Matthew 21

This chapter finds Jesus on the outskirts of Jerusalem, early on a Sunday morning. His single-minded purpose — to go to Jerusalem to be killed for your sins — is what has driven Him here.

Huge crowds lined the way as Jesus rode into Jerusalem on a colt. The crowd didn’t miss the symbolism:

Shout aloud, O daughter of Jerusalem! Behold, your king is coming to you; righteous and having salvation is He, humbled and mounted on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey. (Zechariah 9:9)

Jesus rode in like a king and received a king’s welcome. He apparently went directly to the Temple, abruptly overturning the currency exchange desks and (if you read it carefully) dumping the merchants out of their chairs. In explosive passion for the Temple, he was reacting to the way that business had replaced prayer in God’s house.

Let’s settle the issue of Jesus’ behavior here: what He did was not unkind or unjustified. He was not doing something He would have to apologize for. Jesus was right in what He did and how He did it.

I preached on the unusual miracle of the fig tree last night (v.18-22), so I’ll briefly state the clear lesson of it: Jesus can do anything, including rearranging geography. Through our connection with Him, whatever we ask — if we ask believing and without doubt — we will receive. (Of course, our prayers are regulated by the sovereign will of God, 1 John 5:14.)

The wonderful wisdom of Jesus is never clearer than when He “stumps” the religious leaders (v.23-27) and then condemns them with His parables. In the first one (v.28-32, which I call “The Parable of the Mind-Changers”), Jesus condemns the religious leaders for failing to believe John’s message of repentance (v.25).

In the parable of verses 33-46 (which I call “Farmers Gone Wild”), Jesus condemns them for rejecting Him. They got the point — it stung. They were not going to let Jesus get away with it (v.45-46).