The Dominion of the King



Matthew 21:42–44 ESV

42 Jesus said to them, “Have you never read in the Scriptures: “ ‘The stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone; this was the Lord’s doing, and it is marvelous in our eyes’?
43 Therefore I tell you, the kingdom of God will be taken away from you and given to a people producing its fruits.
44 And the one who falls on this stone will be broken to pieces; and when it falls on anyone, it will crush him.”

2 Kings 2:19–22 ESV

19 Now the men of the city said to Elisha, “Behold, the situation of this city is pleasant, as my lord sees, but the water is bad, and the land is unfruitful.”
20 He said, “Bring me a new bowl, and put salt in it.” So they brought it to him.
21 Then he went to the spring of water and threw salt in it and said, “Thus says the Lord, I have healed this water; from now on neither death nor miscarriage shall come from it.”
22 So the water has been healed to this day, according to the word that Elisha spoke.

• A prophecy to the Church

• By what standard?

Romans 8:29 ESV

29 For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers.

• My fear in preaching a sermon like this is that you will subject the truth of it on others instead of yourselves.

• Consistent prayer life is the natural discipline of the desperate and a lack of it is the natural ignorance of the proud.

• I wonder what would happen if God make you uncomfortable.

Loving The Preaching of the Word is not necessarily loving the Word!

So many were drawn to the preaching of Christ who stood cursing him at the foot of the cross when he died.

Psalm 118 is the last song of thanksgiving in what is known as the Egyptian Hallel. It is the last song of praise in the celebration of the Passover, commemorating the freedom of the Israelites over their former Egyptian captivity.

The words of Psalm 118:25-26

Psalm 118:25–26 ESV

25 Save us, we pray, O Lord! O Lord, we pray, give us success!
26 Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord! We bless you from the house of the Lord.

These were the words that were sung by the crowds on the day they cried ‘Hosanna’ – when Jesus the King entered into Jerusalem claiming to be the Messiah long promised to the Jewish people.

Everything he then does and says in the passages that follow are explicitly Messianic and starting from Matthew 21 we see the hostility against him increase because of his explicit claim to be the Son of God, and this would eventually lead to his death.

• The King entered Jerusalem

• The King cleansed the Temple

• The King healed the Sick

• The King established his Authority

These were the sermons leading up to this passage, where the King establishes his Dominion.

The Cornerstone

In this last song of the Egyptian Hallel, we read these verses, in Psalm 118:19-24

Psalm 118:19–24 ESV

19 Open to me the gates of righteousness, that I may enter through them and give thanks to the Lord.
20 This is the gate of the Lord; the righteous shall enter through it.
21 I thank you that you have answered me and have become my salvation.
22 The stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone.
23 This is the Lord’s doing; it is marvelous in our eyes.
24 This is the day that the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.

• In Israel’s context, the gates of righteousness through which they enter to give thanks to the LORD, was a direct reference to the Temple.

This gate was called ‘the gate of the LORD’. It is the righteous that enter through it.

• God had established his salvation for Israel, the slave nation that survived in the slums of Egypt, were like the stone rejected by the wise builders of this world. They were the disregarded nation, the outcast of humanity.

But God decided to make them the cornerstone. God chose them to be his people, his nation, and established his temple of worship in their Kingdom, where his presence would dwell.

This is the foundation of songs such as Psalm 46:4-7

Psalm 46:4–7 ESV

4 There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God, the holy habitation of the Most High.
5 God is in the midst of her; she shall not be moved; God will help her when morning dawns.
6 The nations rage, the kingdoms totter; he utters his voice, the earth melts.
7 The Lord of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress. Selah

• This was the LORD’s doing and it was marvellous in their eyes.

Yet, the Israelites marvelled in what was only the foreshadow. For they were only ‘a stone’ rejected but not ‘the stone’ of salvation.

Jesus takes this Psalm in keeping with the theme of his entrance into Jerusalem and ratifies his authority and his dominion against a people who were questioning his authority by saying these words.

Matthew 21:42 ESV
42 Jesus said to them, “Have you never read in the Scriptures: “ ‘The stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone; this was the Lord’s doing, and it is marvelous in our eyes’?

  • Jesus applies this verse not to Israel but to himself.
    Acts 4:11 ESV
    11 This Jesus is the stone that was rejected by you, the builders, which has become the cornerstone.

1 Peter 2:7 ESV
7 So the honor is for you who believe, but for those who do not believe, “The stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone,”

  • By making this claim, Jesus is establishing himself as the true and better temple. He is the gate of righteousness. In the Jewish temple, it was the righteous who were called to enter through its gates, but Christ is the true and better temple through whose gate sinners are called to enter and in passing through it, they are made righteous.
  • For Israel, the temple was the centre of all their worship. For the Church now, Christ is the centre of all our worship.

Jesus told the Samaritan woman,

John 4:21–23 ESV
21 Jesus said to her, “Woman, believe me, the hour is coming when neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem will you worship the Father. 22 You worship what you do not know; we worship what we know, for salvation is from the Jews. 23 But the hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father is seeking such people to worship him.

This is the Dominion of Christ. He is not the temple situated on a distant mountain to which we make our pilgrimage.
John 14:23 ESV
23 Jesus answered him, “If anyone loves me, he will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him.

