TWENTY-ONE THE TRIUMPHANT ENTRY INTO JERUSALEM And when they drew near Jerusalem and came to the Mount of Olives near Bethphage, Jesus sent two disciples and told them, "Go, bring here the ass tied and the colt with her you will find in the village east. And if anyone says anything to you, tell them the Lord needs the beasts, and immediately he will send them;" now this was done that as was spoken through the prophet might thus come to pass: "Tell the daughter of Zion, 'Behold, the king comes to thee, meek and seated on an ass, and a colt, a foal of a burden beast.'" So the disciples went and did as Jesus has directed that they do, and they brought the beasts back to him and laid their cloaks upon the two and made him sit up there upon, and most of the crowd, as he rode, spread their cloaks, while others cut branches which they strew before him on the road. And the crowds that went before him and those behind cried out and adored, "Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord! Hosanna in the highest!," and when he entered Jerusalem, all the city was thrown to commotion saying, "Who is this among all them?" But the crowds kept saying, "This is Jesus that you see, the prophet who comes upon us from Nazareth of Galilee." THE MONEYCHANGERS IN THE TEMPLE And Jesus entered the Temple of God and cast out all those who were selling and buying in the Temple, and he overturned the tables, too, of the moneychangers, and the seats of those who sold the doves. He said to them, "It is written, 'My house is a house of prayer,' but you have made it a bandits' den." And the blind and lame came to him in the Temple, and he healed them there. But the chief priests and Scribes, seeing the deeds and the children crying out prayers of 'Hosanna to the Son of David,' were indignant, and said to him, "Dost thou hear what these are saying?" And Jesus said to them, "Yes, and have you never read, 'Out of the mouths of suckling infants, he has perfected praise?'" And leaving them, he went out and stayed at Bethany. JESUS CURSES THE FIG TREE Now in the morning, on his way back to the city, he wanted to eat. And seeing a fig tree by the wayside, he came up to it to treat himself, but found nothing on it but leaves, and said to it, "May no fruit come from thee henceforth forever!" And at once the tree withered up and was done. Seeing this, the disciples said marveling, "How did it wither so fast?" But Jesus answered and said to them, "Such things rest on the faith thou hast. Amen, amen, I say to you, if you have faith and waver not, not only will you do what I did to the tree, but whatever you will, shall be got; even if you say to the mountain, 'Arise, and hurl thyself in the sea,' it shall be done. And all things you ask in prayer shall be given to thee." THE AUTHORITY OF JESUS And when he had come into the Temple, the chief priests and elders came as he was teaching; "By what authority do you act? And who gave this authority to thee?," they asked him, and he answered them, "I also will ask one thing, and if you will answer this, I will tell you what authority it is I bring. Whence, then, was the baptism of John? From heaven, or was it from men?" And they began to argue among themselves saying, "If we say from heaven, then, he will say to us, 'Why did you not believe him,' but if we say from men, we fear the people, because he's a prophet to them," and they finally answered Jesus and said, "We do not know these things," and he in turn told them, "Neither do I tell you what authority I bring." THE PARABLES OF THE TWO SONS AND OF THE VINEDRESSERS "But what do you think? A man had two sons, and he came to the first and said, 'Son, go work in the vineyard,' but he answered, 'I will not,' instead. But he regretted it after, and went to work. And he addressed the other the same way, and this one answered, 'I go, sir,' but he did not, instead, all that day. Which of these two did the father's will?" And they answered, "The first one, we say, because whatever he said at first, in reality, he did obey." Then Jesus said to them, "Amen, I say to you, the publicans and harlots are entering the kingdom of God before you, though you had the advantage by far. For John came to you in justice, and you did not believe what he taught. But the publicans and harlots believed him, whereas you didn't repent, though you ought." "Hear another parable, all of you; there was a man, a householder, who planted a vineyard and put up a hedge and dug a vat and built a tower, too. Then he let it out to wine-dressers and then he went abroad for a year. And he sent his servants to receive his fruits when the fruit season had drawn near. But they seized his servants and beat one, killed another, and they stoned the third; so he sent another party of servants, more numerous, for he had heard; and they did the same to these, as well, so that finally he sent his son to them, thinking, 'They'll surely respect him,' but the winedressers, seeing him come, said to themselves, 'This is his heir; come, let us kill him,' and they said, 'so then we shall have his inheritance;' so they seized him and cast him out dead. When, therefore, the owner returns, what will he do to these brutes?" And they said, "He'll utterly destroy them, and rent it to who'll render him fruit." Jesus asked, "Did you not read the Scriptures? 