Matthew 21:1 And when they drew nigh unto Jerusalem, and were come to Bethphage, unto the mount of Olives, then sent Jesus two disciples,
Guzik: When they drew near Jerusalem: As Jesus approaches Jerusalem for the last time in His earthly ministry, we see a considerable contrast to Jesus’ previous pattern of suppressing publicity. Here, Jesus deliberately works to fulfill prophecy, especially the prophecy of Daniel’s Seventy Weeks, which many feel Jesus fulfilled to the exact day on His triumphal entry (Dan_9:24-27).
CTR:And when — Just five days before his crucifixion, on the exact day when he should have been received as the Lamb of God so that they might be passed over as a nation and become the antitypical Levites, from whom would come the antitypical priests.
Bethpage — A little village on the Mount of Olives.
Mark 11:1 MKJV And when they drew near to Jerusalem, to Bethphage and Bethany, at the Mount of Olives, He sent out two of His disciples.
Benson: unto Bethphage and Bethany — The limits of Bethany reached to the mount of Olives: and joined to those of Bethphage, which was part of the suburbs of Jerusalem, and reached from the mount of Olives to the walls of the city. Our Lord was now come to the place where the boundaries of Bethphage and Bethany met.
CTR: And when they came — Sunday-10th Nisan -the first day of our Lord’s last week.
Nigh to Jerusalem — About two miles distant.
He sendeth forth — Instead of withdrawing, he was now taking the active part–sending for the colt, preparing for the triumphal ride to the capital of the nation as its King.
Guzik: (Mar_11:1-6) Preparation for the entry.
Now when they drew near to Jerusalem: If all we had were the gospel of Mark, we might think this is Jesus’ first journey to Jerusalem. But the gospel of John tells us of many previous trips. Jesus, like any devout Jewish man, went to Jerusalem for as many of the major feasts as He possibly could.
At the Mount of Olives, He sent two of His disciples: As Jesus prepares to enter Jerusalem, He carefully and deliberately sends His disciples to make arrangements for His coming into the city. Since the time is short before His crucifixion, Jesus leaves nothing to chance.
Gill: And when they came nigh to Jerusalem,…. The Syriac and Ethiopic versions read, “when he came nigh”; that is, Jesus; though not without his disciples, nor the multitude:
unto Bethphage and Bethany; two places so called, near Jerusalem: Bethphage began where Bethany ended, and reached to the city itself. The Vulgate Latin only makes mention of Bethany; See Gill on Mat_21:1.
At the Mount of Olives; near which, the above places were:
he sendeth forth two of his disciples; perhaps Peter and John.
Matthew 21:2 Saying unto them, Go into the village over against you, and straightway ye shall find an ass tied, and a colt with her: loose them, and bring them unto me.
Matthew 21:3 And if any man say ought unto you, ye shall say, The Lord hath need of them; and straightway he will send them.
Mark 11:2 MKJV And He said to them, Go into the village over across from you. And as soon as you have entered into it, you will find a colt tied, on which no one of men has ever sat. Untie it and bring it.
Benson:Ye shall find a colt tied — In Matthew we read, an ass tied, and a colt with her, but Mark and Luke only mention the colt, because, it seems, our Lord rode on him only.
Guzik: Your King is coming to you, lowly, and sitting on a donkey: Jesus comes in humility, yet with appropriate dignity. Instead of coming on a horse as a conquering general, He comes on a colt, as was customary for royalty. He comes as the Prince of Peace.
Clarke: Whereon never man sat – No animal was allowed to be employed in sacred uses, even among the heathen, that had previously been used for any domestic or agricultural purpose; and those which had never been yoked were considered as sacred. See several proofs of this in the note on Num_19:2
CTR: A colt — It has been the custom of the kings of Israel to ride to their coronation upon an ass. The Lord thus fulfilled the prophecy of Zec_9:9.
Zechariah 9:9 KJV Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion; shout, O daughter of Jerusalem: behold, thy King cometh unto thee: he is just, and having salvation; lowly, and riding upon an ass, and upon a colt the foal of an ass.
Mark 11:3 MKJV And if anyone says to you, Why do you do this? Say that the Lord has need of him, and immediately he will send him here.
Mark 11:4 MKJV And they went, and they found the colt tied by the door outside, in a place where two ways met. And they untied him.
Gill: Say ye that the Lord hath need of him; our Lord and yours, the Lord of heaven and earth, and all things in it; it looks as if this title, “the Lord”, was what Jesus was well known by; see Joh_11:28; unless it can be thought, that the owners of the colt were such, that believed in Christ, as is not improbable; and so would at once understand by the language who it was for, and let it go:
and straightway he will send him, hither; as soon as ever he hears that the Lord, by whom he would presently understand Jesus, wanted him for his present purpose; he will send him with all readiness and cheerfulness, without the least hesitation, or making any dispute about it.
Barnes: Two ways met – A crossroads. A public place, probably near the center of the village.
Matthew 21:4 All this was done, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet, saying,
Matthew 21:5 Tell ye the daughter of Sion, Behold, thy King cometh unto thee, meek, and sitting upon an ass, and a colt the foal of an ass.
CTR: Might be fulfilled — It was necessary that our Lord should do literally what the prophets had foretold, so that Israel might be without excuse in their rejection of him.
By the prophet — Fulfilling two prophecies: Isa_62:11 and Zec_9:9.
Barnes:Meek – See the notes at Mat_5:5. The expression here rather denotes “peaceful, not warlike;” not with pomp, and state, and the ensigns of ambition. He came in the manner in which kings were accustomed to ride, but with none of their pride and ambitious feeling.
Matthew 21:6 And the disciples went, and did as Jesus commanded them,
Matthew 21:7 And brought the ass, and the colt, and put on them their clothes, and they set him thereon.
Mark 11:5 MKJV And certain of those who stood there said to them, What are you doing, untying the colt?
Barnes: What do ye, loosing the colt? – Or, why do ye do this? What authority have you for doing it?
Mark 11:6 MKJV And they said to them even as Jesus had commanded. And they let them go.
Clarke: And they let them go – Having a full assurance that the beast should be safely and speedily restored.
It has been suggested that perhaps this man had been praying and wanting to serve the Lord, and when he heard “that the Lord has need of him”, he knew it was an answer to prayer and was happy to let him go.
Mark 11:7 MKJV And they brought the colt to Jesus, and they threw their garments on it. And He sat on it.
CTR: Cast their garments — In lieu of a saddle.
He sat upon him — Offering himself as the antitypical Passover Lamb on the tenth day of the first month. This was the first time Jesus had formally put himself forward. On previous occasions, when they sought to make him a King, he had withdrawn himself. A formal matter, fulfilling the prophecy and leaving the nation of Israel without excuse. The triumphal entry of Jesus on the ass was only typical. The antitype will be glorious, beyond the veil.
Expositor’s: It is indeed the lowliest of all memorable processions which He plans, and yet, in its very humility, it appeals to ancient prophecy, and says unto Zion that her King cometh unto her. The monarchs of the East and the captains of the West might ride upon horses as for war, but the King of Sion would come unto her meek, and sitting upon an ass, upon a colt, the foal of an ass. Yet there is fitness and dignity in the use of “a colt whereon never man sat,” and it reminds us of other facts, such as that He was the firstborn of a virgin mother, and rested in a tomb which corruption had never soiled.
Thus He comes forth, the gentlest of the mighty, with no swords gleaming around to guard Him, or to smite the foreigner who tramples Israel, or the worse foes of her own household. Men who will follow such a King must lay aside their vain and earthly ambitions, and awake to the truth that spiritual powers are grander than any which violence ever grasped. But men who will not follow Him shall some day learn the same lesson, perhaps in the crash of their reeling commonwealth, perhaps not until the armies of heaven follow Him, as He goes forth, riding now upon a white horse, crowned with many diadems, smiting the nations with a sharp sword, and ruling them with an iron rod.
Matthew 21:8 And a very great multitude spread their garments in the way; others cut down branches from the trees, and strawed them in the way.
Matthew 21:9 And the multitudes that went before, and that followed, cried, saying, Hosanna to the Son of David: Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord; Hosanna in the highest.
Guzik: Hosanna to the Son of David! This is open Messianic adoration of Jesus. They look to Jesus for salvation (Hosanna means “save now!”). They openly give Jesus the titles appropriate for the Messiah (Son of David . . . He who comes in the name of the Lord).
b. Jesus received, indeed encouraged this worship. Again, this is because this is the day that the Lord has made (Psa_118:24), the day when the Messiah comes as Savior to Jerusalem in fulfillment of Daniel’s prophecy.
c. When He had come into Jerusalem, all the city was moved: Jesus also shows that He isn’t afraid of chief priests and Pharisees. He knows they are plotting to kill Him, yet He comes openly to the city as Messiah.
CTR:Great multitude — A million or more Jews in Jerusalem hailed him as King. We cannot suppose that they were all saints, though doubtless many of them were sympathizers with Jesus.
Thus selecting its Paschal Lamb on the 10th of Nisan.
Spread their garments — A custom amongst various peoples for long centuries to thus treat their honored rulers. As marks of honor to the great King whom they imperfectly, indistinctly, recognized, not realizing the still greater glory of his later revealing at the end of this age. Garments of praise. R3538:6
Their hearts were right; they had not been spoiled by doubts. So with the Lord’s people today, in the simplicity of our hearts we see his promises and are ready to believe them. R3538:2
Cut down branches — From nearby date palm trees, fernlike in shape and sometimes ten feet long, symbols of rejoicing and honor. Implying that the best of earth was not too good for one so great.
Strawed them — After our Lord’s beast had walked over them, they went ahead with these and strewed them afresh, in every way seeking to honor the one whom God had so signally recognized.
And that followed — Two multitudes–one who had come with him from Jericho and lodged in Bethany over the Sabbath, and another from Jerusalem who had come forth to see him and Lazarus.
Hosanna — An acclaim of praise, confidence and expectancy, very closely resembling the word Hallelujah. R3538:2
Their unstable and fickle minds, swayed by false teachers and unwilling to act upon convictions in the face of opposition, would, only a few days later, cry, Crucify him! Crucify him!
The son of David — The King of the royal line, probably being deterred from using the word “king” lest they should bring upon themselves charges of treason against Herod and the Roman Empire.
The long-promised king of David’s line, the Messiah.
Barnes: Hosanna to the son of David … – The word “hosanna” means “save now,” or “save, I beseech thee.” It is a Syriac word, and was a form of acclamation used among the Jews. It was probably used in the celebration of their great festivals. During those festivals they sang Ps. 115; Ps. 116; Psa_117:1-2; Ps. 118. In the chanting or singing of those psalms, the Jewish writers inform us that the people responded frequently “hallelujah, or hosanna.” Their use of it on this occasion was a joyful acclamation, and an invocation of a divine blessing by the “Messiah.”
Son of David – The Messiah.
Blessed be he … – That is, blessed be the “Messiah This passage is taken from Psa_118:25-26. To come “in the name of the Lord” here means to come “by the authority” of the Lord, or to come “commissioned” by him to reveal his will. The Jews had commonly applied this to the Messiah.
Hosanna in the highest – This may mean either “Hosanna in the highest, loftiest strains,” or it may be for a prayer to God “Save now, O thou that dwellest in the highest heaven, or among the highest angels.” Perhaps the whole song of hosanna may be a prayer to the Supreme God, as well as a note of triumphant acclamation: “Save now, O thou supremely great and glorious God; save by the Messiah that comes in thy name.”
Mark adds that they shouted, “Blessed be the kingdom of our father David, that cometh in the name of the Lord.” That is, the kingdom “promised” to David, 1Ki_2:4; 1Ki_8:25. “Coming in the name” of the Lord here evidently means coming according to the “promise” of the Lord. The sense may be thus expressed: “Prosperity to the reign of our father David, advancing now according to the promise made to him, and about to be established by the long predicted Messiah, his descendant.”
Luke adds Luk_19:38 that they said, “Peace in heaven and glory in the highest.” The word “peace” is used here as significant of joy, triumph, exultation at this event. There will be increased peace and rejoicing in heaven from the accession of the redeemed: there will be augmented glory – new songs of praise “among the highest angels.”
