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FRAMEWORKS: Matthew's Gospel

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FRAMEWORKS: Matthew, chapter 21

v.1-11 Jesus Comes to Jerusalem as King

v.12-17 Jesus at the Temple

v.18-22 Jesus Curses a Fig Tree

v.23-27 The Authority of Jesus Questioned

v.28-32 The Parable of the Two Sons

v.33-46 The Parable of the Tenants


v.1-11 Jesus Comes to Jerusalem as King


v.1-3 (approaching Jerusalem Jesus sends two disciples to get a donkey ) As they approached Jerusalem and came to Bethphage on the Mount of Olives, Jsus 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, say that the Lord needs them, and he will send them right away.”

v.4 (this was in accordance with prophecy) This took place to fulfil what was spoken through the prophet:

v.5 (Zechariah had prophesied about a king coming on a donkey) “Say to Daughter Zion,  ‘See, your king comes to you, gentle and riding on a donkey, and on a colt, the foal of a donkey.'” [Zech. 9:9]

v.6,7 (the disciples did it) The disciples went and did as Jesus had instructed them. They brought the donkey and the colt and placed their cloaks on them for Jesus to sit on.

v.8 (the crowd covered the road as if to welcome a king) A very large crowd spread their cloaks on the road, while others cut branches from the trees and spread them on the road.

v.9 (they should praise and acclamation) The crowds that went ahead of him and those that followed shouted, “Hosanna” [A Hebrew expression meaning “Save!” which became an exclamation of praise] to the Son of David!” “Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!” [Psa 118:25,26] “Hosanna in the highest heaven!”

v.10,11 (the whole city is stirred by this entry) 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.”


[Comment: Jesus is welcomed into Jerusalem as a conquering king.]



v.12-17 Jesus at the Temple


v.12 (in the temple courts Jesus wrecks the market) Jesus entered the temple courts 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.

v.13 (it's supposed to be a place of prayer!) “It is written,” he said to them, “‘My house will be called a house of prayer,' [Isa 56:7] but you are making it ‘a den of robbers.' [Jer 7:11]”

v.14 (many needy came to him and he healed them there) The blind and the lame came to him at the temple, and he healed them.

v.15 (the authorities were indignant) But when the chief priests and the teachers of the law saw the wonderful things he did and the children shouting in the temple courts, “Hosanna to the Son of David,” they were indignant.

v.16 (isn't it just what the scriptures said?) “ 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, Lord, have called forth your praise' [Psa 8:2 (see Septuagint)]”

v.17 (and he left for Bethany) And he left them and went out of the city to Bethany, where he spent the night.


[Comment: Jesus (instead of going to the army barracks to confront the Romans as some might have expected) goes to the temple and overturned the tables of the moneychangers rebuking them, went outside and healed many before refuting the chief priests' complaints.]



v.18-22 Jesus Curses a Fig Tree


v.18 (next morning he returns to the city) Early in the morning, as Jesus was on his way back to the city, he was hungry.

v.19 (seeing a fruitless fig tree he curses it and it withers) 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.

v.20 (the disciples wonder about this) When the disciples saw this, they were amazed. “How did the fig tree wither so quickly?” they asked.

v.21 (if you have faith you can do anything [that Father inspires you to do]) Jesus replied, “Truly I tell you, 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.

v.22 (just believe [what He says], pray and receive) If you believe, you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer.”


[Comment: The next morning, on the way into the city, Jesus cursed a fruitless fig tree, and taught the disciples about faith.]



v.23-27 The Authority of Jesus Questioned


v.23 (the authorities challenge his right to teach there) 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?”

v.24 (fair enough… but) 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.

v.25 (why was John baptising) John's baptism—where did it come from? Was it from heaven, or of human origin?” They discussed it among themselves and said, “If we say, ‘From heaven,' he will ask, ‘Then why didn't you believe him?'

v.26 (they saw the trap) But if we say, ‘Of human origin'—we are afraid of the people, for they all hold that John was a prophet.”

v.27 (they opted out of answering – so did he) So they answered Jesus, “We don't know.” Then he said, “Neither will I tell you by what authority I am doing these things.


[Comment: Jesus refutes the chief priests who challenge him in the temple courts.]



v.28-32 The Parable of the Two Sons


v.28 (he tells of two sons whose father asked them to work in his vineyard) “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.'

v.29 (one said no, but then did) “‘I will not,' he answered, but later he changed his mind and went.

v.30 (the other said yes, but didn't) “Then the father went to the other son and said the same thing. He answered, ‘I will, sir,' but he did not go.

v.31 (Jesus points out which was obedient and then contrasts the sinners with the religious authorities) “Which of the two did what his father wanted?” “The first,” they answered. Jesus said to them, “Truly I tell you, the tax collectors and the prostitutes are entering the kingdom of God ahead of you.

v.32 (John had called for repentance, the sinners did but you didn't!) 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.


[Comment: Jesus then told a parable about two sons to rebuke the unbelieving temple leaders.]



v.33-46 The Parable of the Tenants


v.33 (he then told of a farmer who rented out his vineyard) “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 moved to another place.

v.34 (at harvest he sent to collect some fruit) When the harvest time approached, he sent his servants to the tenants to collect his fruit.

v.35 (the tenants abused and rejected the servants) “The tenants seized his servants; they beat one, killed another, and stoned a third.

v.36 (and kept on doing it) Then he sent other servants to them, more than the first time, and the tenants treated them the same way.

v.37 (finally he sent his son) Last of all, he sent his son to them. ‘They will respect my son,' he said.

v.38,39 (but they killed him) “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.

v.40 (what will the owner do?) “Therefore, when the owner of the vineyard comes, what will he do to those tenants?”

v.41 (he will deal with them and rent the vineyard to others) “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.”

v.42 (scripture said that the stone that was rejected became the most important part of the building) Jesus said to them, “Have you never read in the Scriptures: “‘The stone the builders rejected has become the cornerstone; the Lord has done this, and it is marvellous in our eyes'? [Psa 118:22,23]

v.43 (therefore the kingdom will be take from Israel and given to others [the Gentile rest of the world]) “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.

v.44 (attack the stone and die) Anyone who falls on this stone will be broken to pieces; anyone on whom it falls will be crushed.”

v.45 (the authorities realise he was talking about them) When the chief priests and the Pharisees heard Jesus' parables, they knew he was talking about them.

v.46 (they wanted to arrest him but feared the crowd) They looked for a way to arrest him, but they were afraid of the crowd because the people held that he was a prophet.


[Comment: Jesus then told a parable as a warning against Israel's unbelief and the coming judgment.]



Continue to Chapter 22