I also had fun reading N/T. Wright's "Simply Jesus" on the plane this week.
(I posted a pre-reading preview here).
Wright is always helpful on the temple episode.
In this new book, he blew me away with the prequels to the tantrum:
Ever heard of Simon the Star and Judah the Hammer?
They were the forerunners here (see Chapter 9, or this video below).
He also, as did the folks I quoted in an earlier post, connected all major events in Jesus' timeline as revisitations of the original three wilderness temptations:
And the dark powwers that put Jesus on thge cross continued to the last with their mocking questions:
"Save yourself, if you're God's son! Come down from the cross!," exhoing the same voice in the desert, "If you really are Gods soin, tell these stones to become bread/" -Simply Jesus, chapter 10
So how was the temple tantrum, and Jresus' choice to engage it, passing a test and resisting a core temptation/one of the three paradigmatic temptations?
Wright presses the key point of the temple cleansing:
We don't, perhaps, always realize that any such action was staking an implicitly rotal claim: it was kings, real or aspiring, who had authrity over the temple.. It was Israel's kings, or would-be kings who planned it..built it...cleansed it (Judah the Hammer)...rebuilt it...and hoped to rebiild it once more (Simon the Star).....so what was its "meaning"? For a start, it was an emphatically royal action, a claim to be Israel's true King...but a king as a man of peace..no longer a military battle of 'us" against them"...the action would have been seen within a web of prophetic allusion and syymblism...meaning that the Temple was under God's judgement. -Simply Jesus, chapter 10Jesus is King...but what kind of king will he be?
This was the shape of the temptations:
"Since you are the Son, what kind of Son will you be?"
One who refuses to turn stones into bread, but One who fearless predicts turning the temple to toast.
One who refuses to jump from the temple to prove himself, but One who is unafraid to jump into the temple's marketplace and bring its services to a halt.
One who refuses to rule by rod all the nations of the world, but One who in violently peaceful prophetic act opens the house of prayer for all nations to all nations."