Matthew 21

Two disciples sent to borrow a donkey 1
Jesus rode the donkey, was praised as a prophet 6
He went into the temple and healed 12
The fig tree cursed; disciples would do greater things 18
Jesus' authority challenged 23
The parable of two sons 28
Wicked servants killed the heir 33
The rejected cornerstone 42
The triumphal entry. Matt. 21:1-11; Mark 11:1-11; Luke 19:29-44; John 12:12-19.
.1 ¶ And when they drew nigh unto Jerusalem, and were come to Bethphage, unto the mount of Olives, then sent Jesus two disciples, 
  2  Saying unto them, Go into the village over against you, and straightway ye shall find an ass tied, and a colt with her: loose them, and bring them unto me.
 3  And if any man say ought unto you, ye shall say, The Lord hath need of them; and straightway he will send them. 
 4  All this was done, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet, saying, 
.5  Tell ye the daughter of Sion, Behold, thy King cometh unto thee, meek, and sitting upon an ass, and a colt the foal of an ass.
  1 - Bethphage Exact location unknown but near Bethany See mr1101, lu1929, map.
  1 - Mount of olives East of Jerusalem beyond the Kidron valley and about 250 ft (76 m.) higher. See Jerusalem map.
  5 - King cometh The time had come for Jesus to clarify that He was indeed the one to sit on David's throne 2sa0712 although He soon told Pilate that His kingdom was not "of this world" jn1836. This entry foreshadowed His return to this earth in glory mt2430. He will then not come all the way to the earth 1th0417. At the end of the millennium, however, He will again stand on the Mount of Olives zc1404. We may imagine the New Jerusalem then descending on the location of the present city.
  5 - Ass and a colt He rode one animal. "riding on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey." (NIV). A "foal" is a young horse or related animal, often under a year old."
.6  And the disciples went, and did as Jesus commanded them, 
 7  And brought the ass, and the colt, and put on them their clothes, and they set him thereon. 
 8  And a very great multitude spread their garments in the way; others cut down branches from the trees, and strawed them in the way.
.9  And the multitudes that went before, and that followed, cried, saying, Hosanna to the Son of David: Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord; Hosanna in the highest. 
 10  And when he was come into Jerusalem, all the city was moved, saying, Who is this? 
.11  And the multitude said, This is Jesus the prophet of Nazareth of Galilee.
   6 - Disciples went With the expectation of being part of a new government, the disciples must have told everyone along the way about the plans.
  7 - Ass and the colt See on v5.
  9 - Multitudes Jesus had come from Bethany where He had raised Lazarus and this would also have attracted people.
  9 - Cried Or "shouted" Literally "kept shouting" Compare ps02407.
  9 - Hosanna A transliteration of the Aramaic hosha na (vernacular language of the people, similar to Hebrew) meaning "save now" or "save please." See ps11825.
  9 - Blessed is He Compare mr1110.
  Luke adds to the picture: On "Hosanna in the highest" compare lu0214. Also see lu1939.
 10 - City was moved Mark helps us understand mr1111.
  11 - Jesus the prophet See v46. They weren't sure he was the Messiah. Also jn0740, jn0752.

Bethany, late 1800s
Second temple cleansing. Matt. 21; 12-17 (major comments here). Also at Mark 11:15, Luke 19:45.
.12 ¶ And Jesus went into the temple of God, and cast out all them that sold and bought in the temple, and overthrew the tables of the moneychangers, and the seats of them that sold doves,   Temple This is the second cleansing. The first was at the beginning of His ministry and was recorded only by John jn0213 who did not record the second one here at the end. This was Monday. Matthew's record is not strictly chronological. Mark helps. click above.
  Cast out Many of those who had followed Jesus on the donkey, were no doubt here.
  Sold and bought Here He confirms that He is the Messiah by asserting authority over His temple. At His crucifixion, the Jews would not be able to rationalize that He had been just another man.
  This corruption in what the Jews had designated as the court of the Gentiles was out of harmony with true worship jn0424. The businesses were licensed by the temple authorities who no doubt charged the vendors as much as the market would bear. Compare mi0608, mt0913, ez4423.
  Tables See on lu1923.
.13 And said unto them, It is written, My house shall be called the house of prayer; but ye have made it a den of thieves.
 14 And the blind and the lame came to him in the temple; and he healed them.
  It is written Quoting from is5607. The temple was for conversion of the world. It was to have been the gathering place, as seen in the verses before and after the one quoted.
