In the Gospel for this Sunday in John 2:14-16, we read about Jesus making a whip out of cords. None of the other Gospels mention a whip. Only in John does Jesus seem to lose control and start swinging at people and animals.
This passage has been used to justify many forms of violence in the history of the Church. I myself have heard it used so many times as a prooftext that Jesus was no sissy and was willing to roll up his sleeves and “act like a man.” So I wrote a post to try to correct the mistaken impression that Jesus was actually hitting people. The Greek grammar is rather clear that he was only herding sheep and oxen with the ropes that he picked up. You can read the rest here. A sneak peak:
Nothing in this passage serves as justification for doing physical violence to other human beings, much less as a “just war” proof text. Jesus was no sissy, but not because he went around whipping merchants. If we want an example of his “manliness,” we need look no further than Sunday’s second reading from 1 Corinthians 1:22-25: “We proclaim Christ crucified… [for] the weakness of God is stronger than human strength.” Unfortunately (for some), such passages don’t justify the pummeling of one’s neighbor. We may just have to deal with the fact that it’s us, and not Jesus, who seem to want and need that justification.