Today's verses are Mark 11:15,16: "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." Jesus entered the temple, early during holy week. But he entered the temple not to worship his Father but to cleanse it, to purify it, as was prophesied Messiah would do in Malachi 3:1-4.
What was happening In the temple area that was offensive to Jesus? Tables were set up everywhere to help all the religious sojourners to change their money into what was necessary to purchase pigeons, oil, salt, lambs etc. for different sin and thanksgiving offerings as prescribed in the holiness laws.
It was all this business activity that was a holy offense to Jesus, the Lord of the temple. He felt God's temple had been turned into a "den of robbers" (a term used by Jeremiah 7:11). The money changers were using this activity to skim money off the top and make a profit for themselves. It disgusted Jesus' heart.
Moreover, and what was probably most offensive to Jesus, was that the Gentiles especially were being hindered by all the temple business happening in the outer court from experiencing faith in God. They were not able to move toward the inner court and meet the one true, living God in worship.
Jesus knew that one of the major reasons the temple was built was to be a "house of prayer for all the nations" (Isa. 56:7). Israel was originally called by God to be a "light to the nations" (Isa. 46:2). Yet the desire to make money and use the temple for selfish ambition and gain was preventing the temple from being what God intended when he allowed it to be constructed.
Bottom line: Jesus had a profound zeal for God's house. He desired to temple to be what God intended it to be. The parallel for Christians today is the church. It was built by the Holy Spirit as a place for God's people in Christ to worship him. But it was also constructed as a house of prayer for all the nations, a place from where the Great Commission, Jesus' command to make disciples of all the nations, would take place.
What would happen if all Christians had a zeal for the church like Jesus had a zeal for God's temple? Might prayer be restored to its rightful place? Might the call for worldwide missions be reinvigorated? Might we stop using business models for our growth and replace them with the ministry of the Word of God and passionate prayer?
Jesus' zeal for God's house is an example for all his followers.