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Matthew chapter 21

New International Version

1 As they approached Jerusalem and came to Bethphage on the Mount of Olives, Jesus sent two disciples, 2 saying to them, 'Go to the village ahead of you, and at once you will find a donkey tied there, with her colt by her. Untie them and bring them to me. 3 If anyone says anything to you, say that the Lord needs them, and he will send them right away.'
4 This took place to fulfill what was spoken through the prophet:
5 Say to Daughter Zion, 'See, your king comes to you, gentle and riding on a donkey, and on a colt, the foal of a donkey.''
6 The disciples went and did as Jesus had instructed them. 7 They brought the donkey and the colt and placed their cloaks on them for Jesus to sit on. 8 A very large crowd spread their cloaks on the road, while others cut branches from the trees and spread them on the road.
9 The crowds that went ahead of him and those that followed shouted, 'Hosanna to the Son of David!' 'Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!' 'Hosanna in the highest heaven!'
10 When Jesus entered Jerusalem, the whole city was stirred and asked, 'Who is this?'
11 The crowds answered, 'This is Jesus, the prophet from Nazareth in Galilee.'
12 Jesus entered the temple courts and drove out all who were buying and selling there. He overturned the tables of the money changers and the benches of those selling doves. 13 It is written,' he said to them, ''My house will be called a house of prayer,' but you are making it 'a den of robbers.''
14 The blind and the lame came to him at the temple, and he healed them. 15 But when the chief priests and the teachers of the law saw the wonderful things he did and the children shouting in the temple courts, 'Hosanna to the Son of David,' they were indignant.
16 Do you hear what these children are saying?' they asked him. 'Yes,' replied Jesus, 'have you never read, ''From the lips of children and infants you, Lord, have called forth your praise'?'
17 And he left them and went out of the city to Bethany, where he spent the night.
18 Early in the morning, as Jesus was on his way back to the city, he was hungry. 19 Seeing 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!' Immediately the tree withered.
20 When the disciples saw this, they were amazed. 'How did the fig tree wither so quickly?' they asked.
21 Jesus replied, 'Truly I tell you, if you have faith and do not doubt, not only can you do what was done to the fig tree, but also you can say to this mountain, 'Go, throw yourself into the sea,' and it will be done. 22 If you believe, you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer.'
23 Jesus entered the temple courts, and, while he was teaching, the chief priests and the elders of the people came to him. 'By what authority are you doing these things?' they asked. 'And 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 John's baptism--where did it come from? Was it from heaven, or of human origin?' They discussed it among themselves and said, 'If we say, 'From heaven,' he will ask, 'Then why didn't you believe him?' 26 But if we say, 'Of human origin'--we are afraid of the people, for they all hold that John was a prophet.'
27 So they answered Jesus, 'We don't know.' Then he said, 'Neither will I tell you by what authority I am doing these things.
28 What do you think? There was a man who had two sons. He went to the first and said, 'Son, go and work today in the vineyard.'
29 'I will not,' he answered, but later he changed his mind and went.
30 Then the father went to the other son and said the same thing. He answered, 'I will, sir,' but he did not go.
31 Which of the two did what his father wanted?' 'The first,' they answered. Jesus said to them, 'Truly I tell you, the tax collectors and the prostitutes are entering the kingdom of God ahead of you. 32 For John came to you to show you the way of righteousness, and you did not believe him, but the tax collectors and the prostitutes did. And even after you saw this, you did not repent and believe him.
33 Listen to another parable: There was a landowner who planted a vineyard. He put a wall around it, dug a winepress in it and built a watchtower. Then he rented the vineyard to some farmers and moved to another place. 34 When the harvest time approached, he sent his servants to the tenants to collect his fruit.
35 The tenants seized his servants; they beat one, killed another, and stoned a third. 36 Then he sent other servants to them, more than the first time, and the tenants treated them the same way. 37 Last of all, he sent his son to them. 'They will respect my son,' he said.
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 took him and threw him out of the vineyard and killed him.
40 Therefore, when the owner of the vineyard comes, what will he do to those tenants?'
41 He will bring those wretches to a wretched end,' they replied, 'and he will rent the vineyard to other tenants, who will give him his share of the crop at harvest time.'
42 Jesus said to them, 'Have you never read in the Scriptures: ''The stone the builders rejected has become the cornerstone; the Lord has done this, and it is marvelous in our eyes'?
43 Therefore I tell you that the kingdom of God will be taken away from you and given to a people who will produce its fruit. 44 Anyone who falls on this stone will be broken to pieces; anyone on whom it falls will be crushed.'
45 When the chief priests and the Pharisees heard Jesus' parables, they knew he was talking about them. 46 They looked for a way to arrest him, but they were afraid of the crowd because the people held that he was a prophet.
English Standard Version

