He set out from there and went to the region of Judea and across the Jordan. Then crowds converged on Him again and, as He usually did, He began teaching them once more.
Some Pharisees approached Him to test Him. They asked, "Is it lawful for a man to divorce [his] wife?"
He replied to them, "What did Moses command you?"
They said, "Moses permitted us to write divorce papers and send her away."
But Jesus told them, "He wrote this commandment for you because of the hardness of your hearts.
But from the beginning of creation God made them male and female.
For this reason a man will leave his father and mother [[ and be joined to his wife,]]
and the two will become one flesh. So they are no longer two, but one flesh.
Therefore what God has joined together, man must not separate."
Now in the house the disciples questioned Him again about this matter.
And He said to them, "Whoever divorces his wife and marries another commits adultery against her.
Also, if she divorces her husband and marries another, she commits adultery."
Some people were bringing little children to Him so He might touch them, but His disciples rebuked them.
When Jesus saw it, He was indignant and said to them, "Let the little children come to Me. Don't stop them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these.
I assure you: Whoever does not welcome the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it."
After taking them in His arms, He laid His hands on them and blessed them.
As He was setting out on a journey, a man ran up, knelt down before Him, and asked Him, "Good Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?"
"Why do you call Me good?" Jesus asked him. "No one is good but One-- God.
You know the commandments: Do not murder; do not commit adultery; do not steal; do not bear false witness; do not defraud; honor your father and mother."
He said to Him, "Teacher, I have kept all these from my youth."
Then, looking at him, Jesus loved him and said to him, "You lack one thing: Go, sell all you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow Me."
But he was stunned at this demand, and he went away grieving, because he had many possessions.
Jesus looked around and said to His disciples, "How hard it is for those who have wealth to enter the kingdom of God!"
But the disciples were astonished at His words. Again Jesus said to them, "Children, how hard it is to enter the kingdom of God!
It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the kingdom of God."
So they were even more astonished, saying to one another, "Then who can be saved?"
Looking at them, Jesus said, "With men it is impossible, but not with God, because all things are possible with God."
Peter began to tell Him, "Look, we have left everything and followed You."
"I assure you," Jesus said, "there is no one who has left house, brothers or sisters, mother or father, children, or fields because of Me and the gospel,
who will not receive 100 times more, now at this time-- houses, brothers and sisters, mothers and children, and fields, with persecutions-- and eternal life in the age to come.
But many who are first will be last, and the last first."
They were on the road, going up to Jerusalem, and Jesus was walking ahead of them. They were astonished, but those who followed Him were afraid. Taking the Twelve aside again, He began to tell them the things that would happen to Him.
"Listen! We are going up to Jerusalem. The Son of Man will be handed over to the chief priests and the scribes, and they will condemn Him to death. Then they will hand Him over to the Gentiles,
and they will mock Him, spit on Him, flog Him, and kill Him, and He will rise after three days."
Then James and John, the sons of Zebedee, approached Him and said, "Teacher, we want You to do something for us if we ask You."
"What do you want Me to do for you?" He asked them.
They answered Him, "Allow us to sit at Your right and at Your left in Your glory."
But Jesus said to them, "You don't know what you're asking. Are you able to drink the cup I drink or to be baptized with the baptism I am baptized with?"
"We are able," they told Him. Jesus said to them, "You will drink the cup I drink, and you will be baptized with the baptism I am baptized with.
But to sit at My right or left is not Mine to give; instead, it is for those it has been prepared for."
When the [other] 10 [disciples] heard this, they began to be indignant with James and John.
Jesus called them over and said to them, "You know that those who are regarded as rulers of the Gentiles dominate them, and their men of high positions exercise power over them.
But it must not be like that among you. On the contrary, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant,
and whoever wants to be first among you must be a slave to all.
For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life-- a ransom for many."
They came to Jericho. And as He was leaving Jericho with His disciples and a large crowd, Bartimaeus (the son of Timaeus), a blind beggar, was sitting by the road.
