Week #123; Wed, May 06: Matthew 15:1–21:6

CHAPTER OBSERVATIONS:

Matthew 15:1, I. Traditions and Commandments; II. What Defiles a Person; III. The Faith of a Canaanite Woman; IV. Jesus Heals Many; V. Jesus Feeds the Four Thousand

I. KEY TEXT (Traditions and Commandments): “Then Pharisees and scribes came to Jesus from Jerusalem and said, ‘Why do your disciples break the tradition of the elders? For they do not wash their hands when they eat.” (15:1-2)
A. INFERENCE: “He answered them, “And why do you break the commandment of God for the sake of your tradition? For God commanded, ‘Honor your father and your mother,’ and, ‘Whoever reviles father or mother must surely die.'” (15:3-4)
1. FINDINGS: “But you say, ‘If anyone tells his father or his mother, “What you would have gained from me is given to God,” he need not honor his father.’ So for the sake of your tradition you have made void the word of God.” (15:5-7)
2. CRITERIA: “You hypocrites! Well did Isaiah prophesy of you, when he said: ‘This people honors me with their lips, but their heart is far from me; in vain do they worship me, teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.'” (15:8-9)
3. CONDITION: “Additions to God’s laws reflect upon his wisdom, as if he had left out something which was needed, and which man could supply; in one way or other they always lead men to disobey God. How thankful ought we to be for the written word of God! Never let us think that the religion of the Bible can be improved by any human addition, either in doctrine or practice.” (Matthew Henry Concise Commentary)
4. CAUSE: “Our blessed Lord spoke of their traditions as inventions of their own, and pointed out one instance in which this was very clear, that of their transgressing the fifth commandment. When a parent’s wants called for assistance, they pleaded, that they had devoted to the temple all they could spare, even though they did not part with it, and therefore their parents must expect nothing from them. This was making the command of God of no effect.” (Matthew Henry Concise Commentary)
5. EFFECT: “The doom of hypocrites is put in a little compass; “In vain do they worship me.” It will neither please God, nor profit themselves; they trust in vanity, and vanity will be their recompense.” (Matthew Henry Concise Commentary)
6. RECOMMENDATION: “Cease all vanity.” (Matthew Henry Concise Commentary)

II. KEY TEXT (What Defiles a Person): “And he called the people to him and said to them, ‘Hear and understand: it is not what goes into the mouth that defiles a person, but what comes out of the mouth; this defiles a person.'” (15:10-11)
A. INFERENCE: “Then the disciples came and said to him, ‘Do you know that the Pharisees were offended when they heard this saying?'” (15:12)
1. FINDINGS: “He answered, ‘Every plant that my heavenly Father has not planted will be rooted up.'” (15:13)
2. CRITERIA: “Let them alone; they are blind guides. And if the blind lead the blind, both will fall into a pit.'” (15:14)
3. CONDITION: “But Peter said to him, ‘Explain the parable to us. And he said, ‘Are you also still without understanding? Do you not see that whatever goes into the mouth passes into the stomach and is expelled? But what comes out of the mouth proceeds from the heart, and this defiles a person.” (15:15-18)
4. CAUSE: “For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false witness, slander. These are what defile a person.” (15:19-20)
5. EFFECT: “But to eat with unwashed hands does not defile anyone.” (15:20)
6. RECOMMENDATION: “When Christ teaches, he will show men the deceitfulness and wickedness of their own hearts; he will teach them to humble themselves, and to seek to be cleansed in the Fountain opened for sin and uncleanness.” (Matthew Henry Concise Commentary)

III. KEY TEXT (Faith of a Canaanite Woman): “And Jesus went away from there and withdrew to the district of Tyre and Sidon. And behold, a Canaanite woman from that region came out and was crying, ‘Have mercy on me, O Lord, Son of David; my daughter is severely oppressed by a demon.'” (15:21-22)
A. INFERENCE: “But he did not answer her a word. And his disciples came and begged him, saying, ‘Send her away, for she is crying out after us.’ He answered, ‘I was sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.'” (15:23-24)
1. FINDINGS: “But she came and knelt before him, saying, ‘Lord, help me.’ And he answered, ‘It is not right to take the children’s bread and ‘throw it to the dogs.’ She said, ‘Yes, Lord, yet even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from the masters’ table.” (15:25-27)
2. CRITERIA: “Then Jesus answered her, ‘O woman, great is your faith! Be it done for you as you desire.’ And her daughter was healed instantly.” (15:28)
3. CONDITION: Grace.
4. CAUSE: Faith.
5. EFFECT: Saved (healed)
6. RECOMMENDATION: Seek God’s grace in faith.

IV. KEY TEXT (Jesus Heals Many): “Jesus went on from there and walked beside the Sea of Galilee. And he went up on the mountain and sat down there.” (15:29)
A. INFERENCE: “Whatever our case is, the only way to find ease and relief, is to lay it at Christ’s feet, to submit it to him, and refer it to his disposal. Those who would have spiritual healing from Christ, must be ruled as he pleases. See what work sin has made; what various diseases human bodies are subject to.” (Matthew Henry Concise Commentary)
1. FINDINGS: “And great crowds came to him, bringing with them the lame, the blind, the crippled, the mute, and many others, and they put them at his feet, and he healed them, so that the crowd wondered, when they saw the mute speaking, the crippled healthy, the lame walking, and the blind seeing.” (15:30-31)
2. CRITERIA: “When blind souls are made to see by faith, the dumb to speak in prayer, the maimed and the lame to walk in holy obedience, it is to be wondered at.” (Matthew Henry Concise Commentary)
3. CONDITION: “. . . they saw the mute speaking, the crippled healthy, the lame walking, and the blind seeing.” (15:31)
4. CAUSE: “so that the crowd wondered . . .” (15:31)
5. EFFECT: “And they glorified the God of Israel.” (15:31)
6. RECOMMENDATION: “Lord, increase our faith, and pardon our unbelief, teaching us to live upon thy fullness and bounty, for all things pertaining to this life, and that which is to come.” (Matthew Henry Concise Commentary)

