Through the “cleansing” of the temple, Jesus was really symbolically replacing it. Without animals for sacrifice, sacrificial worship could not be offered at the temple. Jesus later in the Gospel of John tells the Samaritan woman at the well because of Him, worship will be offered to God not at special sites like the Jewish and Samaritan temples, but in Spirit and truth (4:23-25). The real temple of God—place of God’s special presence– is not a building in Jerusalem, but Jesus Himself. Thus Jesus can say, “Destroy this temple and in three days I will raise it up.” John explains to us that He is talking about the temple of His body.
Jesus’ action at the temple was thus another sign of who He was and of the momentous change He was making in the relationship between God and His people. His first disciples did not immediately grasp the full significance of the signs He worked, but their meaning became clearer after Jesus’ resurrection from the dead. Signs such as the “cleansing” of the temple enabled people to believe in Him (Verse 11,23).