1 Now when they drew near to Jerusalem and came to Bethphage, to the Mount of Olives, then Jesus sent two disciples, 2 saying to them, “Go into the village in front of you, and immediately you will find a donkey tied, and a colt with her. Untie them and bring them to me. 3 If anyone says anything to you, you shall say, ‘The Lord needs them,’ and he will send them at once.” 4 This took place to fulfill what was spoken by the prophet, saying,
5 “Say to the daughter of Zion, ‘Behold, your king is coming to you, humble, and mounted on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a beast of burden.’” 6 The disciples went and did as Jesus had directed them. 7 They brought the donkey and the colt and put on them their cloaks, and he sat on them. 8 Most of the crowd spread their cloaks on the road, and others cut branches from the trees and spread them on the road. 9 And the crowds that went before him and that followed him were shouting, “Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord! Hosanna in the highest!” 10 And when he entered Jerusalem, the whole city was stirred up, saying, “Who is this?” 11 And the crowds said, “This is the prophet Jesus, from Nazareth of Galilee.”
12 And Jesus entered the temple and drove out all who sold and bought in the temple, and he overturned the tables of the money-changers and the seats of those who sold pigeons. 13 He said to them, “It is written, ‘My house shall be called a house of prayer,’ but you make it a den of robbers.”
14 And the blind and the lame came to him in the temple, and he healed them. 15 But when the chief priests and the scribes saw the wonderful things that he did, and the children crying out in the temple, “Hosanna to the Son of David!” they were indignant, 16 and they said to him, “Do you hear what these are saying?” And Jesus said to them, “Yes; have you never read, “‘Out of the mouth of infants and nursing babies you have prepared praise’?”
17 And leaving them, he went out of the city to Bethany and lodged there.
18 In the morning, as he was returning to the city, he became hungry. 19 And seeing a fig tree by the wayside, he went to it and found nothing on it but only leaves. And 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 marveled, saying, “How did the fig tree wither at once?” 21 And Jesus answered them, “Truly, I say to you, if you have faith and do not doubt, you will not only do what has been done to the fig tree, but even if you say to this mountain, ‘Be taken up and thrown into the sea,’ it will happen. 22 And whatever you ask in prayer, you will receive, if you have faith.”
23 And when he entered the temple, the chief priests and the elders of the people came up to him as he was teaching, and said, “By what authority are you doing these things, and who gave you this authority?” 24 Jesus answered them, “I also will ask you one question, and if you tell me the answer, then I also will tell you by what authority I do these things. 25 The baptism of John, from where did it come? From heaven or from man?” And they discussed it among themselves, saying, “If we say, ‘From heaven,’ he will say to us, ‘Why then did you not believe him?’ 26 But if we say, ‘From man,’ we are afraid of the crowd, for they all hold that John was 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 do these things.
28 “What do you think? A man had two sons. And he went to the first and said, ‘Son, go and work in the vineyard today.’ 29 And he answered, ‘I will not,’ but afterward he changed his mind and went. 30 And he went to the other son and said the same. And he answered, ‘I go, sir,’ but did not go. 31 Which of the two did the will of his father?” They said, “The first.” Jesus said to them, “Truly, I say to you, the tax collectors and the prostitutes go into the kingdom of God before 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 when you saw it, you did not afterward change your minds and believe him.
33 “Hear another parable. There was a master of a house who planted a vineyard and put a fence around it and dug a winepress in it and built a tower and leased it to tenants, and went into another country. 34 When the season for fruit drew near, he sent his servants to the tenants to get his fruit. 35 And the tenants took his servants and beat one, killed another, and stoned another. 36 Again he sent other servants, more than the first. And they did the same to them. 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 have his inheritance.’ 39 And they took him and threw him out of the vineyard and killed him. 40 When therefore 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 let out the vineyard to other tenants who will give him the fruits in their seasons.”
42 Jesus said to them, “Have you never read in the Scriptures: “‘The stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone; this was the Lord’s doing, and it is marvelous in our eyes’?
43 Therefore I tell you, the kingdom of God will be taken away from you and given to a people producing its fruits. 44 And the one who falls on this stone will be broken to pieces; and when it falls on anyone, it will crush him.”
45 When the chief priests and the Pharisees heard his parables, they perceived that he was speaking about them. 46 And although they were seeking to arrest him, they feared the crowds, because they held him to be a prophet.
King James Version

