King Jesus 👑 (Matthew 21:23-32)
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King Jesus 👑 (Matthew 21:23-32)

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When Jesus returned to the Temple and began teaching, the leading priests and elders came up to him. They demanded, “By what authority are you doing all these things? Who gave you the right?” “I’ll tell you by what authority I do these things if you answer one question,” Jesus replied. “Did John’s authority to baptize come from heaven, or was it merely human?” They talked it over among themselves. “If we say it was from heaven, he will ask us why we didn’t believe John. But if we say it was merely human, we’ll be mobbed because the people believe John was a prophet.” So they finally replied, “We don’t know.” And Jesus responded, “Then I won’t tell you by what authority I do these things. “But what do you think about this? A man with two sons told the older boy, ‘Son, go out and work in the vineyard today.’ The son answered, ‘No, I won’t go,’ but later he changed his mind and went anyway. Then the father told the other son, ‘You go,’ and he said, ‘Yes, sir, I will.’ But he didn’t go. “Which of the two obeyed his father?” They replied, “The first.” Then Jesus explained his meaning: “I tell you the truth, corrupt tax collectors and prostitutes will get into the Kingdom of God before you do. For John the Baptist came and showed you the right way to live, but you didn’t believe him, while tax collectors and prostitutes did. And even when you saw this happening, you refused to believe him and repent of your sins.

The Kingdom of God is at its best with its COMMUNITY IS FIGHTING FOR UNITY.

Overall Commentary: 🌎

The Battle Lines Are Being Drawn!!! According to the timeline of Passion Week, the events in this passage take place on Tuesday. Jesus is only about 48 hours from being arrested. During this time, his opponents are becoming more and more prepared to use violence to silence His teaching. Over the past couple of days, Jesus has entered Jerusalem to the praise of children, He has cleansed the Temple, and He has taught the people. He has started teaching the people again, and His detractors are working hard to silence His voice. Their problem is that you cannot silence the King.

The Church unifies under the trusted KINGSHIP OF JESUS.


Verse 23-27: The Debate.

  • Where is He?: Jesus is in one of the many courtyards surrounding the Temple. There were many, and they all served various purposes. One of the main functions they served was a place for rabbis to teach people and for debates to happen.
  • Why are they asking Him questions?: This was a common practice. The normal format was for someone to present a teaching and then open themselves up for questions. Only in our modern times do we not offer a place for people to ask probing questions to learn more about the context of the topic being taught. The assumption is that if you get up to speak, you are an authority on the topic.
  • What are they asking?: They want to know who Jesus thinks He is to be doing and saying these things. They cannot deny His power. They want to know where it is coming from.
  • Is Jesus avoiding them?: No. It was also common during the time for a teacher to pose a question in order to find common ground. Jesus is looking to see if they are willing to have an honest conversation. Rather He already knows they are not. Likely, this is more for the audience's benefit. He is exposing their hypocrisy.
  • Why is their view of John the Baptist important? John spoke of Jesus as the one he was preaching about. John even called Jesus the Lamb of God. Therefore, if they said John was a prophet, Jesus could point to His teaching as an indicator of who He was. If they said John was not a prophet, Jesus would know He needed to start elsewhere. Their unwillingness to engage in this conversation shows that no matter what He said, they were not sincere.

Verse 28-32:Parable One: The Two Sons.

  • What are parables? Parables are complex spiritual principles framed as stories. Many times, these principles have fundamental, universal truths that can be applied in various ways, depending on the topic. Telling them in the form of a story helps us understand their multifaceted meaning.
  • Why is Jesus telling this parable? Not all of Jesus' parables are explained in the text. Luckily, this one is. Jesus tells us this parable helps us understand the answer to their question. Jesus has the authority to see and know all things. He knows who is sincere and who is not.

Top Takeaway- Jesus Knows Us. Jesus Sees Us. Jesus Never Gives Up.

Jesus understands they are not interested in the exchange of ideas and in knowing who He is. They don't come to learn. They are there to accuse. Jesus is not interested in playing games, so He reveals their hearts through one simple question. Then, Jesus reveals the hearts of all through His parable. The great news about this passage is we see the heart of Jesus. He knows us all. Nothing hides from Him. My favorite verse is verse 30. Jesus is telling the hypocritical leaders that those they have overlooked will get into the Kingdom of Heaven ahead of them. This means they are not hopeless. They are just lagging behind. He doesn't give up on anyone.

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