Just recently, my daily Bible reading was Matthew Chapter 21 and focussed on the time when Jesus entered Jerusalem and fulfilled Messianic prophecy about Himself. He told two of His disciples to bring a donkey and her colt to Him. “Go into the village in front of you, and immediately you will find a donkey tied, and a colt with her. Untie them and bring them to me. If anyone says anything to you, you shall say, ‘The Lord needs them,’ and he will send them at once.” This took place to fulfil what was spoken by the prophet, saying, “Say to the daughter of Zion, ‘Behold, your king is coming to you, humble, and mounted on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a beast of burden’” (Matthew 21:2-5).
The powerful symbolic act of riding into the city of Jerusalem on a donkey was a clear declaration that Jesus was the Messiah. Crowds shouted, “Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord! Hosanna in the highest!”. Upon arrival, He cleansed the temple, calling it a den of robbers, and healed blind and lame people who came to Him there.
The spiritual leaders of the temple immediately challenged Jesus and demanded to know what authority He had to do these things. ‘And when he entered the temple, the chief priests and the elders of the people came up to him as he was teaching, and said, “By what authority are you doing these things, and who gave you this authority?”’ (Matthew 21:23).
Jesus replied with parables to point out that their unbelief was disqualifying them from entering God’s Kingdom. He told them that sinners such as prostitutes and tax collectors had believed John the Baptist’s message of repentance of sins and, unlike them, were entering God’s Kingdom. They were rejecting Him, and they would be rejected by God as unfit to inherit His Kingdom. Jesus quoted from Psalm 118 and said to them, ‘“Have you never read in the Scriptures: ‘The stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone; this was the Lord’s doing, and it is marvellous in our eyes’” (Matthew 21:42)?
Psalm 118 speaks of the gate of the Lord which the righteous may enter and give thanks to the Lord. Isn’t it strange how the spiritual leaders of the day failed to understand how to enter that gate of righteousness! But Jesus will ever remain the cornerstone of testing, and those who take the position of Christian leaders today will also need to produce the fruit of God’s Kingdom.
Jesus spoke truth to the chief priests and elders, ‘“Therefore I tell you, the kingdom of God will be taken away from you and given to a people producing its fruits. And the one who falls on this stone will be broken to pieces; and when it falls on anyone, it will crush him”’ (Matthew 21:43-44).
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