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Matthew 21 Good News Translation (GNT)

The Triumphant Entry into Jerusalem

21 As Jesus and his disciples approached Jerusalem, they came to Bethphage at the Mount of Olives. There Jesus sent two of the disciples on ahead with these instructions: “Go to the village there ahead of you, and at once you will find a donkey tied up with her colt beside her. Untie them and bring them to me. And if anyone says anything, tell him, ‘The Master[a] needs them’; and then he will let them go at once.”

This happened in order to make come true what the prophet had said:

“Tell the city of Zion,
    Look, your king is coming to you!
He is humble and rides on a donkey
    and on a colt, the foal of a donkey.”

So the disciples went and did what Jesus had told them to do: they brought the donkey and the colt, threw their cloaks over them, and Jesus got on. A large crowd of people spread their cloaks on the road while others cut branches from the trees and spread them on the road. The crowds walking in front of Jesus and those walking behind began to shout, “Praise to David's Son! God bless him who comes in the name of the Lord! Praise be to God!”

10 When Jesus entered Jerusalem, the whole city was thrown into an uproar. “Who is he?” the people asked.

11 “This is the prophet Jesus, from Nazareth in Galilee,” the crowds answered.

Jesus Goes to the Temple

12 Jesus went into the Temple and drove out all those who were buying and selling there. He overturned the tables of the moneychangers and the stools of those who sold pigeons, 13 and said to them, “It is written in the Scriptures that God said, ‘My Temple will be called a house of prayer.’ But you are making it a hideout for thieves!”

14 The blind and the crippled came to him in the Temple, and he healed them. 15 The chief priests and the teachers of the Law became angry when they saw the wonderful things he was doing and the children shouting in the Temple, “Praise to David's Son!” 16 So they asked Jesus, “Do you hear what they are saying?”

“Indeed I do,” answered Jesus. “Haven't you ever read this scripture? ‘You have trained children and babies to offer perfect praise.’”

17 Jesus left them and went out of the city to Bethany, where he spent the night.

Jesus Curses the Fig Tree

18 On his way back to the city early next morning, Jesus was hungry. 19 He saw a fig tree by the side of the road and went to it, but found nothing on it except leaves. So he said to the tree, “You will never again bear fruit!” At once the fig tree dried up.

20 The disciples saw this and were astounded. “How did the fig tree dry up so quickly?” they asked.

21 Jesus answered, “I assure you that if you believe and do not doubt, you will be able to do what I have done to this fig tree. And not only this, but you will even be able to say to this hill, ‘Get up and throw yourself in the sea,’ and it will. 22 If you believe, you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer.”

The Question about Jesus' Authority

23 Jesus came back to the Temple; and as he taught, the chief priests and the elders came to him and asked, “What right do you have to do these things? Who gave you such right?”

24 Jesus answered them, “I will ask you just one question, and if you give me an answer, I will tell you what right I have to do these things. 25 Where did John's right to baptize come from: was it from God or from human beings?”

They started to argue among themselves, “What shall we say? If we answer, ‘From God,’ he will say to us, ‘Why, then, did you not believe John?’ 26 But if we say, ‘From human beings,’ we are afraid of what the people might do, because they are all convinced that John was a prophet.” 27 So they answered Jesus, “We don't know.”

And he said to them, “Neither will I tell you, then, by what right I do these things.

The Parable of the Two Sons

28 “Now, what do you think? There was once a man who had two sons. He went to the older one and said, ‘Son, go and work in the vineyard today.’ 29 ‘I don't want to,’ he answered, but later he changed his mind and went. 30 Then the father went to the other son and said the same thing. ‘Yes, sir,’ he answered, but he did not go. 31 Which one of the two did what his father wanted?”

“The older one,” they answered.

So Jesus said to them, “I tell you: the tax collectors and the prostitutes are going into the Kingdom of God ahead of you. 32 For John the Baptist came to you showing you the right path to take, and you would not believe him; but the tax collectors and the prostitutes believed him. Even when you saw this, you did not later change your minds and believe him.

The Parable of the Tenants in the Vineyard

33 “Listen to another parable,” Jesus said. “There was once a landowner who planted a vineyard, put a fence around it, dug a hole for the wine press, and built a watchtower. Then he rented the vineyard to tenants and left home on a trip. 34 When the time came to gather the grapes, he sent his slaves to the tenants to receive his share of the harvest. 35 The tenants grabbed his slaves, beat one, killed another, and stoned another. 36 Again the man sent other slaves, more than the first time, and the tenants treated them the same way. 37 Last of all he sent his son to them. ‘Surely they will respect my son,’ he said. 38 But when the tenants saw the son, they said to themselves, ‘This is the owner's son. Come on, let's kill him, and we will get his property!’ 39 So they grabbed 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?” Jesus asked.

41 “He will certainly kill those evil men,” they answered, “and rent the vineyard out to other tenants, who will give him his share of the harvest at the right time.”

42 Jesus said to them, “Haven't you ever read what the Scriptures say?

‘The stone which the builders rejected as worthless
    turned out to be the most important of all.
This was done by the Lord;
    what a wonderful sight it is!’

