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Matthew 21:1-17

Behold Your King

  • Matthew Dodd
  • Weekend Messages
  • March 28, 2021

Frankly, some things in life don’t matter that much and do not deserve our attention. But there are other things in life which deserve and demand our undivided attention.  

In Matthew 21:1-17, we will study a passage which deserves and demands our undivided attention for in it we will discover God’s message to us about His Son, Jesus Christ.

God gave signs to reveal the person and confirm the work of Israel’s Messiah. These signs are a divine declaration, “Behold your King!” God’s declaration is also an invitation, one which requires a personal response from each of us.

  • Sermon Notes
  • Scripture

Behold Your King
Matthew 21:1-17
March 28, 2021


ILLUS – Keep your eyes on the Butterball

1. Frankly, some things in life don’t matter that much and do not deserve our attention.
2. But there are other things in life which deserve and demand our undivided attention.
3. And today, we will study a passage which deserves and demands our undivided attention for in it we will discover God’s message to us about His Son, Jesus Christ.
4. God gave signs to reveal the person and confirm the work of Israel’s Messiah.
5. These signs are a divine declaration, “Behold your King!”
6. God’s declaration is also an invitation, one which requires a personal response from each of us.

Matthew 21:1-17

1. Matthew 21 marks the fourth major section of the Matthew’s Gospel. The section begins with the Triumphal Entry of Jesus into Jerusalem.
2. What was the climate like in Israel at the time of Jesus’ Triumphal Entry? In a word, polarized.
3. After Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead, we’re told that some Jews believed in Him, hoping that Jesus would deliver them from the oppressive grip of Rome.
4. Others did not believe Jesus to be the Messiah and went to the Pharisees to report all that He had done.
5. Did the chief priests and Pharisees rejoice at the news of a man being raised from the dead after being in the grave for four days? Not at all.

John 11:47-48, 57, Therefore the chief priests and the Pharisees convened a council, and were saying, “What are we doing? For this man is performing many signs. If we let Him go on like this, all men will believe in Him, and the Romans will come and take away both our place and our nation.” Now the chief priests and the Pharisees had given orders that if anyone knew where He was, he should report it, that they might seize Him.

6. The religious establishment was so intimidated by and hostile toward Jesus that they even talked about killing Lazarus “because on account of him many of the Jews were going away, and were believing in Jesus.” (John 12:11)
7. For a season, Jesus avoided walking “publicly among the Jews” and went to the country near the wilderness to stay with His disciples. (John 11:54)
8. But when we come to Matthew 21:1, it’s time to prepare for the Passover. Jesus went on ahead of His disciples and ascended to Jerusalem because it was the appointed time to present Himself as their Messiah. (Luke 19:28)

Transition – Through the events of this day, a Sunday, God was declaring. . .

I. Behold, Jesus Christ Has Come to Save Us (1-10)

• Throughout this Gospel, Matthew records the many signs which confirmed that Jesus is the long-awaited King, the Messiah.
• The Triumphal Entry was the appointed time to fulfill more prophetic signs which further confirmed that Jesus is Messiah.
• These signs invite us to think about who Jesus is and also require our response.
• The first proper response is. . .

A. Rejoice, God is in control
1. Everything was going according to God’s plan.
2. And Israel should have known this was the appointed time.
3. In fact, they should have been counting down the days, literally.

ILLUS – Counting down the days until Christmas.

4. One of the most important Messianic prophecies is found in Daniel 9 where God gave an amazing degree of detail for discerning the appointed time for Messiah’s arrival.
5. Through the prophet Daniel, God gave the timeline for the coming of Messiah into Jerusalem, down to the exact day.

Daniel 9:24-26, Seventy weeks have been decreed for your people and your holy city, to finish transgression, to make an end of sin, to make atonement for iniquity, to bring in everlasting righteousness, to seal up vision and prophecy and to anoint the most holy place. So you are to know and discern that from the issuing of a decree to restore and rebuild Jerusalem until Messiah the Prince there will be 7 weeks and 62 weeks; it will be built again, with plaza and moat even in times of distress. Then after the 62 weeks the Messiah will be cut off and have nothing, and the people of the prince who is to come will destroy the city and the sanctuary.

a. “From the issuing of a decree to restore and rebuild Jerusalem until Messiah the Prince there will be 7 weeks and 62 weeks.”
b. Scholars believe each week in Daniel’s prophecy equals one year.
c. 7 + 62 = 69 weeks or 483 years.
d. 483 years equals 173,880 days according to the Babylonian calendar.
e. Counting the days from the issuing of the decree to restore and rebuild Jerusalem literally brings you to this Sunday recorded in Matthew 21, the Triumphal Entry of Jesus.

APPL – Why was God so precise? So that Israel may know and be ready for the coming of Messiah, the King.

• Like the birth of Jesus, Israel should have known and been prepared.
• And God has preserved this record in His Word so that we may know and respond with rejoicing for our King has come to save us.

