1As they approached Jerusalem and came to Bethphage and Bethany at the Mount of Olives, Jesus sent two of his disciples,2saying to them, ‘Go to the village ahead of you, and just as you enter it, you will find a colt tied there, which no-one has ever ridden. Untie it and bring it here.3If anyone asks you, “Why are you doing this?” say, “The Lord needs it and will send it back here shortly.” ’4They went and found a colt outside in the street, tied at a doorway. As they untied it,5some people standing there asked, ‘What are you doing, untying that colt?’6They answered as Jesus had told them to, and the people let them go.7When they brought the colt to Jesus and threw their cloaks over it, he sat on it.8Many people spread their cloaks on the road, while others spread branches they had cut in the fields.9Those who went ahead and those who followed shouted, ‘Hosanna!’ ‘Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!’ (Ps 118:25; Ps 118:26)10‘Blessed is the coming kingdom of our father David!’ ‘Hosanna in the highest heaven!’11Jesus entered Jerusalem and went into the temple courts. He looked around at everything, but since it was already late, he went out to Bethany with the Twelve.
Jesus curses a fig-tree and clears the temple courts
12The next day as they were leaving Bethany, Jesus was hungry.13Seeing in the distance a fig-tree in leaf, he went to find out if it had any fruit. When he reached it, he found nothing but leaves, because it was not the season for figs.14Then he said to the tree, ‘May no-one ever eat fruit from you again.’ And his disciples heard him say it.15On reaching Jerusalem, Jesus entered the temple courts and began driving out those who were buying and selling there. He overturned the tables of the money-changers and the benches of those selling doves,16and would not allow anyone to carry merchandise through the temple courts.17And as he taught them, he said, ‘Is it not written: “My house will be called a house of prayer for all nations”? But you have made it “a den of robbers”. ’ (Isa 56:7; Jer 7:11)18The chief priests and the teachers of the law heard this and began looking for a way to kill him, for they feared him, because the whole crowd was amazed at his teaching.19When evening came, Jesus and his disciples went out of the city.20In the morning, as they went along, they saw the fig-tree withered from the roots.21Peter remembered and said to Jesus, ‘Rabbi, look! The fig-tree you cursed has withered!’22‘Have faith in God,’ Jesus answered.23‘Truly I tell you, if anyone says to this mountain, “Go, throw yourself into the sea,” and does not doubt in their heart but believes that what they say will happen, it will be done for them.24Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.25-26And when you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive them, so that your Father in heaven may forgive you your sins.’ (Mt 6:15)
The authority of Jesus questioned
27They arrived again in Jerusalem, and while Jesus was walking in the temple courts, the chief priests, the teachers of the law and the elders came to him.28‘By what authority are you doing these things?’ they asked. ‘And who gave you authority to do this?’29Jesus replied, ‘I will ask you one question. Answer me, and I will tell you by what authority I am doing these things.30John’s baptism – was it from heaven, or of human origin? Tell me!’31They discussed it among themselves and said, ‘If we say, “From heaven,” he will ask, “Then why didn’t you believe him?”32But if we say, “Of human origin” …’ (They feared the people, for everyone held that John really was a prophet.)33So they answered Jesus, ‘We don’t know.’ Jesus said, ‘Neither will I tell you by what authority I am doing these things.’