The fact you “just can’t picture Jesus picking up a gun and heading over to the middle-east and killing people” says more about you than it does about Jesus. Study the Scripture. Learn the difference between loving your enemy and protecting your family. Learn what it means that God establishes government to wield the sword. Ask why Jesus told his followers to buy swords.
Obeying God’s call to lay down your life for the Kingdom is one thing; allowing evil men to ravage your family is quite another. We cannot honor God if we approach life and others with violence in our hearts. That’s what non-violence is about. It’s not about being defenseless, either as a person, a family, or a nation.
Yes, Jesus said not to resist the evil person, but that is in the context of a teaching about the old-school law of revenge. (Matthew 5:38-39) Both Paul and Peter emphasize that we must not repay evil with evil. If we do, we make ourselves as wicked as the other person. When Jesus says to turn the other cheek and love our enemies, he puts it in the context of being persecuted for righteousness’ sake: “Love your enemies! Pray for those who persecute you! In that way, you will be acting as true children of your Father in heaven.” (Matthew 5:44-45 NLT) Take a close look at daily life in primitive Muslim or tribal societies, and you will see the horror and sorrow the law of revenge wreaks on people’s lives. As Paul says, vengeance is best left to the Lord, who is capable of far more effective judgment than we can even imagine. (Remind me to tell you a story about that sometime.)
A friend observes: “It is somewhat a mystery why they were told to get the swords when The Lord knew He didn’t want them used on that fateful night. They even asked if they should smite with the sword. I’m inclined to think had they been praying instead of thinking they would have discerned when to use the sword and when not to use it. Impulsive Peter drew it and used it, but Jesus did not resist nor do I think He wanted the disciples to resist. Your thoughts?”
I think Jesus understood he had come from God and was going back to God. He understood God’s purpose in his life … and his death. Peter was, once again, thinking like men think, acting on instinct. If the Lord shows me that obedience leads to death, I hope I will be found faithful. But if some punk thinks he’s going to break down my door and harm my family, he better think again. And if that thug heads up an army and leads them to break down doors and harm people, I hope my government will stand up to him.
We are called to love others the way we love ourselves. But we are not called to be stupid victims of common thugs.