43 “And so I tell you,” added Jesus, “the Kingdom of God will be taken away from you and given to a people who will produce the proper fruits.” 44 [b]

45 The chief priests and the Pharisees heard Jesus' parables and knew that he was talking about them, 46 so they tried to arrest him. But they were afraid of the crowds, who considered Jesus to be a prophet.

Footnotes:

  1. Matthew 21:3 The Master; or Their owner.
  2. Matthew 21:44 Some manuscripts add verse 44: Whoever falls on this stone will be cut to pieces; and if the stone falls on someone, it will crush him to dust (see Lk 20.18).
Good News Translation (GNT)

Copyright © 1992 by American Bible Society

Matthew 21 New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)

Jesus’ Triumphal Entry into Jerusalem

21 When they had come near Jerusalem and had reached Bethphage, at the Mount of Olives, Jesus sent two disciples, 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. If anyone says anything to you, just say this, ‘The Lord needs them.’ And he will send them immediately.[a] This took place to fulfill what had been spoken through the prophet, saying,

“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.”

The disciples went and did as Jesus had directed them; they brought the donkey and the colt, and put their cloaks on them, and he sat on them. A very large crowd[b] spread their cloaks on the road, and others cut branches from the trees and spread them on the road. 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[c] 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[d] 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[e] 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;[f]
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.[g] 44 The one who falls on this stone will be broken to pieces; and it will crush anyone on whom it falls.”[h]

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.

Footnotes:

  1. Matthew 21:3 Or ‘The Lord needs them and will send them back immediately.’
  2. Matthew 21:8 Or Most of the crowd
  3. Matthew 21:12 Other ancient authorities add of God
  4. Matthew 21:15 Gk lacks heard
  5. Matthew 21:30 Gk He
  6. Matthew 21:42 Or keystone
  7. Matthew 21:43 Gk the fruits of it
  8. Matthew 21:44 Other ancient authorities lack verse 44
New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)

New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright © 1989 the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Matthew 21 Complete Jewish Bible (CJB)

21 As they were approaching Yerushalayim, they came to Beit-Pagei on the Mount of Olives. Yeshua sent two talmidim with these instructions: “Go into the village ahead of you, and you will immediately find a donkey tethered there with its colt. Untie them and bring them to me. If anyone says anything to you, tell him, ‘The Lord needs them’; and he will let them go at once.” This happened in order to fulfill what had been spoken through the prophet,

“Say to the daughter of Tziyon,
‘Look! Your King is coming to you,
riding humbly on a donkey,
and on a colt, the offspring of a beast of burden!’[a]

So the talmidim went and did as Yeshua had directed them. They brought the donkey and the colt and put their robes on them, and Yeshua sat on them. Crowds of people carpeted the road with their clothing, while others cut branches from trees and spread them on the road. The crowds ahead of him and behind shouted,

“Please! Deliver us!”[b]

to the Son of David;

“Blessed is he who comes in the name of Adonai!”

“You in the highest heaven! Please! Deliver us!”[c][d]

10 When he entered Yerushalayim, the whole city was stirred. “Who is this?” they asked. 11 And the crowds answered, “This is Yeshua, the prophet from Natzeret in the Galil.”

12 Yeshua entered the Temple grounds and drove out those who were doing business there, both the merchants and their customers. He upset the desks of the money-changers and knocked over the benches of those who were selling pigeons. 13 He said to them, “It has been written, ‘My house will be called a house of prayer.’[e] But you are making it into a den of robbers![f]

14 Blind and lame people came up to him in the Temple, and he healed them. 15 But when the head cohanim and Torah-teachers saw the wonderful things he was doing, and the children crying out in the Temple, “Please deliver us![g] to the Son of David, they were furious. 16 They said to him, “Do you hear what they’re saying?” Yeshua replied, “Of course! Haven’t you ever read,

‘From the mouth of children and infants
you have prepared praise for yourself’?”[h]

17 With that, he left them and went outside the city to Beit-Anyah, where he spent the night.

18 The next morning, on his way back to the city, he felt hungry. 19 Spotting a fig tree by the road, he went up to it but found nothing on it except leaves. So he said to it, “May you never again bear fruit!” and immediately the fig tree dried up. 20 The talmidim saw this and were amazed. “How did the fig tree dry up so quickly?” they asked. 21 Yeshua answered them, “Yes! I tell you, if you have trust and don’t doubt, you will not only do what was done to this fig tree; but even if you say to this mountain, ‘Go and throw yourself into the sea!’ it will be done. 22 In other words, you will receive everything you ask for in prayer, no matter what it is, provided you have trust.”

23 He went into the Temple area; and as he was teaching, the head cohanim and the elders of the people approached him and demanded, “What s’mikhah do you have that authorizes you to do these things? And who gave you this s’mikhah?” 24 Yeshua answered, “I too will ask you a question. If you answer it, then I will tell you by what s’mikhah I do these things. 25 The immersion of Yochanan — where did it come from? From Heaven or from a human source?” They discussed it among themselves: “If we say, ‘From Heaven,’ he will say, ‘Then why didn’t you believe him?’ 26 But if we say, ‘From a human source,’ we are afraid of the people, for they all regard Yochanan as a prophet.” 27 So they answered Yeshua, “We don’t know.” And he replied, “Then I won’t tell you by what s’mikhah I do these things.