V. KEY TEXT (Jesus Feeds the Four Thousand): “Then Jesus called his disciples to him and said, ‘I have compassion on the crowd because they have been with me now three days and have nothing to eat. And I am unwilling to send them away hungry, lest they faint on the way.” (15:32)
A. INFERENCE: “And the disciples said to him, ‘Where are we to get enough bread in such a desolate place to feed so great a crowd?'” (15:33)
1. FINDINGS: “And Jesus said to them, ‘How many loaves do you have?’ They said, ‘Seven, and a few small fish.’ And directing the crowd to sit down on the ground, he took the seven loaves and the fish, and having given thanks he broke them and gave them to the disciples, and the disciples gave them to the crowds. And they all ate and were satisfied. And they took up seven baskets full of the broken pieces left over.” (15:34-37)
2. CRITERIA: “Those who ate were four thousand men besides women and children.” (15:38)
3. CONDITION: “His power was also shown to the multitude, in the plentiful provision he made for them: the manner is much the same as before. All did eat, and were filled. Those whom Christ feeds, he fills. With Christ there is bread enough, and to spare; supplies of grace for more than seek it, and for those that seek for more.” (Matthew Henry Concise Commentary)
4. CAUSE: “Let us be quick to read the divine intention in very simple incidents, and to learn that all God’s past dealings contain lessons for the present!” (F. B. Meyer Commentary, Mark 8:1-10)
5. EFFECT: “Do not suppose that these miracles were confined to His earthly life. He is still the great storehouse of divine and healing energy. He is still moved with compassion, and longs to help each weary and sin-sick soul.” (F. B. Meyer Commentary, Matthew 15:32)
6. RECOMMENDATION: “Lord, increase our faith, and pardon our unbelief, teaching us to live upon thy fullness and bounty, for all things pertaining to this life, and that which is to come.” (Matthew Henry Concise Commentary)

Matthew 16:1, I. The Pharisees and Sadducees Demand Signs; II. The Leaven of the Pharisees and Sadducees; III. Peter Confesses Jesus as the Christ IV. Jesus Foretells His Death and Resurrection; V. Take Up Your Cross and Follow Jesus

I. KEY TEXT: (The Pharisees and Sadducees Demand Signs): “And the Pharisees and Sadducees came, and to test him they asked him to show them a sign from heaven.” (16:1)
A. INFERENCE: “He answered them, ‘When it is evening, you say, ‘It will be fair weather, for the sky is red.’ And in the morning, ‘It will be stormy today, for the sky is red and threatening.’ You know how to interpret the appearance of the sky, but you cannot interpret the signs of the times.” (16:2-3)
1. FINDINGS: “‘An evil and adulterous generation seeks for a sign, but no sign will be given to it except the sign of Jonah.’ So he left them and departed.” (16:4)
2. CRITERIA: “The Pharisees and Sadducees were opposed to each other in principles and in conduct; yet they joined against Christ. But they desired a sign of their own choosing: they despised those signs which relieved the necessity of the sick and sorrowful, and called for something else which would gratify the curiosity of the proud. ” (Matthew Henry Concise Commentary)
3. CONDITION: “It is great hypocrisy, when we slight the signs of God’s ordaining, to seek for signs of our own devising.” (Matthew Henry Concise Commentary)
4. CAUSE: “Pride.” (Matthew Henry Concise Commentary)
5. EFFECT: “He departed them.” (Matthew Henry Concise Commentary)
6. RECOMMENDATION: “The signs of God’s ordaining are sufficient.” (Matthew Henry Concise Commentary)

II. KEY TEXT: (The Leaven of the Pharisees and Sadducees): “When the disciples reached the other side, they had forgotten to bring any bread. Jesus said to them, ‘Watch and beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and Sadducees.’ And they began discussing it among themselves, saying, ‘We brought no bread.'” (16:5-7)
A. INFERENCE: “But Jesus, aware of this, said, ‘O you of little faith, why are you discussing among yourselves the fact that you have no bread? Do you not yet perceive? Do you not remember the five loaves for the five thousand, and how many baskets you gathered? Or the seven loaves for the four thousand, and how many baskets you gathered?” (16:8-10)
1. FINDINGS: “‘How is it that you fail to understand that I did not speak about bread? Beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and Sadducees.’ Then they understood that he did not tell them to beware of the leaven of bread, but of the teaching of the Pharisees and Sadducees.” (16:11-12)”
2. CRITERIA: “Christ speaks of spiritual things under a similitude, and the disciples misunderstand him of carnal things. He took it ill that they should think him as thoughtful about bread as they were; that they should be so little acquainted with his way of preaching.” (Matthew Henry Concise Commentary)
3. CONDITION: “Then understood they what he meant. Christ teaches by the Spirit of wisdom in the heart, opening the understanding to the Spirit of revelation in the word.” (Matthew Henry Concise Commentary)
4. CAUSE: “Carnal things.” (Matthew Henry Concise Commentary) The germs of hurtful and false doctrine are as thick as microbes. (F. B. Meyer Commentary)
5. EFFECT: “Spiritual revelation in the word.” (Matthew Henry Concise Commentary)
6. RECOMMENDATION: “Focus not on the carnal things; keep focus on Spiritual things.” (Matthew Henry Concise Commentary)

III. KEY TEXT (Peter Confesses Jesus as the Christ): “Now when Jesus came into the district of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, ‘Who do people say that the Son of Man is?'” (16:13)
A. INFERENCE: “And they said, ‘Some say John the Baptist, others say Elijah, and others Jeremiah or one of the prophets.’ He said to them, ‘But who do you say that I am?'” (16:14-15)
1. FINDINGS: “Simon Peter replied, ‘You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.'” (16:16-17)
2. CRITERIA: “And Jesus answered him, ‘Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah! For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father who is in heaven. And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven. Then he strictly charged the disciples to tell no one that he was the Christ.” (16:18-20)
3. CONDITION: “But all pretensions of any man, either to absolve or retain men’s sins, are blasphemous and absurd. None can forgive sins but God only. And this binding and loosing, in the common language of the Jews, signified to forbid and to allow, or to teach what is lawful or unlawful.” (Matthew Henry Concise Commentary)
4. CAUSE: “And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.” (16:18)
5. EFFECT: “I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.” (16:19)
6. RECOMMENDATION: Believe as did Peter, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” (16:16)

IV. KEY TEXT (Jesus Foretells His Death and Resurrection): “From that time Jesus began to show his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things from the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and on third day be raised.” (17:21)
A. INFERENCE: “And Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him, saying, ‘Far be it from you, Lord! This shall never happen to you.'” (17:22)
1. FINDINGS: “But he turned and said to Peter, ‘Get behind me, Satan! You are a hindrance to me.” (17:23)
2. CRITERIA: “You are a hindrance to me. For you are not setting your mind on the things of God, but on the things of man.” (17:23)
3. CONDITION: “Whatever appears to be a temptation to sin, must be resisted with abhorrence, and not be parleyed with. Those that decline suffering for Christ, savor more of the things of man than of the things of God.” (Matthew Henry Concise Commentary) NOTE: For 12 high level things that pertain to God, see: http://jwaministries.net/Gods_Strategic_Plan.gif
4. CAUSE: “Things of man” (Matthew Henry Concise Commentary)
5. EFFECT: “We do not read of any thing said or done by any of his disciples, at any time, that Christ resented so much as this. Whoever takes us from that which is good, and would make us fear to do too much for God, speaks Satan’s language.” (Matthew Henry Concise Commentary) NOTE: For choosing the right path at a fork in the road, see: http://jwaministries.net/Cartesian_3D_Cube.gif
6. RECOMMENDATION: “Follow Jesus” (13:41-43; 16:24-27)

