New Testament

The parable of the two sons and God’s contempt for hypocrisy (Matthew 21:28 – 21:32)

After being challenged by the chief priests, Jesus told them a parable of two sons. He said, “What do you think? There was a man who had two sons. He went to the first and said, ‘Son, go and work today in the vineyard.’‘I will not,’ he answered, but later regretted his response, changed his mind, and went into the vineyard to work as his father instructed.Then the father went to the other son and said the same thing. The son answered, ‘I will, sir’ but he did not go.Which of these sons did what the father wanted?” “The first,” they answered. Jesus said to them: “Truly I tell you, the tax collectors and prostitutes are entering the kingdom of God ahead of you. For John came to you

The priests question Jesus’ authority but are unable to complete his test (Matthew 21:23 – 21:27).

Jesus taught in the temple courts. The chief priests and the elders of the people went to him and asked, “By what authority are you doing these things? And who gave you this authority?” Jesus replied, “I will ask you a question. If you answer me, I will tell you by what authority I am doing these things. John’s baptism – where did it come from? Was it from heaven or of human origin?” The elders discussed it among themselves and said, “If we say ‘from heaven’ Jesus will ask, ‘then why did you not believe him?’. But if we say ‘of human origin’, we are afraid we will insult the people who believe John was a prophet.” So the elders answered Jesus, “We do not know”. Then Jesus said, “Then

Jesus curses a fig tree and teaches the disciples that with faith, they can move mountains (Matthew 21:18 – 21:22).

After spending the night in Bethany, Jesus and the disciples travelled back to Jerusalem. Jesus was hungry. He saw a fig tree by the road and went up to it but found nothing except for leaves. He said to the tree, “May you never bear fruit again.” Immediately the tree withered. When the disciples saw this, they were amazed. They asked, “How did the fig tree wither so quickly?” Jesus replied, “If you have faith and do not doubt, not only can you do what was done to the fig tree but also you can say to this mountain, ‘Go, throw yourself into the sea’ and it will be done. If you believe, you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer.” What the story means to us today The

Jesus drives the money changers out of the Temple (Matthew 21:12 – 21:17).

Upon entering Jerusalem, Jesus entered the temple courts and drove out all those who were buying and selling there. He overturned the tables of the money changers and the benches of those selling doves. He said to the people there: “It is written, my house will be called a house of prayer, but you are making it a den of robbers.” The blind and the lame came to visit Jesus at the temple and he healed them. When the chief priests and the teachers of the law saw the things Jesus did and heard the children shouting in the temple courts, “Hosanna to the Son of David”, they were indignant. “Do you hear what these children are saying?” they asked him. Jesus replied, “Yes, Have you never read ‘from the

Jesus arrives in Jerusalem as a King riding atop a donkey (Matthew 21:1 – 21:11).

After healing the two blind men, Jesus left Jericho and travelled to Jerusalem with the disciples. As they came to Bethphage on the Mount of Olives (just outside Jerusalem), Jesus sent two disciples ahead saying to them, “Go to the village ahead. You will find a donkey there with her colt near her. Untie them and bring them to me. If anyone says anything to you, tell them the Lord needs them.” This fulfilled the prophecy, “Say to Daughter Zion, see, your king comes to you gentle and riding on a donkey and a colt.” As instructed, the disciples retrieved the donkey and colt and placed their coats on their backs for Jesus to sit on. A very large crowd spread their cloaks on the road while others

Jesus heals the blind men – Jesus touches their eyes and gives two blind men their sight back (Matthew 20:29 – 20:34).

As Jesus and the disciples were about to leave Jericho, a large crowd followed them. Two blind men were sitting by the roadside and when they heard Jesus passing by, they shouted, “Lord, Son of David, have mercy on us!” The crowd told the men to be quiet, but they shouted all the louder, “Lord, Son of David, have mercy on us!” Jesus stopped and called to them. “What do you want me to do for you?” They answered, “Lord, we want our sight.” Jesus had compassion on them and touched their eyes. Jesus healed the blind men. Immediately they received their sight and followed him. What the story means to us today Jesus ignores the crowds’ inhumanity and takes compassion on the blind men The crowds apparently believed that someone as important

A mother requests the impossible as Jesus reveals the Father’s wishes supersede his own (Matthew 20:20 – 20:28).

The mother of Zebedee’s sons (the disciples James and John) came to Jesus, knelt down, and asked a favor of him. “What is it you want?” Jesus asked. “Grant that one of my two sons may sit at your right side and the other at your left side in your kingdom.” “You do not understand what you are asking,” Jesus said to them. “Can you drink the cup that I am going to drink?” “We can,” they answered. Jesus said, “You will indeed drink from my cup, but to sit at my right or left-hand side is not for me to grant. These places belong to those for whom they have been prepared by my Father.” When the other ten disciples heard about this, they were indignant with the two brothers. Jesus

Jesus predicts his death for the third time (Matthew 20:17 – 20:19).

Jesus was travelling to Jerusalem. On the way, he took the disciples aside and told them: “We are going up to Jerusalem and the Son of Man will be delivered over to the chief priests and the teachers of the law. They will condemn him to death and will hand him over to the Gentiles to be mocked and flogged and crucified. On the third day, he will be raised from death and will live again!” What the story means to us today Man’s difficult believing and maintaining faith has not changed This is Jesus’ third and final “passion prediction”. It surely stunned the disciples. Despite the astonishing revelation, the disciples continued to squabble with each other over who will be the most important to the ministry. It will

The parable of the workers in the vineyard – the last will be first and the first will be last (Matthew 20:1 – 20:16).

After telling the disciples how difficult it is for a rich person to enter heaven, Jesus said, “Many who are first will be last and many who are last will be first.” To explain, he then told them a parable about workers in a vineyard. Jesus said, “The kingdom of heaven is like a landowner who went out in the early morning to hire workers for his vineyard. He agreed to pay them a denarius for a day’s work and sent them into the field. Later, about 9:00 in the morning, he went out and saw others standing in the marketplace with no work. He told them, “Go and work in my vineyard and I will pay you whatever is right.” So they went. He went out again around noon

Jesus tells us it’s easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for someone rich to enter heaven (Matthew 19:16 – 19:30).

A man came to Jesus  and asked, “Teacher, what good thing must I do to get eternal life?” Jesus replied, “Why do you ask me about what is good? There is only one who is good. If you want eternal life, keep the commandments.” “Which ones?” he inquired. Jesus replied, “You shall not murder, you shall not commit adultery, you shall not steal, you shall not give false testimony, honor your father and mother, and love your neighbor as yourself.” “All of these things I have kept,” the young man answered. “What do I still lack?” Jesus answered, “If you want to be perfect, go, sell your possessions and give it to the poor and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.” When the young man heard this, he went away