Saturday, June 10th, 2023
the Week of Proper 4 / Ordinary 9
the Week of Proper 4 / Ordinary 9
Gaebelein's Annotated Bible Gaebelein's Annotated
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Gaebelein, Arno Clemens. "Commentary on Matthew 21". "Gaebelein's Annotated Bible". https://studylight.org/
commentaries/ eng/ gab/ matthew-21.html. 1913-1922.
Gaebelein, Arno Clemens. "Commentary on Matthew 21". "Gaebelein's Annotated Bible". https://studylight.org/
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9. The King Enters into Jerusalem.
The Parables of the Two Sons and the Householder and His Vineyard.
1. The King Enters Jerusalem. (Matthew 21:1-11 .) 2. The Second Cleansing of the Temple. (Matthew 21:12-17 .) 3. The Fig tree Cursed. (Matthew 21:18-22 .) 4. His Authority Impeached and His Question. (Matthew 21:23-27 .) 5. The Parable of the Two Sons. (Matthew 21:28-32 .) 6. The Parable of the Householder. (Matthew 21:33-39 .) 7. The Lord's Question and the King's Sentence. (Matthew 21:40-46 .)
We are now reaching the beginning of the end. The King with His disciples draws near to Jerusalem to hold his triumphant royal entry into the city, and to be presented as King to the same. What scenes have passed before our eyes in the study of the Gospel. We have followed the mighty events connected with the manifestation of the King in the midst of His people, the miracles of messianic power, which demonstrated before the eyes of Israel that He is Jehovah. We learned how the kingdom was preached and rejected; how His own to whom He came received Him not. In all these events and miracles the most complete dispensational facts were seen foreshadowed, while we learned the same facts from the Words and parables of the King. We are in the last stage now, one intensely interesting, of great importance and solemn meaning. May He Himself through His Spirit open this Gospel still more to our understanding and give us much light and great blessing through the meditation on His Word.
His entry into Jerusalem, which is before us first of all, was witnessed by immense multitudes of people, as we shall learn from the text. Criticism has given a strange motive for the Lord’s entrance into Jerusalem. It has been said that He was carried away by enthusiasm and expected that the people would now surely receive Him as the Messiah-King; while other critics explained His entry to the city as a kind of a concession to the messianic expectations of His disciples. How dishonoring to Him are all such foolish speculation. The simple fact is that He is the King and as such He had to come to Jerusalem and fulfill that which had been predicted by Zechariah, the prophet.
“And when they drew near to Jerusalem and came to Bethphage, at the mount of Olives, then Jesus sent two disciples, saying to them, Go into the village over against you, and immediately ye will find an ass tied, and a colt with it; loose them and lead them to me. And if anyone say anything to you, ye shall say, The Lord has need of them, and straightway he will send them. But all this came to pass, that that might be fulfilled which was spoken through the prophet, saying, Say to the daughters of Zion, Behold thy King cometh to Thee, meek and riding upon an ass, and upon a colt the foal of an ass.” (Matthew 21:1-5 )
“Bethphage” means “house of unripe figs,” surely significant if we consider the typical meaning of the fig tree, and the cursing of the fig tree, which is recorded in the chapter. From this place He sends forth His two disciples to bring the colt and the ass to Him. This act of the Lord flashes forth once more His Glory and that the King-Messiah is Jehovah. He knew that yonder was an ass tied with a colt as He knew the fish and the piece of silver in the sea, and as He commanded the fish with the stater to go to Peter’s hook so here He demands the use of the ass and colt; He has a right to them for He is the Creator and He can say as He has said: “For every beast of the forest is mine, and the cattle upon a thousand hills. I know all the fowls of the mountains, and the wild beasts of the field are mine” (Psalms 50:10-11 ). In Mark’s Gospel we read, “And they found the colt bound to the door without at the crossway and they loose him. And some of those standing there said to them, What are you doing loosing the colt? And they said to them as Jesus had commanded them. And they let them do it” (Mark 11:4-7 ). No doubt the majestic “The Lord has need of them” made such a deep impression upon the hearts of these men who either owned the colt or had charge of it, that they were ready at once to let them go. It was His Word which demanded obedience and which was obeyed.
But the whole scene had been predicted in the Old Testament and here in the Gospel of the King this prophecy is put into the foreground. The quotation refers us to Zechariah 9:1-17 . We shall quote the whole prophecy:
“Rejoice greatly, daughter of Zion, Shout aloud daughter of Jerusalem, Behold thy King cometh to thee, Just and having salvation, Meek and riding upon an ass, Even upon a colt, the she-ass’s foal.”
