Calvin's Commentaries, Vol. 33: Matthew, Mark and Luke, Part III, tr. by John King, [1847-50], at sacred-texts.com
35. And he said to them, When I sent you without purse, or scrip, or shoes, did you want any thing? And they said, Nothing. 36. He therefore said to them, But now let him who hath a purse take it, and, in like manner, a scrip; and let him who hath not a sword sell his garment and buy one. 37. For I tell you, that this also which is written must be accomplished in me, And he was reckoned with the transgressors. For those things which relate to me have an end. 200 38. And they said, Lord, lo, here are two swords. And he said to them, It is enough.
Luke 22:35. And he said to them. The whole object of this discourse of Christ is to show, that hitherto he spared his disciples, so as to lay on them no heavier burden than they were able to bear. He reminds them of the indulgence exercised during the past time, that they may now prepare themselves with greater alacrity for severer warfare. For why did he, while they were altogether destitute of skill and training, keep them in the shade and in repose, at a distance from the darts of the enemy, except that, by gradually gathering courage and strength during the interval of leisure, they might be better prepared for fighting? The meaning is: “Hitherto you have had an easy and prosperous condition, because I wished to treat you gently, like children; the full time is now come, when I must employ you in labor, like men.” But the comparison which he makes between the two periods is still more extensive; for if they wanted nothing, when they proceeded to discharge their office without taking with them a stock of provisions, when a state of peace allowed them leisure to provide for their necessities, much more now, in the midst of tumult and excitement, ought they to lay aside anxiety about the present life, and run wherever necessity calls them. And although Christ makes special mention of what he had done in reference to the twelve apostles, he shows likewise, that while we are still beginners and weak in faith, he continues to indulge us till we grow up to be men; and, therefore, that they act improperly who devote their leisure to the pursuit of luxuries, which abate the rigor of their faith. And let us not doubt that Christ has regard to us in the present day, since he does not hurry us into the battle while we are still untrained and inexperienced, but, before sending us to the field, supplies us with arms and courage.
36. But now let him who hath a purse take it. In metaphorical language he threatens that they will soon meet with great troubles and fierce attacks; just as when a general, intending to lead the soldiers into the field of battle, calls them to arms, and orders them to lay aside every other care, and think of nothing else than fighting, not even to take any thought about procuring food. For he shows them—as is usually done in cases of extreme danger—that every thing must be sold, even to the scrip and the purse, in order to supply them with arms. And yet he does not call them to an outward conflict, but only, under the comparison of fighting, he warns them of the severe struggles of temptations which they must undergo, and of the fierce attacks which they must sustain in spiritual contests. That they might more willingly throw themselves on the providence of God, he first reminded them, as I have said, that God took care to supply them with what was necessary, even when they carried with them no supplies of food and raiment. Having experienced so large and seasonable supplies from God, they ought not, for the future, to entertain any doubt that he would provide for every one of their necessities.
37. That this also which is written must be accomplished in me. This adverb also is emphatic; for Christ means, that he had not yet discharged every part of his office, till he had been ranked with ungodly and wicked men, as if he had been one of their class. But that their minds might not be too much disturbed by the baseness of such a transaction, he quotes a prediction of Isaiah, (Isa 53:12) which, it is certain, cannot be explained but as referring to the Messiah. Now since it is there said that he was to be reckoned among transgressors, such a spectacle, however atrocious, ought not to alarm believers, or to alienate them from Christ, who could not have been their Redeemer in any other way than by taking upon himself the shame and disgrace of a wicked man. For nothing is better adapted to remove grounds of offense, when we are alarmed by any strange occurrence, than to acknowledge that it so pleases God, and that whatever takes place by his appointment is not done rashly, or without a good reason; more especially when that which is made evident by the event itself was anciently predicted. Since, then, the disciples ought to expect a Redeemer such as God had formerly promised, and since Isaiah had expressly declared, that in order that he might deliver us from the guilt of offenses the punishment must be laid on him, (Isa. 53:5, 6,) this ought to be sufficient for abating the horror of the disciples, and for preventing them from entertaining less esteem for Christ.
For those things which relate to me have an end. By these words, immediately added, he means that the prophets spoke nothing in vain. For this Greek phrase, τέλος ἔχει, have an end; means that they are accomplished, or put in effect. Now when every thing that the prophets spoke is verified by the event, it ought rather to contribute to strengthen our faith, than to strike us with alarm or anxiety. But while Christ encourages and comforts the disciples by this single argument, that all the predictions must be accomplished, the very procedure of the divine purpose contains within itself no ordinary ground of confidence, which is, that Christ was subjected to the condemnation which we deserved, and was reconciled among transgressors, that we, who are transgressors, and loaded with crimes, might be presented by him to the Father as righteous. For we are reckoned pure and free from sins before God, because the Lamb, who was pure and free from every blemish, was placed in our room, as we shah have occasion to state again under the next chapter.
38. Lord, lo, here are two swords. It was truly shameful and stupid ignorance, that the disciples, after having been so often informed about bearing the cross, imagine that they must fight with swords of iron. When they say that they have two swords, it is uncertain whether they mean that they are well prepared against their enemies, or complain that they are ill provided with arms. It is evident, at least, that they were so stupid as not to think of a spiritual enemy. As to the inference which the Doctors of Canon Law draw from these words — that their mitered bishops have a double jurisdiction — it is not only an offensive allegory, but a detestable mockery, by which they ridicule the word of God. And it was necessary that the slaves of Antichrist should fall into such madness, of openly trampling under feet, by sacrilegious contempt, the sacred oracles of God.
“Prenent fin, ou, ont accomplissement;” — “take end, or, have their fulfillment.”