"Then they came to Jerusalem. And He entered the temple and began to drive out those who were buying and selling in the temple, and overturned the tables of the money changers and the seats of those who were selling doves; and He would not permit anyone to carry merchandise through the temple.”
The Jews were obligated by the law to bring an animal without blemish to be sacrificed as atonement for their sins. Only the best could meet God's requirements. Unfortunately, the priests in the temple saw this as an opportunity to extort money from the worshipers. As people brought their animals for sacrifice, the corrupt priests would inspect and reject them, insisting that there was a slight defect that made the animal unacceptable for sacrifice. The priests had a side deal going with the sellers of "acceptable" sacrificial doves. They referred the customers to them, and the priests received a commission from the sale. Also, there were money changers who charged exorbitant rates for changing the pilgrim's currency into the temple currency, which was needed to pay the annual temple tax. When Jesus saw what was happening He became enraged and dealt severely with those who used God's house for their own selfish gain. He defended His Father's honor with righteous indignation. The Lord went on to teach that the temple was to be a "house of prayer". Mark 11:18 tells us: "The chief priests and the scribes heard this, and began seeking how to destroy Him; for they were afraid of Him, for the whole crowd was astonished at His teaching." As we enter into Passion Week, may we remain open to the Lord's teaching and allow Him to cleanse our hearts of anything that displeases Him.