“Jesus went into the Temple and drove out all those who were buying and selling inside the temple. He overturned the money-changers’ tables and the chairs of those selling doves. And He said to them “It is written ‘My house will be called a house of prayer,’ but you are making it a den of thieves!” Matthew 21:12-13.
According to Matthew’s gospel, the first place Christ visits after His arrival in Jerusalem on Palm Sunday was the temple. The Temple in Jerusalem was the center of the entire Jewish universe; it was the place where God lived and it represented God dwelling among His people. Without a doubt, it was the holiest spot on the earth.
When Jesus enters the temple, he is overcome by the scene that he sees. Inside the temple, merchants were selling animals and other goods to people who were coming to Jerusalem to celebrate Passover. The animals–lambs and doves–that were being sold were to be used by the religious pilgrims for the required sacrifice that they must offer at the temple.
Why did Christ become so angered? Because the merchants were financially exploiting those who bought animals to use as sacrifice and they were making a profit off of those who had come to the temple to worship. These merchants were commercializing the religious system to make a quick buck. Christ throws them out of the temple because their actions were disrespecting the holy temple and demeaning the worship of all those who were offering heart-felt sacrifices to God.
Christ does the same for us today. In the book of 1 Corinthians, the apostle Paul says that our “bodies are the sanctuary of God,” and when Christ enters our hearts, He cleanses our hearts just as thoroughly as He cleansed the temple so many years ago. Because of this, we are not to behave in the same way as we did before Christ entered our lives, we are to be completely and totally changed so that we reflect the great work He has done in us.