There is no contradiction here among the evangelists. Among such a multitude, the shouts of exultation and triumph would by no means be confined to the same words. Some would say one thing and some another; and one evangelist recorded what was said by a part of the multitude, and another what was said by another part.
Mark 11:8 MKJV And many spread their garments in the way, and others cut down branches off the trees and scattered them in the way.
Mark 11:9 MKJV And those going before, and those following, cried out, saying, Hosanna! Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord!
Mark 11:10 MKJV Blessed is the kingdom of our father David, who comes in the name of the Lord! Hosanna in the highest!
Expositor’s: Lowly though His procession was, yet it was palpably a royal one. When Jehu was proclaimed king at Ramoth-Gilead, the captains hastened to make him sit upon the garments of every one of them, expressing by this national symbol their subjection. And thus the disciples who brought the ass cast on him their garments, and Jesus sat thereon, and many spread their garments in the way. Others strewed the road with branches; and as they went they cried aloud certain verses of that great song of triumph, which told how the nations, swarming like bees, were quenched like the light fire of thorns, how the right hand of the Lord did valiantly, how the gates of righteousness should be thrown open for the righteous, and, more significant still, how the stone which the builders rejected should become the headstone of the corner. Often had Jesus quoted this saying when reproached by the unbelief of the rulers, and now the people rejoiced and were glad in it, as they sang of His salvation, saying, “Hosanna, blessed is He that cometh in the name of the Lord, Blessed is the kingdom that cometh, the Kingdom of our father David, Hosanna in the highest.”
Guzik: We like this slice from the life of Jesus because it simply feels so right. For much of Jesus’ ministry, He was despised and rejected of men. Often the adoring crowds followed Him only for what they could get from Him, and most His audience rejected any kind of personal commitment to Jesus. It was all different on this day.
i. On this day, they lavished attention and honor on Jesus, using their clothes as a saddle for Jesus, using their clothes as a red carpet for the colt He rode on. Considering the expense and value of clothing in that day, this was generous praise.
ii. If Jesus were among us, would He receive a critical evaluation, or would He receive generous praise? It’s even more important to understand that Jesus is here among us.
Then those who went before and those who followed cried out, saying: “Hosanna! ‘Blessed is He who comes in the name of the LORD!’“ For most of His ministry, Jesus did everything He could to discourage people from publicly celebrating Him as the Messiah. Here, Jesus goes out of His way to invite public praise and adoration as the Messiah.
i. In fact, when the religious leaders of His day objected, He told them “I tell you that if these should keep silent, the stones would immediately cry out.” (Luk_19:40)
We call this event the “Triumphal Entry,” but it was a strange kind of triumph. If you spoke of Jesus’ “Triumphal Entry” to a Roman, they would have laughed you in the face. For them, a Triumphal Entry was a honor granted to a Roman general who won a complete and decisive victory, and had killed at least 5,000 enemy soldiers. When the general returned to Rome, they had an elaborate parade. First came the treasures captured from the enemy, then the prisoners. His armies marched by unit by unit, and finally the general rode in a golden chariot pulled by magnificent horses. Priests burned incense in his honor and the crowds shouted his name and praised him. The procession ended at the arena, where some of the prisoners were thrown to wild animals for the entertainment of the crowd. That was a “Triumphal Entry,” not a Galilean Peasant sitting on a few coats set out on a pony.
d. When He looked around at all things: Jesus came as the Messiah to Jerusalem, not as a mighty general to conquer the Romans. He came to first to look at the standing of the people of God, and to make an “inspection.” In the rest of Mark 11, we see the results of this “inspection.”
i. Mal_3:1-3 speaks prophetically of the Messiah coming to the temple in careful assessment.
ii. “The point is rather that Jesus is the Lord of the Temple, who must inspect its premises to determine whether the purpose intended by God is being fulfilled.” (Lane)
iii. We see again the courage of Jesus, because He isn’t hiding at all. Joh_11:57 makes it clear that there was a price on Jesus’ head; an “all-points-bulletin” was put out for His arrest. Yet, He came into Jerusalem in the most public way possible.
Scofield: behold, thy King The events following this manifestation of Christ as King are recorded in the Gospels. The real faith of the multitude who cried, “Hosanna” is given in Mat_21:11 and so little was Jesus deceived by His apparent reception as King, that He wept over Jerusalem and announced its impending destruction (fulfilled A.D. 70; Luk_19:38-44. The same multitude soon cried, “Crucify Him.”
Matthew 21:10 And when he was come into Jerusalem, all the city was moved, saying, Who is this?
Matthew 21:11 And the multitude said, This is Jesus the prophet of Nazareth of Galilee.
Clarke: This is Jesus The Prophet – Ο προφητης That prophet whom Moses spoke of, Deu_18:18. I will raise them up a prophet – like unto thee, etc. Every expression of the multitude plainly intimated that they fully received our blessed Lord as the promised Messiah. – How strange is it that these same people (if the creatures of the high priest be not only intended) should, about five days after, change their hosannas for, Away with him! crucify him! crucify him! How fickle is the multitude! Even when they get right, there is but little hope that they will continue so long.
Gill : And the multitude said,…. Or the people, as the Vulgate Latin, and Munster’s Hebrew Gospel read; the common people, that went before, and followed after him: these knew Christ better than the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the Scribes and Pharisees, and rulers of the people.
This is Jesus the prophet: that prophet Moses spoke of, in Deu_18:15 and the nation of the Jews in general expected:
of Nazareth of Galilee; who, though he was not born there, yet being educated, and having lived much in that place, is said to be of it; and which was the common opinion of the people.
Mark 11:11 MKJV And Jesus entered into Jerusalem and into the temple. And when He had looked around on all things, the hour already being late, He went out to Bethany with the Twelve.
Barnes: Into the temple – Not into the edifice properly called “the temple,” but into the “courts” which surrounded the principal edifice. Our Saviour, not being of the tribe of Levi, was not permitted to enter into the holy or most holy place; and when, therefore, it is said that he went into the “temple,” it is always to be understood of the “courts” surrounding the temple. See the notes at Mat_21:12.
And when he had looked round about upon all things – Having seen or examined everything. He saw the abominations and abuses which he afterward corrected.
The eventide – The evening; the time after three o’clock p. m. It is very probable that this was before sunset. The religious services of the temple closed at the offering of the evening sacrifice, at three o’clock, and Jesus probably soon left the city.
Guzik: When He looked around at all things: Jesus came as the Messiah to Jerusalem, not as a mighty general to conquer the Romans. He came to first to look at the standing of the people of God, and to make an “inspection.” In the rest of Mark 11, we see the results of this “inspection.”
We see again the courage of Jesus, because He isn’t hiding at all. Joh_11:57 makes it clear that there was a price on Jesus’ head; an “all-points-bulletin” was put out for His arrest. Yet, He came into Jerusalem in the most public way possible.
Benson:And Jesus went into the temple — Having entered the city by the eastern gate, he alighted from the colt, and went directly to the temple, but did not drive the buyers and sellers out this first day; for Mark here tells us expressly, that by the time he got thither, and had looked round about on all things, even-tide was come; from which we may infer, that the market in the temple was over. It seems he stayed in the temple but a little while. Having made his public appearance in the metropolis, and received the title of Messiah openly from the multitude, and surveyed the temple, he left the city without doing any thing, to the great discouragement of the throng that had come in with him, expecting that he was immediately to have laid hold on the reins of government.
CTR: Unto Bethany — Jesus lodged at Bethany, Monday night, 11th Nisan.
Matthew 21:12 And Jesus went into the temple of God, and cast out all them that sold and bought in the temple, and overthrew the tables of the moneychangers, and the seats of them that sold doves,
Matthew 21:13 And said unto them, It is written, My house shall be called the house of prayer; but ye have made it a den of thieves.
Guzik: 1. (Mat_21:12-13) Jesus forcibly stops the commercial desecration of the temple.
Drove out all those who bought and sold in the temple: What was the problem? Profiteers, in cooperation with the priests, robbed visitors to Jerusalem by forcing them to purchase “approved” sacrificial animals and currencies at inflated prices.
b. My house shall be called a house of prayer: As well, they did this in the outer courts of the temple, the only area where Gentiles could come and pray. Therefore, this place of prayer was made into an swap meet, and a dishonest one at that!
c. This ruins our conception of the “Sunday School Jesus” whose only quality is a bland love. In truth, Jesus was more than a man of compassion – He was also a man of bold action.
Hawker: To behold Jesus in the humble dress of a poor Jew, whipping the drove of cattle, with all the buyers and sellers, out of the temple, and overthrowing before him the counters of money, and the seats of the dove-sellers, and with such art holy countenance of zeal as none dared to oppose; surely it carried, with it an invincible proof of his mighty power and authority!
Clarke:Jesus went into the temple of God, etc. – “Avarice,” says one, “covered with the veil of religion, is one of those things on which Christ looks with the greatest indignation in his Church. Merchandize of holy things, simoniacal presentations, fraudulent exchanges, a mercenary spirit in sacred functions; ecclesiastical employments obtained by flattery, service, or attendance, or by any thing which is instead of money; collations, nominations, and elections made through any other motive than the glory of God; these are all fatal and damnable profanations, of which those in the temple were only a shadow.” Quesnel.
Money-changers – Persons who furnished the Jews and proselytes who came from other countries, with the current coin of Judea, in exchange for their own.
Benson:And cast out them that sold and bought — Namely, doves and oxen for sacrifice. He had cast them out three years before, (Joh_2:14,) bidding them not make that house a house of merchandise: upon the repetition of the offence, he uses sharper words; In the temple — That is, in the outer court of it, where the Gentiles used to worship.
The money-changers — The exchangers of foreign money into current coin, which those who came from distant parts might want to offer for the service of the temple.
And said unto them — As he turned them out, It is written — Namely, Isa_56:7, My house shall be called a house of prayer — To all nations, Mar_11:17. That is, a place to which they shall resort for the performance of religious worship: but ye have made it a den of thieves — A harbour of wicked men; a place where traffic is carried on by persons of the most infamous character, who live by deceit and oppression, and practise the vilest extortion, even in the house of the most righteous and blessed God. “Let it be observed, that the word rendered temple here, is ιερον, not ναος. By the latter word was meant properly the house, including only the vestibule, the holy place or sanctuary, and the most holy. Whereas the former comprehended all the courts. It was in the outermost court that this sort of traffic was exercised. For want of a name, in European languages, peculiar to each, these two are confounded in most modern translations. To the ναος, or temple, strictly so called, none of those people had access, not even our Lord himself, because not of the posterity of Aaron.” — Campbell.
CTR:And cast out — As any Law-abiding Jew was privileged to do.
Beginning to exercise power, as befitting a spiritual king, by reproving those who were violating the holy Temple and its precincts. Those associated with the Lord’s work for selfish reasons must be driven out.
It is assumed, we believe without sufficient authority, that there were two cleansings.
Fulfilling the prophecy, “The zeal of thine house hath consumed me.” (Psa_69:9)
In the temple — Not in the Temple proper, but in its outer courts, the whole of which was designated the Temple or house of God.
The tables of — Not only stopping their usurious exchange business, but keeping them busy looking after their coins.
The moneychangers — Typifying those who rob the people by accepting money for that which is not food. Reaping a profitable harvest from the worshippers who had traveled from a distance, whose money, not being Jewish, could not be accepted at the Temple. A certain Temple tax must be paid in the “shekel of the sanctuary” which was last coined in BC 140, hence quite scarce in our Lord’s day and sold at a premium.
Today in the nominal temple some make merchandise of their privileges, opportunities and knowledge. Catholics are led to believe they can present nothing acceptable except through the priests; Protestants have regular collection plates and frequent strong appeals for money.
The seats of them — He did not set at liberty the doves, which could not easily have been recovered, but permitted their owners to take them away.
That sold doves — Multitudes of strangers from afar rarely brought with them the doves, pigeons or lambs which they presented in sacrifice.
Mark 11:15 TPT When they came into Jerusalem, Jesus went directly into the temple area and overturned all the tables and benches of the merchants who were doing business there. One by one he drove them all out of the temple courts, and they scattered away, including the money changers and those selling doves.
Guzik: Every Jewish male had to pay a yearly temple tax – an amount equaling about two days pay. It had to be paid in the currency of the temple, and the money exchangers would change you your money for the temple money, and they did it at outrageous rates.