V. KEY TEXT (Take Up Your Cross and Follow Jesus): “Then Jesus told his disciples, ‘If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.” (16:24-25)
A. INFERENCE: “For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul? For the Son of Man is going to come with his angels in the glory of his Father, and then he will repay each person according to what he has done.'” (16:26-27)
1. FINDINGS: “Truly, I say to you, there are some standing here who will not taste death until they see the Son of Man coming in his kingdom.” (16:28) NOTE: Rather than interpreting Jesus’ promise as referring to His coming to establish His kingdom on earth, the context indicates that Jesus was referring to the transfiguration. The Greek word translated “kingdom” can also be translated “royal splendor,” meaning that the three disciples standing there would see Christ as He really is—the King of heaven—which occurred in the transfiguration. (GotQuestions.org on 16:28)
2. CRITERIA: “A true disciple of Christ is one that does follow him in duty, and shall follow him to glory. He is one that walks in the same way Christ walked in, is led by his Spirit, and treads in his steps, whithersoever he goes.” (Matthew Henry Concise Commentary)
3. CONDITION: “The Cross had always cast its shadow over our Lord’s path. He did not die as the martyr on whom death comes unexpectedly, but He stepped from the throne and became incarnate that He might die. Notice that solemn must, Mat_16:21.” (F. B. Meyer Commentary)
4. CAUSE: “How soon Peter fell from his high estate! Beware! The voice that bids us spare ourselves is Satan’s. Self-pleasing ends in destruction.” (F. B. Meyer Commentary)
5. EFFECT: “Self-denial and self-sacrifice are the divine path to life. Let us be more eager to lose ourselves than to find ourselves; more set on the cross than on the glory; more eager to promote the well-being of others than our own.” (F. B. Meyer Commentary)
6. RECOMMENDATION: “Follow Jesus” (13:41-43; 16:24-27)

Matthew 17:1, I. The Transfiguration; II. Jesus Heals a Boy with a Demon; III. Jesus Again Foretells Death, Resurrection; IV. The Temple Tax

I. KEY TEXT (The Transfiguration): “And after six days Jesus took with him Peter and James, and John his brother, and led them up a high mountain by themselves. And he was transfigured before them, and his face shone like the sun, and his clothes became white as light. And behold, there appeared to them Moses and Elijah, talking with him.” (17:1-3)
A. INFERENCE: “And Peter said to Jesus, ‘Lord, it is good that we are here. If you wish, I will make three tents here, one for you and one for Moses and one for Elijah.” (17:4)
1. FINDINGS: “He was still speaking when, behold, a bright cloud overshadowed them, and a voice from the cloud said, ‘This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well please; listen to him.’” (17:5)
2. CRITERIA: “The three members of the Trinity were present together at the same time here. ‘The shekinah of His heart was for the most part hidden, but here it burst through the frail veil of flesh, Joh_1:14.'” (F. B. Meyer Commentary)
3. CONDITION: “We are wrong, if we look for a heaven here upon earth.” (Matthew Henry Concise Commentary)
4. CAUSE: “Now the disciples beheld somewhat of Christ’s glory, as of the only begotten of the Father.” (Matthew Henry Concise Commentary)
5. EFFECT: “It was intended to support their faith, when they would have to witness his crucifixion; and would give them an idea of the glory prepared for them, when changed by his power and made like him.” (Matthew Henry Concise Commentary)
6. RECOMMENDATION: “We must pass through varied experiences in our way to glory; and when we return to the world after an ordinance, it must be our care to take Christ with us, and then it may be our comfort that he is with us.” (Matthew Henry Concise Commentary)

II. KEY TEXT (Jesus Heals a Boy with a Demon): “And when they came to the crowd, a man came up to him and, kneeling before him, said, ‘Lord, have mercy on my son, for he is an epileptic and he suffers terribly. For often he falls into the fire, and often into the water. And I brought him to your disciples, and they could not heal him.'” (17:14-16)
A. INFERENCE: “And Jesus answered, ‘O faithless and twisted generation, how long am I to be with you? How long am I to bear with you? Bring him here to me.” (17:17)
1. FINDINGS: “And Jesus rebuked the demon, and it came out of him, and the boy was healed instantly.” (17:18)
2. CRITERIA: “Then the disciples came to Jesus privately and said, ‘Why could we not cast it out?’ He said to them, ‘Because of your little faith. For truly, I say to you, if you have faith like a grain of mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move, and nothing will be impossible for you.'” (17:19-20)
3. CONDITION: “See here an emblem of Christ’s undertaking as our Redeemer. It encourages parents to bring children to Christ, whose souls are under Satan’s power; he is able to heal them, and as willing as he is able.” (Matthew Henry Concise Commentary)
4. CAUSE: “Not only bring them to Christ by prayer, but bring them to the word of Christ; to means by which Satan’s strong-holds in the soul are beaten down.” (Matthew Henry Concise Commentary)
5. EFFECT: “It is good for us to distrust ourselves and our own strength; but it is displeasing to Christ when we distrust any power derived from him, or granted by him.” (Matthew Henry Concise Commentary)
6. RECOMMENDATION: “There was also something in the malady which rendered the cure difficult. The extraordinary power of Satan must not discourage our faith, but quicken us to more earnestness in praying to God for the increase of it.” (Matthew Henry Concise Commentary)

III. KEY TEXT (Jesus Again Foretells Death, Resurrection): “As they were gathering in Galilee, Jesus said to them, ‘The Son of Man is about to be delivered into the hands of men, and they will kill him, and he will be raised on the third day.” (17:22-23)
A. INFERENCE: “And they were greatly distressed.” (17:23)
1. FINDINGS: “Christ perfectly knew all things that should befall him, yet undertook the work of our redemption, which strongly shows his love.” (Matthew Henry Concise Commentary)
2. CRITERIA: “What outward debasement and Divine glory was the life of the Redeemer! And all his humiliation ended in his exaltation.” (Matthew Henry Concise Commentary)
3. CONDITION: “Let us learn to endure the cross, to despise riches and worldly honors, and to be content with his will.” (Matthew Henry Concise Commentary)
4. CAUSE: “. . . the work of our redemption.” (Matthew Henry Concise Commentary)
5. EFFECT: “And all his humiliation ended in his exaltation and our redemption.” (Matthew Henry Concise Commentary)
6. RECOMMENDATION: Seek his love.

