Read Matthew 21 -- 22
In Today’s Reading:
Jesus' triumphal entry; the Temple cleansed; fig tree cursed; the authority of Jesus questioned; more parables; paying taxes to Caesar; the greatest Commandment.
On the Monday preceding His crucifixion, and just one day after His triumphant entry into Jerusalem, Jesus [entered] (the courts of) the Temple of God, and cast out all . . . that sold and bought in the Temple, and overthrew the tables of the moneychangers . . . And (He) said [to] them, It is written, My House shall be called the House of Prayer; but [you] have made it a den of thieves (Matthew 21:12-13; see Isaiah 56:7).
The chief priests were outraged and dispatched a delegation to interrupt Jesus as He was teaching and demanded: By what authority [do You] (do) these things? (Matthew 21:23). They were referring to Him accepting all the hosannas and praises that the multitude had given Him as the Messiah, the Son of David and they demanded who gave Him authority to dismiss their money changers. Jesus was a threat to their positions of "authority," and was interfering with their financial profits. For these reasons they conspired to kill Him (see Mark 11:18).
Just as Jesus had announced earlier that He is Lord of the Sabbath, He now made clear that He is also Lord of the Temple. The Temple belonged to God who was standing in their midst but they refused to recognize Him. The cleansing of the Temple illustrated the cleansing that Christ brings into our lives through His atoning blood.
After pronouncing His judgment upon the Temple activities, Jesus [spoke to] them again by parables, and said, The Kingdom of Heaven is like . . . a certain king, which made a marriage for his son, And sent forth his servants to call them [who were invited] to the wedding. . . . But they made light of it, and went their ways. . . . And the remnant took his servants . . . and slew them. . . . When the king heard [of it] . . . he sent forth his armies, and destroyed those murderers. . . . Then he said to his servants, The wedding is ready. . . . Go . . . therefore into the highways, and as many as [you] . . . find, bid to the marriage. . . . And when the king came in to see the guests, he saw there a man [who did] not [have] on a wedding garment: And he [said] . . . to the servants . . . cast him into outer darkness; there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth (Matthew 22:1-13). Because eternal separation from God is so final and so terrifying, Jesus said more about the torments of eternal hell than all the writers of the New Testament combined.
The wedding garment is symbolic of the new life in Christ and is a free gift to all who truly have turned from the old life of sin. Let us therefore cast off the works of darkness. . . . [And] put . . . on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfill the lusts thereof (Romans 13:12,14). In this parable, Jesus exposes all who assume they are good enough for Heaven since they have responded to the call to attend the wedding and there was nothing else required. . . . seeing that ye have put off the old man with his deeds; And have put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him. . . . Let the Word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom (Colossians 3:9-10,16).
Thought for Today: True humility before God will always result in a demonstration of that humility before men.
21:2 over against = ahead, in front of; 21:8 strawed = scattered; 21:33 husbandmen = tenant farmers; 21:42 The Stone . . . is become the Head of the corner = Christ (Psalms 118:22-23) Who is the Chief Cornerstone.
For Matthew 21:5: See Isa. 62:11; Zech. 9:9. Matt. 21:9: See Psa. 118:26. Matt. 21:13: See Isa. 56:7; Jer. 7:11. Matt. 21:16: See Psa. 8:2. Matt. 21:33: See Psa. 80:8; Isa. 5:1-2. Matt. 21:42: See Psa. 118:22-23. Matt. 22:24: See Deut. 25:5. Matt. 22:32: See Ex. 3:6. Matt. 22:37: See Deut. 6:5. Matt. 22:39: See Lev. 19:18. Matt. 22:44: See Psa. 110:1.
Government Official: Sen. Trent Lott (MS) · Pray for your church · Country: Andorra (66,000) in the eastern Pyrenees between France and Spain · Major languages: Catalan and French · Religious freedom · 94% Roman Catholic; .6% Protestant · Prayer Suggestion: Pray that you will obey the Word of God and not be just a deceived hearer (James 1:22).
Memory Verse for the Week: Ephesians 5:21