A den of thieves is a place where thieves associate and hide. It is a sorry, shameful condition when the house of God becomes a place where unrepentant, active sinners can associate and hide.
We do love Jesus; and we want to praise Him; yet we must also allow His cleansing presence in our lives. If He wants to turn over some tables in our hearts, so be it.
Gill:And they came to Jerusalem,…. The Ethiopic version reads, “he came”; that is, Christ; but not alone, for his disciples were with him:
They “that bought and sold in the temple“, were those that bought and sold lambs for the passover, which was now at hand; and the sheep and oxen for the “Chagiga”, or feast the day following; as well as doves hereafter mentioned, for new mothers, and such as had fluxes: and that part of the temple where this business was carried on, was in a large space within the area of the temple, where shops were built for that purpose: and by “the money changers”, whose “tables” are said to be “overthrown”, are meant, such as sat at tables to receive the half shekel, who changed those that brought whole shekels, or foreign money: and who had so much for changing, which was called “Kolbon”; from whence they had the name of “Collybistae”, in the text: and “doves”, as before observed, were the offering of the poorer sort of women after birth, at the time of their purification, and of profluvious persons; of which many came from all parts, at the time of the passover: upon which account, there was a great demand for these creatures; and many sat upon seats to sell them, which Christ overturned..
CTR:They come to Jerusalem — Josephus tells us that sometimes the population of Jerusalem on such an occasion was swelled to the number of two millions.
Began to cast out — Such authority belonged to any Jew under the Law.
The use of force in cleansing the Temple followed the assertion of regal authority. A further manifestation of his consciousness of his power with the common people.
As a typical act, indicating that, in the end of this age, judgment begins with the professed house of God (1Pe_4:17), and his great displeasure against those who make merchandise of the truth.
Overthrew the tables — Under our laws, it would be quite improper to enter any church in order to interfere with any of the rights of conscience or procedures sanctioned by the congregation owning the edifice. Under the Jewish Law it was different. Every Jew was privileged to enforce the divine Law in respect to blasphemy or any sacrilege.
The moneychangers — Typifying those in the nominal temple who rob the people by accepting salaries for that which is not food.
A certain Temple tax must be paid in a certain kind of money, called the “shekel of the sanctuary.” The last coinage of these was in BC 140, hence they were quite scarce in our Lord’s day and sold at a premium. Not only visitors from foreign lands needed to purchase shekels of the sanctuary, but also the home folk. Here money-sharks found opportunity for meeting people in distress, who came to the Temple for prayer. Jesus referred to them as “those who rob widows.” (Mat_23:14)
That sold doves — The multitudes of strangers from afar rarely brought with them the doves, pigeons or lambs, etc., which they presented in sacrifice.
Does your church have a gift shop? Or maybe a Starbucks? Or McDonalds? If so, what do you think of this attached to your church?
Mark 11:16 MKJV And He would not allow any to carry a vessel through the temple.
Mark 11:16 TPT And he would not allow them to use the temple courts as a thoroughfare for carrying their merchandise and their furniture.
Barnes: Any vessel – Any vessel used in cooking, or connected with the sale of their articles of merchandise.
Benson: And they come to Jerusalem — Jesus, having doomed the fig-tree to destruction, continued his journey to the city, where, when he arrived, he went straightway to the temple, and drove the buyers and sellers out of it, &c., and would not suffer any vessel to be carried through the sacred edifice. Such strong notions had our Lord of even relative holiness, and of the regard due to those places, as well as times, that are peculiarly dedicated to God. The Jews, it must be observed, reckoning the lower and outward court of the temple a place of little or no sanctity, because it was designed for accommodating the Gentile proselytes in their worship, not only kept a daily market there of such things as were necessary in offering sacrifices, but suffered the common porters, in going from one part of the city to another with their burdens, to pass through it, for the sake of shortening their way. But as these abuses occasioned great disturbance to the proselytes, Jesus reformed them again as he had done three years before, (see Joh_2:14,) telling the people around him, that the Gentiles worshipped there by divine appointment, as well as the Jews, the temple being ordained of God to be the house of prayer for all nations; and to prove this, he cited Isa_56:7, from which the inference was plain, that they were guilty of a gross profanation of the temple who carried on any traffic, even in the court of the Gentiles, much more they who, to make gain, committed frauds and extortions in the prosecution of their traffic, because thus they turned God’s house of prayer into a den of thieves.
PNT:Through the temple,i.e., the court of the Gentiles, which seems to have been used as a thoroughfare. This practice involved the same sin as the others (Mar_11:15), and expressed the same contempt for the Gentiles.
Mark 11:17 MKJV And He taught, saying to them, Is it not written, “My house shall be called the house of prayer for all nations?” But you have made it a den of thieves.
Gill: And he taught, saying unto them, is it not written,…. In Isa_56:7.
My house shall be called of all nations, the house of prayer? For not only the Jews went up to the temple to pray, see Luk_18:10, but the Gentiles also, who became of the Jewish religion, and had a court built for that purpose; and so the whole temple, from hence, was called an house of prayer: and the meaning is, not only that it should be called so by the Gentiles, but that it should be so to them, and made use of by them as such. Jarchi’s note on the clause in Isa_56:7 is, “not for Israel only, but also for the proselytes.”
But ye have made it a den of thieves; for no other, in our Lord’s esteem, were the buyers and sellers of sheep, oxen, and doves, and the money changers, and the priests that encouraged them, and had a profit out of them: now these had their seats, shops, and tables, within the mountain of the house; and even in that part of it, which was assigned to the Gentiles, the nations of the world, who became proselytes, and came up to Jerusalem to worship there at certain times; See Gill on Mat_21:13.
Russell: My house — In which there were three courts –one for the Jews, one for Jewish women and an outer court where believing Gentiles might worship. These courts represent different degrees of approach to God’s favor.
“Know ye not that your body is the temple of the holy Spirit?” (1Co_6:19) See also 1Co_3:17; Eph_2:21; 1Pe_2:5.
Of all nations — The outer Court of the Gentiles, was provided to the intent that all nationalities might there congregate for worship. It was probably little used, as few Gentiles had become sincere converts to Judaism.
The house of prayer — Thus Peter and John went up to the Temple to pray. (Act_3:1) It was the one place of all others in the world where the soul might feel that it could draw especially near to God.
Ye have made it — Thus placing the responsibility upon the scribes and Pharisees.
A den of thieves — The loan-sharks infested the Temple, pretended sympathy for those in trouble, and loaned money on exacting terms which finally devoured the property of the widow and the orphan in a legal manner. Religion is still used as a cloak to cover selfishness.
Campbell: “The court of the Gentiles was particularly destined for the devout of all nations, who acknowledged the true God, though they had not subjected themselves to the Mosaic law, and were accounted aliens. The proselytes, who had received circumcision, and were, by consequence, subject to the law, were on the same footing with native Jews, and had access to the court of the people. Justly, therefore, was the temple styled, A house of prayer for all nations. The error in the common version is here the more extraordinary, as, in their translation of Isaiah, they render the passage quoted, for all people.”
Do we sometimes not regard the sanctity of the house of God?
Matthew 21:14 And the blind and the lame came to him in the temple; and he healed them.
Guzik: 2. (Mat_21:14) In contrast to His work of tearing away evil, Jesus carries on God’s compassionate work in the temple.
And He healed them: After driving out the moneychangers and the merchants from the temple courts, Jesus didn’t found “The Society for the Cleansing of the Temple.” He got back to doing the business of the Messiah – showing the power of God in the context of compassion and mercy.
Benson:And the blind and lame — Having heard of his arrival in the city, and requested their friends to lead them to the place where he was; came to him in the temple, and he healed them — In the presence of all the people. “Many such afflicted persons would, no doubt, be waiting in the several avenues of the temple to ask alms, at a time when there would be such a vast concourse of people: and there seems a peculiar propriety in our Lord’s multiplying these astonishing miracles, both to vindicate the extraordinary act of authority he had just been performing, and to make this his last visit to Jerusalem as convincing as possible, that those who would not submit to him might be left so much the more inexcusable.” — Doddridge.
CTR: He healed them — Continuing the healing and teaching for several days, but without any further demonstration as a King.
Gill:in the temple; that part of it, the court of the Gentiles, and mountain of the house, out of which he had cast the buyers and sellers, &c. and in the room of them, were brought in these objects of his pity:
and he healed them; to the blind he restored sight, and caused the lame to walk; which miracles he wrought in confirmation of the doctrine he preached: for all the other evangelists relate, that he taught in the temple.
Matthew 21:15 And when the chief priests and scribes saw the wonderful things that he did, and the children crying in the temple, and saying, Hosanna to the Son of David; they were sore displeased,
Guzik: (Mat_21:15-17) The indignation of the Jewish leaders.
They were indignant: The hypocrisy of the religious leaders is evident. Greed and theft in the temple didn’t bother them, but praise to Jesus did.
Do You hear what these are saying? Jesus answers them pointedly. Yes, He had heard what these are saying – and it is perfected praise in the ears of God.
Clarke:The chief priests – were sore displeased – Or, were incensed. Incensed at what! At the purification of the profaned temple! This was a work they should have done themselves, but for which they had neither grace nor influence; and their pride and jealousy will not suffer them to permit others to do it. Strange as it may appear, the priesthood itself, in all corrupt times, has been ever the most forward to prevent a reform in the Church. Was it because they were conscious that a reformer would find them no better than money-changers in, and profaners of, the house of God, and that they and their system must be overturned, if the true worship of God were restored! Let him who is concerned answer this to his conscience.
Mark 11:18 MKJV And the scribes and the chief priests heard. And they sought how they might destroy Him. For they feared Him, because all the people were astonished at His doctrine.
Barnes: All the people were astonished – He became popular among them. The Pharisees saw that their authority was lessened or destroyed. They were therefore envious of him, and sought his life.
His doctrine – His teaching. He taught with power and authority so great that the multitudes were awed, and were constrained to obey.
Gill: And the Scribes and chief priests heard it,…. The reproof he gave to the money changers, and buyers, and sellers in the temple; and his strict prohibition that none should carry any vessels through it; and the argument he used from the prophecy of Isaiah, and the sharp rebuke he gave for the profanation of the holy place:
and sought how they might destroy him: they took counsel together to take away his life, for they hated reformation:
for they feared him; lest he should go on to make great changes and alterations among them, which would affect their credit and character, and their gains also, and draw the people after him:
because all the people were astonished at his doctrine; both as to the matter of it, which were such words as never man spake; and, as to the manner of it, being with such majesty, power, and authority, as the Scribes and Pharisees taught not with; and also at the miracles, by which it was confirmed, as well as at the reformation and discipline he was introducing; which was done with such an air of sovereignty and power, as was amazing.
How do you feel when it is shown that you are not treating the things of God reverentially?
Matthew 21:16 And said unto him, Hearest thou what these say? And Jesus saith unto them, Yea; have ye never read, Out of the mouth of babes and sucklings thou hast perfected praise?
CTR:Babes and sucklings — Out of the mouths of the common people.
Gill:And said unto him, hearest thou what these say?…. Suggesting, that if he did, he ought to reprove them, or else he would be a very vain, as well as a weak man, to take such things to himself, which did not belong to him, and that from such poor, little, silly creatures, so void of knowledge and understanding:
and Jesus said unto them, yea: signifying he did hear, and well approved of what they said, and was ready to vindicate it; and did, by putting the following question to them,
have ye never read; that passage of Scripture in Psa_8:2
out of the mouth of babes and sucklings thou hast perfected praise? in the original text it is, “thou hast ordained”, or “founded strength”; and which is rendered by the Septuagint, as it is by Matthew here; and glory and strength are mentioned together, as being to be given to God, Psa_29:1 and so “strength” and “praise” by the Targumist in Isa_13:3 by which is meant strong glory, or glory and praise expressed with a strong voice, or in a very vehement manner, as it was by these babes and sucklings; and this owing to God’s disposing them hereunto, putting it into their mouths, and strengthening them to declare it in a very strong and powerful manner; so that his strength was made perfect in their weakness, and his praise the more glorious. In the Psalm it is added, “because of thine enemies, that thou might still the enemy, and the avenger”: by whom are meant the high priests, the Scribes and Pharisees, the mortal enemies of Christ, who were full of enmity against him, and wanted to revenge themselves on him for spoiling their market at this time; but were stilled by the “Hosannas” of the children, and Christ’s defence of them. The Jews themselves seem to be conscious, that these words relate to the Messiah; for they say (l), that “babes and sucklings, יהבין תוקפא, shall give strength to the king Messiah” manifestly referring to this passage.