This prophecy stands in contrast to the Grecian conqueror, mentioned in the first part of the ninth chapter of Zechariah. The Jews acknowledged that the words are a messianic prophecy. One of the leading Jewish commentators (Solomon Ben Jarchi commonly known as Rashi.) says, “It is impossible to interpret it of any other than King Messiah.”
The Jews have also an interesting legend, though foolish, which claims that the ass upon which King Messiah rides is the same which Abraham saddled when he went on the way to offer up Isaac and that is the same animal which Moses used. This shows how firmly the Jews believe in Zechariah (9:9-10) as a messianic prediction. But we noticed that only part of the original prophecy is quoted in Matthew. The Holy Spirit leaves out “Just and having salvation.” In these omissions the critics as well as other unbelievers in the inspiration of the Bible scent discrepancies and errors. But recently a professor made the statement that the writers of the New Testament had a limited and imperfect knowledge of the Old Testament Scriptures and he tried to prove his assertion by the quotations found in the New Testament. But Matthew, Mark, John, Peter or Paul did not write themselves, but it is the Holy Spirit who used them as an instrument. It is not Matthew or Paul quoting the Old Testament, but the same Spirit of God who gave the Old Testament Scriptures through the prophets, quotes in the New His own utterances. And while these critics see nothing but imperfection in these quotations the true believer sees nothing but perfection in them and finds here a strong argument for verbal inspiration. It is so in the passage before us. Man would have quoted every word from Zechariah’s prophecy, but the Spirit of God leaves out “just and having salvation” because this was not to come to Jerusalem then, for Jerusalem would not have the King. The King is coming again to Jerusalem and then when He comes riding the white horse (Revelation 19:1-21 ) all that which is not yet fulfilled in Zechariah’s prophecy will be fulfilled. Then it shall be as we read in the context:
“And I will cut off the chariot from Ephraim, and the horse from Jerusalem, and the battle bow shall be cut off, and He shall speak peace to the nations and His dominion shall be from sea to sea, and from the river to the ends of the earth.”
The Talmudists have labored to overcome the difficulty which they have concerning the coming of the Messiah, when they consider (Daniel 7:13 ) that He comes in the clouds of Heaven, and in Zechariah that He comes riding upon an ass. “If the Israelites are good then He shall come in the clouds of heaven, but if not good, then riding upon an ass.” (Sanhedrin Tract) We return to the account before us.
“But the disciples having gone and done as Jesus had ordered them, brought the ass and the colt and put their garments upon them and He sat on them. But a very great multitude strewed their own garments on the way, and others kept cutting down branches from the trees and strewing them on the way. And the multitudes who went before Him, and who followed cried, saying, Hosanna to the Son of David; blessed be He, who comes in the name of the Lord; Hosanna in the Highest. And so He entered into Jerusalem, the whole city was moved saying, Who is this? And the multitudes said, This is the Prophet, who is from Nazareth of Galilee.”
What a sight this must have been to behold! How eager the disciples were to act their parts. No doubt enthusiastic Peter was here in the lead, only too ready to put His Lord into the place of authority. The multitude was very great. Large numbers had followed Him from Jericho, while equally large numbers came forth from the City. Large numbers of pilgrims had come to Jerusalem for the feast, among them many, no doubt, who had seen Jesus and had witnessed His mighty miracles in Galilee. The news of the resurrection of Lazarus, which is not reported in our Gospel, because it belongs properly only in the fourth Gospel record, had spread throughout Jerusalem and when the news reached there that He was coming near the city, ready to hold his entry, thousands went forth to meet Him. The garments were spread in the way; it was an Oriental custom to put before the feet of kings costly rugs and the multitudes followed this custom by putting their garments down. What a sight it must have been -- the thousands coming to meet Him with Palm branches in their hands, waving them over their heads, while the multitudes which followed did the same. And then they broke out in the glad shouts, quoting partly from the 118th Psalm “Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessed is He that cometh in the name of the Lord! Hosanna in the Highest.” Hosanna means “save now.” The phrase “Hosanna” is used by the Jews at the feast of tabernacles and the waving of the palms reminds one also of that feast, which has such a prophetic significance. It will be kept throughout the Millennium and the nations will go up to Jerusalem to worship the Lord of hosts. According to Jewish tradition the 118th Psalm was also chanted when the people came forth from Jerusalem to meet the pilgrims. And this foreshadows also His second coming. But how different the scene will be then. He comes forth out of the opened heavens, riding upon a white horse; Jerusalem will be besieged and in great distress; a great multitude will accompany Him from above, His many sons, the Saints as well as angels; the remnant of Israel will cry out “Hosanna to the Son of David. Blessed is He that cometh in the name of the Lord.”
