Few things have saddened me more in recent days than the unjust murder of George Floyd. First is his death, and second is the response certain Americans have given to the type of protest seen in Minnesota, including the mocking of it.
“It was wrong for him to die but it was also wrong of THEM to riot and burn a Target,” some Americans say.
Who are these THEM? Why are we devolving into US vs THEM language again?
Because it’s about control.
The African American community has been ushered into oppression for hundreds of years. No matter what form of protest they attempt, it’s seen as wrong – taking a knee during sporting events, to now riots. How are they to be heard?
Most people I see denouncing the riots claim to be Christians. I came across this tweet on my Facebook timeline this morning and it makes a solid point:
As someone who is a Christian and familiar with this specific text, I wanted to take a closer look at it, because having some theological background really hits this tweet home.
Jesus Clears the Temple Courts
13 When it was almost time for the Jewish Passover, Jesus went up to Jerusalem. 14 In the temple courts he found people selling cattle, sheep and doves, and others sitting at tables exchanging money. 15 So he made a whip out of cords, and drove all from the temple courts, both sheep and cattle; he scattered the coins of the money changers and overturned their tables. 16 To those who sold doves he said, “Get these out of here! Stop turning my Father’s house into a market!” 17 His disciples remembered that it is written: “Zeal for your house will consume me.”[c]
18 The Jews then responded to him, “What sign can you show us to prove your authority to do all this?”
19 Jesus answered them, “Destroy this temple, and I will raise it again in three days.”
20 They replied, “It has taken forty-six years to build this temple, and you are going to raise it in three days?” 21 But the temple he had spoken of was his body. 22 After he was raised from the dead, his disciples recalled what he had said. Then they believed the scripture and the words that Jesus had spoken.
23 Now while he was in Jerusalem at the Passover Festival, many people saw the signs he was performing and believed in his name.[d] 24 But Jesus would not entrust himself to them, for he knew all people. 25 He did not need any testimony about mankind, for he knew what was in each person.
Okay, why are you reading this?
Well, let’s examine what exactly these temple courts might have been. Some theologians, such as the biblical historian Ray Vander Laan, speculate that the temple courts mentioned were the Gentile Courts, where the Gentiles were allowed to worship JHVH in the temple.
Jesus was enraged not only by God’s house being used as a market, but also by the specific place where the money changers were conducting business – the Gentiles could not worship God there in peace. This was ethnic injustice.
So, what did Jesus do? He rioted. Literally.
You could be wrong about the Gentile thing.
But even if I’m not, Jesus did literally do that whole riot thing. He turned over money changing tables. Cash was lost. Is that theft? What is that? Is that looting?
You are thinking in a worldly, not heavenly mindset.
Yes, Jesus alludes to raising Himself from the dead and us all having eternal life through Him. But that didn’t stop Him from action while He was on Earth, as we should not waste our time here.
I think it’s also important to note that nobody understood Jesus when he said, “Destroy this temple, and I will raise it again in three days.” We often misunderstand each other. These gross misunderstandings and exploitations of them are contributing factors of injustice.
You are saying controversial, ungodly things and people will unfollow you.
Yes, I am. But I’m saying them in one of the few ways I know how. And I must say something.