Benson:And said, Hearest thou what these (the children) say? — Insinuating that it was his duty to stop their mouths, by refusing the praises which they offered without understanding what they said.
Jesus saith, Yea; have ye never read — Are you unacquainted with the Scriptures? You, that want the people to regard you as the great teachers of God’s law?
Matthew 21:17 And he left them, and went out of the city into Bethany; and he lodged there.
Benson: And went out of the city — Privately, with none to attend him but the twelve; to Bethany — Where the resurrection of Lazarus had procured him friends, among whom he was always in safety.
Mark 11:19 MKJV And when evening came, He went out of the city.
Gill: And when even was come, he went out of the city. Of Jerusalem, as he did the evening before, and for the same reasons: probably he went to Bethany, where he had lodged the last night, with Lazarus, Martha, and Mary; or to the Mount of Olives, where he sometimes spent the night in prayer: the Syriac version renders it, “they went out”; for Christ took his disciples with him, as is evident from the following verse.
CTR: Tuesday night, 12th Nisan.
Matthew 21:18 Now in the morning as he returned into the city, he hungered.
Matthew 21:19 And when he saw a fig tree in the way, he came to it, and found nothing thereon, but leaves only, and said unto it, Let no fruit grow on thee henceforward for ever. And presently the fig tree withered away.
Guzik: The lesson of the fig tree.
a. Let no fruit grow on you ever again: The fig tree instantly withered at the rebuke of Jesus. Why did He perform a “destructive” miracle?
b. Found nothing on it but leaves: Essentially, the tree was a picture of “false advertising,” having leaves, but no figs. This should not be the case with these particular fig trees, which customarily did not bear leaves apart from figs.
i. In this “acted-out-parable,” Jesus warns of coming judgment upon an unfruitful Israel. God doesn’t want a people who are all leaves and no fruit.
c. Jesus’ two “destructive” miracles – this and the events that ended in the destruction of the herd of pigs (Mat_8:30-32) – were not directed towards people.
Gill: Now in the morning,…. Greek “in the first”, or morning light, in the dawn, or break of day, the first spring of light; so the Latins (s) use “prima luce” for early in the morning, as soon as ever day breaks: so early did Christ rise, and return from Bethany to Jerusalem;
and as he returned to the city. The Persic version renders it, “they returned”; which, though not a good version, gives a true sense; for, as Christ went with the twelve to Bethany, as Mark affirms, so these returned with him, as is clear from what follows. Thus Christ, day after day, went to and from Jerusalem: in the evening he went to Bethany, or to some part of the Mount of Olives, and there abode all night, and returned in the daytime to Jerusalem, and taught in the temple; for it does not appear that he was one night in Jerusalem, before the night of the passover.
He hungered, rising so early before his friends were up, he had eaten nothing that morning, and so before he had got far from Bethany, found himself hungry.
Clarke:Now in the morning, as he returned into the city – Which was his custom from the time he wholly left Jerusalem, spending only the day time teaching in the temple; see Mat_21:17. This was probably on Thursday, the 12th day of the month Nisan.
Matthew 21:20 And when the disciples saw it, they marvelled, saying, How soon is the fig tree withered away!
Matthew 21:21 Jesus answered and said unto them, Verily I say unto you, If ye have faith, and doubt not, ye shall not only do this which is done to the fig tree, but also if ye shall say unto this mountain, Be thou removed, and be thou cast into the sea; it shall be done.
Matthew 21:22 And all things, whatsoever ye shall ask in prayer, believing, ye shall receive.
Guzik:How did the fig tree with away so soon: Jesus explains that this miracle was really the result of a prayer made in faith, and He encouraged His marveling disciples to also have this kind of faith, trusting that God will hear them also.
b. And whatever things you ask in prayer, believing, you will receive: This promise of God’s answer to the prayer of faith is made to disciples, not to the multitude.
Clarke:He saw a fig tree in the way – Επι της οδου, By the road side. As this fig tree was by the way side, it was no private property; and on this account our Lord, or any other traveler, had a right to take of its fruit. For a full explanation of this difficult passage, relative to this emblematic fig tree, see on Mar_11:13 (note), etc.
Let no fruit grow on thee – Can a professor, who affords Christ nothing but barren words and wishes, expect any thing but his malediction? When the soul continues in unfruitfulness, the influences of grace are removed, and then the tree speedily withers from the very root.
If ye have faith, and doubt not – See on Mat_17:20 (note). Removing mountains, and rooting up of mountains, are phrases very generally used to signify the removing or conquering great difficulties – getting through perplexities. So, many of the rabbins are termed rooters up of mountains, because they were dexterous in removing difficulties, solving cases of conscience, etc. In this sense our Lord’s words are to be understood. He that has faith will get through every difficulty and perplexity; mountains shall become molehills or plains before him. The saying is neither to be taken in its literal sense, nor is it hyperbolical: it is a proverbial form of speech, which no Jew could misunderstand, and with which no Christian ought to be puzzled.
CTR:If ye have faith — Absolute confidence in the Word of God.
Unto this mountain — Symbol of difficulties and obstructions in our Christian course. A mountain-moving faith would count for nothing without love as a basis.
Be thou removed — God gave no such command in respect to the literal mountains. Since there is no basis of evidence that the will of God is to remove literal mountains, a genuine faith in his willingness to do it is an impossibility.
It shall be done — If they had faith in the power of God, and received a command from him to move the mountain.
Mark 11:20 MKJV And passing on early, they saw the fig-tree dried up from the roots.
Mark 11:21 MKJV And Peter, remembering, said to Him, Rabbi, behold, the fig tree which You cursed has withered away.
Barnes: Thou cursedst – To curse means to devote to destruction. This is its meaning here. It does not in this place imply blame, but simply that it should be destroyed.
CTR: Wednesday forenoon, 12th Nisan. The last day of his public teaching.
JFB: they saw the fig tree dried up from the roots — no partial blight, leaving life in the root; but it was now dead, root and branch. In Mat_21:19 it is said it withered away as soon as it was cursed. But the full blight had not appeared probably at once; and in the dusk perhaps, as they returned to Bethany, they had not observed it. The precision with which Mark distinguishes the days is not observed by Matthew, intent only on holding up the truths which the incident was designed to teach.
PNT:Withered away from the roots. The day before the ‘leaves’ were visible ‘afar off;’ today, Tuesday, the blasting was complete
Mark 11:22 MKJV And answering Jesus said to them, Have faith of God.
Barnes: Have faith in God – Literally, “Have the faith of God.” This may mean, have strong faith, or have confidence in God; a strong belief that he is able to accomplish things that appear most difficult with infinite ease, as the fig-tree was made to wither away by a word.
Guzik:Have faith in God: Jesus explains that this miracle was really the result of a prayer made in faith, and He encourages His marveling disciples to have this kind of faith, trusting that God will hear them also.
b. In God: Jesus makes it clear: prayer must be offered in faith, and faith must be in God, not “just there” or “faith in faith.” Faith is trust, confidence, and reliance upon someone or something.
c. Some, using Greek transliterations, have said Jesus was really saying that we must “Have God’s faith.”
Barnes:Have faith in God – Literally, “Have the faith of God.” This may mean, have strong faith, or have confidence in God; a strong belief that he is able to accomplish things that appear most difficult with infinite ease, as the fig-tree was made to wither away by a word.
Mark 11:23 MKJV For truly I say to you that whoever shall say to this mountain, Be moved and be cast into the sea, and shall not doubt in his heart, but shall believe that what he said shall occur, he shall have whatever he said.
Mark 11:24 MKJV Therefore I say to you, All things, whatever you ask, praying, believe that you shall receive them, and it will be to you.
Guzik: Whoever says to this mountain, “Be removed”: Mountain was a popular figure of speech for any insurmountable problem; Jesus is saying, as we believe, God can overcome any obstacle.
i. “The phrase about removing mountains was a quite common Jewish phrase. It was a regular, vivid phrase for removing difficulties.” (Barclay)
ii. This promise of God’s answer to the prayer made in faith is made to disciples, not to the multitude. “Nor should we interpret Mar_11:24 to mean, ‘If you pray hard enough and really believe, God is obligate to answer your prayer no matter what you ask.’ That kind of faith is not faith in God; rather it is nothing but faith in faith, or faith in feelings.” (Wiersbe)
CTR:Unto this mountain — Symbol of difficulties and obstructions in our Christian course.
Be thou removed — God gave no such command; hence, faith would have no basis for operation. God does not command foolish or unnecessary changes. By their “faith in God” (verse 22) it was not to them an incredible thing that God should raise the dead.
Cast into the sea — But shall believe — Have absolute confidence in the Word of God. R5446:4
He shall have — If they should receive a command from God to move a mountain, and should give the command with faith, the results would follow.
JFB: it is plain that not physical but moral obstacles to the progress of His kingdom were in the Redeemer’s view, and that what He designed to teach was the great lesson, that no obstacle should be able to stand before a confiding faith in God.
Do you have mountains between you and God?
Have you desired to remove that mountain in faith?
Mark 11:25 MKJV And when you stand praying, if you have anything against anyone, forgive it so that also your Father in Heaven may forgive you your trespasses.
Mar 11:25 TPT And whenever you stand praying, if you find that you carry something in your heart against another person, release him and forgive him so that your Father in heaven will also release you and forgive you of your faults.
Barnes: And when ye stand praying – When ye pray. It seems that the posture in prayer was sometimes standing and sometimes kneeling. God looks upon “the heart” rather than upon our position in worship; and if the heart be right, any posture may be proper. It cannot be doubted, however, that in private, in the family, and wherever it can be conveniently done, the kneeling posture is more proper, as expressing more humility and reverence, and more in accordance with Scripture examples. Compare Psa_95:6; 2Ch_6:13; Dan_6:10; Luk_22:41; Act_7:60; Act_9:40. Yet a subject like this may be made of too much consequence, and we should be careful that anxiety about a mere form should not exclude anxiety about a far more important matter – the state of the soul.
Guzik: Whenever you stand praying, if you have anything against anyone, forgive him: A lack of faith is not the only obstacle to effective prayer. A lack of forgiveness and bitterness can also hinder our prayer.
i. The point may also be that this is an area where we need great faith. Sometimes a hard and unforgiving heart is bigger than any mountain.
b. Therefore, we are never to place religious duty or ministry ahead of good relationship with people – if you stand praying and you have anything against anyone, set it right – then continue on in prayer.
i. We are to do what Paul commanded in Rom_12:18 : If it is possible, as much as depends on you, live peaceably with all men.
Are you holding something against someone that you need to let go?
Mark 11:26 MKJV But if you do not forgive, neither will your Father in Heaven forgive your trespasses.
Guzik:If you do not forgive, neither will your Father in heaven forgive your trespasses: The forgiven heart will forgive others. If we have hard, unforgiving hearts, it calls into question if we have ever received or appreciated the forgiveness God offers us.
Cole: “This is not an arbitrary refusal by God to forgive us. We in our own unforgiving spirit have made it impossible for ourselves to accept the forgiveness freely offered by God since we refuse to adopt the only attitude in which it can be appropriated.”
Matthew 21:23 And when he was come into the temple, the chief priests and the elders of the people came unto him as he was teaching, and said, By what authority doest thou these things? and who gave thee this authority?
Guzik: (Mat_21:23-27) Jesus is questioned by the religious leaders as He comes back into the temple.
The chief priests and the elders of the people confronted Him as He was teaching: Note Jesus’ fearlessness in going back into the temple. He is unafraid, and completely in control (Joh_10:18).
b. By what authority are You doing these things? The religious leaders raised the question of Jesus’ authority, and He raised the question of their competence to judge such an issue. Their reply proved that they were more interested in polling data from the multitude rather than the will of God, so Jesus didn’t answer their question to Him.
i. Jesus kindly and compassionately met the needs of the hurting multitude. But He didn’t show much patience with those who arrogantly questioned Him with the intention of trapping Jesus in His own words. Jesus never fell for the trap.
Barnes:When he was come into the temple – That is, probably, into the inner court – the court of the Israelites.
