Matthew 21:1-46 Comments by Stephen Ricker
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He Who Comes in the Name of the Lord
Comments for Study 26

Matthew 21:1-46
Memory Verse: 9b


I. Jesus' Triumphal Entry into Jerusalem (1-17)

Passion Week Events

>1. Where was Jesus?

* "When Jesus had finished saying these things, he left Galilee and went into the region of Judea to the other side of the Jordan." (Matthew 19:1)

* "Then Jesus went back across the Jordan to the place where John had been baptising in the early day. Here he stayed." (John 10:40)

* The raising of Lazarus accrued in Bethany two miles from Jerusalem. (John 11:1,14,15,18)

* "Therefore Jesus no longer moved about publicly among the Jews. Instead he withdrew to a region near the desert, to a village called Ephraim, where he stayed with his disciples." (John 11:54)

* "Six days before the Passover, Jesus arrived at Bethany, where Lazarus lived, whom Jesus had raised from the dead." (John 12:1)

* "The next day the great crowd that had come for the Feast heard that Jesus was on his way to Jerusalem." (John 12:12) (The triumphal entry as recorded in this chapter too.)

* "As they approached Jerusalem and came to Bethphage on the Mount of Olives, Jesus sent two disciples" (1)

* Jesus' arrest and crucifixion is five days away.

* All four gospels have Jesus' entry into Jerusalem. So this is very important.

* Jesus' final entry into Jerusalem was his official announcement to Israel that he would be their king if they would accept him as such.

* A time line of this week is as follows.
    Friday -Jesus arrives in the Jerusalem area. (John 11:54-12:1)
    Saturday (Sabbath) -a day of rest; no event recorded except Luke 21:37-38.
    Sunday -Jesus' triumphal entry. (Matt. 21:1-11; Mark 11:1-10; Luke 19:29-44; John 12:12-19)
    Monday -Jesus curses the fig tree (Matt. 21:18-19; Mark 11:12-14). Jesus clears out the Temple. (Matthew 21:12-13; Mark 11:15-18)
    Tuesday -Jesus' authority questioned. (Matt. 21:23-27; Mark 11:27-33; Luke 20:18) Jesus teaches in the temple. (Matt. 21:28-22:46; Mark 12:1-44; Luke 20:9-21:4) Jesus wept over Jerusalem's leader's unbelief and rejecting him as their King. (Matthew 23:1-39) Jesus anointed at Bethany. (Matt. 26:6-13; Mark 13:3-9; John 12:2-11)
    Wednesday -another day of rest; no event recorded except Luke 21:37-38. The Jews plot to kill Jesus. (Matt. 26:14-16; Mark 14:10-11; Luke 22:3-6)
    Thursday (Hebrew month Abib the 13th day) -the Passover meal begins at twilight (see below note) when Jesus and the disciples celebrate the Last Supper. (Matt. 26:17-29; Mark 14:12-25; Luke 22:7-20; John 13:1-18) Jesus comforts the disciples (John 14:1-16:33) Jesus prays at Gethsemane. (Matt. 26:26-46; Mark 14:32-42; Luke 22:40-46)
    Friday (Hebrew month Abib, 14 day) -According Hebrew time Jesus is arrest and tried from night to daylight. (Matt. 26:47-27:26; Mark 14:43-15:15; Luke 22:47-23:25; John 18:2-19:16) Jesus' crucifixion at 3:00pm, and death before sunset which is the end of the Hebrew day and Passover. (Matt. 27:27-56; Mark 15:16-41; Luke 23:26-49; John 19:17-30) Jesus is buried at sunset. (Matt. 27:57-66; mark 15:42-47; Luke 23:50-56; John 19:31-42)
    Saturday (Sabbath Abib 15, Seven day Feast of Unleavened Bread begins) Jesus' body is in the tomb. He appears in Sheol and accompanies the saints previously dead to heaven.
    Sunday (Abib 16; day of First Fruits Sheaf Wave) Jesus' morning resurrection and appearing to the women. (Mark 16:9-11; John 20:11-18) Then he appeared to the two on the road. (Mark 16:12-13; Luke 24:13-35) Then to the ten apostles (no Thomas or Judas) in the evening. (Mark 16:14; Luke 24:36-43; John 20:19-25)
    Saturday (Sabbath) -Jesus appears to Thomas and the rest of the apostles. (John 20:26-31)
    A week later -Jesus talks and eats with some disciples by the Sea of Galilee. (John 21:1-25)
    Forty days since his resurrection -Jesus ascends to his Father from the Mount of Olives. (Matt. 28:15-20; Mark 18:19-20; Luke 24:44-53; Acts 1:1-11)

* Note: The Passover is linked to the 14th days of the month not the day of the week. Passover starting on Thursday at twilight is a very rare event; unusally it starts on a different day of the week. (Hebrew days start at sunset/twilight and go throughu the night till the next day's sunset.) Falling on a Thursday that year made it possible for Jesus to fulfill the meaning behind the feasts associated with the Passover. His crucified was on Friday (still Passover), the Sabbath (Saturday) rest was the Feast of Unleavened Bread (always on the first Sabbath after Passover), and Sunday was the third day since his death, the day of the First Fruit Sheaf Wave, and the day that Jesus rose from the dead. All three feasts were thus fulfilled by Jesus.

>What was he preparing to do?

* Jesus was preparing to enter Jerusalem.

