NRSV

Jesus’ Triumphal Entry into Jerusalem
Chapter 21
1 When they had come near Jerusalem and had reached Bethphage, at the Mount of Olives, Jesus sent two disciples, 2 saying to them, “Go into the village ahead of you, and immediately you will find a donkey tied, and a colt with her; untie them and bring them to me. 3 If anyone says anything to you, just say this, ‘The Lord needs them.’ And he will send them immediately.” 4 This took place to fulfill what had been spoken through the prophet, saying,
5 “Tell the daughter of Zion,
Look, your king is coming to you,
humble, and mounted on a donkey,
and on a colt, the foal of a donkey.”
6 The disciples went and did as Jesus had directed them; 7 they brought the donkey and the colt, and put their cloaks on them, and he sat on them. 8 A very large crowd spread their cloaks on the road, and others cut branches from the trees and spread them on the road.
9 The crowds that went ahead of him and that followed were shouting,
“Hosanna to the Son of David!
Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord!
Hosanna in the highest heaven!”
10 When he entered Jerusalem, the whole city was in turmoil, asking, “Who is this?” 11 The crowds were saying, “This is the prophet Jesus from Nazareth in Galilee.”
Jesus Cleanses the Temple
12 Then Jesus entered the temple and drove out all who were selling and buying in the temple, and he overturned the tables of the money changers and the seats of those who sold doves.
13 He said to them, “It is written,
‘My house shall be called a house of prayer’;
but you are making it a den of robbers.”
14 The blind and the lame came to him in the temple, and he cured them. 15 But when the chief priests and the scribes saw the amazing things that he did, and heard the children crying out in the temple, “Hosanna to the Son of David,” they became angry
16 and said to him, “Do you hear what these are saying?” Jesus said to them, “Yes; have you never read,
‘Out of the mouths of infants and nursing babies
you have prepared praise for yourself’?”
17 He left them, went out of the city to Bethany, and spent the night there.
Jesus Curses the Fig Tree
18 In the morning, when he returned to the city, he was hungry. 19 And seeing a fig tree by the side of the road, he went to it and found nothing at all on it but leaves. Then he said to it, “May no fruit ever come from you again!” And the fig tree withered at once. 20 When the disciples saw it, they were amazed, saying, “How did the fig tree wither at once?” 21 Jesus answered them, “Truly I tell you, if you have faith and do not doubt, not only will you do what has been done to the fig tree, but even if you say to this mountain, ‘Be lifted up and thrown into the sea,’ it will be done. 22 Whatever you ask for in prayer with faith, you will receive.”
The Authority of Jesus Questioned
23 When he entered the temple, the chief priests and the elders of the people came to him as he was teaching, and said, “By what authority are you doing these things, and who gave you this authority?” 24 Jesus said to them, “I will also ask you one question; if you tell me the answer, then I will also tell you by what authority I do these things. 25 Did the baptism of John come from heaven, or was it of human origin?” And they argued with one another, “If we say, ‘From heaven,’ he will say to us, ‘Why then did you not believe him?’ 26 But if we say, ‘Of human origin,’ we are afraid of the crowd; for all regard John as a prophet.” 27 So they answered Jesus, “We do not know.” And he said to them, “Neither will I tell you by what authority I am doing these things.
The Parable of the Two Sons
28 “What do you think? A man had two sons; he went to the first and said, ‘Son, go and work in the vineyard today.’ 29 He answered, ‘I will not’; but later he changed his mind and went. 30 The father went to the second and said the same; and he answered, ‘I go, sir’; but he did not go. 31 Which of the two did the will of his father?” They said, “The first.” Jesus said to them, “Truly I tell you, the tax collectors and the prostitutes are going into the kingdom of God ahead of you. 32 For John came to you in the way of righteousness and you did not believe him, but the tax collectors and the prostitutes believed him; and even after you saw it, you did not change your minds and believe him.
The Parable of the Wicked Tenants
33 “Listen to another parable. There was a landowner who planted a vineyard, put a fence around it, dug a wine press in it, and built a watchtower. Then he leased it to tenants and went to another country. 34 When the harvest time had come, he sent his slaves to the tenants to collect his produce. 35 But the tenants seized his slaves and beat one, killed another, and stoned another. 36 Again he sent other slaves, more than the first; and they treated them in the same way. 37 Finally he sent his son to them, saying, ‘They will respect my son.’ 38 But when the tenants saw the son, they said to themselves, ‘This is the heir; come, let us kill him and get his inheritance.’ 39 So 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?” 41 They said to him, “He will put those wretches to a miserable death, and lease the vineyard to other tenants who will give him the produce at the harvest time.”
42 Jesus said to them, “Have you never read in the scriptures:
‘The stone that the builders rejected
has become the cornerstone;
this was the Lord’s doing,
and it is amazing in our eyes’?
43 Therefore I tell you, the kingdom of God will be taken away from you and given to a people that produces the fruits of the kingdom. 44 The one who falls on this stone will be broken to pieces; and it will crush anyone on whom it falls.”
45 When the chief priests and the Pharisees heard his parables, they realized that he was speaking about them. 46 They wanted to arrest him, but they feared the crowds, because they regarded him as a prophet. Matthew 21

