Matthew 21-23 Evangelical Heritage Version (EHV)
Jesus’ Triumphal Entry Into Jerusalem
21 As they approached Jerusalem and came to Bethphage on the Mount of Olives, Jesus sent two disciples, 2 telling them, “Go to the village ahead of you. Immediately you will find a donkey tied there along with her colt. Untie them and bring them to me. 3 If anyone says anything to you, you are to say, ‘The Lord needs them,’ and he will send them at once.”
4 This took place to fulfill what was spoken through the prophet:
5 Tell the daughter of Zion: Look, your King comes to you, humble, and riding on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey.[a]
6 The disciples went and did just as Jesus commanded them. 7 They brought the donkey and the colt, laid their outer clothing on them, and he sat on it. 8 A very large crowd spread their outer clothing on the road. Others were cutting branches from the trees and spreading them out on the road. 9 The crowds who went in front of him and those who followed kept shouting,
10 When he entered Jerusalem, the whole city was stirred up, asking, “Who is this?” 11 And the crowds were saying, “This is Jesus, the prophet from Nazareth in Galilee.”
Jesus Cleanses His Father’s House
12 Jesus entered the temple courts[d] and drove out all those who were selling and buying in the temple. He overturned the tables of the money changers and the seats of those who were selling doves. 13 He said to them, “It is written, ‘My house will be called a house of prayer,’[e] but you are making it a den of robbers!”[f]
14 The blind and the lame came to him in the temple, and he healed them. 15 But when the chief priests and the experts in the law saw the wonders he performed and heard the children calling out in the temple, “Hosanna to the Son of David!” they were indignant. 16 They said to him, “Do you hear what they are saying?”
“Yes,” Jesus told them, “Have you never read,
From the lips of little children and nursing babies
17 He left them, went out of the city to Bethany, and spent the night there.
The Withered Fig Tree
18 As he returned to the city early in the morning, he was hungry. 19 Seeing a fig tree by the road, he went up to it but found nothing on it except leaves. He said to it, “May there never be fruit from you again!”
Immediately the fig tree withered away. 20 When the disciples saw it, they were amazed and asked, “How did the fig tree wither so quickly?”
21 Jesus answered them, “Amen I tell you: If you have faith, and do not doubt, you will not only do what was done to the fig tree, but even if you told this mountain, ‘Be lifted up and thrown into the sea,’ it would be done. 22 Whatever you ask for in prayer, as you believe, you will receive.”
Jesus’ Authority Questioned
23 When Jesus went into the temple courts, the chief priests and the elders of the people came to him while he was teaching and said, “By what authority are you doing these things?” and “Who gave you this authority?”
24 Jesus answered them, “I will also ask you one question. If you answer it, I will tell you by what authority I do these things. 25 The baptism of John, where was it from? From heaven or from men?”
They discussed it among themselves, saying, “If we say, ‘From heaven,’ he will say to us, ‘Then why did you not believe him?’ 26 But if we say, ‘From men,’ we are afraid of the crowd, since they all regard John as a prophet.” 27 So they answered Jesus, “We do not know.”
He said to them, “Then I will not tell you by what authority I do these things.”
28 “What do you think? A man had two sons. He went to the first and said, ‘Son, go work today in my vineyard.’ 29 He answered, ‘I will not,’ but later he changed his mind and went. 30 He came to the second and said the same thing. The second son answered, ‘I will go, sir,’ but he did not go. 31 Which of the two did the will of his father?”
They said to him, “The first.”
Jesus said to them, “Amen I tell you: The tax collectors and the prostitutes are entering the kingdom of God ahead of you. 32 For John came to you in the way of righteousness, but you did not believe him. However, the tax collectors and prostitutes did believe him. Even when you saw this, you did not change your mind 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 winepress in it, and built a tower. He leased it out to some tenant farmers and went away on a journey. 34 When the time approached to harvest the fruit, he sent his servants to the tenants to get his fruit. 35 The tenant farmers seized his servants. They beat one, killed another, and stoned a third. 36 Then the landowner sent even more servants than the first time. The tenant farmers treated them the same way. 37 Finally, he sent his son to them. ‘They will respect my son,’ he said. 38 But when the tenant farmers saw the son, they said to each other, ‘This is the heir. Come, let’s kill him and take his inheritance!’ 39 They took him, threw him out of the vineyard, and killed him. 40 So when the landowner comes, what will he do to those tenant farmers?”
