“Emmanuel’s Trifecta” – Matthew 21:1-17

March 20th, 2016 (Palm Sunday)

Matthew 21:1-17 (see also: Ex 12:1-7; Dt 18:15-19; Zech 9:8-9; Mk 11:1-19; Lk 19:28-48; Jn 2:13-22; 12:12-19 Heb chps 3-10)

“Emmanuel’s Trifecta”

Auxiliary Text: Hebrews 7:23-28.

Call to Worship from: Psalm 118


Service Orientation: Properly identifying Jesus and responding accordingly is the most significant activity we will ever undertake.


Bible Memory Verse for the Week: Simon Peter answered, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” — Matthew 16:16


Background Information:

  • This final week is so important that the Gospels give a disproportionate amount of space to it. Jesus lived thirty-three years.  His active ministry occupied three years.  But large portions of the gospels are given over to the events of just the last eight days.  Matthew devotes one-fourth of his Gospel to it (ch. 21-28).  Mark uses one-third of his Gospel (ch. 11-16).  Luke gives a fifth of his chapters to the events of this last week (ch. 19:28-24).  Most remarkable of all, John gives half of his Gospel (ch. 12-21).  Taken together, there are eighty-nine chapters in the Gospels, but twenty-nine and a half of these (exactly one-third) recount what happened between the triumphal entry and Jesus’ resurrection.  (James Montgomery Boice, The Gospel of Matthew, Vol. 2, 434)
  • Each of the Gospels records this event, and the first significant detail they record is that Jesus arranged what was to happen. In other words, this was not merely a case of some spontaneous outburst of excitement on the part of the people, though there was obviously some spontaneity about it.  Rather, it was something about which the Lord himself carefully planned to make a statement.  (James Montgomery Boice, The Gospel of Matthew, Vol. 2, 435)
  • (v. 3) Note also “the” Lord, not merely “your” Lord; rather, the Lord of all, with the right to claim all for his own use. (William Hendriksen, New Testament Commentary: Matthew, 764)
  • (v. 5) In line with this is the fact that this King is meek, gentle, peaceful, gracious. See on 11:29; 12:19, 20; 20:25-28; Jn 13:14, 15, 34, 35; 19:36, 36.  This also explains why he is mounted on an unbacked ass (Mk 11:2b), not on a high-spirited war steed, or on a prancing white stallion.  (William Hendriksen, New Testament Commentary: Matthew, 765)
  • (v. 5) Here in Matthew’s Gospel we should notice that Jesus rode into Jerusalem on a colt, of all animals, also according to the Scriptures–in other words, to fulfill a specific OT prophecy, Zech 9:9, which Matthew alone of the four Gospel writers quotes. (Douglas Sean O’Donnell, Preaching the Word: Matthew, 590)
  • (v. 5) In the context of the book of Zechariah, as well as the rest of the prophets, this word “humble” does not mean so much “gentle” as it means “lowly” or “bowed down” or even “full of suffering.” The word “humble” denotes, as C. F. Keil claims, “the whole of the lowly, miserable, suffering condition, as it is elaborately depicted in Isaiah 53.”  So, in contrast with the arrogance and violence usually associated with earthly kings, this king, we are told, will be poor and afflicted; he will be a sovereign Lord and yet a suffering servant.  (Douglas Sean O’Donnell, Preaching the Word: Matthew, 591)
  • (v. 8) One of the supreme disasters of Jewish history was the capture of Jerusalem by Antiochus Epiphanes about 175 BC. Antiochus was determined to stamp out Judaism and to introduce into Palestine Greek ways of life and worship.  He deliberately profaned the Temple, offering pig’s flesh on the altar, making sacrifices to Olympian Zeus, and even turning the Temple chambers into public brothels.  It was then that the Maccabees rose against him and ultimately rescued their native land.  In due time, Jerusalem was retaken and the desecrated Temple was restored and purified and rededicated.  In 2 Maccabees 10:7, we read of the rejoicing of that great day:  “Therefore, carrying ivy-wreathed wands and beautiful branches and also fronds of palm, they offered hymns of thanksgiving to him who had given success to the purifying of his own holy place.”  On that day, the people carried the palm branches and sang their psalms; it is an almost exact description of the actions of the crowd who welcomed Jesus into Jerusalem.

