Luke 19:45-48 (ESV)
45 And he entered the temple and began to drive out those who sold, 46 saying to them, “It is written, ‘My house shall be a house of prayer,’ but you have made it a den of robbers.” 47 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, 48 but they did not find anything they could do, for all the people were hanging on his words.
When Jesus entered his Father’s house, he cleaned it up. In an area of the temple called the “Court of the Gentiles,” animals were purchased for sacrifice and currency was changed to pay the temple tax. Those who sold the sacrificial animals and proper currency made a substantial profit and used the vulnerability of people coming to worship God for personal gain. When Jesus entered the temple and saw this going on, it greatly upset him. Other biographies of Jesus record that he actually flipped over the tables of those who exploited the worshippers. Can you imagine what this event must have been like to witness? Wow. The crashing tables had to have made a scene! Those present must have been stunned. Jesus quoted Isaiah 56:7, “My house shall be called a house of prayer for all peoples.” This should have been a place where people of all ethnicities could come to worship God, but it had become a place where the foreigner would be discouraged from seeking the Lord. Jesus also quoted Jeremiah 7:11 when he said, “You have made it a den of robbers.” The temple had become a place for greedy and selfish “thieves” to gather and plan to rip off the naïve who came to make a sacrifice. The nation of Israel was a mess. Not only had most of the people missed their Messiah, but God was dishonored even in the very temple.
After Jesus cleansed the temple, he taught there daily. The religious leaders attempted to trap him or trip him up in his words, but they were unsuccessful. Instead, verse 48 describes, “All the people were hanging on his words.” The scribes, the Pharisees, and the chief priests were more interested in money and commercialism than helping others get right with the Lord. As Christians, we no longer make sacrifices in the temple, because when we turn to Jesus in repentance and faith our own bodies become temples of the Lord. The Holy Spirit of God takes residence in us, and we are called to glorify him in our bodies. So if we are Christians we have the Holy Spirit. How encouraging is that? The Holy Spirit will help us to glorify God by living in a way that is consistent with his design for a redeemed life as we too hang on Jesus’ words.