Matthew 21: Triumphal Entry into Jerusalem

Why might taking donkeys be likened to stealing a car? Why might the owner have accepted the disciples’ reason for taking them?

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Matthew 21:1–2 As Jesus and the disciples approached Jerusalem, they stopped near Bethphage at the Mount of Olives. Jesus sent two disciples, saying, “Go into the village. As soon as you enter, you will see a donkey tethered with its colt. Untie them and bring them to me.”
King James
Matthew 21:1–2 And when they drew nigh unto Jerusalem, and were come to Bethphage, unto the mount of Olives, then sent Jesus two 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.

What caused Matthew to realize that this event fulfilled Zechariah’s prophecy?

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Matthew 21:4–5 This event fulfilled the words of Zechariah: People of Zion, rejoice. Shout for joy, people of Jerusalem. Look! The king is coming. He is a righteous and victorious savior, yet humble, riding upon a colt, a donkey’s foal.
King James
Matthew 21:4–5 All this was done, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet, saying, 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.

How did the disciples feel after everything happened exactly as Jesus had predicted?

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Matthew 21:6–7 So the disciples did as they were told and brought the donkey with its colt. With their coats laid upon the colt’s back, Jesus rode toward Jerusalem.
King James
Matthew 21:6–7 And the disciples went, and did as Jesus commanded them, and brought the ass, and the colt, and put on them their clothes, and they set him thereon.

What motivated the crowd to lay coats and palm branches before Jesus?

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Matthew 21:8 A huge crowd gathered along the road and spread their garments before him. Some cut palm branches to lay a carpet in his path.
King James
Matthew 21:8 And a very great multitude spread their garments in the way; others cut down branches from the trees, and strawed them in the way.

Why were people compelled to shout praises?

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Matthew 21:9 Some walked ahead of Jesus while others followed, shouting, “Great glory to the Son of David. Blessed is the one who comes in God’s name. Praise God in the highest heaven.”

King James
Matthew 21:9 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.

Why didn’t people in Jerusalem know who Jesus was?

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Matthew 21:10–11 Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem stirred up the whole city. “Who is this?” people said. Those in the crowd who had been following him said, “The prophet Jesus, from Nazareth in Galilee.”
King James
Matthew 21:10–11 And when he was come into Jerusalem, all the city was moved, saying, Who is this? And the multitude said, This is Jesus the prophet of Nazareth of Galilee.

Matthew describes throwing out the moneychangers as an event near the end of Jesus’ ministry. John puts it near the beginning. What do you think actually happened? Why?

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Matthew 21:12–13 In the Temple’s outer court, Jesus threw out the merchants who were buying and selling there. He overthrew the moneychangers’ tables and knocked over the cages of those selling doves. He said to the people, “The scriptures say, ‘My Temple will be called a house of prayer for all nations,’ but you have turned it into a hangout for robbers.”
John 2:14–15 In the Temple, he found merchants selling cattle, sheep, and doves for sacrifices. Dealers had set up tables to exchange foreign money for the half-shekel Temple tax. After making a whip from small cords, Jesus drove out the sheep and cattle, scattered the moneychangers’ coins, and overturned their tables.
King James
Matthew 21:12–13 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, 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.
John 2:14–15 And found in the temple those that sold oxen and sheep and doves, and the changers of money sitting: And when he had made a scourge of small cords, he drove them all out of the temple, and the sheep, and the oxen; and poured out the changers’ money, and overthrew the tables;

What reasons did the blind and lame have for coming to the Temple?

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Matthew 21:14 When the blind and lame came to the Temple, Jesus healed them.
King James
Matthew 21:14 And the blind and the lame came to him in the temple; and he healed them.

Why did religious leaders object to people praising Jesus?

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Matthew 21:15–16 The chief priests and teachers of the Law were very upset when they saw the wondrous miracles and heard the children shouting, “Hail to the Son of David.” They said to Jesus, “Do you hear what these children are saying?”
“Yes, I do,” Jesus said. “Haven’t you read the scriptures? From the mouths of infants and children, you have raised up a strong voice to refute your enemies, silencing the adverse words of all who oppose you.
King James
Matthew 21:15–16 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, 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?

