To be sure, Jesus is the meekest, gentlest person who ever lived. He said, ‘for I am gentle and humble in heart’ (Matt. 11:29). But meekness is not weakness. It is, rather, strength under control. Meekness has the strength to not defend oneself (like when Jesus went to the Cross). But meekness will boldly defend others.

One day Jesus struck out in defense of the holiness of God the Father. You can read the story of the ‘Cleansing of the Temple’ in Mark 11:15-19. Let’s just say that Jesus turned over tables and chased people and animals out of the Temple area.

What made Jesus so mad?

Jesus was mad at what was there…

Selfishness & Greed

Why were people buying and selling? People came to the temple in Jerusalem to offer sacrifices. So the religious leadership established markets where animals could be purchased. It is said that there was a 2,000% mark-up on these animals. It’s like going to a ball game and buying a $1 bottle of water for $20.

In addition, every Jewish man, 20 years old and older, had to pay a temple tax of ½ shekel a year. Money coming from the outside could not be used in the Temple. It had to be exchanged for ‘clean’ money, but including excessive handling charges.

By calling the Temple area a ‘den of thieves’ Jesus was implying that their activity was illegal. It is interesting that the road from Jericho to Jerusalem was notorious for its robbers (Good Samaritan). Jesus had just left Jericho, but He was claiming that there are worse robbers in the Temple courts than ever there are in the aves on the Jericho road.


The market and money changers did big business during Passover. Jerusalem population was about 20,000 normally but would swell to over 250,000 during Passover. The concentration was greatest closest to the Temple. People were everywhere and the Jews thought so little of the sanctity of the Temple Courts that they used tit as a shortcut between the city and the Mount of Olives. What was to be a place of quiet, prayer and meditation had become a circus.

Now does all this mean that Jesus would drive out bake sales, book sales, or sign-ups for camps from the church foyer. No. He was angry at allowing selfishness, greed, and busyness to keep people from worshiping God. As long as those things contribute to the worship of God, they are okay.

Jesus was mad at what was not there…


Jesus wanted to restore His Temple as a house of prayer. He said, ‘My house shall be called a house of prayer.’ Prayer is at the heart of Jesus, produces unity, and releases God’s power. If there is anything that ought to be in the Temple, it should be prayer. That is where you go if you want to prayer to God. But with all the stuff going on, few if any, were praying.


Not only did Jesus want the Temple to be a place of prayer, but He also wanted to restore it to a place for salvation for all nations. Jesus’ words for the Temple to be a ‘house of prayer for all nations’ was a direct quote from Isaiah 56:7-8.

One purpose for the Temple was to be a place where the Gentiles could come for prayer and meditation in seeking God. God designed a specific area in the Temple plans called ‘The Court of the Gentiles’ where unbelievers could come and learn about God. This is the location of this market. The Jews were so busy with making money, the searching Gentiles could not get close to God.

Making it personal….

Today, we do not have a Temple – Jewish or Christian. And the church building is not the New Testament Temple. We are the Temple of God…

“Do you not know that you are the Temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwells in you?” (1 Cor. 3:16)

So as the Temple of God, there is one question you can ask yourself to see if Jesus is mad at your lives…

Have you allowed selfishness, greed, or busyness to keep you from prayer to God and bringing unbelievers to God?

You can also read my articles on anger: 14 Positive Ways to Deal with Anger, 5 Practical Ways to Control Anger.