Seems Like Jesus Needed to Be Arrested for Turning over Moneychanger Tables and Whipping Moneychangers

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    Feb 17, 2015 5:17 AM GMT
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    After researching the arrest and death of Jesus, I have found an interpretation given by Tim O’Neill that is compelling. Tim admits that he is not a professional scholar himself, but he does claim he has been following the “scholarship on the historical Jesus, his Jewish socio-religious context and the origins of Christianity for over 25 years.” For what it’s worth, none of his writings that I’ve read go against the (admittedly little) scholarship that I’ve read. In any case, here is a summary of his interpretation of the arrest and execution of Jesus:

    The Romans are in Jerusalem overseeing the Passover festival.
    Jesus causes a disturbance in the Temple, one which gives cause for concern to the Roman authorities.
    Fearful of a general reprisal against the Passover crowds from Pontius Pilate, the Sanhedrin finds and arrests Jesus.
    The Sanhedrin then hands over Jesus to Pilate in attempt to placate him.
    Pilate orders Jesus’ crucifixion.

    Now, on to John and the point of this post. If this summary of Jesus’ arrest and crucifixion is more or less historical, what do we make of John 18:14?

    “14 Caiaphas was the one who had advised the Jews that it was better to have one person die for the people.”

    Obviously this passage fits in perfectly with John’s theology (Jesus is the lamb of God whose blood washes away the sins of the world and saves us from death, etc.), but could it be historical as well? If the high priest was explaining why he needed to capture and hand Jesus over to the Romans, this would be his first and biggest justification for doing so. I can even see how Caiaphas’ justification could ironically play a part in the fertilization of a new theology in John’s community!
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    Feb 17, 2015 5:18 AM GMT
    That is interesting.

    Jesus makes a scene on Sunday with his entrance.

    My pastor always reminds us that Jesus would have cleansed the Temple on Sunday but he ran out of time and so he did it on Monday.

    The way the cleansing story goes, Jesus was the only one disturbing the peace. The disciples didn’t join in. The crowds didn’t join in.

    The story does not make sense, however. For Yom Kippur, one would expect house of prayer without money changers, not for Passover. One cannot get angry at Passover money changers. It is probably not even historical. The devout who didn’t have their own animals to sacrifice (not only animals but animals without blemish) would have to buy animals to sacrifice.

    Because Jesus’ anger makes absolutely no sense (what is wrong with this Galilean?), no one joined in. The emperor had no clothes there.

    SO, I must disagree with your assumption of a general reprisal. If there were one or a few people who joined in turning over tables, then you’d have a clearer shot at making this case. Here, Jesus is the only one who needs to be arrested.

    Second, and this is secondary. Maybe there were some looking to make trouble because Pontius Pilate went after the Samaritans. I don’t know if he did that before or after Passover, however.

    Jesus introduced volatility into that Passover week, no one else.

    But he came with a team of 12. Who knew what other trouble the Galilean was going whip up in his purist stance against what a 1,300 year old religious tradition? Next time, would there be 13 people causing trouble? He had a cheering crowd on Passover, so the situation could easily get out of hand.

    Yes, put him in custody until Passover is over and people from out of town went home.

    So, the Sanhedrin arrests Jesus only BECAUSE his disciples did not join in turning over tables and whipping money changers.

    I don’t see sacrificing one for the many. It hadn’t gotten to that point for Caiphas to say what he said.
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    Feb 17, 2015 3:40 PM GMT
    I've always thought the primary reason for the arrest & prosecution of Jesus was his interfering with the business of the Temple in Jerusalem. It wasn't his teachings and religious heresy so much, since eccentric zealots have a long & honored history in Judaism, as chronicled in the Old Testament.

    Nor were the Romans much interested, in my view. The New Testament account, if it can be believed, has Pilate reluctant to convict Jesus. "Why, what evil has he done?"

    Pilate wouldn't have said that if he had already identified Jesus as a threat to Rome. It took the Jewish leaders to threaten Pilate by saying: "If you release this man you are no friend of Caesar".

    So it comes down to a matter of economics, not theology. Jesus upset the money-making at the Temple, and that's what doomed him.
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    Feb 17, 2015 11:42 PM GMT
    Art_Deco

    Pilate wouldn't have said that if he had already identified Jesus as a threat to Rome. It took the Jewish leaders to threaten Pilate by saying: "If you release this man you are no friend of Caesar".

    Steefen

    Pilate's position would have been, So what if he raised Lazarus. Is he going to raise a zombie army against the Roman legions?

    Apparently, the Gospel of John indicates that the plot to get rid of Jesus happened because he raised Lazarus from the dead. By doing this Jesus became more popular than he was. When a religious leader becomes very popular, he becomes a political threat. A political threat with a platform of a Kingdom of God should have been a warning sign to Pilate.

    In the mind of the Jewish authorities, why wait until Jesus does something else against the status quo? Next time, he may not be the only one turning over tables, next time he may start a riot.