In the den of thieves

As Jesus and his disciples approached Jerusalem, they came in sight of Bethphage on the Mount of Olives.

“Go into that village ahead of you,” he said to two of the disciples. “As soon as you enter it, you’ll see a donkey tied there, with her colt beside her. Untie both of them and bring them back to me. If anyone asks you what you’re doing, say, ‘The Lord needs them,’ and he’ll let you take the straight away.”

This took place to fulfil what the prophet had said: “Tell the daughter of Jerusalem, ‘Look, your King is coming to you. He is humble and riding on a donkey—yes, riding on the colt of a donkey.’”

The disciples did as Jesus had commanded and brought the donkey and her colt to him. Then they threw their cloaks over the colt, and he sat upon it.

Some in the crowds that were with him spread their cloaks on the road, while others cut branches from the trees and spread them across the road. The crowds that went ahead of Jesus, and those that followed him, shouted: Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord! Hosanna in the highest heaven!”

When Jesus entered Jerusalem, the whole city was agitated.

“Who’s this man?” they asked.

“This is Jesus,” said the crowds, “the prophet from Nazareth in Galilee.”

Jesus went straight into the temple and began to drive out all the people buying and selling animals there. He overturned the tables of the money-changers and the benches of those who sold doves, saying, “It’s written: ‘My house will be called a house of prayer,’ but you’ve turned it into a den of thieves!”

People who were blind and lame came to him in the temple, and he healed them. But when the chief priests and the teachers of the law saw the wonderful things he did and heard children shouting, “Hosanna to the Son of David!” they were indignant.

“Can’t you hear what these children are saying?” they asked him.

“Yes, I can,” he said. “You must have read the scripture which says: ‘Out of the mouths of babes and sucklings you have perfected praise.’”

Then Jesus left the temple and went back to Bethany, where he stayed the night.

In the morning, as Jesus was returning to Jerusalem, he was hungry. Noticing a fig-tree beside the road, he went over to see if there were any figs, but there was nothing but leaves.

“May you never bear fruit again!” said Jesus, and the fig-tree immediately withered.

The disciples were amazed.

“Why did that fig-tree wither so quickly?” they asked.

“I can assure you,” said Jesus, “if you have faith and don’t doubt, not only can you do what was done to the fig-tree, but you can also say to this mountain, ‘Go and throw yourself into the sea,’ and it will happen. If you believe, you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer.”


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