Matthew 21

The Triumphal Entry

1 1When they had approached Jerusalem and had come to Bethphage, at 2the Mount of Olives, then Jesus sent two disciples,
2 saying to them, "Go into the village opposite you, and immediately you will find a donkey tied there and a colt with her; untie them and bring them to Me.
3 "If anyone says anything to you, you shall say, 'The Lord has need of them,' and immediately he will send them."
4 3This took place to fulfill what was spoken through the prophet:
6 The disciples went and did just as Jesus had instructed them,
7 and brought the donkey and the colt, and laid their coats on them; and He sat on the coats.
8 Most of the crowd 5spread their coats in the road, and others were cutting branches from the trees and spreading them in the road.
9 The crowds going ahead of Him, and those who followed, were shouting, "Hosanna to the 6Son of David; 7BLESSED IS HE WHO COMES IN THE NAME OF THE LORD; Hosanna 8in the highest!"
10 When He had entered Jerusalem, all the city was stirred, saying, "Who is this?"
11 And the crowds were saying, "This is 9the prophet Jesus, from 10Nazareth in Galilee."

Cleansing the Temple

12 11And Jesus entered the temple and drove out all those who were buying and selling in the temple, and overturned the tables of the 12money changers and the seats of those who were selling 13doves.
13 And He said to them, "It is written, '14MY HOUSE SHALL BE CALLED A HOUSE OF PRAYER '; but you are making it a 15ROBBERS' DEN."
14 And the blind and the lame came to Him in the temple, and 16He healed them.
15 But when the chief priests and the scribes saw the wonderful things that He had done, and the children who were shouting in the temple, "Hosanna to the 17Son of David," they became indignant
16 and said to Him, "Do You hear what these children are saying?" And Jesus said to them, "Yes; have you never read, '18OUT OF THE MOUTH OF INFANTS AND NURSING BABIES YOU HAVE PREPARED PRAISE FOR YOURSELF'?"
17 And He left them and went out of the city to 19Bethany, and spent the night there.

The Barren Fig Tree

18 20Now in the morning, when He was returning to the city, He became hungry.
19 Seeing a lone 21fig tree by the road, He came to it and found nothing on it except leaves only; and He said to it, "No longer shall there ever * be any fruit from you." And at once the fig tree withered.
20 Seeing this, the disciples were amazed and asked, "How did the fig tree wither all at once?"
21 And Jesus answered and said to them, "Truly I say to you, 22if you have faith and do not doubt, you will not only do what was done to the fig tree, but even if you say to this mountain, 'Be taken up and cast into the sea,' it will happen.
22 "And 23all things you ask in prayer, believing, you will receive."

Authority Challenged

23 24When He entered the temple, the chief priests and the elders of the people came to Him 25while He was teaching, and said, "By what authority are You doing these things, and who gave You this authority?"
24 Jesus said to them, "I will also ask you one thing, which if you tell Me, I will also tell you by what authority I do these things.
25 "The baptism of John was from what source, from heaven or from men?" And they began reasoning among themselves, saying, "If we say, 'From heaven,' He will say to us, 'Then why * did you not believe him?'
26 "But if we say, 'From men,' we fear the people; for they all regard John as 26a prophet."
27 And answering Jesus, they said, "We do not know." He also said to them, "Neither will I tell you by what authority I do these things.

Parable of Two Sons

28 "But what do you think? A man had two sons, and he came to the first and said, 'Son, go work today in the 27vineyard.'
29 "And he answered, 'I will not'; but afterward he regretted it and went.
30 "The man came to the second and said the same thing; and he answered, 'I will, sir '; but he did not go.
31 "Which of the two did the will of his father?" They said, "The first." Jesus said to them, "Truly I say to you that 28the tax collectors and prostitutes will get into the kingdom of God before you.
32 "For John came to you in the way of righteousness and you did not believe him; but 29the tax collectors and prostitutes did believe him; and you, seeing this, did not even feel remorse afterward so as to believe him.