When that wonderful entry took place, the King riding upon the colt, and the whole city was moved as by a mighty earthquake, His enemies declared amongst themselves, “Behold, the world is gone after Him” (John 12:10 ). What a triumph it was! The King entering Jerusalem. And in all He is undisturbed. Others might have been swept away by this enthusiasm; but He is calm in all His kingly majesty. Luke’s gospel tells us that He wept. “And when He was come near, He beheld the city, and wept over it.” And what kind of weeping was this? He wept at the grave of Lazarus and that was a still, a silent weeping. But before Jerusalem He broke out in loud and deep lamentations. This is clearly proven by the different words used in the original.
The King knew what was soon to be, and on yonder hill He saw looming up the cross. True, they were crying, “Son of David, save now!” But the question, “Who is this?” is answered in the terms of rejection. Instead of “the King, Jehovah-Jesus, the Messiah,” the multitude answers “Jesus, the Prophet of Nazareth of Galilee.”
The first errand of the King in His city is the temple. “And Jesus entered into the temple of God, and cast out all that sold and bought in the temple, and overthrew the tables of the money-changers and the seats of those that sold the doves. And He says to them, It is written, My house shall be called a house of prayer, but ye have made it a den of robbers” (Matthew 21:12-13 ). This is the second time that the Lord acted in cleansing the temple. The first is recorded in the Gospel of John 2:13 ; John 2:17 , and it took place at the beginning of His ministry. There it is the zeal for God’s house, but here He acts in all His Kingly authority. How great and awful must have been the defilement of God’s temple in those days. Money changers were undoubtedly in the foreground, for money played then in the days of the Jewish apostasy as important a role as it does in the apostasy we witness about us. “We can picture to ourselves the scene around the table of an eastern money changer -- the weighing of the coins, deductions for loss of weight, arguing, disputing, bargaining, and we realize the terrible truthfulness of our Lord’s charge that they had made the Father’s house a mart and a place of traffic.” (Edersheim: Life of Christ, Vol. I., 369.) And besides the money changers were those who bought and sold. All that which was required for the meat and drink offering was for sale by the Temple authorities. With the sale much speculation was connected; covetousness, as Jewish talmudical writings prove, was the ruling passion in this blasphemous traffic. And the most awful fact was that the priesthood, especially the High-priestly family earned riches from it. The Bazaars and the Temple markets were controlled and owned by the sons of Annas.
Into this scene of desecration He enters. No whip of cords is in His hands; the King does not need it. The tables are turned over in wild confusion; the coins roll over the pavement, while the sacrificial animals and birds are driven out, perhaps in a wild stampede, followed by their owners and the officials of the temple. And what He uses is His own Word. “It is written my house shall be called an house of prayer; but ye have made it a den of robbers.” It was His house, as well as His Father’s. Of old in the first house His own Glory appeared and dwelt there. The words “mine house shall be called an house of prayer” are found in Isaiah 56:7 . “For all people” which is in Isaiah, the Lord does not quote. That temple was not meant to be a house “for all people;” the temple in Isaiah 56:7 is the millennial temple, and that future temple will be the house to which the nations of the earth will come during the coming age, to worship the Lord of Hosts. And so the Lord came suddenly to His temple to cleanse it (Malachi 3:1-3 ). But this again is only a shadow of another coming and the final fulfilment of the prophecy contained in the third chapter of Malachi. Another temple will stand in Jerusalem during the great tribulation and there will be even greater defilement. In that temple one will sit who is clearly pictured in the Word. “That man of sin, the son of perdition; who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, showing Himself that He is God” (2 Thessalonians 2:3-4 ). Him the Lord will destroy with the brightness of His coming.