It is at least possible that Jesus knew this, and that he entered into Jerusalem with the deliberate intention of cleansing God’s house as Judas Maccabaeus had done 200 years before.  That was in fact what Jesus did.  He may well be saying in dramatic symbol not only that he was the Anointed One of God, but also that he had come to cleanse the House of God from the abuses which defiled it and its worship.  Had not Malachi said that the Lord would suddenly come to his Temple (Mal 3:1)?  And, in his vision of judgment, had not Ezekiel seen the terrible judgment of God begin at the sanctuary (Ez 9:6)?  (William Barclay, The Daily Study Bible Series: Gospel of Matthew, 281)

  • (v. 8) The coins of the last time that the Jewish people had been free, the time we call the Maccabeans or Hamoneans, used as their nationalistic symbol, a palm branch. Palm branches had nothing to do with peace and love. Palm branches for a Jewish person of the time were what the stars and stripes are to Americans.   It was a way of saying, “We want our freedom!   We want deliverance.”  (Ray VanderLaan, That the World May Know” Faith Lesson 23: The Lamb of God)
  • (v. 8) It was an ancient custom (see 2 Kgs 9:13) for citizens to throw their garments in the road for their monarch to ride over, symbolizing their respect for him and their submission to his authority. It was as if to say, “We place ourselves at your feet, even to walk over if necessary.”  (John MacArthur, The MacArthur NT Commentary: Matthew 16-23, 260)
  • (v. 8) Throwing garments in the path of a king to walk on was a symbol of submission (cf. 2 Kgs 9:13). Palms symbolized Jewish nationalism and victory, such as when Judas Maccabeus and his followers recovered Jerusalem and the temple was desecrated by Antiochus:  “Therefore, carrying ivy-wreathed wands and beautiful branches and also fronds of palm, they offered hymns of thanksgiving to him who had given success to the purifying of his own holy place” (2 Macc 109:7; cf. 1 Macc 13:51).  Palms are seen on many coins of that time, expressive of nationalism generally, both Jewish and Roman.  (Clinton E. Arnold, Zondervan Illustrated Bible Backgrounds Commentary: Vol 1, 128)
  • (v. 9) Hosanna = Deliver me and set me free. Save me (hard to say in light of Roman occupation and past Passover revolts)
  • (v. 9) Ps 118 is distinctly Messianic. It speaks about the stone rejected by the builders but destined to become the cornerstone.  See on Mt 21:42; cf. Mk 12:10; Lk 20:17; Acts 4:11; and 1 Pt 2:7.  Not the words immediately following “Hosanna,” namely, “to the Son of David,” and cf. 2 Sm 7:12, 13.  See further on Mt 9:27-31; 12:23; 15:22; 22:42-45.  (William Hendriksen, New Testament Commentary: Matthew, 766)
  • (v. 12) That which began as a legitimate service for the people had become a means of exploitation, of extortion, and of downright thievery. In order for a pilgrim to exchange his currency for the local currency, he had to pay a 6 percent rate of exchange.  Plus, if he did not have the right change, he had to pay another 6 percent to resolve that problem.  Then there were the prices for the animals.  The cost of a dove inside the temple complex was fifty times higher than it was out on the street.  (RC Sproul, St. Andrew’s Expositional Commentary: Matthew, 603)
  • (v. 12) Within the past several decades the area had come to be used as a religious marketplace, operated under the auspices of the high priest, Annas. He was a corrupt and vile man, who saw  the Temple and his exalted position only as means to personal power and wealth.  The business enterprises in the Court of the Gentiles came to be known as the “Bazaar of Annas,” whose chief priests and other associates oversaw the Temple franchises.  Merchants would buy rights to a concession for selling sacrificial animals, wine, oil, or salt, or for exchanging money into the proper currency and denominations used in Temple offerings.  In addition to the franchise fees the operators would often be required to pay a certain percentage of their profits to Annas.

