"The kingdom of heaven is like a man who owned land. He went out early in the morning to hire people to work in his vineyard.
He agreed to give them the usual pay for a day's work. Then he sent them into his vineyard.
"About nine o'clock in the morning he went out again. He saw others standing in the market place doing nothing.
He told them, 'You also go and work in my vineyard. I'll pay you what is right.'
So they went. "He went out again about noon and at three o'clock and did the same thing.
About five o'clock he went out and found still others standing around. He asked them, 'Why have you been standing here all day long doing nothing?'
" 'Because no one has hired us,' they answered. "He said to them, 'You also go and work in my vineyard.'
"When evening came, the owner of the vineyard spoke to the person who was in charge of the workers. He said, 'Call the workers and give them their pay. Begin with the last ones I hired. Then go on to the first ones.'
"The workers who were hired about five o'clock came. Each received the usual day's pay.
So when those who were hired first came, they expected to receive more. But each of them also received the usual day's pay.
"When they received it, they began to complain about the owner.
'These people who were hired last worked only one hour,' they said. 'You have paid them the same as us. We have done most of the work and have been in the hot sun all day.'
"The owner answered one of them. 'Friend,' he said, 'I'm being fair to you. Didn't you agree to work for the usual day's pay?
Take your money and go. I want to give the ones I hired last the same pay I gave you.
Don't I have the right to do what I want with my own money? Do you feel cheated because I gave so freely to the others?'
"So those who are last will be first. And those who are first will be last."
Jesus was going up to Jerusalem. On the way, he took the 12 disciples to one side to talk to them.
"We are going up to Jerusalem," he said. "The Son of Man will be handed over to the chief priests and the teachers of the law. They will sentence him to death.
Then they will turn him over to people who are not Jews. The people will make fun of him and whip him. They will nail him to a cross. On the third day, he will rise from the dead!"
The mother of Zebedee's sons came to Jesus. Her sons came with her. Getting on her knees, she asked a favor of him.
"What do you want?" Jesus asked. She said, "Promise me that one of my two sons may sit at your right hand in your kingdom. Promise that the other one may sit at your left hand."
"You don't know what you're asking for," Jesus said to them. "Can you drink the cup of suffering I am going to drink?" "We can," they answered.
Jesus said to them, "You will certainly drink from my cup. But it is not for me to say who will sit at my right or left hand. These places belong to those my Father has prepared them for."
The other ten disciples heard about this. They became angry at the two brothers.
Jesus called them together. He said, "You know about the rulers of the nations. They hold power over their people. Their high officials order them around.
Don't be like that. Instead, anyone who wants to be important among you must be your servant.
And anyone who wants to be first must be your slave.
"Be like the Son of Man. He did not come to be served. Instead, he came to serve others. He came to give his life as the price for setting many people free."
Jesus and his disciples were leaving Jericho. A large crowd followed him.
Two blind men were sitting by the side of the road. They heard that Jesus was going by. So they shouted, "Lord! Son of David! Have mercy on us!"
The crowd commanded them to stop. They told them to be quiet. But the two men shouted even louder, "Lord! Son of David! Have mercy on us!"
Jesus stopped and called out to them. "What do you want me to do for you?" he asked.
"Lord," they answered, "we want to be able to see."
Jesus felt deep concern for them. He touched their eyes. Right away they could see. And they followed him.
As they all approached Jerusalem, they came to Bethphage. It was on the Mount of Olives. Jesus sent out two disciples.
He said to them, "Go to the village ahead of you. As soon as you get there, you will find a donkey tied up. Her colt will be with her. Untie them and bring them to me.
If anyone says anything to you, say that the Lord needs them. The owner will send them right away."
This took place so that what was spoken through the prophet would come true. It says,
"Say to the city of Zion, 'See, your king comes to you. He is gentle and riding on a donkey. He is riding on a donkey's colt.' " #1(Zechariah 9:9)#2
The disciples went and did what Jesus told them to do.
They brought the donkey and the colt. They placed their coats on them. Then Jesus sat on the coats.
A very large crowd spread their coats on the road. Others cut branches from the trees and spread them on the road.
Some of the people went ahead of him, and some followed. They all shouted, "Hosanna to the Son of David!" "Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord!" #1(Psalm 118:26)#2 "Hosanna in the highest heaven!"
