Bible Study Notes on Matthew 21:23-46 – 20180207

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Bible Study Notes

Matthew 21:25  “…From heaven or from men…”
Was John’s message from God or did he just make it up.  Sad part is that they had to think about it, which is really their answer.  They knew what John preached was the truth, but it didn’t fit their ideas of the kingdom of God, nor did it allow their continued sin.

27  “…We do not know…Neither will I tell you…”
Typical politician answer when they don’t agree with the truth or when they don’t want to take a stand for it.  Jesus was totally justified in His question and response.  What good would it have done to answer their question since they wouldn’t believe it.  They weren’t interested in His authority, only in finding something to use to discredit Him.  They didn’t believe John, they wouldn’t believe Him either.

31  “Which of the two did the will of his father…”
The truth is in action, not in just words.

31  “…tax collectors and harlots enter the kingdom of God before you”
That was a slap in the face to their self pride.  They considered themselves way above such dreadful sinners as tax collectors and harlots.  But the actions of those sinners was far greater than the so-called righteousness of any of the Pharisees.

32  “…when you saw it, you did not afterward relent and believe him”
They messed up twice.  They should have been the ones to recognize and believe John before anyone else.  But even after they saw how the others believed him and had their lives changed, they still didn’t believe.  They didn’t recognize the truth they were supposed to know and didn’t accept it when it was shown to them.

33  “…There was a certain landowner…”
This may have been a parable, but they couldn’t miss the implication.  This was about the plainest parable Jesus could have told.  And His explanation didn’t pull any punches either.

41  “…He will destroy those wicked men miserably…”
They had no problem discerning the truth, only in believing and accepting it.

42  “…Have you never read in the Scriptures…”
This wasn’t just a story.  He’s laying it out flat for them.  I’m assuming it is due to the late hour of His time.  They can no longer claim any excuse for their actions, He has told them plainly.

42  “…The stone which the builders rejected Has become the chief cornerstone…”
This would be a claim to be the Messiah also.

43  “…the kingdom of God will be taken from you and given to a nation bearing the fruits of it”
Not salvation, but the news of it.  The kingdom of God, spreading the good news of the Messiah.  Should have been the nation of Israel, but they have rejected Him.  One commentary made a statement about Israel no longer being God’s chosen people.  They didn’t elaborate on it so I can’t speak to their intentions, but this incident is not God rejecting Israel to the point of breaking His promises to them.  The idea was for them to be a nation that followed God and through whom the Messiah would be produced.  They were to spread the news of God to the world before Jesus came and spread the news of Him after He came.  God did it this way because of His promise to Abraham.  Unfortunately, the people as a nation rejected the Messiah so God is giving the job of spreading the good news to someone else.  But this does not invalidate His promise to Israel.  Everything He promised Abraham regarding his descendants Israel will come to pass.  Some use this verse to support replacement theology, that the family of God has replaced Israel as God’s chosen people and thus all promises after Jesus made to Israel are to be fulfilled by the family of God.  That can’t be due to the nature of God.  He cannot lie nor break His promises.  Israel may not be the nation which spreads the good news of Christ to the world, but they are still God’s chosen people.  They will still receive the results of His promises even though they cheated themselves out of His blessings for sharing the Messiah.  Jesus wasn’t specific on the other nation.  I’m thinking He was probably being generic since many Gentile nations have been beacons for Christ over the years.  America has been so for quite a while, but I think our sin has finally pulled us from the front.  Perhaps His statement meant the Gentiles in general.

44  “And whoever falls on this stone will be broken; but on whomever it falls, it will grind him to powder.”
From the context, He is referring to Himself as the chief cornerstone.  Whoever stumbles over Him will be broken.  Our ideas of truth and righteousness can’t stand against that of Christ, we stumble over His truth and are undone.  If we find ourselves in this position, the thing to do is to repent and accept His truth and allow Him to repair us, make us new.  However, if we completely reject Him, if the stone falls on us, it will destroy us.  If we reject His offer of salvation, the only course for us is death, Hell, and destruction.  Commentaries were very wordy, but they seemed to agree with this idea.

45  “…they perceived that He was speaking of them”
Was obvious that the leaders understood what Jesus was saying.  Made them angry enough to want to do something to Him then, but they were like our modern politicians, they wouldn’t do anything without public support.  They would have to bide their time until they could sway the people, which they eventually did.

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.

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