Devotionals Archive

Daybreak: Matthew 21:23-46

Mar 24, 2021

“And whosoever shall fall on this stone shall be broken: but on whomsoever it shall fall, it will grind him to powder.” (Matthew 21:44)

As a teenage girl, I loved going places with my dad. He used to take me fishing in the middle of the forest where the streams came straight from the mountain — it was freezing cold glacier water. One summer afternoon, our outing became a bit competitive. His catch always turned out to be a little bigger than mine. I wasn’t about to be outdone by him, so I determined I would catch the longest, fattest fish he had ever dreamed of! I walked downstream from him and found a quiet pool created by large woody debris. Before long, there it came — the perfect fish. And he took my bait! As I started reeling in my catch, I stepped out on the pine-needled ground between some fallen trees. There was one problem: the pine needles didn’t cover the shore; they covered six feet of water! Splash! I was in the middle of the stream and my dad was howling with laughter. (The perfect fish, of course, safely swam away.) 

I would not have chosen to fall into the stream that day, but I did learn a lesson. Falling has a way of humbling people. When Jesus said that whoever would choose to fall on the Cornerstone would break, He knew it would be an act of humility. People must admit that they have failed in their own righteousness and that they need help. They must be willing to give complete control of their lives to God, and be willing to let go of their status and the esteem of others. It may shatter every preconceived idea of how their lives should be lived. When people fall on God, it will break them. Jesus will pick up the pieces, however, and remake them into something beautiful. 

The alternative to falling on God would not only be humiliating, but irreparable. People who neglect to fall on Jesus will, instead, be crushed beneath the Cornerstone. God must judge those who are not willing to humble themselves before Him. 

Let Him remake your life into something beautiful. Surrender your life to Jesus today! 


The two parables in today’s text were given in response to the demand of the chief priests and elders of Jerusalem to know under whose authority Jesus was acting when He cleansed the Temple. Although they initially had a right to question Him, Jesus was amazed at their continual unbelief. After three years of His teaching and performing miracles, they still needed evidence. Instead of defending Himself or pushing His point, Jesus simply directed them to the one through whom God had designed to reveal His Son; John the Baptist. The leaders did not believe John, Jesus, or the Authority who had sent them.

In the parable of the vineyard (21:28-32), the two sons represent the two classes of the nation of Israel: the self-righteous religious people and the publicans and sinners. The religious leaders professed obedience to God, but did not follow through with John’s admonition. On the other hand, the publicans claimed no righteousness, but obediently followed when John preached repentance. 

The religious people’s rejection of John was actually rejection of the Father. Through His second parable (21:33-46), Jesus explained that after the prophets and John were rejected, God sent His own Son to earth. Then, He quoted Psalm 118 in His reference to the Messiah being the Cornerstone. The crowds of Jerusalem had quoted the same Psalm only days before when they welcomed Jesus into the city (Psalm 118:26), signifying that Jesus was that prophesied One. The rulers of Jerusalem pronounced their own judgment when they declared the righteous retribution of the husbandmen. 

Amplified Outline

(Hannah’s Bible Outlines – Used by permission per WORDsearch)
VI.   The official presentation and rejection of the King
       B.   The rejection of the King by the nation
             1.   The conflict with the Priests and Elders
                   a.   Their question (21:23) 
                   b.   His silencing reply (21:24-27)
                   c.   His attack 
                         (1)   Parable of the two sons (21:28-32)
                         (2)   Parable of the householder (21:33-46)

A Closer Look

  1.  After hearing the parable of the vineyard, what did the chief priests say should happen to the wicked husbandmen? 
  2. Why do you think Jesus refused to tell the chief priests that His authority was from God?
  3. In what ways do you think we may change when we fall on Christ Jesus?


It will require courage to fall on God and be broken, but how rewarding it will be when Jesus takes our offering and makes us into His children! The glory of following Jesus is greater than any glory the world can offer. 

Reference Materials