Sunday, June 04, 2006

Background of violence and Uniqueness of Jesus: antony ka

 One of the major reactions to colonial exploitative situation of Palestine was that of violence. In different measures all the reactions to colonialism, namely communalism, fundamentalism, injustice, corruption, fanatic interpretation of religion, extreme legalism and discriminations implied violence either physical or an ideological level. Physical violence was promoted by zealots. Ideological violence was advocated by different groups and sects, especially Pharisees and scribes. Jesus had no slant on any of those various streams of reactions. The uniqueness of Jesus is evident exactly in this that he is totally against violence in any form.

Gospels say that Jesus made a whip of chords and drove the money-changers and the cattle-traders out of the temple premise allotted for the gentiles that was illegally occupied by these businessmen, Jesus got into some quick action of cleansing. It is unrealistic to hold that it was the violent action of Jesus his mostly grasp of disciples, which forced the money- changers and the cattle traders out of the temple. Rather it was moral stance that could not be questioned by the avaricious men that brought out the cleaning of the temple. “The whip of chords” was at the most two or three chords of rope held together in order to drive the cattle away. The real focus of the text is not Jesus’ physical action but messianic zeal for the temple, which should be the house of prayer not only for Jews, but for all people.

In a number of occasions Jesus actually points out the futility of relying upon military power or physical strength or recourse to violence to provide security. He denounced the disciples’ wish to call down fire upon the Samaritan (Lk 9:54-55). In denying the charge of satanic possession (Lk 11:21-22) he pokes fun at the inordinate reliance upon armour or weapon. He reiterates the same lesson when he orders Peter in the garden of Gethsemane sheath his sword (Mt 26:52). Now one may be quickly reminded how at the last supper Jesus himself asks the disciples to sell their mantle and buy swords (Lk 22:35-38). “Sword” in the words of Jesus cannot be understood literally, for he was the one who preached and practiced non-violence all through his life. In fact, this is not the first time that he uses the word “sword” symbolically to refer to strife on account of the good news.


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