Devotionals Archive

Daybreak: Matthew 21:1-22

Mar 23, 2021

“And all things, whatsoever ye shall ask in prayer, believing, ye shall receive.” (Matthew 21:22)

Maddie, my friend’s two-year-old daughter, greets the day with vigor. When she awakes in the morning she calls out, “Mama, Dada!” Soon, her daddy is trudging down the hallway to her bedroom. As he opens the door to her room, her face lights up. She stands tall in her crib with her arms stretched toward him. Never for a moment has she doubted that he would come to her. He picks her up, and she wraps her arms and legs around him. She knows the routine. They will creep down the hall to give Mama a surprise wakeup call. As they near the door, Maddie can take the suspense no longer, and she shouts out, “Mama! Morning, Mama!” 

This done, she looks up at her father and says, “Breakfast?” There is no need for lengthy sentences. Communication is clear, and they happily head down to the kitchen. There, Maddie pulls open the refrigerator door and shouts, “Eggs! Toast!” with the energy only a two-year-old could muster so early in the morning. 

Maddie could not do any of the routine things in her day without the help of her father. Yet, through clear communication she is able to accomplish great things. She simply asks and she receives. 

This delightful child has helped me to relearn an old lesson. I, too, could never wake up in the morning and get out of bed without my Heavenly Father’s help. The tasks before me each day seem impossible. There is so much to be done and so little time. I am a teacher, and the children in my classroom have many needs to be met! Yet, when I call on my Father in Heaven and rely on Him to carry me, I find that the impossible tasks become possible. My load is lighter, and I am more enthusiastic about the plan God has for me each day.

Because of Maddie, I have had a refresher course in the benefits of trusting God. My faith is strengthened, and I am believing and receiving from God. How my day unfolds depends on how I begin it. I am learning that what is impossible to me is possible with God.


Today’s text took place around the time of Passover. Historical records indicate that about two million people were in and around Jerusalem at the time. Jesus had never before planned and promoted a public demonstration such as this, but in doing so, He obeyed the Word of God and fulfilled the prophecy recorded in Zechariah 9:9. Upon seeing the townspeople declare Jesus as their King, the Jewish leaders concluded that Jesus must be destroyed. This fulfilled the prophecy that the Lamb of God was to be crucified on Passover. 

In verses 12-22, Jesus performed two acts of judgment: He cleansed the Temple and cursed the fig tree. Both of these acts were symbolic of the hypocrisy of Israel: The Temple was a den of thieves, and the nation was without fruit (inward corruption and outward fruitlessness). Three years had gone by since the first cleansing of the Temple near the beginning of Christ’s ministry (John 2:13-17): at this point, it had again been defiled by the “religious business” of the leaders. The court of the Gentiles, which had originally been intended to give “outcasts” the chance to enter the Temple and learn about the true God, had been turned into a place where foreign Jews could exchange money and purchase sacrifices. The presence of the market in actuality turned many sensitive Gentiles away from the witness of Israel. 

The Temple market moneychangers ran a very lucrative business, since every adult Jew had to pay an annual Temple tax in Phoenician coin. Because most of the Jewish people used Greek or Roman money, they were forced to get their money exchanged. The priests were permitted to charge fifteen percent for each exchange, earning them around $40,000 per year, which was a tremendous income in those days. Another thriving business in the Temple market was the buying and selling of sheep and oxen for sacrifices. The Law instructed that all sacrifices be “without blemish,” so the people decided it was safer to purchase sacrifices from the relatives of the high priest who sold in the Temple market, since everything bought in the Temple was approved. Also, it was inconvenient for the pilgrims from Galilee to carry their sheep on the long journey. There was a brisk sale of sacrifices every day. 

The first time the Sadducees are mentioned as being in opposition to Jesus is Matthew 16:6. Before then, it had been the Pharisees with whom He came into conflict. However, when Jesus cleansed the Temple, He hurt the prestige and the pocketbooks of the priests. For this, they never forgave Him and it was they who led the final attack on Him. 

In cursing the fig tree, Jesus was teaching the disciples a lesson. The fig tree, with all its leaves, may have looked impressive, but without fruit it had lost its purpose. In comparison, Israel claimed to be God’s children, but revealed the falsehood of their claim by ungodly conduct.

Amplified Outline

(Hannah’s Bible Outlines – Used by permission per WORDsearch)
VI.   The official presentation and rejection of the King
       A.   The official presentation of the King (21:1-22)
             1.   The entrance of the King into Jerusalem (21:1-11)
             2.   The entrance of the King into the temple (21:12-17)
                   a.   The temple cleansed (21:12-13)
                   b.   The infirm healed (21:14)
                   c.   The accompanying reactions(21:15-17)
             3.   The King’s symbolic rejection of the nation (21:18-22)

A Closer Look

  1. What did Jesus tell the people in the Temple as He threw out the merchants and the moneychangers?
  2. Why did Jesus enter Jerusalem the way He did? How were His actions in this portion of text different from other acts in His ministry?
  3. What can we learn today from Israel’s attitude toward Jesus at that time?


When we call on our Father in Heaven and rely on Him to carry us, the impossible tasks become possible.

Reference Materials