* The Passover meal is important. Jesus wanted to eat it in Jerusalem. Yet, the Passover is several days away. Therefore, this entry is important all by itself.

* Jesus could have made this a grand display by bringing in angels. However, it was not angels that he was serving. He was there to fulfill promises made to Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and all the saints. (Ps. 18:10)

* At a quick glance it could be said that this seems to be a spur of the moment event. However, closer examination shows that this was planned way before this.

>What instructions did he give to the two disciples?

* "Jesus sent two disciples, saying to them, 'Go to the village ahead of you, and at once you will find a donkey tied there, with her colt by her. Untie them and bring them to me. If anyone says anything to you, tell him that the Lord needs them, and he will send them right away." (2-3)

* "Bethphage" -A street went down and east out of the temple and Jerusalem and passed through the Kidron Valley and back up to the Mount of Olives where Gethsemane was located. The street was lined with buildings and houses which went by the name of Bethphage. Bethphage means "house of unripe figs." The road split on the Mount of Olives, one road went south-east to Bethany and the other went north-east to Jericho.

* "a donkey... with her colt" -Long before this the judges road white donkeys. Judges 5:10-13 states, "You who ride on white donkeys, sitting on your saddle blankets, and you who walk along the road, consider the voice of the singers at the watering places. They recite the righteous acts of the Lord, the righteous acts of his warriors in Israel. Then the people of the Lord went down to the city gates. 'Wake up, wake up, Deborah! Wake up, wake up, break out in song! Arise, O Barak! Take captive your captives, O son of Abinoam.' Then the men who were left came down to the nobles; the people of the Lord came to me with the mighty."

* "If anyone says anything to you, tell him" -Jesus' instructions would have been hard to obey because the man could have seen this as stealing. What would they say? When Jesus gives us instructions he will give us words to say when they are needed.

* "the Lord needs it" -Jesus' instructions gives the impression that the owner was a believer. The person may have even been the owner of the area that Jesus and his disciples spent the nights this week. Jesus knew all this was going to happen and prepared for it.

* "the Lord needs it" -Jesus was poor. (2 Cor. 8:9) He asked because he needed it for a short time and then returned it. (Mark 11:3) Those who ask "in the name of the Lord" and need not should be ashamed.

>2. How did the two disciples respond?

* "The disciples went and did as Jesus had instructed them. They brought the donkey and the colt, placed their cloaks on them, and Jesus sat on them. A very large crowd spread their cloaks on the road, while others cut branches from the trees and spread them on the road." (6-8)

* "The disciples went and did" -They obeyed.

* "as Jesus had instructed them" -They did it the way Jesus told them to.

* "the donkey and the colt" -Both were there so that the prophecy would be fulfilled exactly. They symbolized humility, peace and Davidic royalty. (Zech. 9:9; Luke 19:30; Num. 19:2; Duet. 21:3; 1 Sam. 6:7)

* "sat on them" -Jesus road the colt according to Mark 11:2 and Luke 19:30.

>What does this event suggest about the Lordship of Christ? (John 1:3a; Job 1:21; Psalm. 19:1-2)

* "Through him all things were made..." (John 1:3a)

* "And said; 'Naked I came from my mother's womb, and naked I will depart. The LORD gave and the LORD has taken away; may the name of the LORD be praised." (Job 1:21)

* "The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands. Day after day they pour fourth speech; night after night they display knowledge." (Ps. 19:1,2)

* As the Creator Lord, Jesus could have taken, yet he instructed his disciples to ask for it if questioned. He is humble and gentle.

* If the Lord Jesus needs something we should give it freely. He instructs us to love one another and preach the gospel.

* Conquering kings rode horses. Donkeys are no good for war. Jesus was not a conquering king for this entry. Yet his is declaring his kingship, a humble and gentle kingship.

>3. Why did Jesus need the donkey? (4-5; cf. Zechariah 9:9)

* "This took place to fulfill what was spoken through the prophet: Say to the Daughter of Zion, 'See, your kings comes to you, gentle and riding on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey.'" (4-5)

* "Rejoice, greatly, O Daughter of Zion! See, your king comes to you, righteous and having salvation, gentle and riding on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey." (Zech. 9:9)

* To fulfill scripture.

* The quote is from three places.

>What does this prophecy and Jesus' entering Jerusalem this way reveal about the nature of his kingship?

* He is humble, gentle, and righteous.

* Psalms 2:6 states, "I have installed my King on Zion, my holy hill." And Romans 11:26-27 states, "And so all Israel will be saved, as it is written: "The deliverer will come from Zion; he will turn godlessness away from Jacob. And this is my covenant with them when I take away their sins."

* Jesus was about to conquer sin and death for his people. Jesus is the King who shed his own blood, not the blood of others.

* Kings on horses aren't accessible. Concerning kings are surrounded by guards and soldiers, also making them inaccessible. Jesus was accessible on a donkey with no soldiers around him.

>4. How did the crowds welcome Jesus?

* "A very large crowd spread their cloaks on the road, while others cut branches from the trees and spread them on the road. the crowds that went ahead of them and those that followed shouted, 'Hosanna to the Son of David!' 'Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord! Hosanna in the Highest.'" (9)

* "cloaks" -2 Kings 9:13 records, "They hurried and took their cloaks and spread them under him on the bare steps. Then they blew the trumpet and shouted, "Jehu is king!" Putting their cloaks this way showed that they were putting their very self, their hearts before him.