When Jesus entered Jerusalem, the whole city was stirred up. The people asked, "Who is this?"
The crowds answered, "This is Jesus. He is the prophet from Nazareth in Galilee."
Jesus entered the temple area. He began chasing out all those who were buying and selling there. He turned over the tables of the people who were exchanging money. He also turned over the benches of those who were selling doves.
He said to them, "It is written that the Lord said, 'My house will be called a house where people can pray.'#1(Isaiah 56:7)#2 But you are making it a 'den for robbers.' "#1(Jeremiah 7:11)#2
Blind people and those who were disabled came to Jesus at the temple. There he healed them.
The chief priests and the teachers of the law saw the wonderful things he did. They also saw the children in the temple area shouting, "Hosanna to the Son of David!" But when they saw all of this, they became angry.
"Do you hear what these children are saying?" they asked him. "Yes," replied Jesus. "Haven't you ever read about it in Scripture? It says, " 'You have made sure that children and infants praise you.' " #1(Psalm 8:2)#2
Then Jesus left the people and went out of the city to Bethany. He spent the night there.
Early in the morning, Jesus was on his way back to Jerusalem. He was hungry.
He saw 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!" Right away the tree dried up.
When the disciples saw this, they were amazed. "How did the fig tree dry up so quickly?" they asked.
Jesus replied, "What I'm about to tell you is true. You must have faith and not doubt. Then you can do what was done to the fig tree. And you can say to this mountain, 'Go and throw yourself into the sea.' It will be done.
If you believe, you will receive what you ask for when you pray."
Jesus entered the temple courtyard. While he was teaching there, the chief priests and the elders of the people came to him. "By what authority are you doing these things?" they asked. "Who gave you this authority?"
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.
Where did John's baptism come from? Was it from heaven? Or did it come from men?" They talked to each other about it. They said, "If we say, 'From heaven,' he will ask, 'Then why didn't you believe him?'
But what if we say, 'From men'? We are afraid of the people. Everyone believes that John was a prophet."
So they answered Jesus, "We don't know." Jesus said, "Then I won't tell you by what authority I am doing these things either.
"What do you think about this? A man had two sons. He went to the first and said, 'Son, go and work today in the vineyard.'
" 'I will not,' the son answered. But later he changed his mind and went.
"Then the father went to the other son. He said the same thing. The son answered, 'I will, sir.' But he did not go.
"Which of the two sons did what his father wanted?" "The first," they answered. Jesus said to them, "What I'm about to tell you is true. Tax collectors and prostitutes will enter the kingdom of God ahead of you.
John came to show you the right way to live. And you did not believe him. But the tax collectors and the prostitutes did. You saw this. But even then you did not turn away from your sins and believe him.
"Listen to another story. A man who owned some land planted a vineyard. He put a wall around it. He dug a pit for a winepress in it. He also built a lookout tower. He rented the vineyard out to some farmers. Then he went away on a journey.
When harvest time approached, he sent his servants to the renters. He told the servants to collect his share of the fruit.
"But the renters grabbed his servants. They beat one of them. They killed another. They threw stones at the third to kill him.
Then the man sent other servants to the renters. He sent more than he did the first time. The renters treated them the same way.
"Last of all, he sent his son to them. 'They will respect my son,' he said.
"But the renters saw the son coming. They said to each other, 'This is the one who will receive all the owner's property someday. Come, let's kill him. Then everything will be ours.'
So they took him and threw him out of the vineyard. Then they killed him.
"When the owner of the vineyard comes back, what will he do to those renters?"
"He will destroy those evil people," they replied. "Then he will rent the vineyard out to other renters. They will give him his share of the crop at harvest time."
Jesus said to them, "Haven't you ever read what the Scriptures say, " 'The stone the builders didn't accept has become the most important stone of all. The Lord has done it. It is wonderful in our eyes'? #1(Psalm 118:22,23)#2
"So here is what I tell you. The kingdom of God will be taken away from you. It will be given to people who will produce its fruit.
Everyone who falls on that stone will be broken to pieces. But the stone will crush anyone it falls on."
The chief priests and the Pharisees heard Jesus' stories. They knew he was talking about them.
So they looked for a way to arrest him. But they were afraid of the crowd. The people believed that Jesus was a prophet.