Matthew 21:10–17: The Messianic Prophet, Priest, and King

by May 13, 2024Premium, The Gospel of Matthew

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Jesus, the triumphant king, has made his final approach toward Jerusalem, the capital city of God’s people. It has been easy, however, to ride in on a donkey on the praises of the people. Now that Jesus enters Jerusalem in Matthew 21:10, what will he do? The way forward will continue to be marked by the praises of some, but he will also face the fierce opposition of his enemies, making the path after this point increasingly difficult as he goes. Yet, at this crucial juncture as Jesus steps foot on the soil of Jerusalem, one truth immediately and clearly shines forth: Jesus is the Messianic Son of David.

Discussion Questions

1. How does the city’s being “stirred up” compare to the way that “all Jerusalem” was “troubled” along with Herod at the beginning of the Gospel (Matt. 2:3; 21:10)? What does it mean that the people describe Jesus first as “the prophet” (v. 11)? According to Deuteronomy 18:15–18, what kind of prophet were God’s people awaiting? How does Jesus fulfill this role (Heb. 1:1–2)? What implications does Jesus’ prophetic office have for our salvation?

2. Why does Jesus immediately enter the temple after he enters Jerusalem (v. 12)? How does this temple cleansing compare and contrast with the temple cleansing Jesus performed at the beginning of his public ministry (John 2:13–22)? How did kings and priests work together in the Old Testament to cleanse the temple (1 Kgs. 12:4–16; 23:4–14)? Why is it significant that Jesus cleanses the temple alone?

3. Why did Jesus insist that the temple should be a “house of prayer” (v. 13a)? What does the original context of Jeremiah 7 teach us about Jesus’ meaning by calling the current temple a “den of robbers” (v. 13b)? How did Jesus’ cleansing of the temple fulfill end-times prophecy (Zech. 14:21; Mal. 3:1–2)? How does Jesus’ driving out the moneychangers work toward overturning the old covenant sacrificial system to make it obsolete?

4. What significance does Jesus’ healing of the blind and the lame have (v. 14)? Why is it important that the children were crying out “Hosanna to the Son of David!” to Jesus (v. 15)? How did Jesus see their praise as God-ordained, contrary to the concerns of the chief priests and scribes (v. 15–16)? How should this strengthen our convictions that Jesus is the Messianic King? What are the implications of Jesus’ kingship for your life?