* "cut branches from trees" -The Greek word means "leaves" or "leafy branches" which were readily available in nearby fields. John states it was palm branches (John 12:13) which would have come from nearby Jericho since they did not grow near Jerusalem. The branches would have been used for the Feast of Tabernacles that begins on the fifteenth day of this month and lasts seven day. (Lev. 23:34)

* "on the road" -The practice was to honor a king.

* "A very large crowd" -The rulers of Jerusalem and Judea were not in the crowd. John records they saw this from a distance, "so the Pharisees said to one another, 'See, this is getting us nowhere. Look how the whole world has gone after him!'" (John 12:19)

* The people honored him the best that they could do at the time. Jesus accepted the humble act of praise and honor.

* Most in the crowd would not have knowing all the prophecies that they were fulfilling. However, some would have a good understanding of the significance of what they were doing.

>What does "Hosanna" mean? (Matthew 1:21)

* "She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins." (Matthew 1:21)

* "Hosanna" -Hosanna is both prayer and praise. (Psalm 118:25-26) Hosanna is a Hebrew expression meaning 'Save!' which became an exclamation of praise.

* "in the Highest" -Meaning, "May those in heaven sing 'Hosanna'." (Psalm 148:1-2; Luke 2:14)

* Psalms 118:24-29 states, "This is the day the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it. O Lord, save us; O Lord, grant us success. Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord. From the house of the Lord we bless you. The Lord is God, and he has made his light shine upon us. With boughs in hand, join in the festal procession up to the horns of the altar. You are my God, and I will give you thanks; you are my God, and I will exalt you. Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; his love endures forever."

* Psalms 72:17-19 "May his name endure forever; may it continue as long as the sun. All nations will be blessed through him, and they will call him blessed. Praise be to the Lord God, the God of Israel, who alone does marvellous deeds. Praise be to his glorious name forever; may the whole earth be filled with his glory. Amen and Amen."

>What does this teach us about Jesus kingship?

* "Blessed" -Jesus is blessed and Jesus blesses.

* "in the name of the Lord" -Jesus comes in the name of his father. The name of the Lord is the name of the covenant of the Old Testament saints. Jesus comes in that name. The covenant promises were before the people in Jerusalem. If they would have accepted him as king he would have saved them from everything. They rejected him.

* Jesus kingdom is a spiritual kingship, not of this world at this time. When he comes again he will rule his kingdom from Jerusalem..

* Worldly kings save from human oppression and look for welfare. Jesus saves from spiritual troubles and oppression caused by sins.

* When people expect being saved from human problems of their specific time and place they look for a human king. When people expect being saved from the root of the problem, sin and death they look for a spiritual king. Only Jesus is the King to fit both needs. He is very God and very man. He is the Son of God and the Son of Man. Jesus is just not a worldly savior and king. He is the all encompassing King of king and Lord of lords. He conquers death and sin. He will conquer the worldly problems when he comes again. Jesus solves things permanently.

* Who is Jesus to you? Is he a material king to you? Is he king of all aspects of your life? Does he and will he save you from everything, or just some things? We must allow Jesus to be absolute king of every aspect of our lives.

* We received a Spiritual King. We wait for a Physical King. We worship the King of our lives.

>What does it mean that they welcomed Jesus as the Son of David?

* "Son of David" -God had promised David saying, "2 Samuel 7:11b-16 "'The Lord declares to you that the Lord himself will establish a house for you: When your days are over and you rest with your fathers, I will raise up your offspring to succeed you, who will come from your own body, and I will establish his kingdom. He is the one who will build a house for my Name, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever. I will be his father, and he will be my son. When he does wrong, I will punish him with the rod of men, with floggings inflicted by men. But my love will never be taken away from him, as I took it away from Saul, whom I removed from before you. Your house and your kingdom will endure forever before me; your throne will be established forever.'"

* David was a great king of Israel. He was a gentle and kind king, accepting all who came to him, "all those who were in distress or in debt or discontented". (1 Sam. 22:2)

* They were proclaiming in a king as David and from David seed.

>5. What victory did Jesus win by his "triumphal entry" into Jerusalem?

* Jesus fulfilled scriptures.

* Even though sinful people and evil men speak and try to deter God's word and work, God's will prevails.

* Philemon 1:15-16 "Perhaps the reason he was separated from you for a little while was that you might have him back for good-- no longer as a slave, but better than a slave, as a dear brother. He is very dear to me but even dearer to you, both as a man and as a brother in the Lord."

* We can look beyond the conditions to see what God is doing for his people and kingdom. We can see how God is working in all things.

>How did the whole city respond to him? (10-11)

* "When Jesus entered Jerusalem, the whole city was stirred and asked, 'Who is this?' The crowds answered, 'This is Jesus, the prophet from Nazareth in Galilee.'" (10-11)

* "the whole city was stirred" -The city took notice of Jesus. Some may have mocked, others joyous, and the leaders hated it.

* "Who is this?" -Some in the city may have only heard of Jesus, never visiting his minitry in Galilee or by the Jordan. They were now moved by the novelty of the event.

* Psalms 24:7-10 states, "Lift up your heads, O you gates; be lifted up, you ancient doors, that the King of glory may come in. Who is this King of glory? The Lord strong and mighty, the Lord mighty in battle. Lift up your heads, O you gates; lift them up, you ancient doors, that the King of glory may come in. Who is he, this King of glory? The Lord Almighty-- he is the King of glory."

