The Significance of Temple Cleansing

And He found in the temple those who were selling oxen and sheep and doves, and the money changers seated at their tables. And He made a scourge of cords, and drove them all out of the temple, with the sheep and the oxen; and He poured out the coins of the money changers and overturned their tables; and to those who were selling the doves He said, ‘Take these things away; stop making My Father’s house a place of business.’ His disciples remembered that it was written, ‘Zeal for Your house will consume me’” (John 2:13–17).

The Feast of Passover in Jerusalem each year meant big business for Jerusalem-based merchants. They sold animals necessary for the sacrifices at inflated prices to Jewish pilgrims who found it impractical to bring their own from their homes in distant lands.

Also, every Jewish male twenty years of age or older had to pay the annual temple tax (Matt. 17:24–27). But it could be paid only by using Jewish or Tyrian coins, so foreigners had to exchange their money for acceptable coinage. Because they held a monopoly, money changers charged an exorbitant fee.

What should have been a place of sacred reverence and adoration had become a place of abusive commerce and excessive overpricing.
Realizing that the purity of temple worship was a matter of honor to God, Jesus took swift and decisive action. The intensity of His righteous indignation was unmistakable—Christ would not tolerate any mockery of the spirit of true worship.

Ask Yourself
Are there instances in which we have turned the worship of God into something less than it should be—perhaps into something it should never be? What kind of heart do you intend to bring with you the next time you join with others in the Lord’s house for worship?

From Daily Readings from the Life of Christ, Vol. 1, John MacArthur. Copyright © 2008. Used by permission of Moody Publishers, Chicago, IL 60610,