Jesus’ Triumphant Entry
1As Jesus and his disciples approached Jerusalem, they came to the towns of Bethphage and Bethany on the Mount of Olives. Jesus sent two of them on ahead. 2“Go into that village over there,” he told them. “As soon as you enter it, you will see a young donkey tied there that no one has ever ridden. Untie it and bring it here. 3If anyone asks, ‘What are you doing?’ just say, ‘The Lord needs it and will return it soon.’”
4The two disciples left and found the colt standing in the street, tied outside the front door. 5As they were untying it, some bystanders demanded, “What are you doing, untying that colt?” 6They said what Jesus had told them to say, and they were permitted to take it. 7Then they brought the colt to Jesus and threw their garments over it, and he sat on it.
8Many in the crowd spread their garments on the road ahead of him, and others spread leafy branches they had cut in the fields. 9Jesus was in the center of the procession, and the people all around him were shouting,
“Praise God!#  Greek Hosanna, an exclamation of praise that literally means “save now”; also in 11:10.
Blessings on the one who comes in the name of the lord!
10Blessings on the coming Kingdom of our ancestor David!
Praise God in highest heaven!”#  Pss 118:25-26; 148:1.
11So Jesus came to Jerusalem and went into the Temple. After looking around carefully at everything, he left because it was late in the afternoon. Then he returned to Bethany with the twelve disciples.
Jesus Curses the Fig Tree
12The next morning as they were leaving Bethany, Jesus was hungry. 13He noticed a fig tree in full leaf a little way off, so he went over to see if he could find any figs. But there were only leaves because it was too early in the season for fruit. 14Then Jesus said to the tree, “May no one ever eat your fruit again!” And the disciples heard him say it.
Jesus Clears the Temple
15When they arrived back in Jerusalem, Jesus entered the Temple and began to drive out the people buying and selling animals for sacrifices. He knocked over the tables of the money changers and the chairs of those selling doves, 16and he stopped everyone from using the Temple as a marketplace.#  Or from carrying merchandise through the Temple. 17He said to them, “The Scriptures declare, ‘My Temple will be called a house of prayer for all nations,’ but you have turned it into a den of thieves.”#  Isa 56:7; Jer 7:11.
18When the leading priests and teachers of religious law heard what Jesus had done, they began planning how to kill him. But they were afraid of him because the people were so amazed at his teaching.
19That evening Jesus and the disciples left#  Greek they left; other manuscripts read he left. the city.
20The next morning as they passed by the fig tree he had cursed, the disciples noticed it had withered from the roots up. 21Peter remembered what Jesus had said to the tree on the previous day and exclaimed, “Look, Rabbi! The fig tree you cursed has withered and died!”
22Then Jesus said to the disciples, “Have faith in God. 23I tell you the truth, you can say to this mountain, ‘May you be lifted up and thrown into the sea,’ and it will happen. But you must really believe it will happen and have no doubt in your heart. 24I tell you, you can pray for anything, and if you believe that you’ve received it, it will be yours. 25But when you are praying, first forgive anyone you are holding a grudge against, so that your Father in heaven will forgive your sins, too.#  Some manuscripts add verse 26, But if you refuse to forgive, your Father in heaven will not forgive your sins. Compare Matt 6:15.
The Authority of Jesus Challenged
27Again they entered Jerusalem. As Jesus was walking through the Temple area, the leading priests, the teachers of religious law, and the elders came up to him. 28They demanded, “By what authority are you doing all these things? Who gave you the right to do them?”
29“I’ll tell you by what authority I do these things if you answer one question,” Jesus replied. 30“Did John’s authority to baptize come from heaven, or was it merely human? Answer me!”
31They talked it over among themselves. “If we say it was from heaven, he will ask why we didn’t believe John. 32But do we dare say it was merely human?” For they were afraid of what the people would do, because everyone believed that John was a prophet. 33So they finally replied, “We don’t know.”
And Jesus responded, “Then I won’t tell you by what authority I do these things.”
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Holy Bible, New Living Translation copyright 1996, 2004, 2007 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois, 60188. All rights reserved.