And they came to Jerusalem. And he entered the temple and began to drive out those who sold and those who bought in the temple, and he overturned the tables of the money-changers and the seats of those who sold pigeons. And he would not allow anyone to carry anything through the temple. And he was teaching them and saying to them, “Is it not written, ‘My house shall be called a house of prayer for all the nations’? But you have made it a den of robbers.” And the chief priests and the scribes heard it and were seeking a way to destroy him, for they feared him, because all the crowd was astonished at his teaching.
A new idea or a revolutionary teaching can be a fearful thing for those who love tradition and the comfort of old ideas. History is replete with people who have persecuted revolutionaries and killed prophets because they were afraid of their messages of change. Such is what we see in this passage. Within a matter of days the fear of the religious leaders would come into full bloom. Soon they would condemn their Messiah to death on a cross.
Do you read Jesus' indictment of the religious leaders and wonder how a house of prayer could have morphed into Walmart? How could leaders turn something spiritual into something so carnal. It is like these had traded their faith for profit. Sadly these kinds of activities have never stopped. Popes sold indulgences a few centuries ago and many today are demanded to sacrificially give to support the excesses of carnal religious leaders.
Help us Lord to return our gatherings to the heart of worship and the heart of prayer.