* Isaiah 63:1 "Who is this coming from Edom, from Bozrah, with his garments stained crimson? Who is this, robed in splendor, striding forward in the greatness of his strength? "It is I, speaking in righteousness, mighty to save."

* John 1:10-11 states, "He was in the world, and though the world was made through him, the world did not recognize him. He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him."

robinson's arch from the south-west

* See two pictures to the right of part of the Temple Mount from Jesus' time that still exists to this day. This is the south-west corner of the Temple Mount. The remains of where Robinson's Arch made contact with the Western Wall can still be seen. An entrance gate to the platform where the temple and temple courts existed would have been directly above this. Benjamin Mazar excavated this area after 1967. Before that time the ground level was up to Robinson's Arch so that a person could walk up and touch it. The excavation in the lower picture contains (from left to right):
    1) The square openings of shops that were under Robinson’'s Arch
    2) The remains of the piers that supported the arch and the staircase
    3) Steps at the base of the Temple Mount corner that led up to a pavement which ran over the top of the shops that sat under Robinson’'s Arch
    4) Located just to the left of those steps are the remains of walls (3 or 4) from the shops that were perpendicular to and butted up against the west wall (facing the camera),
    5) The pavement and steps that ran along the south (right) side of the Temple Mount

robinson's arch with shops The arch, the spring, and all the stones in the wall below the arch are original from the Days of Herod's construction, which began in 19 BC. The arch, the staircase, and the gate were in use in the days of Jesus when he spent time on the Temple Mount.

>6. When Jesus entered the temple, why did he burn with anger? (12-13)

* "Jesus entered the temple area and drove out all who were buying and selling there. He overturned the tables of the money changers and the benches of those selling doves. 'It is written,' he said to them, 'My house will be called a house of prayer,' but you are making it a 'den of robbers.'" (12-13)

* "Jesus entered the temple area" -Being a spiritual savior he entered the temple, not a palace. Jesus was in Jerusalem and the temple many times and years before this event. He had been here many years before for all of the feasts as John records. John records that Jesus had overturned the tables at the beginning of his ministry too.

* "drove out all" -Jesus was gentle on the donkey, yet now he was full of fire for the Lord.

* "who were buying and selling there" -A large courtyard covering several acres ()surrounded the temple. This was the area for the gentles. The gentles were not allowed in the temple and its courts. The gentle courtyard was where the Levites whom were lead by the chief priest, allowed people to sell offerings.

* "buying and selling" -The Levites set this up for convenience. Having people drive up animals that were bought outside of the temple was a burdon to the Levites since they had to inspect every animal before it was sacrificed. Instead if they brought them up in heards was easier because they could inspect them before they were sold. Changing the money in the temple area was also easier for the Levites since they coins never left the temple area.

* "money changers" -People from all over, both Jew and Jewish converts came from all over the Roman empire to worship. The Levites made "temple coins" which could only be used to buy the offerings for sell in the courts. Their were many tables set up so that all the coins could be exchanged into the "temple coins".

* Isaiah 56:6-8 "And foreigners who bind themselves to the Lord to serve him, to love the name of the Lord, and to worship him, all who keep the Sabbath without desecrating it and who hold fast to my covenant-- these I will bring to my holy mountain and give them joy in my house of prayer. Their burnt offerings and sacrifices will be accepted on my altar; for my house will be called a house of prayer for all nations." The Sovereign Lord declares-- he who gathers the exiles of Israel: "I will gather still others to them besides those already gathered."

* Jesus did this even though he knew that this would anger the religious leaders.

* The people following him into the temple expected him to attack the Romans. Instead it looked like he was attacking the Jews, his own people.

* Being the spiritual conquer he attacked the enemies of God, those who prevented prayer for the gentiles.

>What was the original mission of the religious leaders? (Mark 1:17)

* "'Come follow me,' Jesus said, 'and I will make you fishers of men.'" (Mark 1:17)

* They were to teach all nations the word of God, to pray for them, and to offer sacrifices for their sins.

>What does Jesus' clearing the temple mean?

* He was restoring order and a prayerful atmosphere. He was getting rid of ungodliness as Romans 11:26 states, "And so all Israel will be saved, as it is written: "The deliverer will come from Zion; he will turn godlessness away from Jacob."

* Some have called this Jesus' righteous anger. Yet the text does not use the word anger. Instead it says, "The zeal of the Lord will accomplish this." Zeal is enthusiastic devotion to a cause and God.

>What did Jesus say concerning the temple? (13)

* "'It is written,' he said to them, 'My house will be called a house of prayer,' but you are making it a 'den of robbers.'" (13)

* "house of prayer" -God intended the temple to be a place where his people could meet him. Though he is in all the earth, he gave them a place where they could meet with him. At the tmeple he would speak to them and he would listen to them. Before the temple was built the Lord meet the people in the tabernacle, a tent. (Ex. 25:22, 29:42-45) The tabernacle was called, "The Tent of Meeting." Prayer is communication with God. Thus, the temple became known as a house of prayer.

* "a house of prayer" -"for all nations" is excluded by Matthew. (Mark 11:17)

* "den of robbers" -The Levites did not exchange the coins honestly and fairly.

