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
- 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.
- 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).
- No fruit means no life, no matter how religious one may be. Jesus alone discerns true from false faith.