IV. KEY TEXT (The Temple Tax): “When they came to Capernaum, the collectors of the two-drachma tax went up to Peter and said, ‘Does you teacher not pay the tax?” (17:24)
A. INFERENCE: “He said, Yes.” (17:25)
1. FINDINGS: “And when he came into the house, Jesus spoke to him first, saying, ‘What do you think, Simon? From whom do kings of the earth take toll or tax? From their sons or from others?’ And when he said, ‘From others,’ Jesus said to him, ‘Then the sons are free. However, not to give offense to them, go to the sea and cast a hook and take the first fish that comes up, and when you open its mouth you will find a shekel. Take that and give it to them for me and for yourself.'” (17:25-27)
2. CRITERIA: “Peter felt sure that his Master was ready to do what was right. Christ spoke first to give him proof that no thought can be withholden from him. We must never decline our duty for fear of giving offense; but we must sometimes deny ourselves in our worldly interests, rather than give offense.” (Matthew Henry Concise Commentary)
3. CONDITION: “However the money was lodged in the fish, He who knows all things alone could know it, and only almighty power could bring it to Peter’s hook.” (Matthew Henry Concise Commentary)
4. CAUSE: “The power and the poverty of Christ should be mentioned together. ” (Matthew Henry Concise Commentary)
5. EFFECT: “If called by providence to be poor, like our Lord, let us trust in his power, and our God shall supply all our need, according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.” (Matthew Henry Concise Commentary)
6. RECOMMENDATION: “In the way of obedience, in the course, perhaps, of our usual calling, as he helped Peter, so he will help us. And if any sudden call should occur, which we are not prepared to meet, let us not apply to others, till we first seek Christ.” (Matthew Henry Concise Commentary)

Matthew 18:1, I. Who is the Greatest?; II. Temptations to Sin; III. The Parable of the Lost Sheep; IV. If Your Brother Sins Against You; V. The Parable of the Unforgiving Servant

I. KEY TEXT (Who is the Greatest?): “At that time the disciples came to Jesus, saying, “Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?” (18:1)
A. INFERENCE: “And calling to him a child, he put him in the midst of them and said, ‘Truly, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.” (18:2-3)
1. FINDINGS: “Whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. Whoever receives one such child in my name receives me, but whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him to have a great millstone fastened around his neck and to be drowned in the depth of the sea.” (18:4-6)
2. CRITERIA: “Our Lord set a little child before them, solemnly assuring them, that unless they were converted and made like little children, they could not enter his kingdom.” (Matthew Henry Concise Commentary)
3. CONDITION: “Children, when very young, do not desire authority, do not regard outward distinctions, are free from malice, are teachable, and willingly dependent on their parents.” (Matthew Henry Concise Commentary)
4. CAUSE: “It is true that they soon begin to show other dispositions, and other ideas are taught them at an early age; but these are marks of childhood, and render them proper emblems of the lowly minds of true Christians.” (Matthew Henry Concise Commentary)
5. EFFECT: “The Master therefore used a child for His text and preached a sermon on humility.” (F. B. Meyer Commentary)
6. RECOMMENDATION: “Let us daily study this subject, and examine our own spirits.” (Matthew Henry Concise Commentary)

II. KEY TEXT (Temptations to Sin): “Woe to the world for temptations to sin! For it is necessary that temptations come, but woe to the one by whom the temptation comes!” (18:7)
A. INFERENCE: “And if your hand or your foot causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. It is better for you to enter life crippled or lame than with two hands or two feet to be thrown into the eternal fire. And if your eye causes you to sin, tear it out and throw it away. It is better for you to enter life with one eye than with two eyes to be thrown into the hell of fire.” (18:8-9)
1. FINDINGS: “Considering the cunning and malice of Satan, and the weakness and depravity of men’s hearts, it is not possible but that there should be offenses.” (Matthew Henry Concise Commentary)
2. CRITERIA: “Being told before, that there will be seducers, tempters, persecutors, and bad examples, let us stand on our guard. We must, as far as lawfully we may, part with what we cannot keep without being entangled by it in sin. The outward occasions of sin must be avoided.” (Matthew Henry Concise Commentary)
3. CONDITION: “If we live after the flesh, we must die. If we, through the Spirit, mortify the deeds of the body, we shall live. Christ came into the world to save souls, and he will reckon severely with those who hinder the progress of others who are setting their faces heavenward.” (Matthew Henry Concise Commentary)
4. CAUSE: “God permits them for wise and holy ends, that those who are sincere, and those who are not, may be made known.” (Matthew Henry Concise Commentary)
5. EFFECT: “And shall any of us refuse attention to those whom the Son of God came to seek and to save?” (Matthew Henry Concise Commentary)
6. RECOMMENDATION: “A father takes care of all his children, but is particularly tender of the little ones.” (Matthew Henry Concise Commentary)

III. KEY TEXT (The Parable of the Lost Sheep): “See that you do not despise one of these little ones. For I tell you that in heaven their angels always see the face of my Father who is in heaven.” (18:10-11)
A. INFERENCE: “What do you think?” (18:12)
1. FINDINGS: “If a man has a hundred sheep, and one of them has gone astray, does he not leave the ninety-nine on the mountains and go in search of the one that went astray? And if he finds it, truly, I say to you, he rejoices over it more than over the ninety-nine that never went astray.” (18:12-13)
2. CRITERIA: “So it is not the will of my Father who is in heaven that one of these little ones should perish.” (18:14)
3. CONDITION: “We must not be childish, but childlike. See 1Co_13:11. The beauty of a little child is its unconsciousness, humility, simplicity, and faith.” (F. B. Meyer Commentary)
4. CAUSE: “God’s best gifts are placed, not on a high shelf for us to reach up to, but on a low one to which we must stoop.” (F. B. Meyer Commentary)
5. EFFECT: “Christ’s kingdom abounds with the rare blending of the warrior and the child.” See 2Ki_5:14. (F. B. Meyer Commentary)
6. RECOMMENDATION: “Be childlike.” (F. B. Meyer Commentary)