>What else happened? (14-17)

* "The blind and the lame came to him at the temple, and he healed them. But when the chief priests and the teachers of the law saw the wonderful things he did and the children shouting in the temple area, 'Hosanna to the San of David,' they were indignant. 'Do you hear what these children are saying?' they asked him. 'Yes,' replied Jesus, 'have you never read, 'From the lips of children and infants you have ordained praise?' And he left them and went out of the city to Bethany, where he spent the night.'" (14-17)

* "the blind and the lame" -Only the Messiah would heal the blind and the lame.

* "children" -Jesus accepts the praise of children.

* "indigent" -Anger.

* Jesus did not meet their anger with anger. He controlled his anger toward them though he disapproved of their actions.

* "Bethany, where he spent the night" -Bethany was located on the Mount of Olives eastern slope, Bethany sat about two miles (5km)” (John 11:18) south-east of Jerusalem, almost an hour walk. The road that went through it eventually made its way to Jericho. Bethany was the home of Martha, Mary, and Lazarus.

II. The Rejected Stone, the Capstone (18-46)

>7. How did Jesus amaze the disciples? (18-20)

* "Early in the morning, as he was on his way back to the city, he was hungry. Seeing a fig tree by the road, he went up to it but found nothing on it except leaves. Then he said to it, 'May you never bear fruit again!' Immediately the tree withered. When the disciple saw this, they were amazed, 'How did the fig tree with so quickly?' they asked." (18-20)

* "hungry" -Jesus hungers for us to bear fruit.

* "Seeing a fig tree by the road" -Several types of fig trees grew in Palestine. The common fig tree (Ficus carica) has a short stout trunk and thick branches and twigs bearing coarsely lobed rough leaves (Gen. 3:7). Rounded fruits ripen during the summer. These sweet fig fruits have numerous small seeds in their interior cavity. Fresh figs were favored as first fruits (Isa. 28:4; Jer. 24:2). Another kind of fig tree, the sycamore (Ficus sycomorus) grew in Egypt and in the warmer areas of the Holy Land. This large tree usually has low-growing branches such as would have enabled the short Zaccheus to climb one to see Jesus passing along the streets of Jericho (Luke 19:4). (Holman Bible Dictionary)

* "he went up to it" -Jesus as Jesus had gone up to Jerusalem the day before proclaiming his kingship.

* "fig tree" -The fig tree and the olive tree are often symbols of Israel and Judea in the Bible. (Hos. 9:10, Mark 11:12-20, Luke 13:6-9, Rom. 11:13, 17-24, Ezek. 37:5-27, Jer. 11:16-17)

* "but found nothing except leaves" -Passover is in the spring, not a normal time to find fruit on fig trees.

* The religious leaders had "a form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with them." (2 Timothy 3:5)

* Romans 10:2-4 states, "For I can testify about them that they are zealous for God, but their zeal is not based on knowledge. Since they did not know the righteousness that comes from God and sought to establish their own, they did not submit to God's righteousness. Christ is the end of the law so that there may be righteousness for everyone who believes."

* Jesus said to his disciples, "You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit--fruit that will last. Then the Father will give you whatever you ask in my name. This is my command: Love each other." (John 15:16-17)

>What did he teach them about the power of faith? (21, Hebrews 11:29)

* "Jesus replied, 'I tell you the truth, if you have faith and do not doubt, not only can you do what was done to the fig tree, but also you can say to this mountain, 'Go, throw yourself into the sea,' and it will be done.'" (21)

* "By faith the people passed through the Red Sea as on dry land; but when the Egyptians tried to do so, they were drowned.'" (Hebrews 11:29)

* We can bearing the fruit that Jesus wants by living by faith in his words, in obedience and love.

* "have faith and do not doubt" -This kind of faith takes conviction of Jesus' love and knowledge of God's will.

* "you can say to this mountain" -I do not know of anyone who moved a mountain in the entire time since Jesus said this. I know of a man who thought he was spiritual and wanted to impress those who were following him. He said to a mountain, "Mountain, come here." Nothing happened. So he said, "If the mountain will not come to me, then I will go to the mountain." This seemed to impress those following him. In truth, it only showed that God was not pleased with his motives.

>About the power of prayer? (22, Luke 22:42-44)

* "'If you believe, you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer.'" (22)

* "If you" -The disciples were told this. The person must be a true believer.

* "believe" -The qualifier is faith. If a person never lived by faith and then ask for something, they should not expect an answer.

* "will receive" -Absolute words, no qualifier.

* "whatever" -Certain words.

* "you ask" -God knows what we need and yet wants us to ask.

* "in prayer" -Saying a prayer is the same as being in the presence of God in heaven for the God's Spirit dwells in true believers.

* I have seen parents who had loved children come down with a fatal illness pray that the child would not die. Yet, the child died. So what does this mean? Is this word in error? Jesus' words are never in error. So what's the answer. I cannot answer for I am not the Lord. Yet, I know that there are many books on prayer that sell many copies. As for the child that died I heard the pastor say in a message, "I believe and when I get to heaven I will ask the Lord and come to know why he took my daughter."

>8.Why did the religious leaders question Jesus' authority? (23)

* "Jesus entered the temple courts, and while he was teaching, the chief priests and the elders of the people came to him, 'By what authority are you doing these things?' they asked, 'And who gave you this authority?'" (23)

* "chief priests" -Personnel from the tribe of Levi in charge of sacrifice and offering at worship places, particularly the tabernacle and Temple. The main characteristic of priesthood was sacrificing. (2 Chronicles 14:5, 8, 11)

* "elders of the people" -Prominent member of both Jewish and early Christian communities. In the Old Testament, “elder” usually translates the Hebrew word zaqen from a root which means “beard” or “chin.” In the New Testament, the Greek word is "presbuteros", which is transliterated in English as “presbyter”. The elders mentioned here were apparently members of leading families, had some authority but were not the principal leaders in either religious or political affairs. Elders did have leading roles in the government of synagogues and after the fall of the Temple became even more central to Jewish religious life. (Holman Bible Dictionary)

* "while he was teaching" -They were rude and impolite, a sure sign of the wrong use of authority.

