In the temple he found those who were selling oxen and sheep and pigeons, and the money-changers sitting there. John 2:14
When people came to the temple, they would offer an animal as a sacrifice. So if you traveled 50 miles to the temple, it would have been difficult to bring an ox or a sheep with you. It would be much easier to buy the animal when you arrived.
The traders saw an opportunity to make a living by providing a convenient service—nothing wrong with that. At first there would only have been a few of them, and they were located not in the temple but nearby on the Mount of Olives. But as anyone who runs a retail business knows “Location matters!”
These traders would compete for the best spots for their business, and since the best spots were the ones nearest to the temple, over time these booths crept nearer and nearer to the temple, until eventually they ended up inside the temple itself.
An especially entrepreneurial trader probably made a special deal to get in there. This was the prime location, and being inside the temple would give him the advantage over everyone else: “Buy from me. It’s the least distance for carrying your sheep.”
Once one trader got on the inside, the rest would be scrambling to get inside as well. And by the time of Jesus, the entire outer court of the temple, the place for meeting with God, had been taken over by these traders with their stalls.
What one thing threatens to occupy the place that belongs to God in your life?