1 And when they drew nigh unto Jerusalem, and were come to Bethphage, unto the mount of Olives, then sent Jesus two disciples, 2 Saying unto them, Go into the village over against you, and straightway ye shall find an ass tied, and a colt with her: loose them, and bring them unto me. 3 And if any man say ought unto you, ye shall say, The Lord hath need of them; and straightway he will send them. 4 All this was done, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet, saying, 5 Tell ye the daughter of Sion, Behold, thy King cometh unto thee, meek, and sitting upon an ass, and a colt the foal of an ass. 6 And the disciples went, and did as Jesus commanded them, 7 And brought the ass, and the colt, and put on them their clothes, and they set him thereon. 8 And a very great multitude spread their garments in the way; others cut down branches from the trees, and strawed them in the way. 9 And the multitudes that went before, and that followed, cried, saying, Hosanna to the Son of David: Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord; Hosanna in the highest. 10 And when he was come into Jerusalem, all the city was moved, saying, Who is this? 11 And the multitude said, This is Jesus the prophet of Nazareth of Galilee.
12 And Jesus went into the temple of God, and cast out all them that sold and bought in the temple, and overthrew the tables of the moneychangers, and the seats of them that sold doves, 13 And said unto them, It is written, My house shall be called the house of prayer; but ye have made it a den of thieves. 14 And the blind and the lame came to him in the temple; and he healed them. 15 And when the chief priests and scribes saw the wonderful things that he did, and the children crying in the temple, and saying, Hosanna to the Son of David; they were sore displeased, 16 And said unto him, Hearest thou what these say? And Jesus saith unto them, Yea; have ye never read, Out of the mouth of babes and sucklings thou hast perfected praise? 17 And he left them, and went out of the city into Bethany; and he lodged there.
18 Now in the morning as he returned into the city, he hungered. 19 And when he saw a fig tree in the way, he came to it, and found nothing thereon, but leaves only, and said unto it, Let no fruit grow on thee henceforward for ever. And presently the fig tree withered away. 20 And when the disciples saw it, they marvelled, saying, How soon is the fig tree withered away! 21 Jesus answered and said unto them, Verily I say unto you, If ye have faith, and doubt not, ye shall not only do this which is done to the fig tree, but also if ye shall say unto this mountain, Be thou removed, and be thou cast into the sea; it shall be done. 22 And all things, whatsoever ye shall ask in prayer, believing, ye shall receive.
23 And when he was come into the temple, the chief priests and the elders of the people came unto him as he was teaching, and said, By what authority doest thou these things? and who gave thee this authority? 24 And Jesus answered and said unto them, I also will ask you one thing, which if ye tell me, I in like wise will tell you by what authority I do these things. 25 The baptism of John, whence was it? from heaven, or of men? And they reasoned with themselves, saying, If we shall say, From heaven; he will say unto us, Why did ye not then believe him? 26 But if we shall say, Of men; we fear the people; for all hold John as a prophet. 27 And they answered Jesus, and said, We cannot tell. And he said unto them, Neither tell I you by what authority I do these things.
28 But what think ye? A certain man had two sons; and he came to the first, and said, Son, go work to day in my vineyard. 29 He answered and said, I will not: but afterward he repented, and went. 30 And he came to the second, and said likewise. And he answered and said, I go, sir: and went not. 31 Whether of them twain did the will of his father? They say unto him, The first. Jesus saith unto them, Verily I say unto you, That the publicans and the harlots go into the kingdom of God before you. 32 For John came unto you in the way of righteousness, and ye believed him not: but the publicans and the harlots believed him: and ye, when ye had seen it, repented not afterward, that ye might believe him.
33 Hear another parable: There was a certain householder, which planted a vineyard, and hedged it round about, and digged a winepress in it, and built a tower, and let it out to husbandmen, and went into a far country: 34 And when the time of the fruit drew near, he sent his servants to the husbandmen, that they might receive the fruits of it. 35 And the husbandmen took his servants, and beat one, and killed another, and stoned another. 36 Again, he sent other servants more than the first: and they did unto them likewise. 37 But last of all he sent unto them his son, saying, They will reverence my son. 38 But when the husbandmen saw the son, they said among themselves, This is the heir; come, let us kill him, and let us seize on his inheritance. 39 And they caught him, and cast him out of the vineyard, and slew him. 40 When the lord therefore of the vineyard cometh, what will he do unto those husbandmen? 41 They say unto him, He will miserably destroy those wicked men, and will let out his vineyard unto other husbandmen, which shall render him the fruits in their seasons. 42 Jesus saith unto them, Did ye never read in the scriptures, The stone which the builders rejected, the same is become the head of the corner: this is the Lord's doing, and it is marvellous in our eyes? 43 Therefore say I unto you, The kingdom of God shall be taken from you, and given to a nation bringing forth the fruits thereof. 44 And whosoever shall fall on this stone shall be broken: but on whomsoever it shall fall, it will grind him to powder. 45 And when the chief priests and Pharisees had heard his parables, they perceived that he spake of them. 46 But when they sought to lay hands on him, they feared the multitude, because they took him for a prophet.
New American Standard Bible

