Jesus entered the Temple and began to drive out all the people buying and selling animals for sacrifice. He knocked over the tables of the money changers and the chairs of those selling doves. He said to them, "The Scriptures declare, 'My Temple will be called a house of prayer,' but you have turned it into a den of thieves!"
— Matthew 21:12-13 NLT
A couple of things to notice in the passage:
First, Jesus takes authority over the Temple. This incredibly bold move leaves no middle ground for the rulers who oppose him. He is clearly acting with the authority of God over the most revered and sacred place in all of Judaism. To tread on the Temple was to provoke death, just ask Stephen when he was falsely accused of speaking against the Temple (Acts 6:13-14, 7:1-60)!
Second, Jesus' actions are justified by Scripture. God's intent is revealed in his word and by his Living Word at the same time. God wanted his Temple to be a place of prayer for all nations. Like so many things, however, it had become a symbol, part of a ritual celebration that had lost its purpose because people were trying to find an advantage in what they did there rather than focusing on honoring God.
We must be careful that our lives honor God rather than just being part of rituals.
Father, as I offer my life as worship to you, no matter what I'm doing or where I am, I want to honor you and not myself. Please protect me from cold, sterile religion that turns all of worship into routines. I want to live freshly for you each day so I ask that you renew my joy, hope, and love in your presence each day. In Jesus' name, I pray. Amen.