As the Savior entered and cleanse the temple after arriving with his disciples for his last Passover, he teaches us a powerful message. The Lord’s honor and respect for the temple shows us how we, too, can become clean and pure through the power of the atonement of Jesus Christ. According to Matthew and Luke, the cleansing of the temple took place on Sunday, immediately after the triumphal entry. Mark, however, places the cleansing on Monday. The following day, Jesus and his disciples had come to celebrate the Passover, which would begin in just a few days.
As they entered the city, they would have first likely entered through the southern gate of Jerusalem, near the pool of Siloam. They would then ritually wash in this pool or one of the many other McPheters or ritual pools in Jerusalem. Jesus and his disciples would have then climbed the hundreds of steps up the Tyrolean Valley until they arrived at the base of the Temple Mount. The temple itself was on a massive platform of about 35 acres in size, built over the top of Mount Moriah, creating a large courtyard for the hundreds of thousands of pilgrims that arrived during Passover as the savior and his disciples entered the large court of the Gentiles.
They encountered the money changers who is selling items and exchanging money in the house of God. All Jewish males were required by the Law of Moses to offer a half shekel of silver once a year to help support the temple because of the command against graven images. Coins made in Palestine were minted with only depictions of nature, such as grapes or sheaves of wheat. However, because the temple authorities mandated only the purest of silver, these local and less pure coins were required to be exchanged for the Roman shekel and half shekel.
These coins were minted with the image of the Greek divine hero Heracles. They also included the phrase of tire the holy city and city of Refuge. Many Jews found this requirement by the temple leadership to be highly offensive, since these coins were stamped with a pagan image and words denoting the tire, not Jerusalem as the holy city. In addition, these money changers charged an exchange rate of about eight percent, much of which likely was pocketed by the corrupt temple leadership.
Jesus, upon seeing the money making endeavors in the temple, made a whip from courts and began overturning the tables and driving out the money changers. In a loud voice, the savior proclaimed It is written.
My house shall be called the House of Prayer, but ye have made it into a den of thieves.
This is one of the few examples in the Gospels where Jesus shows true righteous indignation. The temple was to be a sacred place designed to help Israel come closer to God. Yet the Jewish leadership were using it just to make a profit and gain worldly power within the context of the events of Passover. The timing of this cleansing is highly significant.
Leading up to Passover, which would be only in a few days, Jews were to cleanse their homes of all leavened products.
This ritual dates back to the time of the exodus. When the Israelites fled Egypt in their haste to leave captivity, they did not have time to allow their dough to rise to commemorate their haste. Just prior to Passover, families scour their homes until they have removed all traces of love in the Bible states. Seven days shaltiel eat unleavened bread therewith for the alchemist fourth out of the land of Egypt in haste that thou mayest remember the day when thou came forth, the seven days without love and began the day after Passover and was called the Feast of unleavened bread.
Jews saw this time of cleansing their homes of Leverne as a time of preparation in which they not only physically prepared but also spiritually prepared.
Leverne was often seen as a symbol of impurity or corruption because of how quickly it can spoil a small amount of love in raising an entire batch of bread was seen as symbolic of how a small amount of corruption could lead someone into darkness. This cleansing was a time of inner reflection and repentance so they could more fully.
Enjoy the joyous festival of Passover, thus, as hundreds of thousands of Jews were cleansing their own homes of Leverne, a symbol of impurity, Jesus cleanses his father’s house of corruption, desiring to properly prepare for this most sacred of weeks, Jesus does exactly as the law prescribes.
While Passover was a time to celebrate the miraculous story of the exodus and deliverance from Egyptian bondage. Little did these Jews know that this man who was cleansing the temple would be their true source of complete deliverance.
Just as the Jews were commanded to cleanse their homes and Christ cleansed the temple, so too should our temples be cleansed, even our body and spirits. Paul taught no you not that you are the temple of God and that the spirit of God dwelleth in you for the Temple of God is holy, which temple you are. How beautiful the message of the cleansing of the temple. That teaches us that just as Jesus cleansed the ancient temple, it is only through him that we can also be cleansed as we repent of our sins and come on to him.
He will cleanse us of all impurity. Only once we are purified through his atonement can we then truly enjoy perfect deliverance through Christ, our Passover lamb.