(Vs. 12) This verse seems to come in as a parenthesis between the miracle at Cana and the cleansing of the temple. Mr. Pink suggests that the key word is "CAPERNAUM" which stands for two thingsDivine favor and Divine Judgment (Matt. 11:23). The mother of Jesus may represent the nation of Israel (honored among women), his brethren may represent the nation of Israel in general unbelief (John 7:5), and His disciples may represent the small remnant in Israel who did believe in Him. With these the Lord went down to Capernaum but continued there NOT many days. Not for long was Israel to enjoy these special favors of God.
(Vs. 13) Here is one key to that which follows. The "Lord's Passover" had degenerated into the "Passover of the Jews." It was only a matter of form and ritual. The true worship of God and the pattern of redemption by Christ was forgotten in the Passover Feast (Isa. 1:11-18).
(Vs. 14) Animals were used in sacrifices: and these men who sold oxen, sheep, and doves to worshippers from remote areas excused their covetousness and greed by the fact that they made it convenient for these people to purchase the required animals for sacrifices. They had set up their booths and stalls all about the sacred premises. The money-changers were there to exchange foreign currency. These cattle dealers and money-changers were notorious for making bargains that profited themselvesenough to justify our calling them "thieves."(Vs. 15-16) We see many things in these verses. Read Matt. 21:12-13.
1. THE DEITY OF CHRIST. He calls the temple "My Father's house." None had ever nor could ever refer to the temple in this way. Christ alone can say this.
2. THE POWER AND AUTHORITY OF CHRIST. One man, single-handed, takes a whip, and the whole multitude flees in fear before Him. This was no mere man; the terror of God had fallen upon them!
3. THE WRATH AND RIGHTEOUSNESS OF THE LAMB. We think of our Lord as gentle and kind, and such He is, but this is not all that He is! Our Lord is inflexibly righteous as well as infinitely gracious. We do well to remind ourselves that "it is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God."
4. Can we not see today the commercialization of those places, which are supposed to be the house of God? The materialism, socials, and forms of entertainment that are part of church programs are an unholy mixture of the world and so-called worship.
Pink points out the prudence and gentleness of Christ in that though He drove out the sheep and the oxen and dumped the money on the floor, He said to those who sold doves, "Take these out." He did not release them to fly away. All of the other property could be retrieved, but not the doves if He had set them free.(Vs. 17) His disciples thought of the Scripture in Psalm 69:9.
(Vs. 18-21) These Jews demanded of Him a "sign" or proof of His authority to cleanse the temple and to do the things He had done. They were utterly void of any understanding of the true Messiah and His mission and could neither comprehend His words nor deeds (Matt. 13:13). Yet in reality our Lord's words to them were MUCH TO THE POINT! In raising Himself from the dead He would furnish the greatest and final proof that He was God manifest in flesh, and as God, had a right to cleanse the defiled temple which bore His name.
(Vs. 22) Did the disciples at this time understand or believe in the promise of His resurrection? No, they did not (Mark 16:11). It was only later, after His resurrection, that they recalled this incident and believed (John 14:26).
(Vs. 23-25) When the people saw the miracles of Christ, MANY claimed to believe on Him and joined themselves to Him: but they were only dazzled and impressed by the miracles. Their profession was not from the heart, and He knew it (I Kings 8:39). These men were "stony ground" hearers. They were only intellectually convinced, and our Lord clearly discerned this. He would not commit Himself to them, because He knew them all. "Man's AFFECTIONS may be stirred, man's INTELLIGENCE may be informed, man's CONSCIENCE may be convicted," but God must give him a new heart and new life. Only a new creation avails before God. Men must be born again (John 3:3-7).
We might learn a lesson here. The discreet man will be kind to all, but intimate with few. We do well to remember that all that glitters is not gold, and all who profess Christ do not know Christ. Learn not to place yourself rashly in the power of unproved professors.