“SAY TO THE DAUGHTER OF ZION, ‘BEHOLD YOUR KING IS COMING TO YOU,
GENTLE, AND MOUNTED ON A DONKEY, EVEN ON A COLT, THE FOAL OF A BEAST OF BURDEN.’”
Behold, your king. This was one of those rare occasions where Jesus referred to himself as a king. See also Matt. 25:34, Mark 15:2, Luke 22:29-30, 23:3, John 18:36-37.
Many people in scripture recognized Jesus as the king who reigns over an everlasting kingdom. These people included the magi (Matt. 2:2), the disciples (Luke 19:38), the palm-waving people of Jerusalem (John 12:13), Paul and Silas (Acts 17:7), the angel Gabriel (Luke 1:32-33), and the seventh angel (Rev. 11:15). However, during his earthly ministry, Jesus rarely referred to himself in such royal terms.
When He had entered Jerusalem, all the city was stirred, saying, “Who is this?”
Who is this? It seems inconceivable that after years of ministry there were people in Jerusalem who were unacquainted with Jesus, but this was the week before Passover. The city was full of pilgrims who had come from distant lands and who had never seen Jesus before.
And Jesus answered and said to them, “Truly I say to you, if you have faith and do not doubt, you will not only do what was done to the fig tree, but even if you say to this mountain, ‘Be taken up and cast into the sea,’ it will happen.
Do not doubt. Like fear, doubt is a faith-killer. The one who doubts has the mind like a storm-tossed sea (Jas. 1:6). The remedy for doubt is not to whip yourself into a frenzy of DIY faith, but to remind yourself of the awesome goodness of God.
“Which of the two did the will of his father?” They said, “The first.” Jesus said to them, “Truly I say to you that the tax collectors and prostitutes will get into the kingdom of God before you.
The tax collectors and prostitutes entered the kingdom of heaven because they believed Jesus. In contrast, the religious leaders rejected him. Although they saw themselves as God’s servants, they were hypocrites. They were the son who talked a good line but never showed up (see next verse).
“For John came to you in the way of righteousness and you did not believe him; but the tax collectors and prostitutes did believe him; and you, seeing this, did not even feel remorse afterward so as to believe him.
(a) John the Baptist came to prepare the way of the Lord (Matt. 3:1-3). He told people to believe in Jesus (Acts 19:4).
(b) The way of righteousness is synonymous with the gospel of grace for both reveal the righteousness that comes from God (see entry for Php. 3:9). This righteousness is received by believing in Jesus (Rom. 3:22). John encouraged people to believe in Jesus the Righteous One.
(c) You did not believe him. The chief priests and the elders were so invested in their own righteousness that they did not submit to the righteousness that comes from God through Jesus Christ.
Further reading: “The parable of the two sons”
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