And Jesus entered the house of God and drove out all those who sold and bought in the temple, overturning the tables of the money changers and the seats of those who sold doves. "It is said, My home shall be called a place of prayer," he remarked to them, "but you have made it a den of thieves."
His action caused great uproar within the temple community. The chief priests and teachers of the law asked him how he could ever dare to challenge their authority in the sacred space of the temple. But Jesus replied by asking them a question of his own: "How can you ask me what is right? There are so many laws about which people agree and which they don't. Show me just one thing that I should not do."
The chief priests and teachers of the law knew that there was nothing in the law that could justify Jesus' actions. So they tried to come up with something on which they could accuse him of breaking the law.
They suggested that since it was Sabbath, he had violated the law by doing work. But Jesus answered by saying that one man's day is equal to another man's day, and that the Sabbath was made for humans not animals. He then went on to heal the man born blind.
After this incident, the chief priests and teachers of the law decided to kill Jesus, but before they could do so, he left for Galilee.
Before Jesus was born, an angel taught Mary and Joseph about Jesus' destiny, but they still didn't understand why Jesus lingered at the temple when they returned home. Jesus was having a conversation with his actual father. Even at the age of twelve, Jesus realized his mission was to redeem mankind from sin.
And Jesus entered the house of God and drove out all those who sold and bought in the temple, overturning the tables of the money changers and the seats of those who sold doves. "It is written that My home shall be called a place of prayer," he told them, "but you have turned it into a den of thieves."
The Temple was referred to by Jesus as the "House of God" and a "House of Prayer," not only for Jews, but for all nations. When Jesus arrived with the crowds, he overturned the tables and referred to it as a den of thieves and a house of commerce. In some ways, the Temple was the national bank. It was where all money gifts to the Jewish nation were kept in a special account until such time as they could be used for religious purposes.
Jesus also said that he did not come to destroy men's temples, but to build his own church. He wanted his followers to keep the Temple intact because he knew that it would one day be destroyed along with the world. However, he also told them that he has given them new life and that they should no longer care for the old ways of worshiping God.
In conclusion, Jesus called the Temple a house of prayer because it was here that people came from all over the world to ask for forgiveness and have their sins covered by praying with faith.
As he toppled the money-changers' tables, he rebuked them for converting God's sanctuary of prayer into a "den of thieves" (Matthew 21:13). In John 2:11-12, Jesus' first purification of the temple is represented as occurring immediately after his first miracle, the transformation of water into wine at the wedding in Cana. Since the Jewish leaders had charge of the temple, it was they who would have permitted any wrongdoing in the temple area.
Jesus' second cleansing of the temple is reported in John 2:15-17. Here we are told that his followers saw this action as he drove out the traders in the temple area. Once again, Jesus chided the merchants for making profits from the sacred space where they should have been offering sacrifices to God (see Psalm 51:1; Isaiah 1:10).
Jesus' third and final cleansing of the temple will take place two years later on Friday, April 3, 30 C.E. The time and date of this event are significant because it will mark the beginning of the Jewish Sabbath. As Jesus enters the temple area on this day, he will destroy all marketplaces and business establishments within its boundaries (see Matthew 12:5-7; John 2:16-17).
Jesus will also tear down the buildings around the temple area and replace them with new ones because their current state is very defiled (see Mark 11:14-19).
And, with the sheep and oxen, he drove them all out of the sanctuary with a whip made of cords. And he spilled out the money changers' coins and toppled their tables. "Take these things away; do not make my father's house a place of trade," he said to those who sold the pigeons. Then he turned toward the lake and called out in a loud voice: "Father, forgive them; they know not what they do!"
His action caused great anger from the priests and officials. But Jesus was not concerned about them; his attention was on his Father.
Jesus knew that the time had come for him to leave this world and go to heaven, so he prepared to die.
Death was an enemy that everyone feared. No one knew how they would feel once they had been close to death. Would they see heaven? Was there really a life after death?
These were questions that no one could answer. All that anyone knew was that when you died, you disappeared forever.
But Jesus had seen his father give forgiveness to others so he could help them find peace again. So Jesus taught his disciples to pray so that they would know how to ask for forgiveness and be able to receive it when they needed it most.
After he raised Lazarus from the dead, Jesus told his disciples that if they loved him, they would keep his commandments.
According to one interpretation, Jesus was reacting to the practice of money changers routinely defrauding the people, but Marvin L. Krier Mich observes that a large amount of money was stored at the temple, where it could be loaned by the wealthy to the poor who were in danger of losing their land due to debt. If the rich man had been willing to pay back his loan, then he would have been allowed to keep his property. Jesus' action, therefore, was not so much about the unfairness of the system as it was about protecting the sanctity of the temple. Jesus wanted to protect it from desecration by selling it off piece by piece.
Some scholars believe that Jesus intended to provoke a reaction from the authorities because they might arrest him for disturbing the market place. However, this is only a hypothesis and there are other possibilities why Jesus might have acted as he did. We will never know all the reasons behind his actions, but we do know that he did them to fulfill the law of God.