About Jesus Steve Sweetman
This Section - Chapter 21
verses 1 through 4 Jesus gives instructions to two of His disciples.
They are about ready to enter
tells these two men to go into
speculation has gone into just who owned these animals and if the owners
knew Jesus, since he was borrowing them.
We don’t know the answer to this question.
would use the donkey to ride into
note from the prophecy that the animal that Jesus rode into the city on
was the colt, and not the mother donkey.
We see also that Jesus is seen as being the gentle king, and that
He was. He was a gentle man.
The only thing that riled Him up at times was the hypocrisy
of the Jewish leadership. Jesus
has not changed since those days. He
is still gentle, and He is
still King. He is King of the
Jews, and He is King of all there is.
Being gentle should not be confused with being week, because as
king, He will judge against all injustice and sin.
His judgment is fair and it is severe, as seen in the book of
6 through 8 begins the description of what we have termed “Jesus’
Triumphal entry into
crowd was ecstatic. They were
praising Him by waving palm branches, throwing the branches and their
cloaks down on the road before Him. The
man that they had heard so much about over the last three years was now
the most part, this crowd believed, or at least hoped, that Jesus would
take the lead and revolt against
verse 9 we note that the crowds shouted “hosanna”.
The word “hosanna” is meant to be a prayer, or a pleading, or a
begging” The word means
“save me or us now”. These
people were calling out to Jesus for salvation, but the salvation or
deliverance they were begging for was not the deliverance Jesus had in
mind. Once again, they wanted
to be rescued from
crowd uses Psalm 118:26 as their prayer and praise to Jesus.
The Psalm states Jesus as being the Son of David, which refers to
the Messiah. The crowd thus
thinks that Jesus is finally the one they have been waiting for.
Their Messiah was finally coming into
Psalm goes on to say that Jesus is coming in the name of the Lord.
This means that Jesus is not coming in His own authority, but He is
representing the Lord God of
verse 10 we see that the whole city of
of the crowd yelled out, “who is this”.
In verse 11 other parts of the crowd answered, “this is Jesus,
the prophet from
the case, you might say that Jesus was entering the city of
the last section we noted that Jesus was described as being gentle. You
might now wonder where this gentleness went to when you read this section.
Upon entering Jerusalem Jesus goes directly to the
verse 12 we see Jesus entering the temple.
He was obviously upset. He
overthrew tables. He drove out those who were buying and selling.
church has the same problem today. We
have commercialized ourselves to the degree that we look more like a
business than the
verse 13 Jesus quotes from Isa. 56:7 that says, “my house will be called
a house of prayer”. This
was God’s intention for the Old Testament Temple.
It was to be a sacred place. But
the Jewish people made it “ad den of thieves”, as Jesus puts it.
Thieves because the Jews had robbed the
the past Christians have used this text to support the idea that there
should not be anything sold in a Christian church building, but that’s a
misunderstanding of this text. We
cannot compare the
verse 14 we see the stark contrast between the compassion of Jesus and His
righteous anger, and there is such a thing as righteous anger.
Sick people came to Jesus and He had compassion on them and healed
then. Moments after
being so upset that He threw tables and benches around, Jesus kindly
healed people. He demonstrated
both His love and His justice. This
is important, because too many people want to neglect God’s justice and
emphasize His love only. You
can’t do that. God, and that
includes Jesus, is just as much just as He is loving, and there was a
major injustice taking place at the
see the indignation of the Jewish leadership in verse 15.
Just picture this. First
of all the popularity of Jesus was growing over the last three years.
The crowds were getting bigger and they were listening to what
Jesus had to say. Now as Jesus
verse 16 some of the Jewish leadership ask Jesus if He hears what the
children are saying. The
children are actually crying out “hosanna, Son of David”.
Even if they have some clue to what is going on.
Even if they are simply copying their parents, they are involved.
The leaders of the Jews could not stand this so they pointed it out
to Jesus, in the hopes that He would quiet things down.
verse 17 Jesus responds by quoting Pas. 8:2 that says, “ from the lips
of children and infants you have ordained praise”?
Note the question mark here. This
is not a statement, meaning, the children will give praise to Jesus.