IV. KEY TEXT (If Your Brother Sins Against You): “If your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault, between you and him alone. If he listens to you, you have gained your brother. But if he does not listen, take one or two others along with you, that every charge may be established by the evidence of two or three witnesses.” (18:15-16)
A. INFERENCE: “If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church. And if he refuses to listen even to the church, let him be to you as a Gentile and a tax collector.” (18:17)
1. FINDINGS: “Truly, I say to you, whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.” (18:18)
2. CRITERIA: “Again I say to you, if two of you agree on earth about anything they ask, it will be done for them by my Father in heaven. For where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I among them.” (18:19-20)
3. CONDITION: “If a professed Christian is wronged by another, he ought not to complain of it to others, as is often done merely upon report, but to go to the offender privately, state the matter kindly, and show him his conduct.” (Matthew Henry Concise Commentary)
4. CAUSE: “This would generally have all the desired effect with a true Christian, and the parties would be reconciled. The principles of these rules may be practiced every where, and under all circumstances, though they are too much neglected by all.” (Matthew Henry Concise Commentary)
5. EFFECT: “But how few try the method which Christ has expressly enjoined to all his disciples!” (Matthew Henry Concise Commentary)
6. RECOMMENDATION: “In all our proceedings we should seek direction in prayer; we cannot too highly prize the promises of God. Wherever and whenever we meet in the name of Christ, we should consider him as present in the midst of us.” (Matthew Henry Concise Commentary)

V. KEY TEXT: (The Parable of the Unforgiving Servant) “Then Peter came up and said to him, ‘Lord, how often will my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? As many as seven times?” (18:21)
A. INFERENCE: “Jesus said to him, ‘I do not say to you seven times, but seventy times seven.” (18:22)
1. FINDINGS: “Therefore the kingdom of heaven may be compared to a king who wished to settle accounts with his servants. When he began to settle, one was brought to him who owed him ten thousand talents. And since he could not pay, his master ordered him to be sold, with his wife and children and all that he had, and payment to be made. So the servant fell on his knees, imploring him, ‘Have patience with me, and I will pay you everything. And out of pity for him, the master of that servant released him and forgave him the debt.” (18:23-27)
2. CRITERIA: “But when that same servant went out, he found one of his fellow servants who owed him a hundred denarii, and seizing him, he began to choke him, saying, ‘Pay what you owe.’ So his fellow servant fell down and pleaded with him, ‘Have patience with me, and I will pay you.” He refused and went and put him in prison until he should pay the debt. When his fellow servants saw what had taken place, they were greatly distressed, and they went and reported to their master all that had taken place. Then his master summoned him and said to him, ‘You wicked servant! I forgave you all that debt because you pleaded with me. And should not you have had mercy on your fellow servant, as I had mercy on you? And in anger his master delivered him to the jailers, until he should pay all his debt.” (18:28-34)
3. CONDITION: “So also my heavenly Father will do to every one of you, if you do not forgive your brother from you heart.” (18:35)
4. CAUSE: “Though we live wholly on mercy and forgiveness, we are backward to forgive the offenses of our brethren. This parable shows how much provocation God has from his family on earth, and how untoward his servants are.” (Matthew Henry Concise Commentary)
5. EFFECT: “There are three things in the parable: (1) The master’s wonderful clemency. The debt of sin is so great, that we are not able to pay it. See here what every sin deserves; this is the wages of sin, to be sold as a slave. It is the folly of many who are under strong convictions of their sins, to fancy they can make God satisfaction for the wrong they have done him. (2) The servant’s unreasonable severity toward his fellow-servant, notwithstanding his Lord’s clemency toward him. Not that we may make light of wronging our neighbor, for that is also a sin against God; but we should not aggravate our neighbor’s wronging us, nor study revenge. Let our complaints, both of the wickedness of the wicked, and of the afflictions of the afflicted, be brought to God, and left with him. (3) The master reproved his servant’s cruelty. The greatness of sin magnifies the riches of pardoning mercy; and the comfortable sense of pardoning mercy, does much to dispose our hearts to forgive our brethren.” (Matthew Henry Concise Commentary)
6. RECOMMENDATION: “We do not forgive our offending brother aright, if we do not forgive from the heart. Yet this is not enough; we must seek the welfare even of those who offend us. How justly will those be condemned, who, though they bear the Christian name, persist in unmerciful treatment of their brethren! The humbled sinner relies only on free, abounding mercy, through the ransom of the death of Christ. Let us seek more and more for the renewing grace of God, to teach us to forgive others as we hope for forgiveness from him.” (Matthew Henry Concise Commentary)

Matthew 19:1, I. Teaching About Divorce; II. Let the Children Come to Me; III. The Rich Young Man

I. KEY TEXT (Teaching About Divorce): “Now when Jesus had finished these sayings, he went away from Galilee and entered the region of Judea beyond the Jordan. And large crowds followed him, and he healed them there.” (19:1-2)
A. INFERENCE: “And Pharisees came up to him and tested him by asking, ‘Is it lawful to divorce one’s wife for any cause?’ He answered, ‘Have you not read that he who created them from the beginning made them male and female, and said, ‘Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’? So they are no longer two but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let no man separate.” (19:3-6)
1. FINDINGS: “They said to him, ‘Why then did Moses command one to give a certificate of divorce and to send her away?’ He said to them, ‘Because of your hardness of heart Moses allowed you to divorce your wives, but from the beginning it was not so.'” (19:7-8)
2. CRITERIA: “And I say to you: ‘whoever divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality, and marries another, commits adultery.'” (19:9)
3. CONDITION: “The disciples said to him, ‘If such is the case of a man with his wife, it is better not to marry.’ But he said to them, ‘Not everyone can receive this saying, but only those to whom it is given. For there are eunuchs who have been so from birth, and there are eunuchs who have been made eunuchs by men, and there are eunuchs who have made themselves eunuchs for the sake of the kingdom of heaven. Let the one who is able to receive this receive it.” (19:10-12)
4. CAUSE: “Cases about marriage have been numerous, and sometimes perplexed; made so, not by the law of God, but by the lusts and follies of men; and often people fix what they will do, before they ask for advice.” (Matthew Henry Concise Commentary)
5. EFFECT: “When the gospel is really embraced, it makes men kind relatives and faithful friends; it teaches them to bear the burdens, and to bear with the infirmities of those with whom they are connected, to consider their peace and happiness more than their own. As to ungodly persons, it is proper that they should be restrained by laws, from breaking the peace of society.” (Matthew Henry Concise Commentary)
6. RECOMMENDATION: “And we learn that the married state should be entered upon with great seriousness and earnest prayer.” (Matthew Henry Concise Commentary)