'The stone which the builders reject has become the cornerstone, by the Lord this was done, and it is wonderful to our eyes.' I project therefore to you, that the kingdom of God shall be taken away from you, and be given to the people yielding its fruits. And he will be broken into pieces who falls upon this stone but upon whomever it falls, it will grind them to powder and ashes - - - those who heard, but ignored his calls." And when the chief priests and Pharisees heard Jesus, they knew that he meant them, but they feared the people who held him a prophet, though they sought to lay their hands on him. THE PRODIGAL SON (FROM LUKE 15, 11-32) And Jesus said, "A certain man had two sons. And the younger of them said to him, 'Father, give me my share of the wealth.' And he divided his means between them. Not many days later, the young man gathered up all his wealth and set out to go on a journey to a distant country where he squandered all that he owned. His fortune gone, there came a famine over that country, and he began to suffer want so he worked on a farm feeding swine, but when again he came to himself, he said, 'How many hired men in my father's home have bread in abundance while I perish here in hunger. No more shall I roam. I will go and say, 'Father, I have sinned against thee. I'm not fit to be called thy son; make me as one of thy hired men." And he arose and went that it be done. But while he was yet a long way off, his father saw him and was possessed with compassion, and ran out and kissed him. And the son said, 'Father, I confess, that I have sinned against heaven and before thee. I am not worthy to be called thy son.' But the father said to his servants, 'Fetch the best robe and put it on him, and give him sandals for his feet; kill the fattest calf for a feast, and let us eat and make merry, for my spirit has been thus increased, because this my son was dead and now he has come to life, again; he was lost, and now he is found!' And they began to make merry then. Now the older son, out in the fields, came and inquired at the din, and was angered by what was happening, and he refused to enter in. His father, therefore, began to entreat him, but he told him, 'I have many years served thee without transgression, and yet you've never given by friends such cheer. But when thy son who has squandered his means with harlots comes back to thee, thou hast killed for him the fattened calf.' But he said, 'Son, thou art always with me. All that is mine is thine, but he was lost, and now he is found. For this thy brother was dead, and he lives; to make merry and rejoice, we are bound.'" TWENTY-TWO THE PARABLE OF THE MARRIAGE FEAST And Jesus addressed them in parables again, as he had often done, saying, "The kingdom of heaven is like a king who made a marriage for his son. And he sent his servants to call in those he had invited to attend, but they would not come in, and so other servants he did send to tell them, 'Behold, I have prepared my dinner; my oxen are killed, and everything is ready, come to the feast, but the people would not yield, but made light of it, and they went off, one to his business, another to his farm; and the rest laid hold of his servants, treated them shamefully, and did them harm. But when the king heard this, he was angry, and he sent his armies to burn their cities and destroy those murderers, and he said to his servants, 'Turn and go out on the crossroads and invite to the feast whomever is there, for the marriage feast is indeed ready, and those invited were not worthy to share.' And his servants went out on the highways and gathered all whom they found, both good and bad, and the marriage feast with guests did abound. Now the king came to see the guests, and he saw there was a man who did not have on a wedding garment. And he said, 'Friend, how is it you can come in here without proper garment?' But he was speechless, and so the king said, 'Bind his hands and feet and cast him forth into the darkness that will bring the weeping and gnashing of teeth to those whom I offered help but they refused.' For I say to you there are many called, but there are few that He will choose." TRIBUTE TO GOD AND CAESAR Then the Pharisees went and took counsel on how they might trap him in his speech. And they sent to him their disciples with the Herodians to hear him teach. And they said, "Master, we know that thou art truthful, and thou teach the way of God in truth, and that thou care naught for any man, what dost thou say? Tell us, therefore, is it lawful to give tribute to Caesar, or no?" But Jesus, knowing their wickedness, said, "Why do you test me so? You hypocrites, show me the coin of the tribute." So they offered a denarias to him. Then Jesus said, "Whose image and inscription are these?" And they said, "Caesar's," and he told them, "Render, therefore, to ?Caesar, the things that are Caesar's to own, and to God, the things that are God's," and they marveled and left him alone. THE GREAT COMMANDMENT On that same day, some of the Sadducees who say there is no resurrection, came to him and questioned him, saying, "Master, Moses said, so they claim, 'If a man dies without having a son, his brother shall marry the widow and raise up issue to his brother.' Now, there were among us, even so, seven brothers. And the first, after marrying, died, and having no issue, he left his wife to his brother. And each one, from the third to the seventh all cleft to her in turn until at last she died. At the resurrection, of which one will she be the wife? For all had her." But Jesus answered when they were done, "You err because you know not either the Scripture or the power of the Lord. For at the resurrection they'll not be given, but will be angles of the God they adored. But as to the resurrection which will come of the dead, what was spoken to you to this day by God has none of you ever read? 