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They were stuck in their tradition and religious mind set and refused to acknowledge Jesus as the Messiah. The leaders had read the scriptures, and were expecting a Messiah, but they just didn’t think the Messiah would come this way.
They were dishonest, raising prices and short changing the people who were purchasing animals to sacrifice for their sins. Jesus knew their hearts were evil, and righteous indignation rose up in Him. He began to upset their tables using a whip. That didn’t go over very well with the Religious leaders.