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June 17, 2013

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Brad Jersak

I would regard those extra-biblical accounts as also extra-factual. Good stuff for movie-making, but spurious historically.

Riaan Booysen

Dear Brad,

It seems to me that most people who try to defend Christ as non-violent lack a bit of common sense and are also not familiar with extra-biblical accounts of this event. Could a single person really have overpowered everyone in the Temple? Certainly not. Jewish tradition relates that he had stormed the Temple with more than 300 of his followers, which would explain how he managed to 'cleanse' the temple. His disciples also robbed the Temple of its holy objects as recorded in apocryphal texts. More information here: http://www.riaanbooysen.com/the-triumphal-entry-and-cleansing-of-temple

Dan Pedersen

I agree that he was not being violent. There does, as you indicated, seem to be a prophetic significance to his actions, and the term "performance art" is a good way to think of it.

I also see this as possibly an illustration of God's "judgment." Many people think of violence when considering "God's judgment," we quickly forget about the statement "God is love" and the many loving acts and words of Jesus recorded in the Gospels. The closest we get to him demonstrating any sort of "violence" is in this temple cleansing story. I think it puts a different spin on the idea of divine judgment, because he was hardly condemning anyone. It was as you suggested, more of a warning, but not a warning about "God's wrath," a warning to turn away from the lie they were living and embrace the truth. In this sense, God doesn't save us from himself, he saves us from ourselves. So I think it could rightly be said that Jesus, being the very likeness of God's character, was doing what he always did - being a living example of God's love.

josh giesbrecht

I also recall hearing once that the temple leaders may have been requiring people to use animals sold in the temple for sacrifices, instead of bringing their own. In the name of making sure animals were "pure" enough, they were effectively limiting people's access to bring offerings to God. (Which is the sort of thing Jesus would've been quick to denounce.)

However I don't have a source handy to back that up ... don't suppose anyone can confirm that isn't just made up? Could come in handy when I'm speaking on John 2 in a few weeks!

7Streett11

Jesus' cleansing of the Temple was likely an enacted prophecy foretelling of Israel's destruction. In my book "Heaven on Earth: Experiencing the Kingdom of God in the Here and Now" (Available on Amazon) and "Subversive Meals" (forthcoming July 2013) I explain non-violent enacted prophecies and enacted parables and give example.

Alan Streett

pnwfr@centurytel.net

I would also like to add a secondary prophetic voice. Would it be possible that Jesus is also showing the ability to cleanse us (the new temple of God), by being able to drive out those things that deter us from being able to communicate with the Father? I would like to think that Jesus' words are just as important for us today. "If we only knew the things for peace....greed and filling our hearts (temples) with sacrifices and things the Lord does not desire. Just a weird thought from left field. :)

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