Mark 11-12 Common English Bible (CEB)
Jesus enters Jerusalem
11 When Jesus and his followers approached Jerusalem, they came to Bethphage and Bethany at the Mount of Olives. Jesus gave two disciples a task, 2 saying to them, “Go into the village over there. As soon as you enter it, you will find tied up there a colt that no one has ridden. Untie it and bring it here. 3 If anyone says to you, ‘Why are you doing this?’ say, ‘Its master needs it, and he will send it back right away.’”
4 They went and found a colt tied to a gate outside on the street, and they untied it. 5 Some people standing around said to them, “What are you doing, untying the colt?” 6 They told them just what Jesus said, and they left them alone. 7 They brought the colt to Jesus and threw their clothes upon it, and he sat on it. 8 Many people spread out their clothes on the road while others spread branches cut from the fields. 9 Those in front of him and those following were shouting, “Hosanna! Blessings on the one who comes in the name of the Lord![a] 10 Blessings on the coming kingdom of our ancestor David! Hosanna in the highest!” 11 Jesus entered Jerusalem and went into the temple. After he looked around at everything, because it was already late in the evening, he returned to Bethany with the Twelve.
Fig tree and the temple
12 The next day, after leaving Bethany, Jesus was hungry. 13 From far away, he noticed a fig tree in leaf, so he went to see if he could find anything on it. When he came to it, he found nothing except leaves, since it wasn’t the season for figs. 14 So he said to it, “No one will ever again eat your fruit!” His disciples heard this.
15 They came into Jerusalem. After entering the temple, he threw out those who were selling and buying there. He pushed over the tables used for currency exchange and the chairs of those who sold doves. 16 He didn’t allow anyone to carry anything through the temple. 17 He taught them, “Hasn’t it been written, My house will be called a house of prayer for all nations?[b] But you’ve turned it into a hideout for crooks.”[c] 18 The chief priests and legal experts heard this and tried to find a way to destroy him. They regarded him as dangerous because the whole crowd was enthralled at his teaching. 19 When it was evening, Jesus and his disciples went outside the city.
Power, prayer, and forgiveness
20 Early in the morning, as Jesus and his disciples were walking along, they saw the fig tree withered from the root up. 21 Peter remembered and said to Jesus, “Rabbi, look how the fig tree you cursed has dried up.”
22 Jesus responded to them, “Have faith in God! 23 I assure you that whoever says to this mountain, ‘Be lifted up and thrown into the sea’—and doesn’t waver but believes that what is said will really happen—it will happen. 24 Therefore I say to you, whatever you pray and ask for, believe that you will receive it, and it will be so for you. 25 And whenever you stand up to pray, if you have something against anyone, forgive so that your Father in heaven may forgive you your wrongdoings.”[d]
Controversy over authority
27 Jesus and his disciples entered Jerusalem again. As Jesus was walking around the temple, the chief priests, legal experts, and elders came to him. 28 They asked, “What kind of authority do you have for doing these things? Who gave you this authority to do them?”
29 Jesus said to them, “I have a question for you. Give me an answer, then I’ll tell you what kind of authority I have to do these things. 30 Was John’s baptism of heavenly or of human origin? Answer me.”
31 They argued among themselves, “If we say, ‘It’s of heavenly origin,’ he’ll say, ‘Then why didn’t you believe him?’ 32 But we can’t say, ‘It’s of earthly origin.’” They said this because they were afraid of the crowd, because they all thought John was a prophet. 33 They answered Jesus, “We don’t know.”
Jesus replied, “Neither will I tell you what kind of authority I have to do these things.”
Parable of the tenant farmers
12 Jesus spoke to them in parables. “A man planted a vineyard, put a fence around it, dug a pit for the winepress, and built a tower. Then he rented it to tenant farmers and took a trip. 2 When it was time, he sent a servant to collect from the tenants his share of the fruit of the vineyard. 3 But they grabbed the servant, beat him, and sent him away empty-handed. 4 Again the landowner sent another servant to them, but they struck him on the head and treated him disgracefully. 5 He sent another one; that one they killed. The landlord sent many other servants, but the tenants beat some and killed others. 6 Now the landowner had one son whom he loved dearly. He sent him last, thinking, They will respect my son. 7 But those tenant farmers said to each other, ‘This is the heir. Let’s kill him, and the inheritance will be ours.’ 8 They grabbed him, killed him, and threw him out of the vineyard.
