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Matthew 21

21
Jesus Comes to Jerusalem as King
1As they approached Jerusalem, they came to Bethphage on the Mount of Olives. Jesus sent out two disciples, 2telling them, “Go to the village ahead of you. As soon as you get there, you’ll find a donkey tied up, with her colt next to her. Untie them and bring them to me. 3If anyone says anything to you, tell them, ‘The Lord needs them.’ The owner will send them right away.”
4This happened to make the words of the prophet come true:
5“Say to the city of Zion,
‘See, your king is coming to you,
gentle and riding on a donkey,
riding on a donkey’s colt.’ ”
6The disciples went and did what Jesus had told them to do. 7They brought the donkey and the colt and placed their coats on them for Jesus to sit on. 8A very large crowd spread their coats on the road, while others cut branches from the trees and spread those on the road. 9Some of the people went ahead of him, and some followed behind, and they all shouted,
“Hosanna to the Son of David!”
“Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord!”
“Hosanna in the highest heaven!”
10When Jesus entered Jerusalem, the whole city was stirred up. The people asked, “Who is this?”
11The crowds answered, “This is Jesus, the prophet from Nazareth in Galilee.”
Jesus Clears Out the Temple
12Jesus entered the temple courtyard and began to drive out all those who were buying and selling there. He turned over the tables of the people who exchanged money and the benches of those who sold doves. 13“It is written,” he told them, “ ‘My house will be called a house of prayer.’ But you are making it ‘a den of robbers.’ ”
14People who were blind and disabled came to Jesus at the temple, and he healed them. 15The chief priests and the teachers of the law saw the wonderful things he was doing, and they heard the children in the temple courtyard shouting, “Hosanna to the Son of David!” This made them angry.
16“Do you hear what these children are saying?” they asked him.
“Yes,” replied Jesus. “Haven’t you ever read about it in Scripture? It says,
“ ‘Even from children and infants,
Lord, you will receive praise.’ ”
17Then Jesus left them and went out of the city to spend the night in Bethany.
Jesus Makes a Fig Tree Dry Up
18Early in the morning, as Jesus was on his way back into Jerusalem, he was hungry. 19He saw a fig tree by the road and went up to it, but he didn’t find anything on it except leaves. Then he said to it, “May you never bear fruit again!” Right away the tree dried up.
20When the disciples saw this, they were amazed. “How did the fig tree dry up so quickly?” they asked.
21Jesus answered, “Truly I tell you, if you have faith and don’t doubt, you can do what was done to the fig tree. You can even say to this mountain, ‘Go, throw yourself into the sea,’ and it will be done. 22If you believe, you will receive what you ask for when you pray.”
The Authority of Jesus Is Questioned
23Jesus went into the temple courtyard and started teaching there. The chief priests and elders of the people came up to him and asked, “By what authority are you doing these things? Who gave you this authority?”
24Jesus answered, “I’ll ask you a question too. If you answer me, I’ll tell you by what authority I’m doing these things. 25Where did John’s baptism come from? Was it from heaven, or was he acting on human authority?”
They talked this over among themselves and realized, “If we say, ‘From heaven,’ he’ll ask, ‘Then why didn’t you believe him?’ 26But if we say, ‘On human authority,’ who knows what the people might do to us? They all believe that John was a prophet.”
27So they answered Jesus, “We don’t know.”
Jesus replied, “Then I won’t tell you by what authority I’m doing these things either.”
The Story of the Two Sons
28“What do you think about this? A certain man had two sons. He went to the first one and said, ‘Son, go and work in the vineyard today.’
29“ ‘I won’t,’ the son answered. But later he changed his mind and went.
30“Then the father went to the other son and said the same thing. That son answered, ‘I will, sir.’ But he didn’t go.
31“Which of the two sons did what his father wanted?”
“The first,” they answered.
Jesus said to them, “Truly I tell you, tax collectors and prostitutes will enter the kingdom of God ahead of you. 32John came to show you the right way, and you didn’t believe him. But the tax collectors and the prostitutes did. Even when you saw that, you didn’t turn away from your sins and believe him.