  Den of thieves Rather "... of robbers." The Scriptures had predicted it je0711.
  Blind ... lame The scene is peaceful and joyous as our Lord was, for a brief time, revealing the atmosphere that was to be in His and His Father's house.
.15 And when the chief priests and scribes saw the wonderful things that he did, and the children crying in the temple, and saying, Hosanna to the Son of David; they were sore displeased,
.16 And said unto him, Hearest thou what these say? And Jesus saith unto them, Yea; have ye never read, Out of the mouth of babes and sucklings thou hast perfected praise?
 17 And he left them, and went out of the city into Bethany; and he lodged there.
  16 - Hearest thou? They realized that He was in control. It's hard to imagine how they would prefer the evil atmosphere of greed and confusion. They had asked Him to silence the children in the afternoon of the previous day lu1939.
  16 - Have you never read? Of course they had read but were, in their minds, denying the true picture of God's plan mt1904. They had asked a question and He asked them one in response. He quoted the Septuagint (Greek translation of the OT) for ps00802.
The unfruitful fig tree. Major comments Mark 11:12, Mark 11:20.
.18 ¶ Now in the morning as he returned into the city, he hungered.
.19  And when he saw a fig tree in the way, he came to it, and found nothing thereon, but leaves only, and said unto it, Let no fruit grow on thee henceforward for ever. And presently the fig tree withered away.
 20  And when the disciples saw it, they marvelled, saying, How soon is the fig tree withered away!
.21  Jesus answered and said unto them, Verily I say unto you, If ye have faith, and doubt not, ye shall not only do this which is done to the fig tree, but also if ye shall say unto this mountain, Be thou removed, and be thou cast into the sea; it shall be done.
.22  And all things, whatsoever ye shall ask in prayer, believing, ye shall receive.
  19 - Fig tree Matthew combines the two parts of the fig tree story in his topical arrangement. For the chronology see mr1112.
  22 - All things For clarification, see on 1jo0322.
Jesus authority questioned. Luke 20:1-8; Matt. 21:23-27; Mark 11:27-33.
.23 ¶ And when he was come into the temple, the chief priests and the elders of the people came unto him as he was teaching, and said, By what authority doest thou these things? and who gave thee this authority?
 24  And Jesus answered and said unto them, I also will ask you one thing, which if ye tell me, I in like wise will tell you by what authority I do these things.
.25  The baptism of John, whence was it? from heaven, or of men? And they reasoned with themselves, saying, If we shall say, From heaven; he will say unto us, Why did ye not then believe him?
 26  But if we shall say, Of men; we fear the people; for all hold John as a prophet.
.27  And they answered Jesus, and said, We cannot tell. And he said unto them, Neither tell I you by what authority I do these things.
  23 - What authority ... doest these things? They were angry about His majestic entry into Jerusalem and His cleansing of the temple the previous day.
  23 - Come into the temple This was His final visit. He leaves the temple at the end of chapter 23 mt2337, mt2401. During this visit. the temple is discussed and He tells several powerful parables.
  24 - I will ask ... which if This was an approved method of rabbinical debate. Also He had not challenged them but they Him.
  24 - What authority They knew the answer but needed evidence against Him for a trial.
  25 - Baptism of John See jn0126.
  27 - We cannot tell This lie was also humiliating to them who were the self-proclaimed official source of information.
.28 ¶ But what think ye? A certain man had two sons; and he came to the first, and said, Son, go work to day in my vineyard.
 29  He answered and said, I will not: but afterward he repented, and went.
 30  And he came to the second, and said likewise. And he answered and said, I go, sir: and went not.
 31  Whether of them twain did the will of his father? They say unto him, The first. Jesus saith unto them, Verily I say unto you, That the publicans and the harlots go into the kingdom of God before you.
  28 - Two sons Since the entrance of sin there have been two groups in the world.
  28 - First ... go work He refused his duty as a son to carry his share of responsibilities. He represented sinners who, at first, refused the divine call.
  29 - Second Those professing to be true sons and daughters of God carrying their share of family responsibility but who, in practice, are unfaithful.
  31 - Whether ... did the will? Only one son actually went. Jesus was leading His challengers to acknowledge their own guilt.
  31 - Publicans and harlots These were the political and social outcasts who would not have been welcome in the temple. They were more likely to find their way into the kingdom than were those who held their own perverted form of religion.
 32  For John came unto you in the way of righteousness, and ye believed him not: but the publicans and the harlots believed him: and ye, when ye had seen it, repented not afterward, that ye might believe him.   John ... way of righteousness An answer to Jesus' question of v25.
