In the time of Jesus, the temple was of great importance to the Jewish people. Jesus also used to go to the temple for the Passover. There he however clashed with the temple authorities (Mk 11:12-15; Mt 21:12-13; Lk 19:45-46 and Jn 2:14-22). What was the nature of this clash? Contrary Edward P Sanders, who regards Jesus’ action in the temple as a symbolic act of the destruction of the temple, this article concurs with Craig Evans and Hans Betz that the corruption in the temple as a result of the commercialisation and the cooperation between the ruling Roman and temple authorities, affected worship as the temple’s prime purpose. It is this purpose Jesus wanted to restore and for this reason Jesus’ action should be regarded as a form of cleansing.