Jesus began to drive out those who were selling. He said to them It is written my house will be a house of prayer; but you have made it a den of robbers.
8 Then the voice that I had heard from heaven spoke to me once more: “Go, take the scroll that lies open in the hand of the angel who is standing on the sea and on the land.”
9 So I went to the angel and asked him to give me the little scroll. He said to me, “Take it and eat it. It will turn your stomach sour, but ‘in your mouth it will be as sweet as honey.’[a]” 10 I took the little scroll from the angel’s hand and ate it. It tasted as sweet as honey in my mouth, but when I had eaten it, my stomach turned sour. 11 Then I was told, “You must prophesy again about many peoples, nations, languages and kings.”
14 I rejoice in following your statutes as one rejoices in great riches.
24 Your statutes are my delight;
they are my counselors.
72 The law from your mouth is more precious to me
than thousands of pieces of silver and gold.
103 How sweet are your words to my taste,
sweeter than honey to my mouth!
111 Your statutes are my heritage forever;
they are the joy of my heart.
131 I open my mouth and pant,
longing for your commands.
Jesus at the Temple
45 When Jesus entered the temple courts, he began to drive out those who were selling. 46 “It is written,” he said to them, “‘My house will be a house of prayer’[a]; but you have made it ‘a den of robbers.’[b]”
47 Every day he was teaching at the temple. But the chief priests, the teachers of the law and the leaders among the people were trying to kill him. 48 Yet they could not find any way to do it, because all the people hung on his words.
The trading took place in the outer court, also known as the Court of the Gentiles, and, as is not unusual in such situations, prices could be grossly inflated. John speaks of a cleansing at the beginning of Jesus’ ministry (2:13-25) but in the other three gospels it takes place at the end. Two possible explanations have been given. Either there were two cleansings or, more likely, John moved the story to the beginning of Jesus’ ministry for theological reasons. He wanted to show Jesus as Messiah right from the beginning whereas in the Synoptics Jesus’ identity as Messiah is only gradually revealed. There are also some differences in the various accounts. John mentions cattle and sheep and has Jesus use a whip made of cords. Matthew and Luke seem to indicate that the event took place on what we call Palm Sunday but for Mark it was on the following day (Mark 11:1-17).
Those coming to the Temple needed to buy animals for the sacrifices and they needed to change their Roman coins into acceptable Jewish currency (shekels) to make their contributions to the Temple. Jesus had no problem about that. What he objected to was that this business was being carried on inside God’s house when it could just as well have been done outside.
Jesus is an example of the true prophet. He speaks as a messenger of God and is indeed God’s own Son. He stands as a counter-witness to all that is against truth, love and justice and as such inevitably incurs the anger and hostility of those who have power, power based on falsehood, on self-interest, corruption and injustice.