Matthew 21
1Jesus and his disciples went to Jerusalem. As they were getting close, they came to the village of Bethphage on the Mount of Olives. Jesus sent two disciples on ahead, 2telling them, “Go into the village. Right there you'll find a donkey tied up with a colt. Untie them and bring them to me. 3If anyone asks you what you're doing, just tell them, ‘The Lord needs them,’ and they will send them right away.”
4This was to fulfill what the prophet said: 5“Tell the daughter of Zion, ‘Look, your King is coming to you. He is humble, and rides a donkey, and a colt, the offspring of a donkey.’”#21:5. Isaiah 62:11, Zechariah 9:9.
6The disciples went and did as Jesus had instructed. 7They brought back the donkey and the colt. They placed their cloaks on them, and he sat on them. 8Many people in the crowd spread their cloaks on the road, while others cut branches from the trees and laid them on the road. 9The crowds that went ahead of him and those that followed were all shouting, “Hosanna#21:9. An Aramaic word meaning “please save us,” used as an exclamation of praise. to the son of David! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord! Hosanna in the highest!”
10When Jesus arrived in Jerusalem, the whole city was in an uproar. “Who is this?” they were asking.
11“This is Jesus, the prophet from Nazareth in Galilee,” the crowds replied.
12Jesus went into the Temple, and threw out all the people buying and selling. He overturned the tables of the money-changers and the chairs of the dove-sellers. 13He told them, “Scripture says, ‘My house shall be called a house of prayer,’#21:13. Isaiah 56:7. but you've turned it into a den of thieves.”
14The blind and the lame came to Jesus in the Temple, and he healed them. 15But when the chief priests and religious teachers saw the wonderful miracles he did, and the children shouting in the Temple, “Hosanna to the son of David,” they were offended.
“Do you hear what these children are saying?” they asked him.
16“Yes,” Jesus replied. “Haven't you ever read the Scripture that says, ‘You arranged for children and infants to give you perfect praise’?”#21:16. Psalm 8:2. 17Jesus left them and went out of the city to stay at Bethany.
18The next morning as he walked back into the city, he was hungry. 19He saw a fig tree at the side of the road, so he went over to it but didn't find any fruit, only leaves.
He told the fig tree, “May you never ever produce fruit again!” Immediately the fig tree withered.
20The disciples were amazed to see this. “How did the fig tree wither so suddenly?” they asked.
21“I tell you the truth,” Jesus replied, “If you really trust in God, and don't doubt him, you could not only do what was done to the fig tree, but even more. If you said to this mountain, ‘Get up and throw yourself into the sea,’ it would happen! 22You will receive everything you ask for in prayer, as long as you trust in God.”
23Jesus went into the Temple. The chief priests and the ruling elders of the people came to him while he was teaching and asked, “By what authority are you doing these things? Who gave you this authority?”
24“I too will ask you a question,” Jesus replied. “If you give me the answer, I will tell you by what authority I do these things. 25Where did the baptism of John come from? Was it from heaven, or was it from human beings?”
They argued with each other. “If we say ‘it was from heaven,’ then he'll ask us why we didn't believe him. 26But if we say, ‘it was from human beings,’ then the crowd will turn against us,#21:26. Literally, “we fear the crowd.” because they all consider John to be a prophet.” 27So they answered Jesus, “We don't know.”
“Then I won't tell you by what authority I'm doing these things,” Jesus replied. 28“But what do you think about this illustration? Once there was a man who had two sons. He went to the first son, and said, ‘Son, go and work in the vineyard today.’ 29The son answered, ‘I won't,’ but afterwards he was sorry for what he said and he did go. 30The man went to the second son, and told him the same thing. He replied, ‘I'll go,’ but he didn't. 31Which of the two sons did what his father wanted?”
“The first,” they answered.
“I tell you the truth: tax-collectors and prostitutes are entering the kingdom of God before you,” Jesus told them. 32“John came to show you the way to live right with God, and you didn't believe him, but the tax-collectors and prostitutes did believe him. Later, when you saw what happened, you still didn't repent and believe him.
33Here's another illustration. There once was a man, a landowner, who planted a vineyard. He put a fence around it, made a winepress, and built a watchtower. He rented it to some tenant farmers, and then left to go to a different country. 34At harvest time, he sent his servants to the farmers to collect the fruit that belonged to him. 35But the farmers attacked his servants. They beat one, killed another, and stoned another. 36So he sent more servants, but the farmers did the same things to them. 37So then he sent his son. ‘They will respect my son,’ he told himself. 38But the farmers, when they saw the son, said to each other, ‘Here's the heir! Come on! Let's kill him so we can take his inheritance!’ 39They grabbed him, threw him out of the vineyard, and killed him. 40When the vineyard owner returns, what will he do to those farmers?”
41The chief priests and elders said to Jesus, “He will put to death those wicked men in the most awful way, and rent out the vineyard to other farmers who will be sure to give him his fruit at harvest time.”
42“So haven't you read the Scriptures?” Jesus asked them. “‘The stone which the builders rejected has become the chief cornerstone. The Lord has done this, and it is wonderful in our eyes.’ 43That's why I'm telling you that the kingdom of God will be taken away from you. It will be given to a people who produce the right kind of fruit. 44Anyone who falls on this stone will be broken, but it will completely crush anyone it falls upon.”
45When the chief priests and the Pharisees heard his illustrations, they realized he was speaking about them. 46They wanted him arrested, but they were afraid of what the people would do because the people believed he was a prophet.