sure if you believe any of the christian crap, jesus said, he comes not in peace but with a sword. Christians always forget that. They forget he insisted on upholding all 613 commandments from the OT. Prince of peace? lmao. A baby-murdering, human hating POS best describes your god

    • Chip Crawford

      No, dear person; it’s your lens …

      • Mark

        lol, yup, my lens is off. I think a god murdering babies for no reason, a bit psychotic. Scary that you actually worship such a douchebag

        • Chip Crawford

          I pray healing for your wounded spirit.

          • Mark

            thanks. Since prayer is a completely USELESS mode of helping another, you’re really doing nothing and yet, you THINK you are!
            lol, funny how you don’t dispute your god murders babies and you’re ok with that

          • Chip Crawford

            God does not require defending. You confirm my observation that you intended to shock, and other than just being reprobate, it can indicate a wounded spirit that experienced a loss and absence when protection and help was needed. Many turn bitter over those episodes; but those who don’t, come out much better. No, I will not answer your slurs, and will block you if you continue to malign our God. But I feel for your neediness, and can understand why you may feel the need to lash out. But as one man said to his wife when a child died young: We can’t afford to be angry with God; we need him too much. Bitterness will never serve. Comfort and with time and openness, answers can come.

          • Mark

            I’m curious, how can I be angry at something within your imagination? You really aren’t a logical thinker.
            My issue is with people that BLINDLY follow a god they BELIEVE murdered every baby on earth and you think it’s ok. If the fact I spout your bible shocks you, that’s your problem, not mine

          • Chip Crawford

            Nonsense. Nobody gets this exercised over how someone else thinks or believes. Your charge is patently spurious. Once again, I see your solicitation for shock and outrage. Denied once again. Again, I see through you to your quivering core.

          • Mark

            lmao, sorry when your beliefs interfere with the beliefs of thinking people, I will speak my peace. Then, as part of the secular world, we make laws that render your silly christian backwards beliefs totally powerless. Just like your imaginary god

          • Chip Crawford

            It’s speak my “piece.” Hope some day you will have some “peace” to speak.

          • stan schmunk

            You haven’t heard of the Noaic flood or read some of the tales of conquest in Joshua, etc.?

  • jimpemberton

    Why would Jesus need to tote a weapon when he has legions of armed angels at his beck and call and the power to create and destroy with a word?

    As for me, I have a wife and kids that depend on me. I will protect them to the best of my ability and defend myself for the same reason. I will also defend others from malice as I am able because that’s what neighbors do for each other.

    • Hmmm…

      Jesus laid down his mighty weight and power when he was born into the earth as a man. He prayed and received power from God as can any believer. He demonstrated that. He taught that you can say to this mountain be removed and it will obey you. That is bible. They and we can operate in the powers he did. However, we need to also do what he did, walk in faith and in devotion with the Father in order for these things to operate.

      • jimpemberton

        “Jesus laid down his mighty weight and power when he was born into the earth as a man.”

        No he didn’t. His prayer to and trust in the Father was an outworking of the perfect inter-trinitarian relationship that they share eternally. What Jesus did do was to withhold his judgment and wrath for the purpose of atoning for our sins and reconciling us to himself and allowing himself to suffer the wrath of the God that is due to the ones he came to save. Knowing when to use your power and when not to is something that responsible gun owners should likewise exhibit. That’s the proper application to the issue at hand.

        • Hmmm…

          Phil. 2:6 Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God:
          7 But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men:
          8 And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.

          Jesus prayed the Father for those to whom he ministered. Being God, but operating on earth in the form of man, he did not operate as God, but needed to pray to God as men need to pray to God. He sought his Father for his plans for each day, what to do and say. As God, he would not have to do that, would not have to ask for God’s will and plan.

          Satan was able to tempt him in the wilderness. God cannot be tempted. It is man that can be tempted.

          Jesus operated as a prophet under the Old Covenant. He ushered in the New, and did not take up his Godly powers and glory again until he was resurrected.

          • jimpemberton

            You misunderstand the word ἐκένωσεν in verse 7 translated here “made… of no reputation.” Although the word means “he emptied out” even you acknowledge that he was still God. And indeed he is still fully God. But look at the context. Paul is using Jesus as an example for the Philippians to follow. He isn’t telling the Philippians to be less than other people, but to count themselves less than others. It’s a relational exercise, not an ontological one.

          • Hmmm…

            Jesus did not operate at an unfair advantage in what he did, and then tell us to do the same. What he taught us, he had to himself perform as a man in the same spiritual environment in which we live. Yes, he was God, with superior power suspended. Even you should be able to follow that. Look at the context. It makes my point. I never said the Phil. were less than other people or told to be or that the text said that. Ontology has nothing to do with it. You know, I think we agree. It’s a good thing. 🙂

  • ketzazu

    “First, Christians are called to be like Jesus, but not to follow His every detailed example”.
    The one who does not follow every detailed example of Jesus can not be considered a Christian and is obviously not a Christian.

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