Matthew 21:18-27

Jesus causes a fruit tree to die

18 On the next day, early in the morning, Jesus left Bethany to return to Jerusalem. On the way, he was hungry. 19 He saw a fig tree near to the road. He went to see if it had fruit on it. But there were only leaves on the tree, and no fruit. Jesus said to the tree, ‘No fruit will ever grow on you again!’ Then, immediately, the tree became dry and it died.

20 The disciples saw it happen and they were very surprised. And they asked Jesus, ‘How did the tree die so quickly?’

21 Jesus said to them, ‘I tell you this: You must believe in God. You must not have other ideas in your mind. If you believe in God, then you could also do the same thing to this fig tree. You could even say to this mountain, “Move away and throw yourself into the sea!” Then it would really happen. 22 So, when you pray to ask God for something, believe in him. Then God will give you whatever you ask for.’

23 Then Jesus returned to the yard of God's Great House. While he was teaching the people there, the leaders of the priests and important Jews went to him. They asked him, ‘What authority do you have to do these things? Tell us. Who gave you the authority to do them?’

24 Jesus replied, ‘I also will ask you one question. If you tell me the answer, then I will answer your question. I will tell you what authority I have to do these things. 25 John baptized people. Did God give him the authority to do this? Or did men tell him to do it?’ Then the Jewish leaders talked to each other about Jesus' question. They said, ‘We could say that God gave John his authority. But if we say that, Jesus will say to us, “Then you should have believed John.” 26 But we do not want to say that only men gave John his authority. All the people think that John was a prophet from God. We are afraid that the crowd might attack us.’

27 So the Jewish leaders answered Jesus: ‘We do not know who gave John his authority.’

Jesus said to them, ‘You will not answer my question. So I will not tell you what authority I have to do these things.’