It’s a question, meaning, “won’t the children give praise to
Jesus? The implication is that
if you won’t give me praise, then why shouldn’t the children do what
you should be doing?
section ends in verse 17 by Jesus leaving the Jewish leaders and going to
verses 18 to 21 we see that Jesus and His followers left
trees don’t normally have fruit on them until early June, and this was
March. The question then arises, why did Jesus curse a tree for not having
fruit when it wouldn’t normally have fruit that time of year?
One thing we know is that Jesus appears to be more troubled and
agitated the closers He gets to the cross.
This might have something to do with this, but I can’t see that
it’s the real answer to the question.
fig tree is often symbolic of
says it pretty clearly in John 15. If
we don’t bear fruit, we will be cut off from the vine, and He is the
vine. If Jesus cut
verse 21 and 22 Jesus responds to the disciple’s amazement.
He tells them that if they only had faith, they could do the same.
They could also tell the near by mountain, which was the
need to understand Jesus’ words clearly here, especially in light of
what He says elsewhere. Certain
Prosperity teachers tell us that the reason why we don’t see such
miracles is because we don’t have faith.
If we only had sufficient faith we could move these mountains as
Jesus states. Well, no one has
ever moved a mountain, including Jesus, so does that mean no one has
really had sufficient faith. No.
It doesn’t mean that at all.
can’t understand these words as the Prosperity teachers tell us.
Faith is not a commodity that we can get more of.
Faith is trust. Faith
is resignation. Faith is more
passive than active. Other
than the gift of faith which is a gift of the Spirit, we can’t get more
faith. Getting more faith is
not the issue. Trusting in
Jesus more is the issue.
moving of the mountains is simply an analogy.
Jesus wasn’t expecting us to move a literal mountain.
What He was expecting, was for us to ask for things in His name.
Jesus doesn’t add the words “in His name” in this passage but
He does elsewhere. “In His
name “ means in this context, that we ask for things as His
representatives, and the things we ask for are the things we need to
properly represent Him. They
aren’t selfish personal things. This
passage should not be seen a proof text to get rich.
verse 23 we see Jesus teaching in the courtyard of the
verse 24 Jesus replies by telling the Jewish leadership that He is going
to ask them a question, and if they can’ answer His question, then
He’ll answer their question. Jesus
was a hard man to trap. He was
very witty. No one made Him
answer any question. He did
what He felt He needed to do without any thought to how the Jewish
leadership would respond.
question is found in verse 25. He asks them if John’s baptism, that’s
John the Baptist, whether it was from God or from man.
The chief priest and elders were trying to trick Jesus with their
question, but Jesus’ question to them was just as tricky, if not more
the rest of verse 25 and into verse 26 the Jewish leaders discussed this
among themselves. They knew
that Jesus had trapped them in their attempt to trap Him.
They figure that if they answer Jesus by saying John’s baptism
was of God, then Jesus would ask why they refused to accept John’s
message. In fact, they did not believe it was from God.
the other hand, if they told Jesus their true feelings that Jesus already
knew, then the crowd would get into an uproar and possibly turn violent
against them because most of the crowd believed John was a prophet of God.
only answer these men could come up with in response to Jesus was, “we
don’t know”. Well, “we
don’t know” wasn’t really and answer.
They knew, or at least they knew what they thought.
They just were willing to answer Jesus.
Jesus made them out to look pretty foolish in front of this crowd, and for
that, they were more upset than ever before.
is interesting how Jesus responds to them in verse 27. He says, “neither
will I tell you by what authority I am doing these things”. “Neither
will I tell you…” implies that Jesus isn’t going to answer their
question because they didn’t specifically answer His question. Yes, they
did answer, but their answer was one of avoidance.
They failed to answer Jesus’ exact question.
verse 28 Jesus asks, “what do you think”?
He’s about to tell another one of His parables, and by asking the
above question we get a hint to why Jesus speaks in parables.
One reason for the parables is to get people thinking.
Jesus could have simply spoken His message in clear and concise
statements, but the use of parables would, or should cause people to think
about what He is saying, because that’s the only way you would
understand what He’s saying. Simply
stating the facts makes it too easy for people.
They can hear the facts without thinking.
