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Chapter 11

Jesus Enters Jerusalem

1Jesus and his disciples reached Bethphage and Bethany near the Mount of Olives. When they were getting close to Jerusalem, Jesus sent two of them on ahead. 2He told them, "Go into the next village. As soon as you enter it, you will find a young donkey that has never been ridden. Untie the donkey and bring it here. 3If anyone asks why you are doing that, say, `The Lord needs it and will soon bring it back.' "

4The disciples left and found the donkey tied near a door that faced the street. While they were untying it, 5some of the people standing there asked, "Why are you untying the donkey?" 6They told them what Jesus had said, and the people let them take it.

7The disciples led the donkey to Jesus. They put some of their clothes on its back, and Jesus got on. 8Many people spread clothes on the road, while others went to cut branches from the fields.

9In front of Jesus and behind him, people went along shouting,

God bless the one
who comes
in the name of the Lord
God bless the coming kingdom
of our ancestor David
Hooray for God
in heaven above!

11After Jesus had gone to Jerusalem, he went into the temple and looked around at everything. But since it was already late in the day, he went back to Bethany with the twelve disciples.

Jesus Puts a Curse on a Fig Tree

12When Jesus and his disciples left Bethany the next morning, he was hungry. 13From a distance Jesus saw a fig tree covered with leaves, and he went to see if there were any figs on the tree. But there were not any, because it wasn't the season for figs. 14So Jesus said to the tree, "Never again will anyone eat fruit from this tree!" The disciples heard him say this.

Jesus in the Temple

15After Jesus and his disciples reached Jerusalem, he went into the temple and began chasing out everyone who was selling and buying. He turned over the tables of the moneychangers and the benches of those who were selling doves. 16Jesus would not let anyone carry things through the temple. 17Then he taught the people and said, "The Scriptures say, `My house should be called a place of worship for all nations.' But you have made it a place where robbers hide!"

18The chief priests and the teachers of the Law of Moses heard what Jesus said, and they started looking for a way to kill him. They were afraid of him, because the crowds were completely amazed at his teaching.

19That evening, Jesus and the disciples went outside the city.  

A Lesson from the Fig Tree

20As the disciples walked past the fig tree the next morning, they noticed that it was completely dried up, roots and all. 21Peter remembered what Jesus had said to the tree. Then Peter said, "Teacher, look! The tree you put a curse on has dried up."

22Jesus told his disciples:

Have faith in God! 23If you have faith in God and don't doubt, you can tell this mountain to get up and jump into the sea, and it will. 24Everything you ask for in prayer will be yours, if you only have faith.

25-26Whenever you stand up to pray, you must forgive what others have done to you. Then your Father in heaven will forgive your sins. 

A Question about Jesus' Authority

27Jesus and his disciples returned to Jerusalem. And as he was walking through the temple, the chief priests, the nation's leaders, and the teachers of the Law of Moses came over to him. 28They asked, "What right do you have to do these things? Who gave you this authority?"

29Jesus answered, "I have just one question to ask you. If you answer it, I will tell you where I got the right to do these things. 30Who gave John the right to baptize? Was it God in heaven or merely some human being?"

31They thought it over and said to each other, "We can't say that God gave John this right. Jesus will ask us why we didn't believe John. 32On the other hand, these people think that John was a prophet. So we can't say that it was merely some human who gave John the right to baptize."

They were afraid of the crowd 33and told Jesus, "We don't know."

Jesus replied, "Then I won't tell you who gave me the right to do what I do."