Why a short life?

There is a major flaw in the creeds. We read for example in the ‘Apostles Creed’:

I believe in God, the Father almighty,
creator of heaven and earth.

I believe in Jesus Christ, God’s only Son, our Lord,
who was conceived by the Holy Spirit,
born of the Virgin Mary,
suffered under Pontius Pilate,
was crucified, died, and was buried;
he descended into hell.
On the third day he rose again;
he ascended into heaven,
he is seated at the right hand of the Father,
and he will come to judge the living and the dead.

I believe in the Holy Spirit,
the holy catholic Church,
the communion of saints,
the forgiveness of sins,
the resurrection of the body,
and the life everlasting. Amen.

When I first met the stream that I am heavily influenced by, the Anabaptist stream, they helped me see the major missing element: no life for Jesus. Born –> suffered –> died –> rose! It suits many believers, his life, the Sermon on the Mount and his other teachings have no relevance for us. Of course we have to put Jesus in his setting, his message is to the Jewish world, but we cannot dismiss his life like that. He was not simply ‘born to die’ so as I might be born again, not die (eternally) but live for ever.

But… why the short life? Following the normal tradition we have Jesus in obscurity till 30, no miracles, his ‘hour’ had not yet come. Then for three years he travelled, taught, confronted in no uncertain manner tradition that distorted who the living God was, implicitly made some extraordinary self-claims, miracles, crowds, opposition. Talk about full on. Then after three years his ‘hour’ had come.

If his life is so important would it not have been a great advantage to have lived for another 40-50 years. Deposit wisdom, lay deep foundations, then the death on the cross after that? Of course here I am in the realm of ‘perspectives’ for we have no solid biblical tradition for an answer. The best I can do is:

It is better I go away.

He became one of us, yet he is truly beyond all of us. Seems there is something so down to earth with God that he does not want to fulfil the task for us. He wants us in our weakness, frailty and yet far from being truly-human in our abilities and characters to get on with the task. Jesus’ death is vital, his life is essential but the task is for us. He restored (all authority) and then said ‘make disciples’, fellow learners, fellow mistake-makers.

Maybe this has eschatological implications too. Maybe God could have wrapped this all up long ago and saved us a lot of pain. Peter says his delay is he wants all to come to repentance (2 Pet. 3:9), yet the longer this goes on it seems there are many who do not come to repentance, so we even have to think through that Scripture some. Maybe Jesus could have lived longer – but it ‘was better’ that he did not. Better for us. Maybe God could wrap this all up… but maybe it is better for us. Maybe there is something about this being mysteriously tied up with a task for us to fulfil. Without going down the ‘pure bride’, nor the post-millennial route (that would call for a change of mind on my part!!) perhaps we have to ask the question about the task that God has set before us. What are we to do? Could it be ‘it is better I don’t return yet’, and if so we have to find the same answer the early disciples did.

We need the Holy Spirit, and we face our own insecurities, dysfunctional behaviour, inadequacies, yet find ourselves unable to believe there cannot be a different world, a place where God is welcome, that does not order itself on a top-down hierarchical system that favours those from privileged backgrounds.

Yes if Jesus had stayed around till he was 70, or had returned some while back how much better off we would be. Apparently not.


Priests, priests and yet more priests

‘A kingdom of priests’. Radical words and a radical concept. Not kings and priests. Not kings nor priests. But a kingdom of priests. The means of rulership, and what must define rulership, would be a priestly path. Not a kingly path.

So a few presuppositions:

  • God never wanted a separate priesthood. This is pretty radical – no Temple, no king, and no priest(s). If this is true then we have a very compromised ‘chosen people’.
  • The NT people of God – or maybe the post-NT people, the people we call the church seem more often than not to pursue a model of rulership that is based on an idea of a king. The appeal that ‘we must have a leader / leadership’ seems to be answered as if the kingly option is the only option.
  • This people have opted for a king(s), a priest(s) and in reality temples. A typical trajectory but pretty compromised also.
  • Chosenness usually creates an identity of superiority and the need to stay separate.
  • But what if this kingdom of priests meant…

What if it meant for Israel that they were not the centre but the channel through which The centre (throne room of heaven) was to touch the centre (the world). What if the means was to be the priest – the in-between, that carried the crap as if it were their own, and rejoiced when the focus of God’s activity received the blessings of heaven. What if there was always going to be a ‘suffering servant’ element to chosenness?