1 When they had approached Jerusalem and had come to Bethphage, at the Mount of Olives, then Jesus sent two disciples, 2 saying to them, 'Go into the village opposite you, and immediately you will find a donkey tied there and a colt with her; untie them and bring them to Me. 3 'If anyone says anything to you, you shall say, 'The Lord has need of them,' and immediately he will send them.' 4 This took place to fulfill what was spoken through the prophet:
5 'SAY TO THE DAUGHTER OF ZION, 'BEHOLD YOUR KING IS COMING TO YOU, GENTLE, AND MOUNTED ON A DONKEY, EVEN ON A COLT, THE FOAL OF A BEAST OF BURDEN.''
6 The disciples went and did just as Jesus had instructed them, 7 and brought the donkey and the colt, and laid their coats on them; and He sat on the coats. 8 Most of the crowd spread their coats in the road, and others were cutting branches from the trees and spreading them in the road.
9 The crowds going ahead of Him, and those who followed, were shouting, 'Hosanna to the Son of David; BLESSED IS HE WHO COMES IN THE NAME OF THE LORD; Hosanna in the highest!'
10 When He had entered Jerusalem, all the city was stirred, saying, 'Who is this?' 11 And the crowds were saying, 'This is the prophet Jesus, from Nazareth in Galilee.'
12 And Jesus entered the temple and drove out all those who were buying and selling in the temple, and overturned the tables of the money changers and the seats of those who were selling doves. 13 And He said to them, 'It is written, 'MY HOUSE SHALL BE CALLED A HOUSE OF PRAYER'; but you are making it a ROBBERS' DEN.'
14 And the blind and the lame came to Him in the temple, and He healed them. 15 But when the chief priests and the scribes saw the wonderful things that He had done, and the children who were shouting in the temple, 'Hosanna to the Son of David,' they became indignant 16 and said to Him, 'Do You hear what these children are saying?' And Jesus said to them, 'Yes; have you never read, 'OUT OF THE MOUTH OF INFANTS AND NURSING BABIES YOU HAVE PREPARED PRAISE FOR YOURSELF'?' 17 And He left them and went out of the city to Bethany, and spent the night there.
18 Now in the morning, when He was returning to the city, He became hungry. 19 Seeing a lone fig tree by the road, He came to it and found nothing on it except leaves only; and He said to it, 'No longer shall there ever be any fruit from you.' And at once the fig tree withered.
20 Seeing this, the disciples were amazed and asked, 'How did the fig tree wither all at once?' 21 And Jesus answered and said to them, 'Truly I say to 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 say to this mountain, 'Be taken up and cast into the sea,' it will happen. 22 'And all things you ask in prayer, believing, you will receive.'
23 When He entered the temple, 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 said to them, 'I will also ask you one thing, which if you tell Me, I will also tell you by what authority I do these things. 25 'The baptism of John was from what source, from heaven or from men?' And they began reasoning 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 fear the people; for they all regard John as a prophet.' 27 And answering Jesus, they said, 'We do not know.' He also said to them, 'Neither will I tell you by what authority I do these things.
28 'But what do you think? A man had two sons, and he came to the first and said, 'Son, go work today in the vineyard.' 29 'And he answered, 'I will not'; but afterward he regretted it and went. 30 'The man came to the second and said the same thing; and he answered, 'I will, 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 say to you that the tax collectors and prostitutes will get into the kingdom of God before you. 32 'For John came to you in the way of righteousness and you did not believe him; but the tax collectors and prostitutes did believe him; and you, seeing this, did not even feel remorse afterward so as to believe him.
33 'Listen to another parable. There was a landowner who PLANTED A VINEYARD AND PUT A WALL AROUND IT AND DUG A WINE PRESS IN IT, AND BUILT A TOWER, and rented it out to vine-growers and went on a journey. 34 'When the harvest time approached, he sent his slaves to the vine-growers to receive his produce. 35 'The vine-growers took his slaves and beat one, and killed another, and stoned a third. 36 'Again he sent another group of slaves larger than the first; and they did the same thing to them. 37 'But afterward he sent his son to them, saying, 'They will respect my son.' 38 'But when the vine-growers saw the son, they said among themselves, 'This is the heir; come, let us kill him and seize his inheritance.' 39 'They took him, and threw him out of the vineyard and killed him. 40 'Therefore when the owner of the vineyard comes, what will he do to those vine-growers?' 41 They said to Him, 'He will bring those wretches to a wretched end, and will rent out the vineyard to other vine-growers who will pay him the proceeds at the proper seasons.'
42 Jesus said to them, 'Did you never read in the Scriptures, 'THE STONE WHICH THE BUILDERS REJECTED, THIS BECAME THE CHIEF CORNER stone; THIS CAME ABOUT FROM THE LORD, AND IT IS MARVELOUS IN OUR EYES '? 43 'Therefore I say to you, the kingdom of God will be taken away from you and given to a people, producing the fruit of it. 44 'And he who falls on this stone will be broken to pieces; but on whomever it falls, it will scatter him like dust.'
45 When the chief priests and the Pharisees heard His parables, they understood that He was speaking about them. 46 When they sought to seize Him, they feared the people, because they considered Him to be a prophet.
New Living Translation