9 “So what will the owner of the vineyard do? He will come and destroy those tenants and give the vineyard to others. 10 Haven’t you read this scripture, The stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone. 11 The Lord has done this, and it’s amazing in our eyes?”[e]
12 They wanted to arrest Jesus because they knew that he had told the parable against them. But they were afraid of the crowd, so they left him and went away.
A question about taxes
13 They sent some of the Pharisees and supporters of Herod to trap him in his words. 14 They came to him and said, “Teacher, we know that you’re genuine and you don’t worry about what people think. You don’t show favoritism but teach God’s way as it really is. Does the Law allow people to pay taxes to Caesar or not? Should we pay taxes or not?”
15 Since Jesus recognized their deceit, he said to them, “Why are you testing me? Bring me a coin. Show it to me.” 16 And they brought one. He said to them, “Whose image and inscription is this?”
“Caesar’s,” they replied.
17 Jesus said to them, “Give to Caesar what belongs to Caesar and to God what belongs to God.” His reply left them overcome with wonder.
A question about the resurrection
18 Sadducees, who deny that there is a resurrection, came to Jesus and asked, 19 “Teacher, Moses wrote for us that if a man’s brother dies, leaving a widow but no children, the brother must marry the widow and raise up children for his brother.[f] 20 Now there were seven brothers. The first one married a woman; when he died, he left no children. 21 The second married her and died without leaving any children. The third did the same. 22 None of the seven left any children. Finally, the woman died. 23 At the resurrection, when they all rise up, whose wife will she be? All seven were married to her.”
24 Jesus said to them, “Isn’t this the reason you are wrong, because you don’t know either the scriptures or God’s power? 25 When people rise from the dead, they won’t marry nor will they be given in marriage. Instead, they will be like God’s angels. 26 As for the resurrection from the dead, haven’t you read in the scroll from Moses, in the passage about the burning bush, how God said to Moses, I am the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob?[g] 27 He isn’t the God of the dead but of the living. You are seriously mistaken.”
God’s most important command
28 One of the legal experts heard their dispute and saw how well Jesus answered them. He came over and asked him, “Which commandment is the most important of all?”
29 Jesus replied, “The most important one is Israel, listen! Our God is the one Lord, 30 and you must love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your being, with all your mind, and with all your strength.[h] 31 The second is this, You will love your neighbor as yourself.[i] No other commandment is greater than these.”
32 The legal expert said to him, “Well said, Teacher. You have truthfully said that God is one and there is no other besides him. 33 And to love God with all of the heart, a full understanding, and all of one’s strength, and to love one’s neighbor as oneself is much more important than all kinds of entirely burned offerings and sacrifices.”
34 When Jesus saw that he had answered with wisdom, he said to him, “You aren’t far from God’s kingdom.” After that, no one dared to ask him any more questions.
Jesus corrects the legal experts
35 While Jesus was teaching in the temple, he said, “Why do the legal experts say that the Christ is David’s son? 36 David himself, inspired by the Holy Spirit, said, The Lord said to my lord, ‘Sit at my right side until I turn your enemies into your footstool.’[j] 37 David himself calls him ‘Lord,’ so how can he be David’s son?” The large crowd listened to him with delight.
38 As he was teaching, he said, “Watch out for the legal experts. They like to walk around in long robes. They want to be greeted with honor in the markets. 39 They long for places of honor in the synagogues and at banquets. 40 They are the ones who cheat widows out of their homes, and to show off they say long prayers. They will be judged most harshly.”
A poor widow’s contribution
41 Jesus sat across from the collection box for the temple treasury and observed how the crowd gave their money. Many rich people were throwing in lots of money. 42 One poor widow came forward and put in two small copper coins worth a penny.[k] 43 Jesus called his disciples to him and said, “I assure you that this poor widow has put in more than everyone who’s been putting money in the treasury. 44 All of them are giving out of their spare change. But she from her hopeless poverty has given everything she had, even what she needed to live on.”