The Gospel of Matthew

This devotional is written by Emma Gyasi. Emma has been a member of St Mary's for over 20 years! She and her family now live in Bucks but still consider St Mary's Church as their home. Emma has helped out over the years with youth and the worship team. Emma loves connecting best with God through music. 

Matthew 21:1-27

Jesus comes to Jerusalem as king

 21 As they approached Jerusalem and came to Bethphage on the Mount of Olives, Jesus sent two disciples, 2 saying to them, 'Go to the village ahead of you, and at once you will find a donkey tied there, with her colt by her. Untie them and bring them to me. 3 If anyone says anything to you, say that the Lord needs them, and he will send them right away.'

4 This took place to fulfil what was spoken through the prophet:

5 'Say to Daughter Zion, "See, your king comes to you, gentle and riding on a donkey, and on a colt, the foal of a donkey."'

6 The disciples went and did as Jesus had instructed them. 7 They brought the donkey and the colt and placed their cloaks on them for Jesus to sit on. 8 A very large crowd spread their cloaks on the road, while others cut branches from the trees and spread them on the road. 9 The crowds that went ahead of him and those that followed shouted,

'Hosanna to the Son of David!'

'Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!'

'Hosanna[d] in the highest heaven!'

10 When Jesus entered Jerusalem, the whole city was stirred and asked, 'Who is this?'

11 The crowds answered, 'This is Jesus, the prophet from Nazareth in Galilee.'

Jesus at the temple

12 Jesus entered the temple courts and drove out all who were buying and selling there. He overturned the tables of the money-changers and the benches of those selling doves. 13 'It is written,' he said to them, '"My house will be called a house of prayer," but you are making it "a den of robbers."'

14 The blind and the lame came to him at the temple, and he healed them. 15 But when the chief priests and the teachers of the law saw the wonderful things he did and the children shouting in the temple courts, 'Hosanna to the Son of David,' they were indignant.

16 'Do you hear what these children are saying?' they asked him.

'Yes,' replied Jesus, 'have you never read,

'"From the lips of children and infants you, Lord, have called forth your praise"[g]?'

17 And he left them and went out of the city to Bethany, where he spent the night.

Jesus curses a fig-tree

18 Early in the morning, as Jesus was on his way back to the city, he was hungry. 19 Seeing a fig-tree by the road, he went up to it but found nothing on it except leaves. Then he said to it, 'May you never bear fruit again!' Immediately the tree withered.

20 When the disciples saw this, they were amazed. 'How did the fig-tree wither so quickly?' they asked.

21 Jesus replied, 'Truly I tell you, if you have faith and do not doubt, not only can you do what was done to the fig-tree, but also you can say to this mountain, "Go, throw yourself into the sea," and it will be done. 22 If you believe, you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer.'

The authority of Jesus questioned

23 Jesus entered the temple courts, and, while he was teaching, the chief priests and the elders of the people came to him. 'By what authority are you doing these things?' they asked. 'And who gave you this authority?'

24 Jesus replied, 'I will also ask you one question. If you answer me, I will tell you by what authority I am doing these things. 25 John's baptism - where did it come from? Was it from heaven, or of human origin?'

They discussed it among themselves and said, 'If we say, "From heaven", he will ask, "Then why didn't you believe him?" 26 But if we say, "Of human origin"- we are afraid of the people, for they all hold that John was a prophet.'

27 So they answered Jesus, 'We don't know.'

Then he said, 'Neither will I tell you by what authority I am doing these things.


At first sight I wonder if I am like the fig tree! Why does Jesus seem so annoyed? Why curse it? Is God annoyed with me because I don't feel like am baring any fruit at the moment? Am I at risk of being cursed?! During this pandemic I have had waves of real worry, doubt and half cup empty thinking. I'm pretty sure this goes for many of us. This has sent me on a downward spiral when it comes to prayer. Reading this part of the passage, I went straight to my default of panic. But looking closer we see Jesus executing many examples of how real and powerful he is and can be. Perhaps he is simply trying to make a point? First of all I had to put everything into perspective. Im not like the chief priests. I am also not a fig tree! I believe in God and DO have faith. After all, I have accepted Jesus into my life. He is very much with me - even when I am not totally with him. Like when I'm feeling the cup half empty feeling. On a walk with my son I was reminded of how God has answered so many of my prayers and done amazing things as he was asking me about our life before he was born and when he was little. Those times required a lot of prayer on many occasions. Right now requires prayer. It's hard, but it's ok to tell God, "I'm tired, exhausted and worried" and I'm actually reminded here that he IS listening. Then I remember to thank Him. He's still moving mountains even if they're not in the way I expect. He won't leave me to wither, because he's always shown up before even with an ounce of faith.

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