The Dominion of the Christ is over all things.
Matthew 28:18 ESV
18 And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.

His Dominion shall see no end.
Isaiah 9:6–7 ESV
6 For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. 7 Of the increase of his government and of peace there will be no end, on the throne of David and over his kingdom, to establish it and to uphold it with justice and with righteousness from this time forth and forevermore. The zeal of the Lord of hosts will do this.

The Parables

Now, the verses that I’ve focused on today in Matthew 21, have several verses skipped I’ve skipped over. There are two parables that Jesus gives the Jewish people before quoting Psalm 118.
In our context, the chief priests and the elders of Israel were question Jesus’ authority to do and speak the things that he was. In that exchange, he refuses to tell them by what authority he does these things because they refuse to say by what authority John the Baptist did the things he did. Jesus exposed the hypocrisy of the leadership and in that exchange got them to declare that they don’t know.

In a sense, the exchange itself was an establishing of Jesus’ authority for he was the one who knew, was authoritative, and upon whom the power of God dwelt for healing and for correction.

Immediately after this exchange with the elders of Israel, Jesus says two parables. Remember now, that Jesus had already explained why he spoke in parables from time to time, in Matthew 13:13

Matthew 13:13 ESV

13 This is why I speak to them in parables, because seeing they do not see, and hearing they do not hear, nor do they understand.

In fact, in these two parables Jesus gives them the answer to the question of his authority.

Hear then the first of these parables, Matthew 21:28-32

Matthew 21:28–32 ESV

28 “What do you think? A man had two sons. And he went to the first and said, ‘Son, go and work in the vineyard today.’
29 And he answered, ‘I will not,’ but afterward he changed his mind and went.
30 And he went to the other son and said the same. And he answered, ‘I go, sir,’ but did not go.
31 Which of the two did the will of his father?” They said, “The first.” Jesus said to them, “Truly, I say to you, the tax collectors and the prostitutes go into the kingdom of God before you.
32 For John came to you in the way of righteousness, and you did not believe him, but the tax collectors and the prostitutes believed him. And even when you saw it, you did not afterward change your minds and believe him.

Jesus had asked the elders of Israel whether John’s ministry was from heaven or from man. They were hesitant to say from man in fear of the people because they thought of him as a prophet and they were hesitant to say from heaven because they didn’t receive John’s message.

For John came to you in the way of righteousness – This is Jesus affirming John’s ministry as being heavenly. It is the way of the temple – the way of righteousness. Righteousness is the heart of Jewish worship and John was the ambassador of that worship.

The prostitutes and tax collectors were those who rejected righteousness, like the son in the parable that rejected his Father’s command but later changed his mind. These changed their minds when they heard the preaching of John the Baptist, and as stained by evil as they were, as scarred and marred by sin as they were, they turned and were baptised.

But the pharisees, the chief priests, the scribe – the eldership of Israel who always claimed to walk in the way of righteousness, who confessed faith with their lips, never responded to do what the Father called them to do.

Therefore, the downcast, the destitute, the depraved and the deranged will go to heaven before the self-righteous, the proudly pious and the wealthy, because what marks a true worshipper of God is their commitment to his will!

The second parable, Matthew 21:33-41

Matthew 21:33–41 ESV

33 “Hear another parable. There was a master of a house who planted a vineyard and put a fence around it and dug a winepress in it and built a tower and leased it to tenants, and went into another country.
34 When the season for fruit drew near, he sent his servants to the tenants to get his fruit.
35 And the tenants took his servants and beat one, killed another, and stoned another.
36 Again he sent other servants, more than the first. And they did the same to them.
37 Finally he sent his son to them, saying, ‘They will respect my son.’
38 But when the tenants saw the son, they said to themselves, ‘This is the heir. Come, let us kill him and have his inheritance.’
39 And they took him and threw him out of the vineyard and killed him.
40 When therefore the owner of the vineyard comes, what will he do to those tenants?”
41 They said to him, “He will put those wretches to a miserable death and let out the vineyard to other tenants who will give him the fruits in their seasons.”

On hearing this story, it is the people themselves that calls such a people miserable wretches. They call for judgment on themselves without recognising that Jesus is talking precisely about them.

In these two parables, Jesus establishes his authority as being God given. If John came in the way of righteousness, he was only the forerunner of that righteousness, the voice in the dessert crying, “Make way for the King”.

Jesus is the King!

In the second parable, Jesus is the Son sent by the King himself that these who were rejecting him were rejecting the authority of the King.

A New Nation

Matthew 21:42–44 ESV

42 Jesus said to them, “Have you never read in the Scriptures: “ ‘The stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone; this was the Lord’s doing, and it is marvelous in our eyes’?
43 Therefore I tell you, the kingdom of God will be taken away from you and given to a people producing its fruits.
44 And the one who falls on this stone will be broken to pieces; and when it falls on anyone, it will crush him.”

• Christ the stumbling block

• Christ the stone of judgment

Matthew 21:45–46 ESV

45 When the chief priests and the Pharisees heard his parables, they perceived that he was speaking about them.
46 And although they were seeking to arrest him, they feared the crowds, because they held him to be a prophet.


  • Charge to Men
  • Charge to Women
  • Charge to Children