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Matthew, Mark and Luke
Lesson 20
Jesus' Triumphal Entry into Jerusalem

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Reading assignment for this lesson: Matthew 21:1-46, 22:1-14, Mark 11:1-33, 12:1-12, Luke 14:16-24, 19:28-48, 20:1-19

On the Sunday before Passover, probably in the year 30 A.D., Jesus made His entry into Jerusalem riding on a donkey. Jesus' reputation had preceded Him, and throngs of people gathered, laying their cloaks and palm branches on the road ahead of Him as a sign of honor. During the next few days, He taught in the temple, and huge crowds came to listen.

Meanwhile, Israel's religious leaders were alarmed. Always suspicious of Jesus, they now feared He would provoke an open rebellion against their religious authority. Any disturbance by the people would result in a clamp-down by Roman authorities and threaten their political authority as well. The religious leaders began the process that led to Jesus' execution by the Romans less than a week later. Yet, Jesus held no bitterness against either the religious leaders or the Romans. He said they were only carrying out God's plan.

Matthew, Mark and Luke only present selected events of most of Jesus' life. But events of this week, including Jesus' arrest, trial, crucifixion, burial and resurrection, are described in great detail.

1. Jesus entered Jerusalem in the style of a king (Matthew 21:1-11, Mark 11:1-11, Luke 19:28-44, John 12:12-16). Palm Sunday is an annual celebration of Jesus' triumphal entry.
How did Jesus' entry into Jerusalem fulfill Old Testament prophesies about the Messiah? (See Isaiah 62:1-12, Zechariah 9:9.)
b) How did Jesus' entry demonstrate that Jesus would be a ruler - the long-awaited Messiah? (See Judges 10:1-4, 12:13-14, 1 Kings 1:32-33, 2 Kings 9:13, Psalms 118:25-27, 1 Maccabees 13:49-51.)

2. It is frequently believed that Jesus' cursing of the fig tree (Matthew 21:18-19, Mark 11:12-14) should be interpreted like a parable, a parable that is acted out instead of spoken. What could be the meaning of Jesus' cursing of the fig tree that bore no fruit? (See Matthew 3:7-10, 7:15-20, 12:33-35, John 15:1-4, Galatians 5:22-23.)

3. The cleansing of the temple is recorded in all four gospels (Matthew 21:12-13, Mark 11:15-19, Luke 19:45-48, John 2:13-17). John places the cleansing near the beginning of Jesus' ministry instead of near the end, so there may have been two separate cleansings.

Jews from throughout the Roman Empire came to Jerusalem for Passover. In the outer court of the temple, money changers exchanged international currency for Jewish coins and often cheated the unwary. Visitors used these Jewish coins to buy animals for temple sacrifice, and they were likely to be cheated again by the sellers.

What were Jesus' reasons for driving out the sellers and money changers? (See Isaiah 56:7, Jeremiah 7:9-11.)

4. a) How did the religious leaders try to "trap" Jesus?
b) How did Jesus turn the "trap" back on them? (See Matthew 21:23-27, Mark 11:27-33, Luke 20:1-8, Matthew 3:13-15; John 1:29-34.)

5. Still talking to the religious leaders, Jesus told them the Parable of the Two Sons (Matthew 21:28-32).
a) How were sinful people such as tax collectors and prostitutes like the first son in the parable? (See Luke 15:1-7.)
b) How were the religious leaders like the second son? (See Matthew 23:23-28.)

6. Questions 6 - 9 refer to the Parable of the Wicked Tenants (Matthew 21:33-46, Mark 12:1-12, Luke 20:9-19.) The story of the parable comes from Isaiah 5:1-7. This is a complicated parable with many elements. In the usual interpretation:

The essence of the parable is that the landowner leased out the vineyard to tenant farmers. When the landowner sent his servants, the wicked tenants beat and killed them. Finally, the landowner sent his son, sure that the tenants would respect him. However, the wicked tenants even killed the landowner's son!

How does the parable read if you restate it with the substitutions above?

7. How did Jesus force the religious leaders to condemn themselves? (See Matthew 21:40-41, Luke 20:16.)

8. What did Jesus mean when He said, "The stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone" (Matthew 21:42, Mark 12:10, Luke 20:17)? (See Psalms 118:22-23, Romans 9:30-33, Ephesians 2:19-22, Acts 4:10-12, 1 Peter 2:4-8.)

9. The religious leaders finally came to the realization that Jesus had maneuvered them into condemning themselves.
a) What was their reaction?
b) What did they do about it?

10. Questions 10 - 13 refer to the Parable of the Wedding Feast (Matthew 22:1-14, Luke 14:16-24). In this parable:

How is the lesson of this parable similar to that of the Parable of the Wicked Tenants?

11. Matthew's version of the parable includes the incident of the man found not wearing the proper wedding clothes. It was customary for the host of such an event to supply a suitable robe for the guests to wear. To refuse to wear the robe would be a sign of great disrespect to the host.

What does the wedding clothing represent in the parable? (See Isaiah 61:10, Colossians 3:10 Romans 13:13-14.)

12. What does the "outer darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth" represent in the parable? (See Matthew 8:11-12, 13:49-50, 25:30, Mark 9:43, Luke 13:28.)

13. What does "Many are called, but few are chosen" (Matthew 22:14) mean? (See Matthew 7:13-14, Luke 13:22-25.)

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