28 “But give me your opinion: a man had two sons. He went to the first and said, ‘Son, go and work today in the vineyard.’ 29 He answered, ‘I don’t want to’; but later he changed his mind and went. 30 The father went to his other son and said the same thing. This one answered, ‘I will, sir’; but he didn’t go. 31 Which of the two did what his father wanted?” “The first,” they replied. “That’s right!” Yeshua said to them. “I tell you that the tax-collectors and prostitutes are going into the Kingdom of God ahead of you! 32 For Yochanan came to you showing the path to righteousness, and you wouldn’t trust him. The tax-collectors and prostitutes trusted him; but you, even after you saw this, didn’t change your minds later and trust him.

33 “Now listen to another parable. There was a farmer who planted a vineyard. He put a wall around it, dug a pit for the winepress and built a tower; then he rented it to tenants and left. 34 When harvest-time came, he sent his servants to the tenants to collect his share of the crop. 35 But the tenants seized his servants — this one they beat up, that one they killed, another they stoned. 36 So he sent some other servants, more than the first group, and they did the same to them. 37 Finally, he sent them his son, saying, ‘My son they will respect.’ 38 But when the tenants saw the son, they said to each other, ‘This is the heir. Come, let’s kill him and take his inheritance!’ 39 So they grabbed 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 answered him, “He will viciously destroy those vicious men and rent out the vineyard to other tenants who will give him his share of the crop when it’s due.” 42 Yeshua said to them, “Haven’t you ever read in the Tanakh,

‘The very rock which the builders rejected
has become the cornerstone!
This has come from Adonai,
and in our eyes it is amazing’?[i]

43 Therefore, I tell you that the Kingdom of God will be taken away from you and given to the kind of people that will produce its fruit!” 44 [j]

45 As the head cohanim and the P’rushim listened to his stories, they saw that he was speaking about them. 46 But when they set about to arrest him, they were afraid of the crowds; because the crowds considered him a prophet.

Footnotes:

  1. Matthew 21:5 Zechariah 9:9
  2. Matthew 21:9 Greek Ôsanna (English “Hosanna”) transliterates Hebrew Hosha na, which means “Please! Save [us]!”
  3. Matthew 21:9 Psalm 118:25–26
  4. Matthew 21:9 Greek Ôsanna (English “Hosanna”) transliterates Hebrew Hosha na, which means “Please! Save [us]!”
  5. Matthew 21:13 Isaiah 56:7
  6. Matthew 21:13 Jeremiah 7:11
  7. Matthew 21:15 Greek Ôsanna (English “Hosanna”) transliterates Hebrew Hosha na, which means “Please! Save [us]!”
  8. Matthew 21:16 Psalm 8:3(2)
  9. Matthew 21:42 Psalm 118:22–23
  10. Matthew 21:44 Some manuscripts include verse 44: Whoever falls on this stone will be broken in pieces; but if it falls on him, he will be crushed to powder!”
Complete Jewish Bible (CJB)

Copyright © 1998 by David H. Stern. All rights reserved.

Matthew 21 The Message (MSG)

The Royal Welcome

21 1-3 When they neared Jerusalem, having arrived at Bethphage on Mount Olives, Jesus sent two disciples 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. If anyone asks what you’re doing, say, ‘The Master needs them!’ He will send them with you.”

4-5 This is the full story of what was sketched earlier by the prophet:

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.”

6-9 The disciples went and did exactly what Jesus told them to do. They led the donkey and colt out, laid some of their clothes on them, and Jesus mounted. 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. 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

12-14 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. He quoted this text:

My house was designated a house of prayer;
You have made it a hangout for thieves.

Now there was room for the blind and crippled to get in. They came to Jesus and he healed them.

15-16 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. “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

18-20 Early the next morning Jesus was returning to the city. He was hungry. 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. 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?”

21-22 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. 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?”

24-25 Jesus responded, “First let me ask you a question. You answer my question and I’ll answer yours. About the baptism of John—who authorized it: heaven or humans?”

25-27 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; if we say ‘humans,’ we’re up against it with the people because they all hold John up as a prophet.” 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.

31-32 “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. 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

33-34 “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. When it was time to harvest the grapes, he sent his servants back to collect his profits.

35-37 “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. The owner tried again, sending more servants. They got the same treatment. The owner was at the end of his rope. He decided to send his son. ‘Surely,’ he thought, ‘they will respect my son.’

38-39 “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.’ 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.”

42-44 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!

“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. Whoever stumbles on this Stone gets shattered; whoever the Stone falls on gets smashed.”

45-46 When the religious leaders heard this story, they knew it was aimed at them. 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.

The Message (MSG)

Copyright © 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 2000, 2001, 2002 by Eugene H. Peterson

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