Unit 5: Day 2

Matthew 21:1–16

“Unit 5, Day 2: Matthew 21:1–16,” New Testament Study Guide for Home-Study Seminary Students (2016)


Introduction

Jesus made His triumphal entry into Jerusalem at the beginning of the last week of His life. While there, He cleansed the temple for the second time and healed the blind and the lame who came to Him.

Matthew 21:1–11

Jesus makes His triumphal entry into Jerusalem

  1. journal iconThink of an activity that would be impressive to do with your friends or family members. In your scripture study journal, write a short paragraph about what you might say or do to persuade your friends or family members to participate in that activity.

Many people do not know very much about Jesus Christ and His gospel, and we have the responsibility to help others learn about Him. As you study Matthew 21:1–11, ponder what you can do to help others want to know more about Jesus Christ.

Look at the page in this lesson titled “Jesus Christ’s Last Week, Atonement, and Resurrection.” This brief overview of the last week of the Savior’s mortal life summarizes the events that led up to His death and Resurrection. It can clarify and deepen your understanding of the stories, teachings, doctrines, and principles associated with the last week of Jesus Christ’s mortal ministry.

Matthew 21 records the events that took place five days before the Savior’s Crucifixion, beginning with His triumphal entry into Jerusalem. Recall that a multitude of people followed Jesus and His Apostles as they traveled to Jerusalem from Jericho (see Matthew 20:17–18, 29).

Read Matthew 21:1–5, looking for what Jesus instructed two of His disciples to do.

The prophecy referenced in Matthew 21:4–5 is found in Zechariah 9:9–10. Consider writing this cross-reference in the margin of your scriptures next to Matthew 21:4–5. This prophecy was about the promised Messiah, or “the anointed Prophet, Priest, King, and Deliverer whose coming the Jews were eagerly expecting” (Guide to the Scriptures, “Messiah,” scriptures.lds.org). It may help you to know that in biblical times the donkey “was a symbol of Jewish royalty. … Riding on a donkey … showed that Jesus came as a peaceful and ‘lowly’ Savior, not as a conqueror upon a warhorse” (New Testament Student Manual [Church Educational System manual, 2014], 64).

Read Matthew 21:6–8, looking for what “a very great multitude” (verse 8) did to respectfully acknowledge Jesus as the Messiah as He rode into Jerusalem.

The Gospel of John specifies that the multitude used “branches of palm trees” (John 12:13). Palm branches were a Jewish symbol of peace and victory over enemies. Providing a carpeted path, like the one the multitude created using branches and clothing, was a gesture used to honor royalty or conquerors. By doing this the multitude acknowledged and welcomed Jesus as their Deliverer and King.

Look at the picture Christ’s Triumphal Entry into Jerusalem (Gospel Art Book [2009], no. 50; see also LDS.org). Imagine that you are one of the people among the multitude. Read Matthew 21:9, and imagine shouting this along with them.

Triumphal Entry

Notice that the people repeated the word hosanna, which means “save now” (Bible Dictionary, “Hosanna”). Consider writing this definition in the margin next to Matthew 21:9.

Part of the multitude’s cry fulfilled the messianic prophecy found in Psalm 118:25–26. Consider writing this cross-reference in the margin next to Matthew 21:9 or marking it in Matthew 21:9, footnote b. The royal and messianic title “Son of David” (Matthew 21:9) was reserved for the heir to the throne of David. By saying this the people were declaring that Jesus was the Messiah chosen and sent by God to deliver and lead His people.

Imagine that you had lived in Jerusalem at this time. What thoughts or feelings might you have had as you witnessed the Savior’s triumphal entry?

Thousands of additional people were in Jerusalem at that time to celebrate the Passover. Read Matthew 21:10–11, looking for the effect of the multitude’s behavior on others in Jerusalem.

What question did others ask because of the multitude’s behavior?

This account illustrates the following principle: As we publicly acknowledge and speak about Jesus Christ, we can help others develop a desire to know more about Him.

  1. journal iconIn your scripture study journal, list some settings outside of church meetings where you can publicly acknowledge and speak about Jesus Christ. Then write appropriate ways in which you could publicly acknowledge and speak about Him that would help others want to know more about Him.

  2. journal iconAnswer one or both of the following questions in your scripture study journal:

    1. When has someone’s efforts to publicly acknowledge and speak about Jesus Christ led you to want to know more about Him?

    2. When have you, or someone you know, helped someone want to know more about Jesus Christ because you publicly acknowledged or spoke about Him?

Look for and take opportunities to appropriately acknowledge and speak about Jesus Christ.

Matthew 21:12–16

Jesus cleanses the temple and heals the blind and the lame

Orlando Florida Temple

Ponder the thoughts and feelings you have had in the temple. If you have never been to the temple, imagine the thoughts and feelings you might have inside of one.

What happens in the temple that helps us feel it is a sacred place?

After the Savior entered Jerusalem, He went to the temple.

Herod’s temple seen from Mount of Olives

Read Matthew 21:12–13, looking for what some people were doing in the temple that was offensive to Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ.

The visitors who came to Jerusalem to celebrate the Passover needed to purchase animals to offer as sacrifices in the temple as part of their worship. Moneychangers exchanged Roman and other currencies for temple currency so the animals could be purchased, and other merchants sold the needed animals. Even though this business was necessary and served a good purpose, handling it at the temple was disrespectful and irreverent. In addition, Matthew 21:13 suggests that the moneychangers and merchants were more interested in making a financial profit than in worshipping God and helping others to do so.

Note that in John 2:16, during the first cleansing of the temple, Jesus called the temple “my Father’s house.” In Matthew 21:13, during the second cleansing, Jesus called the temple “My house.”

One truth about the temple that we can learn from the Savior’s words and actions in Matthew 21:12–13 is the house of the Lord is a sacred place, and He desires that we treat it with reverence.

  1. journal iconAnswer the following questions in your scripture study journal:

    1. How can we show reverence for the house of the Lord?

    2. What must we do to be worthy to enter the temple?

Read Matthew 21:14, looking for what the Savior did in the temple after cleansing the temple the second time.

It may help to know that “the lame” in Matthew 21:14 refers to individuals who were crippled or had some form of walking impairment.

From what the Lord did for the blind and the lame who came to Him in the temple, we can learn the following truth: As we attend the temple, the Lord can heal us.

In what ways do you feel the Lord is able to heal us as we attend the temple?

President James E. Faust

President James E. Faust of the First Presidency testified of the healing we can experience as we attend the temple: “The Lord has provided many avenues by which we may receive [His] healing influence. I am grateful that the Lord has restored temple work to the earth. It is an important part of the work of salvation for both the living and the dead. Our temples provide a sanctuary where we may go to lay aside many of the anxieties of the world. Our temples are places of peace and tranquility. In these hallowed sanctuaries God ‘healeth the broken in heart, and bindeth up their wounds.’ (Ps. 147:3.)” (“Spiritual Healing,” Ensign, May 1992, 7).

The healing we experience as we worship in the temple can be immediate, as it was for the blind and the lame described in Matthew 21:14, or it can take place over time.

Ponder when you, or someone you know, experienced the Lord’s healing influence by worshipping in the temple.

As recorded in Matthew 21:15–16, the chief priests and scribes were displeased with what Jesus did in the temple and with the people crying “Hosanna” to Him there. Jesus pointed out that the people’s public acknowledgment of Him fulfilled a prophecy (see Psalm 8:2).

  1. journal iconWrite the following at the bottom of today’s assignments in your scripture study journal:

    I have studied Matthew 21:1–16 and completed this lesson on (date).

    Additional questions, thoughts, and insights I would like to share with my teacher: