John 2:13-16 The Passover of the Jews was at hand, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem. In the temple he found those who were selling oxen and sheep and pigeons, and the money-changers at their business. And making a whip of cords, he drove them all, with the sheep and oxen, out of the temple; and he poured out the coins of the money-changers and overturned their tables. And he told those who sold the pigeons, "Take these things away; you shall not make my Father's house a house of trade."
Sometimes the best place to begin, is to begin with the definitions. Sacred means something that is set aside for a special purpose - sacred is the opposite of common. Profane is an act of desecration which takes something that has been set aside for a special purpose and makes it common. Holy is something which is sacred, that is set apart for a special purpose, and which is also without sin. God is the most holy thing there is, which is why in the sanctus, we sing to him holy, holy, holy - that is we sing that God is most holy.
You don't wear your good clothes when you are going out into the mud, if you did, you would make the common. So the house of God is something special, it is not about buying and selling. We do not know how it got this way, perhaps the people were not paying their tithes, perhaps the priests found a new fund raising plan - but it was wrong, something had to be done, and Jesus cleansed the temple. No body argues about whether it was wrong, the only question is, by what authority do you do this? Everyone knew that the temple was holy, everyone knew that these activities were making in common.
What does this mean for us? This is why our church is a special place. This is why we prepare ourselves to come to church, and to come into the presence of God - we prepare ourselves outwardly by putting on our good clothes - we prepare ourselves inwardly, by examining ourselves, confessing our sins, and receiving forgiveness. Why? The Scriptures tell us: Leviticus 20:7-8 Consecrate yourselves therefore, and be holy; for I am the LORD your God. Keep my statutes, and do them; I am the LORD who sanctify you.
We cannot be holy by ourselves - by ourselves we are sinners. This is where we get into the second part of cleansing the temple. This is what Jesus was speaking of, when he said destroy this temple, and in 3 days I will raise it up. Jesus kept the law perfectly, this made Jesus holy, that is without sin. Since the wages of sin is death, only one who was without sin could die for our sins, and pay our debt. Jesus death on the cross is the sacrifice that paid our debt and forgave our sins. Jesus is the temple, which is destroyed, and in 3 days is raised. In Jesus death, and resurrection what was lost in Adam's sin is restored.
This brings us to the 3rd part; which is, how can we be holy? Scriptures tell us: 1 Corinthians 6:19-20 Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, which you have from God? You are not your own; you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body.
By grace through faith in Christ we are the temple of God, Jesus makes us holy by washing away our sins, and making us a new creation. At our Baptism not only were our sins washed away, buy we were given a new life, we became the children of God, in that instant God made us holy.
When we wear our good clothes we might be special on the outside, but as a child of God we are special on the outside and on the inside - God has set us aside for a special purpose, to be his children, to be his temple. God has called us to be holy. We don't want to drag God's name in the mud, we don't want to profane God's temple, so we by God's grace turn from sin, and turn to our savior, and we trust in him to wash us, to cleanse us, to redeem us, to sanctify us, and by grace that we might live as the children of God to the praise and glory of our Lord and Savior. Jesus makes us holy, so we can come into the presence of God with all boldness and confidence, as dear children coming to the heavenly father in love.