According to Levitical law, any animal approved by the priests could be offered in the Temple.  But the chief priests made certain that animals not bought in one of their franchises would be judged unacceptable, giving their concessionaires the de facto right to provide all the animals.  According to the Jewish-Christian historian Alfred Ederhsaim, a person would often have to pay as much as ten times what an animal normally cost. . . . Jesus was therefore speaking quite literally when He called the Temple marketplace “a robbers’ den” (v. 13).  (John MacArthur, The MacArthur NT Commentary: Matthew 16-23, 268)

  • (v. 14) In the light of the setting in the temple, the reader who has a good knowledge of the OT text is likely to recall that at David’s first capture of Jerusalem he was taunted with the cry “Even the blind and the lame will keep you out,” and in response declared his hatred for “the blind and the lame,” resulting in the saying “The blind and the lame shall not come into the house” (2 Sm 5:6-8). Yet here, in “the house,” Jesus the Son of David is approached by the blind and the lame, and, far from dismissing them, he heals them.  That Matthew expects his readers to make the comparison is indicated by the cry of the children in v. 15, “Hosanna to the Son of David!”  (R.T. France, The New International Commentary on the NT: Matthew, 788)
  • (v. 16) There were also human reasons why Jesus was not resisted. The priests and other religious leaders were fearful of the Jewish populace, many of whom had just proclaimed Jesus as the Messiah (see Lk 19:48).  The merchants were also afraid of the people, whom they had cheated and extorted for so many years.  Historical records reveal that several decades later the people did indeed riot against their mercenary Temple exploiters.  (John MacArthur, The MacArthur NT Commentary: Matthew 16-23, 269)
  • (v. 16) What irked them at this particular moment was the following combination of facts: a. the cleansing of the temple; b. the miracles performed on the blind and the lame; and last but not least, c. the shouting of the children, repeating yesterday’s joyful outburst by their parents, etc., “Hosanna to the Son of David.” Was not this blasphemy?  And that right here in the temple!  That they, these very enemies of Jesus, were themselves guilty of blasphemy because of the desecration of the temple which they had allowed and to some extent even encouraged, and because of the murderous design in their hearts against him, they did not acknowledge.  But these children must be stopped!  (William Hendriksen, NT Commentary: Matthew, 771)
  • (v.17) As he had done the previous evening so also now Jesus returned to Bethany. The rendering “spent the night” is broad enough to include either of two possibilities: a. he spent the night with his friends in their hospitable home (see 26:6-13; cf. Lk 10:38-42; Jn 11:3; 12:1-8); or b. he lodged out in the open somewhere in or near the village; cf. Lk 22:39.  (William Hendriksen, NT Commentary: Matthew, 772)
  • Think about the claims of Christ! It is one thing for a man to say, as Jesus did, that we are to love God with all our heart and soul and strength, but quite another thing to say, “Whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me, and whoever loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me” (10:37).  In the Gospels Jesus can’t stop talking about himself.  (Douglas Sean O’Donnell, Preaching the Word: Matthew, 596)
  • John Stott calls what I’m talking about simply “the paradox of Jesus.” Stott writes that Jesus’ “claims sound like the ravings of a lunatic, but he shows no sign of being a fanatic, a neurotic, or, still less, a psychotic.  On the contrary, he comes before us in the pages of the Gospels as the most balanced and integrated of human beings.”  That’s the paradox of Jesus.  He covers himself with disturbing claims (disturbing because they are so self-focused), and yet we see him clothed with utter humility.  That, my friends, is the profound paradox we see in our passage.  (Douglas Sean O’Donnell, Preaching the Word: Matthew, 596)
  • Up to this point Jesus had been keeping his messianic claim a secret lest there be a premature attempt to make him king, and because Jesus was not the kind of king the people wanted. But now, knowing that the time of his passion was at hand, Jesus deliberately provoked this demonstration.  (James Montgomery Boice, The Gospel of Matthew, Vol. 2, 436)