They took this opportunity of questioning him on this subject when he was not surrounded by the multitude.
By what authority … – There was a show of propriety in this question. He was making great changes in the affairs of the temple, and they claimed the right to know why this was done, contrary to their permission. He was not “a priest;” he had no civil or ecclesiastical authority as a Jew. It was sufficient authority, indeed, that he came as a prophet and worked miracles. But they professed not to be satisfied with that.
These things – The things which he had just done, in overturning the seats of those that were engaged in traffic, Mat_21:12.
Benson: And the elders of the people — Probably, members of the sanhedrim, to whom that title most properly belonged: which is the more probable, as they were the persons under whose cognizance the late action of Christ, in purging the temple, would naturally fall. These, with the chief priests, seem purposely to have appeared in a considerable company, to give the more weight to what they said, and, if need were, to bear a united testimony against him.
As he was teaching — Which also they supposed he had no authority to do, being neither priest, nor Levite, nor scribe. Some of the priests, (though not as priests,) and all the scribes, were authorized teachers.
By what authority doest thou these things — Publicly teach the people? And drive out those who had our commission to traffic in the outer court?
CTR: By what authority — The apostles’ authority was questioned by the same class. Should persecution rise again, let all continue to preach as did the early Church, asking no other authority than the command of the Lord.
“He that hath my Word, let him speak my Word.” (Luk_23:28)
This authority — Authority to teach and do good.
Mark 11:27 MKJV And they came again to Jerusalem. And as He was walking in the temple, the chief priests and the scribes and the elders came to Him
Guzik: As He was walking in the temple, the chief priests, the scribes, and the elders came to Him: Jesus wasn’t looking for these great debates with the religious leaders. He wanted to teach the people and tell them about God’s good news. But the questioners came to Him, and He was more than able to handle them.
Hawker: I am inclined to think, that those sworn enemies to CHRIST, who are said here to have come to JESUS in the temple, demanding his authority, came in a public body, by way of confronting him; and as those who were sent by the Sanhedrim for that purpose, and determined to silence him, and put an end to his preaching. The LORD Jesus had turned out the buyers and sellers from the temple, and had healed the blind and lame which came to him for that purpose into the temple; and was now teaching the people while walking about the temple, as was the custom in those days among a set of philosophers, who walked with the pupils as they taught them. Let the Reader figure to himself the LORD JESUS thus attacked, and observe the wisdom of the LORD in his answer.
Mark 11:28 MKJV and said to Him, By what authority do you do these things? And who gave you this authority to do these things?
Gill: the chief priests and elders of the people came unto him. The “chief priests” were not the high priest, and his “sagan”, or deputy, but the principal of the priesthood, who were chosen from the rest of their brethren, to sit in the sanhedrim; and “the elders of the people” were the laity that were chosen from among the people, to be members of the same grand council: in this sense the Jewish writers interpret the word “elders”, in Deu_21:2 “thy elders, and thy judges…
The other Evangelists Mark and Luke add to these, Scribes, who also were a part of this great assembly; so that the principal members of it, if not the whole sanhedrim, came in a body together, if possible, by their presence and authority, to daunt Christ, discourage his ministry, bring it into contempt with the people, and stop his proceedings and success. And this they did as he was teaching; the people, that is, preaching the Gospel to them, as Luke explains it: he was instructing them in the things relating to himself, and his kingdom, dispensing the mysteries of his grace, the doctrines of regeneration, justification, and salvation.
And said, by what authority dost thou these things? that is, drive out the buyers and sellers out of the temple, which greatly provoked them, their own gain and interest being concerned therein; and perform these miracles of restoring sight to the blind, and causing the lame to walk; which he had very lately wrought in the temple; and particularly preach these doctrines, the work in which he was then engaged:
and who gave thee this authority? They do not object to his doctrines, or dispute whether they were true or false; nor examine his miracles, whether they were of God, or of the devil: in these points they might fear he would be able to put them to silence and confusion, of which some of them had had an experience before; but they proceed in another way, in which they might hope for success, and attack him about his commission and authority under which he acted, whether he pretended to derive his authority from God, or from men: by this they designed to ensnare him and hoped they should gain their point, let him answer in what form he would. Should he say that God gave him the authority to do these things, they would charge him with enthusiasm and blasphemy, urging, that it was wickedness and presumption any man to pretend to be sent immediately from God; since the order of the priesthood, and of teaching was fixed, and none were to take upon them the office of a priest, or of a teacher of the people, but by their appointment; or none were called and sent, but through them, or by their means: and if he should say, that he had his authority from men, they would confront him, and absolutely deny that he had any from them, who only had the power of giving men an authority of preaching in the temple; wherefore he must be an usurper of this office, and a turbulent, seditious person, that sought to destroy all order, civil and ecclesiastical,
Guzik: By what authority are You doing these things? Jesus has been extremely courageous by boldly entering Jerusalem and driving out the corrupt merchants from the temple courts. Now the chief priests, the scribes, and the elders want to know what right He thinks He has to do such things.
This is a great question for today: “Who are you to tell us what to do?” In today’s world, no one wants to be told what to do and they question the authority of anyone who tells them what to do. However, we should all recognize and submit to God’s authority to tell us what to do.
Are we sometimes like these scribes and priests and think only one who has gone to a Christian seminary has the right to preach the Word?
Do we sometimes judge the messenger and not listen to the message?
Matthew 21:24 And Jesus answered and said unto them, I also will ask you one thing, which if ye tell me, I in like wise will tell you by what authority I do these things.
Matthew 21:25 The baptism of John, whence was it? from heaven, or of men? And they reasoned with themselves, saying, If we shall say, From heaven; he will say unto us, Why did ye not then believe him?
Benson: Jesus answered, I also will ask you one thing — Who have asked me many: The baptism — That is, the whole ministry; of John, whence was it? — Whence had he his commission? from heaven, or of men? — Did God or man give him his authority to act and teach?
This question reduced the priests and elders to an inextricable dilemma: and they reasoned with themselves, saying, If we shall say, From heaven, &c. — They considered, on the one hand, that if they should acknowledge John’s mission to be from God, it would oblige them to acknowledge Christ’s authority; John having more than once borne testimony to him as the Messiah. On the other hand, if they denied John’s divine mission, they did not know but the people, who stood listening to Jesus, would stone them; for they generally believed John to have been a prophet, many of them had submitted to his baptism, and at present not a few held him in high esteem on Christ’s account. Wherefore, as matters stood, they judged it safest to answer that they could not tell whence John’s baptism was.
Barnes: And Jesus answered … – Jesus was under no obligation to give them an answer.
They well knew by what authority he did this. He had not concealed his power in working miracles, and had not kept back the knowledge that he was the Messiah. He therefore referred them to a similar case – that of John the Baptist. He knew the estimation in which John was held by the people, and he took the wise in their own craftiness. Whatever answer they gave, he knew they Would convict themselves, and so they saw when they looked at the question. They reasoned correctly. If they should say that John received authority to baptize from God or from heaven, he would directly ask why they did not believe him. They professed to hear all the prophets. If they said, “Of men,” they would be in danger, for all the people believed that John was a prophet.
The baptism of John – For an account of this, see Matt. 3. The word “baptism” here probably includes all his work. This was his principal employment; and hence he was called the Baptist, or the “Baptizer.” But our Saviour’s question refers “to his whole ministry.” “The ‘ministry of John’ – his baptism, preaching, prophecies was it from God, or not?” If it was, then the inference was clear that Jesus was the Messiah, and then they might easily know by what authority he did those things.
From heaven – By divine authority, or by the command of God.
From men – By human authority.
Mark 11:29 MKJV And Jesus answered and said to them, I will also ask of you one thing, and answer Me, and I will tell youby what authority I do these things.
Guzik: I will also ask you one question: When Jesus asked them to answer the question regarding John the Baptist, He was not evading their question because if John was from God, then he was right about Jesus, that He was the Messiah. If what John said was true, then Jesus had all authority.
i. “It was not a dodge, but a home thrust that cleared the air and defined their attitude both to John and Jesus. They rejected John as they now reject Jesus.” (Robertson)
ii. “The Lord’s question was not a trap; it was yet another opportunity for them to realize and confess their blindness, and ask for sight.” (Cole)
Mark 11:30 MKJV The baptism of John, was it from Heaven, or from men? Answer Me.
MHCC: Our Saviour shows how near akin his doctrine and baptism were to those of John; they had the same design and tendency, to bring in the gospel kingdom. These elders did not deserve to be taught; for it was plain that they contended not for truth, but victory: nor did he need to tell them; for the works he did, told them plainly he had authority from God; since no man could do the miracles which he did, unless God were with him.
Hawker: By directing not only the minds of his enemies to the subject of John’s ministry, but also those to whom he was preaching his Gospel, the LORD took the most effectual method to throw to the ground their opposition, and establish his mission. They dared not admit John’s ministry to be of divine appointment; for in so doing they would have acknowledged CHRIST, for the whole of John’s office pointed to CHRIST. And most probably the congregation to whom Jesus was then preaching, had been among John’s disciples; so that to have denied John’s mission, would have been dangerous.
Mark 11:31 MKJV And they reasoned within themselves, saying, If we shall say, From Heaven, he will say, Why then did you not believe him?
Hawker: The wretched state to which they were reduced, therefore, in confessing their ignorance, serves to shew the awful delusion under which those men were. And Reader, when we recollect that this transaction took place only a few days before CHRIST’s death, the matter becomes yet more awful concerning them; for though put to silence and unable to answer CHRIST, they departed from him only with more determined hatred to seek his immediate death. Reader! You and I shalt have read this account to very little profit, if it doth not teach us to what a desperate state the heart of man is capable of being hardened; and at the same time the distinguishing mercy of GOD in every instance where grace is given to believe the record GOD hath given of his dear SON! 1Jn_5:10-11.
When you come face to face with a life altering decision, if you have ever come to see that a doctrine that you held dear was in fact not the truth—what did you do?
Did you embrace the real Truth, or cling with a death grip to what you now know to be error?
Matthew 21:26 But if we shall say, Of men; we fear the people; for all hold John as a prophet.
Darby: The scribes and priests and elders are confounded, and demand His authority. He addresses their conscience, but in such a manner as to demonstrate their incompetency to ask Him such a question, exposing at the same time their insincerity. They could not decide with respect to the baptism of John: by what right then could they subject Him to their questions respecting His own claims? They could not decide when the case was before them. On the other hand, they must either sanction His work by their reply, or lose their authority with the people by denying the baptism of John who had borne testimony to Christ. It was no longer a question of winning these men; but what an empty thing is the wisdom of man in the presence of the Lord and his wisdom!
The change of dispensation has a more definite place in Matthew, and the sin which rejected the King. In Mark, it is more the service of Christ as the Prophet. Afterwards, as we have seen, He presents Himself as King.
Consequently we find in Matthew more personal accusations, as in the parable of the two sons (Mat_21:28-32), and the detail of the change of dispensation in the parable of the marriage feast (Mat_22:1-14); neither of which is in Mark. In our Gospel, the unchangeable dignity of His Person, and the simple fact that the Prophet and King were rejected (rejection that led to Israel’s judgment) are set before us by the Spirit of God. Otherwise it is the same general testimony we have reviewed in Matthew.
What holds you back from embracing the Truth? Fear of losing your friends?
Matthew 21:27 And they answered Jesus, and said, We cannot tell. And he said unto them, Neither tell I you by what authority I do these things.
Barnes: We cannot tell – This was a direct falsehood. They could have told; and the answer should have been, “We will not tell.” There was no reason but that why they did not tell. The reason, probably, why they would not acknowledge that John was a prophet, was that, if they did, they saw he could easily show them by “what authority” he did those things; that is, by his authority as Messiah. John came as his forerunner, pointed him out to the people, baptized him, and bore his public and solemn testimony to the fact that he was the Messiah, Mat_3:13-15; Joh_1:29-34. If they acknowledged one, they must the other. In this way our Saviour was about to lead these crafty men to answer their own question, to their own confusion, about his authority. They saw this; and, having given them a “sufficient” answer, there was no need of stating anything further.
