Don’t Be Like the Pharisees
1 Many thousands of people came together. There were so many people that they were stepping on each other. Before Jesus spoke to the people, he said to his followers, “Be careful of the yeast of the Pharisees. I mean that they are hypocrites. 2 Everything that is hidden will be shown, and everything that is secret will be made known. 3 What you say in the dark will be told in the light. And what you whisper in a private room will be shouted from the top of the house.”
Fear Only God
4 Then Jesus said to the people, “I tell you, my friends, don’t be afraid of people. They can kill the body, but after that they can do nothing more to hurt you. 5 I will show you the one to fear. You should fear God, who has the power to kill you and also to throw you into hell. Yes, he is the one you should fear.
6 “When birds are sold, five small birds cost only two pennies. But God does not forget any of them. 7 Yes, God even knows how many hairs you have on your head. Don’t be afraid. You are worth much more than many birds.
Don’t Be Ashamed of Your Faith
(Matthew 10:32-33; 12:32; 10:19-20)
8 “I tell you, if you stand before others and are willing to say you believe in me, then I* I Literally, “the Son of Man” (Jesus). will say that you belong to me. I will say this in the presence of God’s angels. 9 But if you stand before others and say you do not believe in me, then I will say that you do not belong to me. I will say this in the presence of God’s angels.
10 “Whoever says something against the Son of Man can be forgiven. But whoever speaks against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven.
11 “When men bring you into the synagogues before the leaders and other important men, don’t worry about what you will say. 12 The Holy Spirit will teach you at that time what you should say.”
Jesus Warns Against Selfishness
13 One of the men in the crowd said to Jesus, “Teacher, our father just died and left some things for us. Tell my brother to share them with me.”
14 But Jesus said to him, “Who said I should be your judge or decide how to divide your father’s things between you two?” 15 Then Jesus said to them, “Be careful and guard against all kinds of greed. People do not get life from the many things they own.”
16 Then Jesus used this story: “There was a rich man who had some land. His land grew a very good crop of food. 17 He thought to himself, ‘What will I do? I have no place to keep all my crops.’
18 “Then he said, ‘I know what I will do. I will tear down my barns and build bigger barns! I will put all my wheat and good things together in my new barns. 19 Then I can say to myself, I have many good things stored. I have saved enough for many years. Rest, eat, drink, and enjoy life!’
20 “But God said to that man, ‘Foolish man! Tonight you will die. So what about the things you prepared for yourself? Who will get those things now?’
21 “This is how it will be for anyone who saves things only for himself. To God that person is not rich.”
Put God’s Kingdom First
(Matthew 6:25-34; 19—21)
22 Jesus said to his followers, “So I tell you, don’t worry about the things you need to live—what you will eat or what you will wear. 23 Life is more important than food, and the body is more important than what you put on it. 24 Look at the birds. They don’t plant, harvest, or save food in houses or barns, but God feeds them. And you are worth much more than crows. 25 None of you can add any time to your life by worrying about it. 26 And if you can’t do the little things, why worry about the big things?
27 “Think about how the wildflowers grow. They don’t work or make clothes for themselves. But I tell you that even Solomon, the great and rich king, was not dressed as beautifully as one of these flowers. 28 If God makes what grows in the field so beautiful, what do you think he will do for you? That’s just grass—one day it’s alive, and the next day someone throws it into a fire. But God cares enough to make it beautiful. Surely he will do much more for you. Your faith is so small!
29 “So don’t always think about what you will eat or what you will drink. Don’t worry about it. 30 That’s what all those people who don’t know God are always thinking about. But your Father knows that you need these things. 31 What you should be thinking about is God’s kingdom. Then he will give you all these other things you need.
Don’t Trust in Money
32 “Don’t fear, little flock. Your Father wants to share his kingdom with you. 33 Sell the things you have and give that money to those who need it. This is the only way you can keep your riches from being lost. You will be storing treasure in heaven that lasts forever. Thieves can’t steal that treasure, and moths can’t destroy it. 34 Your heart will be where your treasure is.
Always Be Ready
35 “Be ready! Be fully dressed and have your lights shining. 36 Be like servants who are waiting for their master to come home from a wedding party. The master comes and knocks, and the servants immediately open the door for him. 37 When their master sees that they are ready and waiting for him, it will be a great day for those servants. I can tell you without a doubt, the master will get himself ready to serve a meal and tell the servants to sit down. Then he will serve them. 38 Those servants might have to wait until midnight or later for their master. But they will be glad they did when he comes in and finds them still waiting.
39 “What would a homeowner do if he knew when a thief was coming? You know he would not let the thief break in. 40 So you also must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at a time when you don’t expect him!”
Who Is the Trusted Servant?
41 Peter said, “Lord, did you tell this story for us or for all people?”
42 The Lord said, “Who is the wise and trusted servant? The master trusts one servant to give the other servants their food at the right time. Who is the servant that the master trusts to do that work? 43 When the master comes and finds him doing the work he gave him, it will be a day of blessing for that servant! 44 I can tell you without a doubt, the master will choose that servant to take care of everything he owns.
45 “But what will happen if that servant is evil and thinks his master will not come back soon? He will begin to beat the other servants, men and women. He will eat and drink until he has had too much. 46 Then the master will come when the servant is not ready, at a time when the servant is not expecting him. Then the master will punish that servant and send him away to be with the other people who don’t obey.
47 “That servant knew what his master wanted him to do. But he did not make himself ready or try to do what his master wanted. So that servant will be punished very much! 48 But what about the servant who does not know what his master wants? He also does things that deserve punishment. But he will get less punishment than the servant who knew what he should do. Whoever has been given much will be responsible for much. Much more will be expected from the one who has been given more.”
Following Jesus May Bring You Trouble
49 Jesus continued speaking: “I came to bring fire to the world. I wish it were already burning! 50 There is a kind of baptism† baptism This word, which usually means to be immersed in water, has a special meaning here—being covered or “buried” in troubles. that I must suffer through. I feel very troubled until it is finished. 51 Do you think I came to give peace to the world? No, I came to divide the world! 52 From now on, a family of five will be divided, three against two, and two against three.
53 A father and son will be divided:
The son will turn against his father.
The father will turn against his son.
A mother and her daughter will be divided:
The daughter will turn against her mother.
The mother will turn against her daughter.
A mother-in-law and her daughter-in-law will be divided:
The daughter-in-law will turn against her mother-in-law.
The mother-in-law will turn against her daughter-in-law.”
Understanding the Times
54 Then Jesus said to the people, “When you see clouds growing bigger in the west, you say, ‘A rainstorm is coming.’ And soon it begins to rain. 55 When you feel the wind begin to blow from the south, you say, ‘It will be a hot day.’ And you are right. 56 You hypocrites! You can understand the weather. Why don’t you understand what is happening now?
Settle Your Problems
57 “Why can’t you decide for yourselves what is right? 58 Suppose someone is suing you, and you are both going to court. Try hard to settle it on the way. If you don’t settle it, you may have to go before the judge. And the judge will hand you over to the officer, who will throw you into jail. 59 I tell you, you will not get out of there until you have paid every cent you owe.”
*12:8 I Literally, “the Son of Man” (Jesus).
†12:50 baptism This word, which usually means to be immersed in water, has a special meaning here—being covered or “buried” in troubles.