But a more refreshing scene follows. The temple is cleansed. The noise and confusion is at an end. Nothing is said of the return of these evil occupants. But instead of them, there came the blind and the lame to Him in the temple and He healed them. The vacancy was filled by the crowd of poor, stricken, suffering ones, who were delivered of their pains and diseases. Blessed and glorious foreshadowing of what will be when He comes again and when by His life-giving, healing touch, He will cure “all diseases” and make perfectly whole. And still another thing happens. “And when the chief priests and the scribes saw the wonders which He wrought, and the children crying in the temple and saying ‘Hosanna to the Son of David’ they were indignant, and said to Him, Hearest thou what these say? And Jesus says to them, Yes; have ye never read, Out of the mouth of babes and sucklings thou hast perfected praise?” (Matthew 21:15-16 .) The children sang their Hosanna to Him, the Son of David, and our Lord refers the murmuring, accusing chief priests and scribes to the eighth Psalm. The meaning of that Psalm is clearly established by the second chapter of Hebrews. It is Jesus, the Son of Man, who is here seen in His dominion over the earth. When at last He has all things under His feet, there will be a silencing of the enemy by perfect praise. The praise of the children foreshadows the praise He will receive when He comes again.
Beautifully Edersheim in his excellent work describes this scene. “It was truly spring time in that temple, and the boys had gathered about their fathers and looked from their faces of wrapt wonderment and enthusiasm to the Godlike face of the Christ, and then on those healed sufferers, took up the echoes of the welcome at His entrance into Jerusalem -- in their simplicity and understanding applying them better, as they burst into, Hosanna to the Son of David! It rang through the courts and porches of the temple, this children’s Hosanna. They heard it, whom the wonders He had spoken and done, had only filled with indignation. Once more in their impotent anger, they sought, as the Pharisees had done, by a hypocritical appeal to His reverence for God, not only to mislead, and so to use His very love of the truth against the truth, but to betray Him into silencing those children’s voices.”
No answer comes from the lips of those hypocrites to the Word of God, the Sword, He used once more. The very next act of His is one of deep solemnity. “And leaving them He went forth out of the City to Bethany, and there He passed the night” (Matthew 21:17 ). There they stood in the darkening porches of the temple, the pictures of hate and despair. The night came on rapidly for them. They knew Him and had rejected Him and now He leaves them.
“But early in the morning, as He came back into the City, He hungered. And seeing a fig tree in the way, He came to it and found on it nothing but leaves only. And He says to it, Let there be never more fruit of thee forever. And the fig tree was immediately dried up” (Matthew 21:18-19 ). Early in the morning the blessed One is up to return to the City. What a story the two words tell us “He hungered.” The King was hungry. He who was rich, had indeed become poor. There by the wayside is a fig tree bearing many leaves; there He looked for some of the old fruit, or perhaps some of the unripe figs. He finds nothing and a curse follows, which withers the tree. It is well known that the fig tree is the type of Israel. The cursing of the fig tree stands for the national rejection of the people. Israel yielded no fruit, therefore the barren tree was cut off and cast into the fire, while the root remains (Luke 13:1-35 ).
“And when the disciples saw it, they wondered, saying, How immediately is the fig tree dried up! And Jesus answering said unto them, Verily I say unto you, If ye have faith and do not doubt not only shall ye do what is done to the fig tree, but even, if ye should say to this mountain, Be thou taken away and be cast into the sea, it shall come to pass. And all things whatsoever ye shall ask in prayer, believing, ye shall receive” (Matthew 21:20-22 ).
They wondered at the power which made the fig tree wither, and He calls their attention that the power of God is ready to answer their faith. The connection is obvious. Israel had no faith in God, hence their bareness. If they have faith, it shall be far different; the power of God is then at their disposal. The mountain is the type of an obstacle. Every obstacle can be and will be removed out of the way in answer to prayer. That there is a reference to Israel in these words is no doubt true. The nation was a mountain and by its disobedience and rejection of the Lord, the nation was an obstacle in the path of the Gospel. But on account of faith this mountain was indeed cast into the sea, the type of the nations. Precious to faith has ever been and ever will be the Word, the author and finisher of the faith speaks here. “And all things whatsoever ye shall ask in prayer, believing, ye shall receive.” Let us not limit them, nor say as some have said, it is not for us. They are for the children of God and there is no limit to them. All things -- whatsoever; surely there is no limit here; and then the three steps -- asking in prayer, believing and receiving. He, the King, who has all power spake these words; and what a meaning they should have for us! May we cast ourselves upon them in childlike faith.
Again we see our Lord in the temple. He is teaching the people. Perhaps it was a great multitude which had gathered. Soon the enemies came also to oppose Him. These men, the rulers of the people, are now gathering force and getting ready for the great final rejection of the King. But ere this comes He silences all their objections and accusations and shows them in their evil and hateful character.
