In Matthew 8:20 Jesus affirms that he had no home in this world. He was well aware that in this era of world history, it’s the birds of prey – eagles like Rome – or foxes like Herod, who hoard the best land and build all the best palaces.
However, Jesus also made it clear he should have had a home even in this era of world history. The son, by any legal reading, should have been given full occupancy and rights to his father’s house, the temple. Even at 12, Jesus knows the Jerusalem Temple is his rightful home, but he willingly ceded his right to live there at the request of his parents, and much later Jesus would again relinquish all his rights to live in his rightful palace.
Jesus knew the law, and according to Exodus 22:2, he had every legal right to kill any invaders who were squatting in his father’s home, but rather than kill these money changers, Jesus graciously acted out a warning. He engaged in prophetic pantomime, just as so many prophets of old had done. Jesus not only demonstrated his right of ownership by chasing out the squatters with a non-lethal weapon, a whip – not a sword or a spear, but He acted out a warning that is clear from his chosen text from Jeremiah. Jeremiah warned that a corrupt temple would soon be demolished. Jesus did the same.
Yet after his prophetic pantomime, which also clearly demonstrated that he knew he had every right of legal ownership to his father’s house, Jesus immediately relinquished ownership back to the illegal squatters.
However, as Ezekiel later makes plain when the coming Messiah returns he will use the temple mount as his official place of residence, but until that coming day Jesus had a different priority. Jesus had not yet come to invade and reclaim what was his. First he was dedicated to making an overture of salvation to all his enemies, even the squatters who had invaded his rightful home.
I like to think that Jesus knew that at least a few of the money changers would be struck by his dramatic pantomime of whips and scattered coins, and these men just like Matthew, would change their allegiances to serve the true owner of the house they were squatting in.