Today’s reading: Matthew 21:33-46.
In the final days of His life Jesus spoke a lot about His relationship with the Jewish religious leaders and announced their upcoming rejection and destruction. This is an important TURNING POINT because these are the descendants of Abraham to whom God gave the land of Canaan. They were God’s chosen people!
God used the Assyrians and Babylonians centuries earlier to punish Israel for their idolatry, and sent them into captivity, but after 70 years some of them were allowed to return.
In turning point #9 Jesus was born and now the time of His death was drawing near.
Early in chapter 21 you have the triumphant entry (Palm Sunday) followed by the cleansing of the temple. The cleansing of the temple certainly sent a message of God’s disapproval of the Jewish religious practices of the day.
The end of the chapter contains the Parable of the Wicked Vinedressers. Read it in Matthew 21:33-46.
Who do some of the characters in the parable represent in the real world of Jesus day?
IMPORTANT: What does verse 43 say about the kingdom of God and the Jews?
EXAMPLE: If I Give you something then take it from you and give it to someone else, is it still yours? Think about verse 43 in that light.
In Matthew 23 and 24 Jesus goes on to make even stronger, more explicit statements about God’s future dealings with Jerusalem and the Jews. There are some challenging parts in these chapters but some things are plain enough! Note especially 23:29-24:2. What is to come for the Jews? What is the timing indicated?
The Romans destroyed Jerusalem in 70 AD. How is this punishment different from the one executed by the Babylonians in 586 BC?
IMPORTANT: God is not totally rejecting individuals because they are Jewish. This is a rejection of physical Israel as the unique people of God. The gospel of Jesus Christ is for all men, Jew or Gentile. For more insight into this read Romans 11:1-6.