13 And the Jews’ passover was at hand, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem,
14 And found in the temple those that sold oxen and sheep and doves, and the changers of money sitting:
15 And when He had made a scourge of small cords, He drove them all out of the temple, and the sheep, and the oxen; and poured out the changers’ money, and overthrew the tables;
16 And said unto them that sold doves, Take these things hence; make not My Father’s house an house of merchandise.
17 And His disciples remembered that it was written, The zeal of thine house hath eaten me up.
Jew’s Passover — John may have used this terminology because Israel was spiritually dead. Passover was no longer a “feast of Jehovah,” just a Jewish ceremony. In addition, when John wrote this, the temple had been destroyed.
This wasn’t the same temple clearing mentioned in Matthew 21:12-13, Mark 11:15 and Luke 19:45. That one was on Jesus’ last trip to Jerusalem.
Arthur W. Pink, in his Exposition on the Gospel of John, thinks there was only one cleansing of the temple which occurred at the end of Jesus’ ministry but that John recorded it here to show Israel’s spiritual deadness. I don’t think I agree with him.
The courtyard of the temple was full of animals sold for sacrifices, commercializing the holy functions and violating Deuteronomy 12:6 which instructed that the Jews were supposed to supply their own sacrifices — And thither ye shall bring your burnt offerings, and your sacrifices, and your tithes, and heave offerings of your hand, and your vows, and your freewill offerings, and the firstlings of your herds and of your flocks.
In addition, the outer court was reserved for Gentiles for prayer.
There will be another cleansing in the future — Matthew 24:15; Revelation 6:16; Revelation 13
Money changers changed currency from the common coins into temple money that did not have images of animals or men.
Temple (in verses 14-15) — hieron, the whole temple
Temple (in verse 19) — naos, the inner sanctuary. The same word is used in 1 Corinthians 6:19 — What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own?
My Father’s house — He was declaring His Divine Sonship.
The quote in verse 17 is from Psalm 69:9 — For the zeal of Thine house hath eaten me up; and the reproaches of them that reproached Thee are fallen upon me.
For Passover, all leaven had to be removed from the homes of all Jews. Jesus was removing the leaven from the temple. Therefore let us keep the feast, not with old leaven, neither with the leaven of malice and wickedness; but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth. I wrote unto you in an epistle not to company with fornicators: Yet not altogether with the fornicators of this world, or with the covetous, or extortioners, or with idolaters; for then must ye needs go out of the world (1 Corinthians 5:8-10). Leaven includes the covetous and extortioners, just what Jesus was dealing with in the temple.
The entire crowd fled before one Man, an indication of His holiness.
Interesting point — The cattle and sheep were driven out, but their owners would be able to recover them. The coins were dumped, but they could be picked up. The doves, which could not be recaptured, were not let go. Christ told their owners to remove them. He was angry, but He showed restraint.