So what about the NT chosen people. Are they called to be highly successful, ever-so-visible, rising to the top, occupying all the places of influence. Would that be a good fulfilment of ‘kingdom of priests’ or would that be more a ‘kingdom of kings’?

To be a kingdom of priests we have to be concerned about the priestly activity:

Representation. Representing God to the other. How true is the representation? How faithful are we to the Gospel message of the freedom in Christ to be truly who we are? And representing the other to God. Not because we are separate from, but we have been privileged to be chosen to intercede (where we stand) to serve, and to rejoice when the blessings are bypassing us and connecting to the other.

Are we on the way to becoming a kingdom of priests or is there some regress at work? There have been some wonderful outpourings of the Spirit this past century, and it seems to me that the jury is out as to whether this could lead to the recipients becoming a less-visible, yet more effective priesthood. If the world truly had a priesthood dispersed throughout it there would be some wonderful shifts. We can no longer assess health by the Adamic measure (he is alive which maybe equates to ‘the church has been revived’) but by the measure of the Last-Adam (‘he is a life-giving Spirit’). The revival of the world, the coming back to life again, life as God intended it, has to be the calling on the priesthood, the quiet, barely visible ones.

I am sure we are not to lose sight of personal encounters with Jesus, but we are also not to straight-jacket people so that we deny a ‘world’ revival. Priests – privileged but sometimes seeming to miss out – so that the world can experience the beauty of heaven, the possibilities of freedom.


The next, but not the last word on expectations

Revelation from the future; expectation from the past. An inevitable clash. We have to walk forward cautiously, seek to interpret, re-interpret, exercise faith – more or less yesterday’s post in summary.

I have documented on numerous occasions the ‘Spanish experience’ of the square filled with 100,000 people waiting for the word of the Lord, and how my expectation was never that of the march for change at the beginning of this year. Assuming it was a true revelation my expectation has changed. I could be wrong to see that march as ‘this is that’ and could now be failing to hold on to a massive Christian event with 100,000 gathered outdoors to hear the word of the Lord in a central square in Spain. The issue is one of faith and submitting to God even when we don’t know how all things fit together.

At the beginning of this year we were sure that the ‘clock would restart in Greece’. On the platform on the eve of the first Greek election this year from the stage was pronounced ‘the clock is starting again in Greece, tick, tock the clock is ticking.’ What would that look like, what would be the fulfilment of that?

Could it be that the unlocking of the doors for immigration to flood the continent be the outcome? Could it be that the people movement of unprecedented levels and the ‘people response’ that is beyond governmental response be the outcome – a true democracy?

So back to the direction of yesterday’s post. My expectation is increasingly that the outcome of revelation / prayer is going to be less and less directly visible in the ‘church’ and more and more visible in the world.

I am torn between God is doing a new thing (in the sense of a new thing with us, not in the sense that he is trying another plan as the first one failed!) and realising that can bring us into the trap of how special we are and that we are the judge of all things. And yet in spite of that caveat I so lean toward ‘a new thing’. We push for new understanding, to understand more deeply who God is, what the nature of the cross is, but the real push I think is the biblical one I see in Revelation. That inevitable push for a global, people movement from all creation.

My expectation has to be enlarged the more I see the bigness of God’s heart for his creation, for all people. We are surely in the post-sower who sows the seed parable, and truly the context of the second kingdom parable is here with us right now. The incarnated seed being sown into the world where there will be a double growth of wheat and weeds. Both growing together in God’s field.

It’s a tougher environment. There are far more threats, more insecurities and uncertainties. Yet I think it is where we are meant to be. The vision is of harvest, the process is not of (my old expectation created by the word ‘revival’) people flooding to the church, but of the church finding dislocation to be relocated. My expectation is better described (tentatively) by the word transformation, but perhaps it is the revival of the world that might be a better description. The world truly becoming the world… after all that is the environment where the first humans were placed, and the Incarnation is about ‘true’ humanity. Could the revelation of the true human be there to create an expectation of a true world?

OK, I slow down. I believe that we need Jesus’ parousia, that there is no utopia that will come about through an ideology. Yet I am pushing for what is the nature of the Gospel, what is that creation is longing for?

