Matthew 21:12-13 Then Jesus entered the temple and drove out all who were selling and buying in the temple, and he overturned the tables of the money changers and the seats of those who sold doves. He said to them, “It is written, ‘My house shall be called a house of prayer’; but you are making it a den of robbers.”
The issue in this passage is not that Jesus is capable of anger; it’s that sometimes anger is what’s called for.
The tradition of the day is that pilgrims are required to make offerings using Jewish currency, not Roman. The moneychangers take advantage of the pilgrims, skewing the rate of exchange in their favor—and in favor of the temple priests who also take a cut. Similarly, the merchants who sell doves can ask any price they like, without regard for their customers’ station in life. We know these people are poor because otherwise they would purchase a lamb or a larger, more expensive animal.
Jesus’ cleansing of the temple is an act of social justice. He defends society’s outsiders and the poor, and he illustrates a central tenet: When it comes to worshiping God, we all enter the temple on a level playing ground.
MOVING FORWARD: When was the last time you felt angry? Was it justified? How did you handle this feeling?