Matthew 21:1 “…Bethphage, at the Mount of Olives…”
Village on the road from Jericho to Jerusalem. Commentary not sure if it is on the west or east of Bethany. This mention refers to the Mount of Olives which makes me wonder if it was slightly closer to Jerusalem than Bethany.
2 “…Go into the village opposite you…”
Matthew lets us know about the prophecy regarding the King riding into Jerusalem on a donkey. But I wonder why Jesus chose to do it this way, why acquire them this way. Why not just find them and use them. I’m wondering if it was to show His Kingship. His followers were sent to get the donkey and colt, and they were to tell anyone who asks that the Lord had need of them. He didn’t set Himself up. Reminds me of a fellow in the Old Testament who set himself up as king. Hired men to accompany him and runners to go before him so he would look like the king, but he was not. Jesus is the King, so everything will be done for Him. He doesn’t have to do it Himself. Commentary makes the statement the disciples were to claim the right to use the animals in the service of a King, not for hire or to ask permission. That would be the idea.
7 “…the colt, laid their clothes on them…”
Says them, but was only the colt. The donkey would have followed beside or behind as it was her foal. The idea is that He rode on the smaller of the two donkeys, not on some great steed like you would assume a king would. This was the way the King of the earth chose to enter Jerusalem and which was prophesied.
9 “…Hosanna to the Son of David! ‘Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord!’ Hosanna in the highest!”
Cutting branches from trees and throwing their clothes on the road before Him was an act of respect in welcoming a king. The fact that they chanted what they did was welcoming Him as the Messiah. Blessed is He who comes in the name of the LORD is a Messianic psalm. The people were claiming Him to be the Messiah by their actions which led the Pharisees to complain recorded in Luke.
12 “…drove out all those who bought and sold in the temple…”
Some try to liken this to doing business in the sanctuary of modern churches. Not quite the same. The temple area had different sections. There was the outer court where Gentiles were allowed, the inner court where Jews could come, then the Holy of Holies where only the high priest could go. The money changers had set up in the outer court so they were disrupting any worship by Gentiles. They were supposed to be offering a service to those who had to travel a great distance by selling lambs for sacrifice and by exchanging money types to be used in the temple, but apparently there was corruption in their actions. Probably overcharging and selling lesser merchandise. Jesus referred to them as thieves. They were supposed to be doing business fairly and properly and doing it outside the outer court.
15-16 “…the children crying out in the temple…Do You hear what these are saying”
Children picked up the praises of the people. Pharisees didn’t like it at all. Their question for Jesus was actually do you not realize they are calling You the Messiah. Jesus didn’t deny it. He not only said yes, but referred them to scripture in Psalm 8 which said it would happen. Everything was happening around them just as scripture predicted, yet the religious leaders refused to believe it.
17 “…went out of the city to Bethany…”
The house of Martha, Mary, and Lazarus. Commentary suggests their names weren’t mentioned in the first three gospels to keep from calling unwanted attention to them, perhaps until after Lazarus died. After Jesus raised him from the dead, the religious leaders sought a way to kill him as he was an example of Jesus’s power, and people were following Jesus because of him.
19 “…a fig tree by the road, He came to it and found nothing on it but leaves…”
Mark records that it wasn’t the season for figs, so I’ve wondered why Jesus cursed the tree for lack of figs. Actually, the fig trees sometimes had early production. When He saw the tree with all its leaves out, He could naturally assume it should have some early figs by now, but it didn’t. Made it appear as one that looked like it should be productive, but was not. Which brings out the more important reason for the action. He was setting it up as an example for Israel. Just like the fig tree they had all the indications of being a nation of God, all the indications that they were producing fruit, ready to accept the Messiah and ready to share Him with the world. But the outward appearance, just the leaves, was all they actually had. Jesus pronounced the judgment on the fig tree, and it withered away completely. He will later pronounce judgment on Israel. Will go into detail there when I encounter it, but it amounts to the fact that Israel as a nation would not recognize Jesus as the Messiah until He returns the second time.
21 “…if you have faith and do not doubt…”
Seems Jesus used the amazement of the disciples as another lesson in faith. I wonder why He didn’t choose to tell them about the connection of the incident with Israel. Commentaries don’t mention anything.
I hope you enjoy reading and studying His word. May it accomplish what He desires. Please feel free to comment or post questions. Thanks for reading!
Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.