II. KEY TEXT (Let the Children Come to Me): “Then children were brought to him that he might lay his hands on them and pray.” (19:13)
A. INFERENCE: “The disciples rebuked the people, but Jesus said, ‘Let the little children come to me and do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of heaven.'” (19:13-14)
1. FINDINGS: “And he laid his hands on them and went away.” (19:15)
2. CRITERIA: “It is well when we come to Christ ourselves, and bring our children. Little children may be brought to Christ as needing, and being capable of receiving blessings from him, and having an interest in his intercession.” (Matthew Henry Concise Commentary)
3. CONDITION: “We can but beg a blessing for them: Christ only can command the blessing. It is well for us, that Christ has more love and tenderness in him than the best of his disciples have.” (Matthew Henry Concise Commentary)
4. CAUSE: “And let us learn of him not to discountenance any willing, well-meaning souls, in their seeking after Christ, though they are but weak.” (Matthew Henry Concise Commentary)
5. EFFECT: “Those who are given to Christ, as part of his purchase, he will in no wise cast out. Therefore he takes it ill of all who forbid, and try to shut out those whom he has received.” (Matthew Henry Concise Commentary)
6. RECOMMENDATION: “And all Christians should bring their children to the Savior that he may bless them with spiritual blessings.” (Matthew Henry Concise Commentary)

III. KEY TEXT (The Rich Young Man): “And behold, a man came up to him, saying, ‘Teacher, what good deed must I do to have eternal life?’ And he said to him, ‘Why do you ask me about what is good? There is only one who is good. If you would enter life, keep the commandments.'” (19:16-19)
A. INFERENCE: “He said to him, ‘Which ones?’ And Jesus said, ‘You shall not murder, You shall not commit adultery, You shall not steal, You shall not bear false witness, Honor your father and mother, and, You shall love your neighbor as yourself.'” (19:18-19)
1. FINDINGS: “The young man said to him, ‘All these I have kept. What do I still lack?'” (19:21)
2. CRITERIA: “Jesus said to him, ‘If you would be perfect, go, sell what you possess and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me.'” (19:21)
3. CONDITION: “When the young man heard this he went away sorrowful, for he had great possessions.” (19:22)
4. CAUSE: “And Jesus said to his disciples, ‘Truly, I say to you, only with difficulty will a rich person enter the kingdom of heaven. Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the kingdom of God.'” (19:23-24)
5. EFFECT: “When the disciples heard this, they were greatly astonished, saying, ‘Who then can be saved?’ But Jesus looked at them and said, ‘With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.’ Then Peter said in reply, ‘See, we have left everything and followed you. What then will we have? Jesus said to them, ‘Truly I say to you, in the new world, when the Son of Man will sit on his glorious throne, you who have followed me will also sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel. And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or lands, for my name’s sake, will receive a hundredfold and will inherit eternal life. But many who are first will be last, and the last first.'” (19:25-30)
6. RECOMMENDATION: “Nothing less than the almighty grace of God will enable a rich man to get over this difficulty.” (Matthew Henry Concise Commentary)

Matthew 20:1, I. Laborers in the Vineyard; II. Jesus Foretells His Death a Third Time; III. A Mother’s Request; IV. Jesus Heals Two Blind Men

I. KEY TEXT (Laborers in the Vineyard):“For the kingdom of heaven is like a master of a house who went out early in the morning to hire laborers for his vineyard. After agreeing with the laborers for a denarius a day, he sent them into his vineyard. And going out about the third hour he saw others standing idle in the marketplace, and to them he said, ‘You go into the vineyard too, and whatever is right I will give you.’ So they went. Going out again about the sixth hour and the ninth hour, he did the same. And about the eleventh hour he went out and found others standing. And he said to them, ‘Why do you stand here idle all day?’ They said to him, ‘Because no one has hired us.’ He said to them, ‘You go into the vineyard too.'” (20:1-7)
A. INFERENCE: “And when evening came, the owner of the vineyard said to his foreman, ‘Call the laborers and pay them their wages, beginning with the last, up to the first.'” (20:8)
1. FINDINGS: “And when those hired about the eleventh hour came, each of them received a denarius. Now when those hired first came, they thought they would receive more, but each of them also received a denarius.” (20:9-10)
2. CRITERIA: “And on receiving it they grumbled at the master of the house, saying, ‘These last worked only one hour, and you have made them equal to us who have borne the burden of the day and the scorching heat.'” (20:11-12)
3. CONDITION: “‘But he replied to one of them, ‘Friend, I am doing you no wrong. Did you not agree with me for a denarius? Take what belongs to you and go. I chose to give to the last worker as I give to you. Am I not allowed to do what I choose with what belongs to me? Or do you begrudge my generosity? So the last will be first, and the first last.'” (20:13-16)
4. CAUSE: “The direct object of this parable seems to be, to show that though the Jews were first called into the vineyard, at length the gospel should be preached to the Gentiles, and they should be admitted to equal privileges and advantages with the Jews.” (Matthew Henry Concise Commentary)
5. EFFECT: “The parable may also be applied more generally, and shows: (1) That God is debtor to no man, (2) That many who begin last, and promise little in religion, sometimes, by the blessing of God, arrive at a great deal of knowledge, grace, and usefulness, (3) That the recompense of reward will be given to the saints, but not according to the time of their conversion.” (Matthew Henry Concise Commentary)
6. RECOMMENDATION: “A man may go idle to hell, but he that will go to heaven, must be diligent.” (Matthew Henry Concise Commentary)

II. KEY TEXT (Jesus Foretells His Death a Third Time):“And as Jesus was going up to Jerusalem, he took the twelve disciples aside, and on the way he said to them, ‘See, we are going up to Jerusalem. And the Son of Man will be delivered over to the chief priests and scribes, and they will condemn him to death and deliver him over to the Gentiles to be mocked and flogged and crucified, and he will be raised on the third day.'” (20:17-19)
A. INFERENCE: “Now He declares the method of His death, and tells how Gentiles would join with His own people in the tragedy of the Cross. He was no martyr, who went unknowing to his doom. He set His face to go to the Cross. Others die because they were born; He was born that He might die.” (F. B. Meyer Commentary)
1. FINDINGS: “And the Son of Man will be delivered over to the chief priests and scribes, and they will condemn him to death and deliver him over to the Gentiles to be mocked and flogged and crucified, and he will be raised on the third day.” (20:18-19)
2. CRITERIA: “And here, as before, he adds the mention of his resurrection and his glory, to that of his death and sufferings, to encourage his disciples, and comfort them.” (Matthew Henry Concise Commentary)
3. CONDITION: “When we consider the need of the humiliation and sufferings of the Son of God, in order to the salvation of perishing sinners, surely we must be aware of the freeness and richness of Divine grace in our salvation.” (Matthew Henry Concise Commentary)
4. CAUSE: “Many desire the power of the throne, without being prepared to pay the price of suffering. Others say glibly and easily, We can, little realizing what their choice involves, and that nothing but the grace of God can make their vow possible of fulfillment. But it is sufficient! Only claim it.” (F. B. Meyer Commentary)
5. EFFECT: “God will not fail you! Notice Mat_20:28. The Lord ministers to us all, daily, patiently, lovingly. He took on Him the form of a servant and became obedient.” (F. B. Meyer Commentary)
6. RECOMMENDATION: “Serve all men for His sake! We have to go down to reach His side.” (F. B. Meyer Commentary)