  Believed ... ye repented not This had happened and was a call to the Jewish leaders to see their need lu0729, lu1502. Part of their refusal was based on objection to those accepted by Jesus but whom they had considered, by their social classes, to be unworthy mt1119, lu1901, lu0736.
   These leaders were, no doubt, ready to disappear from the scene but Jesus had another story to tell about them and to walk away would have been an acknowledgment of their guilt.
Wicked vineyard workers. National probation! Matt. 21:33-46. Also Mark 12:1, Luke 20:9.
.33 ¶ Hear another parable: There was a certain householder, which planted a vineyard, and hedged it round about, and digged a winepress in it, and built a tower, and let it out to husbandmen, and went into a far country:   Another parable A clear picture of the end of the Jewish nation. Many today believe that the modern nation of Israel will somehow fulfill the ancient prophecies. See explanation. The story is also at mr1201, lu2009. Jesus had been speaking to the people lu2009.
  Householder That is, master of the house.
  Vineyard The grape vine was a national symbol. According to Josephus, a gold and silver grapevine was at the temple entrance near where Jesus was standing. (Antiquities xv.11.3). In telling the story, Jesus drew attention to the parable of Isaiah is0501.
  Hedged Or "fenced." The divine precepts helped the people know the dangers of sin that they could fall into.
  Winepress Carved from stone. See on re1915.
  Let it Leased it probably for a share of the crop.
 34  And when the time of the fruit drew near, he sent his servants to the husbandmen, that they might receive the fruits of it.
 35  And the husbandmen took his servants, and beat one, and killed another, and stoned another.
 36  Again, he sent other servants more than the first: and they did unto them likewise.
 37  But last of all he sent unto them his son, saying, They will reverence my son.
 38  But when the husbandmen saw the son, they said among themselves, This is the heir; come, let us kill him, and let us seize on his inheritance.
 39  And they caught him, and cast him out of the vineyard, and slew him.
  34 - Servants God sent prophets and others mt2334. He expects a good "crop" for the blessings given to His church today.
  35 - Beat one and killed another The number of servants sent and how they were treated is different in the three gospel accounts. Only that the servants were mistreated is of importance. Jesus spoke literally of this abuse later mt2329. The mistreatment is recorded in the OT 1ki1813, 1ki2224, 2ki0631, 2ch3615, ne0926, je3715.
  37 - Last of all ... son mr1206. This sealed the doom of the nation.
  37 - Reverence Rather "respect."
  38 - Heir he0102, ro0817.
  38 - Kill him They were already planning this lu1947, v23. See on mt1903, mt2018.
  39 - Out of the vineyard Jesus was crucified outside the city jn1920, le1312.
.40  When the lord therefore of the vineyard cometh, what will he do unto those husbandmen?
 41  They say unto him, He will miserably destroy those wicked men, and will let out his vineyard unto other husbandmen, which shall render him the fruits in their seasons.
  40 - Lord ... of the vineyard cometh The owner would hold them accountable.
  40 - What would he do? In the records from Mark and Luke, Jesus answers His question mr1209, lu2016. It is reasonable to assume that the chief priests and elders v23 answered as Matthew says and that Jesus confirmed by repetition.
  41 - He will destroy those wicked men They pronounced their own doom.
  41 - Let ... vineyard to other husbandmen The responsibility was soon to pass to the Christian church 2ti0111, so0106b.
.42 Jesus saith unto them, Did ye never read in the scriptures, The stone which the builders rejected, the same is become the head of the corner: this is the Lord's doing, and it is marvellous in our eyes?
.43 Therefore say I unto you, The kingdom of God shall be taken from you, and given to a nation bringing forth the fruits thereof.
.44 And whosoever shall fall on this stone shall be broken: but on whomsoever it shall fall, it will grind him to powder.
 45 And when the chief priests and Pharisees had heard this parable, they perceived that he spake of them.
.46 But when they sought to lay hands on him, they feared the multitude, because they took him for a prophet.
   42 - Stone Jesus moves from the rejected son to the rejected stone quoting ps11822.
   43 - Kingdom ... taken from you This concept is lost sight of.
   43 - Given to a nation Is this nation the Gentiles? Not in the sense of non-Jews. See from 1pe0207 (or read the whole chapter). The new nation was the church which began as all Christian Jews.
   44 - Fall on stone ... broken Only by personal humility is one prepared to be lifted up in Christ. See mt1129.
  46 - Prophet See on v11.
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