* "teaching" -Jesus called the temple a house of prayer. Now he was teaching in it to. The temple was for both. This was replaced by synagogues, especially when the temple was destroyed. The synagogues eventually became church buildings.

* "temple courts, and while he was teaching" -Isaiah 2:3 was in part fulfilled at this time. However, the complete fulfillment will happen in the Millenium. It says, "Many peoples will come and say, "Come, let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the house of the God of Jacob. He will teach us his ways, so that we may walk in his paths." The law will go out from Zion, the word of the Lord from Jerusalem."

* "these things" -Entering Jerusalem on a donkey and overturning the changing tables.

* "who gave you this authority" -They knew they did not. The belief that "spiritual leaders, pastors, and shepherd" dictates and controls the authority of other beieves is a lie. Jesus is the authority. This does not mean that God doesn't give different gifts and designate people for different services. And this doesn't mean some of those gifts and designations don't come with some sort of authority. The problem is that the gift often "goes to the head" of the person who has been given the gift. One who has been given authority must never assume that every decision they make is of God and or is the correct one. As the old saying goes, "Power corrupts; absolute power corrupts absolutely."

* They ignored the miracles that Jesus did. The miracles alone answered the question.

* Nicodemus said that they knew Jesus was a teacher from God. (John 3:2)

* The question was a trap. If Jesus said from God they would ask for him to prove it. If he did not answer they would be proven right.

>What question did he ask in return? (24-25a)

* "Jesus replied, 'I will also ask you one question. If you answer me, I will tell you by what authority I am doing these things. John's baptism-where did it come from? Was it from heaven, or from men?'" (24-25a)

* Jesus said, "Ask and you will receive." They asked. Jesus answered, but not as they expected because they were not seeking truth by faith. They were asking for their own selfish gain. Selfish desires and unbelief cannot expect an answer they will recognize.

* Jesus often asked questions as does God not because he doesn't know but because the person he asked knew the answer, but could not or world not accept it.

* Jesus was as shrewd as a snake and as innocent as a dove.

* Jesus catches the self proclaimed wise in their craftiness. (1 Cor. 3:19-20)

>How did they answer? (25b-27)

* "They discussed it among themselves and said, 'If we say, 'From heaven, he will ask, 'Then why didn't you believe him.' But if we say, 'From men,' --we are afraid of the people for they all hold that John was a prophet.' So they answered Jesus, 'We don't know.' Then he said, 'Neither will I tell you by what authority I am doing these things.'" (25b-27)

* "If we say" -they didn't even consider telling the truth.

* These same men sent some of their kind to John the Baptist who answered the question clearly. (John 1:19-28)

* If they would answer Jesus' question, they would answer their own question.

* To him who will not accept small things, greater things cannot be given.

* Here is the prime example of a political mind verses the mind of God.

* "They discussed it" -They did not discuss it according to truth.


* Fear of the truth.

* Fear of losing their authority and possition.

* "mob" -They said, "We don't know," because of fear. The "mob" that they feared didn't know as much about the law as they did. They even said that the people that they were to be shepherds of was under a curse. (John 7:49)

>Was this true?

* If we do not confess the truth, witnessing to who Jesus is, then God will not answer our requests (prayers).

* They acted religious to the point that most were impressed with them. They were spiritual leaders as almost all accepted. Yet they did not know God. A show of spiritualism that is accepted by people is easy to put on.

* They didn't really believe in God.

* We should be away that God knows everything. We cannot get in little groups and whisper without God hearing.

* "neither will I tell you" -Jesus didn't apologize nor explain himself to those who refused to acknowledge the obvious. He is the Lord and the Lord is not accountable to man. God reveals himself in his time and in his way. Jesus would have answered and taught them if their heart was right.

>Look at the story he told in verses 28-32. What did Jesus want these religious leaders to do?

* Matthew 21:28-32 "What do you think? There was a man who had two sons. He went to the first and said, 'Son, go and work today in the vineyard.' 'I will not,' he answered, but later he changed his mind and went. Then the father went to the other son and said the same thing. He answered, 'I will, sir,' but he did not go. Which of the two did what his father wanted?' 'The first,' they answered. Jesus said to them, 'I tell you the truth, the tax collectors and the prostitutes are entering the kingdom of God ahead of you. For John came to you to show you the way of righteousness, and you did not believe him, but the tax collectors and the prostitutes did. And even after you saw this, you did not repent and believe him.'"

* "two sons" -Two types of response to God. Both are sons to God.

* "first" -God call him and he rejected God like the prodigal son, but then repented and accepted God. He obeyed. The tax collectors and the prostitutes are the second, they are like the prodigal son.

* "second" -God call him abd he agreed with God. Yet his obedience was only lip service. He did not follow through. The religious leaders where like this.

* "did what his father wanted" -The point of the parable is to obey God's will.

