When they were come near Jerusalem and had arrived at Bethphage and the Mount of Olives, Jesus sent two of the disciples on in front,
saying to them, "Go to the village you see facing you, and as you enter it you will find a she-ass tied up and a foal with her. Untie her and bring them to me.
And if any one says anything to you, say, `The Master needs them,' and he will at once send them."
This took place in order that the Prophet's prediction might be fulfilled:
"Tell the Daughter of Zion, `See, thy King is coming to thee, gentle, and yet mounted on an ass, even on a colt the foal of a beast of burden.'"
So the disciples went and did as Jesus had instructed them:
they brought the she-ass and the foal, and threw their outer garments on them. So He sat on them;
and most of the crowd kept spreading their garments along the road, while others cut branches from the trees and carpeted the road with them,
and the multitudes--some of the people preceding Him and some following--sang aloud, "God save the Son of David! Blessings on Him who comes in the Lord's name! God in the highest Heavens save Him!"
When He thus entered Jerusalem, the whole city was thrown into commotion, every one inquiring, "Who is this?"
"This is Jesus, the Prophet, from Nazareth in Galilee," replied the crowds.
Entering the Temple, Jesus drove out all who were buying and selling there, and overturned the money-changers' tables and the seats of the pigeon-dealers.
"It is written," He said, "`My House shall be called the House of Prayer', but you are making it a robbers' cave."
And the blind and the lame came to Him in the Temple, and He cured them.
But when the High Priests and the Scribes saw the wonderful things that He had done and the children who were crying aloud in the Temple, "God save the Son of David," they were filled with indignation.
"Do you hear," they asked Him, "what these children are saying?" "Yes," He replied; "have you never read, `Out of the mouths of infants and of babes at the breast Thou hast brought forth the praise which is due'?"
So He left them and went out of the city to Bethany and passed the night there.
Early in the morning as He was on His way to return to the city He was hungry,
and seeing a fig-tree on the road-side He went up to it, but found nothing on it but leaves. "On you," He said, "no fruit shall ever again grow." And immediately the fig-tree withered away.
When the disciples saw it they exclaimed in astonishment, "How instantaneously the fig-tree has withered away!"
"I solemnly tell you," said Jesus, "that if you have an unwavering faith, you shall not only perform such a miracle as this of the fig-tree, but that even if you say to this mountain, `Be thou lifted up and hurled into the sea,' it shall be done;
and everything, whatever it be, that you ask for in your prayers, if you have faith, you shall obtain."
He entered the Temple; and while He was teaching, the High Priests and the Elders of the people came to Him and asked Him, "By what authority are you doing these things? and who gave you this authority?"
"And I also have a question to ask *you*," replied Jesus, "and if you answer me, I in turn will tell you by what authority I do these things.
John's Baptism, whence was it? --had it a heavenly or a human origin?" So they debated the matter among themselves. "If we say `a heavenly origin,'" they argued, "he will say, `Why then did you not believe him?'
and if we say `a human origin' we have the people to fear, for they all hold John to have been a Prophet."
So they answered Jesus, "We do not know." "Nor do I tell you," He replied, "by what authority I do these things."
"But give me your judgement. There was a man who had two sons. He came to the elder of them, and said, "`My son, go and work in the vineyard to-day.'
"`I will not,' he replied. "But afterwards he was sorry, and went.
He came to the second and spoke in the same manner. His answer was, "`I will go, Sir.' "But he did not go.
Which of the two did as his father desired?" "The first," they said. "I solemnly tell you,' replied Jesus, "that the tax-gatherers and the notorious sinners are entering the Kingdom of God in front of you.
For John came to you observing all sorts of ritual, and you put no faith in him: the tax-gatherers and the notorious sinners did put faith in him, and you, though you saw this example set you, were not even afterwards sorry so as to believe him.
"Listen to another parable. There was a householder who planted a vineyard, made a fence round it, dug a wine-tank in it, and built a strong lodge; then let the place to vine-dressers, and went abroad.
When vintage-time approached, he sent his servants to the vine-dressers to receive his share of the grapes;
but the vine-dressers seized the servants, and one they cruelly beat, one they killed, one they pelted with stones.
Again he sent another party of servants more numerous than the first; and these they treated in the same manner.
Later still he sent to them his son, saying, "`They will respect my son.'
"But the vine-dressers, when they saw the son, said to one another, "`Here is the heir: come, let us kill him and get his inheritance.'
"So they seized him, dragged him out of the vineyard, and killed him.
When then the owner of the vineyard comes, what will he do to those vine-dressers?"
"He will put the wretches to a wretched death," was the reply, "and will entrust the vineyard to other vine-dressers who will render the produce to him at the vintage season."
"Have you never read in the Scriptures," said Jesus, "`The Stone which the builders rejected has been made the Cornerstone: this Cornerstone came from the Lord, and is wonderful in our eyes'?
"That, I tell you, is the reason why the Kingdom of God will be taken away from you, and given to a nation that will exhibit the power of it.
He who falls on this stone will be severely hurt; but he on whom it falls will be utterly crushed."
After listening to His parables the High Priests and the Pharisees perceived that He was speaking about them;
but though they were eager to lay hands upon Him, they were afraid of the people, for by them He was regarded as a Prophet.