Matthew 21

Jesus’ Triumphant Entry

 1 As Jesus and the disciples approached Jerusalem, they came to the town of Bethphage on the Mount of Olives. Jesus sent two of them on ahead. 2 “Go into the village over there,” he said. “As soon as you enter it, you will see a donkey tied there, with its colt beside it. Untie them and bring them to me. 3 If anyone asks what you are doing, just say, ‘The Lord needs them,’ and he will immediately let you take them.”

 4 This took place to fulfill the prophecy that said,

 5 “Tell the people of Israel,[a]
      ‘Look, your King is coming to you.
   He is humble, riding on a donkey—
      riding on a donkey’s colt.’”[b]

 6 The two disciples did as Jesus commanded. 7 They brought the donkey and the colt to him and threw their garments over the colt, and he sat on it.[c]

Jesus, You are so kind and simple.  You don’t want to storm into our lives on a white stallion causing a big commotion.  You just simply come to us on a quiet beast of burden.  I know I will find You in the everyday work of my life.  Just quietly waiting for me.  Approachable.

Jesus, help me see You in my daily routine.  In my work, in my time at home with my family.  Please Lord, don’t let me miss You.  I mess this up so bad so often.  The noise of my life covers Your words.  Please Jesus, help me go out and meet You and welcome You into my days.      

 8 Most of the crowd spread their garments on the road ahead of him, and others cut branches from the trees and spread them on the road. 9 Jesus was in the center of the procession, and the people all around him were shouting,

   “Praise God[d] for the Son of David!
      Blessings on the one who comes in the name of the Lord!
      Praise God in highest heaven!”[e]

 10 The entire city of Jerusalem was in an uproar as he entered. “Who is this?” they asked.

 11 And the crowds replied, “It’s Jesus, the prophet from Nazareth in Galilee.”

Jesus, the crowds honored You and were excited to see You, but they had no idea who You really were.  They wanted Your miracles and maybe Your love, but they didn’t know You or what You were about to do.

I feel like I live like that most of the time Lord.  I do know You, but only a little bit of You.  And it isn’t Your fault, it is mine.  I’m not open to serve as You served or love as You loved.  If I totally trusted in You as the living Son of God, I’d have to change so much.

Jesus, please help me to welcome You into my life as the savior and servant You really are.  Help me to really know You, and follow You, and praise You, and live for You…the real You.  Change me Jesus.     

Jesus Clears the Temple

 12 Jesus entered the Temple and began to drive out all the people buying and selling animals for sacrifice. He knocked over the tables of the money changers and the chairs of those selling doves. 13 He said to them, “The Scriptures declare, ‘My Temple will be called a house of prayer,’ but you have turned it into a den of thieves!”[f]

Jesus, is this true of me now?  I am Your temple, or part of it.  I’m not giving 100% effort at work.  That is stealing.  I can rationalize it, but it is not right.  I do pray, but my mind wonders.  Forgive me Lord.  I hear You telling me that I cannot serve 2 masters.  I’m working on my new business and trying to work at y old one too.  I’m starting to hat my old job that has served me well for 20 years.  It is not right.  Thanks.      

 14 The blind and the lame came to him in the Temple, and he healed them. 15 The leading priests and the teachers of religious law saw these wonderful miracles and heard even the children in the Temple shouting, “Praise God for the Son of David.”

   But the leaders were indignant. 16 They asked Jesus, “Do you hear what these children are saying?”

   “Yes,” Jesus replied. “Haven’t you ever read the Scriptures? For they say, ‘You have taught children and infants to give you praise.’[g] 17 Then he returned to Bethany, where he stayed overnight.

Jesus, the priest completely missed You.  They saw what You were doing, and refused to believe.  They wanted You stopped, when they should have been going out into the streets and bringing people to You.  But I shouldn’t be too harsh, when was the last time I brought someone to You?

I think I have 3 prayers from this scripture Lord.  Don’t let me be critical of others who are dong Your work.  And when I am criticized for doing Your work, help me to ignore it.  Help me to lead someone to You Jesus.   

Jesus Curses the Fig Tree

 18 In the morning, as Jesus was returning to Jerusalem, he was hungry, 19 and he noticed a fig tree beside the road. He went over to see if there were any figs, but there were only leaves. Then he said to it, “May you never bear fruit again!” And immediately the fig tree withered up.

 20 The disciples were amazed when they saw this and asked, “How did the fig tree wither so quickly?”

 21 Then Jesus told them, “I tell you the truth, if you have faith and don’t doubt, you can do things like this and much more. You can even say to this mountain, ‘May you be lifted up and thrown into the sea,’ and it will happen. 22 You can pray for anything, and if you have faith, you will receive it.”

Jesus, I really need faith.  Not to do get everything I want, but just to live a life that will draw people, especially my family, to You.  Faith is a gift from You to do Your will.  I want to live in Your will, and do it with faith. 

The Authority of Jesus Challenged

 23 When Jesus returned to the Temple and began teaching, the leading priests and elders came up to him. They demanded, “By what authority are you doing all these things? Who gave you the right?”