* "entering the kingdom of heaven" -The people who were accepting Jesus' words and obeying him were entering. The term is past present. They were in the process of entering. Salvation is by believing in Jesus to the point of obeying him.

* "to show you the way of righteousness" -The job of the servant of God is to show people the way of righteousness. This way is obedience to Jesus.

* "and you did not believe him" -When we accept the gospel message of the kingdom of God concerning Jesus we accept God's call.

* "and even after you saw this" -The religious leaders knew the word of God and the prophecies concerning the Messiah and his forerunner. All the signs were there but they did not want to believe.

* "repent and believe" -A common theme that John and Jesus preached.

* Jesus' intent was not to condemn them, but he wanted them to do God's will for their life. He wanted them to be good spiritual leaders and produce the fruit that God wants.

* Living by faith in the service of the Lord carries both affection and authority to do what is right.

* All believers in Jesus have an obligation to do God's will.

* The first son started bad but ended good. His redemption started in his heart which turned into action. As the saying goes, "Better late than never." There is always hope while a person is alive. Anyone can change.

* The second son answered good, but ended bad. We need to practice what we teach.

* Both sons had faults, but the first was better than the second.

* Ezekiel 18:21-32 states the same thing. "But if a wicked man turns away from all the sins he has committed and keeps all my decrees and does what is just and right, he will surely live; he will not die. None of the offences he has committed will be remembered against him. Because of the righteous things he has done, he will live. Do I take any pleasure in the death of the wicked? declares the Sovereign Lord. Rather, am I not pleased when they turn from their ways and live? But if a righteous man turns from his righteousness and commits sin and does the same detestable things the wicked man does, will he live? None of the righteous things he has done will be remembered. Because of the unfaithfulness he is guilty of and because of the sins he has committed, he will die. Yet you say, 'The way of the Lord is not just.' Hear, O house of Israel: Is my way unjust? Is it not your ways that are unjust? If a righteous man turns from his righteousness and commits sin, he will die for it; because of the sin he has committed he will die. But if a wicked man turns away from the wickedness he has committed and does what is just and right, he will save his life. Because he considers all the offenses he has committed and turns away from them, he will surely live; he will not die. Yet the house of Israel says, 'The way of the Lord is not just.' Are my ways unjust, O house of Israel? Is it not your ways that are unjust? Therefore, O house of Israel, I will judge you, each one according to his ways, declares the Sovereign Lord. Repent! Turn away from all your offenses; then sin will not be your downfall. Rid yourselves of all the offences you have committed, and get a new heart and a new spirit. Why will you die, O house of Israel? For I take no pleasure in the death of anyone, declares the Sovereign Lord. Repent and live!

* We must put ourselves in this story and examine out hearts.

>9. Who is the landowner in the parable in 33-41?

* "'Listen to another parable: There was a landowner who planted a vineyard. He put a wall around it, dug a winepress in it and built a watchtower. Then he rented the vineyard to some farmers and went away on a journey. When the harvest time approached, he sent his servants to the tenants to collect his fruit. The tenants seized his servants; they beat one, killed another, and stoned a third. Then he sent other servants to them, more than the first time, and the tenants treated them the same way. Last of all, he sent his son to them. 'They will respect my son,' he said. But when the tenants saw the son, they said to each other, 'This is the heir. Come, let's kill him and take his inheritance.' So they took him and threw him out of the vineyard and killed him. Therefore, when the owner of the vineyard comes, what will he do to those tenants?' 'He will bring those wretches to a wretched end,' they replied, 'and he will rent the vineyard to other tenants, who will give him his share of the crop at harvest time.'" (33-41)

* "landowner" -God the Father is the landowner. The land is the earth.

* "who planted"- God starts the work. He turns a heart (soil) toward him. He plants the seed of his word (self) in a persons heart. The seed turns into a plant which is the transformed spirit in a person. The plant produces fruit which are our works after we are changed. The fruit is a mixture of juices and pulp; that is a mixture of good and bad works. God expects to harvest the grapes and extract the juices, the final transformation that God will work. He starts with a seed and gets grape juice and wine.

* Isaiah 61:1-3 was quoted by Jesus at the beginning of his ministry. It says, "The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me, because the Lord has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the broken hearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners, to proclaim the year of the Lord's favor and the day of vengeance of our God, to comfort all who mourn, and provide for those who grieve in Zion-- to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair. They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the Lord for the display of his splendor."

* "He put a wall around it" -The wall God build around us ensures that we will always be in his vineyard. No one can steal us away. Only God will be able to harvest from us.

* Job 1:10 "Have you not put a hedge around him and his household and everything he has? You have blessed the work of his hands, so that his flocks and herds are spread throughout the land."

* "He... dug a winepress" -The winepress God builds is for future use. The winepress will get all the good juices out of the grapes.

* "watchtower" -God looks out from above to warn and ward off any enemy looking to steal or damage the vines.

* "went away on a journey" -God came down Mount Sinai and made Israel his own. They were afraid and asked God to appoint Moses as their mediator. Jesus went away when he rose from the dead and ascended into heaven.

>Who are the farmers?

* "rented it" -God always owns the vineyard.

* "farmers... tenants" -People that God calls to work in his vineyard. Their job is to ensure that the plants yield the best harvest that is possible. They water and fertilize the plants and pull weeds out.

* Lamentations 3:27 states, "It is good for a man to bear the yoke while he is young."

* Vineyard work is witnessing and teaching about Jesus. Adam's work was for three meals a day.