“And when He came into the temple, the chief priests and the elders of the people came to Him as He was teaching, saying, By what authority doest Thou these things? And who gave thee this authority?” (Matthew 21:23 ) What troubled them most was no doubt the scene of the preceding day, the cleansing of the temple. He is face to face with the mighty ecclesiastical rulers of the people, those who constitute the Sanhedrin. How will He deal with them? How will He answer their question? Divine wisdom is manifested in the way He deals with them. It is so in the chapters which follow, in these conflicts with the men who were so soon to be His accusers, to deliver Him into the hands of the Gentiles. “And Jesus answering said to them, I also will ask you one thing, which if ye tell me, I also will tell you by what authority I do these things: The baptism of John, whence was it? of heaven? or of men?” (Matthew 21:24-25 ) Here was the question for them to answer. And in this way He not only silenced them but He also answered the question. John the Baptist to whom He appealed had borne witness of Him. John himself, the forerunner of the Christ to whom He so faithfully pointed, was believed to have been a prophet. If they said, Yes, the Baptism of John was of heaven, as they should have said, they would have both endorsed John’s statement concerning Jesus and this would have condemned them, their unbelief and satanic hatred. They dared not to say that John’s Baptism was not of heaven. What could they do? There they stand with their dark faces, talking over this serious matter. “And they reasoned among themselves, saying, If we should say, Of heaven, He will say to us, Why then have ye not believed him? But if we should say, Of men, we fear the people, for all hold John for a prophet. And answering Jesus they said, We do not know” (Matthew 21:25-26 ). Miserable, self-condemned, dishonest men they were! Alas! how much of the same spirit and worse is found today among the self-appointed ecclesiastical rulers of the people, who reject the Christ of God. The Lord refuses to discuss with them this question. “Neither do I tell you by what authority I do these things.” The question they had asked was answered. He is the King, the Christ, the Son of God and as such He was about His Father’s business and that was His authority for cleansing the temple, His Father’s house and His own.
And now a parable. “A man had two children, and coming to the first he said, Child, go today, work in my vineyard. And He answering said, I will not; but afterwards repenting Himself He went. And coming to the second he said likewise; and he answering said, I go, sir, and went not. Which of the two did the will of the father? They say to Him, the first. Jesus says to them, Verily I say unto you that the tax gatherers and the harlots go into the kingdom of God before you. For John came to you in the way of righteousness, and ye believed him not; but the tax gatherers and harlots believed Him; but ye when ye saw it repented not yourselves afterwards to believe him” (Matthew 21:28-32 ).
The parable needs but little comment. They despised the tax gatherers and harlots, but the Lord proves that these polished, cultured, educated, religious priests and elders were far worse, far more obnoxious. The tax gatherers and harlots are meant by the son who said he would not go and repented and went. The second who said, I go, and does not go, nor does he repent, is the proud religious Pharisee, the high priests and elders. Thus the righteous Judge lays them bare with His mighty sword. Self-righteous they repented not. Convicted and condemned the Sanhedrin stands in the presence of the King.
The chief priests and elders have no answer to the parable the Lord had spoken, and now after, perhaps, a brief silence He gives them a second parable. This one is a parable which reviews the history of their nation and predicts the soon coming calamity. Again He makes His enemies to bear witness themselves, and we shall learn later that these men understood of what the King spake.