They asked:  “Who is this?”  So, the people told them:  “This is Jesus.”  Sadly, they added, “the prophet from Nazareth of Galilee.”  Yes, Jesus was a prophet, but He was far more than a prophet.  Even though the people had welcomed Jesus in messianic terms, it seems that many of them did not recognize Him as the Son of God.  (RC Sproul, St. Andrew’s Expositional Commentary: Matthew, 599)


The questions to be answered are . . . Why is Jesus all of a sudden changing his desire to conceal His identity?   Why does it seem as though Jesus is forcing people to commit either for or against Him?


Answers:  Jesus is only 5 days away from ending His public ministry.  The time for caution and diplomacy is over.  He is forcing us to recognize Who He is and to respond accordingly.


Christ = Messiah = Anointed One


Heidelberg Catechism: Question 31. Why is he called “Christ”, that is anointed?

  1. Because he is ordained of God the Father, and anointed with the Holy Ghost, to be our chief Prophet and Teacher, who has fully revealed to us the secret counsel and will of God concerning our redemption; and to be our only High Priest, who by the one sacrifice of his body, has redeemed us, and makes continual intercession with the Father for us; and also to be our eternal King, who governs us by his word and Spirit, and who defends and preserves us in that salvation, he has purchased for us.


The Word for the Day is . . . Hosanna (save us!)


Who Is This Jesus?:



I-  He is THE Prophet. (Mt 21:10-11; see also: Dt 18:15-19; Mt 13:57; 16:14; 21:46; Mk 6:4; Lk 1:76; 4:24; 7:16; 13:33; 24:19; Jn 4:19; 6:14; 7:40; 9:17; Acts 3:19-26; 7:37)


Prophet Defined:  The OT prophet acted as a mouthpiece for God.  (Merrill C. Tenney, The Zondervan Pictorial Encyclopedia of the Bible: Vol. Four, 875)


“A prophet’s task is to reveal the fault lines, hidden beneath the comfortable surface of the worlds we invest for ourselves, the national myths as well as the little lies and delusions of control and security that get us through the day.”  False prophets assure of peace when there is no peace.  True prophets  have the annoying habit of insisting that there is no peace just when we’ve convinced ourselves that everything is running smoothly.  (Kathleen Norris, The Cloister WalkMars Hill Audio Journal, Vol 103)


It is the fate of any true prophet to be at war with his times.  (Rabbi Joseph Telushkin, Jewish Literacy, 93)


Obviously most of them had paid little attention to what they had been shouting so vociferously.  They had barely finished proclaiming Jesus as the Messiah, the Son of David, who came in the name of the Lord.  But they did not comprehend what they said, and when the mass emotions subsided, they were hard put to say who Jesus really was, other than a prophet who came from Nazareth in Galilee.  They no longer called Him the Son of David or praised Him as the great Deliverer.  He was now no more than a prophet.  (John MacArthur, The MacArthur NT Commentary: Matthew 16-23, 263)


It is the job of the prophet to comfort the afflicted and to afflict the comfortable.


As a spokesman for God, a prophet sometimes performed acts that were pronouncements of judgment, even in the temple precincts (cf. Jeremiah’s smashing the clay pot; Jer 19).  (Clinton E. Arnold, Zondervan Illustrated Bible Backgrounds Commentary: Vol 1, 130)


II-  He is THE Priest and Lamb of God.  (Mt 21:12-13; see also: Ps 110:4; Mk 11:15-17; Lk 19:45-46; Jn 1:29, 36; Acts 8:32-35; 1 Cor 5:7; Heb 2:9-3:1; 4:14-16; 5:1-10; 6:20-8:6; 9:1-28; 10:4-22, 29; 13:11-20; 1 Pt 1:18-19; Rv chps 5-7; 12:11; 19:7-10; 21;9-14, 22-23; 22:1-3) 