Benson: And he said, Neither tell I you — That is, not again in express terms: he had often told them before, and they would not believe him. Thus, by the question which he put to them, he obliged them to confess that they had not been able to pass any judgment upon John the Baptist, notwithstanding he claimed the character of a messenger from God, and they had sent to examine his pretensions. This in effect was to acknowledge themselves incapable of judging of any prophet whatsoever. “Ye are come,” said he, “to inquire into the proofs of my mission. I agree to submit myself to your examination, on condition that you tell me what your determination was concerning John. Was he a true or a false prophet? You say you do not know. But if you were not able to form a judgment concerning John, how can you take upon you to judge me?” In this light our Lord’s question, in answer to theirs, appears to have been formed with the greatest wisdom; because, whether the priests replied in the affirmative or in the negative, or gave no reply at all, they absolutely condemned themselves. See Macknight.
Guzik: We do not know: Their response to His question exposed the fact that these men were not sincere seekers of truth. They cared more about scoring rhetorical points in debate and in pleasing the crowds than in knowing the truth.
i. “The whole story is a vivid example of what happens to men who will not face the truth. They have to twist and wriggle and in the end get themselves into a position in which they are so helplessly involved that they have nothing to say.” (Barclay) It is more difficult at first to face the truth and admit wrong, but it is the only path with a real future.
c. If we ask Jesus to give us answers, we must deal rightly with the truth that is already revealed. These men knew that John said Jesus was the Messiah, and were not willing to even deal with that.
Matthew 21:28 But what think ye? A certain man had two sons; and he came to the first, and said, Son, go work to day in my vineyard.
Matthew 21:29 He answered and said, I will not: but afterward he repented, and went.
Matthew 21:30 And he came to the second, and said likewise. And he answered and said, I go, sir: and went not.
Matthew 21:31 Whether of them twain did the will of his father? They say unto him, The first. Jesus saith unto them, Verily I say unto you, That the publicans and the harlots go into the kingdom of God before you.
Matthew 21:32 For John came unto you in the way of righteousness, and ye believed him not: but the publicans and the harlots believed him: and ye, when ye had seen it, repented not afterward, that ye might believe him.
Guzik:Which of the two did the will of his father? The point of this parable is clear: what matters is living for God, not lip service. The religious leaders were good at talking a righteous walk, but their stubbornly unrepentant hearts show that repentant sinners will enter the kingdom before them.
b. When you saw it, you did not afterward relent and believe him: These proud religionists should have repented all the more when they saw the notorious sinners repenting, but they did not.
Barnes: But what think ye? – A way of speaking designed to direct them particularly to what he was saying, that they might be self-convicted.
Two sons – By those two sons our Lord intends to represent the conduct of the Jews, and that of the publicans and sinners.
In my vineyard – Planted a vineyard – A place for the cultivation of grapes. It is often used to represent the church of God. as a place cultivated and valuable. Judea was favorable to vines, and the figure is frequently used, therefore, in the sacred writers. See Mat_20:1. It is used here to represent the “Jewish people” – the people chosen of the Lord, cultivated with care, and signally favored; or perhaps more definitely, “the city of Jerusalem.” To work in the vineyard here represents the work which God requires man to do.
I will not – This had been the language of the publicans and wicked men. They refused at first, and did not “profess” to be willing to go.
Repented – Changed his mind. Afterward, at the preaching of John and Christ, the publicans – the wicked – repented and obeyed.
The second …said, I go sir; and went not – This represented the conduct of the scribes and Pharisees – “professing” to obey God, observing the external rites of religion, but opposed really to the kingdom of God, and about to put his Son to death.
Whether of them twain … – Which of the two. “They say unto him, The first.” This answer was correct; but it is strange that they did not perceive that it condemned themselves.
Go into the kingdom of God – Become Christians, or more readily follow the Saviour. See the notes at Mat_3:2.
Before you – Rather than you. They are more likely to do it than you. You are self-righteous, self-willed, and obstinate.
John came in the way of righteousness – Many of them have believed, but you have not. That is, in the right way, or teaching the way to be righteous; to wit, by repentance. Publicans and harlots heard him and became righteous, but they did not. They saw it, but, as in one thousand other cases, it did not produce the proper effect on them, and they would not repent.
CTR:First — Represents the class of Israelites who made no pretense of serving God, and were branded publicans, sinners, and harlots.
I will not — They made no pretense of serving God. Repented, and went — Through John’s message and the teachings of Jesus and the apostles, the publicans, sinners and harlots were the ones ready to receive him.
Second — Represents the outwardly religious and pious, the Scribes and Pharisees. Corresponding to the “elder son” of the parable of the prodigal son. (Luk_15:11-32) Do not really seek the divine service, but rather serve their own sects, personal aims, honor, etc.
Go into the kingdom — Poor, self-righteous Pharisees! To this day, they are jealous and will not “go in.” (Mat_23:13)
Before you — The “elder son” class who had cultivated a spirit of pride and boastfulness.
“The common people [who knew not the Law and had not heretofore heard the invitation] heard him gladly” (Mar_12:37); but those first invited were rejected.
Clarke:The publicans and the harlots – In all their former conduct they had said No. Now they yield to the voice of truth when they hear it, and enter into the kingdom, embracing the salvation brought to them in the Gospel. The others, who had been always professing the most ready and willing obedience, and who pretended to be waiting for the kingdom of God, did not receive it when it came, but rather chose, while making the best professions, to continue members of the synagogue of Satan.
Benson:But what think ye — As if he had said, You have evaded a direct answer to my question concerning the baptism of John, and have acknowledged your ignorance whence it was; but what think you of your own conduct in these circumstances? and of all the high professions you make of an extraordinary reverence for God, and zeal in his service? I will plainly tell you my judgment of it, which is very naturally connected with the present subject. This our Lord does in two parables, in the former of which, by a question which he puts to them, he makes them condemn themselves.
A certain man had two sons — Signifying two sorts of persons: some that prove better than they promise, represented by the former of these sons; others that promise better than they prove, represented by the latter.
And he came to the first — Exhibiting the disobedient, profligate, and wicked Jews, and open sinners of all descriptions, who, though they neither professed nor promised to do the will of God, nor gave any reason to hope well concerning them, yet afterward being convinced of sin, and brought to repentance by the preaching of John the Baptist and Christ, turned from their sins, and sincerely embraced the gospel. The spirit and conduct of the second son was an exact picture of the temper and behaviour of the Pharisees; for in their prayers and praises they gave God the most honourable titles, and professed the greatest readiness and zeal in his service: but it was a bare profession, contradicted by all their actions. They said, I go, sir, to work in thy vineyard, but went not.
Jesus having finished his parable, asked, Whether of them twain did the will of his Father? — Without hesitation, they replied, The first — Not perceiving that by this answer they condemned themselves, till Jesus, making a direct application of the parable, gave them that sharp but just rebuke; Verily I say unto you — Even the most abandoned sinners of the age, such as the publicans and harlots, go into the kingdom of God before you — Are much more open to conviction, and more readily obey the gospel than you.
For John came unto you in the way of righteousness — Walking in it as well as teaching it, and gave evident proofs of his mission from God; and ye believed him not — Gave no credit to the testimony which he bare to me, nor received his doctrine, and consequently would not enter the vineyard: but the publicans and harlots— The most notorious sinners; believed him — Were reformed, and obeyed the gospel, though at first they said, I will not. And ye, when ye had seen it — And could not deny that an amazing change had been wrought in them, and that persons of the most abandoned characters had been reformed by his sermons, which doubtless was a strong proof of his mission from God; yet repented not afterward — Of your opposition to that holy man, nor of your disobedience to his instructions; That ye might believe him — And therefore I solemnly warn you, (for so his words imply,) that your condition will hereafter be worse than theirs; and that you shall see those whom you now despise and abhor, entering into the glory from which you shall be excluded.
Meyer: The parable of the two sons teaches that hard hearts may lie under fair words, while those of whom we expect least and whose first greeting is abrupt and disappointing, may later prove to be the most devoted and hopeful disciples. If a man repels the gospel with violence, he is more likely ultimately to be won than he who gives a polite and facile assent.
Matthew 21:33 Hear another parable: There was a certain householder, which planted a vineyard, and hedged it round about, and digged a winepress in it, and built a tower, and let it out to husbandmen, and went into a far country:
CTR: Another parable — Forming a part of the Lord’s discourse on the last day of his public ministry. Apparently our Lord had in mind the parable of the vineyard of Isa_5:1-7when he gave this parable.
A certain householder — Jehovah.
Planted a vineyard — “For the vineyard of the Lord of hosts is the house of Israel.” (Isa_5:7)
The Jewish nation, typifying Christendom. Since nominal fleshly Israel was a prototype of nominal Christendom, we may look for somewhat similar conditions and dealings in the harvest of this Christian age.
The vineyard represents the Jewish polity, and the vine represents the people, especially such as were in influence and power–the leaders. With a root of promise, a hope, the promise made to Abraham.
And hedged it — With the divine Law, the prophecies, and special supervision and guardianship. With the divine promise that as long as Israel would be faithful and loyal to God, they would be thoroughly protected against their enemies.
Digged a winepress — Including the trough in which the grapes were pressed, and the vat for the reception of the juice pressed from them. The various advantages conferred upon Israel, such as the worship of the sanctuary, the leadings of Jehovah, and the teachings of the prophets, all of which should have caused the vine to yield a large increase.
Built a tower — A watch tower, representing the prophets. The watchmen were the prophets who cried aloud and warned the people from time to time in respect to any and every breaking down of the wall or partition.
The Lord declared himself to be Israel’s High Tower.
To the husbandmen — The scribes and Pharisees, who sat in Moses’ seat. Whose duty it was to care for the vines and fruitage, and render an account. Whose duty it was to instruct and lead in the way of the Lord.
Into a far country — Implies that the arrangement was intended to stand for a long time.
To receive title to his Kingdom, and to return to take possession of it. (Mat_25:14, Mat_25:31)
Mark 12:1 TPT Then Jesus began to speak to them in parables: “There once was a man who planted a vineyard and put a secure fence around it. He dug a pit for its winepress and erected a watch tower. Then he leased it to tenant-farmers and traveled abroad.
Guzik: He leased it to vinedressers and went into a far country: This sort of tenant farming relationship was a common practice in Jesus’ day, especially in the region of Galilee. Archaeologists have discovered records of this same sort of dispute between landowners and tenant farmers.
i. “In a day when title was sometimes uncertain, anyone who had had the use of land for three years was presumed to own it in the absence of an alternative claim.” (Morris)
CTR:Began to speak — A part of our Lord’s discourse on the last day of his public ministry.
A certain man — Jehovah God.
Planted a vineyard — The Jewish nation, typifying Christendom in the harvest of the Gospel age. “For the vineyard of the Lord of hosts is the house of Israel.” (Isa_5:7)
An hedge about it — The divine Law, the testimony of the prophets, the special supervision and fatherly guardianship of God and the ministration of his faithful servants, all of which served to separate them from ungodly, surrounding nations, and to protect them from their influence.
For the winefat — Or wine press, including the vat for the reception of the juice. Representing Israel’s advantages; the worship of the sanctuary, the leadings and teachings of Jehovah, etc.
Built a tower — A watch tower, for the protection of the vineyard, representing God’s care over it in setting watchmen, the prophets and others, upon the towers of Zion. (Eze_3:17; Isa_62:6; Jer_6:17)
Let it out — From the time of the exodus to the coming of Messiah–nearly 19 centuries.
To husbandmen — The Pharisees and Doctors of the Law, whose duty it was to care for the vineyard. The divinely constituted leaders of the nation from the time of the exodus to the time of the coming of Messiah.
Benson:He began to speak unto them by parables — “Christ having showed the rulers, chief priests, and scribes, the heinousness of their sin, in rejecting John the Baptist, (Mat_21:28-32,) judged it proper, likewise, publicly to represent the crime of the nation, in rejecting all the messengers of God from first to last, and among the rest his only-begotten Son; and in mis-improving the Mosaic dispensation, under which they lived. … But because these were topics extremely disagreeable, he couched them under the veil of a parable, which he formed upon one made use of long before, by the Prophet Isa_5:1.”
