We want Jesus to be our Savior, but do we really want Him to be our King? Today we’re going to begin our study on biblical prophecy. Today’s post does not hit the nitty gritty of prophecy. That is still to come. We need to prepare our hearts and minds for Jesus’s return before we can discuss the allegorical interpretations of scripture. To do that we need to know Jesus as King. We will start in Matthew 21.
If you missed our introductory posts on biblical prophecy you can find them below:
“As they approached Jerusalem and came to Bethpage on the Mount of Olives, Jesus sent two disciples, saying to them, ‘Go to the village ahead of you, and at once you will find a donkey tied there, with her colt by her. Untie them and bring them to me. If anyone says anything to you, tell them that the Lord needs them, and he will send them right away.’ This took place to fulfill what was spoken through the prophet: ‘Say to the Daughter of Zion, see your king comes to you, gentle and riding on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey.’”
It’s interesting to note that Matthew is the only gospel to tell us there are two donkeys there.
Historically when a king approached a city, if he was coming in peace he would ride on a donkey. If he was coming for war, he would ride a white horse. What God is showing us in this picture is that Jesus was coming as the Prince of Peace, the one who would make reconciliation between man and God. Because man had moved from God, he chose to sin, and he listened to the enemy. So God provided a sacrifice, a way for man to return to God. Matthew is proclaiming the prophecy of Zechariah 9 had come to pass. The book of Matthew takes events in Jesus’s life, those that stress who He is as a person and as truly the King/Son of David, and the Son of Abraham. Matthew takes the prophecy of the Old Testament and brings it into New Testament times. He is saying Jesus is all that was said about him.
The disciples did as Jesus said. Imagine a donkey and a colt coming down the road. They have put coats on the sand, Jesus mounting the colt. They do not understand that this is prophecy being fulfilled. This is the very moment scripture is being fulfilled.
“The disciples went and did as Jesus had instructed them. They brought the donkey and the colt, placed their cloaks on them, and Jesus sat on them. A very large crowd spread their cloaks on the road, while others cut braches from the trees and spread them on the road. The crowds that went ahead of him and those that followed shouted, ‘Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord! Hosanna in the highest!’”
Hosanna. What does hosanna mean? It means save us. Who was coming? It was their Savior, their King, mounted on a donkey just as Zechariah 9:9 said.
“Rejoice greatly, O Daughter of Zion! Shout, Daughter of Jerusalem! See, your king comes to you, righteous and having salvation, gentle and riding on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey.”
Zechariah is talking to the Daughter of Zion. Israel. To the place where the Son of David is to reigan
Let’s look at Matthew chapter 1, and in the introduction of the gospel, we read what Matthew is all about. The genealogy of Christ, the Son of David, the Messiah. It is the Son of David that is to take the throne, to be King, and to reign forever and ever. So when they’re shouting hosanna to Jesus, they are confessing that he is the king, the one coming to save. Yes, he was coming to be the One to take away the sins of the people, but He was also coming to be their king. He cannot be one and not the other. We cannot choose His salvation without letting Him reign over our lives.
Let’s return to Matthew. Verse 12 states,
“Jesus entered the temple area and drove out all who were buying and selling there. He overturned the tables of the money changers and the benches of those selling doves. ‘It is written,’ He said to them, ‘My house will be called a house of prayer, but you are making it a den of robbers.’ The blind and the lame came to him at the temple and he healed them. But when the chief priests and the teachers of the law saw the wonderful things he did and the children shouting in the temple area, ‘Hosanna to the Son of David,’ they were indignant. ‘Do you hear what these children are saying?’ they asked Him. ‘Yes,’ replied Jesus, ‘have you never read, ‘From the lips of children and infants you have ordained praise?’ And he left them and went out of the city to Bethany, where he spent the night.”
After Jesus descended the road from Bethpage to Bethany, he entered Jerusalem, and as you can imagine, the city was absolutely astir. Matthew 21:10 says, “When Jesus entered Jerusalem, the whole city stirred and asked, ‘Who is this?’” So who is this man to you? Deuteronomy 18:15 describes him this way. “The Lord your God will raise up for you a prophet like me from among your own brothers. You must listen to him.” We are listening to him. We are studying his word. This historical account from Matthew reaffirms who Jesus Christ is, what he has done, and how you and I are to live in the light of His word.
Jesus enters into the temple, and immediately drives out those who were buying and selling there. He overturned the tables of the money changers and the benches of those selling doves. These people were profiting from those who came to the temple to pray and to sacrifice. The rule was the people couldn’t use ordinary money in the temple. They were exchanging common currency for temple money – with a charge on the exchange. On top of that, they were making a profit off of selling the sacrifices. They had taken his house and made it a house of profit. “It is written, he said to them, my house will be called a house of prayer, but you are making it a den of robbers.” This is the place where you worship the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. This was his house. Is your Christianity the kind that only wants God if you can profit from God, or do you want God for the sake of communion, for the sake of intimacy, for the sake of knowing truth and walking in the truth?
He leaves the city, and travels back down the road on which he entered.
We all know how it feels to be rejected. What do you think Jesus was feeling as he traveled back up that dusty road? Knowing all that was to take place later that week?
Psalm 118:22 tells us,
“The stone the builders rejected has become the capstone.”
The very one they rejected is the one coming down the road from Jerusalem to Bethany. The time was upon them. The one who has come to save is the one who will one day sit on the throne. This is the Lord’s doings. What he planned all along.
Psalm 118 goes on to say, “The Lord is God, and He has given us light; Bind the festival sacrifice with cords to the horns of the altar.”
This is describing how the Israelites would bring the sacrifice to the temple, having the rope around the neck of the animal they are sacrificing, and bind it to the horns on the altar. All of this is predicting what is to happen when Jesus comes in to take away the sins of the world.
“Early in the morning, as he was on his way back to the city, he was hungry. Seeing a fig tree by the road, he went up to it but found nothing on it except leaves. The he said to it, ‘may you never bear fruit again!’ Immediately the tree withered. When the disciples saw this, they were amazed. ‘How did the fig tree wither so quickly?’ they asked. Jesus replied, ‘I tell you the truth, if you have faith and do not doubt, not only can you do what was done to the fig tree, but also you can say to this mountain, ‘Go throw yourself into the sea,’ and it will be done. If you believe, you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer.”
“Truly I say to you” is said about 31 times in Matthew. It means amen, so be it.
Jesus expects us to be flourishing, to be producing fruit. But often he only finds leaves. The fig tree that had no fruit soon lost its leaves. It withered and died.
After they rejected Christ, blindness and hardness grew upon them. And soon enough, their place and nation withered and were uprooted. We should also fear being barren fig trees.
What a way to bring this message to conclusion.
We are our Father’s house. He dwells in you if you’re a child of God. This is to be a house of prayer. We are not to use God or his house for profiting ourselves. He says that if we commune with him, believe him and understand that He is who He says He is, we will have faith to move mountains. Let’s open the doors of our hearts, and let Jesus in. Let him overturn anything that is not his will, and use our lives to glorify him. Let him be your King.