The OT Palm Sunday lamb was to be a young male, without defect, whose blood would bring protection and salvation from judgement during Passover. (Ex 12-14 – Jn 19:6; Heb 4:15; 1 Pt 1:18-19; 2:22)


The OT Palm Sunday lamb is what Jesus is offering himself to be when He rides into Jerusalem. (Isa 53; Mt 21:1-11; Mk 11:1-11; Lk 19:28-44; Jn 1:29, 36; 11:50-52; 12:12-19; 1 Cor 5:7; 1 Pt 1:18-19; 2:22)


Priest defined:  The priest . . . would be one who stands before God to minister . . . as a representative of the people.  (Merrill C. Tenney, The Zondervan Pictorial Encyclopedia of the Bible: Vol. Four, 853)


Jesus had made clear in Mt 12:6 that He is greater than the temple.  Indeed, He is Lord of the temple, and He has the right to do in it whatever He desires, including throwing it into disarray.  It must have been quite shocking for Jewish leaders who prided themselves in religious practices at the temple to have Jesus come in and turn it upside down.  Who does He think He is?  Is He in charge of this place?  Yes, as a matter of fact, He is.  (David Platt, Christ-Centered Exposition: Exalting Jesus in Matthew, 282-3)


On the Sunday before Passover this road was thronged with people.  For this day was a special day.  It was lamb selection day.  It was the day people came to choose a perfect lamb for the Passover that would soon follow and among the crowd, riding on a donkey that day, was a lamb.  (Ray VanderLaan, “That the World May Know”; Faith Lesson 23; The Lamb of God)


Jesus’ descent into Jerusalem along the road here on the side of the Mount of Olives, was not simply coming as a triumphant king on a donkey.  But it had to do with Jesus showing up to go up to this city to die on a day that the lamb was picked.  It is almost as if God is saying to the world, “Here is my  lamb.  Will you chose Him?” . . . Jesus has made a very clear statement by the day he chose to come into Jerusalem.  He is saying, “Have you recognized who I am?”   (Ray VanderLaan, “That the World May Know”; Faith Lesson 23; The Lamb of God)


The curtain that divided the Holy of Holies from the rest of the world, from the Court of the Priests, from the Court of Israel, from the Court of the Women, from the Court of the Gentiles, was torn asunder.  The point is that through Christ’s sacrificial death the earthly temple completely crumbles to the ground and is replaced by the one who said of himself, “I tell you, something greater than the temple is here” (12:6).  (Douglas Sean O’Donnell, Preaching the Word: Matthew, 606)


No ministry is given to accomplish spiritual responsibilities for us.  All ministry is given for the purpose of bringing the Church to maturity.  We are all called as ministers; we are all called as priests.  When any man is called the minister or the priest, he has usurped both the Lord’s and the Church’s authority.  Each of us is a minister and priest.  (Rick Joyner, There Were Two Trees in the Garden, 117)


Jesus recognized an opportunity to teach, and he didn’t waste it.  He quoted from Isa 56:7 and used it to explain God’s purpose for the temple.  God’s “house” was meant to be a house of prayer, but the merchants and money changers were using it for other purposes.  This was judgment on Jerusalem and the corrupt system that governed the temple.  It was meant to be a place of spiritual worship, but the Jewish leaders had allowed it to become a market where extortion took place.  (Bruce Barton, Life Application Bible Commentary: Matthew, 413)


In the King James version of the Bible, we see a progression in how the lamb is described.  In Ex 12:3, the commandment is to take a lamb–a nebulous, unknown entity, nothing special.  In Ex 12:4, God says the lamb.  Now He is known, unique, set apart.  Finally, in Ex 12:5, God specifies, “Your lamb shall be without blemish.”  Each soul must appropriate the lamb for himself.  (Ceil & Moishe Rosen, Christ in the Passover, 33)