Transition – Save us from what? Our burdens. . .

B. Jesus came to bear our burdens

1. Prior to entering Jerusalem, Jesus and His disciples came to a town on the east side of the Mount of Olives called Bethphage, which means “house of figs.”

2. He directed two of His disciples to go to a nearby village and get a colt, on which no one had ever sat, and bring it to Him. (1-2)
a. Matthew and John specify that the colt was donkey. The colt’s mother was brought along to comfort the foal because it had never carried a rider.
b. There was a custom called angaria whereby animals would be called into service for significant persons. For this reason, Jesus directed the disciples to respond to anyone who asked that the Lord has need of it. (3)
c. The disciples found it just as He said.

3. The disciples brought the colt and its mother to Jesus. They placed their garments on the colt, like a saddle, and then placed Jesus on the colt.

4. This too was a sign, a fulfillment of a prophecy found in Zechariah.

Zechariah 9:9, Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion! Shout in triumph, O daughter of Jerusalem! Behold, your king is coming to you; He is just and endowed with salvation, humble, and mounted on a donkey, even on a colt, the foal of a donkey.

APPL – Again, when we see prophesies fulfilled, we need to see that they come with significant meaning.

• Zechariah prophesied that the King would come to them, gentle, and mounted on the colt of a donkey, a beast of burden.
• Right away we see the significance of Jesus’ humility and His heart to carry our burdens.

Matthew 11:28-30, Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you, and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart; and YOU SHALL FIND REST FOR YOUR SOULS. For My yoke is easy, and My load is light.

APPL – Now, if Jesus rode a war horse, it would signify that He did not come in peace but was ready to make war.

• But Jesus, our Savior, is humble and identified with the humble and lowly.
• He did not come to lord it over those He came to save, like the Gentile leaders, nor load burdens on His people, like the religious leaders of His day.
• Jesus came to be our burden-bearer.

5. The sign was not lost on many in the crowd.

6. Jesus mounted the donkey and climbed the Mount of Olives. Some people were spreading their garments while others were placing palm branches in the road to create a royal carpet.

7. It reached a crescendo when the crowd sang from Psalm 118, a Psalm reserved only for Messiah.

Psalm 118:25-26, O LORD, do save, we beseech You; O LORD, we beseech You, do send prosperity! Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the LORD

APPL – This was the first time that Jesus permitted people to praise Him openly.

• The people were publicly declaring that He is the Messiah, Israel’s King.
• But not all. . .

8. The Pharisees said to Him, “Teacher, rebuke Your disciples.” (Luke 19:39)
a. This was an official rejection of Jesus by the religious leaders.
b. They were declaring that Jesus is NOT Israel’s Messiah.

9. Jesus answered, “I tell you, if these become silent, the stones will cry out!” (Luke 19:40)

APPL – Jesus was declaring just how hard the heart of man can be.

• Creation recognizes the presence of its Creator.
• But man, in his stubbornness, can be unwilling to do so.

10.In Luke 19:41, we’re told that Jesus wept over the city. This is not the watering of the eyes, with a few tears dropped. Jesus wailed over Jerusalem.
a. He came to offer peace to the “City of Peace,” for that’s what the name Jerusalem means.
b. Ironically and tragically, the leaders, who represented the city and the nation, rejected His offer of peace.
c. Because of the hardness of their hearts, the reality of His gracious offer was hidden from their eyes.

APPL – The truth is, if you want to have a hard heart, God will respect your wishes.

C. S. Lewis wrote in The Great Divorce, “There are only two kinds of people in the end; those who say to God, ‘Thy will be done,’ and those to whom God says, in the end, ‘Thy will be done.’”

• But this does not mean that God is pleased with your decision.

Ezekiel 33:11, “Say to them, ‘As I live!’ declares the LORD God, ‘I take no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but rather that the wicked turn from his way and live. Turn back, turn back from your evil ways! Why then will you die, O house of Israel?’”

• God loves us and wants to bless our lives.
• He sent His Son, Jesus Christ, to take away the burden our sin has created in our lives.

II. Behold, Jesus Christ is Lord of All (11-17)

• When Jesus entered Jerusalem, He immediately entered the Temple.
• He immediately overturned the tables of the money changers and those selling doves.
• And He said to them, “It is written, ‘MY HOUSE SHALL BE CALLED A HOUSE OF PRAYER’; but you are making it a ROBBERS’ DEN.” (13)
• Why did Jesus do this?
• Because they were robbing the people financially and also robbing them spiritually by getting in the way of their desire to honor and worship God.
• They had corrupted God’s house.
• Also notice, Jesus equated Himself with God by declaring the Temple to be His house. Another sign.

APPL – It is also important to see that there is great application for our lives. . .

