Matthew 21

The triumphal entry into Jerusalem.


The final hours of Jesus’ life on earth drew near. The cross was less than a week away, Jesus knew this. Matthew 20:17-19. In sharp contrast to the shame of the cross is the triumphant entry into Jerusalem, described by all four gospels. The Lord’s heart must have been stirred.


Jesus entered into Jerusalem in a manner which showed that He was the Messiah, the Son of David.


The four accounts of this triumphal entry differ in some respects. John, who wrote his Gospel sixty years after the event, gives some interesting details, including the fact that the night before the triumphal entry, Jesus had an intimate supper in the home of Lazarus, Martha and Mary. John 12:1-11.


The prelude to His triumphal entry into Jerusalem is interesting. He sent two of His disciples into the village to bring to Him an ass and its colt. The owner possibly knew Jesus. “Loose them - bring them unto Me.”


Only Matthew records that there were two animals and that Jesus sat on the colt. Verses 4-5 This was done that Zechariah 9:9 might be fulfilled. Note two interesting things here.

(1) That Jesus rode upon an unbroken colt.

(2) Zechariah prophesied that the Messiah King of Israel would enter Jerusalem in a meek and lowly way riding a colt the foal of an ass.

No king had ever come to Israel in this manner, they all came on the finest of horses.


Verses 8-9 As Jesus rode into the city: The multitudes were delirious with joy. They took their garments and laid them on the royal route. They cut palm branches and spread them in the way. This is how kings were welcomed.


There were two multitudes. Verse 9. One accompanied Jesus, possibly they had witnessed Christ’s miracle in raising Lazarus. They were also met by another crowd coming from the city.


These two groups joined their voices, fulfilling Zech 9:9, crying “Hosanna to the Son of David” etc. Verse 9. The most significant part of their acclamation was that they recognized Him as the “Son of David.”


Verse 10 The city was moved – stirred – startled – perplexed - bewildered and they asked, “Who is this?” The multitude with Him declared that He was “Jesus, the prophet of Nazareth of Galilee.” The form of the verb “said” indicated that they repeated this declaration over and over again. Verse 11.


Jesus’ second cleansing of the Temple. John 2:13-16.


The first cleansing took place at the beginning of His public ministry. This cleansing took place as His ministry was drawing to a close.


The first cleansing was ineffective in bringing about a permanent cure.


Here we find that business was as usual in the outer court of the Temple. Animals and birds for sacrifice were being bought and sold. Money changers were converting foreign currencies into the half-shekel which Jewish men had to pay for the upkeep of the Temple and its services. Profiteering flourished on every hand.


Verse 12. These evil men had a lucrative monopoly. There was no thought for the Presence of God, nor the purity of the House of God.


In this instance, Luke 4 - John 18, as in the first cleansing - no resistance was made as He overturned the table’s racketeers and the chairs of the pigeon sellers.


Verse 13 Jesus then faced those whom He had humiliated and reminded them of Isaiah’s words “My house shall be called a house of prayer, but ye have made it a den of thieves.”


Consider at this point how we need the great Cleanser Himself to sweep through the gatherings of God’s people, cleansing and purifying from sin - burnishing the gold - and burning up the dross.


Verse 14 The next scene takes place in the Temple court - while the humiliated merchants are gathering their goods together.


The blind and the lame came to Him and He healed them all.


Verse 15 The hostile eyes of the chief priests and scribes saw the phenomenon of Deity at work. They heard the spontaneous praise from hearts that were strangely moved. Young and old alike responded crying, “Hosanna to the Son of David.”


Verse 16 They were enraged, “Do you hear what they are saying?” they asked. Jesus answered by quoting to them. Psalm 8:2.


The religious leaders eyes were blind, their ears were deaf, their mouth spoke platitudes, but their hearts were as stone and far from God.


Those untrained and uneducated were sensitive to the divine revelation, while those who had spent their lives studying the Scriptures were blind and antagonistic.


Verse 17 He left them, and went out of the city into Bethany. This was a frequent stopping place for the Lord. He had special and tender associations there. His greatest miracle was performed when He raised Lazarus from the dead.