Matthew 21 New International Reader's Version (NIRV)
Jesus Comes to Jerusalem as King
21 As they all approached Jerusalem, they came to Bethphage. It was on the Mount of Olives. Jesus sent out two disciples. 2 He said to them, “Go to the village ahead of you. As soon as you get there, you will find a donkey tied up. Her colt will be with her. Untie them and bring them to me. 3 If anyone says anything to you, say that the Lord needs them. The owner will send them right away.”
4 This took place so that what was spoken through the prophet would come true. It says,
5 “Say to the city of Zion,
6 The disciples went and did what Jesus told them to do. 7 They brought the donkey and the colt. They placed their coats on them for Jesus to sit on. 8 A very large crowd spread their coats on the road. Others cut branches from the trees and spread them on the road. 9 Some of the people went ahead of him, and some followed. They all shouted,
“Hosanna to the Son of David!”
“Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord!” (Psalm 118:26)
“Hosanna in the highest heaven!”
10 When Jesus entered Jerusalem, the whole city was stirred up. The people asked, “Who is this?”
11 The crowds answered, “This is Jesus. He is the prophet from Nazareth in Galilee.”
Jesus Clears Out the Temple
12 Jesus entered the temple courtyard. He began to drive out all those who were buying and selling there. He turned over the tables of the people who were exchanging money. He also turned over the benches of those who were selling doves. 13 He said to them, “It is written that the Lord said, ‘My house will be called a house where people can pray.’ (Isaiah 56:7) But you are making it ‘a den for robbers.’ ” (Jeremiah 7:11)
14 Blind people and those who were disabled came to Jesus at the temple. There he healed them. 15 The chief priests and the teachers of the law saw the wonderful things he did. They also saw the children in the temple courtyard shouting, “Hosanna to the Son of David!” But when they saw all this, they became angry.
16 “Do you hear what these children are saying?” they asked him.
“Yes,” replied Jesus. “Haven’t you ever read about it in Scripture? It says,
“ ‘Lord, you have made sure that children and infants
17 Then Jesus left the people and went out of the city to Bethany. He spent the night there.
Jesus Makes a Fig Tree Dry Up
18 Early in the morning, Jesus was on his way back to Jerusalem. He was hungry. 19 He saw a fig tree by the road. He went up to it but found nothing on it except leaves. Then he said to it, “May you never bear fruit again!” Right away the tree dried up.
20 When the disciples saw this, they were amazed. “How did the fig tree dry up so quickly?” they asked.
21 Jesus replied, “What I’m about to tell you is true. You must have faith and not doubt. Then you can do what was done to the fig tree. And you can say to this mountain, ‘Go and throw yourself into the sea.’ It will be done. 22 If you believe, you will receive what you ask for when you pray.”
The Authority of Jesus Is Questioned
23 Jesus entered the temple courtyard. While he was teaching there, the chief priests and the elders of the people came to him. “By what authority are you doing these things?” they asked. “Who gave you this authority?”
24 Jesus replied, “I will also ask you one question. If you answer me, I will tell you by what authority I am doing these things. 25 Where did John’s baptism come from? Was it from heaven? Or did it come from human authority?”
They talked to one another about it. They said, “If we say, ‘From heaven,’ he will ask, ‘Then why didn’t you believe him?’ 26 But what if we say, ‘From human authority’? We are afraid of the people. Everyone believes that John was a prophet.”
27 So they answered Jesus, “We don’t know.”
Jesus said, “Then I won’t tell you by what authority I am doing these things either.
The Story of the Two Sons
28 “What do you think about this? A man had two sons. He went to the first and said, ‘Son, go and work today in the vineyard.’
29 “ ‘I will not,’ the son answered. But later he changed his mind and went.
30 “Then the father went to the other son. He said the same thing. The son answered, ‘I will, sir.’ But he did not go.
31 “Which of the two sons did what his father wanted?”
“The first,” they answered.
Jesus said to them, “What I’m about to tell you is true. Tax collectors and prostitutes will enter the kingdom of God ahead of you. 32 John came to show you the right way to live. And you did not believe him. But the tax collectors and the prostitutes did. You saw this. But even then you did not turn away from your sins and believe him.
The Story of the Renters
33 “Listen to another story. A man who owned some land planted a vineyard. He put a wall around it. He dug a pit for a winepress in it. He also built a lookout tower. He rented the vineyard out to some farmers. Then he moved to another place. 34 When harvest time approached, he sent his slaves to the renters. He told the slaves to collect his share of the fruit.
35 “But the renters grabbed his slaves. They beat one of them. They killed another. They threw stones at the third to kill him. 36 Then the man sent other slaves to the renters. He sent more than he did the first time. The renters treated them the same way. 37 Last of all, he sent his son to them. ‘They will respect my son,’ he said.
38 “But the renters saw the son coming. They said to one another, ‘This is the one who will receive all the owner’s property someday. Come, let’s kill him. Then everything will be ours.’ 39 So they took him and threw him out of the vineyard. Then they killed him.
40 “When the owner of the vineyard comes back, what will he do to those renters?”
41 “He will destroy those evil people,” they replied. “Then he will rent the vineyard out to other renters. They will give him his share of the crop at harvest time.”
42 Jesus said to them, “Haven’t you ever read what the Scriptures say,
“ ‘The stone the builders didn’t accept
43 “So here is what I tell you. The kingdom of God will be taken away from you. It will be given to people who will produce its fruit. 44 Anyone who falls on that stone will be broken to pieces. But the stone will crush anyone it falls on.”
45 The chief priests and the Pharisees heard Jesus’ stories. They knew he was talking about them. 46 So they looked for a way to arrest him. But they were afraid of the crowd. The people believed that Jesus was a prophet.
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