A. Jesus will overturn what must be overturned

1. The Apostle Paul wrote that Christians are now the temple of the Holy Spirit.

1 Corinthians 6:19-20, Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and that you are not your own? For you have been bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body.

2. So, this is also a picture of what God wants to do with those things that stand against God in our lives.

APPL – God wants our agreement, not our resistance.

• Please know God is for you, that He is a good Father, and that’s why some things need to go.

Hebrews 12:9-11, Furthermore, we had earthly fathers to discipline us, and we respected them; shall we not much rather be subject to the Father of spirits, and live? For they disciplined us for a short time as seemed best to them, but He disciplines us for our good, so that we may share His holiness. All discipline for the moment seems not to be joyful, but sorrowful; yet to those who have been trained by it, afterwards it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness.

• Are there things in your life that God wants to overturn or cast out?
• Will you please let them go so that God may heal what needs to be healed in your life?

B. Jesus wants to heal what needs to be healed

1. The very next verse says that the blind and the lame came to Jesus and He healed them all.

2. Both the cleansing of the Temple and the healing of broken lives was exactly what they needed.

Ezekiel 34:15-16, “I will feed My flock and I will lead them to rest,” declares the Lord God. “I will seek the lost, bring back the scattered, bind up the broken and strengthen the sick; but the fat and the strong I will destroy. I will feed them with judgment.”

APPL – God does both things for us.

• He will overturn what needs to be overturned.
• And He will heal what needs to be healed.

Matthew 12:20-21, A battered reed He will not break off, and a smoldering wick He will not put out, until He leads justice to victory. And in His name the Gentiles will hope.

3. In the Temple, while the blind and the lame were being healed, the children resumed their singing of Psalm 118, “Hosanna to the Son of David”. (15)

4. The chief priests were furious and said to Jesus, “Do You hear what these children are saying?” (16) Again, this was another official rejection of Jesus.

5. But Jesus did not stop the children. For the second time He received their worship and equated Himself with God by quoting from Psalm 8:2, “Yes; have you never read, ‘OUT OF THE MOUTH OF INFANTS AND NURSING BABIES YOU HAVE PREPARED PRAISE FOR YOURSELF’?” (16)

APPL – All the signs confirm Jesus is the Messiah.

• The appointed day.
• The right way, on the foal of a donkey.
• The cleansing of God’s house.
• The healing of the broken lives.
• The praise and worship of the children.
• God was shouting from heaven, “Behold Your King!”


APPL – But if someone does not respond when you call their name, what message are they sending to you?

• It means they are not listening to you.
• They do not want to talk with you.
• But when God calls, would you agree that it is time to answer?

Revelation 3:20, Behold, I stand at the door and knock; if anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and will dine with him, and he with Me.

• Will you answer His call and accept His invitation to receive His Son as your Savior?
• Are there things in your life that need to be overturned?
• Are there things in your life that need to be healed?
• Will you let the King of Glory change your life?

Matthew 21:1-17   NASB

1 When they had approached Jerusalem and had come to Bethphage, at the Mount of Olives, Jesus then sent two disciples, 2 saying to them, “Go into the village opposite you, and immediately you will find a donkey tied there and a colt with it. Untie them and bring them to Me. 3 And if anyone says anything to you, you shall say, ‘The Lord needs them,’ and he will send them on immediately.” 4 Now this [a]took place so that what was spoken through [b]the prophet would be fulfilled:

5 “Say to the daughter of Zion,
‘Behold your King is coming to you,
Humble, and mounted on a donkey,
Even on a colt, the foal of a donkey.’”

6 The disciples went and did just as Jesus had instructed them, 7 and brought the donkey and the colt, and laid their cloaks on them; and He sat on [c]the cloaks. 8 Most of the crowd spread their cloaks on the road, and others were cutting branches from the trees and spreading them on the road. 9 Now the crowds going ahead of Him, and those who followed, were shouting,

“[d]Hosanna to the Son of David;
Blessed is the One who comes in the name of the Lord;
[e]Hosanna in the highest!”

10 When He had entered Jerusalem, all the city was stirred, saying, “Who is this?” 11 And the crowds were saying, “This is Jesus the prophet, from Nazareth in Galilee.”12 And Jesus entered the temple area and drove out all those who were selling and buying on the temple grounds, and He overturned the tables of the money changers and the seats of those who were selling doves. 13 And He *said to them, “It is written: ‘My house will be called a house of prayer’; but you are making it a den of robbers.”

14 And those who were blind and those who limped came to Him in the temple area, and He healed them. 15 But when the chief priests and the scribes saw the wonderful things that He had done, and the children who were shouting in the temple area, “[f]Hosanna to the Son of David,” they became indignant, 16 and they said to Him, “Do You hear what these children are saying?” And Jesus *said to them, “Yes. Have you never read, ‘From the mouths of infants and nursing babies You have prepared praise for Yourself’?” 17 And He left them and went out of the city to Bethany, and spent the night there.


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