Matthew 21 Contemporary English Version (CEV)
Jesus Enters Jerusalem
21 When Jesus and his disciples came near Jerusalem, he went to Bethphage on the Mount of Olives and sent two of them on ahead. 2 He told them, “Go into the next village, where you will at once find a donkey and her colt. Untie the two donkeys and bring them to me. 3 If anyone asks why you are doing that, just say, ‘The Lord[a] needs them.’ Right away he will let you have the donkeys.”
4 So God’s promise came true, just as the prophet had said,
5 “Announce to the people
6 The disciples left and did what Jesus had told them to do. 7 They brought the donkey and its colt and laid some clothes on their backs. Then Jesus got on.
8 Many people spread clothes in the road, while others put down branches[b] which they had cut from trees. 9 Some people walked ahead of Jesus and others followed behind. They were all shouting,
10 When Jesus came to Jerusalem, everyone in the city was excited and asked, “Who can this be?”
11 The crowd answered, “This is Jesus, the prophet from Nazareth in Galilee.”
Jesus in the Temple
12 Jesus went into the temple and chased out everyone who was selling or buying. He turned over the tables of the moneychangers and the benches of the ones who were selling doves. 13 He told them, “The Scriptures say, ‘My house should be called a place of worship.’ But you have turned it into a place where robbers hide.”
14 Blind and lame people came to Jesus in the temple, and he healed them. 15 But the chief priests and the teachers of the Law of Moses were angry when they saw his miracles and heard the children shouting praises to the Son of David. [e] 16 The men said to Jesus, “Don’t you hear what those children are saying?”
“Yes, I do!” Jesus answered. “Don’t you know that the Scriptures say, ‘Children and infants will sing praises’?” 17 Then Jesus left the city and went out to the village of Bethany, where he spent the night.
Jesus Puts a Curse on a Fig Tree
18 When Jesus got up the next morning, he was hungry. He started out for the city, 19 and along the way he saw a fig tree. But when he came to it, he found only leaves and no figs. So he told the tree, “You will never again grow any fruit!” Right then the fig tree dried up.
20 The disciples were shocked when they saw how quickly the tree had dried up. 21 But Jesus said to them, “If you have faith and don’t doubt, I promise that you can do what I did to this tree. And you will be able to do even more. You can tell this mountain to get up and jump into the sea, and it will. 22 If you have faith when you pray, you will be given whatever you ask for.”
A Question about Jesus' Authority
23 Jesus had gone into the temple and was teaching when the chief priests and the leaders of the people came up to him. They asked, “What right do you have to do these things? Who gave you this authority?”
24 Jesus answered, “I have just one question to ask you. If you answer it, I will tell you where I got the right to do these things. 25 Who gave John the right to baptize? Was it God in heaven or merely some human being?”
They thought it over and said to each other, “We can’t say that God gave John this right. Jesus will ask us why we didn’t believe John. 26 On the other hand, these people think that John was a prophet, and we are afraid of what they might do to us. That’s why we can’t say that it was merely some human who gave John the right to baptize.” 27 So they told Jesus, “We don’t know.”
Jesus said, “Then I won’t tell you who gave me the right to do what I do.”
A Story about Two Sons
28 Jesus said:
I will tell you a story about a man who had two sons. Then you can tell me what you think. The father went to the older son and said, “Go work in the vineyard today!” 29 His son told him that he would not do it, but later he changed his mind and went. 30 The man then told his younger son to go work in the vineyard. The boy said he would, but he didn’t go. 31 Which one of the sons obeyed his father?
“The older one,” the chief priests and leaders answered.
Then Jesus told them:
You can be sure that tax collectors[f] and prostitutes will get into the kingdom of God before you ever will! 32 When John the Baptist showed you how to do right, you would not believe him. But these evil people did believe. And even when you saw what they did, you still would not change your minds and believe.
Renters of a Vineyard
33 Jesus told the chief priests and leaders to listen to this story:
A land owner once planted a vineyard. He built a wall around it and dug a pit to crush the grapes in. He also built a lookout tower. Then he rented out his vineyard and left the country.
34 When it was harvest time, the owner sent some servants to get his share of the grapes. 35 But the renters grabbed those servants. They beat up one, killed one, and stoned one of them to death. 36 He then sent more servants than he did the first time. But the renters treated them in the same way.
37 Finally, the owner sent his own son to the renters, because he thought they would respect him. 38 But when they saw the man’s son, they said, “Someday he will own the vineyard. Let’s kill him! Then we can have it all for ourselves.” 39 So they grabbed him, threw him out of the vineyard, and killed him.
40 Jesus asked, “When the owner of that vineyard comes, what do you suppose he will do to those renters?”
41 The chief priests and leaders answered, “He will kill them in some horrible way. Then he will rent out his vineyard to people who will give him his share of grapes at harvest time.”
42 Jesus replied, “You surely know that the Scriptures say,
‘The stone that the builders
43 I tell you that God’s kingdom will be taken from you and given to people who will do what he demands. 44 Anyone who stumbles over this stone will be crushed, and anyone it falls on will be smashed to pieces.”[g]
45 When the chief priests and the Pharisees heard these stories, they knew that Jesus was talking about them. 46 So they looked for a way to arrest Jesus. But they were afraid to, because the people thought he was a prophet.
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