Matthew 21:1-22

We should once again be amazed at the depth of Matthew’s understanding of the Old Testament. Gleason Archer identifies approximately 60 Old Testament quotations in Matthew, and we find four of them here! An understanding of the entire Bible is important for a mature faith, but we must always remember the New Testament is the key to unlocking the Old.

Here the crowd seems to recognize that Jesus is a king, based upon the cloaks on the road (2 Kings 9:13) and the branches (John 12:13). Matthew helps us to understand that this is a fulfillment of Old Testament prophecy (Isaiah 62:11, Zechariah 9:9). Although the crowd is correct, they misunderstand Jesus’ mission. He is not going to set up an earthly kingdom at this time. That comes later! He is coming to set a spiritual kingdom and to rule in people’s hearts.

There appear to be two cleansings of the temple. John records one at the beginning of Jesus’ ministry, and Matthew (as well as Mark and Luke) record the one at the end. This is one of the events during “holy week” that propels the religious authorities to move against Him. There seem to be two problems Jesus is addressing. First, it seems that there was a marketplace atmosphere for pilgrims who were coming to worship. Second, the fact that people needed the right kind of currency and proper animals to sacrifice was being abused and they were being cheated. As you can imagine, ordinary people rejoiced at what He was doing, but the religious leadership was not amused. I imagine that God is still upset by these kinds of things.

Matthew condenses the account of the fig tree from two days into one. Although it speaks directly to the nation of Israel and the coming judgment for their fruitlessness, it can also serve as a warning for us. We should fear divine discipline if we aren’t living for God. His disciples are amazed by what happens, and Jesus uses it as an illustration for prayer. But here is where knowing and understanding the rest of the Bible is important. We are warned in other places that there are things in our lives that hinder prayer, and we are also warned that we are to pray with the right attitude (Psalm 66:18 and James 4:3 are examples). What we have here is an encouragement to believe in both the goodness of God and the power of prayer, not simply as blanket statement that we get whatever we want! There is only one way to get what we want, and that is to align our prayers with what God wants.

1 John 5:14 “And this is the confidence that we have before him: that whenever we ask anything according to his will, he hears us.

John 14:13 “And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son.” (where “in my name” means according to my character)

One thought on “Devotional Reading for February 1, 2022

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