“And they come to Jerusalem: and JESUS went into the temple, and began to cast out them that sold and bought in the temple, and overthrew the tables of the moneychangers, and the seats of them that sold doves; And would not suffer (allow) that any man should carry any vessel (wares) through the temple. And HE taught, saying unto them, Is it not written, MY house shall be called of all nations the house of prayer? but ye have made it a den of thieves.”
St. Mark 11:15-17
The cleansing of the temple indicates our LORD JESUS CHRIST’s contempt for the corruption of Jewish religion, which lacked the power of GOD and purity of life.
There were laws against the misuse of the temple precincts and courts, but no one was enforcing them. They made the temple precincts and courts business centres. In addition to normal business traffic, they used the temple courts as a shortcut.
Pilgrims to Jerusalem carried all sorts of currencies, but they brought no animals or birds for sacrifices. Exchanges and purchases were made at the temple. Temple dues could be paid only in sacred coinage. Therefore, it was necessary to change one’s money. This exchange became a source of income for the family of the high priest. The family of the high priest personally controlled all exchanges and business.
The moneychangers had their tables in the court of the Gentiles. It was very close to the inner confines of temple worship, through which only a Gentile could enter. It was wantonly profaned, in spite of GOD’s intent for HIS house to be a place of worship for all. The real atmosphere of the temple amounted to a public bazaar. They made the house of GOD or the house of prayer into a den of thieves.
Our LORD GOD, JESUS CHRIST could not tolerate these profane acts, disrespecting the most holy GOD. So, HE began to drive out those who were selling and buying. HE overturned the tables of the moneychangers and the seats of those selling doves and HE would not allow anyone to carry any articles for sale through the temple. And HE taught them, and said,
“Is it not written, MY house shall be called of all nations the house of prayer? but ye have made it a den of thieves.”
St. Mark 11:17
Now, everyone should be the temple of the living GOD and everyone should be the temple of the HOLY SPIRIT of GOD. Since the temple of GOD is holy, everyone should be holy and no one should defile the temple of GOD. For these reasons, our LORD JESUS CHRIST cleansed the temple (II Corinthians 6:16).
“Know ye not that ye are the temple of GOD, and that the Spirit of GOD dwelleth in you? If any man defile the temple of GOD, him shall GOD destroy; for the temple of GOD is holy, which temple ye are.”
I Corinthians 3:16-17
“What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the HOLY GHOST (the HOLY SPIRIT) which is in you, which ye have of GOD, and ye are not your own?”
I Corinthians 6:19
After cleansing the temple (St. Matthew 21:13), the blind and the lame, excluded from the house, especially from the house of prayer (II Samuel 5:8) were welcomed and healed and cleansed by our LORD GOD, JESUS CHRIST in the temple — the house of prayer (St. Matthew 21:14). And children recognized what the religious leaders were blind to, as they chanted the earlier tributes of crowds. They recognized JESUS CHRIST as their ‘LORD’ and ‘SAVIOUR’, by chanting Hosanna! ‘Hosanna’ means ‘LORD, save’ (Psalm 8:2; St. Matthew 21:15-16).
– Sadhu. C. Selva Raj (Appa)