Commentaries
English
Matthew
  
2. Jesus Cleanses the Temple
(Matthew 21:10-17)
10And when He had come into Jerusalem, all the city was moved, saying, “Who is this?”11So the multitudes said, “This is Jesus, the prophet from Nazareth of Galilee.”12Then Jesus went into the temple of God and drove out all those who bought and sold in the temple, and overturned the tables of the money changers and the seats of those who sold doves.13And He said to them, “It is written, ‘My house shall be called a house of prayer,’ but you have made it a ‘den of thieves.’ ” (Mark11:15-19, Luke19:45-48, John2:13-16, Jeremiah7:11)


After Christ entered Jerusalem, He did not go to the bank, to the religious court, to the mayor, or to the commander of the Roman army. He went into the temple of God to pray and worship God, who is the center of every good society. Jesus came into the temple, because His kingdom is spiritual and “not of this world.” If the Lord does not rule by His Spirit in offices, houses, industries, and schools, the spirit of the tempter with his lies, deception, and impurity shall prevail.
Many of Jesus’ followers called Him the Galilean Nazarene prophet. Although they had not recognized that He was the promised Christ, the Son of the living God, they did sense His power, authority, and love. The disciples asked themselves, “Can anything good come out of Nazareth?” That mountainous area had a bad reputation because of its highway robbers and culturally mixed population. The citizens of the city wondered, “Who is this that is riding on the donkey?”
Christ saw that the temple had been turned into a market place where goods and products were sold. The people’s hearts were empty of zeal for God. They were interested in selling beasts for sacrifice, changing money for the payment of dues to the temple, and buying luxury clothes and perfumes. Consequently, the worship of God in spirit and truth disappeared. The worshipers’ thoughts were focused on money, problems, and worries. The number of those who truly sanctified God in their hearts dwindled.
The abuse that they did involved buying, selling, and changing money in the temple. Lawful things, which are done in the wrong place at the wrong time, may become sinful things. In this case, an activity that would have been totally acceptable in another place on another day defiled the sanctuary and profaned the Sabbath.
This buying, selling, and changing money had the pretense of being for spiritual purposes. They sold animals for sacrifice, to assist those who could more easily bring their money with them than their animals. They changed money for those who wanted to use the half shekel as redemption-money. These things passed for the outward business of the house of God; and yet Christ did not allow it.
Great corruption and abuse comes into the church by the practices of those whose “gain is godliness,” that is, worldly gain is their ultimate goal. These people create a counterfeit godliness as their path to worldly gain. Paul says, “From such withdraw yourself” (1 Timothy 6:5).
When Christ came into the temple (God’s residence), He cleansed it immediately. People can only be reformed through renewed faith. It is not economy that builds the nation, but faith. Pray to the Lord to reform your community. Do you know where this reformation must start? It must start with you.
In quoting scriptural prophecy (Isaiah 56:7), Christ explained what the temple of God was designed to be: “My house shall be called a house of prayer.”
The house of sacrifices was supposed to be a house of prayer. It was not only the place of worship, but also the medium of it. Therefore, prayers made in or toward that house had a particular promise of acceptance (2 Chronicles 6:21). Christ gave scriptural proof concerning how they had abused the temple and perverted the intention of it. “You have made it a den of thieves.” (Jeremiah 7:11), “Has this house become a den of thieves in your eyes?” The house of prayer became a den of thieves because of the cheating practices in buying and selling. Markets in the temple rob God of His honor, an awful thing to do (Malachi 3:8). Although the priests lived well from the offerings brought to the altar, they were not content. They found other ways to squeeze money out of the people. Christ calls them thieves, for they exacted that which did not belong to them.
What are the sentiments and worship of your heart? Do you love Christ with all your heart? Do you listen carefully to the Word of God? What is the core of your inner feeling? What things occupy you during the day? Is the heavenly Father all in all to you? Do not let the love of money reign over your heart. If it does, your heart will become a den of thieves full of hatred, covetousness, and impurity. Does God’s Spirit dwell in you? Are you a clean temple of God?

Prayer
Hallelujah, Heavenly King, You came to Your people, but Your people did not recognize You. The best of them received You with cheer and joy. You cleansed the temple first that all might worship the heavenly Father and not mammon. Forgive us if we did not receive You when first touched by Your Holy Spirit. We beg You to cleanse our hearts from every impure thought or love for money that our hearts may become Your holy temples forever.
Question
Why did Christ cleanse God’s temple immediately after He entered Jerusalem?