Hey @jeffaspenson, glad you brought this to the connect! This is a very complex issue! I think your friend was right on in recognizing our need to understand where a lot of these rioters are coming from! Many of them have had trauma and injustice in their life. But like you, I too do not believe Jesus to be a rioter. In the thread
I mentioned this about Jesus and the turning over of the tables:
“With the Story of Jesus,… It was the temple that they were perverting to be a place of merchandise rather than a house of prayer, like it was intended
to be. He wasn’t going around turning over tables in every place He went. It was, of all places, His own ‘house’ that He did that in and rightfully so.”
He was purging the temple.
There were plenty of people around Christ that were rioters, they stirred up the crowd to riotous activity. Pilot didn’t crucify Christ to satisfy himself, he did so to appease the crowd (rioters).
Jesus came to offer healing to those that were rioting against Him.
We as Christians shouldn’t get bitter at the rioters, but in strength offer the gospel of Jesus Christ to those that are rioting.
When we are rioting in an uncontrolled way we are opposing ourselves in that we are casting down the very sociological foundations that could bring us peace. (2 Timothy 2:24-26)
Jesus came to heal not to destroy, to forgive not to condemn, and to give life not death. He willingly gave His life in the hands of sinful and unjust men – it wasn’t fair, but He did it because of His great love for us all.
Grant it that justice is necessary but must not be brought about in an unjust way!
Like @petros555 mentioned, I do believe He protested, but I don’t see anywhere in Scripture of Him rioting as I believe it would’ve been contrary to His character.