41 They told him, “He will bring those wretches to a wretched end. Then he will lease out the vineyard to other tenants who will give him his fruit when it is due.”
42 Jesus said to them, “Have you never read in the Scriptures:
The stone the builders rejected has become the cornerstone.
43 “That is why I tell you the kingdom of God will be taken away from you and given to a people that produces its fruit. 44 Whoever 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 knew that he was talking about them. 46 Although they were looking for a way to arrest him, they were afraid of the crowds because the people regarded him as a prophet.
The Parable of the Wedding Banquet
22 Jesus spoke to them again in parables. He said, 2 “The kingdom of heaven is like a certain king who prepared a wedding banquet for his son. 3 He sent out his servants to summon those who were invited to the wedding banquet, but they did not want to come.
4 “Then he sent out other servants and said, ‘Tell those who are invited: Look, I have prepared my dinner. My oxen and my fattened cattle have been butchered, and everything is ready. Come to the wedding banquet!’
5 “But those who were invited paid no attention and went off, one to his own farm, another to his business. 6 The rest seized the king’s servants, mistreated them, and killed them. 7 As a result, the king was very angry. He sent his army and killed those murderers and burned their town.
8 “Then he said to his servants, ‘The wedding banquet is ready, but those who were invited were not worthy. 9 So go to the main crossroads and invite as many as you find to the wedding banquet.’ 10 Those servants went out to the roads and gathered together everyone they found, both good and bad, and the wedding hall was filled with guests. 11 But when the king came in to see the guests, he saw a man there who was not wearing wedding clothes. 12 He said to him, ‘Friend, how did you get in here without wearing wedding clothes?’ The man was speechless. 13 Then the king told the servants, ‘Tie him hand and foot and throw him into the outer darkness where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’ 14 For many are called, but few are chosen.”
Paying Taxes to Caesar
15 Then the Pharisees went out and plotted together how to trap him in his words. 16 They sent their disciples to him along with the Herodians. “Teacher,” they said, “we know that you are truthful and teach the way of God in accord with the truth. You are not concerned about gaining anyone’s approval because you are not swayed by appearances. 17 So tell us, what do you think? Is it lawful to pay taxes to Caesar or not?”
18 But Jesus knew their evil purpose and said, “Why are you testing me, hypocrites? 19 Show me the coin used for the tax.”
They brought him a denarius.
20 He asked them, “Whose image and inscription is this?”
21 “Caesar’s,” they replied to him.
Then he said to them, “Therefore give to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s.”
22 When they heard this, they were amazed. Then they left him and went away.
The God of the Living
23 That same day some Sadducees (who say there is no resurrection) came to him. They asked him a question: 24 “Teacher, Moses said, ‘If a man dies without having children, his brother should marry his wife and raise up offspring for his brother.’[i] 25 Now there were seven brothers among us. The first one died after he married her, and since he had no children, he left his wife to his brother. 26 It was the same with the second brother, the third, and all the way to the seventh. 27 Last of all, the woman died. 28 So then, in the resurrection, whose wife will she be of the seven, since they all married her?”
29 “You are mistaken,” Jesus replied, “since you do not know the Scriptures or the power of God. 30 In fact, in the resurrection people neither marry nor are given in marriage. Instead they are like the angels of God in heaven. 31 And concerning the resurrection of the dead, have you never read what was spoken to you by God: 32 ‘I am the God of Abraham and the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob’?[j] He is not the God of the dead, but of the living.”
33 When the crowds heard his answer, they were amazed at his teaching.
Love God and Your Neighbor
34 When they heard that he had silenced the Sadducees, the Pharisees met together. 35 One of them who was an expert in the law asked him a question, trying to trap him. 36 “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment of the Law?”
37 Jesus said to him, “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’[k] 38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 The second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’[l] 40 All the Law and the Prophets depend[m] on these two commandments.”