Gill:And he began to speak unto them by parables,…. This was not the first time of his speaking by parables to the people, though it might be the first time he spake in this way to the chief priests and elders, and who are particularly designed in them.
and set an hedge about it, or “wall”, as the Persic version renders it; meaning either the law, not the Jews oral law, or the traditions of the elders, which were not of God’s setting, but the ceremonial and moral law; or the wall of protection by divine power, which was set around the Jewish nation especially when they went up to their solemn feasts.
and built a tower. … for this also was built in the vineyard, …where the priests watched, and did their service, day and night.
And let it out to husbandmen; or “workmen”, … who wrought in it, and took care of the vines. The Ethiopic version renders it, “and set over it a worker and keeper of the vineyard”; by whom are meant the priests and Levites, to whom were committed the care of the people, with respect to religious things:
and went into a far country; left the people of the Jews to these husbandmen, or rulers, whether civil or ecclesiastical, but chiefly the latter, to be instructed and directed by them, according to the laws and rules given them by the Lord.
Barnes:And digged a wine-press in it – Mark says, “digged a place for the wine-fat.” This should have been so rendered in Matthew. The original word does not mean the “press” in which the grapes were trodden, but the “vat or large cistern” into which the wine ran. This was commonly made by digging into the side of a hill. The “wine-press” was made of two receptacles. The upper one, in Persia at present, is about 8 feet square and 4 feet high. In this the grapes are thrown and “trodden” by men, and the juice runs into the large receptacle or cistern below.
And built a tower – See also the notes at Isa_5:2. In Eastern countries at present, these towers are often 80 feet high and 30 feet square. They were for the keepers, who defended the vineyards from thieves and animals, especially from foxes, Son_1:6; Son_2:15.
And let it out … – This was not an uncommon thing. Vineyards were often planted to be let out for profit.
Into a far country – This means, in the original, only that he departed from them. It does not mean that he went out of the “land.” Luke adds, “for a long time.” That is, as appears, until the time of the fruit; perhaps for a year.
Matthew 21:34 And when the time of the fruit drew near, he sent his servants to the husbandmen, that they might receive the fruits of it.
Mark 12:2 TPT When the time of harvest came, he sent one of his servants to the tenants to collect the landowners’ share of the harvest.
Guzik: Again, what the owner of the vineyard looked for the fruits in their seasons. In the same way, God looked for fruit from Israel’s leadership, but found little (as shown in the fig tree incident).
That he might receive some of the fruit of the vineyard from the vinedressers: Because Jesus spoke to a Jewish audience, they would be aware that the vineyard is used in the Old Testament as a picture of Israel (Isa_5:1-7). Therefore, the vinedressers represent the rulers of Israel and the vineyard represents the people of God as a whole.
CTR: At the season — The appointed harvest time, in which those addressed were then living.
A servant — A prophet or teacher.
That he might receive — “He looked for judgment, but behold oppression; for righteousness, but behold a cry.” (Isa_5:7)
From the husbandmen — The rulers in Israel, because of their influence and power, were held responsible for the course of the nation.
Of the fruit — The Lord had a right to expect gratitude, love, obedience, meekness, and readiness of mind and heart to follow further leadings into new paths.
Barnes: And when the time of the fruit drew near … – The time of gathering the fruit.
The vineyard was let out, probably, for a part of the fruit, and the owner sent to receive the part that was his.
Sent his servants – These, doubtless, represent the prophets sent to the Jewish people.
Matthew 21:35 And the husbandmen took his servants, and beat one, and killed another, and stoned another.
Matthew 21:36 Again, he sent other servants more than the first: and they did unto them likewise.
Mark 12:3 TPT But the tenants seized him and beat him and sent him back empty-handed.
Mark 12:4 TPT So the owner sent another servant to them. And that one they shamefully humiliated and beat over the head.
Mark 12:5 TPT So he sent another servant, and they brutally killed him. Many more servants were sent, and they were all severely beaten or killed.
Guzik: And they took him and beat him and sent him away empty-handed: The vinedressers didn’t buy the vineyard, and did they make it. A generous owner allowed them to work in his vineyard, yet they turned against the owner, and one day had to answer for it.
Again he sent them another servant . . . And again he sent another . . . and many others: How patient the owner is! He sends messenger after messenger, even though they are all abused and mistreated. How many messengers of God have we rejected?
ii. Because the owner of the vineyard was not present right at the time, the vinedressers doubted and mocked his authority. They would find out soon enough that even though they couldn’t see the owner, his authority was still real. When we think God is too distant to really exert His authority, we will be proven just as wrong.
iii. This is the heir. Come, let us kill him, and the inheritance will be ours: How foolish the vinedressers are! They apparently thought that if they killed the owner’s son, then the owner would just give up and let them have the vineyard.
d. So they took him and killed him and cast him out of the vineyard: This parable tells us that Jesus knew He was the Son – the Son of God – and that He knew that He would be killed soon.
i. The Son was the final messenger. There would be no other. Either they would accept the message of the Son, or face certain judgment. “If you do not hear the wellbeloved Son of God, you have refused your last hope. He is God’s ultimatum. Nothing remains when Christ is refused. No one else can be sent; heaven itself contains no further messenger. If Christ be rejected, hope is rejected.” (Spurgeon)
Barnes: And beat one – The word translated here as “beat” properly means to flay or to take off the skin; hence to beat or to whip so that the skin in many places is taken off.
And killed another – Isaiah is said to have been put to death by sawing him asunder.
Many other of the prophets were also put to death. See Luk_13:34; Heb_11:37; 1Sa_22:18; 1Ki_19:10.
And stoned another – This was among the Jews a common mode of punishment, Deu_13:10; Deu_17:7; Jos_7:25. Especially was this the case in times of popular tumult, and of sudden indignation among the people, Act_7:58; Act_14:19; Joh_8:59; Joh_10:31. This does not I imply, of necessity, that those who were stoned “died,” but they might be only severely wounded. Mark says, “At him they cast stones and wounded him in the head, and sent him away,” etc.
There is a little variation in the circumstances as mentioned by Matthew, and by Mark and Luke, but the substance is the same. Mark and Luke are more particular, and state the order in which the servants were sent one after another. They all denote the dealing of the people of Israel toward the prophets. All these things had been done to them. See Heb_11:37; Jer_44:4-6; 2Ch_36:16; Neh_9:26; 2Ch_24:20-21.
Matthew 21:37 But last of all he sent unto them his son, saying, They will reverence my son.
Mark 12:6 TPT The owner had only one person left to send—his only son, whom he dearly loved. So he sent him to them, saying, ‘Surely they will restrain themselves and respect my son.’
Barnes: Last of all … This beautifully and most tenderly exhibits the love of God in sending his only Son, Jesus Christ, into the world to die for people. Long had He sent the prophets, and they had been persecuted and slain. There was no use in sending any more prophets to the people. They had done all that they could do. God had one only-begotten and well-beloved Son, whom he might send, and whom the world “ought” to reverence even as they should the Father, Joh_5:23. God is often represented in the Bible as giving His Son, His only-begotten and well beloved Son, for a lost world, Joh_3:16-17; 1Jn_4:9, 1Jn_4:14; Rom_8:3, Rom_8:32; Gal_4:4.
Saying, They will reverence my son – To “reverence” means to honor, to esteem, to show deference to. It is that feeling which we have in the presence of one who is greatly our superior. It means to give to such a person, in our feelings and our deportment, the honor which is due to his rank and character.
Gill: Having yet therefore one son, his well beloved,…. The Messiah, the Lord Jesus Christ, who is the one, and only Son of God his Father, his only begotten Son, for he has no other Son in the same way of filiation; and who is his dear Son, the Son of his love, who was loved by him before the foundation of the world; and whom he declared to be his beloved Son, both at his baptism, and at his transfiguration upon the mount, by a voice from heaven: this Son he having with him, in his bosom, as one brought up with him, and rejoicing before him.
How do you react when the Word of God brings to light wrong or sinful actions of yours?
Matthew 21:38 But when the husbandmen saw the son, they said among themselves, This is the heir; come, let us kill him, and let us seize on his inheritance.
Mark 12:7 TPT But the tenants saw their chance and said to one another, ‘This is the heir. Come! Let’s kill him, and then we’ll inherit it all!’
Barnes: But when the husbandmen … – They determined to kill him, and as he was the only son, they supposed they could easily seize on the property It was rented to them; was in their possession; and they resolved to keep it.
This circumstance has probably no reference to any particular conduct of the Jews, but is thrown in to keep up the story and fill up the narrative. An heir is one who succeeds to an estate, commonly a son; an “inheritance” is what an heir receives.
MacLaren: Two things are to be pondered in this part of the parable. First, that wonderful glimpse into the depths of God’s heart, in the hope expressed by the Owner of the vineyard, brings out very clearly Christ’s claim, made there before all these hostile, keen critics, to stand in an altogether singular relation to God. He asserts His Sonship as separating Him from the class of prophets who are servants only, and as constituting a relationship with the Father prior to His coming to earth. His Sonship is no mere synonym for His Messiahship, but was a fact long before Bethlehem; and its assertion lifts for us a corner of the veil of cloud and darkness round the throne of God.
The other noteworthy point is the corresponding casting of the vine-dressers’ thoughts into words. Both representations are due to the graphic character of parable; both crystallise into speech motives which were not actually spoken. It is unnecessary to suppose that even the rulers of Israel had gone the awful length of clear recognition of Christ’s Messiahship, and of looking each other in the face and whispering such a fiendish resolve. Jesus is here dragging to light unconscious motives. The masses did wish to have their national privileges and to avoid their national duties. The rulers did wish to have their sway over minds and consciences undisturbed. They did resent Jesus’ interference, chiefly because they instinctively felt that it threatened their position. They wanted to get Him out of the way, that they might lord it at will. They could have known that He was the Son, and they suppressed dawning suspicions that He was. Alas! they have descendants still in many of us who put away His claims, even while we secretly recognise them, in order that we may do as we like without His meddling with us! The rulers’ calculation was a blunder. As Augustine says, ‘They slew Him that they might possess, and, because they slew, they lost.’ So is it always. Whoever tries to secure any desired end by putting away his responsibility to render to God the fruit of his thankful service, loses the good which he would fain clutch at for his own. All sin is a mistake.
The parable passes from thinly veiled history to equally transparent prediction. How sadly and how unshrinkingly does the meek yet mighty Victim disclose to the conspirators His perfect knowledge of the murder which they were even now hatching in their minds! He foresees all, and will not lift a finger to prevent it. Mark puts the ‘killing’ before the ‘casting out of the vineyard,’ while Matthew and Luke invert the order of the two things. The slaughtered corpse was, as a further indignity, thrown over the wall, by which is symbolically expressed His exclusion from Israel, and the vine-dressers’ delusion that they now had secured undisturbed possession.
CTR: Those husbandmen — The chief priests and rulers. The scribes and Pharisees who sat in Moses’ seat.
Among themselves — They plotted privately and deceitfully.
This is the heir — This man claims to be the King, the Messiah of the Jews.
Let us kill him — Crucifying our Lord.
Shall be ours — We shall retain our prestige and power.
They did not realize that the course they were taking was the very one which would lead to the destruction of that typical kingdom of God.
Gill:this is the heir; that is, “of the vineyard”, as the Persic version expresses it they knew him by the prophecies of the Old Testament which had described him, and by the miracles which were wrought by him; and they could not deny but that the vineyard of the house of Judah belonged to him, and he was right heir to the throne of Israel; though they refused to embrace him, confess him, and declare for him: but, on the other hand, said,
come let us kill him, and the inheritance shall be ours; that is, “the vineyard”, and the Persic version again read. The priests, Scribes, and elders of the people consulted together to take away his life, with this view: that they might continue in the quiet possession of their nation, temple, and worship, in the office they bore, and in the privileges they partook of; and that the Romans might not come, and take away their place and nation, Joh_11:47.
Matthew 21:39 And they caught him, and cast him out of the vineyard, and slew him.
Matthew 21:40 When the lord therefore of the vineyard cometh, what will he do unto those husbandmen?
Guzik: 3. (Mat_21:33-41) The parable of the wicked servants.
He will destroy those wicked men miserably: The message of this parable is clear enough. Even the proud religionists seem to understand what the wicked servants deserve. Those who rebel against their master this way deserve judgment.
b. Again, what the owner of the vineyard looked for the fruits in their seasons. In the same way, God looked for fruit from Israel’s leadership, but found little (as shown in the fig tree incident).
Mark 12:8 TPT So they violently seized him, killed him, and threw his body over the fence!