But if you think through the parables you’ll do better at
understanding their meaning.
parable goes like this. There
was a father with two sons. One
at a time he asked his sons to go out to work in his vineyard.
The first son said that he would not go out to work but later
changed his mind and did go. The
other son said he would go out and work but didn’t.
verse 31 Jesus asks which of the two sons did what his father asked.
The disciples answer by saying that the first son obeyed.
The answer is obviously correct.
the second half of verse 31 Jesus begins to explain the parable, but he
does not clearly explain it. He
doesn’t say that one son represents something or someone while the other
son represents something else or someone else.
He doesn’t say who the father represents either.
Jesus does say is that tax collectors and prostitutes are entering the
Jewish leader is the son that said he’d go to work but didn’t.
The leadership claimed to be righteous and doing God’s work, but
in fact they were doing their own work.
other son that said he would not go to work but ended up going are the tax
collectors and prostitutes. These
people in society did not claim to be righteous.
They lived a sinful life, but it was these people who came to Jesus
and had their lives turned around. Those sinners entered the
kingdom that these sinners entered was that part of the kingdom that was
on earth because Jesus was on earth. It’s
the same kingdom that came to earth in a more real way on the Day of
Pentecost as seen in Acts 2. It’s
also that kingdom that will come to earth in a material way at the end of
verse 32 Jesus speaks of John and the message of repentance that he spoke.
The Jewish leaders wrote John off as a mad man, but the sinners
heard what John said. Many of
the people in the lower end of society repented after hearing the message
verses 33 to 39 Jesus tells the following parable.
A man built a vineyard and put a wall around it and a mote outside
of the wall. He got the
vineyard all ready to be work and rented it out to tenants that would work
the fields. The owner of the
vineyard sent out some of his men to collect a portion of the fruits of
the land. The tenants beat and
killed the men the landlord sent them.
hearing what had happened the landlord sent out more men who received the
same fate. Last of all the
landlord decided to send his son to collect the fruit of the land, hoping
that the tenants would respect the son, but they didn’t.
They killed the son. The tenants figured that if they could kill
the son then they’d inherit the whole vineyard for themselves.
verse 40 Jesus asks those listening to Him what the owner of vineyard will
verse 41 they answered by saying the owner will “bring those wretches to
a wretched end” and will rent the vineyard out to someone else.
verse 42 Jesus responds, but He doesn’t respond by saying their answer
is either right or wrong. He
responds by quoting Psa. 118:22 – 23.
This is typical Jesus. He
does not always speak in easy and clear statements.
He makes us think about what He is saying.
Psalm says that the stone the builder used for the cornerstone of the
building was rejected by the buildings builder, but it became the
cornerstone anyway. In the
eyes of the Lord, this was a marvelous thing.
verse 43 Jesus finally states in one sentence the meaning of the parable.
He tells the Jewish leaders that the kingdom will be taken from them and
given to another group of people that will produce the fruit and allow God
His place in the kingdom.
clear that in the parable, the owner is God, the men he sent out were the
prophets, and the son was Jesus. The
tenants the landlord put in charge were the Jews, and especially the
Jews abused the prophets of old, and killed Jesus the Son. As a result,
God would take the kingdom from the Jews and give it to the Gentiles.
is a Biblical principle that needs to be pointed out at this point.
You often see the phrase “to the Jew first and then to the
Gentile” throughout the New Testament.
The Jews had first chance at the kingdom.
They did not handle it properly and so God gave it to the Gentiles.
Yet even with this in mind, when the Spirit came in Acts, He first
came to the Jews in chapter 2 and then to the Gentiles in chapter 10.
The Jews were not totally excluded from the kingdom that came in
Acts 2, but eventually the kingdom was headed by Gentiles.
verse 44 Jesus says that whoever falls on this stone will be broken, but
whoever the stone falls on will be crushed.
I’ve always seen these words to mean that when we come to Jesus
the stone, He will break us. Part
of the Christian life is a breaking and changing process that we go
through in order to become more like Jesus.
But if we fail to come to Jesus and let Him break our wills, in the
end, He will crush and destroy us, as seen in the final judgment.
It is thus better to be broken now by Jesus than to be destroyed at
the end of this age.