The Temple in Jerusalem was always crowded during Passover with thousands of visitors. Money changers were set up at the Temple entrance so that a Temple tax could be paid in local currency. Merchants provided sacrificial animals for a temple sacrifice which were also purchased with local currency. Jesus' dramatic expulsion of the money changers and merchants in the temple signals a conflict that will lead finally to Jesus' arrest. His objection is not to dishonest merchants, but to the use of the temple as a place of business. Initiating such a demonstration marks Jesus as one who claims prophetic authority -- and in the eyes of the leaders, without authorization. The focus of the text is not Jesus' anger, nor his "driving" the merchants out of the temple. The focus is Jesus' zeal for God's temple to be a house of prayer. When we disrespect God's Word, he calls us to repentance. Christ's suffering, death and resurrection reveal God's heart, which is zealous for those he loves. The conflict will lead to Jesus' death, but it also signals the impending doom of the temple. Jesus' cryptic comment about "destroying this temple" promises both his own death and resurrection and the demise of the temple. The temple officials' rejection of Jesus will finally mean their rejection by God -- and the destruction of the temple by the Romans in A.D. 70. Within our traditional lectionary (list of Sunday Scripture readings), this Gospel has always been connected to the Old Testament reading which presents the Ten Commandments (Exodus 20:1-17). The zeal which Jesus expresses for God's temple is the zeal which God's chosen people had for the Ten Commandments. The Commandments were like buoys in dangerous water, designating the areas in which there was safe passage. The Commandments have been understood as "liberating limits" and sign posts on the way to freedom.