Where might Jesus have spent the night in Bethany?

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Matthew 21:17 He left the city and spent the night in Bethany.
King James
Matthew 21:17 And he left them, and went out of the city into Bethany; and he lodged there.

Why did Jesus’ cursing the fig tree cause it to wither?

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Matthew 21:18–20 On his way to Jerusalem the next morning, he was hungry and walked over to a fig tree beside the road, but found no fruit, only leaves. “Let no fruit grow on you,” he said to the tree. Before long, it withered.
The disciples were amazed. “Why did the tree suddenly die?”
King James
Matthew 21:18–20 Now in the morning as he returned into the city, he hungered. And when he saw a fig tree in the way, he came to it, and found nothing thereon, but leaves only, and said unto it, Let no fruit grow on thee henceforward for ever. And presently the fig tree withered away. And when the disciples saw it, they marvelled, saying, How soon is the fig tree withered away!

What kind of “unwavering faith” causes mountains to obey our voice?

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Matthew 21:21–22 “Know this for certain. If you have unwavering faith, you will not only do things like this, but you will say to this mountain, ‘Rise and be thrown into the sea,’ and it will obey. When faith connects your prayer with what God wants to do, you will see it happen.”
King James
Matthew 21:21–22 Jesus answered and said unto them, Verily I say unto you, If ye have faith, and doubt not, ye shall not only do this which is done to the fig tree, but also if ye shall say unto this mountain, Be thou removed, and be thou cast into the sea; it shall be done. And all things, whatsoever ye shall ask in prayer, believing, ye shall receive.

What were the “things” Jesus was doing that led the Jewish leaders to question his authority?

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Matthew 21:23 The chief priests and Jewish leaders came to Jesus when he was teaching in the Temple. “What right do you have to do these things? Who gave you the authority?”
King James
Matthew 21:23 And when he was come into the temple, the chief priests and the elders of the people came unto him as he was teaching, and said, By what authority doest thou these things? and who gave thee this authority?

Why didn’t Jesus explain his authority? If the leaders had answered his question, what would he have said?

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Matthew 21:24–27 “Let me ask you a question. If you can give me the answer, I will tell you by what authority I do these things. From where did John receive his authority to baptize? Was it from God or men?”
They discussed the question among themselves. “If we say, ‘From God,’ he will ask why we did not believe him. But if we say, ‘From men,’ we will turn the people against us, because they all regard John as a prophet.” So they said to Jesus, “We don’t know.”
“Then I won’t tell you by what authority I do these things.
King James
Matthew 21:24–27 And Jesus answered and said unto them, I also will ask you one thing, which if ye tell me, I in like wise will tell you by what authority I do these things. The baptism of John, whence was it? from heaven, or of men? And they reasoned with themselves, saying, If we shall say, From heaven; he will say unto us, Why did ye not then believe him? But if we shall say, Of men; we fear the people; for all hold John as a prophet. And they answered Jesus, and said, We cannot tell. And he said unto them, Neither tell I you by what authority I do these things.

When Jesus told the story of the two sons, what point was he making? How well do you think people received his exhortation?

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Matthew 21:28–32 “Tell me what you think. A man told the older of two sons to go work in his vineyard. The son said, ‘No. I have other things to do.’ Later, he changed his mind and went. The man made the same request of the younger son, who said, ‘Yes, sir. I will.’ But he did not go. Which of the two did what his father wanted?”
“Obviously, the older son.”
“I guarantee,” Jesus said, “that tax collectors and prostitutes will reach the Kingdom of God ahead of you. John showed you the way of righteousness. You did not believe him, but the tax collectors and prostitutes did. And later, after seeing all this, you still won’t change your mind and believe.”
King James
Matthew 21:28–32 But what think ye? A certain man had two sons; and he came to the first, and said, Son, go work to day in my vineyard. He answered and said, I will not: but afterward he repented, and went. And he came to the second, and said likewise. And he answered and said, I go, sir: and went not. Whether of them twain did the will of his father? They say unto him, The first. Jesus saith unto them, Verily I say unto you, That the publicans and the harlots go into the kingdom of God before you. For John came unto you in the way of righteousness, and ye believed him not: but the publicans and the harlots believed him: and ye, when ye had seen it, repented not afterward, that ye might believe him.

