Jesus is no Pretender

Matthew 21:1-17

Jerry A Collins




v     What is the lesson of the triumphal entry?

v     How do we know that Jesus is the messiah?

v     How does Jesus display that He is the Son of God?


The identity of Jesus has been all over the map for generations. People still wrestle with the identity of Jesus. Is He the Superstar? What about the pale Galilean? Or is He a great example? Maybe a novel teacher? Jesus never had an identity crisis. You never see Jesus wondering who He is or why He is here and if his life has any significance. Jesus made the claim to be the Son of God and stuck with it. He supported that claim with His credentials—healing and teaching. He never wavered about that. Yet, people still find it difficult to accept His testimony. Even those who were on the scene—at ground zero to hear these claims first hand and observe the credentials that marked these claims as valid—look at vss 15-16. Such is the case with Jesus final entry into Jerusalem. All of the events associated with this entry declare that Jesus is the promised Messiah! The last eight chapters of Matthew are devoted to Jesus passion. The rest of this book is concerned with one week in the life of Christ. All of the gospels devote much material to this period of time because everything Jesus did and taught prepared for this moment. Each section of this event is marked out by an OT reference of fulfillment by Jesus. We will learn that each of these highlight some aspect of Jesus mission here on earth and together identify Jesus as God’s Son, the Messiah and Savior. Indeed, we will see that Jesus is no Pretender!


According to John 12:1 Jesus came to Bethany six days before the Passover, the next Friday. He came to Lazarus’ home, they made Him supper, and Mary anointed His feet with perfume wiping them with her hair. Judas complained that it was a waste of money. At the time a great multitude learned He was there and they came not only to see Him but also see Lazarus and on the next day they took palm branches preparing for Jesus entrance into the city. Before he does, Jesus instructs two of His disciples—Luke 22 says Peter and John—to get the animals for the ride into town vs 2. Anyone asking they should indicate the Lord needs them vs 3. All of this to demonstrate His authority—He knew they would be there, that they would be given. So anyone who had faith would comprehend this. After the resurrection the disciples would look back and see Jesus control of events and know He is the Sovereign King. It is at this point Matthew records Zechariah 9:9 vss 4-5 as the fulfillment of this moment. So something this prophet said 500 years earlier, in God’s plan is meant for this situation. Normally kings would enter on a stallion but Jesus comes on a colt not in grandeur but in humility offering a kingdom in peace not triumphant. This symbolism points to the peace of the Kingdom to come. The idea is if we want to share in His kingdom we must acknowledge He is Lord and to enter we must accept His death for our sins. He is Lord and Savior. So if you want in on this gig Jesus is the center of attention.


A large crowd spread their garments along with palm branches and spread them along the road Jesus would ride on vs 8. It is their version of the red carpet treatment. Rev 7:9 says we will all do this before the throne and before the Lamb clothed in white robes and with palm branches in our hands. So they are paying homage to the king. Messianic expectations were high and when word spread Jesus was coming people thronged to see Him and walk with Him. His miracles and teaching had attracted a large following vs 9. They shouted Psalm 118 which is one of the Hallel Psalms sung at all of the major festivals in Jerusalem vs 9. They were crying for help or deliverance—hosanna. They had evidence that He was such through His miracles and teaching. But the kind of deliverer they wanted was not going to happen. Jesus was not arriving as a deliverer from Rome or as a political or military emissary. They could not grasp and yet needed to the suffering Savior, the Lamb of God who would take away their sins. That had to come first. Luke says Jesus answered criticism for receiving this praise by stating that the stones themselves would cry out otherwise 19:40. Everything in creation will praise Him He is that great. He would not ascend a throne but die on a cross. The entire city was stirred and questions as to Jesus identity was affirmed as the prophet not a prophet—leading one to conclude His claims were true—Jn 7:40; Acts 3:22; 7:37.


Entering the center attraction Jesus throws  out  the  Money  merchants. Moneychangers and sellers of doves. He had done this once before in Jn 2. Almost three years have passed and again the Temple was a place of business as Jesus declared a den of thieves vs 13 a corrupt commercial center. This was suppose to be a place of witness to all nations Mk 11:17 and Jesus drives them out citing Isa 56:7 the Temple as a house of prayer and Jer 7:11 their worship is ruined with dishonest business transactions. Jesus was in such control that he would not even permit anyone to carry goods thru the temple Mk 11:16. Instead of a place where faithful people worshipped it had become a place of extortion and money laundering and money making franchises controlled by the Temple authorities. For awhile Jesus put it to it’s original use. It was cleansed and a spiritual place again. Jesus did not quote the rest of Isa 56:7 where the Lord gathers the outcasts of Israel and others but he did the other half of this verse in vs 14. Answering the prayers of these outcasts made them fit for the temple without physical defects any longer because the Lord has come to His temple Mal 3:1 purifying it as Messiah and Lord. But we know that this temple was destroyed as Jesus predicted and builds a new one—the church the body of Christ. And He lives among His people even now in this new spiritual building.


He healed many people causing the children to sing His praise vs 15.  Receiving this praise is tantamount to claiming things only the Messiah could do earning the rebuke of the chief priests and scribes incensed at this vs 16. This they could not accept. Jesus quotes Psalm 8:2 about God’s praise to Himself. Jesus affirmed He was God receiving such praise. It was prepared for Him at just this time. Children do not have learned skepticism and more ready to receive the spiritual truths that transform life. So praise from these is a natural outburst for Jesus the Son of David, the Son of God. He left them vs 17 not staying where He was not wanted back to friends. An uproarious day ends with ticker tape and debris lying around. Merchants put into their place, the Temple for a moment as it was intended to be, children singing praises—all of it ordained by God for this moment—predicted beforehand fulfilled to the letter. Only dark spiritual blindness could not see what all of this pointed out and to.

1. Jesus Christ is God’s remedy for man’s ruin. He is able to solve all of the problems in life and can do so on either side of the grave since He has authority over all things

2. We should never cease praising Him for all He is and does. Even when we do not understand all He is doing as the disciples we follow in devotion and praise.

3. Opposition and criticism of Jesus always exists. Hard hearts here to stay.