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Matthew 21:18-46; Matthew 22:1-46; Matthew 23:1-38 (Holman Christian Standard)

The Barren Fig Tree

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, "I assure 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."

Messiah's Authority Challenged

23 When He entered the temple complex, 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? 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 Where did John's baptism come from? From heaven or from men?" They began to argue among themselves, "If we say, 'From heaven,' He will say to us, 'Then why didn't you believe him?' 26 But if we say, 'From men,' we're afraid of the crowd, because everyone thought John was 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.

The Parable of the Two Sons

28 "But 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!' Yet 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?" "The first," they said. Jesus said to them, "I assure 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.

The Parable of the Vineyard Owner

33 "Listen to another parable: There was a man, 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 grape harvest drew near, he sent his slaves to the farmers to collect his fruit. 35 But the farmers took his slaves, beat one, killed another, and stoned a third. 36 Again, he sent other slaves, 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 among themselves, 'This is the heir. Come, let's kill him and take his inheritance!' 39 So they seized 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 farmers?" 41 "He will completely destroy those terrible men," they told Him, "and lease his vineyard to other farmers who will give him his produce 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 came from the Lord and is wonderful in our eyes ? 43 Therefore I tell you, the kingdom of God will be taken away from you and given to a nation producing its fruit. [ 44 Whoever falls on this stone will be broken to pieces; but on whomever it falls, it will grind him to powder!"] 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 they regarded Him as a prophet.

The Parable of the Wedding Banquet

1 Once more Jesus spoke to them in parables: 2 "The kingdom of heaven may be compared to a king who gave a wedding banquet for his son. 3 He sent out his slaves to summon those invited to the banquet, but they didn't want to come. 4 Again, he sent out other slaves, and said, 'Tell those who are invited: Look, I've prepared my dinner; my oxen and fattened cattle have been slaughtered, and everything is ready. Come to the wedding banquet. ' 5 "But they paid no attention and went away, one to his own farm, another to his business. 6 And the others seized his slaves, treated them outrageously and killed them. 7 The king was enraged, so he sent out his troops, destroyed those murderers, and burned down their city. 8 "Then he told his slaves, 'The banquet is ready, but those who were invited were not worthy. 9 Therefore, go to where the roads exit the city and invite everyone you find to the banquet.' 10 So those slaves went out on the roads and gathered everyone they found, both evil and good. The wedding banquet was filled with guests. 11 But when the king came in to view the guests, he saw a man there who was not dressed for a wedding. 12 So he said to him, 'Friend, how did you get in here without wedding clothes?' The man was speechless. 13 "Then the king told the attendants, 'Tie him up hand and foot, and throw him into the outer darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.' 14 "For many are invited, but few are chosen."

God and Caesar

15 Then the Pharisees went and plotted how to trap Him by what He said. 16 They sent their disciples to Him, with the Herodians. "Teacher," they said, "we know that You are truthful and teach truthfully the way of God. You defer to no one, for You don't show partiality. 17 Tell us, therefore, what You think. Is it lawful to pay taxes to Caesar or not?" 18 But perceiving their malice, Jesus said, "Why are you testing Me, hypocrites? 19 Show Me the coin used for the tax." So they brought Him a denarius. 20 "Whose image and inscription is this?" He asked them. 21 "Caesar's," they said to Him. Then He said to them, "Therefore, give back 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. So they left Him and went away.

The Sadducees and the Resurrection

23 The same day some Sadducees, who say there is no resurrection, came up to Him and questioned Him: 24 "Teacher, Moses said, if a man dies, having no children, his brother is to marry his wife and raise up offspring for his brother. 25 Now there were seven brothers among us. The first got married and died. Having no offspring, he left his wife to his brother. 26 The same happened to the second also, and the third, and so to all seven. 27 Then last of all the woman died. 28 Therefore, in the resurrection, whose wife will she be of the seven? For they all had married her." 29 Jesus answered them, "You are deceived, because you don't know the Scriptures or the power of God. 30 For in the resurrection they neither marry nor are given in marriage but are like angels in heaven. 31 Now concerning the resurrection of the dead, haven't you 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 ? He is not the God of the dead, but of the living." 33 And when the crowds heard this, they were astonished at His teaching.

