Matthew 21:18-46; Matthew 22:1-46; Matthew 23:1-38 (Lexham English Bible)

A Barren Fig Tree Cursed

18 Now early in the morning, [as he] was returning to the city, he was hungry. 19 And seeing a single fig tree by the road, he went to it and found nothing on it except leaves only. And he said to it, "May there be no more fruit from you {forever}, and the fig tree withered at once. 20 And [when they] saw [it], the disciples were astonished, saying, "How did the fig tree wither 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 do not only [what was done to] the fig tree, but even if you say to this mountain, 'Be lifted up and thrown into the sea," it will happen! 22 And whatever you ask in prayer, [if you] believe, you will receive."

Jesus’ Authority Challenged

23 And [after] he arrived at the temple, the chief priests and the elders of the people came up to him [while he] was teaching, saying, "By what authority are you doing these [things]? And who gave you this authority?" 24 And Jesus answered [and] said to them, "I also will ask you one question. If you tell [the answer] to me, I also will tell you by what authority I am doing these [things]. 25 From where was the baptism of John--from heaven or from men?" And they began to discuss [this] 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 men,' we are afraid of the crowd, because they all look upon John as a prophet." 27 And they answered [and] said to 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 "Now what do you think? A man had two sons. [He] approached the first [and] said, 'Son, go work in the vineyard today.' 29 And he answered [and] said, 'I do not want to!' But later [he] changed his mind [and] went. 30 And [he] approached the second [and] said the same [thing]. So he answered [and] said, 'I [will], sir,' and 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 the prostitutes are going ahead of you into the kingdom of God! 32 For John came to you in the way of righteousness and you did not believe him, but the tax collectors and the prostitutes did believe him. And [when] you saw [it], you did not even change your minds later [so as] to believe in him.

The Parable of the Tenant Farmers in the Vineyard

33 "Listen to another parable: There was a man--a master of a house--who planted a vineyard, and put a fence [around] it, and dug a winepress in it, and built a watchtower, and leased it to tenant farmers, and went on a journey. 34 And when the season of fruit drew near, he sent his slaves to the tenant farmers to collect his fruit. 35 And the tenant farmers seized his slaves, [one of] whom they beat, and [one of] whom they killed, and [one of] whom they stoned. 36 Again, he sent other slaves, more than the first [ones], and they did the same [thing] to them. 37 So finally he sent his son to them, saying, 'They will respect my son.' 38 But [when] the tenant farmers saw the son, they said among themselves, 'This is the heir. Come, let us kill him and have his inheritance!' 39 And they seized him [and] threw [him] out of the vineyard and killed [him]. 40 Now when the master of the vineyard arrives, what will he do to those tenant farmers?" 41 They said to him, "He will destroy those evil [men] completely and lease the vineyard to other tenant farmers who will give him the fruits in their season." 42 Jesus said to them, "Have you never read in the scriptures, 'The stone which the builders rejected, this has become {the cornerstone}. This came about from the Lord, and it is marvelous in our eyes'? 43 For this [reason], I tell you that the kingdom of God will be taken away from you and will be given to a people who produce its fruits. 44 And the one who falls on this stone will be broken to pieces, and [the one] on whom it falls--it will crush him!" 45 And [when] the chief priests and the Pharisees heard his parables, they knew that he was speaking about them, 46 and [although they] wanted to arrest him, they were afraid of the crowds, because they looked upon him as a prophet.

The Parable of the Wedding Celebration

1 And continuing, Jesus spoke to them again in parables, saying, 2 "The kingdom of heaven may be compared to a man--a king--who gave a wedding celebration for his son. 3 And he sent his slaves to summon those who had been invited to the wedding celebration, and they did not want to come. 4 Again he sent other slaves, saying, 'Tell those who have been invited, "Behold, I have prepared my dinner; my oxen and fattened [cattle] have been slaughtered, and everything [is] ready. Come to the wedding celebration!" ' 5 But they paid no attention [and] went away--this one to his own field, that one to his business. 6 And the others, seizing his slaves, mistreated [them] and killed [them]. 7 And the king was angry and sent his troops [and] destroyed those murderers and burned their city. 8 Then he said to his slaves, 'The wedding celebration is ready, but those who had been invited were not worthy. 9 Therefore, go out to the [places where] the roads exit the city and invite to the wedding celebration as many [people] as you find.' 10 And those slaves went out into the roads [and] gathered everyone whom they found, both evil and good, and the wedding celebration was filled {with dinner guests}. 11 But [when] the king came in to see the {dinner guests}, he saw a man there not dressed [in] wedding clothes. 12 And he said to him, 'Friend, how did you come in here, not having wedding clothes?' But {he could say nothing}. 13 Then the king said to the servants, 'Tie him up {hand and foot} [and] throw him into the outer darkness. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth!' 14 For many are called but few [are] chosen."

Paying Taxes to Caesar

15 Then the Pharisees went {and consulted} so that they could entrap him with a statement. 16 And they sent their disciples to him with the Herodians, saying, "Teacher, we know that you are truthful and teach the way of God in truth, and {you do not care what anyone thinks}, {because you do not regard the opinion of people}. 17 Therefore tell us what you think. Is it permitted to pay taxes to Caesar or not?" 18 But [because he] knew their maliciousness, Jesus said, "Hypocrites! Why are you testing me? 19 Show me the coin for the tax!" So they brought him a denarius. 20 And he said to them, "Whose image and inscription [is] this?" 21 They said to him, "Caesar's." Then he said to them, "Therefore give to Caesar the things of Caesar, and to God the things of God!" 22 And [when they] heard [this], they were astonished, and they left him [and] went away.

