The Temple is Cleansed

Mark 11:15–19  also Matt. 21:12, 13; Luke 19:45, 46

15 So they came to Jerusalem. Then Jesus went into the temple and began to drive out those who bought and sold in the temple, and overturned the tables of the money changers and the seats of those who sold doves. 16 And He would not allow anyone to carry wares through the temple. 17 Then He taught, saying to them, Is it not written, ‘My house shall be called a house of prayer for all nations’? But you have made it a ‘den of thieves.’ ”

18 And the scribes and chief priests heard it and sought how they might destroy Him; for they feared Him, because all the people were astonished at His teaching. 19 When evening had come, He went out of the city.


Bible Knowledge Commentary – Mark 11:15-19

11:15–16. When Jesus arrived in Jerusalem, He went into the temple area (hieron; cf. v. 11), the large outer court of the Gentiles surrounding the inner sacred courts of the temple itself. (See the sketch of the temple.) No Gentile was allowed beyond this outer court. In it the high priest Caiaphas had authorized a market (probably a recent economic innovation) for the sale of ritually pure items necessary for temple sacrifice: wine, oil, salt, approved sacrificial animals and birds.

Money from three sources circulated in Palestine in New Testament times: imperial money (Roman), provincial money (Greek), and local money (Jewish). Money changers provided the required Tyrian (Jewish) coinage for the annual half-shekel temple tax (Ex. 30:12–16) required of all male Jews 20 years of age and up. This was in exchange for their Greek and Roman currency, which featured human portraits considered idolatrous. Though a small surcharge was permitted in these transactions, dealings were not free from extortion and fraud. In addition (according to Mark 11:16) people loaded with merchandise were taking shortcuts through this area, making it a thoroughfare from one part of the city to another.

Jesus was outraged by this blatant disregard for the temple area specifically set apart for Gentile use. So He overturned the money changers’ tables and the dove-sellers’ benches, and would not allow people to use the area as a thoroughfare. Other certified markets were available elsewhere in the city.

11:17. Jesus’ daring action captured peoples’ attention and He taught (lit., “began teaching”) them about God’s purpose for the temple. Using a question expecting a positive answer, He appealed to Old Testament authority for His action (quoting Isa. 56:7b verbatim from the LXX).

Only Mark extended the quotation from Isaiah to include the words for all nations. God desired that both Gentiles and Jews use the temple as a place of worship (cf. John 12:20). This was especially relevant to Mark’s readers in Rome.

By contrast you (emphatic), the insensitive Jews, have made it, the court of the Gentiles, a den of robbers. It was a refuge for fraudulent traders (cf. Jer. 7:11) instead of a house of prayer (cf. 1 Kings 8:28–30; Isa. 60:7) for both Jews and Gentiles.

By this action Jesus as the Messiah claimed greater authority over the temple than that of the high priest (cf. Hosea 9:15; Mal. 3:1–5).

11:18–19. When the religious leaders (cf. comments on 8:31; 11:27; 14:1, 43, 53) heard about this, they began seeking (cf. 12:12; 14:1, 11) the best way to kill Him without creating a major uprising. Mark alone explained (gar, for) that they were afraid of Him because of His authoritative appeal to the crowds. The whole crowd of Passover pilgrims from all parts of the ancient world was amazed (exeplēsseto, “astounded, struck out of their senses, overwhelmed”; cf. 1:22; 6:2; 7:37; 10:26) at the content of His teaching (cf. 1:27). His popularity with the people kept the Jewish authorities from arresting Him immediately. That evening (Monday) they, Jesus and the Twelve, left Jerusalem and presumably went to Bethany (cf. 11:11).


God is testing us every day and has given us the right to make our own choices. Do you know which ones are the right choices in Gods mind?

Fear God, love God, honor God, and trust God with all your heart, mind and soul and you will receive and experience the joy of the promises of God’s blessings in His time. And always remember to ask the Father for His help and guidance in all things.


Prayer:   Father, blessed is your Holy name. We praise you for your Son and the Holy Spirit. Human words cannot describe how grateful we are for Your Son and our risen Christ. We praise You for the opportunity to be able to choose Jesus as our Lord and Savior and to be elect children of Yours. We praise you for the laws You have set down to teach us, keep our lives in harmony , how to treat others and how to live within your boundaries. Please bless those who have read this article for they too are seeking Your righteous truth, love, wisdom and understanding. I pray these brothers and sisters have or will come to realize that Your existence is a treasure of grace and love that You have for all Your elect children.

May God, Jesus, the Holy Spirit and Christianity be our guiding lights for eternity. Let it be Your will Lord not mine. Please come Lord Jesus.

I pray in Jesus sweet name and to His glory through the power of The Holy Spirit,


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