David’s Son and David’s Lord
41 While the Pharisees were gathered together, Jesus asked them a question: 42 “What do you think about the Christ? Whose son is he?”
They said to him, “The Son of David.”
43 He said to them, “Then how can David in the Spirit call him Lord, saying,
44 The Lord said to my Lord,
45 “So if David calls him Lord, how is he his son?”
46 No one was able to answer him a word, and from that day on no one dared to ask him any more questions.
Do Not Do As They Do
23 Then Jesus spoke to the crowds and to his disciples. 2 He said, “The experts in the law and the Pharisees sit in Moses’ seat. 3 So practice and observe whatever they tell you. But do not do as they do, because they do not practice what they preach. 4 They tie up heavy loads, burdens that are hard to carry, and place them on people’s shoulders, but they will not lift a finger to help them. 5 They do all their works to be seen by people. They make their phylacteries[o] wide and lengthen the fringes of their garments. 6 They love the place of honor at feasts, the best seats in the synagogues, 7 the greetings in the marketplaces, and being called ‘Rabbi’ by people. 8 But you are not to be called ‘Rabbi,’ for you have one Teacher, and you are all brothers. 9 Also do not call anyone on earth your ‘Father,’ for you have one Father, and he is in heaven. 10 And you are not to be called ‘leaders,’ for you have one Leader, the Christ. 11 But the greatest among you will be your servant. 12 Whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted.
Woes and Warnings
13 “But woe to you, experts in the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You shut the kingdom of heaven right in front of people’s faces. You yourselves do not enter, nor do you permit those who are trying to enter to do so.[p] 15 Woe to you, experts in the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You travel the sea and the land to make one convert, and then when he is converted, you make him twice as much a son of hell as you are.
16 “Woe to you, blind guides, who say, ‘Whoever swears by the temple, it is nothing; but whoever swears by the gold of the temple, he is obligated.’ 17 You blind fools! After all, which is greater: the gold or the temple that sanctifies the gold? 18 And you say, ‘Whoever swears by the altar, it is nothing; but whoever swears by the gift that is on it, he is obligated.’ 19 You blind men! After all, which is greater: the gift or the altar that sanctifies the gift? 20 So whoever swears by the altar, swears by it and by everything on it. 21 Also, whoever swears by the temple, swears by it and by him who dwells in it. 22 And whoever swears by heaven, swears by God’s throne and by him who sits on it.
23 “Woe to you, experts in the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You give ten percent of your mint, dill, and cumin, but you have neglected the more important matters of the law: justice, mercy, and faith. You should have done these things and not failed to do the other things. 24 Blind guides, you strain out a gnat but swallow a camel!
25 “Woe to you, experts in the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You clean the outside of a cup and dish, but inside they are full of greed and self-indulgence. 26 Blind Pharisee, first clean the inside of the cup and dish so that the outside may become clean too.
27 “Woe to you, experts in the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You are like whitewashed tombs that appear beautiful on the outside, but on the inside are full of dead people’s bones and every kind of uncleanness. 28 In the same way, on the outside you seem righteous to people, but on the inside you are full of hypocrisy and wickedness.
29 “Woe to you, experts in the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You build the tombs of the prophets and decorate the monuments of the righteous, 30 and you say, ‘If we had lived in the days of our fathers, we would not have joined with them in shedding the blood of the prophets.’ 31 By saying this you testify against yourselves that you are sons of those who murdered the prophets. 32 Fill up, then, the measure of your fathers. 33 You serpents, you offspring of vipers, how will you escape being condemned to hell?
34 “Look, this is why I am sending you prophets, wise men, and experts in the law. Some of them you will kill and crucify, and some of them you will flog in your synagogues and persecute from town to town. 35 As a result, you will be held responsible for all the righteous blood shed on the earth, from the blood of righteous Abel to the blood of Zechariah son of Berekiah, whom you murdered between the sanctuary and the altar. 36 Amen I tell you: All these things will come upon this generation.
37 “Jerusalem, Jerusalem, who kills the prophets and stones those sent to her! How often I have wanted to gather your children together as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing! 38 Look, your house is left to you desolate. 39 For I tell you, you will certainly not see me again until you say, ‘Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!’”[q]