Matthew 21 - 23
Today’s reading begins and ends with significant events centered on Jesus in Jerusalem. To start, Jesus enters into Jerusalem via His Triumphal Entry, riding on a donkey and fulfilling the prophecy of Zechariah 9:9. By the end of chapter 23, Jesus is lamenting over the city of Jerusalem, for their refusal to come to Him. Many often wonder, how could things have started off so well, yet ended up so poorly? The answer is perhaps they didn’t start off as well as they appear. Why exactly were the crowds so excited as Jesus entered into Jerusalem? Was it because they knew Jesus came to die for their sins, or did they still expect Him to fulfill their long-awaited desire for an anointed king to overthrow the oppressive Roman government? It appears to be the latter, as many in this crowd would not only abandon Jesus as the week progressed, but outright ask for His crucifixion. Much of Jesus’ last week of earthly ministry is thus filled with great conflict, from His cleansing of the temple, to the teaching of many challenging parables, to Jesus pronouncing seven woes on the Jewish religious leaders. But it’s also filled with great grace, as we see Jesus continue to shepherd His flock, healing the blind and the lame.
Reflect: Many have said there are only two things that are certain in this life: death & taxes. Jesus had much to say about both. When asked about paying taxes to Caesar (22:15-22), Jesus, using a Roman coin to make His point, asked the simplest of questions: “Whose likeness and inscription is this?” The answer was obvious, so Jesus said give to Caesar what is Caesar’s. But Jesus didn’t stop there. He went on to challenge His hearers to also give “to God the things that are God’s.” If Caesar is the owner of things made in his image, and we should give those to Caesar, then an argument from the lesser to the greater implies that God is the owner of things made in His image, and we should give those to Him. So, what is made in God’s image? You are. Take a moment to reflect on the ways you may not be giving God what rightfully belongs to Him. Confess, thank God for His mercy, and ask God for the grace to help you more fully give yourself to Him.
Connect: The Bible, from beginning to end, declares that we are made in God’s image. Although the Fall marred that image, it did not destroy it altogether. And God, by His grace, is renewing that image as He remakes us after the image and likeness of Jesus Christ the LORD. Take a moment to meditate on some of the passages below, and praise God for how He is renewing you after His own image.
So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.
For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers.
Just as we have borne the image of the man of dust, we shall also bear the image of the man of heaven.
1 Corinthians 15:49
And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit.
2 Corinthians 3:18
Beloved, we are God's children now, and what we will be has not yet appeared; but we know that when he appears we shall be like him, because we shall see him as he is.
1 John 3:2
- Rev. John McCombs
This blog is part of the ministry of City Reformed Presbyterian Church. Unless otherwise noted, the entries are written by Matt Koerber. This is part of a project that our church is doing as we read through the narrative sections of Scripture between early January and Easter 2020. New entries will be scheduled to drop automatically at 5:00 am on the scheduled day.