Matthew 21 – Den of Thieves – The Gospels

Read Gospel of Matthew OnlineWhen they had almost reached Jerusalem, having come as far as Bethphage, on the Mount of Olives, Jesus sent on two disciples. 2 “Go to the village facing you,” he said, “and you will immediately find a donkey tethered, with a foal by her side; untie her, and lead her here for me. 3 And, if anyone says anything to you, you are to say this: ‘The Master wants them’; and he will send them at once.” 4 This happened in fulfillment of these words by the prophet: 5 ‘Say to the daughter of Zion: Behold, thy King is coming to thee, Gentle, and riding on an ass, and on the foal of a beast of burden.'”

6 So the disciples went and did as Jesus had directed them. 7 They led the ass and the foal back, and, when they had put their cloaks on them, he seated himself upon them. 8 The immense crowd of people spread their cloaks in the road, while some cut branches off the trees, and spread them on the road. 9 The crowds that led the way, as well as those that followed behind, kept shouting: “God save the Son of David! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord! God save him from on high!”

10 When he had entered Jerusalem, the whole city was stirred, and asked: 11 “Who is this?”, to which the crowd replied: “This is the prophet Jesus from Nazareth in Galilee.” 12 Jesus went into the temple courts, and drove out all those who were buying and selling there. He overturned the tables of the money-changers, and the seats of the pigeon-dealers, 13 And said to them: “Scripture says: ‘My House shall be called a house of prayer‘; but you are making it ‘a den of thieves.'”

14 While he was still in the temple courts, some blind and some lame people came up to him, and he cured them. 15 But, when the chief priests and the teachers of the law saw the wonderful things that Jesus did, and the boys who were calling out in the temple courts, “God save the Son of David!”, they were indignant, 16 And said to him: “Do you hear what these boys are saying?” “Yes,” answered Jesus; “but did you never read the words: ‘Out of the mouths of babes and sucklings thou has called forth perfect praise’?”

17 Then he left them, and went out of the city to Bethany, and spent the night there. 18 The next morning, in returning to the city, Jesus became hungry; 19 And, noticing a solitary fig tree by the road-side; he went up to it, but found nothing on it but leaves. So he said to it: “Never again shall fruit be gathered off you.” And suddenly the fruit tree withered up.

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20 When the disciples saw this, they exclaimed in astonishment: “How suddenly the fig tree withered up!” 21 “I tell you,” replied Jesus, “if you have faith, without ever a doubt, you will do what not only has been done to the fig tree, but, even if you should say to this hill: ‘Be lifted up and hurled into the sea!’ it would be done. 22 And whatever you ask for in your prayers will, if you have faith, be granted you.” 23 After Jesus had come into the temple courts, the chief priests and the councilors of the nation came up to him as he was teaching, and said: “What authority have you to do these things? Who gave you this authority?”

24 “I, too,” said Jesus in reply, “will ask you one question; if you will give me an answer to it, then I, also, will tell you what authority I have to act as I do. 25 It is about John’s baptism. What was its origin? Divine or human?” But they began arguing among themselves: “If we say, ‘divine,’ he will say to us, ‘Why then did not you believe him?’ 26 But if we say, ‘human’, we are afraid of the people, for everyone regards John as a prophet.” 27 So the answer they gave Jesus was: “We do not know.”

“Then I,” Jesus said, “refuse to tell you what authority I have to do these things. 28 What do you think of this? There was a man who had two sons. He went to the elder and said, ‘Go and work in the vineyard today my son.’ 29 ‘Yes, sir,’ he answered; but he did not go. 30 Then the father went to the second son, and said the same. ‘I will not,’ he answered; but afterwards he was sorry and went.”

31 “Which of the two sons did as his father wished?” “The second,” they said. “I tell you,” added Jesus, “that tax-collectors and prostitutes are going into the kingdom of God before you. 32 For when John came to you, walking in the path of righteousness, you did not believe him, but tax-gatherers and prostitutes did; and yet you, though you saw this, even then were not sorry, nor did you believe him.”

33 “Listen to another parable. A man, who was an employer, once planted a vineyard, put a fence round it, dug a winepress in it, built a tower, and then rented it out to tenants and went abroad. 34 When the time for the vintage drew near, he sent his servants to the tenants, to receive his share of the produce. 35 But the tenants seized his servants, beat one, killed another, and stoned a third. 36 A second time the owner sent some servants, a larger number than before, and the tenants treated them in the same way.”

37 As a last resource he sent his son to them. ‘They will respect my son,’ he said. 38 But the tenants, on seeing his son, said to each other ‘Here is the heir! Come, let us kill him, and get his inheritance.’ 39 So they seized him, and threw him outside the vineyard, and killed him.”

40 Now, when the owner of the vineyard comes, what will he do to those tenants?” 41 “Miserable wretches!” they exclaimed, “he will put them to a miserable death, and he will rent out the vineyard to other tenants, who will pay him his share of the produce at the proper times.”

42 Then Jesus added: “Have you never read in the scriptures that the very stone which the builders despised has now itself become the corner-stone; this corner-stone has come from the Lord, and is marvelous in our eyes’? 43 And that, I tell you, is why the kingdom of God will be taken from you, and given to a nation that does produce the fruit of the kingdom. 44 Yes, and he who falls on this stone will be dashed to pieces, while anyone on whom it falls, it will scatter him as dust.”

45 After listening to these parables, the chief priests and the Pharisees saw that it was about them that he was speaking. 46 Yet, although eager to arrest him, they were afraid of the crowds, who regarded him as a prophet.


To read the Chapter 22 of the Gospel of Matthew, please go to: Render to Caesar.

Read our free online book The Lord’s Prayer for Daily Life to explore the four Gospels of Jesus the Christ through The Lord’s Prayer.