Mitch, Curtis & Edward Sri. The Gospel of Matthew. Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 2010. Kindle Electronic Edition.
“The King and the Temple (Matthew 21:1-46)” pp. 263-279.
When Jesus arrives in Jerusalem in Matthew 21, he asserts his kingship through strong prophetic signs (Mitch 2010, 263). His parables speak of judgment on those who reject him. Mitch details the welcome and fanfare upon Jesus’ entry into the city (Mitch 2010, 264) along with several signs of Jesus as the one who fulfills Messianic prophecy. This arrival and acclamation would have disturbed Jewish leaders severely (Mitch 2010, 266).
In verses 12-17 Jesus asserts his authority in the temple by driving out the various merchants (Mitch 2010, 267). This would also be seen as a move of Messianic and prophetic importance (Mitch 2010, 268). In his discourse with the priests and other leaders Jesus continues to assert his fulfillment of prophecies (Mitch 2010, 271).
In verses 18-22 Jesus gives a sign by cursing a fig tree, which Mitch recalls as a symbol of Israel (Mitch 2010, 271). The faithful prayer of the disciples should be just as effective as Jesus’ prayer because Jesus is building his faithful church (Mitch 2010, 273).
In verses 23-29, Jesus is confronted about his authority. He compares his ministry to John the Baptist, suggesting that if John was from God he was also (Mitch 2010, 274). This stopped the questions as the only valid solutions were to assert Jesus or reject John, neither of which was acceptable to the leaders.
In verses 28-32 Jesus escalates the situation by telling a parable which suggests the Jewish leaders are disobedient because they seem to seek the Messiah but in fact do not do so (Mitch 2010, 275). In another parable in vv. 33-46 Jesus compares the leaders to tenants who try to remove the landowner and keep the land for themselves (Mitch 2010, 277). Mitch observes the kindness of the owner who repeatedly gives the tenants opportunity to repent (Mitch 2010, 277). The hearers clearly understood that Jesus was speaking against them, as they wished to arrest him (Mitch 2010, 279).