“Hear another parable. There was a man, a householder, who planted a vineyard, and put a hedge round it, and dug a winepress in it, and built a tower, and let it out to husbandmen, and went abroad. But when the time of the fruit came nigh, he sent his servants to the husbandmen, to receive the fruits of it. And the husbandmen took his servants, and beat one, and killed another and stoned another. Again he sent other servants, more than the first, and they did to them likewise. And afterwards he sent to them his son, saying, They will respect my son. But when the husbandmen saw the son, they said among themselves, This is the heir, come, let us kill him, and lay hold of his inheritance. And they took him and cast him out of the vineyard and slew him. When, therefore, the Lord of the vineyard cometh, what will he do to these husbandmen?” (Matthew 21:33-40 .) When the Lord spoke of the vineyard, with the hedge and the winepress, the tower and the husbandmen, as well as of the fruit the vineyard was to yield, they must have recognized at once that this referred to Israel. He meant by it the nation to whom He had come to offer the Kingdom. Israel, a vineyard, is an Old Testament picture. The King, no doubt, had Isaiah’s prophecy in mind, when He uttered this parable. It is founded upon Isaiah, chapter 5:1-7. Jeremiah 2:21 ; Psalms 80:8 , and other passages speak of the same fact. The Lord through His Spirit had spoken all these words by the Prophets and now He Himself had come to flash the truth of God’s mercy to Israel, their shameful past and the still greater, impending sin before the hearts of these national leaders. The vineyard so well kept and provided for had not yielded fruit. The servants who came to the vineyard are the prophets whom God sent, and they had rejected and maltreated them. At last the Son came, sent by the Father. This is the full dealing of God with Israel. Prophet after prophet came and spake in Jehovah’s name and then God sent forth His Son. What a moment it must have been when the Lord Jesus Christ uttered these words. The Son the Father had sent stood in their midst and they could not but realize that He is the Son. What will they do with the Son? Will they receive His message? Will they bow to His authority? No. He saith that they took the heir, “cast him out of the vineyard and slew him.” Awful prediction of the coming events. And He knew all what it meant for Himself to be taken outside and be slain there. The climax of sin is here revealed. But let us not pass by the significant word, “let us kill him and lay hold of his inheritance.” Even so by the death of the Son of God we receive, believing on Him, His inheritance.
The question had been asked by the King, “what will the Lord do to those husbandmen?” It is for them to answer and their answer must be their own verdict. Will they dare and give Him an answer? So blinded were they that they did indeed. “They said unto Him, He will miserably destroy those wicked men, and will let out his vineyard to other husbandmen, who will render to him the fruits in their season.” Well said! And what they had spoken to their own condemnation came upon these wicked husbandmen.
And now the Lord continues quoting from the Book of Psalms: “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” (Matthew 21:42 ). The quotation is from Psalms 118:1-29 . This psalm is much used in the ritual of Judaism. The rejected stone is the Messiah, and in His rejection He becomes the head of the corner. The same truth is witnessed to by the Holy Spirit in Acts 4:11 ; Ephesians 2:20 , and 1 Peter 2:7 . The leaders of the people are the builders. What foreshadowings of events to come!
But the Lord now pronounces His verdict upon them. He had heard the words spoken by His enemies in their self-condemnation; He speaks next and tells them that their judgment was right. “Wherefore I say unto you, that the kingdom of God shall be taken from you, and given unto a nation bringing forth the fruits thereof” (Matthew 21:43 ).
They had refused not alone that kingdom but the King; the Son they would soon cast out and therefore the Kingdom was to be taken from them. These men who stood there, the generation which had share and part in the rejection of the Kingdom and the King, will never see the Kingdom. It is a sad blindness when men can teach in these days a restitutionism which includes these scribes, elders and chief priests, that they are to be raised from the dead at the time of the coming of the Lord and receive a share in the Kingdom. The Word of the Lord is emphatic and absolute; there is no hope for them. The nation to whom the Lord promises the Kingdom is not the Church. The Church is called the Body of Christ, the Bride of Christ, the Habitation of God by the Spirit, the Lamb’s Wife, but never a nation. The nation is Israel still, but that believing remnant of the nation, living when the Lord comes. He adds another word in connection with speaking of Himself as the Stone, that Old Testament type of King Messiah. “And whosoever shall fall on this stone shall be broken; but on whomsoever it shall fall, it will grind him to powder” (Matthew 21:44 ). This is a very significant utterance. The Lord in these few words predicts the coming judgment of the Jews and the Gentiles. The one sentence has been carried out and the other is still to be executed. The Jews have fallen on this stone and they have been broken. How it has become true! The stone is yet to fall and strike the world-powers, the Gentiles, and grind them to powder. Our space does not permit to follow this thought, but we advise our readers to turn in their Bibles to Daniel 2:1-49 and read Nebuchadnezzar’s dream and the divinely given interpretation. The stone cut out without hands, falling out of heaven, smiting the great image at its feet, is the Lord Jesus Christ in His Second Coming. The Lord refers to this here. As truly as He broke the Jews who fell on Him, so will He pulverize Gentile world power and dominion, when He is revealed from heaven. The nations are ripe for their judgment.
“And when the chief priests and Pharisees heard his parables, they knew that He spake of them. But when they sought to lay hands on Him, they feared the multitudes, because they held Him for a prophet.”
Thus ends this remarkable chapter. They knew Him; they knew what He meant. They wanted to take Him then, so great was their hatred, yet they were cowards fearing men, not God. The people held Him for a prophet only and not for the Messiah.