1 As Jesus and the disciples approached Jerusalem, they came to the town of Bethphage on the Mount of Olives. Jesus sent two of them on ahead. 2 'Go into the village over there,' he said. 'As soon as you enter it, you will see a donkey tied there, with its colt beside it. Untie them and bring them to me. 3 If anyone asks what you are doing, just say, 'The Lord needs them,' and he will immediately let you take them.'
4 This took place to fulfill the prophecy that said,
5 'Tell the people of Jerusalem, 'Look, your King is coming to you. He is humble, riding on a donkey--riding on a donkey's colt.''
6 The two disciples did as Jesus commanded. 7 They brought the donkey and the colt to him and threw their garments over the colt, and he sat on it.
8 Most of the crowd spread their garments on the road ahead of him, and others cut branches from the trees and spread them on the road.
9 Jesus was in the center of the procession, and the people all around him were shouting, 'Praise God for the Son of David! Blessings on the one who comes in the name of the LORD! Praise God in highest heaven!'
10 The entire city of Jerusalem was in an uproar as he entered. 'Who is this?' they asked.
11 And the crowds replied, 'It's Jesus, the prophet from Nazareth in Galilee.'
12 Jesus entered the Temple and began to drive out all the people buying and selling animals for sacrifice. He knocked over the tables of the money changers and the chairs of those selling doves. 13 He said to them, 'The Scriptures declare, 'My Temple will be called a house of prayer,' but you have turned it into a den of thieves!'
14 The blind and the lame came to him in the Temple, and he healed them.
15 The leading priests and the teachers of religious law saw these wonderful miracles and heard even the children in the Temple shouting, 'Praise God for the Son of David.' But the leaders were indignant.
16 They asked Jesus, 'Do you hear what these children are saying?' 'Yes,' Jesus replied. 'Haven't you ever read the Scriptures? For they say, 'You have taught children and infants to give you praise.'' 17 Then he returned to Bethany, where he stayed overnight.
18 In the morning, as Jesus was returning to Jerusalem, he was hungry, 19 and he noticed a fig tree beside the road. He went over to see if there were any figs, but there were only leaves. Then he said to it, 'May you never bear fruit again!' And immediately the fig tree withered up.
20 The disciples were amazed when they saw this and asked, 'How did the fig tree wither so quickly?'
21 Then Jesus told them, 'I tell you the truth, if you have faith and don't doubt, you can do things like this and much more. You can even say to this mountain, 'May you be lifted up and thrown into the sea,' and it will happen. 22 You can pray for anything, and if you have faith, you will receive it.'
23 When Jesus returned to the Temple and began teaching, the leading priests and elders came up to him. They demanded, 'By what authority are you doing all these things? Who gave you the right?'