The Story of the Renters
33“Listen to another story. A certain man owned some land and planted a vineyard on it. He put up a wall around it, dug a pit for a winepress, and built a lookout tower. Then he rented the vineyard out to some farmers and moved to another place. 34When harvest time came, he sent his slaves to the renters to collect his share of the fruit.
35“But the renters mistreated his slaves. They beat one of them, killed another, and threw stones at a third. 36Then the man sent a larger group of slaves to the renters, but they treated them the same way. 37So finally, he sent his son to them, thinking, ‘They will respect my son.’
38“But when the renters saw the son coming, they said to one another, ‘He’s supposed to inherit all the owner’s property someday. Come on, let’s kill him, and then everything will be ours.’ 39So they grabbed him and dragged him out of the vineyard and killed him.
40“What will the owner of the vineyard come and do to those renters?”
41“He’ll make those cruel men suffer a cruel death,” they replied. “Then he’ll rent the vineyard out to other renters who will give him his share of the crop at harvest time.”
42Jesus said to them, “Haven’t you ever read this in the Scriptures?
“ ‘The stone the builders wouldn’t accept
has become the most important stone of all.
The Lord has done this,
and it’s wonderful in our eyes.’
43“So I tell you that the kingdom of God is going to be taken away from you and given to people who will produce its fruit. 44Anyone who falls on that stone will be broken to pieces, and the stone will crush anyone it falls on.”
45When the chief priests and the Pharisees heard Jesus’ stories, they knew he was talking about them. 46They looked for a way to arrest him, but they were afraid of the crowd, because the people believed that Jesus was a prophet.
21
The Triumphal Entry
1When they approached Jerusalem and had reached Bethphage, at the Mount of Olives, Jesus sent two disciples [ahead], 2saying to them, “Go into the village opposite you, and at once you will find a donkey tied, and a colt with her; untie them and bring them to Me. 3If anyone says anything to you, you should say, ‘The Lord needs them,’ and without delay the owner will send them [with you].” 4This happened so that what was spoken by the prophet would be fulfilled, saying:
5“Tell the daughter of Zion (the people of Jerusalem),
‘Behold, your King is coming to you,
Gentle and mounted on a donkey,
Even on a colt, the foal of a beast of burden.’ ”
6Then the disciples went and did as Jesus had instructed them, 7and they brought the donkey and #A colt that had not been used was considered holy by the Jews and was fit to carry a king.the colt, and #A sign of homage and recognition of Jesus’ kingship.placed their coats on them; and Jesus sat on the coats. 8Most of the crowd spread their coats on the road [as before a king], while others were cutting branches from the trees and spreading them on the road. 9The crowds that went ahead of Him, and those that followed Him, were shouting [in praise and adoration],
#“Save now!” or “Save I pray!”Hosanna to the Son of David (Messiah);
Blessed [praised, glorified] is He who comes in the name of the Lord;
Hosanna in the highest [heaven]!”
10When He entered Jerusalem, all the city was trembling [with excitement], saying, “Who is this?” 11And the crowds were saying, “This is the prophet Jesus, from Nazareth in Galilee.”
Cleansing the Temple
12And Jesus entered the temple [grounds] and drove out [with force] all who were buying and selling [birds and animals for sacrifice] in the temple area, and He turned over the tables of the moneychangers [who made a profit exchanging foreign money for temple coinage] and the chairs of those who were selling doves [for sacrifice]. 13Jesus said to them, “It is written [in Scripture], ‘My house shall be called a house of prayer’; but you are making it a robbers’ den.”
14And the blind and the lame came to Him in [the porticoes and courts of] the temple area, and He healed them. 15But when the chief priests and the scribes saw the wonderful and miraculous things that Jesus had done, and heard the #There would have been a large number of twelve year old boys in the temple preparing to celebrate their first Passover and their ceremonial entry into manhood.boys who were shouting in [the porticoes and courts of] the temple [in praise and adoration], “Hosanna to the Son of David (the Messiah),” they became indignant 16and they said to Him, “Do You hear what these children are saying?” And Jesus replied to them, “Yes; have you never read [in the Scripture], ‘Out of the mouths of infants and nursing babies You have prepared and provided praise for Yourself’?” 17Then He left them and went out of the city to Bethany, and spent the night there.
