An account of Jesus cleansing the temple is recorded in Matthew 21:12-17. The temple would have been a busy place at Passover time. Both local and foreign-born Jews had come to observe the Passover week. There would be sacrifices of sheep, cattle, and doves in the temple, which were thanks-giving or dedication or repentance offerings.
For Jews who traveled long distances, animals were available to purchase in the outer courts of the temple. Additionally, a temple tax was charged to support the temple functions. This tax could only be paid in the “temple shekel.” Foreign Jews would exchange their money for a fee by using the temple moneychangers.
When Jesus entered the temple and saw the moneychangers and those selling doves, he drove them out. He overturned the tables of the moneychangers and the seats of those selling doves. In Matthew 21:13, he declared, “it is written, my house shall be called a house of prayer, but you are making it a robber’s den.” The temple was to be a holy place to worship Jehovah, not a business location to gain financial profit. The poor, who could barely afford to buy a dove for sacrifice, were being charged high prices. Foreigners were being exploited with unfair money-exchange rates.
Thus Jesus cleansed the temple of buying and selling. Then the blind and lame came to him and he began healing. Instead of using the temple as a place of financial gain, Jesus used it as a location to give blessings. He would heal the sick and create a place of praise to his Father. Bringing the lesson to our day, no Christian church should be a site of financial gain. Church facilities should be places of praise and blessing.
The young children began shouting, “Hosanna to the son of David.” When the chief priests and scribes saw this, they became indignant and complained to Jesus. Jesus replied, “Have you never read, ‘Out of the mouths of infants and nursing babies you have prepared praise for yourself.’?” (Matthew 21:16). May we follow Jesus’ example and by words and acts of goodness give praise to our Heavenly Father.