Barnes: And they caught him … – This refers to the conduct of the Jews in putting the Saviour to death.
So they understood it, Mat_21:45. The Jews put him to death after they had persecuted and slain the prophets. This was done by giving him into the hands of the Romans and seeking his crucifixion, Mat_27:20-25; Act_2:23; Act_7:51-52.
And cast him out of the vineyard – The vineyard in this parable may represent Jerusalem. Jesus was crucified “out” of Jerusalem, on Mount Calvary, Luk_23:23. See the notes at Heb_13:12.
Benson: Our Lord reviews the history of the theocracy. He recounts the long roll of God’s servants who had been persecuted and misused from the first to the last, including Himself. In doing so, He openly implied that He was the Son of God and made the Pharisees realize how clearly He foresaw the fate which they were preparing for Him. They were accustomed to apply Psa_118:22 to the Messiah, and recognized at once what Jesus meant, when He claimed it as an emblem of His own rejection.
Matthew 21:41 They say unto him, He will miserably destroy those wicked men, and will let out his vineyard unto other husbandmen, which shall render him the fruits in their seasons.
Mark 12:9 TPT So what do you think the owner of the vineyard will do? He will come and put to death those tenants and give his vineyard to others.
Guzik:Therefore what will the owner of the vineyard do? The vinedressers were foolish enough to think that if they only killed the owner’s son, the vineyard would be theirs. Jesus draws the correct point – they rejected messenger after messenger, finally rejecting the Son, so their day of reckoning will come (He will come and destroy the vinedressers).
Barnes: When the lord, therefore … – Jesus then asked them a question about the proper way of dealing with those people.
The design of asking them this question was that they might condemn themselves, and admit the justice of the punishment that was soon to come upon them.
Mat 21:41 They say unto him, He will miserably destroy those wicked men, and will let out his vineyard unto other husbandmen, which shall render him the fruits in their seasons.
They say … – They answered according as they knew people would act, and would act justly in doing it.
He would take away their privileges and confer them on others. This was the answer which Jesus wished. The case was so clear that they could not answer otherwise. He wished to show them the justice of taking away their national privileges, and punishing them in the destruction of their city and nation. Had he stated this at first they would not have heard him. He, however, by a parable, led them along to “state themselves” the very truth which he wished to communicate, and they had then nothing to answer. They did not, however, yet see the bearing of what they had admitted.
Clarke:And will give the vineyard unto others – The vineyard must not perish with the husbandmen; it is still capable of producing much fruit, if it be properly cultivated. I will give it into the care of new vine-dressers, the evangelists and apostles. – And under their ministry, multitudes were brought to God before the destruction of Jerusalem.
Matthew 21:42 Jesus saith unto them, Did ye never read in the scriptures, The stone which the builders rejected, the same is become the head of the corner: this is the Lord’s doing, and it is marvellous in our eyes?
Guzik: 4. (Mat_21:42-46) Jesus warns them of the result of their rejecting Him.
Jesus said to them, “Have you never read in the Scriptures: ‘The stone which the builders rejected has become the chief cornerstone. This was the Lord’s doing, and it is marvelous in our eyes’? Therefore I say to you, the kingdom of God will be taken from you and given to a nation bearing the fruits of it. And whoever falls on this stone will be broken; but on whomever it falls, it will grind him to powder.” Now when the chief priests and Pharisees heard His parables, they perceived that He was speaking of them. But when they sought to lay hands on Him, they feared the multitudes, because they took Him for a prophet.
a. The stone which the builders rejected has become the chief cornerstone: Jesus reminds them that their rejection of Him says more about their guilt and coming judgment than it says about Jesus Himself. Though they reject Him, He is still the chief cornerstone, fulfilling the great Messianic Psalms 118.
i. Like a painting from a great master, Jesus is not on trial – we are. These people rejected Jesus had to hear the eventual consequences of their rejection.
b. Whoever falls on this stone will be broken; but on whomever it falls, it will grind him to powder: The choice before the religious leaders is the choice before every person. We can be broken in humble surrender before God or be completely broken in judgment.
c. They sought to lay hands on Him: Instead of repenting, the religious leaders respond with anger, continuing to increase the enormity of their sin of rejecting Jesus.
Mark 12:10 TPT Haven’t you read what the psalmist said? The stone the builders examined and rejected has become the cornerstone, the most important stone of all?
Guzik: b. Have you not even read this Scripture: Jesus instructs them from the “Hosanna Psalm” (Psa_118:22-28), because the Messiah has been officially presented to Israel. The hostility of the Jewish leaders shows that He is being rejected, even if He was initially greeted with hosannas quoting from Psalms 118.
Barnes: Jesus saith … – Jesus, having led them to admit the justice of the great “principle” on which God was about to act toward them proceeds to apply it by a text of Scripture, declaring that this very thing which they admitted to be proper in the case of the “husbandmen” had been predicted respecting themselves.
This passage is found in Psa_118:22-23. It was first applicable to David, but no less to Jesus.
The stone – The figure is taken from building a house. The principal stone for size and beauty is that commonly laid as the cornerstone.
Which the builders rejected – On account of its want of beauty or size it was laid aside, or deemed unfit to be a cornerstone. This represents the Lord Jesus, proposed to the Jews as the foundation or cornerstone on which to build the church, but rejected by them – the builders – on account of his lack of comeliness or beauty; that is, of what they esteemed to be comely or desirable, Isa_53:2-3.
The same is become … – Though rejected by them, yet God chose him, and made him the foundation of the church. Christ is often compared to a stone, a cornerstone, a tried, that is, a sure, firm foundation – all in allusion to the custom of building, Act_4:11; Rom_9:33;
Mat 21:43 Therefore say I unto you, The kingdom of God shall be taken from you, and given to a nation bringing forth the fruits thereof.
Mat 21:44 And whosoever shall fall on this stone shall be broken: but on whomsoever it shall fall, it will grind him to powder.
The kingdom of God … – Jesus applies the parable to them – the Jews.
They had been the children of the kingdom, or under the reign of God; having his law and acknowledging him as King. They had been his chosen and special people, but he says that now this privilege would be taken away; that they would cease to be the special people of God, and that the blessing would be given to a nation who would bring forth the fruits thereof, or “be righteous” that is, to the Gentiles, Act_28:28.
Whosoever shall fall … – There is a reference here, doubtless, to Isa_8:14-15. Having made an allusion to himself “as a stone,” or a rock Mat_21:42, he proceeds to state the consequences of coming in contact with it. He that falls upon it shall be broken; he that “runs against it” – a cornerstone, standing out from the other parts of the foundation shall be injured, or broken in his limbs or body. He that is offended with my being the foundation, or that opposes me, shall by the act injure himself, or make himself miserable “by so doing,” even were there nothing further. But there is something further.
On whomsoever it shall fall, it will grind him to powder – That is, in the original, will reduce him to dust, so that it may be scattered by the winds.
Russell:Taken from you — “Israel hath not obtained that which he seeketh for.” (Rom_11:7) Taken from them as a nation, not as individuals. Israel was not ready to be used of God in the blessing of other nations; only a remnant was found worthy.
Given to a nation — Spiritual Israel, whose existence began at Pentecost. “An holy nation, a peculiar people.” (1Pe_2:9) A class they esteemed less than the publicans and sinners, the Gentiles, whom they esteemed as “dogs,” and from among whom the Bride of Christ is being selected.
And whosoever — “And he shall be for a stone of stumbling and for a rock of offense to both the houses of Israel.” (Isa_8:14)
This stone — Our Lord was a stone of stumbling to natural Israel in their harvest, and similarly to spiritual Israel in the present harvest; especially his presence and his work.
Shall be broken — By stumbling over Jesus they injure themselves. In stumbling over Christ at his first advent, the Jewish nation was indeed broken to pieces.
Grind him to powder — When the Church is glorified, upon whomsoever this stone falls, it will utterly destroy. “Every soul that will not hear that prophet shall be destroyed from among the people.” (Act_3:22-23)
Mark 12:11 TPT This was the Lord’s plan—and he is wonderful for our eyes to behold!”
Barnes: Lord’s doing – The appointment of Jesus of Nazareth to be the foundation of the church is proved by miracle and prophecy to be the work of God.
Marvellous in our eyes – Wonderful in the sight of his people. That he should select his only Son – that he should stoop so low, be despised, rejected, and put to death – that God should raise him up, and build a church on this foundation, embracing the Gentile as well as the Jew, and spreading through all the world, is a subject of wonder and praise to all the redeemed.
Gill:This was the Lord’s doing, and it is marvellous in our eyes. That is, the exaltation of the Messiah, after he had been so ill treated, and at last put to death by the Jews. These words are a continuation of the passage cited out of Psa_118:22.
Matthew 21:43 Therefore say I unto you, The kingdom of God shall be taken from you, and given to a nation bringing forth the fruits thereof.
Matthew 21:44 And whosoever shall fall on this stone shall be broken: but on whomsoever it shall fall, it will grind him to powder.
Matthew 21:45 And when the chief priests and Pharisees had heard his parables, they perceived that he spake of them.
Matthew 21:46 But when they sought to lay hands on him, they feared the multitude, because they took him for a prophet.
Mark 12:12 TPT Now, the chief priests, religious scholars, and leaders realized that Jesus’ parable was aimed at them. They had hoped to arrest him then and there, but they feared the reaction of the crowd, so they left him alone and went away.
Guzik:They knew He had spoken the parable against them: They were cut to the heart, and convicted by the Holy Spirit. They reacted to the conviction of the Holy Spirit by rejecting, not by receiving. They plotted to murder Jesus instead of repenting before Him.
(Mat_21:42-46) Jesus warns them of the result of their rejecting Him.
The stone which the builders rejected has become the chief cornerstone: Jesus reminds them that their rejection of Him says more about their guilt and coming judgment than it says about Jesus Himself. Though they reject Him, He is still the chief cornerstone, fulfilling the great Messianic Psalms 118.
i. Like a painting from a great master, Jesus is not on trial – we are. These people rejected Jesus had to hear the eventual consequences of their rejection.
b. Whoever falls on this stone will be broken; but on whomever it falls, it will grind him to powder: The choice before the religious leaders is the choice before every person. We can be broken in humble surrender before God or be completely broken in judgment.
c. They sought to lay hands on Him: Instead of repenting, the religious leaders respond with anger, continuing to increase the enormity of their sin of rejecting Jesus.
Russell: So aptly did it represent their state of heart that its only effect was to rouse them to renewed energy to fulfil the final prediction of the parable. (verse 13)
How do you react when the Lord shows you your sinful heart?
Mark 12:13 TPT Then they sent a delegation of Pharisees, together with some staunch supporters of Herod, to entrap Jesus with his own words.
Guzik:They sent to Him some of the Pharisees and the Herodians, to catch Him in His words: Public opinion kept them from laying hold of Jesus, so now they try to turn the tide of public opinion against Him. Using a clever question, they want to make Jesus appear to side with the Roman government against the Jews.
- We again see the Pharisees and the Herodians working together (last time was in Mar_3:6). Former enemies come together because of Jesus, but it is because they both oppose Jesus and want to destroy Him.
Russell:They send unto him — On the last day of our Lord’s public ministry.
Of the Pharisees — Who privately taught that the Jews as the people of God should never pay taxes to other rulers.
And — The counsellors were of different factions, quite opposed to each other, but drawn together by mutual interest in their opposition to Jesus. Thus it ever is with error; the most contrary theorists are ready to cooperate with each other in opposition to the truth.
Of the Herodians — Not Jews at all, but, like Herod, Ishmaelites–sons of Abraham through Hagar; as the Jews were his sons through Sarah. They were not religious, but, in a considerable measure, politicians. Who stood firmly, boldly and publicly for the suzerainty of the Roman Empire, claiming that it was to the advantage of the people of Israel to be under Roman power, and that the paying of tribute was right and proper.
To catch him — If possible to get him to commit himself to some treasonable statement, on account of which they could bring him before Pilate as an enemy of the Roman empire, and thus have him legally executed in a manner which the people could not resist.
In his words — To get him to either declare with the Herodians that the tax was right and thus break his influence with the people, or to publicly side with the Pharisees, denounce the tax, and thus be open to the charge of treason.
Have you ever tried to trap anyone with their own words?