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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 Triumphant Entry into Jerusalem
(Mk 11.1–11; Lk 19.28–40; Jn 12.12–19)
1As Jesus and his disciples approached Jerusalem, they came to Bethphage at the Mount of Olives. There Jesus sent two of the disciples on ahead 2with these instructions: “Go to the village there ahead of you, and at once you will find a donkey tied up with her colt beside her. Untie them and bring them to me. 3And if anyone says anything, tell him, ‘The Master#21.3 The Master; or Their owner. needs them’; and then he will let them go at once.”
4This happened in order to make what the prophet had said come true:
5 # Zech 9.9 “Tell the city of Zion,
Look, your king is coming to you!
He is humble and rides on a donkey
and on a colt, the foal of a donkey.”
6So the disciples went and did what Jesus had told them to do: 7they brought the donkey and the colt, threw their cloaks over them, and Jesus got on. 8A large crowd of people spread their cloaks on the road while others cut branches from the trees and spread them on the road. 9#Ps 118.25, 26The crowds walking in front of Jesus and those walking behind began to shout, “Praise to David's Son! God bless him who comes in the name of the Lord! Praise God!”
10When Jesus entered Jerusalem, the whole city was thrown into an uproar. “Who is he?” the people asked.
11“This is the prophet Jesus, from Nazareth in Galilee,” the crowds answered.
Jesus Goes to the Temple
(Mk 11.15–19; Lk 19.45–48; Jn 2.13–22)
12Jesus went into the Temple and drove out all those who were buying and selling there. He overturned the tables of the moneychangers and the stools of those who sold pigeons, 13#Is 56.7; Jer 7.11and said to them, “It is written in the Scriptures that God said, ‘My Temple will be called a house of prayer.’ But you are making it a hideout for thieves!”
14The blind and the crippled came to him in the Temple, and he healed them. 15The chief priests and the teachers of the Law became angry when they saw the wonderful things he was doing and the children shouting in the Temple, “Praise to David's Son!” 16#Ps 8.2 (LXX)So they asked Jesus, “Do you hear what they are saying?”
“Indeed I do,” answered Jesus. “Haven't you ever read this scripture? ‘You have trained children and babies to offer perfect praise.’ ”
17Jesus left them and went out of the city to Bethany, where he spent the night.
Jesus Curses the Fig Tree
(Mk 11.12–14, 20–24)
18On his way back to the city early next morning, Jesus was hungry. 19He saw a fig tree by the side of the road and went to it, but found nothing on it except leaves. So he said to the tree, “You will never again bear fruit!” At once the fig tree dried up.
20The disciples saw this and were astounded. “How did the fig tree dry up so quickly?” they asked.
21 # Mt 17.20; 1 Cor 13.2 Jesus answered, “I assure you that if you believe and do not doubt, you will be able to do what I have done to this fig tree. And not only this, but you will even be able to say to this hill, ‘Get up and throw yourself in the sea,’ and it will. 22If you believe, you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer.”
The Question about Jesus' Authority
(Mk 11.27–33; Lk 20.1–8)
23Jesus came back to the Temple; and as he taught, the chief priests and the elders came to him and asked, “What right have you to do these things? Who gave you this right?”
24Jesus answered them, “I will ask you just one question, and if you give me an answer, I will tell you what right I have to do these things. 25Where did John's right to baptize come from: was it from God or from human beings?”
They started to argue among themselves, “What shall we say? If we answer, ‘From God,’ he will say to us, ‘Why, then, did you not believe John?’ 26But if we say, ‘From human beings,’ we are afraid of what the people might do, because they are all convinced that John was a prophet.” 27So they answered Jesus, “We don't know.”
And he said to them, “Neither will I tell you, then, by what right I do these things.
The Parable of the Two Sons
28 “Now, what do you think? There was once a man who had two sons. He went to the elder one and said, ‘Son, go and work in the vineyard today.’ 29‘I don't want to,’ he answered, but later he changed his mind and went. 30Then the father went to the other son and said the same thing. ‘Yes, sir,’ he answered, but he did not go. 31Which one of the two did what his father wanted?”
“The elder one,” they answered.
So Jesus said to them, “I tell you: the tax collectors and the prostitutes are going into the Kingdom of God ahead of you. 32#Lk 3.12; 7.29–30For John the Baptist came to you showing you the right path to take, and you would not believe him; but the tax collectors and the prostitutes believed him. Even when you saw this, you did not later change your minds and believe him.
The Parable of the Tenants in the Vineyard
(Mk 12.1–12; Lk 20.9–19)
33 # Is 5.1–2 “Listen to another parable,” Jesus said. “There was once a landowner who planted a vineyard, put a fence around it, dug a hole for the winepress, and built a watchtower. Then he let out the vineyard to tenants and went on a journey. 34When the time came to gather the grapes, he sent his slaves to the tenants to receive his share of the harvest. 35The tenants seized his slaves, beat one, killed another, and stoned another. 36Again the man sent other slaves, more than the first time, and the tenants treated them the same way. 37Last of all he sent his son to them. ‘Surely they will respect my son,’ he said. 38But when the tenants saw the son, they said to themselves, ‘This is the owner's son. Come on, let's kill him, and we will get his property!’ 39So they seized him, threw him out of the vineyard, and killed him.
40 “Now, when the owner of the vineyard comes, what will he do to those tenants?” Jesus asked.
41“He will certainly kill those evil men,” they answered, “and let the vineyard out to other tenants, who will give him his share of the harvest at the right time.”
42 # Ps 118.22–23 Jesus said to them, “Haven't you ever read what the Scriptures say?
‘The stone which the builders rejected as worthless
turned out to be the most important of all.
This was done by the Lord;
what a wonderful sight it is!’
43 “And so I tell you,” added Jesus, “the Kingdom of God will be taken away from you and given to a people who will produce the proper fruits.”#21.43 Some manuscripts add verse 44: Whoever falls on this stone will be cut to pieces; and if the stone falls on someone, it will crush him to dust (see Lk 20.18).
45The chief priests and the Pharisees heard Jesus' parables and knew that he was talking about them, 46so they tried to arrest him. But they were afraid of the crowds, who considered Jesus to be a prophet.