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Matthew 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.
Jesus' last week: his trial and death
Jesus enters Jerusalem
(Mark 11.1-11; Luke 19.28-38; John 12.12-19)
1When Jesus and his disciples came near Jerusalem, he went to Bethphage on the Mount of Olives and sent two of them on ahead. 2He told them, “Go into the next village, where you will at once find a donkey and her colt. Untie the two donkeys and bring them to me. 3If anyone asks why you are doing that, just say, ‘The Lord#21.3 The Lord: Or “the master of the donkeys”. needs them.’ Straight away he will let you have the donkeys.”
4So God's promise came true, just as the prophet had said,
5“Announce to the people#Zec 9.9.
of Jerusalem:
‘Your king is coming to you!
He is humble
and rides on a donkey.
He comes on the colt
of a donkey.’ ”
6The disciples left and did what Jesus had told them to do. 7They brought the donkey and its colt and laid some clothes on their backs. Then Jesus got on.
8Many people spread clothes in the road, while others put down branches#21.8 spread clothes…put down branches: This was one-way that the Jewish people welcomed a famous person. which they had cut from trees. 9Some people walked ahead of Jesus and others followed behind. They were all shouting,#Ps 118.25,26.
“Hooray#21.9 Hooray: This translates a word that can mean “please save us”. But it is most often used as a shout of praise to God. for the Son of David!#21.9 Son of David: See the note at 9.27.
God bless the one who comes
in the name of the Lord.
Hooray for God
in heaven above!”
10When Jesus came to Jerusalem, everyone in the city was excited and asked, “Who can this be?”
11The crowd answered, “This is Jesus, the prophet from Nazareth in Galilee.”
Jesus in the temple
(Mark 11.15-19; Luke 19.45-48; John 2.13-22)
12Jesus went into the temple and chased out everyone who was selling or buying. He turned over the tables of the moneychangers and the benches of the ones who were selling doves. 13He told them, “The Scriptures say, ‘My house should be called a place of worship.’ But you have turned it into a place where robbers hide.”#Is 56.7; Jr 7.11.
14Blind and lame people came to Jesus in the temple, and he healed them. 15But the chief priests and the teachers of the Law of Moses were angry when they saw his miracles and heard the children shouting praises to the Son of David.#21.15 Son of David: See the note at 9.27. 16The men said to Jesus, “Don't you hear what those children are saying?”#Ps 8.2 (LXX).
“Yes, I do!” Jesus answered. “Don't you know that the Scriptures say, ‘Children and infants will sing praises’?” 17Then Jesus left the city and went out to the village of Bethany, where he spent the night.
Jesus puts a curse on a fig tree
(Mark 11.12-14,20-24)
18When Jesus got up the next morning, he was hungry. He started out for the city, 19and along the way he saw a fig tree. But when he came to it, he found only leaves and no figs. So he told the tree, “You will never again grow any fruit!” At once the fig tree dried up.
20The disciples were shocked when they saw how quickly the tree had dried up. 21But Jesus said to them, “If you have faith and don't doubt, I promise that you can do what I did to this tree. And you will be able to do even more. You can tell this mountain to get up and jump into the sea, and it will.#Mt 17.20; 1 Co 13.2. 22If you have faith when you pray, you will be given whatever you ask for.”
A question about Jesus' authority
(Mark 11.27-33; Luke 20.1-8)
23Jesus had gone into the temple and was teaching when the chief priests and the leaders of the people came up to him. They asked, “What right do you have to do these things? Who gave you this authority?”
24Jesus answered, “I have just one question to ask you. If you answer it, I will tell you where I got the right to do these things. 25Who gave John the right to baptize? Was it God in heaven or merely some human being?”
They thought it over and said to each other, “We can't say that God gave John this right. Jesus will ask us why we didn't believe John. 26On the other hand, these people think that John was a prophet, and we are afraid of what they might do to us. That's why we can't say that it was merely some human who gave John the right to baptize.” 27So they told Jesus, “We don't know.”
Jesus said, “Then I won't tell you who gave me the right to do what I do.”
A story about two sons
28Jesus said:
I will tell you a story about a man who had two sons. Then you can tell me what you think. The father went to the elder son and said, “Go and work in the vineyard today!” 29His son told him that he would not do it, but later he changed his mind and went. 30The man then told his younger son to go and work in the vineyard. The boy said he would, but he didn't go. 31Which one of the sons obeyed his father?
“The elder one,” the chief priests and leaders answered.
Then Jesus told them:
You can be sure that tax collectors#21.31 tax collectors: See the note at 5.46. and prostitutes will get into the kingdom of God before you ever will! 32When John the Baptist showed you how to do right, you would not believe him. But these evil people did believe. And even when you saw what they did, you still would not change your minds and believe.#Lk 3.12; 7.29,30.
Tenants of a vineyard
(Mark 12.1-12; Luke 20.9-19)
33Jesus told the chief priests and leaders to listen to this story:#Is 5.1,2.
A land owner once planted a vineyard. He built a wall around it and dug a pit to crush the grapes in. He also built a lookout tower. Then he let his vineyard and left the country.
34When it was harvest time, the owner sent some servants to get his share of the grapes. 35But the tenants grabbed those servants. They beat up one, killed one, and stoned one of them to death. 36He then sent more servants than he did the first time. But the tenants treated them in the same way.
37Finally, the owner sent his own son to the tenants, because he thought they would respect him. 38But when they saw the man's son, they said, “Some day he will own the vineyard. Let's kill him! Then we can have it all for ourselves.” 39So they grabbed him, threw him out of the vineyard, and killed him.
40Jesus asked, “When the owner of that vineyard comes, what do you suppose he will do to those tenants?”
41The chief priests and leaders answered, “He will kill them in some horrible way. Then he will let his vineyard to people who will give him his share of grapes at harvest time.”
42Jesus replied, “Surely you know that the Scriptures say,#Ps 118.22,23.
‘The stone that the builders
tossed aside
is now the most important
stone of all.
This is something
the Lord has done,
and it is amazing to us.’
43I tell you that God's kingdom will be taken from you and given to people who will do what he demands. 44Anyone who stumbles over this stone will be crushed, and anyone it falls on will be smashed to pieces.”#21.44 pieces: Verse 44 is not in some manuscripts.
45When the chief priests and the Pharisees heard these stories, they knew that Jesus was talking about them. 46So they looked for a way to arrest Jesus. But they were afraid to, because the people thought he was a prophet.