The chief priests and the teachers of the law heard this and began looking for a way to kill him, for they feared him, because the whole crowd was amazed at his teaching.
Jesus was a troublemaker. While the ordinary people loved him and all he did, those in authority did not share their feelings. They saw Jesus as being a threat to their position and authority. And with good reason. Throughout Jesus’ ministry, he had been critical of them. But nowhere was that more dramatic than his clearing of the temple courts, as recorded in this chapter.
Jesus’ act of clearing the temple, and his associated teaching, was a direct challenge to the temple authorities. He accused them of defiling the temple and making it unusable as a place of prayer. They were not serving God. Instead, they were serving their own interests.
This verse describes their response to Jesus’ challenge. The crowd was siding with Jesus, and that threatened their position. And so they decided to eliminate the threat he posed by killing him.
What if Jesus were to visit our churches today? I wonder how he would react. Would he commend us for what we have become and are doing? Or would we experience some serious housecleaning? And if the latter, how would we react to him? Would we submit to his authority as the head of his church? Or are we so committed to our way of “doing church” that we would see him as a threat and ask him to leave?