There, on the edge of the garden of Eden, it was one lamb for one man.  Centuries later, in Egypt, God told Moses to have each family kill the Passover lamb and sprinkle its blood upon the lintel and doorposts of the house.  There was to be one lamb for one house, a gracious picture of the household promises so precious to us.  Still later, the Lord told Moses to kill one lamb for the nation of Israel on the Day of Atonement, Yom Kippur, foreshadowing that time when God would restore Israel to the land and rule the world through that nation.  But there was an even wider circle; John the Baptist pointed to Jesus Christ and announced, “Behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world” (Jn 1:29).  Thus we have the progression:  one lamb for one man; one lamb for one family; one lamb for the nation; and one Lamb for the world.  (Donald Grey Barnhouse, God’s Glory, 65-6)


Two things about the designation “lamb of God,” as applied to Jesus were most notable: He was declared to be the lamb of God and His sacrifice was for the world.  All other lambs in the sacrificial system had been offered by men under the commandment of God; but as God had substituted His own provision, a Lamb, instead of Isaac who was under Abraham’s hand, so God in Jesus provided His own Lamb.  All other sacrifices of a lamb had been limited to the nation or to the individual; but the sacrifice of Jesus was world-wide, embracing all humanity in its scope.  He was to take away the sins of the world.  The lamb was a worthy symbol of Jesus who in innocence patiently endured suffering as a substitute (Acts 8:32; 1 Pet 1:19).  (Merrill C. Tenney, The Zondervan Pictorial Encyclopedia of the Bible: Vol. Three, 860)


Of utmost importance to pilgrims, however, was the purchasing of sheep and goats for sacrifice at the temple.  The animal (preferably a lamb) was selected on the 10th of Nisan (Pesahim ix.5).  (Geoffrey W. Bromiley, The International Standard Bible Encyclopedia: Vol. Three, 677)


III-  He is THE King.  (Mt 21:1-9; see also: 2 Kngs 9:13; Zech 9:8-9; Mt 2:2; 27:11, 37; Mk 11:1-8; 15:2; Lk 19:30-38; 23:1-4, 38; Jn 1:49; 6:15; 12:12-16; 18:33-37; 19:19; Acts 17:7; Rev 17:14; 19:16)


King defined:  God’s anointed representative of His rule and reign in Israel, and ultimately, on planet earth.  The king had not authority or jurisdiction outside of God’s allowance as expressed by God’s prophets.


King: . . .no king could claim legitimacy without the prophetic approval and its divine investiture.  (Merrill C. Tenney, The Zondervan Pictorial Encyclopedia of the Bible: Vol. Three, 797)


The Israelite kingship was in fact a paradigm or example of Jehovah’s government of all human history.  (Merrill C. Tenney, The Zondervan Pictorial Encyclopedia of the Bible: Vol. Three, 798)


Jesus came on a donkey and the people say, “Hosanna” which is a political thing, “We want a king.” And they waved palm branches which is a way of saying, “We want a king, we want a deliverer.”  But, Jesus came on lamb selection day as a way of saying, “Yes I am the king but my kingship is going like I just told you on the road down there, by my being a servant.  I’m going to go and give my life and that will usher in my kingdom.” (Ray Vanderlaan; That the World May Know”; Faith Lesson 23; The Lamb of God)


It was not uncommon for a king to ride on a donkey; the key is when a king would ride on a donkey.  If a king was going to war, he would ride on a warhorse as a picture of power.  When he was not at war, the king would ride on a donkey as a picture of peace.  The fact that Jesus came riding on a donkey speaks to His mission as the One who came to make it possible for us to have peace with God.  (David Platt, Christ-Centered Exposition: Exalting Jesus in Matthew, 279)


