Summary: Jesus clears out the money changers.
Jesus had just made his triumphant entry into Jerusalem and he went straight to the Temple. For most of us when we think about the Temple we think of a single building much like our church here. But, the Temple mount in the time of Jesus was much more than a building. It was a series of several large courtyards and buildings, today we would refer to is as the Temple complex or campus as the entire site covered about 30 acres. It was in these courtyards that two main things were happening; animals were being sold for sacrifice, and money was being transferred from Roman currency to the Temple coin. The problems were not so much that these things were taking place but instead how they were taking place. If you were bringing a sacrifice you might have had that sacrifice “inspected” to be sure that it was good enough, and if it was judged not good enough then you would have to buy a new sacrifice and they would be more than happy to provide that service for you, for a price. For the convenience you would pay a higher price, much like the difference between Wal-Mart and the Mall.
Secondly the Temple dues could only be paid in sacred coinage, so you would have to have your Roman currency converted to the Temple coin. Here the problem was that the “money-changers” were not giving an even exchange and so were profiting off everyone who dealt with them
In essence the Temple became something very similar to a flea market.
When Jesus entered Jerusalem he went directly to the Temple. A conquering King entering the city would have went to Herod’s Palace in order to conduct affairs of state and government. But, Jesus (not a political King) went to His Father’s palace a place of worship in order to conduct affairs of the Spirit. What he found there was corruption and greed. He knew that his Father’s house was Holy and to be set apart from all else. And, what he found was that it had become a market place, a place that centered on buying and selling not praising and worshipping. Jesus knew things had to change, and so he reminded them of scripture concerning the corruption of God’s house.
"Is it not written: "’My house will be called a house of prayer for all nations’? But you have made it ’a den of robbers.’"
We too must listen to these words and reflect on our own lives and our own house of prayer.
19 Consequently, you are no longer foreigners and aliens, but fellow citizens with God’s people and members of God’s household, 20 built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the chief cornerstone. 21 In him the whole building is joined together and rises to become a holy temple in the Lord. 22 And in him you too are being built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by his Spirit.
The purity of God’s Church—the Greek word for church literally means “a calling out”. We are called out from everything around us. We are called out from our arguments and our squabbling, we are called out from our own pride and from our own ambitions together we are the church and we are called to a higher purpose.