I don’t know why there is such a mess in this world. (Well I do – Gen. 3 and the failure to curb desire.) To believe in revival of the church with the mess we have created required a level of faith, but the level of mess, greed and disfunctionality in the world is at an all-together different level. Yet if I were to shout the word ‘revival’ it will be met with a very weak expectation that God is blowing on his world. Revival of the world is what I want to sow for.


Revisiting Expectations

A while back I posted on the inevitable and ‘correct’ response to revelation being that of expectation, but that expectation is normally misleading. The example of Peter (flesh and blood has not revealed this to you) indicated a high level of revelation (flesh and blood has not revealed this to you) and yet the expectation that related to this revelation was met by a solid rebuke from Jesus in no uncertain terms. I consider that revelation comes from the future, but is met by our response (expectation of the outcome) that is shaped by our past.

Expectation is to be expected and is good. But it is the expectation that has to develop and even change over a period of time. If not the expectation can either cancel the revelation, or at least put us in a place where we never benefit from the revelation. We can continue to pray and seek for the fulfilment of our expectation, rather than continue to journey with the revelation that we received.

This is a very challenging way to live. It is much easier to draw a straight line from my past and project to a certain future, but the God of the future is ‘the One who is to come’, not simply the predictable ‘One who will be’, though he ‘is’ and he ‘was’.

Prophecy can open up new possibilities, and even as was claimed by our foreparents that there is more light to be shed from the pages of Scripture. Not everything has been yet seen. Last week, and in continuing dialogue, J R Daniel Kirk (Professor at Fuller) put forward a strong proposal, that in spite of Scriptural texts in both testaments, that something new is happening and to be biblical we have to embrace this. I applaud his bravery and openness. He is referring to the embrace of those ‘brothers and sisters’ who are in faithful same-sex union. (The initial post is here.)

Although the parallels are not exact (nor the level of internal canonical dialogue) his bravery is in line with the former debates on the rights and wrongs of slavery. Simplifying his appeal is it is to ‘there is a new thing taking place’. God proclaims in Scripture that he is ‘doing a new thing’, then asks if we perceive it. It seems to me the reason why he asks this question is that we do not perceive it! Expectation, knowledge, prior convictions can all come into play.

Here comes the rub – when is our expectation wrong, and when do we lose the revelation by making a false claim of ‘this is that’. There seems to me no way round this but to walk by faith. And one person’s faith might take them one way and anther person in another direction.

The word ‘revival’ can be problematic as it is one of those very strong words that all-but immediately and inevitably create strong expectations. I used the word a lot in the 90s and the early part of the 2000s. I wrote a book ‘Sowing seeds for revival’. I have not used the word to the same extent in more recent years. I do not have a problem with the word, after all it simply means to bring back to life. And I so believe God is doing that, bringing the church back to life. However, my expectations in 2015 and my expectations some 20 years ago are not the same. 1995 more of the same and than God for the ‘Toronto’ impact that confirmed for me we were headed for more of the same. Life within the church, more gathering to the church, ‘my’ church bigger and more influential etc.

Expectations took me in that direction. And some of the revelation took me that way too. ‘Wild-fire from Wales, to Spain to the Med basin, to Greece, then north Africa and bringing about a ring of fire that joined in Egypt’, for example.

I have used the ‘transformation’ word much more in the past years, but of course that comes with expectations too. I have talked about the gates of society, but how different is the expectation that create from the ‘mountains of influence’ concept?

Oh to have the total picture! But this is not how it is meant to be. So we are back to faith and cautiously interpreting our journey. I’ll post tomorrow a little more.


Hearing and seeing

A pattern in the book of Revelation is one of ‘hearing’ then ‘seeing’. John will hear a voice, for example, and then he will subsequently see something. What he sees will either clarify what he has heard or become the lens though which what he has heard will bring about a change to what would have been anticipated. (Intro that might have nothing to do with what follows!)

Back in the 70s – remember those days? In days of yesteryear when the writer was but a young man… OK, so it was a long time ago, but that was the era when I came to Christ and then later joined the so-called ‘House church movement’ (later ‘new church movement’) in the UK. I am very grateful for the inheritance I gained through that. The sense of God at work was very tangible and the amazement when we would hear of people we had no connection with in other nations, Argentina, USA, Canada, Scandinavia etc. who were hearing the same thing. There did not seem to be anything central to it. There was no common pool that people were coming to, yet they were hearing the same thing. It caused faith to rise that truly we were coming into an era of ‘Restoration’.