The crowd received Jesus like a king.  They spread their cloaks in front of him.  That is what his friends had done when Jehu was proclaimed king (2 Kgs 9:13).  They cut down and waved the palm branches.  That is what they did when Simon Maccabaeus entered Jerusalem after one of his most notable victories (1 Maccabees 13:51).  (William Barclay, The Daily Study Bible Series: Gospel of Matthew, 278)


If Jesus had been content to claim to be a prophet, the probability is that he need never have died.  But he could be satisfied with nothing less than the highest place.  With Jesus, it is all or nothing.  People must acknowledge him as king, or not receive him at all.  (William Barclay, The Daily Study Bible Series: Gospel of Matthew, 282)


When Jesus entered Jerusalem on a donkey’s colt, he affirmed his messianic royalty as well as his humility.  When Jesus came to Jerusalem, he did not fulfill the people’s hopes as the conquering deliverer to drive out the Gentiles, but he nonetheless gave all the signs of a royal person making entrance into the city.  (Bruce Barton, Life Application Bible Commentary: Matthew, 406)


Is Jesus ever going to do battle?  Yes, indeed.  In Revelation 19 he is described as arriving on a white horse to judge and make war (v. 11).  His robes are dipped in blood (v. 13), which probably recalls the warlike figure of Isaiah 63, who comes from Edom with his robes dyed crimson.  But that is for then.  For now the King comes humbly and in peace, for his is a peaceable kingdom.  (James Montgomery Boice, The Gospel of Matthew, Vol. 2, 436)


IV-  He is the divine Messiah with Hosannaesc capabilities Who can save you when you repent.  (Mt 21:12-16; see also: Ps ch 8; ch 118; Isa ch 56; Jer 7:1-11; Mal 3:1-4; Mt 4:17; 11:20-21; 18:3; Mk 1:15; 11:9-10; Lk 5:32; 13:1-9; 19:38-39; Acts 2:38; 3:19-26; 4:12; 17:30; 20:21; 2 Pt 3:9; Rv chs 2-3)


He quoted from Psalm 8.  “Have you never read, ‘From the lips of children and infants you have ordained praise’?”  The answer did three things:  (1) It provided a biblical basis for Jesus’ refusal to silence the children; (2) it was a claim to deity, since the words of the psalm are praise directed to God; and (3) it reminded everyone that it is only those who are willing to become like children who perceive the truth about Jesus and are saved.  (James Montgomery Boice, The Gospel of Matthew, Vol. 2, 447)


It was significant that the blind and the lame came to Jesus in the temple.  Usually they were excluded from worship in the temple based on laws stemming from 2 Sm 5:8.  With the coming of the Messiah, Jesus himself was greater than the temple (12:6).  This was also an expected result of the messianic age (Isa 35:5).  These are the only recorded healings inside the temple walls, indicating a new age when God would accept all people into his presence (the tearing of the curtain in the temple at Jesus’ death was another such indication, 27:51).  (Bruce Barton, Life Application Bible Commentary: Matthew, 413-4)


This King is not the fulfillment of men’s dreams but of a specific Messianic prophecy:  Zech 9:9.  See also Isa 6:6.  He is both great and humble, exalted and lowly.  He is the One who in this very act is riding…to his death, and thus to victory, a victory not only for himself but also for his true people, those who believe in him.  (William Hendriksen, New Testament Commentary: Matthew, 765)


How could Jesus stand there and accept such blasphemous praise?  Jesus responded to them by quoting Ps 8:2: “You have prepared praise from the mouths of children and nursing infants” (Mt 21:16).  Psalm 8 is all about praising God, and it begins, “Yahweh, our Lord, how magnificent is Your name throughout the earth!” (Ps 8:1).  Jesus is deliberately accepting praise that God alone is due.  (David Platt, Christ-Centered Exposition: Exalting Jesus in Matthew, 283)


Most Jewish authorities of Christ’s day forbade the lame, blind, deaf, or otherwise handicapped people from offering sacrifices at the temple, a ruling based on 2 Sm 5:8.  But here, in striking reversal, the handicapped come to Jesus and are healed by him!  (James Montgomery Boice, The Gospel of Matthew, Vol. 2, 446)


Worship Point:  Jesus has come to save you.  The question is, “Will you choose Jesus to save you?”  Worship God’s Messiah, the Christ, the Anointed One.