III. KEY TEXT (A Mother’s Request):“Then the mother of the sons of Zebedee came up to him with her sons, and kneeling before him she asked him for something. And he said to her, ‘What do you want?’ She said to him, ‘Say that these two sons of mine are to sit, one at your right hand and one at you left, in your kingdom.'” (20:20-21)
A. INFERENCE: “Jesus answered, ‘You do not know what you are asking. Are you able to drink the cup that I am to drink?’ They said to him, ‘We are able.'” (20:22)
1. FINDINGS: “He said to them, ‘You will drink my cup, but to sit at my right hand and at my left is not mine to grant, but it is for those for whom it has been prepared by my Father.” (20:23)
2. CRITERIA: “And when the ten heard it, they were indignant at the two brothers.” (20:24)
3. CONDITION: “But Jesus called them to him and said, ‘You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great ones exercise authority over them. It shall not be so among you. But whoever would be great among you must be your servant, and whoever would be first among you must be your slave, even as the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.'” (20:25-28)
4. CAUSE: “Pride is a sin that most easily besets us; it is sinful ambition to outdo others in pomp and grandeur. To put down the vanity and ambition of their request, Christ leads them to the thoughts of their sufferings. It is a bitter cup that is to be drunk of; a cup of trembling, but not the cup of the wicked.” (Matthew Henry Concise Commentary)
5. EFFECT: “It is but a cup, it is but a draught, bitter perhaps, but soon emptied; it is a cup in the hand of a Father, John 18:11.” (Matthew Henry Concise Commentary)
6. RECOMMENDATION: “It was a ransom for many, enough for all, working upon many; and, if for many, then the poor trembling soul may say, Why not for me?” (Matthew Henry Concise Commentary)

IV. KEY TEXT (Jesus Heals Two Blind Men):“And as they went out of Jericho, a great crowd followed him. And behold, there were two blind men sitting by the roadside, and when they heard that Jesus was passing by, they cried out, ‘Lord, have mercy on us, Son of David!'” (20:29-30)
A. INFERENCE: “The crowd rebuked them, telling them to be silent, but they cried out all the more, ‘Lord, have mercy on us, Son of David!'” (20:31)
1. FINDINGS: “And stopping, Jesus called them and said, ‘What do you want me to do for you?’ They said to him, ‘Lord, let our eyes be opened.'” (20:32-33)
2. CRITERIA: “And Jesus in pity touched their eyes, and immediately they recovered their sight and followed him.” (20:34)
3. CONDITION: “There is mercy enough in Christ for all that ask. They were earnest in prayer. They cried out as men in earnest.” (Matthew Henry Concise Commentary)
4. CAUSE: “They were humble in prayer, casting themselves upon, and referring themselves cheerfully to, the Mediator’s mercy. They showed faith in prayer, by the title they gave to Christ. Surely it was by the Holy Ghost that they called Jesus, Lord. They persevered in prayer.” (Matthew Henry Concise Commentary)
5. EFFECT: “Jesus cured these blind men; and when they had received sight, they followed him.” (Matthew Henry Concise Commentary)
6. RECOMMENDATION: “These miracles are our call to Jesus; may we hear it, and make it our daily prayer to grow in grace and in the knowledge of the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.” (Matthew Henry Concise Commentary)

Matthew 21:1, I. The Triumphal Entry; II. Jesus Cleanses the Temple; III. Jesus Curses the Fig Tree; IV. The Authority of Jesus Challenged; V. The Parable of the Two Sons; VI. The Parable of the Tenants

I. KEY TEXT (The Triumphal Entry):“Now when they drew near to Jerusalem and came to Bethphage, to the Mount of Olives, then Jesus sent two disciples, saying to them, ‘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 fulfill 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, and on a colt, the foal of a beast of burden.'” (21:1-5)
A. INFERENCE: “The disciples went and did as Jesus had directed them. They brought the donkey and the colt and put on them their cloaks, and he sat on them.” (21:6-7)
1. FINDINGS: “Most of the crowd spread their cloaks on the road, and others cut branches from the trees and spread them on the road. And the crowds that went before him and that followed him were shouting, ‘Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord! Hosanna in the highest!’ ” (21:8-9)
2. CRITERIA: “When Christ would appear in his glory, it is in his meekness, not in his majesty, in mercy to work salvation. As meekness and outward poverty were fully seen in Zion’s King, and marked his triumphal entrance to Jerusalem, how wrong covetousness, ambition, and the pride of life must be in Zion’s citizens!” (Matthew Henry Concise Commentary)
3. CONDITION: “And when he entered Jerusalem, the whole city was stirred up, saying, ‘Who is this?’ And the crowds said, ‘This is the prophet Jesus, from Nazareth of Galilee.'” (21:10-11)
4. CAUSE: “Those that take Christ for their King, must lay their all under his feet. Hosanna signifies, Save now, we beseech thee!” (Matthew Henry Concise Commentary)
5. EFFECT: “Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord! But of how little value is the applause of the people!” (Matthew Henry Concise Commentary)
6. RECOMMENDATION: “When Jesus was come into Jerusalem all the city was moved; some perhaps were moved with joy, who waited for the Consolation of Israel; others, of the Pharisees, were moved with envy. So various are the motions in the minds of men upon the approach of Christ’s kingdom.” (Matthew Henry Concise Commentary) Applaud the Lord.

II. KEY TEXT (Jesus Cleanses the Temple):“And Jesus entered the temple and drove out all who sold and bought in the temple, and he overturned the tables of the money changers and the seats of those who sold pigeons.” (21:12)
A. INFERENCE: “He said to them, ‘It is written, My house shall be called a house of prayer,’ but you make it a den of robbers.” (21:13)
1. FINDINGS: “And the blind and the lame came to him in the temple, and he healed them. But when the chief priests and the scribes saw the wonderful things that he did, and the children crying out in the temple, ‘Hosanna to the Son of David!’ they were indignant, and they said to him, ‘Do you hear what these are saying?’ And Jesus said to them, ‘Yes; have you never read, ‘Out of the mouth of infants and nursing babies you have prepared praise’?” (21:14-16)
2. CRITERIA: “His works testified of him more than the hosannas; and his healing in the temple was the fulfilling of the promise, that the glory of the latter house should be greater than the glory of the former.” (Matthew Henry Concise Commentary)
3. CONDITION: “If Christ came now into many parts of his visible church, how many secret evils he would discover and cleanse!” (Matthew Henry Concise Commentary)
4. CAUSE: “And how many things daily practiced under the cloak of religion, would he show to be more suitable to a den of thieves than to a house of prayer!” (Matthew Henry Concise Commentary)
5. EFFECT: “Let us not ask small things. We honor Him by making great demands. Our greatest requests come far short of His generosity and resources.” (F. B. Meyer Commentary)
6. RECOMMENDATION: “But remember it is not the outcry, but your need and your faith which will arrest His steps.” (F. B. Meyer Commentary)

