Jesus entered Jericho and made his way through the town.
There was a man there named Zacchaeus. He was one of the most influential Jews in the Roman tax-collecting business, and he had become very rich.
He tried to get a look at Jesus, but he was too short to see over the crowds.
So he ran ahead and climbed a sycamore tree beside the road, so he could watch from there.
When Jesus came by, he looked up at Zacchaeus and called him by name. "Zacchaeus!" he said. "Quick, come down! For I must be a guest in your home today."6
Zacchaeus quickly climbed down and took Jesus to his house in great excitement and joy.
But the crowds were displeased. "He has gone to be the guest of a notorious sinner," they grumbled.
Meanwhile, Zacchaeus stood there and said to the Lord, "I will give half my wealth to the poor, Lord, and if I have overcharged people on their taxes, I will give them back four times as much!"
Jesus responded, "Salvation has come to this home today, for this man has shown himself to be a son of Abraham. 10And I, the Son of Man, have come to seek and save those like him who are lost."11
The crowd was listening to everything Jesus said. And because he was nearing Jerusalem, he told a story to correct the impression that the Kingdom of God would begin right away.
He said, "A nobleman was called away to a distant empire to be crowned king and then return. 13Before he left, he called together ten servants and gave them ten pounds of silver a to invest for him while he was gone. 14But his people hated him and sent a delegation after him to say they did not want him to be their king."
15"When he returned, the king called in the servants to whom he had given the money. He wanted to find out what they had done with the money and what their profits were. 16The first servant reported a tremendous gain -- ten times as much as the original amount! 17'Well done!' the king exclaimed. 'You are a trustworthy servant. You have been faithful with the little I entrusted to you, so you will be governor of ten cities as your reward.'"
18"The next servant also reported a good gain -- five times the original amount. 19'Well done!' the king said. 'You can be governor over five cities.'"
20"But the third servant brought back only the original amount of money and said, 'I hid it and kept it safe. 21I was afraid because you are a hard man to deal with, taking what isn't yours and harvesting crops you didn't plant.'"
22"'You wicked servant!' the king roared. 'Hard, am I? If you knew so much about me and how tough I am, 23why didn't you deposit the money in the bank so I could at least get some interest on it?' 24Then turning to the others standing nearby, the king ordered, 'Take the money from this servant, and give it to the one who earned the most.'"
25"'But, master,' they said, 'that servant has enough already!'"
26"'Yes,' the king replied, 'but to those who use well what they are given, even more will be given. But from those who are unfaithful, b even what little they have will be taken away. 27And now about these enemies of mine who didn't want me to be their king -- bring them in and execute them right here in my presence.'"28
After telling this story, Jesus went on toward Jerusalem, walking ahead of his disciples.
As they came to the towns of Bethphage and Bethany, on the Mount of Olives, he sent two disciples ahead.
30"Go into that village over there," he told them, "and as you enter it, you will see a colt tied there that has never been ridden. Untie it and bring it here. 31If anyone asks what you are doing, just say, 'The Lord needs it.'"32
So they went and found the colt, just as Jesus had said.
And sure enough, as they were untying it, the owners asked them, "Why are you untying our colt?"
And the disciples simply replied, "The Lord needs it."
So they brought the colt to Jesus and threw their garments over it for him to ride on.
Then the crowds spread out their coats on the road ahead of Jesus.
As they reached the place where the road started down from the Mount of Olives, all of his followers began to shout and sing as they walked along, praising God for all the wonderful miracles they had seen.
"Bless the King who comes in the name of the Lord! Peace in heaven and glory in highest heaven!" c39
But some of the Pharisees among the crowd said, "Teacher, rebuke your followers for saying things like that!"
He replied, "If they kept quiet, the stones along the road would burst into cheers!"41
But as they came closer to Jerusalem and Jesus saw the city ahead, he began to cry.
42"I wish that even today you would find the way of peace. But now it is too late, and peace is hidden from you. 43Before long your enemies will build ramparts against your walls and encircle you and close in on you. 44They will crush you to the ground, and your children with you. Your enemies will not leave a single stone in place, because you have rejected the opportunity God offered you."45
Then Jesus entered the Temple and began to drive out the merchants from their stalls.
He told them, "The Scriptures declare, 'My Temple will be a place of prayer,' but you have turned it into a den of thieves." d47
After that, he taught daily in the Temple, but the leading priests, the teachers of religious law, and the other leaders of the people began planning how to kill him.
But they could think of nothing, because all the people hung on every word he said.
Scripture quotations marked NLT are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright 1996. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Wheaton, Illinois 60189. All rights reserved. (New Living Translation - The Bible Online)