Jesus Enters Jerusalem as Victorious King
Matthew 21:1-11 (Mark 11:1-11; Luke 19:28-40; John 12:12-19)
Sunday, Passion Week
(Jesus’ entrance into Jerusalem marks the beginning of “Holy Week,” or “Passion Week.” The word “Passion” comes from the Latin word for suffering).
(1) As they approached Jerusalem from Jericho, they came to the town of Bethphage on the Mount of Olives. (The road from Jericho to Jerusalem came onto the Mount of Olives and then passed through the villages of Bethphage and Bethany, which are around 2 miles/3 km southeast of Jerusalem. The Mount of Olives was a mountain ridge east of and adjacent to the city of Jerusalem, separated by the Kidron Valley).
Jesus said to two of his disciples (Peter and John), (2) “Go to the village ahead of us, and you will find a donkey tied there, with her colt beside her. Untie them and bring them to me. (3) If anyone says anything to you, tell them that the Lord needs them, and he will let you go.” (4) This happened to fulfill what is written in Zechariah 9:9, (5) “Say to the Daughter Zion: See, your king comes to you, gentle and riding on a donkey, and on a colt, the foal of a donkey.”
(6) The disciples did what Jesus had told them to do. (7) They brought the donkey and the colt and placed their clothes (outer cloaks) on them for Jesus to sit on. (8) A very large crowd of people spread their clothes (outer cloaks) on the road leading down the Mount of Olives to Jerusalem, while others cut branches from the trees and spread them on the road. (9) The crowds that went in front of Jesus, and those who followed him, shouted Psalm 118:26, “Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord! Hosanna in the highest!”
(10) When Jesus entered Jerusalem, the whole city was full of excitement and people asked one another, “Who is this?” (11) The people yelled, “This is Jesus, the prophet from Nazareth in Galilee!”
Jesus Clears Out the Jerusalem Temple
Matthew 21:12-17 (Mark 11:15-19; Luke 19:45-48; John 2:13-25)
(12) Jesus entered the temple courts (probably refers to the court of the non-Jews) and drove out all those who were buying and selling there. He turned over the tables of the money changers and the benches of those selling doves for sacrifices. (13) Jesus said to them, “It is written in Isaiah 56:7, ‘My house will be called a house of prayer,’ but as it is written in Jeremiah 7:11, ‘You are making it a den of robbers.’ ”
(14) The blind and lame came to Jesus at the temple, and he healed them. (15) But the Jewish chief priests and teachers of the law of Moses were furious when they saw the wonderful things that he did and the children shouting in the temple courts, “Hosanna to the Son of David.” (16) They asked Jesus, “Don’t you hear what these children are shouting?” Jesus said to them, “Yes, haven’t you ever read Psalm 8:2? It says, ‘From the lips of children and infants you, Lord, have called forth your praise.’ ”
(17) And Jesus left Jerusalem and walked back to the town of Bethany on the Mount of Olives, where he spent the night.
Jesus Curses a Fig Tree
Matthew 21:18-22 (Mark 11:12-14, 20-26)
Monday, Passion Week
(18) Early in the morning, as Jesus was walking back to Jerusalem, he became hungry. (19) Seeing a fig tree by the road, he went over to it but found only leaves and no figs. Then he said to it, “You will never produce figs again!” Immediately the tree dried up and died (possibly a symbolic judgment against Israel).
(20) When the disciples saw this, they were amazed and asked, “How did the fig tree die so quickly?” (21) Jesus said to them, “I tell you the truth: If you have faith and do not doubt, you will not only be able to do what I did to this fig tree, but you can also tell this mountain, ‘Go, throw yourself into the sea,’ and it will happen. (22) If you believe, you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer.”
Jesus’ Authority Is Questioned
Matthew 21:23-27 (Mark 11:27-33; Luke 20:1-8)
Tuesday, Passion Week
(23) Jesus entered the temple courts, and, while he was teaching, the Jewish chief priests and elders came and asked him, “By what authority are you doing these things? Who gave you this authority?” (24) Jesus said to them, “I will also ask you a question. If you answer me, I will tell you by what authority I do these things.” (25) Jesus asked, “Was the baptism of John from heaven or was it from man?”
The religious leaders talked with each other and said, “If we say, ‘From heaven,’ he will ask, ‘Then why did you not believe John?’ (26) But if we say, ‘It was from man,’ we are afraid of what the people might do because they believe that John was a prophet.” (27) So they answered Jesus, “We do not know.” Then Jesus said to them, “Neither will I tell you by what authority I do these things.”
The Parable of Two Sons
Jesus asked the Jewish religious leaders, (28) “What do you think about this parable (story)? There was a man who had two sons. He went to the first and said, ‘Son, go and work today in the vineyard.’ (29) The son answered, ‘No, I will not go,’ but later he changed his mind and went into the vineyard to work. (30) Then the father went to his second son and said the same thing, ‘Go work today in the vineyard.’ He answered, ‘Yes, I will, father,’ but he did not go into the vineyard to work.”
(31) Jesus asked them, “Tell me, which of the two sons did the will of their father?” The religious leaders answered, “The first son.” Jesus said to them, “I tell you the truth: The tax collectors and the prostitutes are entering the kingdom of God before you! (32) For John came to show you the way of righteousness, and you refused to believe him, but tax collectors and prostitutes did believe him. And even after you saw this with your own eyes, you still would not repent and believe him.”
The Parable of a Landowner
Matthew 21:33-46 (Mark 12:1-12; Luke 20:9-19)
(33) Jesus said, “Listen to another parable (story): There was a landowner who planted a vineyard. He built a wall around it, dug a hole for a winepress, and built a watchtower. Then he rented his vineyard to some farmers and moved to another place.
(34) “When it was time for the harvest, the landowner sent his servants to the farmers to collect his fruit. (35) They grabbed his servants, beat one, threw rocks at one, and killed another. (36) Then he sent a larger number of servants to the farmers, but they did the same thing to them. (37) Last of all, he sent his son to them. The landowner thought, ‘They will respect my son.’ (38) But when the farmers saw the son coming, they said, ‘This is the inheritor of the vineyard; come, let’s kill him and take his inheritance.’ (39) So they took the son and threw him out of the vineyard and killed him.”
(40) Jesus asked the religious leaders, “Therefore, when the vineyard’s owner comes, what will he do to those farmers?” (41) They replied, “He will destroy those evil men, and he will rent his vineyard to other farmers, who will give him his share of the crops at harvest time.” (42) Jesus said to them, “Haven’t you ever read Psalm 118:22-23? ‘The stone the builders rejected has become the cornerstone; the Lord has done this, and it is marvelous in our eyes.’ (43) Therefore I tell you the truth: The kingdom of God will be taken away from you and given to people who will produce its fruit. (44) Whoever falls on this stone will be broken to pieces, and the one on whom the stone falls will be crushed into powder.”
(45) When the Jewish chief priests and Pharisees heard Jesus’ parables, they knew that he was talking about them. (46) So they looked for a way to arrest him, but they were afraid of the people because they believed that Jesus was a prophet.