There are some that suggest that Jesus was part of the Zealot movement - whose mission was to drive out the Romans from the Holy Land using violence.
But this was not Jesus' mission. He had a greater purpose. His purpose was spiritual. His purpose was to spread the teachings of love for God in order to truly save us.
The first part of Jesus' statement above relates to when he sent out his disciples to teach. In Luke 11, it specifically states that he sent out 72 disciples, and requested they don't take a money belt, a bag or sandals. Why?
Because he didn't want them to collect money or otherwise profit from their mission of spreading Jesus' teachings. He wanted them to take refuge in God.
This opposes the current institutions that supposedly follow Jesus. They pay their teachers salaries in order to teach. Those who teach in exchange for a salary cannot be representing Jesus.
But then Jesus states that now his students should not only carry a bag and sandals - but they should also have a sword. Why is that?
Because now Jesus is seeing changes are taking place around him. He is understanding that he will be arrested and put on trial, and persecuted. And those who are to persecute him will in turn seek out his followers to persecute them as well.
Remember that Jesus' mission is to spread his teachings of love for God. So now he wants to make sure that his followers are able to protect themselves, so they can survive long enough to spread his teachings. Jesus' statement confirms this necessity. Being "numbered with the transgressors" indicates that Jesus' students will also be subject to persecution.
This illustrates that Jesus' teachings are also practical. They relate directly to the time and circumstance.
This opposes the many interpreters and ecclesiastical teachers that like to take Jesus' teachings out of context, applying them unrealistically to current conditions. One who is truly passing on Jesus' teachings will understand how to apply those teachings to the current time and circumstances.
And this is precisely what Jesus was doing. He was spreading the same essential teachings that Moses taught his students. But Jesus' precise teachings to his disciples applied the current time and circumstance.
Yet still, Moses' teaching of love for God (Deuteronomy 6:5) was precisely quoted by Jesus.
So what is the quote, ‘And he was numbered with the transgressors’ mean, and why did Jesus quote this?
The quote comes from the Book of Isaiah:
Therefore I will give him a portion among the great, and he will divide the spoils with the strong, because he poured out his life unto death, and was numbered with the transgressors. (Isaiah 52:12)Isaiah is communicating God's statements regarding those who serve Him and spread His teachings to people - who are often treated badly and even confused with common criminals. They are persecuted due to their commitment to the Supreme Being.
Jesus is quoting this excerpt because he knows that since he will be considered a criminal, so will his followers. They must therefore survive and protect themselves in order to continue spreading the teachings of love for God.
Instead of focusing on what Jesus taught, sectarian teachers and their followers often focus upon Jesus' suffering - as they relish in the idea that Jesus' suffering will somehow cleanse them and remove the responsibility of their sins.
Yes, it is true that when the loving servant of God is persecuted, there is the potential for purification. But this purification is not for those who revel in the persecution of God's loving servant.
The potential for purification comes with the realization of Jesus' extreme love for the Supreme Being - that he would allow himself to be persecuted on behalf of his teachings of love for God.
This recognition of the loving relationship between Jesus and God - the sacrifice that is being made in order to spread God's teachings - is the stuff of the spiritual realm. This is the essence of spiritual perfection: To surrender one's life to God in love.
This is why Jesus' most precious teaching was:
"Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ (Matt. 22:37, Mark 12:40, Luke 10:27, Deut. 6:5)