 24 “I’ll tell you by what authority I do these things if you answer one question,” Jesus replied. 25 “Did John’s authority to baptize come from heaven, or was it merely human?”

   They talked it over among themselves. “If we say it was from heaven, he will ask us why we didn’t believe John. 26 But if we say it was merely human, we’ll be mobbed because the people believe John was a prophet.” 27 So they finally replied, “We don’t know.”

   And Jesus responded, “Then I won’t tell you by what authority I do these things.

Jesus, the religious leaders had no desire to have an honest conversation with You.  They didn’t decide how to answer You question based on truth, but on what they thought the results of their answer would be.

Lord, are my prayers and time in Your Word honest?  Lord let me always come to You giving the truth, and listening for the truth from You.  Open my eyes, ears and heart to Your truth, no matter how hard it may be for me to see, hear and know.  And when I know the truth, give me the faith to change in any way You are calling me to change.

Also Jesus, help me to answer with truth when I am speaking with others.  Not unnecessarily hurtful, but truthful.  I don’t want conflict, so I tell people what they want to hear.  Change me Lord.  Change me.     

Parable of the Two Sons

 28 “But what do you think about this? A man with two sons told the older boy, ‘Son, go out and work in the vineyard today.’ 29 The son answered, ‘No, I won’t go,’ but later he changed his mind and went anyway. 30 Then the father told the other son, ‘You go,’ and he said, ‘Yes, sir, I will.’ But he didn’t go.

 31 “Which of the two obeyed his father?”

   They replied, “The first.”[h]

   Then Jesus explained his meaning: “I tell you the truth, corrupt tax collectors and prostitutes will get into the Kingdom of God before you do. 32 For John the Baptist came and showed you the right way to live, but you didn’t believe him, while tax collectors and prostitutes did. And even when you saw this happening, you refused to believe him and repent of your sins.

Jesus, I don’t want to just pay You lip service.  Help me to live as You want me to.  Help me to obey Your will, and speak Your words as well.  It is very easy for me to say a lot of pious sounding things to my co-workers and family.  It is all disobedience if my actions aren’t Your will.  Bild my faith and guide me.  Help me to truly mean this prayer.     

Parable of the Evil Farmers

 33 “Now listen to another story. A certain landowner planted a vineyard, built a wall around it, dug a pit for pressing out the grape juice, and built a lookout tower. Then he leased the vineyard to tenant farmers and moved to another country. 34 At the time of the grape harvest, he sent his servants to collect his share of the crop. 35 But the farmers grabbed his servants, beat one, killed one, and stoned another. 36 So the landowner sent a larger group of his servants to collect for him, but the results were the same.

 37 “Finally, the owner sent his son, thinking, ‘Surely they will respect my son.’

 38 “But when the tenant farmers saw his son coming, they said to one another, ‘Here comes the heir to this estate. Come on, let’s kill him and get the estate for ourselves!’ 39 So they grabbed him, dragged him out of the vineyard, and murdered him.

 40 “When the owner of the vineyard returns,” Jesus asked, “what do you think he will do to those farmers?”

 41 The religious leaders replied, “He will put the wicked men to a horrible death and lease the vineyard to others who will give him his share of the crop after each harvest.”

 42 Then Jesus asked them, “Didn’t you ever read this in the Scriptures?

   ‘The stone that the builders rejected
      has now become the cornerstone.
   This is the Lord’s doing,
      and it is wonderful to see.’[i]

 43 I tell you, the Kingdom of God will be taken away from you and given to a nation that will produce the proper fruit. 44 Anyone who stumbles over that stone will be broken to pieces, and it will crush anyone it falls on.[j]

 45 When the leading priests and Pharisees heard this parable, they realized he was telling the story against them—they were the wicked farmers. 46 They wanted to arrest him, but they were afraid of the crowds, who considered Jesus to be a prophet.

Jesus, soften my heart so You can change me.  The religious leaders understood the parable.  They knew You were speaking to them.  They could have chosen to change, to repent.  But instead of changing themselves, they killed You.

I know I am capable of that same choice.  I know I can be that hard hearted Jesus.  Please, soften my heart.  Please help me to change instead of rejecting You and Your Word.  I heard a sermon on the radio about this just yesterday.  What are You telling me Lord?  What do I need to change?      


  1. Matthew 21:5 Greek Tell the daughter of Zion. Isa 62:11.
  2. Matthew 21:5 Zech 9:9.
  3. Matthew 21:7 Greek over them, and he sat on them.
  4. Matthew 21:9 Greek Hosanna, an exclamation of praise that literally means “save now”; also in 21:9b, 15.
  5. Matthew 21:9 Pss 118:25-26; 148:1.
  6. Matthew 21:13 Isa 56:7; Jer 7:11.
  7. Matthew 21:16 Ps 8:2.
  8. Matthew 21:31 Other manuscripts read “The second.” In still other manuscripts the first son says “Yes” but does nothing, the second son says “No” but then repents and goes, and the answer to Jesus’ question is that the second son obeyed his father.
  9. Matthew 21:42 Ps 118:22-23.
  10. Matthew 21:44 This verse is omitted in some early manuscripts. Compare Luke 20:18.