Jesus Cleansing of the Temple


Every Jewish man coming to Jerusalem for the Passover feast had to pay a temple tax. Many types of currencies were circulating, and, since only special temple coins were acceptable, money changers could charge a fee and make handsome profits at the expense of the people. A temple visit also usually involved a sacrifice. In order to get an animal that would pass the temple inspection many of the people were forced to buy their animal sacrifices at the temple. However these animal sellers often charged outrageous prices, thus making a huge profit for themselves. When Jesus arrives at the Temple He finds the priests exchanging money and selling sacrifices (vv. 45-46). They had turned it into a “religious marketplace” which He referred to as a “den of thieves.” His cleaning of the temple was the second time He had done this, as just three years before he had cast out a similar group (Jn. 2:13-22).

Jesus’ final days before his death were spent in public and private teaching as He remained in the temple and used it as a gathering place for those who needed help (vv. 47-48). This group probably included wealthy leaders in politics, commerce, and the law. Also his great popularity was in danger of attracting Rome’s attention, and the leaders of Israel wanted as little as possible to do with Rome. They had several reasons for wanting to get rid of Jesus. He had damaged business in the temple by driving the merchants out. In addition, he was preaching against injustice, and His teaching often favored the poor over the rich. These religious leaders tried to  destroy Him, but His hour had not yet come, and they could not touch Him.


It is my desire to have a clean mind and a clean heart. The only way I can keep it clean is to saturate it with the Word of God and not worry about what others say about what I do.

Luke 19:41-48 (English Standard Version)

And when he drew near and saw the city, he wept over it, saying, "Would that you, even you, had known on this day the things that make for peace! But now they are hidden from your eyes. For the days will come upon you, when your enemies will set up a barricade around you and surround you and hem you in on every side and tear you down to the ground, you and your children within you. And they will not leave one stone upon another in you, because you did not know the time of your visitation." And he entered the temple and began to drive out those who sold, saying to them, "It is written, 'My house shall be a house of prayer,' but you have made it a den of robbers." And he was teaching daily in the temple. The chief priests and the scribes and the principal men of the people were seeking to destroy him, but they did not find anything they could do, for all the people were hanging on his words.

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