Traditionally, the Monday of Holy Week is when we focus on Jesus cleaning out the Temple. That must have been something to see.
Jesus, unable to contain His frustration and anger, made a whip from rope and drove the animals from the Temple courtyard. He turned over the tables of the moneychangers and ran them out too.
He did this while He was reciting the words of the prophet, “My father’s house is to be called a house of prayer and you’ve made it a den of thieves.”
Here are the questions I’ve always had about this story:
Why doesn’t anyone challenge Jesus?
Why don’t the moneychangers try to stop Jesus?
What was it about Jesus—His power, authority, and manner—that made everyone afraid to try and stop Him?
There must have been something about Jesus in that moment that let everyone know He wasn’t to be messed with. Everyone seems to have gotten the message.
John does an interesting thing in his Gospel. He tells the story of Jesus cleaning out the Temple not at the end of his Gospel, but at the beginning.
John puts this story, in chapter 3, at the very beginning of Jesus’ public ministry. It’s as if he’s saying to us, “If you want to understand Jesus and His ministry, you have to see it through the lens of what He did cleaning out the Temple.”
John shows us that everything Jesus did and said must be filtered through this one prophetic act of Jesus.
Sinners were being kept from God. Tables and greed blocked the way to prayer and forgiveness.
Jesus would have none of it. Nothing would stand in the way of God and His people. Jesus would die before He’d let that happen.