A Question About Marriage and the Resurrection

23 On that day Sadducees--who say there is no resurrection--came up to him and asked him, 24 saying, "Teacher, Moses said if someone dies without having children, his brother is to marry his wife and {father} descendants for his brother. 25 Now there were seven brothers with us. And the first died [after] getting married, and [because he] did not have descendants, he left his wife to his brother. 26 So also the second and the third, up to the seventh. 27 And last of all the woman died. 28 In the resurrection, therefore, whose wife of the seven will she be? For they all had her [as wife]." 29 But Jesus answered [and] said to them, "You are mistaken, [because] you do not 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 of God in heaven. 31 Now concerning the resurrection of the dead, have you not read what was spoken to you by God, who said, 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 amazed at his teaching.

The Greatest Commandment

34 Now [when] the Pharisees heard that he had silenced the Sadducees, they assembled at the same [place]. 35 And one of them, a legal expert, put a question to [him] to test him: 36 "Teacher, which commandment [is] greatest in the law?" 37 And he said to him, " 'You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.' 38 This is the greatest and first commandment. 39 And the second [is] like it: 'You shall love your neighbor as yourself.' 40 On these two commandments depend all the law and the prophets."

David’s Son and Lord

41 Now [while] the Pharisees were assembled, Jesus asked them, 42 saying, "What do you think about the Christ? Whose son is he?" They said to him, "David's." 43 He said to them, "How then does David, by the Spirit, call him 'Lord,' saying, 44 'The Lord said to my Lord, "Sit at my right hand until I put your enemies under your feet" '? 45 If then David calls him 'Lord,' how is he his son?" 46 And no one was able to answer him a word, nor did anyone dare from that day [on] to ask him any more [questions].

Seven Woes Pronounced on the Scribes and Pharisees

1 Then Jesus spoke to the crowds and to his disciples, 2 saying, "The scribes and the Pharisees sit on the seat of Moses. 3 Therefore do and observe everything that they tell you, but do not do as {they do}, for they tell [others to do something] and do not do [it themselves]. 4 And they tie up heavy burdens and put [them] on people's shoulders, but [they] themselves are not willing with their finger to move them 5 And they do all their deeds in order to be seen by people, for they make their phylacteries broad and make their tassels long. 6 And they love the place of honor at banquets and the best seats in the synagogues 7 and the greetings in the marketplaces and to be called 'Rabbi' by people. 8 But you are not to be called 'Rabbi,' because one is your teacher, and you are all brothers, 9 And do not call [anyone] your father on earth, for one is your heavenly Father. 10 And do not be called teachers, because one is your teacher, the Christ. 11 And the greatest among you will be your servant. 12 And whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted. 13 "But woe to you, scribes and Pharisees--hypocrites!--because you shut the kingdom of heaven before people! For you do not enter, nor permit those wanting to go in to enter. 15 "Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees--hypocrites!--because you travel around the sea and the dry [land] to make one convert, and when he becomes [one], you make him twice as much a son of hell [as] you [are]! 16 "Woe to you, blind guides, who say, 'Whoever swears by the temple, it is nothing! But whoever swears by the gold of the temple is bound [by his oath].' 17 Fools and blind [people]! For which is greater, the gold or the temple that makes the gold holy? 18 And, 'Whoever swears by the altar, it is nothing! But whoever swears 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 makes the gift holy 20 Therefore the one who swears by the altar swears by it and by everything [that is] on it. 21 And the one who swears by the temple swears by it and by the one who dwells [in] it 22 And the one who swears by heaven swears by the throne of God and by the one who sits on it. 23 "Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees--hypocrites!--because you pay a tenth of mint and dill and cumin, and neglect the more important [matters] of the law--justice and mercy and faithfulness! It was necessary to do these [things] {while not neglecting those}. 24 Blind guides who filter out a gnat and swallow a camel! 25 "Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees--hypocrites!--because you cleanse the outside of the cup and the dish, but inside they are full of greed and self-indulgence! 26 Blind Pharisee! First clean the inside of the cup and the dish, so that the outside of it may become clean also. 27 "Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees--hypocrites!--because you are like whitewashed tombs which on the outside appear beautiful, but on the inside are full of the bones of the dead and of everything unclean! 28 In the [same] way, on the outside you also appear righteous to people, but inside you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness. 29 "Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees--hypocrites!--because you build the tombs of the prophets and decorate the graves of the righteous, 30 and you say, 'If we had lived in the days of our fathers, we would not have been partners with them in the blood of the prophets!' 31 Thus you testify against yourselves that you are descendants of those who murdered the prophets! 32 And you--fill up the measure of your fathers! 33 Serpents! Offspring of vipers! How will you escape from the condemnation to hell? 34 For this [reason], behold, I am sending to you prophets and wise men and scribes. [Some] of them you will kill and crucify, and some of them you will flog in your synagogues and will pursue from town to town, 35 so that upon you will come all the righteous blood shed on the earth from the blood of righteous Abel up to the blood of Zechariah son of Barachiah, whom you murdered between the temple and the altar. 36 Truly I say to you, all these [things] will come upon this generation!

The Lament over Jerusalem

37 "Jerusalem, Jerusalem, who kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to her! How many times I wanted to gather your children together {the way} a hen gathers her young together under [her] wings, and you were not willing! 38 Behold, your house has been left to you desolate 39 For I tell you, you will never see me from now [on] until you say, 'Blessed [is] the one who comes in the name of the Lord!'"
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