The Primary Commandments

34 When the Pharisees heard that He had silenced the Sadducees, they came together in the same place. 35 And one of them, an expert in the law, asked a question to test Him: 36 "Teacher, which commandment in the law is the greatest?" 37 He said to him, "Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. 38 This is the greatest and most important commandment. 39 The second is like it: Love your neighbor as yourself. 40 All the Law and the Prophets depend on these two commandments."

The Question about the Messiah

41 While the Pharisees were together, Jesus questioned them, 42 "What do you think about the Messiah? Whose Son is He?" "David's," they told Him. 43 He asked them, "How is it then that David, inspired by the Spirit, calls Him 'Lord': 44 The Lord declared to my Lord, 'Sit at My right hand until I put Your enemies under Your feet' ? 45 "If David calls Him 'Lord,' how then can the Messiah be his Son?" 46 No one was able to answer Him at all, and from that day no one dared to question Him any more.

Religious Hypocrites Denounced

1 Then Jesus spoke to the crowds and to His disciples: 2 "The scribes and the Pharisees are seated in the chair of Moses. 3 Therefore do whatever they tell you and observe [it]. But don't do what they do, because they don't practice what they teach. 4 They tie up heavy loads that are hard to carry and put them on people's shoulders, but they themselves aren't willing to lift a finger to move them. 5 They do everything to be observed by others: They enlarge their phylacteries and lengthen their tassels. 6 They love the place of honor at banquets, the front seats in the synagogues, 7 greetings in the marketplaces, and to be called 'Rabbi' by people. 8 "But as for you, do not be called 'Rabbi,' because you have one Teacher, and you are all brothers. 9 Do not call anyone on earth your father, because you have one Father, who is in heaven. 10 And do not be called masters either, because you have one Master, the Messiah. 11 The greatest among you will be your servant. 12 Whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted. 13 "But woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! You lock up the kingdom of heaven from people. For you don't go in, and you don't allow those entering to go in. [ 14 "Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! You devour widows' houses and make long prayers just for show. This is why you will receive a harsher punishment.] 15 "Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! You travel over land and sea to make one proselyte, and when he becomes one, you make him twice as fit for hell as you are! 16 "Woe to you, blind guides, who say, 'Whoever takes an oath by the sanctuary, it means nothing. But whoever takes an oath by the gold of the sanctuary is bound by his oath.' 17 Blind fools! For which is greater, the gold or the sanctuary that sanctified the gold? 18 Also, 'Whoever takes an oath by the altar, it means nothing. But whoever takes an oath by the gift that is on it is bound by his oath.' 19 Blind people! For which is greater, the gift or the altar that sanctifies the gift? 20 Therefore the one who takes an oath by the altar takes an oath by it and by everything on it. 21 The one who takes an oath by the sanctuary takes an oath by it and by Him who dwells in it. 22 And the one who takes an oath by heaven takes an oath by God's throne and by Him who sits on it. 23 "Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! You pay a tenth of mint, dill, and cumin, yet you have neglected the more important matters of the law-justice, mercy, and faith. These things should have been done without neglecting the others. 24 Blind guides! You strain out a gnat, yet gulp down a camel! 25 "Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! You clean the outside of the cup and dish, but inside they are full of greed and self-indulgence! 26 Blind Pharisee! First clean the inside of the cup, so the outside of it may also become clean. 27 "Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! You are like whitewashed tombs, which appear beautiful on the outside, but inside are full of dead men's bones and every impurity. 28 In the same way, on the outside you seem righteous to people, but inside you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness. 29 "Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, 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 wouldn't have taken part with them in shedding the prophets' blood.' 31 You therefore testify against yourselves that you are sons of those who murdered the prophets. 32 Fill up, then, the measure of your fathers' sins! 33 "Snakes! Brood of vipers! How can you escape being condemned to hell? 34 This is why I am sending you prophets, sages, and scribes. Some of them you will kill and crucify, and some of them you will flog in your synagogues and hound from town to town. 35 So all the righteous blood shed on the earth will be charged to you, from the blood of righteous Abel to the blood of Zechariah, son of Berechiah, whom you murdered between the sanctuary and the altar. 36 I assure you: All these things will come on this generation!

Jesus' Lamentation over Jerusalem

37 "Jerusalem, Jerusalem! The city who kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to her. How often I wanted to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, yet you were not willing! 38 See, your house is left to you desolate.
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