THROUGH THE BIBLE IN THREE YEARS

This program of daily Scripture studies is designed to help you in daily honoring God with adoration.

Each day, Monday through Friday, a Scripture with commentary is posted.

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TODAY'S SCRIPTURE STUDY

MATTHEW

CHAPTER 21

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.

Jesus was leading the group in a southeasterly direction from Jericho to Jerusalem. In that line, they would pass Bethany and Bethphage, then come to the eastern side of "the mount of olives."

From the 700 feet high cleft of the mount of olives, they would be able to see ALL of Jerusalem. Before Jesus arrived at the mount of olives, He wanted the disciples to go into Bethphage (See verse 2, "the village over against you") and find "an ass tied, and a colt with her..."

They were to "loose them" and bring them to Jesus. Jesus knew that someone would ask them why they were taking the animals. He told the disciples exactly what to say: "the Lord hath need of them." The Greek word used here for "Lord" is kurios, which means supreme in authority (it can also be used to denote "master, Sir"). Jesus knew that the person who asked why they were taking the animals would have complete knowledge of WHO wanted them!

Why "an ass?" Why not a big white horse? Horses were not in abundance in that country, and were used for war. At His first advent, Jesus came not to "judge and make war." He came to "judge," yes; but He came to bring PEACE! He brought the peace of God which brings salvation to men though men war against God by sin. Donkeys were beasts of burden and quite commonly used in the country. There was significant history that exemplified one coming publicly into a town on an ass was one sent for judgment (see Judges 12:14).

Further, Mark (see Mark 11:7)and Luke (see Luke 19:35) both tell us that Jesus rode upon the "colt." This particular "colt" was significant, for he was a colt "upon which never a man sat" (Mark 11:2). This was an UNBROKEN colt, not yet tamed for man's riding. Certainly GOD could ride him!!

Matthew is careful to tell us the PURPOSE of this particular event. It is that prophecy ( Zechariah 9:9) would be fulfilled.

As the story unfolds, we see that the prophecy was duly noted by the people.

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.

The disciples went into Bethphage and brought the ass and the colt back to Jesus. Then they placed their cloaks upon the colt, and placed some of their cloaks upon the ground in front of Jesus as He rode.

Other members of the crowded area (due to Passover) followed the disciples example. So many of them that Matthew says "a very great multitude spread their garments in the way." And others of the crowd "cut down branches from the trees" and placed them in front of Jesus as He rode.

This majestic procession reminds one of Solomon when he rode upon David's mule to his proclamation of being the new king (See 1Kings 1:33-46)

Jesus, the Son of God, came into Jerusalem at what has been named His "Triumphant Entry." He came riding an untamed colt that God had prepared for Him. He came as King of kings, and Lord of lords. He did not come in the WRATH of judgment. He came to bring a reign of "peace, good will toward men" (Luke 2:14). He came bringing the price for salvation - His own blood.

And the crowds, going to Jerusalem for the feast of Passover, RECOGNIZED what was happening. They realized that MESSIAH had come!!

They not only spread garments and palm branches before Him, they also began to cry out in loud voices: "HOSANNA in the Highest!! HOSANNA to the Son of David! BLESSED is He that cometh in the Name of the LORD!" This was a quote of the song of ascension in Psalm 118:25).

Philosophers, scientists, and others can say all they want about Jesus only being recognized as a "teacher." THESE huge crowds recognized Him as MESSIAH! They saw it BEFORE He was crucified, and they saw it even MORE after He arose from the grave!!

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.

Many of the people in the crowds were still ignorant of just WHO Jesus was. The Bible says, "He came unto His own, and His own received Him not!" (John 1:11)

Notice the answer to the question "Who is this?" The answer was, "This is Jesus THE Prophet ." "THE Prophet" referred back to Deuteronomy 18:15. He is the voice of God to mankind. And now, THE Prophet comes as KING of all men!

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, 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. 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.

When Jesus arrived in Jerusalem, He went straight to "the temple of God." He did not go to the palace and claim the earthly kingdom, instead He went to the temple and claimed the eternal spiritual kingdom!

John 2:14-17 tells us that Jesus had driven out these before. Now He does it again!

In His earlier cleansing of the temple He stated they had made God's house a house of merchandise (John 2:16). Now He says they have "made it a den of thieves!"

The temple courts were to be used by the multitudes to pray and praise the Lord. But the temple courts were dominated by those who bought and sold the animals for sacrifice. It was also dominated by those who were money changers, and made a profit from God's business.

After Jesus had driven them all off, then the "blind and lame" came to Him. They recognized Him for Who He is - the LORD! And Jesus HEALED them! He did so in the presence of multitudes. He did so in the face of the Pharisees and Saducees.

People were praising Jesus everywhere! Then the "chief priests and scribes (lawyers)" came and saw "the wonderful things that He did." But they refused to be impressed. Instead they were disappointed that Jesus was receiving acclaim from the people. They did not believe that God could come in flesh! Even though their Bibles proclaimed it in prophecy after prophecy, they WOULD not believe it. And they intimated to Jesus that He should not allow the people to praise Him as MESSIAH!

But Jesus quoted Scripture to them, Psalm 8:2. Actually, the Scripture there says, "Out of the mouth of babes and sucklings hast thou ordained strength because of thine enemies, that thou mightest still the enemy and the avenger."