In the past few weeks we have heard the same thing in our encounters with others. People with whom we do not have anything like day-to-day (not even month-to-month and in some cases not anything close to year-to-year) contact. And what is being heard is both disturbing and deeply encouraging. Disturbing in that the known parameters are being challenged or even being seen as almost irrelevant. And it all centres around what is the nature of the Gospel. Random stuff from the geography and connections to Damascus (the place where Paul had his encounter), Cornelius household, who needs to be born again, who is unclean / formerly unclean but now declared clean. We currently have a couple with us for a few days – what they are hearing and what they are wrestling with echoes conversations that we have had in detail.

I think we are here again. Globally there are things being heard by the body of Christ. Not being heard because of a reading list that has been distributed, nor because of attendance at the latest conference – indeed things are being heard most likely because there is no common reading list, and many hearing those things are not present in those conferences.

I suggest that the hearing will need to be followed by sight – see the intro is relevant! Sight has to come as our focus has to change. If it is simply ‘heard that’ I know how to interpret it then we can miss it. If it is ‘heard that’ and dismissed that already we are likely to miss this moment.

New language is important. Language is the vehicle to communicate concepts, vision and open up new possibilities. The way that a corporate body responds to new language when threatened is to move through a uncomfortable phase to a phase of tentatively actually using the new language, then claiming it for themselves, thus both disempowering the language and empowering the status quo. Hence hearing by itself is not enough. Sight.

To ‘see’ beyond what he was seeing Moses had to turn aside. John heard and he turned, then saw.

I can only see what I see from where I am at. I can hear new things where I am, but if I am to be transformed by what I hear I have to move, I have to turn.

As the voice of heaven comes we will be disoriented. We will be caught off-balance. What is at stake is not the Gospel per se – that is eternal. But what is at stake is my understanding of the Gospel.

The 70s led to some wonderful (?) idealism. The restoration of the five-fold, the restoration of the church, the release of the ‘man-Child’. Oh the end was so close as we were being restored. So I hope I don’t think with this latest round of ‘hearing’ that all is about to be sorted and ‘we’ are at the centre to outwork the purposes of heaven. Sight will need to come.

So very tentatively let me suggest that what might be at the centre of what is being heard could be the word ‘the world’. And I hope I do not make a big mistake with the outworking of this one, but it could be (to borrow 70s language) about the restoration of the world. I really need to turn, as I need sight to challenge what I think that means. But the buzz is around, just like those decades ago. Keep on listening. Be willing to be shocked as we turn.


Theology or Christology?

Now with that catchy title I have your attention? Been thinking though that this is so central – where do we place our centre, our starting point. Do we start with the unknown: ‘let me tell you about God?’, or do we start with THE human one?

I read a few days ago a post by Andrew Perriman where he quotes an author who refutes that believers would have any sadness concerning those they knew and loved burning for ever in torment because:

…since in heaven Christians will be like God in character, loving what he loves and taking joy in all his self-manifestation—including the manifestation of his justice (in which indeed the saints in Scripture take joy already in this world)—there is no reason to think their eternal joy will be impaired in this way.

I have heard a few arguments over the years, but this one is probably the most honest one I have come across, but with enormous implications. No loss of joy because of our likeness to God – loving what (who) he loves and experiencing no disappointment concerning the loss of human destiny, indeed taking joy in that.

This approach drives the belief that God has love on who he has love for, and exercises ‘justice’ (maybe call that punishment / torture simply because he can) on others. He is able to do what he does simply because he does it, and this is how gods conduct themselves, and God being the one and only supreme God can do this supremely. I appreciate that those who start with ‘God’ are doing so for honourable reasons and because they want to uphold the glory of God (though I do not see that as the biblical definition of glory). It might be very honourable to start with God, the One we do not know, the transcendent One, but this is not where Jesus began. Little wonder he said the only way anyone can get the whole deal is by being born again, with any new way of living only starting with a turning around in the mind.

God is not schizophrenic, showing love to some and justice to others. He is love, and all his ways are just.

So enter stage Jesus, the only one that we can truly claim to be human, and yet we do not have to read too far the pages of Scripture to conclude that he saw himself as God, was worshipped as God, and was understood to be eternally God. He enters the stage not talking about a God who is distant that has to be appeased, but one that was best described as ‘Father’, who carried all the qualities of a parent to such a level that other good ‘fathers’ could be described as ‘evil’. His crazy statement that those who saw him had seen the Father, that he was the only one who could truly reveal God sets the Christian (Jesus-ian) faith apart from all others. Not the faith based on a book (though of course the book is vital), nor on a creed, nor a myth but radically on faith / trust in a Person.

