morning we hear the author of Hebrews use a very unusual, but interesting
analogy, i.e. s/he compares the Word of God to a two-edged sword.
The most famous two-edged swords of antiquity are the Greek Xiphos and Roman
Gladius. They were relatively light double-edged swords that contributed to the
successes in warfare—one of the reasons why the Greek and Roman Empires
established themselves in such a powerful way.
sword is probably what the author of Hebrews had in mind. It was a standard
issue weapon for all Roman soldiers. It was a little shorter and lighter and
thus more effective than its predecessor, the Xiphos (which was also a
The advantage of the double-edge, of course, is that no matter which way you
strike, you can attack the enemy on the battlefield.
The truth of the “sword message” is that the gospel, while it is the good news
of God’s grace and salvation, also makes very hard demands on us. These demands
by Jesus remind us that there is a cost to discipleship, as Dietrich Bonhoeffer
(1) so aptly phrased. What is the cost of discipleship? Truthfully, these are
things we all struggle with. . . .
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