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Opening Question
What evidence is there that Jesus fulfilled Old Testament messianic prophecies?

Our study today examines some events from the closing week of Jesus’ life before He was crucified.

Matthew 21:1-11—The Triumphal Entry
Jesus has his disciples go into a village and get a donkey and her colt (according to Matthew). They bring it to Jesus. They spread blankets on them, and Jesus rides on them.

People sometimes wonder which donkey Jesus rode on. What do you think? How does Matthew see this arrival in Jerusalem as a fulfillment of Zechariah 9:9? What made this event so special? Did the people recognize in the gesture the entrance of the King?

Matthew 21:12-17—Cleansing the Temple
Jesus’ arrival in Jerusalem is significant if one considers Jesus’ as God’s presence on earth. Jesus goes to the Temple, but how different for the Jewish people than for Ancient Israel. Moses met with God, but Aaron only saw the Shekinah glory of God on the Day of Atonement. Here, Jesus Himself, God in the flesh, is in their presence, and they don’t recognize him.

John’s gospel portrays Jesus cleansing the temple at the beginning of His ministry. Why does Matthew put it at the end? Did Jesus cleans it twice, and if so, what would that imply about our spiritual need for cleansing?

Matthew 21:18-22, 33-46—Cursing the Fig Tree
The next morning, Jesus sees a fig tree in leaf, but curses it when He finds no food.

Is this just an outburst from a frustrated human, or is there more here? What is the “meaning” behind Jesus’ actions?

In vss. 33-46, Jesus tells a parable about a vineyard, most likely taken from Isaiah 5:1-7, a parable that the Rabbis knew well, no doubt.

How does Jesus modify Isaiah’s parable in His retelling? How is this parable related to Jesus’ cursing of the Fig Tree just a few verses before?

Closing Comments
The events the begin Jesus’ final week nearing Passover—His “Passion week” begin with His arrival at His Father’s house, just as the Pascal lamb was brought into the house several days before the sacrifice. There is controversy, but Jesus hopes one last time to find fruit in His people. To the very end, Jesus never gave up hope in His people. How much He values us and what we can become in Him!

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