So I suggest my catchy title is where it is at. Either ‘Jesus is my God’, or we have some interesting conclusions that take us in a different direction all-together.

If we do not place the revelation of Jesus centre then we conclude that Jesus maybe showed us one side of God when incarnate, but when he returns we will then see the other side – the judgement side. And Scripture could be read like that. Or maybe that the Jesus of the Gospels wore a bit of a mask to hide that side of God, and so there was only a partial revelation, a revealing of one side, the loving side, of God.

Well of course it is pretty evident which direction I head in. The same Jesus who went up will come down. The Jesus of history, is the Christ of faith, and is the one who is to come. He showed us who God was and there was no deception in that. He showed love for the enemy as being the love that defines God-love. He did not come to win us by might is right, nor by demanding adherence to some holiness standard, but by the purity of love, the clean transparency of a life laid down.

Yes there are difficult passages in Scripture but if I have to I am more than happy to defend those as not portraying God accurately, that those are the places where we can see the mask. God, though being present in those reports, but as much hidden as revealed. If we focus on those passages we will see a distorted image of God, we will only see a mask, not the one who is wearing it. The clear image, hence the only true human claim for Jesus, is in the face of Jesus.

The implications of the Jesus-image as the lens for God and for Scripture is enormous. I am back in the book of Revelation these past few days and read again that the army of the Lord follow the Lamb wherever he goes. Hence the best we do is to ‘seek to be a follower of Jesus’, how authentic we will be is another issue, yet wonderfully without condemnation.

We really need another Jesus movement, otherwise we will worship an image of God, a masked God.

A few posts ago I suggested that even atheists who are truly humanitarian are closer to discovering God than some who start with God and would defend the truth of God and in the process trash other humans. Indeed maybe some of those atheists have found God? Not to believe in a distorted god, but to serve humanity and ‘believe’ in them might crazily be closer to believing in God than we / they realise! That seems the inevitable conclusion when one elevates humanity to the level that Scripture seems to, and certainly that Jesus, the human, does. In Jesus’ day he proclaimed that the tax-collectors and prostitutes were closer to the kingdom than those who were seeking to respond to God by the God-appointed Torah path. Radical words – enough to drive people to want to crucify such a person.

Christology, which has to be centred on Jesus-ology, must be the starting point. Only in Jesus can we get the true revelation of God and only in Jesus can we really come to value humans regardless of background or of faith. All have fallen short, but the falling short is of being human, of ‘the glory of God’.

Gone is the God who exercises power because he can, even if we claim such a God is not a bully because he is loving. To argue that he has all power is not in question, but to say he can do that because he is loving is to fail to define love in Jesus-terms. Love constrains the lover, it is relentless.

I can do no better than to end with a quote from Brian Zahnd:

God is like Jesus.
God has always been like Jesus.
There has never been a time when God was not like Jesus.
We have not always known what God is like—
But now we do.


Healing, non-violence and an economy of exchange

This hopefully will not be tediously long, but it’s a bit of an update as to my current journey and hopefully having more questions than answers is reader approved!

In the last few years my journey out of Institutional Christianity has led me into a wilderness of sorts but in the desert I have found a few monasteries of theology I really never visited much.

One such place is a *non-violent Jesus…now before you gasp to loudly consider that I saw clearly his non-violence in the gospels but was pretty well convinced of Gods violent nature in both the Old Testament as well as the book of Revelation…it was like God put his violence on “hold” during “Today if you hear His voice”, which is a season of mercy…

To quote Brain Zahnd:

God is like Jesus.
God has always been like Jesus.
There has never been a time when God was not like Jesus.
We have not always known what God is like—
But now we do.”

What that means (to me) is I do not get to impose a violence on the Father or on the future Jesus that is incompatible with the person revealed to me in the gospels, it requires me to impose non-violence upon God forever.

Now this idea does a few other things to my theology, and one of the primary things it does is it deconstructs and economy of exchange…in other words the atonement itself cannot be the Father exacting vicarious violent vengeance on the son in exchange for us going free…and at this point in my journey I have kind of opted to entertain this idea for a while and see what shakes out.