The Scripture also says that God "inhabitest the praises of Israel." (Psalm 22:3)
Therefore, when people praise God, He is THERE! He is in the midst of them, and His strength is such that their praise STILLS "the enemy and the avenger."

When people come earnestly to praise God in purity and love, His POWER is in them, and that thwarts the enemies of God!

Upon this statement, Jesus LEFT! He left the unbelievers to be faced with TRUTH!

Friends, when we were so blinded by the sight of sin we could not see heaven, Jesus came! When we were so lame from the conduct of sin we could not reach heaven on our own, Jesus came!

Let us PRAISE HIM!!!
And may His praise be PERFECTED in us!

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.

Perhaps one might also read Mark 11:13-20. Matthew is brief in his account of this incident and does not explain there were two days in the event of the fig tree. He only says "presently the fig tree withered away." Mark explains that on one morning Jesus made the statement about the tree and the next morning they noted it was withered.

In Judaea, fig trees often put on leaves as early as March, and by April the figs are ripe. Mark says, "the time of the figs was not yet." In other words they were probably ripe, but not yet ready for harvesting. Therefore, this fig tree SHOWED it should have figs upon it for eating. But there were none.

Jesus took this occasion to teach a lesson of faith. Let us remember, in this example, that faith belongs to those who have surrendered to God. (See Ephesians 2:8-9). Faith is a gift of God given to those who surrender to Christ. It is the action of God's Holy Spirit working in the believer.

Jesus was saying, "If you HAVE faith, and act upon it without wavering, then.." you can do these other things. Now someone might say, "I, in true faith, have said to the mountain 'be thou removed,' and it has not budged!" Perhaps they don't realize that faith provides a SHOVEL!

A false and hypocritical confession of faith in Jesus will WITHER, because the person "hath no root in themselves." (Mark 4:17) The true faith will expose a path through which to overcome obstacles to that faith.

And the object of the lesson is not that we might have power to move mountains into the sea. The object of the lesson is to PRAY BELIEVING! In such prayer, God will show a way!

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.

The "chief priests and elders" were the leaders of the Jewish people. They came to Jesus with a question, and confronted Him before the people seeking to impune His integrity.

Their question was "WHO" gave Jesus the authority to run the money changers and other frauds out of the temple.

Jesus was not taken by surprise. God is never taken by surprise. He knew exactly how to embarrass these men before the people.

Jesus posed a question to them: "The baptism of John, whence was it? from heaven, or of men?"

If they answered from "heaven," then Jesus would ask why didn't they believe John.
If they answered "of men," then Jesus would ask why they put up with John.

In all the history of their nation, they had LISTENED to the prophets. Even if they were self-proclaimed, they listened. Then, if they were proven wrong, they labeled them as heretics or killed them according to the law.
But with John the Baptist, they had LISTENED to him, and not proclaimed him an heretic. But they had not BELIEVED John's statement that he was the "forerunner" of the Messiah!

Jesus had them caught between the proverbial "rock and a hard place." They could not answer.

Therefore Jesus said, "Neither tell I you by what authority I do these things."

But Jesus wasn't through with them yet.

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. 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.

Now this is a parable. A parable is an earthly story with a heavenly meaning. We know this is a parable because of what Jesus said in verse 33. These men recognized it as a parable, even though they didn't like the answer they had to give.

In the parable, the second son represents the unregenerated of their nation. They professed to believe God, and ritualistically performed the duties of the law. But they refused the prophetic emphasis of God coming in a man as Messiah. (See Isaiah 43:11, Hosea 13:4, Acts 4:10-12). They were insolent children and refused to spread the truth that God's salvation was open to ANYONE! They refused to work in the "fields" of the lost.

Now, the first son represents the publicans and sinners who listened to and believed John as forerunner, and now listened to and believed Jesus as Messiah.

From their answer, Jesus confronted them with truth: "the publicans and the harlots go into the kingdom of God before you."

And Jesus is STILL not through with them.

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: 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. 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. 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 his parables, 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.

The chief priests and elders recognized the earthly story. But they did not recognize the heavenly application.

They realized the "householder" was the owner of the vineyard. They realized that the owner had authority over the workers. They also realized that when the workers killed the son, that the owner would "destroy those wicked men."

Then Jesus put the parable into spiritual perspective. He told them quite plainly that they were the "wicked servants"!! And He told them that the "kingdom" was taken from them, and would be given to those who would bear "fruit" of the kingdom of God.

Jesus alluded to Scripture that was known by these men to be prophetic of Messiah. Psalm 118:22-23 refers to the "Stone" which the "builders" rejected!

This "Stone can be none other than the "Cornerstone" - Jesus Christ - the MESSIAH!!

ALL these things refer back to the beginning of the chapter when the people were praising Jesus and accepting Him as MESSIAH! They had been singing and saying, "Hosanna to the Son of David: Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord; Hosanna in the highest!"

NOW the men realized the real meaning of the parable!
And NOW they were ANGRY!!! They wanted to KILL Jesus right then! But they also realized that many of the people BELIEVED Jesus to be the Messiah. And they realized that if they arrested Jesus now, the people would rebel and kill them!

This same type of instance reoccurred several times in the ministry of our Lord, Jesus Christ. The Scribes, Pharisees, Chief Priests and elders would seek to destroy Jesus, but the time would not be right. The time of His crucifiction was right ONLY when Jesus allowed it!

PLEASE CONTINUE WITH US IN BIBLE STUDY TOMORROW.