Jesus’ Triumphal Entry into Jerusalem
1Now, as they were approaching Jerusalem, they arrived at the place of the stables near Bethany on the Mount of Olives. Jesus sent two of his disciples ahead 2and said to them, “As soon as you enter the village ahead, you will find a donkey’s colt tethered there that has never been ridden. Untie it and bring it to me. 3And if anyone asks, ‘Why are you taking it?’ tell them, ‘The master needs it and will send it back to you soon.’ ”
4So they went and found the colt outside in the street, tied to a gate. When they started to untie it, 5some people standing there said to them, “Why are untying that colt?”
6They answered just as Jesus had told them: “The master needs it, and he will send it back to you soon.” So the bystanders let them go.
7The disciples brought the colt to Jesus and piled their cloaks and prayer shawls on the young donkey, and Jesus rode upon it. 8Many people carpeted the road in front of him with their cloaks and prayer shawls, while others gathered palm branches and spread them before him. 9Jesus rode in the center of the procession, with crowds going before him and behind him. They all shouted in celebration, “Bring the victory! We welcome the one coming with the blessings of being sent from the Lord Yahweh! 10Blessings rest on this kingdom he ushers in right now—the kingdom of our father David! Bring us the victory in the highest realms of heaven!”
11Jesus rode through the gates of Jerusalem and up to the temple. After looking around at everything, he left for Bethany with the Twelve to spend the night, for it was already late in the day.
Jesus and a Fruitless Fig Tree
12The next day, as he left Bethany, Jesus was feeling hungry. 13He noticed a leafy fig tree in the distance, so he walked over to see if there was any fruit on it, but there was none—only leaves (for it wasn’t yet the season for bearing figs). 14Jesus spoke to the fig tree, saying, “No one will ever eat fruit from you again!” And the disciples overheard him.
Jesus Drives Merchants Out of the Temple Courts
15When they came into Jerusalem, Jesus went directly into the temple area and overturned all the tables and benches of the merchants who were doing business there. One by one he drove them all out of the temple courts, and they scattered away, including the money changers and those selling doves. 16And he would not allow them to use the temple courts as a thoroughfare for carrying their merchandise and their furniture.
17Then he began to teach the people, saying, “Does not the Scripture say, ‘My house will be a house of prayer for all the world to share’? But you have made it a thieves’ hangout!”
18When the chief priests and religious scholars heard this, they began to hatch a plot as to how they could eliminate Jesus. But they feared him and his influence, because the entire crowd was carried away with astonishment by his teaching. 19So he and his disciples spent the nights outside the city.
Lessons of Faith
20In the morning, they passed by the fig tree that Jesus spoke to and it was completely withered from the roots up. 21Peter remembered and said to him, “Teacher, look! That’s the fig tree you cursed. It’s now all shriveled up and dead.”
22Jesus replied, “Let the faith of God be in you! 23Listen to the truth I speak to you: If someone says to this mountain with great faith and having no doubt, ‘Mountain, be lifted up and thrown into the midst of the sea,’ and believes that what he says will happen, it will be done. 24This is the reason I urge you to boldly believe for whatever you ask for in prayer—be convinced that you have received it and it will be yours. 25And whenever you stand praying, if you find that you carry something in your heart against another person, release him and forgive him so that your Father in heaven will also release you and forgive you of your faults. 26But if you will not release forgiveness, don’t expect your Father in heaven to release you from your misdeeds.”
The Religious Leaders Question Jesus’ Authority
27They came again into Jerusalem, and while Jesus was walking in the temple courts, the Jewish rulers—the chief priest, certain religious scholars, and the elders—approached him. They came up to him 28and asked, “What right do you have to say and do these things? Who gave you the authority to do all this?”
29Jesus replied, “I too have a question to ask you. If you can answer this question, then I will tell you by what power I do all these things. 30Where did John’s authority to immerse come from? Was it from heaven or from people? Answer me now.”
31They stepped away and debated among themselves, saying, “How should we answer this? If we say, ‘from heaven,’ he will say to us, ‘Then why didn’t you respond to John and believe what he said?’ 32But if we say, ‘from the people,’ we fear the crowds, for they’re convinced that John was God’s prophet.”
33So they finally answered, “We don’t know.”
“Then neither will I tell you where my power comes from to do these things,” Jesus replied.