Matthew 21:4
Straightway he will send them. It does not at once appear whether our Lord made a claim on this animal, in a general way, for the service of God, or in a particular way, as a personal favour to himself. He must have been well known in the neighbourhood of Bethany, and it is quite conceivable that the man distinctly lent the animal to Jesus. It was not a working animal, and there was no loss of its labour, or its mother's, in this use of it by Jesus. What stands out to view, as suggestive of helpful thoughts and useful lessons, is the ready response of this good man. Think of it as a Divine claim, and he presents an example of prompt, trustful, unquestioning obedience. Think of it as a request from the great Teacher, and then you have revealed a secret disciple, or at least one who felt the fascination of our Lord's presence.

I. READY RESPONSE TO DIVINE CLAIMS AS AN EXAMPLE. There was no questioning or dispute; no hesitation or doubt; no anxiety, even, as to how the animals would be brought back again. There was no anxiety as to what was to be done with them; no fear as to any injury coming to them; the man did not even suggest that the colt would be of no use, for he had not been "broken in." It is beautiful and suggestive that the simple sentence, "The Lord hath need of them," sufficed to quiet and satisfy him. He could shift all the responsibility on the Lord. "He knows everything; he controls everything. What I have to do is to obey. Depend upon it, the rest will all come right." So away at once, and away cheerfully, went the animals. That is a noble example indeed. We spoil so much of our obedience by criticizing the things we are called to do, or give, or bear. Then we hesitate, question, doubt, and do languidly at last what we do. If we know what God's will is, that should always be enough. We have nothing to do with the how or the why. Send the animals at once if you know that "the Lord hath need of them."

II. READY RESPONSE TO DIVINE CLAIMS AS A REVELATION OF CHARACTER. I like this man. I seem to know this man. His act reveals him. A simple-hearted sort of man, whose natural trustfulness has not been spoilt. An open-hearted, generous sort of man, with very little "calculation" in him. He reminds one of Nathanael, "in whom was no guile." And simple souls somehow get the best of life. - R.T.







There was a certain householder, which planted a vineyard.
Expository Outlines.
I. A REPRESENTATION OF THE JEWISH CHURCH AS REGARDS ITS PRIVILEGES AND OBLIGATIONS. "There was a certain householder, which planted a vineyard, etc.

1. The comparison employed. Palestine abounded in vineyards. This was planted; there was not one on the spot previously. He had to expend capital to bring it under cultivation.

2. The engagement entered into — "Let it out to husbandmen."

3. The returns anticipated — "Receive the fruits of it."

II. THEIR UNPRINCIPLED DISPOSITION AND THE MONSTROUS BRUTALITY THEY MANIFESTED.

1. The messengers sent to them, and the manner in which they were treated.

2. The crowning act of clemency on the one hand, and of cruelty on the other.

III. THE AWFUL RETRIBUTION WITH WHICH THEIR ABOMINABLE CONDUCT WAS AT LENGTH VISITED.

1. A striking prediction quoted — "Jesus saith unto them, Did ye never read in the Scriptures," etc.

2. The important inference declared — "Therefore I say unto you, the kingdom of God shall be taken from you," etc.

3. A solemn warning uttered — "And whosoever shall fall on this stone," etc.

(Expository Outlines.)

1. The greatest privilege a man can enjoy is to have the kingdom of God entrusted to him.

2. The greatest sin a man can commit is to reject Christ.

3. The darkest doom is that of those who are guilty of this greatest sin.

(W. M. Taylor, D. D.)

I. THEIR MERCIES.

1. They were in the vineyard — Israel — and in no heathen land. No small mercy that we live in a Christian country.

2. They were husbandmen — men of office and influence, entrusted with an honourable work under a wise and good master. A great mercy to be not only in the vineyard, but called to work for God there.

3. They were paid for their work.

4. Though unfaithful, they had been long borne with. Divine forbearance a great mercy.

5. Special messengers were sent to them from time to time to stimulate and encourage them, etc.

II. THEIR CONDUCT.

1. They neglected their work.

2. They missed the purport of their office, which was spiritual.

3. They had killed the messengers.

4. At last they filled up the measure of their iniquity by killing the heir. Being servants, they had come to regard themselves as the owners and lords of God's heritage. Under their husbandry the vineyard had become a scene of moral ruin.

III. THEIR PUNISHMENT.

1. God, though merciful, was not unobservant of their conduct.

2. He had often inflicted minor and temporal punishments on themselves and the nation.

3. Now they were to be wholly extinguished.

4. The punishment was unexpected; they despised its cause.

5. It was complete. They lost their place and nation, and were scattered abroad.Learn —

1. To consider and value God's mercies (Psalm 106:12-14; Romans 12:1).

2. To study our reception and use of them.

3. To reflect specially on the greatest of all (2 Corinthians 9:15).

4. To remember that we too must give account.

(J. C. Gray.)

What is said of Israel may be said of men in all ages — "It might have been presumed that they would treat kindly the Son of God." From

(1)the divinity and glory of His nature;

(2)the perfect excellence of His character as a man;

(3)the reasonableness of His claims;

(4)the condescending kindness of His intentions;

(5)His known ability to save;

(6)His ability to destroy as well as to save;

(7)their necessities.Conclusion —

1. The sinner's final ruin is unnecessary.

2. His ruin will be self-induced.

3. Wanton.

(D. A. Clark, A. M.)

I. Show what "letting out" doth imply or denote.

1. Negatively. This letting the vineyard doth not denote that any people have a lease sealed to them of their church state, church ordinances, and church privileges: no, all are but tenants at will. We hold all our spiritual privileges at the will and pleasure of the Lord of hosts, who may give us warning and turn us out of all when He pleaseth. And it doth not imply that any people buy and pay for any spiritual blessings and good things which they possess; no, we have all freely, church and church privileges, the gospel, ordinances, and promises, without money and without price. We have no rent, no tribute to pay, but the tribute of praise, thanksgiving, and fruitfulness unto God.

2. Negatively.a. Letting denotes God's entrusting a people with the great blessing of the legal Church.b. Letting implies that a Church, the Word of God, and ordinances, are not man's own proper or natural right or inheritance. We are but stewards entrusted with these things,c. Letting out to husbandmen signifies a mighty trust is committed to such.d. Letting out implies that if men do not bring forth unto God that holy fruit which He expecteth, they must be called to an account for it.

II. To whom may the Church or vineyard of Christ be said to be let?

1. Principally to the pastors, teachers, and such who are, or ought to be, helps of government.

2. In some sense it may be said to be let also to every member; for every member is a hired servant of Christ, and all have their proper work appointed by Him.

3. In a remote sense it is let to all that accept the invitations of the gospel.

III. What fruit is it that God expecteth?

1. The fruit of faith and conversion.

2. The fruit of good works.

3. Fruits good in quality anal quantity.

4. Fruit according to the cost and pains God hath been at.

5. Fruit according to the time of the vineyard being planted.

6. Fruit in due season.

7. Fruit according to gifts and grace received.

8. Fruit according to the places and stations wherein God hath set us.

(Benj. Keach.)

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