'I am the God of Abraham and the God of Isaac and Jacob.' He is not the God of the dead, but the living, whose teachings you corrupt." And when the crowds had heard this, they marveled at what he taught. But the Pharisees heard he had silenced the Sadducees, and gathering together, one sought to test him, who was a doctor of the Law, and asked him, "Master, explain which is the greatest commandment in the Law?" And Jesus answered him plain, "' Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with thy whole heart, soul, and mind.' This is the greatest and first commandment. And the second is like it in kind; 'Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself;' on these two commandments depends the whole of the Law and the Prophets from the beginning down to the end." Now while the Pharisees were gathered together, Jesus questioned them and asked, "What do you think of the Christ, whose son is he to be?," and they cast their opinion, and said to him, "David's," and so he asked them and said, "How then does David call him Lord in the Spirit, for you have read, 'The Lord said to my God; Sit at my right hand till I make thine enemies thy footstool'? If David, therefore, calls him 'Lord,' how is he his son?" No rule of answer could they give to him, and they answered him not a word; neither did anyone from that day dare ask him any questions, be assured. TWENTY-THREE JESUS REBUKES THE SCRIBES AND THE PHARISEES Then Jesus spoke to the crowds and said, "The Scribes and Pharisees have sat on the chair of Moses. All things that they command you should do, therefore, but that done according to their works, do not act as they, for they talk, but they do naught. And heavy and oppressive burdens upon the people they have brought, and bound them to obey them, though they lift no finger of their own. In fact, all works they do, they work in order to be seen, alone; for they widen their phylacteries and enlarge their tassels and want the first places at suppers, and front seats in the synagogues, and they hunt greetings in the market place and to be called 'Rabbi' by men, too. But do not you be called 'Rabbi' for one is your Master, and as brothers are you. And call no one on earth your father, for one is your Father in heaven. Neither be called Master, for but one is your Master, the Christ, again. He is greatest among you who shall be your servant, and who exalts himself, shall be humbled, and he who humbles himself, shall loose fault. But woe to you, Scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites!, because you close the kingdom of heaven against men, because you yourselves chose not to go in, nor do you allow those going in, to enter, and woe to you, Scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites!, you transverse sea and land to make one convert, and winning him, you make him twofold more a son of Hell than yourselves. Woe to you, who ignore, as blind guides, the Lord's way and say, 'Whoever swears by the Temple,' it's unsound, but whoever swears by the gold of the Temple, he is bound.' Blind ones! For which is greater, the gift, or the alter, that makes it sanctified? He who swears by the alter, swears by it, and by him who dwells and abides therein, and receives the blessings of he who dwells within. And he who swears by heaven, swears by the Throne of God, and upon Him. Woe to you, Scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites!, because you pay tithes on mint and anise, but leave heavy matters of law to stay undone - - - right judgment, mercy, and faith - - - these things you ought to have done, while yet not leaving unfinished, the less important ones. Blind guides, who strain the gnat out, but swallow the camel, unseen. Woe to you, Scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites!, because you clean the outside of your cup and dish, but inside, they are marked by theft and uncleanness. Thou blind Pharisees! Clean the insides, first, that the outsides, too, may be clean. Woe to you, you hypocrites!, because you are like whited sepulchers, which outwardly appear as fit to be admired as beautiful by men, but are full of bones inside of dead men and of all uncleanness. So you also appear, but hide within you all hypocrisy and iniquity. Woe to you, who build, Scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites, sepulchers of the prophets, and shield and adorn the tombs of the just, and say, 'If we had lived in the days of our fathers, we would not have been their accomplices when the prophets paid in blood.' Thus, you are witness against yourselves that you are the sons of those who killed the prophets. You are filled with their measure, too. Serpents, brood of vipers, how will you escape the judgment of Hell? Therefore, behold, I sent you prophets, and wise men, and scribes to tell you the way; and some of them you put to death and crucify, and some of them you scourge in your synagogues, and persecute, arrest, and try, from town to town; that upon you may come all the just blood that has been shed upon the earth from the blood of Abel to that of Zacharias, son of Barachias, whom you killed between the Temple and the alter. Amen, I say, this generation shall not have been finished, and all these things shall come to pass on them. Thou who killed the prophets, Jerusalem, Jerusalem!, and stonest those who are sent to thee! How often shall I bring thy children gathered together, as a hen, under her wind collects her young, but thou wouldst not! Your house is left to you, desolate. Behold! Henceforth, you'll not see me until the day, I say onto you, that you shall yield hypocrisy and see who it is that came, and say, 'Blessed is he who comes to us in the Lord God's holy name!'" TWENTY-FOUR ON THE LAST DAYS And Jesus left the Temple and was going away when his disciples came