The Roman soldiers and the temple guards didn't pin Jesus to the ground on the site but waited for a week to arrest him. Since Jesus did quite a crime in the eyes of the chief priests and there was a lot of political tension during Passover, why were they so hesitant to arrest him?

Luke 19 (NIV) 45When Jesus entered the temple courts, he began to drive out those who were selling. 46“It is written,” he said to them, “‘My house will be a house of prayer’[a]; but you have made it ‘a den of robbers.’[b]

47Every day he was teaching at the temple. But the chief priests, the teachers of the law and the leaders among the people were trying to kill him. 48Yet they could not find any way to do it, because all the people hung on his words.


a Isaiah 56:7

b Jer. 7:11

  • You might want to specify the specific passage you have in mind.
    – user33515
    Commented Feb 4, 2018 at 7:00
  • 1
    The verse says it directly. The temple leaders were afraid of public reprisal. The temple guards presumably answered to them. Commented Jun 12, 2018 at 9:57
  • 1
    I think the passage from Luke, which you quoted, gives you the answer to your question: ". . . because all the people hung on his words." To this day, generally speaking, when hoi polloi hang on a leader's every word, the powers that be have to bide their time in order to devise plan B, particularly if there is danger of a riot breaking out in support of the leader. Commented Oct 11, 2018 at 9:00

5 Answers 5


In Luke 19:45-48 why didn't temple guards immediately arrest Jesus while he was “cleansing the temple”?

Vertically, the reason can be found in

John 13:18 I am not speaking about all of you; I know whom I have chosen. But this is to fulfill the Scripture: 'The one who eats bread with Me has lifted up his heel against Me.'

Jesus had to be betrayed by Judas to fulfill Psalm 41:9. Also we read in luke 22

3Then Satan entered Judas, called Iscariot, one of the Twelve. 4And Judas went to the chief priests and the officers of the temple guard and discussed with them how he might betray Jesus. 5They were delighted and agreed to give him money. 6He consented, and watched for an opportunity to hand Jesus over to them when no crowd was present.

Horizontally, the reason can be found in John 7

43 Thus the people were divided because of Jesus. 44Some wanted to seize him, but no one laid a hand on him.

45 Finally the temple guards went back to the chief priests and the Pharisees, who asked them, “Why didn’t you bring him in?”

46 “No one ever spoke the way this man does,” the guards replied.

The guards were moved by what Jesus' said.

Ultimately, everything happens according to God's sovereign timing.


Texts NWT

A clue is in the following:-

Luke 22:2 "Also, the chief priests and the scribes were seeking the effective way for them to get rid of him, for they were in fear of the people."

Also he had to die on the Jewish Passover 33C.E. as the Greater Passover Lamb:-

1 Corinthians 5:7 "For, indeed, Christ our Passover lamb has been sacrificed.

So nothing could happen until God's appointed time for Jesus to die as The Lamb of God to be sacrificed on the Passover of Nisan 14th 33C.E. at the end of his 3 1/2 year ministry was finished:-

Matthew 26:18 "‘The Teacher [Jesus] says: “My appointed time is near [TO DIE]; I will celebrate the Passover with my disciples at your home.”’”

[] Added

Daniel 9:27 "“And he will keep the covenant in force for the many for one week; and at the half of the week [3 1/2 yrs], he will cause sacrifice and gift offering to cease.. . ."

Luke 22:45-48 happened on Nisan 10th 33C.E. so it was not the right time for his false trial and execution to take place as the Lamb of God.


He actually was, in a more convoluted way. It's one of the biggest secrets church is trying to hide. Bible scholars were debating about Jesus and Bible verses for 2000 years, and yet somehow, you never find much discussion on temple cleansing. And for a good reason. Jesus comes to the false temple and condemns their greed and monetization of faith. For example, catholic church went so far in its corruption to misinterpret one single tithe story in old testament in order to make tithe-ing an obligatory part of practicing Christian religion. That one story says give tribute to God. Approximately everyone gave around 20%, but Church interpreted that as everyone should give 10% to the God all the time. Now, ok, I have no problem giving tribute to the God, but I am certain God does not need material possessions, and what would truly make God happy is if I gave those 10% to someone in need - that's the whole spirit of Christianity. Instead, tithe-ing is still being used as the way for Church to monetize on the religion. Note that Church always tries to claim they are the way to practice the religion. Up until protestants, every Christian Church was claiming that you need to be in the Church, follow eucharist or whatever ceremony (that is absolutely described nowhere in the Bible) in order to receive the God's blessing. You can't even exchange vows with the loved one without Church's blessing in order for you union to be done in favor to God. A Dutch philosopher in 17th century, Baruch de Spinoza was labelled as antichrist by the Church. You know why? Because he said God is everywhere (nature natured) and that you can pray wherever you like.

But back to the story. Jesus was not arrested because crowd in the temple recognized his actions as just and was on his side. He tore tables and made a mess condemning money exchanges and corruption of the temple where temple was giving loans to the poor to buy sacrificial doves and trapping them in debt.