When he heard that it was Jesus the Nazarene, he began to cry out, "Son of David, Jesus, have mercy on me!"
Many people told him to keep quiet, but he was crying out all the more, "Have mercy on me, Son of David!"
Jesus stopped and said, "Call him." So they called the blind man and said to him, "Have courage! Get up; He's calling for you."
He threw off his coat, jumped up, and came to Jesus.
Then Jesus answered him, "What do you want Me to do for you?" "Rabbouni," the blind man told Him, "I want to see!"
"Go your way," Jesus told him. "Your faith has healed you." Immediately he could see and began to follow Him on the road.
When they approached Jerusalem, at Bethphage and Bethany near the Mount of Olives, He sent two of His disciples
and told them, "Go into the village ahead of you. As soon as you enter it, you will find a young donkey tied there, on which no one has ever sat. Untie it and bring it here.
If anyone says to you, 'Why are you doing this?' say, 'The Lord needs it and will send it back here right away.'"
So they went and found a young donkey outside in the street, tied by a door. They untied it,
and some of those standing there said to them, "What are you doing, untying the donkey?"
They answered them just as Jesus had said, so they let them go.
Then they brought the donkey to Jesus and threw their robes on it, and He sat on it.
Many people spread their robes on the road, and others spread leafy branches cut from the fields.
Then those who went ahead and those who followed kept shouting: Hosanna! Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord!
Blessed is the coming kingdom of our father David! Hosanna in the highest heaven!
And He went into Jerusalem and into the temple complex. After looking around at everything, since it was already late, He went out to Bethany with the Twelve.
The next day when they came out from Bethany, He was hungry.
After seeing in the distance a fig tree with leaves, He went to find out if there was anything on it. When He came to it, He found nothing but leaves, because it was not the season for figs.
He said to it, "May no one ever eat fruit from you again!" And His disciples heard it.
They came to Jerusalem, and He went into the temple complex and began to throw out those buying and selling in the temple. He overturned the money changers' tables and the chairs of those selling doves,
and would not permit anyone to carry goods through the temple complex.
Then He began to teach them: "Is it not written, My house will be called a house of prayer for all nations? But you have made it a den of thieves!"
Then the chief priests and the scribes heard it and started looking for a way to destroy Him. For they were afraid of Him, because the whole crowd was astonished by His teaching.
And whenever evening came, they would go out of the city.
Early in the morning, as they were passing by, they saw the fig tree withered from the roots up.
Then Peter remembered and said to Him, "Rabbi, look! The fig tree that You cursed is withered."
Jesus replied to them, "Have faith in God.
I assure you: If anyone says to this mountain, 'Be lifted up and thrown into the sea,' and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that what he says will happen, it will be done for him.
Therefore, I tell you, all the things you pray and ask for-- believe that you have received them, and you will have them.
And whenever you stand praying, if you have anything against anyone, forgive him, so that your Father in heaven will also forgive you your wrongdoing.
[[But if you don't forgive, neither will your Father in heaven forgive your wrongdoing."]]
They came again to Jerusalem. As He was walking in the temple complex, the chief priests, the scribes, and the elders came and asked Him,
"By what authority are You doing these things? Who gave You this authority to do these things?"
Jesus said to them, "I will ask you one question; then answer Me, and I will tell you by what authority I am doing these things.
Was John's baptism from heaven or from men? Answer Me."
They began to argue among themselves: "If we say, 'From heaven,' He will say, 'Then why didn't you believe him?'
But if we say, 'From men' "-- they were afraid of the crowd, because everyone thought that John was a genuine prophet.
So they answered Jesus, "We don't know." And Jesus said to them, "Neither will I tell you by what authority I do these things."
Then He began to speak to them in parables: "A man planted a vineyard, put a fence around it, dug out a pit for a winepress, and built a watchtower. Then he leased it to tenant farmers and went away.
At harvest time he sent a slave to the farmers to collect some of the fruit of the vineyard from the farmers.
But they took him, beat him, and sent him away empty-handed.
