13 The Passover of the Jews was at hand, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem.
14 In the temple he found those who were selling oxen and sheep and pigeons, and the money-changers sitting there.
15 And making a whip of cords, he drove them all out of the temple, with the sheep and oxen. And he poured out the coins of the money-changers and overturned their tables.
16 And he told those who sold the pigeons, “Take these things away; do not make my Father’s house a house of trade.”
17 His disciples remembered that it was written, “Zeal for your house will consume me.”
18 So the Jews said to him, “What sign do you show us for doing these things?”
19 Jesus answered them, “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.”
20 The Jews then said, “It has taken forty-six years to build this temple, and will you raise it up in three days?”
21 But he was speaking about the temple of his body.
22 When therefore he was raised from the dead, his disciples remembered that he had said this, and they believed the Scripture and the word that Jesus had spoken.
As the gospels portray Jesus, He was almost never angry. The one exception to this rule is when He drove the money changers out of the temple. But why was He so mad? To answer that we must look at two principles that God laid out for the Israelites.
First and foremost, God gave Israel commands and instructions for taking care those in need. He had all kinds of provisions in place to make life easier on them. Their debts would be forgiven every 7 ears, they could glean from the fields, it was forbidden to charge interest on loans, and many other things. One particular provision the was made for the Israelites that lived far away from the temple and had to commute long distances to make their offerings, was that they could forgo bringing livestock or grain all that way to the temple and they could instead trade money at the temple for an animal or grain sacrifice. This made it much easier on the poor and also the ones who lived far away.
The problem was that the money changers eventually became corrupted. They would sell things in the temple that was never meant to be sold there and they would trick the uneducated and the poor people into paying more than they actually had to.
The second issue was the sacrificial system. Israelites were supposed to be bringing the best of what they had to offer. However, those who had to buy from the money changers were usually left with sub-par animals or offerings. They were selling the unwanted items to people who wanted to sacrifice to the Lord.
Thus, these money changers were abusing the poor and profaning the sacrifices. They had no regard for the Lord not His people. However, if Jesus were here today He would still have money changers to drive out.
We have mega churches conning people out of their money for “miracle spring water” and “miracle manna”. They prey on the poor and sick telling them that they can get healed if they plant seed offerings or that they will get out of debt by giving the preacher money.
The world is full of people still profaning the Lord and His people. As Christians we must stand united against these things. We must always stand up for the poor, the outcast, the needy, and the sick.
There is a deep significance and a profound lesson that we can learn from this passage. Jesus’ reaction towards what was happening in the temple was completely justified. The reason is because the actual physical temple was to be a representation of God and His place of worship. This is a place in which people were to come and worship God alone and recall who He is and the faithfulness He’s shown towards them. To turn into a place in which they could exercise their earthly desires and make a profit was a misuse of what it meant to come and truly worship God. Jesus was exercising a righteous judgment on those who were claiming to be followers of God and completely going against what God had intended for His temple to be.
In addition, this was the first time that the disciples finally understood the deep meaning behind Jesus’s claim of destroying the temple and raising it up again. Jesus’ death on the cross was by God’s authority and doing alone. He masterplanned each step and even in His last breath, God sovereignly held on until the final moment. His resurrection was also only by God’s doing. The disciples were beginning to understand exactly who Jesus is and at the time when Jesus was raised from the dead, they bore witness to what He had claimed.
From this passage we can learn that God’s words are true and authoritative. When Jesus spoke to His disciples about what was to come at the end of His ministry, it was confusing and a bit of mystery to them at the time. However, when these things came to pass, it proved that God’s words are true and He does exactly what He says. On a practical point, it shows that we can rely on God’s faithfulness because scripture shows that He has always remained faithful. God continues to work in our lives today and we can rely on Him to keep proving His faithfulness in our lives each day.