Jesus Verse by Verse

an expanded commentary on the Gospel of Matthew

Jesus Verse by Verse...

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21:5 A humble King was a contradiction in terms. A King was supposed to ride upon a battle horse, not a donkey. It’s like a President arriving in a battered 20 year old small car, rather than a cavalcade of Mercedes.
21:9 The crowd were so fickle. A few days later they would cry “Crucify him!”; and 6 weeks later claim to have accepted the preaching of Peter. Fickleness is part of our nature; what God and Jesus desire, as we do in any relationship, is stability, loyalty to the end, faithfulness.
21:14 The blind and lame had been banned from the temple due to a Jewish misapplication of 2 Sam. 5:8.  But Jesus welcomed into God’s house those whom man had banned from it.
21:18 He hungered for spiritual fruit on Israel, the fig tree. He was prepared to eat even the unripe fruit which the leaves promised to be there. He cursed it because there was an appearance of fruit, i.e. it had leaves, but in reality there wasn’t even the beginnings of spiritual fruit. He is satisfied with even our immature spirituality- if we do at least something (Mt. 25:27).
21:22 We should visualize the answer to our prayers and act and feel as if they have been answered. But this verse is only part of the overall Bible teaching about prayer- we can only pray with such confidence if we know it is according to God’s will (1 Jn. 5:14).
21:30 Often parables present two kinds of people- those who appear to be righteous and aren’t; and those who are openly disobedient but repent. Churches seem full of the first category, but these aren’t those whom God accepts. We have to accept that we are serious sinners, and repent.
21:35 These servants represent God’s prophets whom He sent to Israel in the Old Testament.
21:37 Here is the hopefulness of God. On one hand, He knew from the beginning that Israel would reject and kill His Son. But  He had such hope that they would not. The God who is omnipotent sometimes and in some ways limits His power; and He does the same with His knowledge, His omniscience. He has entered into relationship with us and therefore He has in a way limited Himself in order to conduct that relationship with us on a legitimate, meaningful level. Hence we read of God’s shock, hurt and surprise at human actions.
21:44 This refers to how the image of Daniel 2, representing the kingdoms of men, is to be ground to powder by the return of Christ to the earth. He will judge those who reject Him along with the world whose ways they so loved (1 Cor. 11:32). We either fall upon Christ and are broken, through recognizing our sins (1 Pet. 2:8); or He will fall upon us and break us at the last day. So there is a logic to all this- we must be broken people now, or we will be broken then. The true community of believers is one of broken men and women.