In Mark, the Temple incident is framed by the curse of the Fig Tree and provides the clues we need to fully interpret that parabolic action. In fact, this action is also symbolic. Jesus arrives at the Temple as the messiah, inspects the Temple and finds it corrupt. He begins his final week with a dramatic disruption in the area used for selling sacrificial animals.
The Temple complex was huge. The area with buying and selling was approximately 450×300 meters! Craig Evans suggests it is unlikely that Jesus completely disrupted all commerce in the area, and most people would not have been aware Jesus was making a demonstration in one area of the Temple. The action is symbolic. By overturning tables and causing the chaos that he does, he challenges the religious authorities to be obedient to scripture by making the Temple a house of prayer and not a den of thieves.
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