III. KEY TEXT (Jesus Curses the Fig Tree):“In the morning, as he was returning to the city, he became hungry. And seeing a fig tree by the wayside, he went to it and found nothing on it but only leaves.” (21:18-19)
A. INFERENCE: “And he said to it, ‘May no fruit ever come from you again! And the fig tree withered at once.” (21:19)
1. FINDINGS: “When the disciples saw it, they marveled, saying, ‘How did the fig tree wither at once?’ And Jesus answered them, ‘Truly, I say to you, if you have faith and do not doubt, you will not only do what has been done to the fig tree, but even if you say to this mountain, ‘Be taken up and thrown into the sea,’ it will happen. And whatever you ask in prayer, you will receive, if you have faith.'” (21:20-22)
2. CRITERIA: “This cursing of the barren fig-tree represents the state of hypocrites in general, and so teaches us that Christ looks for the power of religion in those who profess it, and the savor of it from those that have the show of it. His just expectations from flourishing professors are often disappointed; he comes to many, seeking fruit, and finds leaves only.” (Matthew Henry Concise Commentary)
3. CONDITION: “A false profession commonly withers in this world, and it is the effect of Christ’s curse. The fig-tree that had no fruit, soon lost its leaves. This represents the state of the nation and people of the Jews in particular. Our Lord Jesus found among them nothing but leaves.” (Matthew Henry Concise Commentary)
4. CAUSE: “And after they rejected Christ, blindness and hardness grew upon them, till they were undone, and their place and nation rooted up.” (Matthew Henry Concise Commentary)
5. EFFECT: “The Lord was righteous in it.” (Matthew Henry Concise Commentary)
6. RECOMMENDATION: “Let us greatly fear the doom denounced on the barren fig-tree.” (Matthew Henry Concise Commentary)

IV. KEY TEXT (The Authority of Jesus Challenged):“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?'” (21:23)
A. INFERENCE: “Jesus answered them, ‘I also will ask you one question, and if you tell me the answer, then I also will tell you by what authority I do these things. The baptism of John, from where did it come? From heaven or from man?'” (21:24-25)
1. FINDINGS: “And they discussed it among themselves, saying, ‘If we say, ‘From heaven,’ he will say to us, ‘Why then did you not believe him?’ But if we say, ‘From man,’ we are afraid of the crowd, for they all hold that John was a prophet.’ So they answered Jesus, ‘We do not know.’ And he said to them, ‘Neither will I tell you by what authority I do these things.'” (21:26-27)
2. CRITERIA: “As our Lord now openly appeared as the Messiah, the chief priests and scribes were much offended, especially because he exposed and removed the abuses they encouraged.” (Matthew Henry Concise Commentary)
3. CONDITION: “Our Lord asked what they thought of John’s ministry and baptism. Many are more afraid of the shame of lying than of the sin, and therefore scruple not to speak what they know to be false, as to their own thoughts, affection, and intentions, or their remembering and forgetting.” (Matthew Henry Concise Commentary)
4. CAUSE: “Our Lord refused to answer their inquiry.” (Matthew Henry Concise Commentary)
5. EFFECT: “It is best to shun needless disputes with wicked opposers.” (Matthew Henry Concise Commentary)
6. RECOMMENDATION: “But of what use was it to endeavor to satisfy these men who had refused to acknowledge the divine mission of the Forerunner! They would not speak out their inner convictions, because of the effect it would have on their worldly prospects. For such as these Christ has nothing. At all costs, we must be true to the inner light, that is, to God’s Spirit within us.” (F. B. Meyer Commentary)

V. KEY TEXT (The Parable of the Two Sons):“What do you think? A man had two sons. And he went to the first and said, ‘Son go and work in the vineyard today.’ And he answered, ‘I will not,’ but afterward he changed his mind and went. And he went to the other son and said the same. And he answered, ‘I go, sir,’ but did not go.” (21:28-30)
A. INFERENCE: “Which of the two did the will of his father?” (21:31)
1. FINDINGS: “They said, ‘The first.'” (21:31)
2. CRITERIA: “Jesus said to them, ‘Truly, I say to you the tax collectors and the prostitutes go into the kingdom of God before you.” (21:31)
3. CONDITION: “For John came to you in the way of righteousness, and you did not believe him, but the tax collectors and the prostitutes believed him.” (21:32)
4. CAUSE: “And even when you saw it, you did not afterward change your minds and believe him.” (21:32)
5. EFFECT: “And it often happens, that the daring rebel is brought to repentance and becomes the Lord’s servant, while the formalist grows hardened in pride and enmity.” (Matthew Henry Concise Commentary)
6. RECOMMENDATION: “The parable of the two sons teaches that hard hearts may lie under fair words, while those of whom we expect least and whose first greeting is abrupt and disappointing, may later prove to be the most devoted and hopeful disciples. If a man repels the gospel with violence, he is more likely ultimately to be won than he who gives a polite and facile assent.” (F. B. Meyer Commentary)

VI. KEY TEXT (The Parable of the Tenants):“There was a master of a house who planted a vineyard and put a fence around it and dug a winepress in it and built a tower and leased it to tenants, and went into another country. When the season for fruit drew near, he sent his servants to the tenants to get his fruit. And the tenants took his servants and beat one, killed another, and stoned another. Again he sent other servants, more than the first. And they did the same to them. Finally he sent his son to them, saying, ‘They will respect my son.'” (21:33-37)
A. INFERENCE: “But when the tenants saw the son, they said to themselves, ‘This is the heir. Come, let us kill him and have his inheritance.'” (21:38)
1. FINDINGS: “And they took him and threw him out of the vineyard and killed him.” (21:39)
2. CRITERIA: “When therefore the owner of the vineyard comes, what will he do to those tenants?” (21:40)
3. CONDITION: “They said to him, ‘He will put those wretches to a miserable death and let out the vineyard to other tenants who will give him the fruits of their seasons.” (21:41)
4. CAUSE: “Jesus 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 marvelous in our eyes'” (21:42)
5. EFFECT: “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.” (21:43-44)
6. RECOMMENDATION: “May Christ become more and more precious to our souls, as the firm Foundation and Cornerstone of his church. May we be willing to follow him, though despised and hated for his sake.” (Matthew Henry Concise Commentary)

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