Matthew 21

From this point on events leading to Israel rejecting and murdering Jesus their promised King and Messiah accelerate quickly.

The various aspects Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem (vv. 1-11) were exactly how Israel’s promised king of David should arrive and be welcomed (Zech 9:9, riding the donkey; Psalm 118, Hosannas; palm branches). Jesus’ authority as Israel’s king was then demonstrated in the temple (vv. 12-16).

In the OT the Lord referred to Israel as a fig tree (Hos 9:10; Joel 1:7) and a vine (Isa 5:1-6) that he planted expecting good fruit from. Jesus’ judgment of the fruitless fig tree (vv. 18-19) demonstrated his judgment on Israel; despite their appearance as God’s people, their lack of faith and righteous fruit proved otherwise.

Jesus judged Israel through parables (vv. 23-46). Jesus spoke to the religious leaders as the nation of Israel’s representatives, note v. 43; because they rejected Jesus the King they rejected the kingdom. “Nation” (v. 43) refers to a future generation of Israel that will be born again when Christ returns, Isa 26:2.

Truths to Nail Down and Meditate On

  1. Jesus as the Son of David is Israel’s promised and expected King. Sinners should repent and trust in him, and saints should longingly anticipate his coming again.
  2. The “power” of prayer isn’t in the one praying but in the One prayed to. (vv. 20-22). When a believer truly and wholly believes in the Lord and his promises, the Lord acts accordingly (cf. 1 John 5:14-15).
  3. No fruit means no life, no matter how religious one may be. Jesus alone discerns true from false faith.
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