The Barren Fig Tree
18Now early in the morning, as Jesus was coming back to the city, He was hungry. 19Seeing a lone fig tree at the roadside, He went to it and found nothing but leaves on it; and He said to it, “Never again will fruit come from you.” And at once the fig tree withered.
20When the disciples saw it, they were astonished and asked, “How is it that the fig tree has withered away all at once?” 21Jesus replied to them, “I assure you and most solemnly say to you, if you have faith [personal trust and confidence in Me] and do not doubt or allow yourself to be drawn in two directions, you will not only do what was done to the fig tree, but even if you say to this mountain, ‘Be taken up and thrown into the sea,’ it will happen [if God wills it]. 22And whatever you ask for in prayer, believing, you will receive.”
Authority Challenged
23When He entered the temple area, the #I.e. the official delegation from the Sanhedrin, Jewish High Court.chief priests and elders of the people came to Him as He was teaching and said, “By what [kind of] authority are You doing these things, and who gave You this authority [to exercise this power]?” 24Jesus replied to them, “I will also ask you a question, and if you tell Me the answer, then I will tell you by what authority I do these things. 25The baptism of John—from where did it come? From heaven [that is, ordained by God] or from men?” And they began debating among themselves [considering the implications of their answer], saying, “If we say, ‘From heaven,’ He will say to us, ‘Then why did you not believe John?’ 26But if we say, ‘From men,’ we are afraid of the [response of the] crowd; for they all regard John as a prophet.” 27So they answered Jesus, “We do not know.” And He said to them, “Neither will I tell you by what [kind of] authority I do these things.”
Parable of Two Sons
28 “What do you think? There was a man who had two sons, and he came to the first and said, ‘Son, go and work in the vineyard today.’ 29And he answered, ‘I will not’; but afterward he regretted it and changed his mind and went. 30Then the man came to the second son and said the same thing; and he replied, ‘I will, sir’; but he did not go. 31Which of the two did the will of the father?” The chief priests and elders replied, “The first one.” Jesus said to them, “I assure you and most solemnly say to you that the tax collectors and the prostitutes will get into the kingdom of God before you. 32For John came to you [walking] in the way of righteousness and you did not believe him; but the tax collectors and the prostitutes did believe him; and you, seeing this, did not even change your mind afterward and believe him [accepting what he proclaimed to you].
Parable of the Landowner
33 “Listen to another parable. There was a landowner who planted a vineyard and put a wall around it and dug a wine press in it, and built a tower, and rented it out to tenant farmers and went on a journey [to another country]. 34When the harvest time approached, he sent his servants to the tenants to get his [share of the] fruit. 35But the tenants took his servants and beat one, and killed another, and stoned a third. 36Again he sent other servants, more than the first time; and they treated them the same way. 37Finally he sent his own son to them, saying, ‘They will respect my son and have regard for him.’ 38But when the tenants saw the son, they said to themselves, ‘This [man] is the heir; come on, let us kill him and seize his inheritance.’ 39So they took the son and threw him out of the vineyard, and killed him. 40Now when the owner of the vineyard comes back, what will he do to those tenants?” 41They said to Him, “He will put those despicable men to a miserable end, and rent out the vineyard to other tenants [of good character] who will pay him the proceeds at the proper seasons.”
42Jesus asked them, “Have you never read in the Scriptures:
‘The [very] #This quotation from a Messianic psalm refers to the coming rejection and crucifixion of Jesus, and His resurrection as the Cornerstone of mankind’s redemption.Stone which the builders rejected and threw away,
Has become the chief Cornerstone;
This is the Lord’s doing,
And it is marvelous and wonderful in our eyes’?
43 Therefore I tell you, the kingdom of God will be taken away from you and given to [another] people who will produce the fruit of it. 44And he who falls on this Stone will be broken to pieces; but he on whom it falls will be crushed.”
45When the chief priests and the Pharisees heard His parables, they understood that He was talking about them. 46And although they were trying to arrest Him, they feared the people, because they regarded Jesus as a prophet.