24 'I'll tell you by what authority I do these things if you answer one question,' Jesus replied.
25 'Did John's authority to baptize come from heaven, or was it merely human?' They talked it over among themselves. 'If we say it was from heaven, he will ask us why we didn't believe John. 26 But if we say it was merely human, we'll be mobbed because the people believe John was a prophet.'
27 So they finally replied, 'We don't know.' And Jesus responded, 'Then I won't tell you by what authority I do these things.
28 'But what do you think about this? A man with two sons told the older boy, 'Son, go out and work in the vineyard today.' 29 The son answered, 'No, I won't go,' but later he changed his mind and went anyway. 30 Then the father told the other son, 'You go,' and he said, 'Yes, sir, I will.' But he didn't go.
31 'Which of the two obeyed his father?' They replied, 'The first.' Then Jesus explained his meaning: 'I tell you the truth, corrupt tax collectors and prostitutes will get into the Kingdom of God before you do. 32 For John the Baptist came and showed you the right way to live, but you didn't believe him, while tax collectors and prostitutes did. And even when you saw this happening, you refused to believe him and repent of your sins.
33 'Now listen to another story. A certain landowner planted a vineyard, built a wall around it, dug a pit for pressing out the grape juice, and built a lookout tower. Then he leased the vineyard to tenant farmers and moved to another country. 34 At the time of the grape harvest, he sent his servants to collect his share of the crop. 35 But the farmers grabbed his servants, beat one, killed one, and stoned another. 36 So the landowner sent a larger group of his servants to collect for him, but the results were the same.
37 'Finally, the owner sent his son, thinking, 'Surely they will respect my son.'
38 'But when the tenant farmers saw his son coming, they said to one another, 'Here comes the heir to this estate. Come on, let's kill him and get the estate for ourselves!' 39 So they grabbed him, dragged him out of the vineyard, and murdered him.
40 'When the owner of the vineyard returns,' Jesus asked, 'what do you think he will do to those farmers?'
41 The religious leaders replied, 'He will put the wicked men to a horrible death and lease the vineyard to others who will give him his share of the crop after each harvest.'
42 Then Jesus asked them, 'Didn't you ever read this in the Scriptures? 'The stone that the builders rejected has now become the cornerstone. This is the LORD's doing, and it is wonderful to see.'
43 I tell you, the Kingdom of God will be taken away from you and given to a nation that will produce the proper fruit. 44 Anyone who stumbles over that stone will be broken to pieces, and it will crush anyone it falls on.'
45 When the leading priests and Pharisees heard this parable, they realized he was telling the story against them--they were the wicked farmers. 46 They wanted to arrest him, but they were afraid of the crowds, who considered Jesus to be a prophet.
Christian Standard Bible