Parable of the Landowner

33 "Listen to another parable. 30There was a landowner who 31PLANTED A 32VINEYARD AND PUT A WALL AROUND IT AND DUG A WINE PRESS IN IT, AND BUILT A TOWER, and rented it out to vine-growers and 33went on a journey.
34 "When the harvest time approached, he 34sent his slaves to the vine-growers to receive his produce.
35 "The vine-growers took his slaves and beat one, and killed another *, and stoned a third.
36 "Again he 35sent another group of slaves larger than the first; and they did the same thing to them.
37 "But afterward he sent his son to them, saying, 'They will respect my son.'
38 "But when the vine-growers saw the son, they said among themselves, 'This is the heir; come, let us kill him and seize his inheritance.'
39 "They took him, and threw him out of the vineyard and killed him.
40 "Therefore when the owner of the vineyard comes, what will he do to those vine-growers?"
41 They said to Him, "He will bring those wretches to a wretched end, and 36will rent out the vineyard to other vine-growers who will pay him the proceeds at the proper seasons."
43 "Therefore * I say to you, the kingdom of God will be taken away from you and given to a people, producing the fruit of it.
44 "And 38he who falls on this stone will be broken to pieces; but on whomever * it falls, it will scatter him like dust."
45 When the chief priests and the Pharisees heard His parables, they understood that He was speaking about them.
46 When they sought to seize Him, they 39feared the people, because they considered Him to be a 40prophet.

Images for Matthew 21

Matthew 21 Commentary

Chapter 21

Christ enters Jerusalem. (1-11) He drives out those who profaned the temple. (12-17) The barren fig-tree cursed. (18-22) Jesus' discourse in the temple. (23-27) The parable of the two sons. (28-32) The parable of the wicked husbandmen. (33-46)

Verses 1-11 This coming of Christ was described by the prophet Zechariah, ( Zechariah 9:9 ) . When Christ would appear in his glory, it is in his meekness, not in his majesty, in mercy to work salvation. As meekness and outward poverty were fully seen in Zion's King, and marked his triumphal entrance to Jerusalem, how wrong covetousness, ambition, and the pride of life must be in Zion's citizens! They brought the ass, but Jesus did not use it without the owner's consent. The trappings were such as came to hand. We must not think the clothes on our backs too dear to part with for the service of Christ. The chief priests and the elders afterwards joined with the multitude that abused him upon the cross; but none of them joined the multitude that did him honour. Those that take Christ for their King, must lay their all under his feet. Hosanna signifies, Save now, we beseech thee! Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord! But of how little value is the applause of the people! The changing multitude join the cry of the day, whether it be Hosanna, or Crucify him. Multitudes often seem to approve the gospel, but few become consistent disciples. When Jesus was come into Jerusalem all the city was moved; some perhaps were moved with joy, who waited for the Consolation of Israel; others, of the Pharisees, were moved with envy. So various are the motions in the minds of men upon the approach of Christ's kingdom.

Verses 12-17 Christ found some of the courts of the temple turned into a market for cattle and things used in the sacrifices, and partly occupied by the money-changers. Our Lord drove them from the place, as he had done at his entering upon his ministry, ( John 2:13-17 ) . His works testified of him more than the hosannas; and his healing in the temple was the fulfilling the promise, that the glory of the latter house should be greater than the glory of the former. If Christ came now into many parts of his visible church, how many secret evils he would discover and cleanse! And how many things daily practised under the cloak of religion, would he show to be more suitable to a den of thieves than to a house of prayer!

Verses 18-22 This cursing of the barren fig-tree represents the state of hypocrites in general, and so teaches us that Christ looks for the power of religion in those who profess it, and the savour of it from those that have the show of it. His just expectations from flourishing professors are often disappointed; he comes to many, seeking fruit, and finds leaves only. A false profession commonly withers in this world, and it is the effect of Christ's curse. The fig-tree that had no fruit, soon lost its leaves. This represents the state of the nation and people of the Jews in particular. Our Lord Jesus found among them nothing but leaves. And after they rejected Christ, blindness and hardness grew upon them, till they were undone, and their place and nation rooted up. The Lord was righteous in it. Let us greatly fear the doom denounced on the barren fig-tree.

Verses 23-27 As our Lord now openly appeared as the Messiah, the chief priests and scribes were much offended, especially because he exposed and removed the abuses they encouraged. Our Lord asked what they thought of John's ministry and baptism. Many are more afraid of the shame of lying than of the sin, and therefore scruple not to speak what they know to be false, as to their own thoughts, affections, and intentions, or their remembering and forgetting. Our Lord refused to answer their inquiry. It is best to shun needless disputes with wicked opposers.

