This story was important to the early church, and is one of a handful finding a place in all four Gospels. Any attempt to domesticate and tame Jesus, or to fit him into a category of our own choosing as a means of shaping our faith into something that eases the burden of responsibility and serves our own purposes finds a dismal end in the Gospels and in this story in particular. We will never be able to fit Jesus into a nice neat box to affirm any sense of personal comfort we might desire. Never once does Jesus say we are to ‘understand’ him, rather he challenges us to follow him. Jesus enters the temple, the place and symbol of God living among his people, and he finds it has become a marketplace to profit from religious activity. He turns the place upside down, fiercely reminding people this was to be a place of prayer and worship. When he enters our lives, he will overturn things we set up as idols and things that bring us a false sense of security.
When it was almost time for the Jewish Passover, Jesus went up to Jerusalem. In the temple courts he found people selling cattle, sheep and doves, and others sitting at tables exchanging money. So he made a whip out of cords, and drove all from the temple courts, both sheep and cattle; he scattered the coins of the money changers and overturned their tables. To those who sold doves he said, “Get these out of here! Stop turning my Father’s house into a market!” His disciples remembered that it is written: “Zeal for your house will consume me.”