>What does the vineyard represent? (cf. Isa. 5:7)

* "vineyard" -The kingdom of heaven (aka the kingdom of God).

* Up until Jesus' death and resurrection the vineyard consisted mainly of the house of Israel. Isaiah 5:7 states, "The vineyard of the Lord Almighty is the house of Israel, and the men of Judah are the garden of his delight. And he looked for justice, but saw bloodshed; for righteousness, but heard cries of distress."

* Isaiah 5:1-2 "I will sing for the one I love a song about his vineyard: My loved one had a vineyard on a fertile hillside. He dug it up and cleared it of stones and planted it with the choicest vines. He built a watchtower in it and cut out a winepress as well. Then he looked for a crop of good grapes, but it yielded only bad fruit."

* Psalms 80:14-15 "Return to us, O God Almighty! Look down from heaven and see! Watch over this vine, the root your right hand has planted, the son you have raised up for yourself."

* Jeremiah 2:21 "I had planted you like a choice vine of sound and reliable stock. How then did you turn against me into a corrupt, wild vine?"

>Who are the servants?

* "the harvest time approached" -Jesus' coming was approaching.

* "he sent his servants" -The prophets were God's servants. Each generation had prophets. Malachi was the last prophet that wrote down the word of God. That was several hundred years before John's coming. John was the last prophet.

* "to collect his fruit" -The prophets job was to gather people whom the religious leaders were suppose to have matured.

* "beat one" -Isaiah 50:6 "I offered my back to those who beat me, my cheeks to those who pulled out my beard; I did not hide my face from mocking and spitting."

* "killed another" -1 Kings 19:10 "(Elijah) replied, "I have been very zealous for the Lord God Almighty. The Israelites have rejected your covenant, broken down your altars, and put your prophets to death with the sword. I am the only one left, and now they are trying to kill me too."

* "stoned a third" -2 Chronicles 24:20-21 "Then the Spirit of God came upon Zechariah son of Jehoiada the priest. He stood before the people and said, "This is what God says: 'Why do you disobey the Lord's commands? You will not prosper. Because you have forsaken the Lord, he has forsaken you.' But they plotted against him, and by order of the king they stoned him to death in the courtyard of the Lord's temple."

>The son?

* "son" -Jesus is God's son. Mary, his mother was a virgin. She knew no man. God's Spirit came on her and fertilized the egg. Jesus existed before this. He came into Mary's womb when the the egg was fertalized.

* "heir" -Jesus is given everything. (Romans 4:13; Galatians 4:7; Hebrews 1:2)

>What happened when the farmers forgot their mission and forgot who they were?

* "let's kill him" -They became violent to extremes. Jesus here is predicting his death by their hands. He was stating it would be done outside Jerusalem.

* "take the inheritance" -They expected to gain all the people that were following Jesus.

* "when the owner of the vineyard comes" -Jesus will come again. He was killed the first time. He will not be killed a second time.

* "who will give him his share" -God does not want all. He allows the tenants to enjoy the riches of the vineyard. God could take all since he makes the plants grow, and actually made the tenants too.

* "at harvest time" -When Jesus comes again he will takes some and give some. This is the Bema seat of Christ.

* They became proud, boastful, not thankful, and blind. They did not see that the owner was being gracious by sending many messengers. They gained a false sence of authority. Their selfishness grew as a result of greed.

* One sin grows into another. The snow ball grows as it rolls down the snowy mountain.

* They saw the owners kindness as a weakness.

* The parable is about Israel's history. Yet we can apply it to ourselves and the congregation of believers we attend.

* The Lord expects inner fruit (Gal. 5:22-25) and outer fruit.

>10. What does this Scripture verse which Jesus quoted mean? (42-44)

* "Jesus said to them, "Have you never read in the Scriptures: "'The stone the builders rejected has become the capstone; the Lord has done this, and it is marvelous in our eyes'? Therefore I tell you that the kingdom of God will be taken away from you and given to a people who will produce its fruit. He who falls on this stone will be broken to pieces, but he on whom it falls will be crushed."

* Acts 2:36 states, "Therefore let all Israel be assured of this: God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Christ."

* Acts 4:11 states, "He is "'the stone you builders rejected, which has become the capstone'."

* 1 Peter 2:6-8 states, "For in Scripture it says: 'See, I lay a stone in Zion, a chosen and precious cornerstone, and the one who trusts in him will never be put to shame.' Now to you who believe, this stone is precious. But to those who do not believe, 'The stone the builders rejected has become the capstone,' and, 'A stone that causes men to stumble and a rock that makes them fall.' They stumble because they disobey the message--which is also what they were destined for."

>How did the religious leaders respond?

* Matthew 21:45-46 "When the chief priests and the Pharisees heard Jesus' parables, they knew he was talking about them. They looked for a way to arrest him, but they were afraid of the crowd because the people held that he was a prophet."

* They did exactly what Peter quoted.

* The Gentiles received Jesus because the Jews rejected Jesus.

* "knew he was talking about them" -God reveals, pride blinds.

>What should be learned?

* Jesus did all he could to forgive and teach those who were going to kill him.

* We need to give God what is due him as per the new covenant he has made with us.

* We need to remember we live before God. Jesus will judge us at the Bema seat. We are saved by grace, but our works shows our hearts and our faith.

* God gives everything by his grace. We should not think we are special. He can hire anyone at anytime to do anything we are now doing.

* God can use what people consider useless.