Verses 28-32 Parables which give reproof, speak plainly to the offenders, and judge them out of their own mouths. The parable of the two sons sent to work in the vineyard, is to show that those who knew not John's baptism to be of God, were shamed by those who knew it, and owned it. The whole human race are like children whom the Lord has brought up, but they have rebelled against him, only some are more plausible in their disobedience than others. And it often happens, that the daring rebel is brought to repentance and becomes the Lord's servant, while the formalist grows hardened in pride and enmity.

Verses 33-46 This parable plainly sets forth the sin and ruin of the Jewish nation; and what is spoken to convict them, is spoken to caution all that enjoy the privileges of the outward church. As men treat God's people, they would treat Christ himself, if he were with them. How can we, if faithful to his cause, expect a favourable reception from a wicked world, or from ungodly professors of Christianity! And let us ask ourselves, whether we who have the vineyard and all its advantages, render fruits in due season, as a people, as a family, or as separate persons. Our Saviour, in his question, declares that the Lord of the vineyard will come, and when he comes he will surely destroy the wicked. The chief priests and the elders were the builders, and they would not admit his doctrine or laws; they threw him aside as a despised stone. But he who was rejected by the Jews, was embraced by the Gentiles. Christ knows who will bring forth gospel fruits in the use of gospel means. The unbelief of sinners will be their ruin. But God has many ways of restraining the remainders of wrath, as he has of making that which breaks out redound to his praise. May Christ become more and more precious to our souls, as the firm Foundation and Cornerstone of his church. May we be willing to follow him, though despised and hated for his sake.

Cross References 40

  • 1. Matthew 21:1-9: {Mark 11:1-10; Luke 19:29-38}
  • 2. Matthew 24:3; Matthew 26:30; Mark 11:1; Mark 13:3; Mark 14:26; Luke 19:29, 37; Luke 21:37; Luke 22:39; John 8:1; Acts 1:12
  • 3. Matthew 21:4-9: {Mark 11:7-10; Luke 19:35-38; John 12:12-15}
  • 4. Isaiah 62:11; Zechariah 9:9
  • 5. 2 Kings 9:13
  • 6. Matthew 9:27
  • 7. Psalms 118:26
  • 8. Luke 2:14
  • 9. Matthew 21:26; Mark 6:15; Luke 7:16, 39; Luke 13:33; John 4:19">2John 4:19; John 1:21, 25; John 4:19; John 6:14; John 7:40; John 9:17; Acts 3:22; Acts 7:37
  • 10. Matthew 2:23
  • 11. Matthew 21:12-16: {Mark 11:15-18; Luke 19:45-47;} Matthew 21:12, 13: {John 2:13-16}
  • 12. Exodus 30:13
  • 13. Leviticus 1:14; Leviticus 5:7; Leviticus 12:8
  • 14. Isaiah 56:7
  • 15. Jeremiah 7:11
  • 16. Matthew 4:23
  • 17. Matthew 9:27
  • 18. Psalms 8:2; Matthew 11:25
  • 19. Matthew 26:6; Mark 11:1, 11, 12; Mark 14:3; Luke 19:29; Luke 24:50; John 11:1, 18; John 12:1
  • 20. Matthew 21:18-22: {Mark 11:12-14, 20-24}
  • 21. Luke 13:6-9
  • 22. Matthew 17:20; Mark 11:23; Luke 17:6; James 1:6
  • 23. Matthew 7:7
  • 24. Matthew 21:23-27: {Mark 11:27-33; Luke 20:1-8}
  • 25. Matthew 26:55
  • 26. Matthew 11:9; Mark 6:20
  • 27. Matthew 20:1; Matthew 21:33
  • 28. Luke 7:29, 37-50
  • 29. Luke 3:12; Luke 7:29
  • 30. Matthew 21:33-46: {Mark 12:1-12; Luke 20:9-19}
  • 31. Isaiah 5:1, 2
  • 32. Matthew 20:1; Matthew 21:28
  • 33. Matthew 25:14
  • 34. Matthew 22:3
  • 35. Matthew 22:4
  • 36. Matthew 8:11; Acts 13:46; Acts 18:6; Acts 28:28
  • 37. Psalms 118:22; Acts 4:11; Romans 9:33; 1 Peter 2:7
  • 38. Isaiah 8:14, 15
  • 39. Matthew 21:26
  • 40. Matthew 21:11

Footnotes 14

Matthew 21 Commentaries

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