The scene of Jesus clearing the temple is troubling for some and relieving for others. For those of us that are challenged by the intensity and the passion Jesus displays here, we should remember that Jesus came full of grace and truth. Sometimes the truth is just not what we want to hear. God’s temple is to be a house of prayer, yet these people turned it into a den of robbers, and Jesus won’t have it.
For those of us who like to see the tough and assertive side of Jesus, we should also be challenged by the reason he’s doing this in the first place. He is driving away religion, and any notion that we can work our way to God through anything or anyone besides Jesus himself.
The modus operandi for the Israelites back then was to go to the temple, purchase an animal, and then hand it over to a priest to be sacrificed to cover the consequences for their sins. God himself established this process in the Torah, but with time it got out of hand and became a corrupt human system by which people were merely going through the motions rather than truly repenting and changing the way that they lived. That’s why God sent Jesus to be the perfect sacrifice and to pay the price for the sins of the world once and for all. So as Jesus nears his pending crucifixion, he clears the temple to pave a new way of living. Not by man-made systems but through relationship with the resurrected and living God.