What parts of the sharecropper story caused the religious leaders to know Jesus was talking about them?

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Matthew 21:33–46 “Now listen to this illustration,” Jesus said. “A landowner planted a vineyard, put a fence around it, dug a winepress, and built a watchtower. He left the vineyard under the care of sharecroppers and went to another country. At harvest season, he sent his servants to collect his share from the vineyard. The sharecroppers grabbed and beat up one servant, killed another, and stoned a third. Again, the landowner sent servants, but the sharecroppers mistreated them in the same way. Finally, he sent his son, saying, ‘They will respect my son.’ When the sharecroppers saw him coming, they said to themselves, ‘He is the heir. If we kill him, we can have his inheritance.’ So they grabbed him, dragged him out of the vineyard, and killed him. What do you think the landowner will do to those sharecroppers when he returns?”
“He will destroy those wicked men with a horrible death and find others who will give him his share of the harvest.”
“Haven’t you read the scripture? The stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone. God has done this, and it is a wonderful sight to behold. So I am telling you, the Kingdom of God will be taken from you and will be given to a fruitful people. Those who fall on this stone will be broken, but those on whom this stone falls will be crushed.”
After the Pharisees and chief priests heard his illustrations, they realized that he was talking about them. They wanted to arrest him but could not, because they feared the many people who believed Jesus was a prophet.
King James
Matthew 21:33–46 Hear another parable: There was a certain householder, which planted a vineyard, and hedged it round about, and digged a winepress in it, and built a tower, and let it out to husbandmen, and went into a far country: And when the time of the fruit drew near, he sent his servants to the husbandmen, that they might receive the fruits of it. And the husbandmen took his servants, and beat one, and killed another, and stoned another. Again, he sent other servants more than the first: and they did unto them likewise. But last of all he sent unto them his son, saying, They will reverence my son. But when the husbandmen saw the son, they said among themselves, This is the heir; come, let us kill him, and let us seize on his inheritance. And they caught him, and cast him out of the vineyard, and slew him. When the lord therefore of the vineyard cometh, what will he do unto those husbandmen? They say unto him, He will miserably destroy those wicked men, and will let out his vineyard unto other husbandmen, which shall render him the fruits in their seasons. Jesus saith unto them, Did ye never read in the scriptures, The stone which the builders rejected, the same is become the head of the corner: this is the Lord’s doing, and it is marvellous in our eyes? Therefore say I unto you, The kingdom of God shall be taken from you, and given to a nation bringing forth the fruits thereof. And whosoever shall fall on this stone shall be broken: but on whomsoever it shall fall, it will grind him to powder. And when the chief priests and Pharisees had heard his parables, they perceived that he spake of them. But when they sought to lay hands on him, they feared the multitude, because they took him for a prophet.

Do you think people understood what the “stone that the builders rejected” was? Why?

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Matthew 21:42 “Haven’t you read the scripture? The stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone. God has done this, and it is a wonderful sight to behold.
King James
Matthew 21:42 Jesus saith unto them, Did ye never read in the scriptures, The stone which the builders rejected, the same is become the head of the corner: this is the Lord’s doing, and it is marvellous in our eyes?

Who are the people that the Kingdom will be taken from, and who are the “fruitful people” who will receive it?

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Matthew 21:43 “So I am telling you, the Kingdom of God will be taken from you and will be given to a fruitful people.”
King James
Matthew 21:43 Therefore say I unto you, The kingdom of God shall be taken from you, and given to a nation bringing forth the fruits thereof.

What is the stone that will make or break us?

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Matthew 21:44 “Those who fall on this stone will be broken, but those on whom this stone falls will be crushed.”
King James
Matthew 21:44 And whosoever shall fall on this stone shall be broken: but on whomsoever it shall fall, it will grind him to powder.

What reasons did religious leaders have to fear the people?

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Matthew 21:46 They wanted to arrest him but could not, because they feared the many people who believed Jesus was a prophet.
King James
Matthew 21:46 But when they sought to lay hands on him, they feared the multitude, because they took him for a prophet.