1 When they approached Jerusalem and came to Bethphage at the Mount of Olives, Jesus then sent two disciples, 2 telling them, "Go into the village ahead of you. At once you will find a donkey tied there with her foal. Untie them and bring them to me. 3 If anyone says anything to you, say that the Lord needs them, and he will send them at once."
4 This took place so that what was spoken through the prophet might be fulfilled:
5 Tell Daughter Zion, "See, your King is coming to you, gentle, and mounted on a donkey, and on a colt, the foal of a donkey."
6 The disciples went and did just as Jesus directed them. 7 They brought the donkey and its foal; then they laid their clothes on them, and he sat on them. 8 A very large crowd spread their clothes on the road; others were cutting branches from the trees and spreading them on the road.
9 Then the crowds who went ahead of him and those who followed shouted: Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord! Hosanna in the highest heaven!
10 When he entered Jerusalem, the whole city was in an uproar, saying, "Who is this?" 11 The crowds were saying, "This is the prophet Jesus from Nazareth in Galilee."
12 Jesus went into the temple and threw out all those buying and selling. He overturned the tables of the money changers and the chairs of those selling doves. 13 He said to them, "It is written, my house will be called a house of prayer, but you are making it a den of thieves!"
14 The blind and the lame came to him in the temple, and he healed them. 15 When the chief priests and the scribes saw the wonders that he did and the children shouting in the temple, "Hosanna to the Son of David!" they were indignant
16 and said to him, "Do you hear what these children are saying?" Jesus replied, "Yes, have you never read: You have prepared praise from the mouths of infants and nursing babies?"
17 Then he left them, went out of the city to Bethany, and spent the night there.
18 Early in the morning, as he was returning to the city, he was hungry. 19 Seeing a lone fig tree by the road, he went up to it and found nothing on it except leaves. And he said to it, "May no fruit ever come from you again!" At once the fig tree withered.
20 When the disciples saw it, they were amazed and said, "How did the fig tree wither so quickly?"
21 Jesus answered them, "Truly 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 tell this mountain, 'Be lifted up and thrown into the sea,' it will be done. 22 And if you believe, you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer."
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? Who gave you this authority?"
24 Jesus answered them, "I will also ask you one question, and if you answer it for me, then I will tell you by what authority I do these things.
25 Did John's baptism come from heaven, or was it of human origin?" They discussed it among themselves, "If we say, 'From heaven,' he will say to us, 'Then why didn't you believe him?' 26 But if we say, 'Of human origin,' we're afraid of the crowd, because everyone considers John to be a prophet."
27 So they answered Jesus, "We don't know." And he said to them, "Neither will I 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, 'My son, go work in the vineyard today.'
29 "He answered, 'I don't want to,' but later he changed his mind and went. 30 Then the man went to the other and said the same thing. 'I will, sir,' he answered, but he didn't go.
31 Which of the two did his father's will?" They said, "The first." Jesus said to them, "Truly I tell you, tax collectors and prostitutes are entering the kingdom of God before you. 32 For John came to you in the way of righteousness, and you didn't believe him. Tax collectors and prostitutes did believe him; but you, when you saw it, didn't even change your minds then and believe him.
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 watchtower. He leased it to tenant farmers and went away. 34 When the time came to harvest fruit, he sent his servants to the farmers to collect his fruit. 35 The farmers took his servants, beat one, killed another, and stoned a third. 36 Again, he sent other servants, more than the first group, and they did the same to them. 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 So they seized him, threw him out of the vineyard, and killed him. 40 Therefore, when the owner of the vineyard comes, what will he do to those farmers?"
41 "He will completely destroy those terrible men," they told him, "and lease his vineyard to other farmers who will give him his fruit at the harvest."
42 Jesus said to them, "Have you never read in the Scriptures: The stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone. This is what the Lord has done and it is wonderful in our eyes?
43 Therefore I tell you, the kingdom of God will be taken away from you and given to a people producing its fruit. 44 Whoever falls on this stone will be broken to pieces; but on whomever it falls, it will shatter him."
45 When the chief priests and the Pharisees heard his parables, they knew he was speaking about them. 46 Although they were looking for a way to arrest him, they feared the crowds, because the people regarded him as a prophet.