Now church will tell you that story, but never get too much into its discussion. Guess what happen to Jesus ONE WEEK after temple cleansing? He gets arrested by angry jewish mob in front of another temple in Jerusalem. It doesn't take a genius to conclude that the whole story behind crucifixion was about temple merchants and their greed. This young man who two weeks ago rose Lazarus from the dead claims to be son of God and is tearing their temples. No wonder they were angry. Church never debated correlation between temple incident and Christ arrest, even though it's been just one week apart and even though everything points to the fact that he was killed due to greedy merchants' plot. Church cannot allow such interpretation because how would they then monetize on faith?

All in all, Bible and Christianity is a philosophical and spiritual movement on why we are here, how to be a good person and how to believe in God. Anyone trying to profit on manipulating the Bible stories to extort money from you is just pure evil. I have no problems with churches who openly say, give us money to support our community and increase our service quality, but those who claim that you should give because God says so, are just evil and are just repeating the same process that got Jesus crucified in the first place.

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    – Community Bot
    Commented Dec 26, 2021 at 23:27
  • You claim that "It's one of the biggest secrets church is trying to hide" and then go on about tything. What does your first paragraph have to do with the question?
    – Lesley
    Commented Dec 27, 2021 at 12:11

There was much at stake here when Jesus became enraged and began his assault on the money changers. It appears to have been a sudden outburst on Christ's part.

Quite possibly, Jesus had never visited the Temple in Jerusalem as an adult. If this is true, he would have obviously been shocked and enraged by what he recognized as a vile threat against his Father's temple.

In defense of this position consider this: We recognize that this type of unorthodox activity had been in practice for many years and that the priests at the Temple were aware of these activities and probably even played a part in the implementation of these activities.

If this is so, then the priests of the Temple at Jerusalem had to be cautious lest they open themselves up to much public ridicule. If they were indeed taking bribes or a percentage from the money changers' profits, then we can be very certain that they did not want an open confrontation with Christ. This may well have kept them from demanding that the Roman guards arrest Jesus for his behavior.

Although this is a simple hypothesis, there is no other reason for the priests not to have had Jesus arrested on the spot. Though we may never know the exact reason for their allowing Jesus to leave the Temple grounds without further incident, we are aware the temple priests were often corrupt. They obviously needed time to fabricate a story and bring charges against Christ that would not endanger their temple misdoings.

  • I think you need some evidence for your conjecture about Jesus not having been to the temple in Jerusalem as an adult. Don Commented Oct 11, 2018 at 8:34
  • You are correct. My statement implying Jesus may not have visited the temple in his adult life is conjecture. The "conjecture" is based on the fact that the synoptic gospels never record Jesus at the temple until the "triumphant entry" just prior to Passover. However, John 10 records a time during a Feast of Dedication that Jesus was "walking in the temple". This was clearly before Jesus entered the temple and over turned the tables. It's surely understood that Jesus had a purpose and a time table for the events in his life. His holy purpose, to be our savior and high priest, had not yet come.
    – Joe
    Commented Oct 12, 2018 at 14:53
  • Jesus went to the temple before the incident reported by the synoptics, just after the wedding at Cana (and Jesus went up to Jerusalem, and found in the temple ... - John 2:12)
    – user33515
    Commented Nov 10, 2018 at 14:45

Immediately after the flood in Noah's day, God instituted human government by placing the authority of capital punishment into the hands of men. Man would be responsible to put murderers to death, and thus human government was born (Gen 9:6).

This passing of judgment to allow the death sentence has been a symbol of a government's authority over its people. Throughout the history of Israel, they were conquered many times but still allowed to govern their own people who remained in the land. In about 4 AD, King Herod (who had tried to kill the young Jesus by wiping out a large number of babies) had died, and his son, Herod Archelaus, replaced him. He was very unpopular, and he was removed in 6 AD.

A Roman procurator, Caponius, came into power and removed the authority of Jewish leadership, particularly the power of the Sanhedrin (Jewish Religious leaders) to sentence people to death. (This is why they had to get Roman permission to crucify Jesus.)

The entire Sanhedrin began to wail, covering their heads with ashes and wearing sackcloth. They went around Jerusalem crying “Woe unto us for the scepter has departed from Judah and the Messiah has not come!” (Babylonian Talmud Chap 4, folio 24). Had they only believed their Bibles, they should have rejoiced that the scepter HAD departed, because that could only mean the Messiah had arrived and they just needed to find Him.

God’s Word cannot be broken. A few miles away a young boy named Jesus was being raised by his mother and adoptive father, growing in grace and truth. Shiloh had arrived.

Too many people who supported Jesus were present in the temple. Since he had just ridden into Jerusalem to the praise of all the people, a riot would have broken out to defend Him if the Sanhedrin had stood against him.

Instead of standing against Jesus publically during the day, they had to convict him secretly at night, since holding trials at night was illegal. Moreover, they had to use false witnesses to convict Jesus of His crimes. They then had to threaten riots if Pilate did not rule in their favor against Jesus.

In conclusion, Jesus could have defended Himself. However, he was on trial in our place, so to speak, and found guilty in our stead.

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