Study Guide

Gospel of Matthew Chapter 21

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Chapter 21

The Beginning of the End

  • While at the Mount of Olives, Jesus sends two disciples to find an ass (a donkey—come on, people) and a colt. Old Testament prophecy fulfilled? Check.
  • Jesus enters Jerusalem with tons of his groupies chanting "Hosanna to the Son of David" (21:9). The people of the city are all like, "Who's this guy?" The crowds spread the word that it's Jesus, the prophet from Nazareth.
  • Now for something kind of crazy: Jesus freaks out in the temple. 
  • He enters the temple and sees everyone buying and selling goods. Not cool, according to him.
  • His solution? He starts flipping tables and driving people out. 
  • Just picture it.
  • What sparks this small tantrum? Simply seeing people making the temple a "den of thieves" (21:13).
  • This must put Jesus in a rotten mood. Here's what happens next: in the morning, he goes to a fig tree to get a little snack, but he only sees leaves and no fruit. So Jesus does what anyone would do—he curses the tree so it never bears fruit again. The tree immediately withers and dies.
  • Back in the temple, the chief priests question who gave Jesus the authority.
  • Jesus turns the question on them and asks if the baptisms from John were heavenly or human.
  • Not wanting to get the crowd all in a tizzy, the chief priests say they didn't know. And since they don't (or can't) answer Jesus's question, he doesn't answer theirs. 
  • Oh snap.
  • Instead, Jesus offers them the parable of the two sons and the wicked tenants. Why not?

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