What does Matthew chapter 21 mean?

Jesus and the disciples have nearly completed their long journey from the region of Galilee in the north to Jerusalem. They have now travelled the last leg from Jericho to the town of Bethphage on the Mount of Olives, not far from Jerusalem's gates.

Before entering Jerusalem, though, Jesus directs two of His disciples to go into a village where they will find a donkey and its colt tied up. Jesus has arranged to ride the colt into Jerusalem to intentionally fulfill a prophecy about the Messiah. Zechariah predicted the King would come humbly and riding a donkey (Zechariah 9:9). The symbolism of this is easy to miss. Donkeys are common work animals and unsuited for battle. Victorious conquerors of that era would parade on horses, much as a modern general might ride into a city on the back of a tank. Riding a donkey, rather than a warhorse, is more like a modern person sitting in a pickup truck. In the future, Christ will come in power and judgment (Revelation 19:11–16). This time, His arrival is consistent with His role as a sacrificial Savior (Matthew 21:1–7).

As Jesus rides toward the gates, the large crowd following Him is joined by even more people coming out of Jerusalem, who have heard He is arriving. They put their outer garments and branches on the road in front of Him as symbols of submission and Jewish victory. They also shout out lines from Psalm 118 that are meant for the Messiah: "Hosanna to the Son of David!" and "Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!" Jerusalem is stirred up. People who don't know ask who Jesus is. Some reply that He is a prophet from Nazareth of Galilee (Matthew 21:8–11).

Jesus later enters the massive temple in Jerusalem. He drives out those selling and buying animals. He overthrows the tables and benches of the moneychangers. This seems to be a second, separate incident from the one recorded in the gospel of John (John 2:13–22). Jesus' anger is not about business or money, itself, but the crass way in which these men are profiting from the spiritual needs of the people (Matthew 21:12–13).

While at the temple, Jesus heals some blind and lame people who come to Him for help. Some children see this and begin to repeat the praises of the crowds as Jesus rode into town. Jesus defends the children to some chief priests and scribes who question Him. He does this, once again, by citing Old Testament Scripture (Matthew 21:14–17).

Jesus leaves the city to stay in Bethany for the night and returns the next morning, hungry. He sees a fig tree with leaves but finds no fruit. Though there would be no reason to expect ripe figs, at that time, a productive tree would have edible buds. The fact that the tree has nothing means it won't produce fruit this year. Jesus curses the tree to never bear fruit again and it withers. The disciples ask Jesus how He has done this, and He tells them that all things are possible for them if they believe and do not doubt when they pray. With His other comments on prayer, this can be understood in the context of God's will and the way faithful believers pursue it (Matthew 21:18–22).

Returning to the temple, Jesus is challenged by chief priests and elders. They ask Him to justify his authority to do all these things. Using the typical debate style of the era, Jesus promises to answer if they will respond to His question. The implication of His question is whether John the Baptist was a true or false messenger. Jesus knows these men rejected John but are too cowardly to admit it in front of the people. They weakly reply that they do not know (Matthew 21:23–27).

Rather than leave the issue alone, Jesus presses it. He tells two parables, each about vineyards, to show how the Jewish religious leaders have failed. He first compares them to a son who says "yes" to his father, but then disobeys. The people despised and dismissed by their culture as sinners were the ones who repented at John's message; they will enter the kingdom of God before these hypocritical spiritual figureheads (Matthew 21:28–32).

The second parable pictures the Jewish leaders as tenants of a vineyard who refuse to give their agreed rent, in the form of harvested crops, to the owner's servants. Instead they mistreat and kill the servants and then the owner's son, as well. This connects to an Old Testament reference to Israel as a vineyard (Isaiah 5:1–7). Jesus applies this parable to Israel's history of persecuting messengers of God (Acts 7:52), as well as how the men attacking Him were opposed to God's message. The leaders recognize how the parable's landowner will react, but don't seem to fully grasp what that implies (Matthew 21:33–41).

Finally, Jesus applies Psalm 118:22–23 to Himself. He is the stone rejected by the builders that has become the cornerstone. The Greek phrase used here either means the strongest, most critical stone used in a building's foundation, or the top brick in an arch. Either way, it is the ultimate basis of that structure's integrity. The kingdom of God will be taken from the Israelite leaders and all who reject Jesus will be broken on or crushed by the cornerstone. In another display of political cowardice, these men who reject Jesus keep their silence out of fear of public opinion (Matthew 21:42–46).