Matthew 21

1Jesus and his followers were coming closer to Jerusalem. But first they stopped at Bethphage at the hill called the Mount of Olives. There Jesus sent two of his followers into the town. 2Jesus said to the followers, “Go to the town you can see there. When you enter it, you will find a donkey tied there. With the donkey you will find a young donkey. Untie the two donkeys and bring them to me. 3If any person asks you why you are taking the donkeys, tell that person, 'The Master needs these donkeys. He will send them back soon.’” 4This happened to make clear the full meaning of what the prophet said: 5”Tell the city of Zion, 'Now your king is coming to you. He is humble and he is riding on a donkey. He is riding on a young donkey, born from a work animal.’” 6The followers went and did what Jesus told them to do. 7The followers brought the mother donkey and the young donkey to Jesus. They put their coats on the donkeys, and Jesus sat on the coats. 8˻Jesus rode along the road to Jerusalem.˼ Many people spread their coats on the road for Jesus. Other people cut branches from the trees and spread the branches on the road. 9Some of the people were walking ahead of Jesus. Other people were walking behind Jesus. The people shouted, “Praise to the Son of David! 'Welcome! God bless the One that comes in the name of the Lord!’ Praise to God in heaven!” 10Then Jesus went into Jerusalem. All the people in the city were confused. They asked, “Who is this man?” 11The many people following Jesus answered, “This man is Jesus. He is the prophet from the town of Nazareth in Galilee.” 12Jesus went into the temple area. He threw out all the people that were selling and buying things there. Jesus turned over the tables that belonged to the men that were exchanging different kinds of money. And Jesus turned over the benches of those men that were selling doves. 13Jesus said to all the people there, “It is written ˻in the Scriptures˼, 'My house will be called a house for prayer.’ But you are changing God’s house into a 'hiding place for thieves.’” 14Some blind people and some crippled people came to Jesus in the temple area. Jesus healed these people. 15The leading priests and the teachers of the law saw what Jesus did. They saw that Jesus was doing great things and saw the children praising Jesus in the temple area. The children were saying, “Praise to the Son of David.” All these things made the priests and the teachers of the law angry. 16The leading priests and the teachers of the law asked Jesus, “Do you hear the things these children are saying?” Jesus answered, “Yes. The Scripture says, 'You ˻(God)˼ have taught children and babies to give praise.’ Have you not read that Scripture?” 17Then Jesus left that place and went out of the city to Bethany. Jesus stayed there that night. 18Early the next morning, Jesus was going back to the city. Jesus was very hungry. 19Jesus saw a fig tree beside the road. Jesus went to the fig tree ˻to get a fig to eat˼. But there were no figs on the tree. There were only leaves. So Jesus said to the tree, “You will never again have fruit!” And then the tree dried up and died. 20The followers saw this. They were very surprised. They asked, “How did the fig tree dry up and die so quickly?” 21Jesus answered, “I tell you the truth. If you have faith and no doubts, you will be able to do the same as I did to this tree. And you will be able to do more. You will be able to say to this mountain, 'Go, mountain, fall into the sea.’ And if you have faith, it will happen. 22If you believe, you will get anything you ask for in prayer.” 23Jesus went into the temple area. While Jesus was teaching there, the leading priests and the older leaders of the people came to Jesus. They said to Jesus, “Tell us! What authority ˻(power)˼ do you have to do these things? Who gave you this authority?” 24Jesus answered, “I will ask you a question too. If you answer me, then I will tell you what authority I have to do these things. 25Tell me: When John baptized people, did that come from God or was it only from other people?” The priests and the Jewish leaders talked about Jesus’ question. They said to each other, “If we answer, 'John’s baptism was from God,’ then Jesus will say, 'Then why didn’t you believe John?’ 26But we can’t say John's baptism was from someone else. We are afraid of the people, because they all believe that John was a prophet.” 27So they answered Jesus, “We don’t know ˻where John’s authority came from˼.” Then Jesus said, “Then I won’t tell you what authority I have to do these things! 28”Tell me what you think about this: There was a man that had two sons. The man went to the first son and said, 'Son, go and work today in the vineyard.’ 29”The son answered, 'I will not go.’ But later the son decided he should go, and the son went. 30”Then the father went to the other son and said, 'Son, go and work today in the vineyard.’ The son answered, 'Yes, sir, I will go and work.’ But the son did not go. 31”Which of the two sons obeyed his father?” The Jewish leaders answered, “The first son.” Jesus said to them, “I tell you the truth. ˻You think˼ the tax collectors and the prostitutes ˻are bad people. But they˼ will enter the kingdom of God before you enter. 32John came showing you the right way to live. And you did not believe John. But the tax collectors and prostitutes believed John. And you saw that the tax collectors and prostitutes believed him. But you still refused to change and believe him. 33”Listen to this story: There was a man that owned a vineyard. He put a wall around the field and dug a hole for a wine press. Then the man built a tower. He leased the land to some farmers. Then he left for a trip. 34Later, it was time for the grapes to be picked. So the man sent his servants to the farmers to get his share of the grapes. 35”But the farmers grabbed the servants and beat one. They killed another one and then killed a third servant with rocks. 36So the man sent some other servants to the farmers. The man sent more servants than he sent the first time. But the farmers did the same thing to the servants that they did the first time. 37So the man decided to send his son to the farmers. The man said, 'The farmers will respect my son.’ 38”But when the farmers saw the son, they said to each other, 'This is the owner’s son. This vineyard will be his. If we kill him, then it will be ours!’ 39So the farmers took the son, threw him out of the vineyard, and killed him. 40”So what will the owner of the vineyard do to these farmers when he comes?” 41The Jewish priests and leaders said, “He will surely kill those evil men. Then he will lease the land to some other farmers. He will lease it to farmers that will give him his share of the crop at harvest time.” 42Jesus said to them, “Surely you have read this in the Scriptures: 'The stone that the builders did not want became the cornerstone. The Lord did this, and it is wonderful to us.’ 43”So I tell you that the kingdom of God will be taken away from you. God’s kingdom will be given to people that do the things God wants in his kingdom. 44The person that falls on this stone will be broken. And if the stone falls on a person, then it will crush that person.” 45The leading priests and the Pharisees heard these stories that Jesus told. They knew that Jesus was talking about them. 46They wanted to find a way to arrest Jesus. But they were afraid of the people, because the people believed that Jesus was a prophet.

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