These small group studies of Matthew contain outlines, cross-references, Bible study discussion questions, verse by verse commentary, and applications. Visit our library of inductive Bible studies for more in depth inductive studies on this and other books of the Bible you can use in your small group.
Matthew 21:1-11 Inductive Bible Study – Discussion Questions and Verse by Verse Commentary
- The disciples acquire the colt (1-7)
- Jesus enters Jerusalem (8-11)
- The disciples acquire the colt (1-7)
What does this passage teach us about Jesus’ character?
Is it right for them to just take the colt? Why or why not?
Why would the owners be willing for Jesus to take the colt?
What does this show us about the crowd’s opinion of Jesus at this time?
What prophecy does Jesus quote to the disciples? Why is this prophecy important?
What did the disciples do when Jesus told them to go? How would you feel doing something like this?
Zechariah 9:9 – Israel’s king will come mounted on a donkey.
Matthew 11:27 – All things have been handed over to me by the Father. This verse denotes Jesus sovereignty and omniscience.
Verse by Verse Commentary
These notes and the ones below are from the parallel passage in Mark 11 found on our page here: (https://www.calligraphyforgod.com/biblestudy/mark11-1-11.html). The source material is very similar.
- See map of Jerusalem for locations.
- Jesus sent disciples to get the colt – Throughout the book of Mark we have been learning some of the ways which Jesus trained His disciples. One thing that we notice is that He always delegated responsibilities to them. He did not do everything on His own even though there were many things that He could do better (such as preaching). Instead He gave them tasks so that they could be involved. This helped them learn that following Jesus is not a passive job of sitting and listening to and watching Jesus all the time. It is instead an active job which requires serving by doing. If you are discipling people, always try to find ways which they can help. And if you are a disciple (a follower of Christ) always seek ways to help.
- Jesus demonstrates His omniscience – Jesus wasn’t just good at guessing. This is a very specific and very clear prophecy with many details. All of them came true just like He said. He was telling them to steal the colt or even “borrow” without permission. He knew that the owner would ask what was going on and the disciples could then get permission and this is in fact what happened. See Psalm 50:10. Jesus also had friends all over the place. It is likely that many of these had made Him offers of assistance. So although this seems supernatural in the clarity of the prophecy, it is also possible that Jesus knew from firsthand experience that the owners of that donkey were willing to help him.
This is also a reminder that everything belongs to God. The owner of the colt did not resist offering help or hold back. He offered what he had with an open hand. This is what God expects of us as His stewards. If you were the owner would you have offered the colt? Obviously this is a hard question to answer. A better one is: do you offer what you have now to God with an open hand or do you hold it back? Everything belongs to God anyway. Whatever you have has been given to you to manage for God’s glory not for your own ambitions.
Application: What do you have to offer the Lord? Are you willing to give it? Is there anything you are not willing to give up for Him? God has made each one of us unique with something special we can offer to others. Most people did not have a colt to offer, but this one family did and they were willing to give it up for the sake of Christ. Is there something special you can for the Lord? Perhaps it is due to your spiritual gifts or your experiences. God has prepared you to do exactly what He wants you to accomplish for Him. It would be a shame if you missed the opportunity.
- Significance of the colt – See cross-reference. While Jesus entered as a king, he was not entering as a normal king. What do you think a typical king would ride? He would probably ride a powerful war house. Jesus instead chose to ride on a donkey, hardly the appropriate steed for a conquering king. And yet a donkey portrays meekness and humility. Jesus wasn’t coming to conquer but to offer peace. Even if in this most triumphant moment we see clearly Jesus’ humility. See also Revelation 19:11-16. Now Jesus is riding a donkey. But one day He will be riding a white horse to war. He came in peace. He will come in war.
- They put their coats on the colt – This was to offer padding since it was an unbroken colt without a saddle (Jesus was clearly good with animals since this unbroken donkey, which are notorious for being stubborn, gave Jesus a ride.)
- Verses 8-11
How did Jesus refer to Himself in 11:3?
What is the significance of Jesus entering Jerusalem like this?
How did the crowds react? What would the population of Jerusalem have been like at the time? Why?
What is the significance of palm branches?
What does “Hosanna” mean?
How did the Pharisees react (see Luke)
Did these crowds stick with Jesus throughout His persecution and suffering? What do you think happened to them?
Zechariah 9:9 – The Messiah would come riding on a donkey.
Psalm 118:25-26 – Hosanna…
Matthew 21:1-11, Luke 19:28-44, John 12:12-19 – Parallel passages.
Verse by Verse Commentary
- A king’s welcome – The people spread their coats and leafy branches freshly cut on the road. This is not a typical way to welcome someone. Have you ever been welcomed like this? Didn’t think so. People were putting their clothes on the dirt road for a donkey carrying Jesus to ride over. Why? This was a way to show their respect of and submission to Jesus. Their enthusiasm brimmed over as the joy and excitement of the moment infected the crowds spontaneously.
- Hosanna – See cross-reference. Hosanna is a Christianized form of the Hebrew word Hoshana (הושענה). It is a contraction of the words “save” and “please” (“hosha” and “na”). It means something like “save now” or “give us help from our oppression!” See Psalm 118:25 where the same words are translated “save now.” Read the whole passage in Psalm 118:19-29 for a complete picture.
- Verses 9-10 – Jesus received a king’s welcome. More than that the people expressed their belief that Jesus could save them and that Jesus’ coming to Jerusalem was the beginning of the kingdom of David which they had been waiting for. It seems clear that they believe Jesus is the Messiah and expect that He is coming to Jerusalem to establish His kingdom. This is what they had been waiting centuries for! Now the moment had finally arrived! You can almost feel the excitement ripple in the air! We see that in the other gospel passages on this topic when Jesus said if the people were silent that the rocks and trees would celebrate.
- Everything seems great. Jesus is wildly popular. The ranks of Jerusalem have been swollen to overflowing because of the Passover and these people unite in welcoming Jesus as the King of the Jews. What could go wrong? How could just a few short days cause such a one hundred eighty degree turn? How could these crowds who were so wildly supportive turn against Jesus and join in the refrains to “Crucify Him!” These questions are not so easy to answer, but it does demonstrate how fickle people’s hearts are. Following Christ is so much more than been carried away with emotion during an exciting moment (such as a worship song). It requires a deep root. It takes commitment. Today all of us are here studying about Christ and worshiping Him in song. How about tomorrow? How about Wednesday? How do we ensure that we don’t wilt in our enthusiasm for serving Christ? How can we keep that passion fresh?
More to come soon
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