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The Oxford Study Bible Study Bible supplemented with commentary from scholars of various religions.

Chapter 21

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1 THEY were approaching Jerusalem, and when they reached Bethphage at the mount of Olives Jesus sent off two disciples, 2and told them: ‘Go into the village opposite, where you will at once find a donkey tethered with her foal beside her. Untie them, and bring them to me. 3If anyone says anything to you, answer, “The Master needs them”; and he will let you have them at once a 21:3 The Master … once: or “The Master needs them and will send them back without delay.” .’ 4This was to fulfil the prophecy which says, 5‘Tell the daughter of Zion, “Here is your king, who comes to you in gentleness, riding on a donkey, on the foal of a beast of burden.” ’

6The disciples went and did as Jesus had directed, 7and brought the donkey and her foal; they laid their cloaks on them and Jesus mounted. 8Crowds of people carpeted the road with their cloaks, and some cut branches from the trees to spread in his path. 9Then the crowds in front and behind raised the shout: ‘Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord! Hosanna in the heavens!’

10When he entered Jerusalem the whole city went wild with excitement. ‘Who is this?’ people asked, 11and the crowds replied, ‘This is the prophet Jesus, from Nazareth in Galilee.’

12Jesus went into the temple and drove out all who were buying and selling in the temple precincts; he upset the tables of the moneychangers and the seats of the dealers in pigeons, 13and said to them, ‘Scripture says, “My house shall be called a house of prayer”; but you are making it a bandits' cave.’

14In the temple the blind and the crippled came to him, and he healed them. 15When the chief priests and scribes saw the wonderful things he did, and heard the boys in the temple shouting, ‘Hosanna to the Son of David!’ they were indignant 16and asked him, ‘Do you hear what they are saying?’ Jesus answered, ‘I do. Have you never read the text, “You have made children and babes at the breast sound your praise aloud”?’ 17Then he left them and went out of the city to Bethany, where he spent the night.

18Next morning on his way to the city he felt hungry; 19and seeing a fig tree at the roadside he went up to it, but found nothing on it but leaves. He said to the tree, ‘May you never bear fruit again!’ and at once the tree withered away. 20The disciples were amazed at the sight. ‘How is it’, they asked, ‘that the tree has withered so suddenly?’ 21Jesus answered them, ‘Truly I tell you: if only you have faith and have no doubts, you will do what has been done to the fig tree. And more than that: you need only say to this mountain, “Be lifted from your place and hurled into the sea,” and what you say will be done. 22Whatever you pray for in faith you will receive.’

23He entered the temple, and, as he was teaching, the chief priests and elders of the nation came up to him and asked: ‘By what authority are you acting like this? Who gave you this authority?’ 24Jesus replied, ‘I also have a question for you. If you answer it, I will tell you by what authority I act. 25The baptism of John: was it from God, or from men?’ This set them arguing among themselves: ‘If we say, “From God,” he will say, “Then why did you not believe him?” 26But if we say, “From men,” we are afraid of the people's reaction, for they all take John for a prophet.’ 27So they answered, ‘We do not know.’ And Jesus said: ‘Then I will not tell you either by what authority I act.

28‘But what do you think about this? There was a man who had two sons. He went to the first, and said, “My son, go and work today in the vineyard.” 29“I will, sir,” the boy replied; but he did not go. 30The father came to the second and said the same. “I will not,” he replied; but afterwards he changed his mind and went. 31Which of the two did what his father wanted?’ ‘The second,’ they replied. Then Jesus said, ‘Truly I tell you: tax-collectors and prostitutes are entering the kingdom of God ahead of you. 32For when John came to show you the right way to live, you did not believe him, but the tax-collectors and prostitutes did; and even when you had seen that, you did not change your minds and believe him.

33‘Listen to another parable. There was a landowner who planted a vineyard: he put a wall round it, hewed out a winepress, and built a watch-tower; then he let it out to vinegrowers and went abroad. 34When the harvest season approached, he sent his servants to the tenants to collect the produce due to him. 35But they seized his servants, thrashed one, killed another, and stoned a third. 36Again, he sent other servants, this time a larger number; and they treated them in the same way. 37Finally he sent his son. “They will respect my son,” he said. 38But when they saw the son the tenants said to one another, “This is the heir; come on, let us kill him, and get his inheritance.” 39So they seized him, flung him out of the vineyard, and killed him. 40When the owner of the vineyard comes, how do you think he will deal with those tenants?’ 41‘He will bring those bad men to a bad end,’ they answered, ‘and hand the vineyard over to other tenants, who will give him his share of the crop when the season comes.’ 42Jesus said to them, ‘Have you never read in the scriptures: “The stone which the builders rejected has become the main corner-stone. This is the Lord's doing, and it is wonderful in our eyes”? 43Therefore, I tell you, the kingdom of God will be taken away from you, and given to a nation that yields the proper fruit b 21:43 proper fruit: some witnesses add 44Any man who falls on this stone will be dashed to pieces; and if it falls on a man he will be crushed by it. .’

45When the chief priests and Pharisees heard his parables, they saw that he was referring to them. 46They wanted to arrest him, but were afraid of the crowds, who looked on Jesus as a prophet.

Notes:

a 21:3 The Master … once: or “The Master needs them and will send them back without delay.”

b 21:43 proper fruit: some witnesses add 44Any man who falls on this stone will be dashed to pieces; and if it falls on a man he will be crushed by it.

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