Life-Study of Matthewby Witness Lee
Printed Copy: Available Online from Living Stream Ministry
Printed Copy: Available Online from Living Stream Ministry
In this message we come to 21:1-22, where three matters are covered: the welcoming of the meek King (vv. 1-11); the cleansing of the temple (vv. 12-17); and the cursing of the fig tree (vv. 18-22).
Chapter sixteen is a crucial turning point in the Gospel of Matthew. Prior to this chapter, the Lord Jesus went to Jerusalem a number of times. But in chapter sixteen, He brought His disciples to the north, far away from Jerusalem, which was in the center of the Holy Land, in the territory of Benjamin. After chapter sixteen, the Lord gradually returned from the north to Jerusalem.
In 16:13—23:39 Matthew gives us a record of the pathway of the Lord’s rejection. In this section we see the Lord’s activities in various regions: before going to Judea (16:13— 18:35); from Galilee to Judea (19:1—20:16); on the way to Jerusalem (20:17—21:11); and in Jerusalem (21:12—23:39). Thus, Matthew 21:1 says, “And when they drew near to Jerusalem and came to Bethphage, to the Mount of Olives.” They began the journey from Galilee in 19:1. They were on the way in 20:17, and passed through Jericho in 20:29. Now in chapter twenty-one they have come to the Mount of Olives, which was just outside the city of Jerusalem, in a suburb of that city. This chapter marks the beginning of the Lord’s last week on earth.
The Lord purposely went back to Jerusalem not to minister, preach, teach, or perform miracles, but to present Himself as the Lamb of God to be slaughtered, to be crucified.
According to the four Gospels, the Lord Jesus did not do things to insure Himself a warm welcome. Instead, He was always prepared for rejection. But in 21:1-11 He made some preparations to be warmly welcomed.
The welcome given to the Lord here was carried out under His sovereignty. In verses 2 and 3, the Lord told two of His disciples, “Go into the village opposite you, and immediately you will find a donkey tied and a colt with her; loose them and lead them to Me. And if anyone says anything to you, you shall say, The Lord has need of them, and immediately he will send them.” If I had been there, I would have said, “Lord, how do You know there will be a donkey tied there and a colt with her? And how do You know that the man will allow us to take them?” Here we see the Lord’s omniscience and sovereignty. He wanted His disciples to know that He was the sovereign King who owned all things. Thus, the donkey and the colt belonged to Him. The Lord also indicated to them that He was omniscient, for He could see things clearly without physically being in a certain place. In exercising His authority as King, the Lord is both omniscient and sovereign.
Verses 4 and 5 say, “Now this took place that what was spoken through the prophet might be fulfilled, saying, Say to the daughter of Zion, Behold, your King is coming to you, meek and mounted on a donkey and on a colt, the foal of a beast of burden.” The way the King came into Jerusalem fulfilled the prophecy of Zechariah 9:9. The term “the daughter” of Zion in 21:5 means the people of Jerusalem (cf. Psa. 137:8; 45:12). This prophecy was being fulfilled to them.
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