After turning the water into wine for His mother in Cana, Jesus and the disciples went to Jerusalem to celebrate the Passover. During the Passover there were feasts and temple worship, which included animal sacrifice.
People came from all over to celebrate in Jerusalem, which meant that these travelers brought many different currencies with them.
More often than not, people bought sacrificial animals at the temple, but that was hard to do with different currencies. So exchange tables lined the walls, and men traded money and temple currency with one another. What may have begun as a helpful service soon became a loud and dirty market within the temple walls.
What’s more, the money changers began to charge unfair rates, taking advantage of the crowd drawn to Jerusalem for the Passover. When Jesus and His disciples went to worship at the temple, Jesus was shocked at the display. Righteous anger rose inside Him, and He created a whip out of rope.
Then He walked in and cleaned out the market, releasing the sacrificial animals into the street, upending tables, and cracking the whip.
“Take these things out!” He cried. “Do not make my Father’s house a common market!”
The disciples were amazed to see Christ so displeased. He had never acted with such force before. He wasn’t cruel, but He was firm, and soon the temple was cleared of the bustle of a marketplace and a quiet, peaceful calm set in.