F. Neil Folks: Jesu, the warrior crucified

Jesu enters the temple and drives out the moneychangers who are selling things there (Luke 19:45-46).

He's taking over the temple to re-image the temple in himself. He begins to teach there "every day" (v.44), and this not only gets him killed, but sheds light upon his personality.

He takes on the entire lie of false religion: temple taxes, purity, debt and performance codes, and the primacy of "sacrifices" over mercy and compassion. He has taken on the "authority" of the period (The Good News according to Luke, R. Rohr).

"He taught in the temple every day. The chief priests and scribes tried to do away with him. But they did not see how they could carry this out because the people hung on his words" (Luke 19: 47-48).

This gives to the question "What temple am I a part of?" To answer this question, we need to know more about who was crucified that fateful Friday, many, many years ago.

Jesu was not a member of the religious sect called Christianity that was, of course, formed years after his death. Jesu was a Jew, a Galilean, and a member of the religion called Judaism. He was neither an "apocalypticist" nor a "social reformer" - the two visions of him that are frequently posed against one another - but "something else."

This "something else" centered in Jerusalem and gives a clue to his real nature, from the disturbance in the temple, and his parody of riding in from the east on a donkey, fully displaying the arrival of another Power. It was a processional to mock and judge the imperial power of Rome, which on the Passover would send in from the West additional garrisons to keep the locals "in line." The stage is now set by two seemingly defiant acts by Jesu.

The temple disturbance could be looked at as a reparative act, returning the temple to its rightful owner and use.

The second action is one showing the Roman Emperor that there was a power much greater than his on Earth. What sort of man would put his life in jeopardy to prove this?

These two major "in your face" actions do not suggest a gentle, meek Savior, a well-groomed and tidy man wearing a shining white dress, a lover, nor a warrior, as we are often taught in Sunday school.

Many people carry a picture of a sweet, passive, sleeping Jesu their entire lives. The church of the past used to balance this impression, allowing aggressive, warlike images of him, as well. In 1865, English composer Sabine Baring-Gould wrote this song as a children's march:

"Onward, Christian soldiers, marching as to war,

With the cross of Jesus going on before.

Christ, the royal Master, leads against the foe;

Forward into battle, see His banners go!"

There were many times that Jesu picked up the sword, not the Garden daisy to do battle for us. He was not always a lover as Christianity attempts to picture him today. The very image of Jesu taking up arms (as he does in Revelation 19) is simply unacceptable in a lot of churches today.

This indicates that Jesu has a very strong masculine side to him, as well. Most of the populations that Jesu The Warrior taught were men, teaching them how to do battle with evil, emulating Himself as our Commander, Coach, Scout, or Wrestler, not our Boyfriend. It is time to balance Jesus the Lover with Jesu the Warrior again. Men need a manly Man to follow once again. Men are wild at heart. Aggression is key to the masculine soul (male or female). Take that away and what you have left is passivity. The male also has a feminine side to balance him.

David Murrow, in his book "Why Men Hate Going to Church," says this about the male spirit: "What do men need? Men need permission. Permission to walk with Jesu as one man walks with another. Permission to use their masculine gifts to change the world. Permission to awaken the long dormant masculine spirit."

"Jesu, Jesu, fill us with your love, show us how to serve the neighbors we have from you" (Hymnal Text by Tom Colvin 1925-2000).

Jesus the Lover, Jesu the Warrior, Manly Man Crucified.

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