I have currently abandoned (for this season) an economy of exchange…now this leads to some serious issues with holiness codes and lines of distinction, but I will save that for another day, this day I have a different fish to fry and it has to do with physical healing.

“By his stripes we are healed”…this verse quoted in the New testament and lifted from Isaiah speaks specifically about physical healing, it is almost always tied directly to physical healing somewhere when it is used.

It is the banner verse for my charismatic friends who pursue physical healing as an assignment handed down from heaven for every believer to engage in…I accept this assignment.

Now if I go back to my non-violent academic friends they will say “yes God heals but it is not based on economy of exchange so there’s not really anything we can do about it, it is what it is”

Now my charismatic friends will suggest that God is love, but he is to be feared because we do have a textual history that he can be violent, the cross was Gods violence, and Jesus will return as kind of a Holy Rambo and exact violent revenge according to the Apocalypse…they are not “non-violent” and unfortunately it is reflected in (at least American evangelical christianity) embracing that us being violent is a legitimate expression of being Gods kids, after all Dad’s a bit of a violent chap we can be holy and violent like him…there are even gun manufacturers exploiting this and making special rifles for believers with bible verse imprinted on the gun.

I find this odious…and inconsistent with the teaching from the mount and the call to be a people of peace, but I understand the symmetry of the theology and the lifestyle, it is not really inconsistent to embrace a violent deity and then support the death penalty or gun rights, it’s all in proper context of what the theology permits.

But on the other side my academic friends will suggest that God does not operate by an economy of exchange or “Dues Ex Machina” (god in the machine) which refers to the greek play method of lowering God down in a basket (machina) to save the day, so healing basically is out of our hands and not something we really can do much about at all.

“By his stripes we are healed” sounds an awful lot like an exchange of some sort…it has violent quotient to it…the perplexing thing is this verse is used prior to his stripes happening in reference to him bearing our pain, our diseases our sickness.

Some have suggested the healing was “humanity” at the cross, that by his stripes he took our corporate habit of violence (sin) and instead of retaliating he forgave and stopped the cycle of violence thus healing us…my problem is that it does not look like it “took” we are still quite adept in a violent habit (sin)…so I still wonder what this verse means…I have used it in praying for the sick and have seen cancer healed and then watched as my own brother breathed his last in my arms from the same disease…it’s obviously not a guarantee and frankly I am not looking for one, not in the “certain” sense.

It kind of falls into the same crevice of my thinking on evolution, my biggest problem with evolution is certainly the idea of survival of the fittest, according to this model humanity arrives from the trail of murder, rape and selfish consuming of the weak by the more powerful THIS is supposed to be the way a loving and peaceful Creator got me here???? And yet the fossil record says something…it’s these gaps that leave me with more questions.

Meanwhile I’ve been slowly making my way through J.Louis Martyns Translation and commentary on Galatians, it is an epic study and cast new conversation on the “New Perspective on Paul”, but one of the things he suggests is the cross is an apocalyptic event meant to end ALL religion and Pauls biggest fight was with the Jerusalem teachers who remained trapped within an economy of exchange…the thing I am missing though is how did Paul and others function in the healing assignment WITHOUT an economy of exchange?

Most of my current books on healing (and I have then ALL) from John Lake to Bill Johnson all include some aspect of an economy of exchange, either fasting, or seeking or revival, or portals, or angels, or…well…something…anything really…I seek this, I confess that, I pursue this and healing becomes the children’s bread…

This is my current question…believe me I have not asked it flippantly or casually…I have deconstructed my anthropology and looked at other human forms of “healing arts” as well as breakthroughs in science for a clue…

I think we are called to heal the sick…I also believe we are called to a completely non-violent gospel message…the two should not be incompatible, but so far the camps are on different sides of the mountains with a valley between them as far as I can tell.

Still asking questions…


*(As soon as I say “non-violent Jesus” someone will suggest the cleansing of the temple scene to me, before we go there I have studied the text in some detail for a few years and my conclusions are that it was a prophetic act and NOT an act of violence, consider that there were Temple guards on duty, besides a Roman cohort as well {do some research on Herod’s Temple and how lavish it was as well as protected, it was an investment} IF Jesus had really been violent with people why is there no record of the temple guard or the Roman soldiers getting involved? The text never says he struck a person, only that he drove out the animals and the BIG issue with him was an economy of exchange, His Fathers house had been turned into an economic exchange center and this was distressing to him)