The Gospel According to St. Matthew: Matthew Chapter 21: Read Here: https://www.lds.org/scriptures/nt/matt/21?lang=eng
‘And when they drew nigh unto Jerusalem, and were come to Bethphage, unto the mount of Olives, then sent Jesus two disciples, Saying unto them,
“Go into the village over against you, and straightway ye shall find an ass tied, and a colt with her: loose them, and bring them unto me. And if any man say ought unto you, ye shall say, The Lord hath need of them; and straightway he will send them.”
‘All this was done, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet, saying,
“Tell ye the daughter of Sion, Behold, thy King cometh unto thee, meek, and sitting upon an ass, and a colt the foal of an ass.”
‘And the disciples went, and did as Jesus commanded them, And brought the ass, and the colt, and put on them their clothes, and they set him thereon. And a very great multitude spread their garments in the way; others cut down branches from the trees, and strawed them in the way. And the multitudes that went before, and that followed, cried, saying,
“Hosanna to the Son of David: Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord; Hosanna in the highest” (Matt 21:1-9)
Into the city I’d follow the children’s band,
Waving a branch of the palm tree high in my hand;
One of His heralds, yes, I would sing
Loudest hosannas, “Jesus is King!”
Verse from “Tell Me the Stories of Jesus”: Words: W. H. Parker; Music: Frederic A. Challinor
Further thoughts: Can you imagine being there to see this procession as they entered into Jerusalem? We read “all the city was moved (vs.10). Would this not be a touching, moving scene to behold? Would we sense the significance? Would we feel the importance of what was happening and about to unfold? Would we understand? We can learn these things through the power of the Holy Ghost. Do we accept Jesus as our King?
‘And when he was come into Jerusalem, all the city was moved, saying,
“Who is this?”
‘And the multitude said,
“This is Jesus the prophet of Nazareth of Galilee”’ (vs. 10-11).
‘And Jesus went into the temple of God, and cast out all them that sold and bought in the temple, and overthrew the tables of the moneychangers, and the seats of them that sold doves, And said unto them, It is written,
“My house shall be called the house of prayer; but ye have made it a den of thieves” (vs. 12-13).
Further thought: Those that were humble recognized Him as their Lord, Redeemer, Healer, and Friend. The proud were annoyed at His miracles and at children following Him in the temple and at the praise He received.
‘And the blind and the lame came to him in the temple; and he healed them. And when the chief priests and scribes saw the wonderful things that he did, and the children crying in the temple, and saying, “Hosanna to the Son of David;” they were sore displeased, And said unto him,
“Hearest thou what these say?”
And Jesus saith unto them,
“Yea; have ye never read, Out of the mouth of babes and sucklings thou hast perfected praise” (vs. 14-16)?
Further thought: Who is it that can recognize the Lord? Think about what qualities we need to develop to recognize Him and to worship Him more fully.
After that, Jesus went to Bethany and lodged there for the night. In the morning he returned to the city, and he was hungry.
‘And when he saw a fig tree in the way, he came to it, and found nothing thereon, but leaves only, and said unto it,
“Let no fruit grow on thee henceforward for ever.”
‘And presently the fig tree withered away. And when the disciples saw it, they marvelled, saying,
“How soon is the fig tree withered away!”
Jesus answered and said unto them,
“Verily I say unto you, If ye have faith, and doubt not, ye shall not only do this which is done to the fig tree, but also if ye shall say unto this mountain, Be thou removed, and be thou cast into the sea; it shall be done. And all things, whatsoever ye shall ask in prayer, believing, ye shall receive.” (vs. 19-22)
Further thoughts: Do we understand the symbolism of Jesus cursing the fig tree?
More importantly, When it is necessary for us to have faith, do we have it?
‘And when he was come into the temple, the chief priests and the elders of the people came unto him as he was teaching, and said,
“By what authority doest thou these things? and who gave thee this authority?”
‘And Jesus answered and said unto them,
“I also will ask you one thing, which if ye tell me, I in like wise will tell you by what authority I do these things. The baptism of John, whence was it? from heaven, or of men?”
‘And they reasoned with themselves, saying, If we shall say, From heaven; he will say unto us, Why did ye not then believe him? But if we shall say, Of men; we fear the people; for all hold John as a prophet. And they answered Jesus, and said,
“We cannot tell.”
‘And he said unto them,
“Neither tell I you by what authority I do these things” (vs. 23-27).
Characteristic of Jesus, he answers a question with a question. What can we learn from that example? Why did He do so in this circumstance? Were they worthy or ready to accept who He is?
“But what think ye? A certain man had two sons; and he came to the first, and said,
‘Son, go work to day in my vineyard.’
“He answered and said,
‘I will not’: but afterward he repented, and went.
“And he came to the second, and said likewise. And he answered and said,
‘I go, sir’: and went not.
“Whether of them twain did the will of his father?”
They say unto him,
Jesus saith unto them,
“Verily I say unto you, That the publicans and the harlots go into the kingdom of God before you. For John came unto you in the way of righteousness, and ye believed him not: but the publicans and the harlots believed him: and ye, when ye had seen it, repented not afterward, that ye might believe him” (vs 28-32).
Further thoughts: Sometimes it is those who should really know the truth and live the gospel, or who have been given every opportunity to know, that get so caught up in the motions or the routines of observing their duties, that they fail to value the gift they have and to truly internalize it. Can we learn all the stories about Jesus and yet fail to know Him?
The chief priests and elders had studied the law and the prophets, but they failed to recognize the Lawgiver. They did not recognize the fulfillment of prophecy in accepting both John the Baptist as a prophet and Jesus as the Son of God. What must we do to guard ourselves from becoming like the Pharisees?
But those who were harlots and publicans received the messengers and embraced the message when it was presented to them.
Read verses 33 through 46.
After hearing the parable of the lord of the vineyard whose servants were shamefully treated and killed, and whose own son was killed, the chief priests and elders condemned themselves when they answered this question,
“When the lord therefore of the vineyard cometh, what will he do unto those husbandmen?”
They say unto him,
“He will miserably destroy those wicked men, and will let out his vineyard unto other husbandmen, which shall render him the fruits in their seasons” (vs. 40-41).
‘Jesus saith unto them,
“Did ye never read in the scriptures, The stone which the builders rejected, the same is become the head of the corner: this is the Lord’s doing, and it is marvellous in our eyes? Therefore say I unto you, The kingdom of God shall be taken from you, and given to a nation bringing forth the fruits thereof. And whosoever shall fall on this stone shall be broken: but on whomsoever it shall fall, it will grind him to powder” (vs. 42-44).
The chief priests and Pharisees weren’t happy that these parables were directed towards them.
“But when they sought to lay hands on him, they feared the multitude, because they took him for a prophet” (vs. 46).
How blind are those who will not see?