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.