Why did jesus use force in the temple?
Jesus could have picked up Dust from the ground and throw it in the air in expression of great displeasure; he could have torn off his clothes to show anger at the sacrilege being done to the Holy Temple at Jerusalem: and drive away the Traders and the Money changers from the Temple Court. He could have sent his Apostle brothers Jacob and John -the Sons of Thunder- or brawny Peter with one of his 2 Swords to cut the Custom Official’s Tables in the Temple Courts; at the least, Jesus could have personally shooed the Traders away; Why did he use Force?
Jesus said: “Do not give Dogs what is sacred; do not throw your Pearls to the Pigs; if you do they may trample them under their feet, and then turn and tear you to pieces” (Mt 7:6). “It is hard for you to kick against the goads”, Jesus warned Paul: Acts 26:14. Practical, realistic, earthly advices; but surprisingly dissimilar, in tone, to the sublime Moral Principle in Mathew 6: 44 Jesus taught -“love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you”.
Dan Brown, the man who wrote the controversial Book -DA VINCI CODE- says the Scripture is a Code but Christians quite often use it in literal Sense; a Code is a secret document not to be literally taken; sometimes people use metaphorical expressions literally, he says. It is good to sometimes interpret biblical narratives in the good sense.
Jesus would have used a Broom if the Temple were full of dirty and litter. In the pretext of facilitating the worship of God, to use a place of Worship and Prayer as a centre of Commerce and Trade, not by innocent children or by ignorant people but by powerful religious Leaders, not for Public Interest but for their own selfish Personal Interest, grossly misusing their Official position and Status is the height of Hypocrisy.
To cleanse such a complicated ‘dirt’, it is needed something more than a simple Broom or a bar of Soap with a Bucket of water. It needs exemplary action.
Jesus did not use Clubs, Spears or Swords to drive the people away from the Temple Court, he did not throw stone at them, he did not employ the sinews of his sometimes brawny fishermen; they may overdo the instructions.
When a Samaritan Village refused permission to Jesus and his Group to pass through their Village Territory to Jerusalem from Galilee, the brothers Jacob and John, Sons of Zebedee, known as the Sons of Thunder, sought permission from Jesus to burn the Village and Peter had 2 Swords, one he carried to a place of Prayer and indeed cut off the Ear of the Servant of the Chief Priest, Jesus did not approve of the violent actions!
He also did not use wooden Clubs or Sticks to beat the Traders, he did not smash the Tables or benches of the Custom Officials, he did not forcefully freed the Doves or the Pigeons from their Cages.
A typical signs of extreme disapproval or Anger in the Jews appears tearing one’s garment off from the Body –the chief priest did this show off at the trial of Jesus in front of Pilat; or pick up Dust from the ground and fling it into the air –the Jews did this when the Centurion pluck Paul out and away from the frenzied Mob at Jerusalem; the Angamis Naga on rare occasions do it. Jesus did not pick up Dust from the Ground and fling it in the Air; he did not tear off his cloth in anger.
The Gospel Writers wrote: “Jesus made a Whip of Cords and drove all from the Temple area” Jn. 2:15. He told the Dove sellers: “Get these out of here, how dare you turn my Father’s house into a market”. The Gospel Writer John did not mention Jesus of actually whipping the people though it is inferred!
On Mahatma Gandhi, extolling his principle ‘Non-Violence’, Nelson Mandela is said to have replied: “Non-Violence is an article of Faith to you; for me, it is a political Tactics: if my Opponent use Non-Violence I will do the same, but if my opponent uses Force, I will adopt the same. It is good for you to use Moral Means, for your Opponent understands Moral Values; however, my opponents do not value it. I will use force if my Opponent uses it”.
Christians sometimes use apparently rough words and strong words for the sake of Truth like when Jesus rebuked the religious leaders and the Pharisees in their face and that too, in public: “Woe to you; Religious Leaders and Pharisees; you hypocrites! You are like whitewashed tombs which look beautiful on the outside but on the inside are full of dead men’s bones and everything unclean. You Snakes. You brood of Vipers. How will you escape being condemned to hell?” ; Luke has recorded Paul to have rebuked Peter in the face in Public; Prophet Nathan rebuked King David in the face in the King’s Palace –all for the sake of Truth.
Measured corporal action sometimes is correctly used by Christians to remove Evil in the world of Mammon in Public Interest. Jesus used rope whip alone which causes only pain and no injury.