Matthew 21: Holy Week Begins with a Bang

(46 verses, 5:03 to read [with children asking for milk])

What I am about to READ
  • This chapter marks the beginning of Holy Week with the Triumphal Entry into Jerusalem, and the events of Holy Monday. The tension that has been building between Jesus and the Pharisees is reaching a boiling point.


  • Here’s the outline:
    • 21:1-11, Triumphal Entry
    • 12-19, the cleansing of the temple
    • 20-22, the fig tree cursed
    • 23-46, dispute with the Pharisees
  • Note how many passages of the Old Testament are quoted in this chapter. (I count six, including two from the Psalm 118, the very middle chapter of the Bible. Mt 21:5 quotes Zech 9:9, 21:9 quotes Ps 118:25, 21:13 quotes Is 56:7 and Jer 7:11, 21:16 quotes Ps 8:2, and 21:42 quotes Ps 118:22-23. ) This should remind us of the first few chapters of Matthew where the evangelist was showing us that Jesus is the fulfillment of the prophets.


  • Here’s my best guess at a chronology of Holy Week:
  • In 21:23 the Pharisees question the validity of Jesus ordination. By referring them about John the Baptist He indicated that His ordination happened at His baptism by John.
  • The Pharisees’ fear comes up twice in this chapter, first with their refusing to answer Jesus question about John (21:26) and again after Jesus renounces them in the Parable of the Vineyard Owner (21:46).


  • Consider the word “lowly” in 21:5. How stunning that the King of Kings comes in lowliness and humility for you.
  • Consider 21:38, there is an absolute insanity of the servants, killing the son to inherit the vineyard. And yet, yet!, this is exactly what happens. We sinners inherit the Lord’s kingdom, His life in the death of His Son.
Thoughts? Comments? Questions? Post below, or join the conversation in our Facebook group:
-Pastor Bryan Wolfmueller

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