God receives our worship based upon Jesus’ having already offered to him the perfect sacrifice–himself–on our behalf.  And all our subsequent worship of the Lord is received, not because we are now so sincere, but because the blood of the high priest Jesus has made it acceptable to God.  (Philip Graham Ryken, Give Praise to God A Vision for Reforming Worship, 310)


The people wanted Jesus on their own terms, and they would not bow to a King who was not of their liking, even though He were the Son of God.  They wanted Jesus to destroy Rome but not their cherished sins or their hypocritical, superficial religion.  But He would not deliver them on their terms, and they would not be delivered on His.  He was not a Messiah who came to offer a panacea of external peace in the world but to offer the infinitely greater blessing of internal peace with God.  (John MacArthur, The MacArthur NT Commentary: Matthew 16-23, 262)


While the crowd correctly saw Jesus as the fulfillment of these prophecies, they did not understand where Jesus’ kingship would lead him.  The people who were praising God for giving them a king had the wrong idea about Jesus.  They expected him to be a national leader who would restore their nation to its former glory; thus, they were deaf to the words of their prophets and blind to Jesus’ real mission.  When it became apparent that Jesus was not going to fulfill their hopes, many people would turn against him.  A similar crowd would cry out, “Crucify him!” when Jesus stood on trial only a few days later.  (Bruce Barton, Life Application Bible Commentary: Matthew, 410)


As to “Blessed (is) the One coming in the name of the Lord,” this is a quotation from Ps 118:26.  Combined with “the Son of David,” as here in Mt 21:9, it must refer to Jesus as the Messiah.  It was deplorable, however, that by far the most of these people did not go one step farther: they should have combined Ps 118 with Isa 53 and with Zech 9:9; 13:1.  Then they would have recognized in Jesus the Messiah who saves his people from their sins (Mt 1:21).  (William Hendriksen, New Testament Commentary: Matthew, 766)


Thus Jesus became the ideal Prophet and King, because He was anointed with the Spirit of God above measure; this is what makes Him the Christ. (The Zondervan Pictoral Encyclopedia of the Bible Vol. H-L, p. 185)


Gospel Application:  The bad news is only Jesus can save you.  You must make Him your Prophet, Priest, and King for Him to save you.   The good news is Jesus can and wants to save you.  But you must choose Him.


Jesus will not be liked.   You either bow down and worship Him as God or kill him as a lunatic and a heretic.  But let us not come with any relationship with Jesus that is less than total commitment.  Jesus says, “Crown me or kill me”.  — Tim Keller


Spiritual Challenge:  The heart of the problem in this world is man’s heart.   And that is what Jesus has come to enter and transform.   By changing men’s hearts Jesus will change the world.  But we must choose Him.


Jesus chose a peaceful entrance into Jerusalem.  He restrained the crowd’s exuberance by his actions.  He accepted their joy while recognizing that it was based on false assumptions.  Jesus arrived as King, but not by the crowd’s definition.  Their perspective was limited to the immediate historical moment:  They wanted a political Messiah.  Jesus insisted on remaining the timeless Savior.  His contemporaries couldn’t see beyond the Roman occupation; Jesus saw the needs of the world held hostage to sin.  (Bruce Barton, Life Application Bible Commentary: Matthew, 408)


The people wanted a conquering, reigning Messiah who would come in great military power to throw off the brutal yoke of Rome and establish a kingdom of justice and righteousness where God’s chosen people would have special favor.  But Jesus did not come to conquer Rome but to conquer sin and death.  He did not come to make war with Rome but to make peace with God for men.  (John MacArthur, The MacArthur NT Commentary: Matthew 16-23, 261)







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