Again he sent another slave to them, and they hit him on the head and treated him shamefully.
Then he sent another, and they killed that one. [He] also [sent] many others; they beat some and they killed some.
"He still had one to send, a beloved son. Finally he sent him to them, saying, 'They will respect my son.'
"But those tenant farmers said among themselves, 'This is the heir. Come, let's kill him, and the inheritance will be ours!'
So they seized him, killed him, and threw him out of the vineyard.
"Therefore, what will the owner of the vineyard do? He will come and destroy the farmers and give the vineyard to others.
Haven't you read this Scripture: The stone that the builders rejected-- this has become the cornerstone.
This came from the Lord and is wonderful in our eyes?"
Because they knew He had said this parable against them, they were looking for a way to arrest Him, but they were afraid of the crowd. So they left Him and went away.
Then they sent some of the Pharisees and the Herodians to Him to trap Him by what He said.
When they came, they said to Him, "Teacher, we know You are truthful and defer to no one, for You don't show partiality but teach truthfully the way of God. Is it lawful to pay taxes to Caesar or not?
Should we pay, or should we not pay?" But knowing their hypocrisy, He said to them, "Why are you testing Me? Bring Me a denarius to look at."
So they brought one. "Whose image and inscription is this?" He asked them. "Caesar's," they said.
Then Jesus told them, "Give back to Caesar the things that are Caesar's, and to God the things that are God's." And they were amazed at Him.
Some Sadducees, who say there is no resurrection, came to Him and questioned Him:
"Teacher, Moses wrote for us that if a man's brother dies, leaves his wife behind, and leaves no child, his brother should take the wife and produce offspring for his brother.
There were seven brothers. The first took a wife, and dying, left no offspring.
The second also took her, and he died, leaving no offspring. And the third likewise.
The seven also left no offspring. Last of all, the woman died too.
In the resurrection, when they rise, whose wife will she be, since the seven had married her?"
Jesus told them, "Are you not deceived because you don't know the Scriptures or the power of God?
For when they rise from the dead, they neither marry nor are given in marriage but are like angels in heaven.
Now concerning the dead being raised-- haven't you read in the book of Moses, in the passage about the burning bush, how God spoke to him: I am the God of Abraham and the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob?
He is not God of the dead but of the living. You are badly deceived."
One of the scribes approached. When he heard them debating and saw that Jesus answered them well, he asked Him, "Which commandment is the most important of all?"
"This is the most important," Jesus answered: Listen, Israel! The Lord our God, The Lord is One.
Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength.
"The second is: Love your neighbor as yourself. There is no other commandment greater than these."
Then the scribe said to Him, "You are right, Teacher! You have correctly said that He is One, and there is no one else except Him.
And to love Him with all your heart, with all your understanding, and with all your strength, and to love your neighbor as yourself, is far more [important] than all the burnt offerings and sacrifices."
When Jesus saw that he answered intelligently, He said to him, "You are not far from the kingdom of God." And no one dared to question Him any longer.
So Jesus asked this question as He taught in the temple complex, "How can the scribes say that the Messiah is the Son of David?
David himself says by the Holy Spirit: The Lord declared to my Lord, 'Sit at My right hand until I put Your enemies under Your feet.'
David himself calls Him 'Lord'; how then can the Messiah be his Son?" And the large crowd was listening to Him with delight.
He also said in His teaching, "Beware of the scribes, who want to go around in long robes, and who want greetings in the marketplaces,
the front seats in the synagogues, and the places of honor at banquets.
They devour widows' houses and say long prayers just for show. These will receive harsher punishment."
Sitting across from the temple treasury, He watched how the crowd dropped money into the treasury. Many rich people were putting in large sums.
And a poor widow came and dropped in two tiny coins worth very little.
Summoning His disciples, He said to them, "I assure you: This poor widow has put in more than all those giving to the temple treasury.
For they all gave out of their surplus, but she out of her poverty has put in everything she possessed-- all she had to live on."