forward to show him the buildings of the Temple, but then Jesus answered them and said, "Do you see all these things around? Amen, I say, there will not be left one stone on another not thrown down." And sitting on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to him and said, "Tell us, when will these things happen, what sign will you send ahead of thy coming and of the end of the world?," and Jesus replied, "Take care that no one leads you astray for many will come who have lied in my name saying, 'I am the Christ,' and they will lead many astray. For you will hear of wars and rumors of wars. Take care that you, in those days, do not get alarmed, for these things must each of them come to pass, but the end is not yet, for the tribulations shall just have begun to amass. For nation shall rise up against nation, and kingdom against kingdom; and there will be pestilence and famines and earthquakes in places everywhere. But all of these are the beginning of the sorrows that are to occur. Then they'll deliver you up to tribulation and put you to death. To be sure, you will be hated by all of the nations for my name's sake. Many will fall away and hate one another and will lose faith, and one another will betray. And many false prophets will arise and will lead many astray. And because iniquity will abound, the charity of many will grow cold, but I say whoever perseveres onto the end, he shall be saved, and the word of the kingdom shall be preached to the whole world for a witness to all nations, be assured. For victory is not to the swift, but to he who perseveres to the end; and I will walk beside they who will continue to call me friend. And only when all of these things have come to pass, will God send His angels to mark the day I return, and then will come the end. Therefore, when you see the abomination of destruction of which Daniel spoke, standing in the holy place, then let those in Judea be woke and flee up into the mountains, and let him on his housetop not go down to take anything from out of his house, and let him in his field not turn around to take up his cloak. But woe to those who are with child in those days, or have infants at the breast in feeding, for the way will be hard. But pray that your flight might not be in winter, or on the Sabbath. For then there will be great tribulation, the likes of which no man ever had to see from the beginning of the world until now, nor will there ever else be. But the Lord God in His wisdom, is filled with compassion and mercy, and unless those days had been shortened, no creature would have been saved to report. But for the sake of the elect, those days will be made short. Then, if anyone says to you, 'Here is the Christ, behold,' or 'There he is,' do not believe it. For there will be false Christs untold and false prophets who will arise and show great wonders and great signs, so as to lead astray, if possible, even the elect, and make them as blind. Behold, I have told you beforehand, so if therefore, they say to you, 'Behold, he is in the desert,' don't go, or 'He is in the inner chambers,' do not believe it. For as lightning comes forth from the east and shines to the west, so will the coming of the Son of Man be. Where the body is, the eagles will press. But immediately after the tribulation of those days, the sun will be dark, and the moon will not give her light, and stars from the sky will disembark and fall, and the powers of heaven be shaken. And then the sign will appear of the Son of Man in heaven; and then the tribes of earth will mourn in fear, and they will see the Son of Man coming upon the clouds of heaven in majesty. And he will send forth His angels with trumpets and a great sound from them there will be. And they will gather the elect from the four winds and from one end of the heavens clear to the other, as a shepherd his flock will tend. Now from the fig tree, learn this parable; when its branch is tender, the leaves break forth, and you know the summer is near. Even so, when you see these things, believe that it is near, even at the door. This generation will not pass away, till all these things have been accomplished. Heaven and earth will pass, but my words stay. But of that day and hour, no one knows but the Father alone, not even the angels of heaven. As in the days of Noah it was shown, thus will be the coming of the Son of Man. Two men will be in the field; one will be lost and one be gained. Two women will be grinding the yield of the harvest at the millstone; one will be taken and the other remain. And no one knows but the Father, the time or each of their names. Watch, therefore, for you do not know at what hour your Lord is to come. But of this be assured, if householder had known the thief would enter his home at a particular hour, he certainly would have lain in wait of him, and not let his house be broken into. He'll come when you least expect him; therefore, you must be always prepared. Who is the faithful servant who his master has set over his household to give them food when the time is due? Blessed is that servant, whom his master, when he comes, shall find him so doing. Amen, I say, he will set him over his sums of goods. But if that servant is wicked and says to himself, 'My master delays his coming,' and then squanders as his own the wealth, and begins to beat his fellow servants, and with drunkards to eat and drink, the master of that servant will come on a day and hour he does not think, and will make him share the lot of hypocrites, and cut him asunder with the sword in his sheath. And on that day there will be weeping, and also the gnashing of teeth." Continue Return to beginning of POeTRY