The Message

THE ROYAL WELCOME
1 When they neared Jerusalem, having arrived at Bethphage on Mount Olives, Jesus sent two disciples 2 with these instructions: “Go over to the village across from you. You’ll find a donkey tethered there, her colt with her. Untie her and bring them to me. 3 If anyone asks what you’re doing, say, ‘The Master needs them!’ He will send them with you.”
4 This is the full story of what was sketched earlier by the prophet:
5 Tell Zion’s daughter,
“Look, your king’s on his way,
poised and ready, mounted
On a donkey, on a colt,
foal of a pack animal.”
6 The disciples went and did exactly what Jesus told them to do. 7 They led the donkey and colt out, laid some of their clothes on them, and Jesus mounted. 8 Nearly all the people in the crowd threw their garments down on the road, giving him a royal welcome. Others cut branches from the trees and threw them down as a welcome mat. 9 Crowds went ahead and crowds followed, all of them calling out, “Hosanna to David’s son!” “Blessed is he who comes in God’s name!” “Hosanna in highest heaven!”
10 As he made his entrance into Jerusalem, the whole city was shaken. Unnerved, people were asking, “What’s going on here? Who is this?”
11 The parade crowd answered, “This is the prophet Jesus, the one from Nazareth in Galilee.”
HE KICKED OVER THE TABLES
12 Jesus went straight to the Temple and threw out everyone who had set up shop, buying and selling. He kicked over the tables of loan sharks and the stalls of dove merchants. 13 He quoted this text:
My house was designated a house of prayer;
You have made it a hangout for thieves.
14 Now there was room for the blind and crippled to get in. They came to Jesus and he healed them.
15 When the religious leaders saw the outrageous things he was doing, and heard all the children running and shouting through the Temple, “Hosanna to David’s Son!” they were up in arms and took him to task. 16 “Do you hear what these children are saying?”
Jesus said, “Yes, I hear them. And haven’t you read in God’s Word, ‘From the mouths of children and babies I’ll furnish a place of praise’?”
17 Fed up, Jesus turned on his heel and left the city for Bethany, where he spent the night.
THE WITHERED FIG TREE
18 Early the next morning Jesus was returning to the city. He was hungry. 19 Seeing a lone fig tree alongside the road, he approached it anticipating a breakfast of figs. When he got to the tree, there was nothing but fig leaves. He said, “No more figs from this tree—ever!” The fig tree withered on the spot, a dry stick. 20 The disciples saw it happen. They rubbed their eyes, saying, “Did we really see this? A leafy tree one minute, a dry stick the next?”
21 But Jesus was matter-of-fact: “Yes—and if you embrace this kingdom life and don’t doubt God, you’ll not only do minor feats like I did to the fig tree, but also triumph over huge obstacles. This mountain, for instance, you’ll tell, ‘Go jump in the lake,’ and it will jump. 22 Absolutely everything, ranging from small to large, as you make it a part of your believing prayer, gets included as you lay hold of God.”
TRUE AUTHORITY
23 Then he was back in the Temple, teaching. The high priests and leaders of the people came up and demanded, “Show us your credentials. Who authorized you to teach here?”
24 Jesus responded, “First let me ask you a question. You answer my question and I’ll answer yours. 25 About the baptism of John—who authorized it: heaven or humans?”
They were on the spot and knew it. They pulled back into a huddle and whispered, “If we say ‘heaven,’ he’ll ask us why we didn’t believe him; 26 if we say ‘humans,’ we’re up against it with the people because they all hold John up as a prophet.” 27 They decided to concede that round to Jesus. “We don’t know,” they answered.
Jesus said, “Then neither will I answer your question.
THE STORY OF TWO SONS
28 “Tell me what you think of this story: A man had two sons. He went up to the first and said, ‘Son, go out for the day and work in the vineyard.’
29 “The son answered, ‘I don’t want to.’ Later on he thought better of it and went.
30 “The father gave the same command to the second son. He answered, ‘Sure, glad to.’ But he never went.
31 “Which of the two sons did what the father asked?”
They said, “The first.”
Jesus said, “Yes, and I tell you that crooks and whores are going to precede you into God’s kingdom. 32 John came to you showing you the right road. You turned up your noses at him, but the crooks and whores believed him. Even when you saw their changed lives, you didn’t care enough to change and believe him.
THE STORY OF THE GREEDY FARMHANDS
33 “Here’s another story. Listen closely. There was once a man, a wealthy farmer, who planted a vineyard. He fenced it, dug a winepress, put up a watchtower, then turned it over to the farmhands and went off on a trip. 34 When it was time to harvest the grapes, he sent his servants back to collect his profits.
35 “The farmhands grabbed the first servant and beat him up. The next one they murdered. They threw stones at the third but he got away. 36 The owner tried again, sending more servants. They got the same treatment. 37 The owner was at the end of his rope. He decided to send his son. ‘Surely,’ he thought, ‘they will respect my son.’
38 “But when the farmhands saw the son arrive, they rubbed their hands in greed. ‘This is the heir! Let’s kill him and have it all for ourselves.’ 39 They grabbed him, threw him out, and killed him.
40 “Now, when the owner of the vineyard arrives home from his trip, what do you think he will do to the farmhands?”
41 “He’ll kill them—a rotten bunch, and good riddance,” they answered. “Then he’ll assign the vineyard to farmhands who will hand over the profits when it’s time.”
42 Jesus said, “Right—and you can read it for yourselves in your Bibles:
The stone the masons threw out
is now the cornerstone.
This is God’s work;
we rub our eyes, we can hardly believe it!
43 “This is the way it is with you. God’s kingdom will be taken back from you and handed over to a people who will live out a kingdom life. 44 Whoever stumbles on this Stone gets shattered; whoever the Stone falls on gets smashed.”
45 When the religious leaders heard this story, they knew it was aimed at them. 46 They wanted to arrest Jesus and put him in jail, but, intimidated by public opinion, they held back. Most people held him to be a prophet of God. Matthew 21