Matthew, Chapter 21

Matt. 21:1-9 

            Matt. 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.

            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 strowed 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 scriptures tell us that many things were done in order that the scriptures might be fulfilled.  The manner of the Lord's ascent into Jerusalem was one of the things that was done to fulfill the prophecy of the scripture: Zec. 9:9 "Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion; shout, O daughter of Jerusalem: behold, thy King cometh unto thee: he is just, and having salvation; lowly, and riding upon an ass, and upon a colt the foal of an ass."  That is not to say that it was the only reason that it was done.  The Lord had said earlier that one jot or one tittle would in no wise pass from the law until all was fulfilled.  Clearly all prophecies in the Old Testament concerning Jesus and his stay on earth were completely fulfilled.  This in itself was amazing as there were so many prophecies made in the Old Testament.  This testifies to us that God's guiding hand and foreknowledge or omniscience were clearly being made manifest in the events of Jesus life on earth.  This is also a testimony of the prophecies of the Old Testament that they clearly came from God as no man could have foretold all the events that would take place as they did in the life of Jesus on earth.

            Second, Jesus manifest the omnipresence of God and his knowledge of all things as he sent two of his disciples 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.  And if any man say ought unto you, ye shall say, The Lord hath need of them; and straightway he will send them."  The fact that Jesus knew that they would find an ass tied, and a colt with her speaks to God's omnipresence and omniscience.  Also, he knew that if any man questioned the disciples as to why they were loosing the animals, that when they said the Lord hath need of them, then the man would straightway send them.  This also speaks of the omnipresence and omniscience of God. 

            According to Mark we read, 11:2 "And saith unto them, Go your way into the village over against you: and as soon as ye be entered into it, ye shall find a colt tied, whereon never man sat; loose him, and bring him. 3 And if any man say unto you, Why do ye this? say ye that the Lord hath need of him; and straightway he will send him hither. 4 And they went their way, and found the colt tied by the door without in a place where two ways met; and they loose him. 5 And certain of them that stood there said unto them, What do ye, loosing the colt? 6 And they said unto them even as Jesus had commanded: and they let them go."

            In the Mark's account, we find that the colt had never been sat upon.  An ass' colt is a wild animal and its natural reaction when someone first sits upon its back is to try to buck them off.  Man is compared to a wild asses colt: Job 11:12 "For vain man would be wise, though man be born like a wild ass's colt."  Man in his natural state before he is born of the Spirit is wild like a wild ass's colt.  He cannot be tamed.  However, when the Lord causes him to be born of the Spirit, he suddenly has a tame nature.  This is like when the Lord sat upon the back of the wild ass's colt.  The colt had never been ridden, but when Jesus sat upon his back he was suddenly tame.  Only the Lord can do this.

            Jesus was ascending to Jerusalem as a King and yet his ascent was different than you would expect of a natural king.  A natural king would have been riding the best and most beautiful and powerful steed.  The Lord ascended on a colt, the foal of an ass.  Natural man ascends unto the throne in great pride and honor.  The Lord ascended riding a lowly colt, the foal of an ass.  The Lord's kingdom is a spiritual kingdom and God resists the proud and gives grace unto the humble.  Humility is the desired trait in God's people in his kingdom. 

            The Lord set the example for us.  According to Phil. 2:5, "Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: 6 Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: 7 But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: 8 And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. 9 Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name: 10 That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; 11 And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father."

            The things that the disciples and the multitude did in placing their clothes on the back of the colt, spreading their garments in the way, strawing tree branches before him, and saying, "Hosanna to the son of David: Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord; Hosanna in the highest," was to give honor to Christ as the promised Messiah and son of David.  However, as will be seen, many of these same multitude who were looking for a king to reign in a natural kingdom, turned on Jesus and later cried out, "crucify him, crucify him." 

Matt. 21:10, 11 

            Matt. 21:10 "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." 

            After Jesus had ascended up to Jerusalem to the praise of the multitude that had been following him, the question is now asked by the inhabitants of Jerusalem, "Who is this?"  Now what Jesus had done prior to this was not done in a vacuum.  No doubt, many of the inhabitants of Jerusalem had heard stories of Jesus.  They, however, had not seen Jesus nor witnessed his miracles and teachings beforehand.  Many that are in the world today have heard many stories of Jesus (some true, some false).  However, there comes a time when many of God's children who have heard many stories of Jesus come to witness and experience the Lord's dealing with them personally. 

            When Jesus first comes into our midst, we are prone to say, "Who is this?"  Then we are more prepared to hear and understand the answer, "This is Jesus the prophet of Nazareth of Galilee."    After we hear more clearly the answer, we begin to witness the Lord's personal dealings with us just as the inhabitants of Jerusalem witnessed the Lord's dealings with them. 

Matt. 21:12, 13

             Matt. 21:12 "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."

            Under the law, the Lord calls the temple, "My house."  Later after the law is fulfilled the Lord will refer to the temple as "your house." 

            The Lord manifests his anger towards them that ran the temple and those who did business in the temple.  The temple was designed to be a house of prayer.  The Chief Priests, Pharisees, and Saduccees had made it a house of exchange and business.  The Lord said they had made it a den of thieves.  In his anger, the Lord cast out them that sold and bought in the temple, and overthrew the tables of the moneychangers, and the seats of them that sold doves.  The changing of money and the selling of doves had become a very profitable business for those who ran the temple.  The temple had ceased to be a place of worship and of prayer. 

           Today, many so called houses of worship are just as much dens of thieves.  The people that run them find many reasons to tax or tithe the people for their pet projects, which is usually to line the pockets of the leaders.  They also rob God of his glory by ascribing themselves as the cause of people getting eternal life and of being born of the Spirit.  I suspect God is just as displeased with them as he was with those who bought and sold in the temple, and who changed money and sold doves to line their own pockets in the temple.   

Matt. 21:14-16 

Matt. 21:14 "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?"

          In this continuation of the Lord's wonderful miracles, there is quite a contrast.  The blind and the lame, who certainly feel their need of the Lord come to him and he heals them.  Subsequently, the children praise him for the wonderful works that he is doing and ascribe him to be the son of David.  They recognize him as the fulfillment of the promise that God made to David that one of his seed should sit and reign forever on the throne of David. 

            In contrast, the hard-hearted chief priests, scribes and Pharisees are sore displeased.  Though they are witnesses of the wonderful works that Jesus has done, they are sore displeased that he did them.  The reason they are sore displeased is they could see themselves losing their positions of honor and praise.  Also, they could see themselves losing their control over the people.  Their pride and positions of honor, respect, and control were more important to them than the people being healed of their sicknesses and infirmities.  They really cared not for the people, but only what would happen to them.  Furthermore, they wanted the people to praise them rather than praise God. 

            The poor people had humbled themselves as babes in Christ and were praising the Lord for his goodness and his wonderful works to the children of men.  The Lord is pleased with the praises of his afflicted and poor people, but he resists the proud.