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 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!"
When Jesus entered Jerusalem, the whole city was thrown into an uproar. "Who is he?" the people asked.
"This is the prophet Jesus, from Nazareth in Galilee," the crowds answered.
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,
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!"
The blind and the crippled came to him in the Temple, and he healed them.
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!"
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.' "
Jesus left them and went out of the city to Bethany, where he spent the night.
On his way back to the city early next morning, Jesus was hungry.
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.
The disciples saw this and were astounded. "How did the fig tree dry up so quickly?" they asked.
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.
If you believe, you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer."
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?"
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.
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?'
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."
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.
"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.'
"I don't want to,' he answered, but later he changed his mind and went.
Then the father went to the other son and said the same thing. "Yes, sir,' he answered, but he did not go.
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.
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.
"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.
When the time came to gather the grapes, he sent his slaves to the tenants to receive his share of the harvest.
The tenants grabbed his slaves, beat one, killed another, and stoned another.
Again the man sent other slaves, more than the first time, and the tenants treated them the same way.
Last of all he sent his son to them. "Surely they will respect my son,' he said.
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!'
So they grabbed him, threw him out of the vineyard, and killed him.
"Now, when the owner of the vineyard comes, what will he do to those tenants?" Jesus asked.
"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."
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!'
"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."
The chief priests and the Pharisees heard Jesus' parables and knew that he was talking about them,
so they tried to arrest him. But they were afraid of the crowds, who considered Jesus to be a prophet.
Jesus again used parables in talking to the people.
"The Kingdom of heaven is like this. Once there was a king who prepared a wedding feast for his son.
He sent his servants to tell the invited guests to come to the feast, but they did not want to come.
So he sent other servants with this message for the guests: "My feast is ready now; my steers and prize calves have been butchered, and everything is ready. Come to the wedding feast!'
But the invited guests paid no attention and went about their business: one went to his farm, another to his store,
while others grabbed the servants, beat them, and killed them.
The king was very angry; so he sent his soldiers, who killed those murderers and burned down their city.
Then he called his servants and said to them, "My wedding feast is ready, but the people I invited did not deserve it.
Now go to the main streets and invite to the feast as many people as you find.'
So the servants went out into the streets and gathered all the people they could find, good and bad alike; and the wedding hall was filled with people.
"The king went in to look at the guests and saw a man who was not wearing wedding clothes.
"Friend, how did you get in here without wedding clothes?' the king asked him. But the man said nothing.
Then the king told the servants, "Tie him up hand and foot, and throw him outside in the dark. There he will cry and gnash his teeth.' "
And Jesus concluded, "Many are invited, but few are chosen."
The Pharisees went off and made a plan to trap Jesus with questions.
Then they sent to him some of their disciples and some members of Herod's party. "Teacher," they said, "we know that you tell the truth. You teach the truth about God's will for people, without worrying about what others think, because you pay no attention to anyone's status.
Tell us, then, what do you think? Is it against our Law to pay taxes to the Roman Emperor, or not?"
Jesus, however, was aware of their evil plan, and so he said, "You hypocrites! Why are you trying to trap me?
Show me the coin for paying the tax!" They brought him the coin,
and he asked them, "Whose face and name are these?"
"The Emperor's," they answered. So Jesus said to them, "Well, then, pay to the Emperor what belongs to the Emperor, and pay to God what belongs to God."
When they heard this, they were amazed; and they left him and went away.
That same day some Sadducees came to Jesus and claimed that people will not rise from death.
"Teacher," they said, "Moses said that if a man who has no children dies, his brother must marry the widow so that they can have children who will be considered the dead man's children.
Now, there were seven brothers who used to live here. The oldest got married and died without having children, so he left his widow to his brother.
The same thing happened to the second brother, to the third, and finally to all seven.
Last of all, the woman died.
Now, on the day when the dead rise to life, whose wife will she be? All of them had married her."
Jesus answered them, "How wrong you are! It is because you don't know the Scriptures or God's power.
For when the dead rise to life, they will be like the angels in heaven and will not marry.
Now, as for the dead rising to life: haven't you ever read what God has told you? He said,
"I am the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.' He is the God of the living, not of the dead."
When the crowds heard this, they were amazed at his teaching.
When the Pharisees heard that Jesus had silenced the Sadducees, they came together,
and one of them, a teacher of the Law, tried to trap him with a question.
"Teacher," he asked, "which is the greatest commandment in the Law?"
Jesus answered, " "Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.'
This is the greatest and the most important commandment.
The second most important commandment is like it: "Love your neighbor as you love yourself.'
The whole Law of Moses and the teachings of the prophets depend on these two commandments."
When some Pharisees gathered together, Jesus asked them,
"What do you think about the Messiah? Whose descendant is he?" "He is David's descendant," they answered.
"Why, then," Jesus asked, "did the Spirit inspire David to call him "Lord'? David said,
"The Lord said to my Lord: Sit here at my right side until I put your enemies under your feet.'
If, then, David called him "Lord,' how can the Messiah be David's descendant?"
No one was able to give Jesus any answer, and from that day on no one dared to ask him any more questions.