Friday, May 16, 2008

Matthew, Chapter 21 part 2

In the second half of Matthew 21 we see more parables from Jesus as He spoke in the temple courts after His triumphal entry. The chief priests were questioning His authority to teach, and they certainly did not help themselves in their arguments. When posed with a simple question in order to be able to ask Christ a question, They refused to answer. They chose the easy way out, saying "I don't know" because they feared a response. Jesus merely asked them where the authority of John the Baptist's baptism came from. If they answered that it came from heaven, the priests feared they would be asked why they didn't believe John. If they said it came from man, they would then be afraid of the people. They instead took the non-committal answer, so Jesus refused to answer them.

This is really a lesson in facing something we don't want to face. The priests generally agreed there would be negative consequences regardless of what they answered, so they chose not to answer. Because of this, Jesus felt He did not need to answer their question. Sometimes we have to face unpleasant things in life if we are going to get what we want.

Jesus said to them, "I tell you the truth, the tax collectors and the prostitutes are entering the kingdom of God ahead of you. 32For John came to you to show you the way of righteousness, and you did not believe him, but the tax collectors and the prostitutes did. And even after you saw this, you did not repent and believe him. – Matthew 21:31-32

It is an amazing sign that people such as prostitutes and tax collectors, who we truly the bottom of society at the time, were able to enter the kingdom of heaven because of Christ. The lessons that Christ is teaching here is that our station in life is unimportant. The most important thing is that we understand the message of His sacrifice and accept the gift. It is not by what we say, but how we respond to the Father's call on our lives. The priests did not understand this. They felt their position in the temple gave them authority and privilege. This blinded them to the truth of Christ. It is, therefore, impossible to enter the kingdom of God if you reject the Son.

43"Therefore I tell you that the kingdom of God will be taken away from you and given to a people who will produce its fruit. 44He who falls on this stone will be broken to pieces, but he on whom it falls will be crushed." – Matthew 21:43-44

The parable of the tenants is a clear allusion to Christ's death. Jesus represents the son of the owner, who, in the parable, is rejected and killed by the tenants. The priests and the Pharisees are the ones that have been entrusted to care of the vineyard, in this case humanity. They would reject Christ and cast him out, so, in turn, Christ would turn over the care of the vineyard to others. This would become the charge of His disciples as they built His church.


  1. What was so bad about the priests answering with either of their answers?
  2. Why would the priests be offended that others could enter the kingdom in a different way than they believed?
  3. How do you see Christ being rejected today?

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