Instruction about Prayer
1It happened that while Jesus was praying in a certain place, after He finished, one of His disciples said to Him, “Lord, teach us to pray just as John also taught his disciples.” 2He said to them,
“When you pray, say:
‘Father, hallowed be Your name.
Your kingdom come.
3Give us each day our daily bread.
4And forgive us our sins,
For we ourselves also forgive everyone who is indebted to us [who has offended or wronged us].
And lead us not into temptation [but rescue us from evil].’ ”
Parable of Persistence
5Then He said to them, “Suppose one of you has a friend, and goes to him at midnight and says, ‘Friend, lend me three loaves [of bread]; 6for a friend of mine who is on a journey has just come to visit me, and I have nothing to serve him’; 7and from inside he answers, ‘Do not bother me; the door has already been shut and my children and I are in bed; I cannot get up and give you anything.’ 8I tell you, even though he will not get up and give him anything just because he is his friend, yet because of his persistence and boldness he will get up and give him whatever he needs.
9“So I say to you, ask and keep on asking, and it will be given to you; seek and keep on seeking, and you will find; knock and keep on knocking, and the door will be opened to you. 10For everyone who keeps on asking [persistently], receives; and he who keeps on seeking [persistently], finds; and to him who keeps on knocking [persistently], the door will be opened. 11What father among you, if his son asks for a fish, will give him a snake instead of a fish? 12Or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion? 13If you, then, being evil [that is, sinful by nature], know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask and continue to ask Him!”
14And [at another time] Jesus was casting out a demon, and it was [controlling a man so as to make him] mute; when the demon had gone out, the mute man spoke. And the crowds were awed. 15But some of them said, “He drives out demons by [the power of] Beelzebul (Satan), the ruler of the demons.” 16Others, trying to test Him, were demanding of Him a sign from heaven. 17But He, well aware of their thoughts and purpose, said to them, “Every kingdom divided against itself is doomed to destruction; and a house divided against itself falls. 18If Satan also is divided against himself, how will his kingdom stand and continue to survive? For you are saying that I drive out demons by [the power of] Beelzebul. 19Now if I drive out the demons by Beelzebul, by whom do your sons [the Jewish exorcists] drive them out? For this reason they will be your judges. 20But if I drive out the demons by the finger of God, then the kingdom of God has already come upon you. 21When the strong man, fully armed, guards his own house, his belongings are undisturbed and secure. 22But when someone stronger than he attacks and overpowers him, he robs him of all his armor on which he had relied and divides his [goods as] spoil. 23He who is not with Me [believing in Me as Lord and Savior] is against Me [there is no impartial position]; and he who does not gather with Me [assisting in My ministry], scatters.
24“When the unclean spirit comes out of a person, it roams through waterless places in search [of a place] of rest; and not finding any, it says, ‘I will go back to my house (person) from which I came.’ 25And when it comes, it finds the place swept and put in order. 26Then it goes and brings seven other spirits more evil than itself, and they go in [the person] and live there; and the last state of that person becomes worse than the first.”
27Now while Jesus was saying these things, one of the women in the crowd raised her voice and said to Him, “Blessed (happy, favored by God) is the womb that gave birth to You and the breasts at which You nursed!” 28But He said, “On the contrary, blessed (happy, favored by God) are those who hear the word of God and continually observe it.”
The Sign of Jonah
29Now as the crowds were increasing [in number], He began to say, “This [present] generation is a wicked generation; it seeks a sign (attesting miracle), but no sign will be given to it except the sign of Jonah [the prophet]. 30For just as Jonah became a sign to the people of Nineveh, so will the Son of Man also be [a sign] to this generation. 31The Queen of the South (the kingdom of Sheba) will rise up in the judgment with the men of this generation and condemn them, because she came from the ends of the earth to listen to the wisdom of Solomon, and look, something greater than Solomon is here. 32The men of Nineveh will stand up [as witnesses] at the judgment with this generation and condemn it, because they repented at the preaching of Jonah, and look, something greater than Jonah is here.
33“No one lights a lamp and then puts it in a cellar nor under a basket [hiding the light], but [instead it is put] on the lampstand, so that those who come in may see the light. 34The eye is the lamp of your body. When your eye is clear [spiritually perceptive, focused on God], your whole body also is full of light [benefiting from God’s precepts]. But when it is bad [spiritually blind], your body also is full of darkness [devoid of God’s word]. 35Be careful, therefore, that the light that is in you is not darkness. 36So if your whole body is illuminated, with no dark part, it will be entirely bright [with light], as when the lamp gives you light with its bright rays.”
Woes upon the Pharisees
37Now after Jesus had spoken, a Pharisee asked Him to have lunch with him. He went in [the Pharisee’s home] and reclined at the table [without ceremonially washing His hands]. 38The Pharisee noticed this and was surprised that Jesus did not first ceremonially wash before the meal. 39But the Lord said to him, “Now you Pharisees clean the outside of the cup and plate [as required by tradition]; but inside you are full of greed and wickedness. 40You foolish ones [acting without reflection or intelligence]! Did not He who made the outside make the inside also? 41But give that which is within as charity [that is, acts of mercy and compassion, not as a public display, but as an expression of your faithfulness to God], and then indeed all things are clean for you.
42“But woe (judgment is coming) to you Pharisees, because you [self-righteously] tithe mint and rue and every [little] garden herb [tending to all the minutiae], and yet disregard and neglect justice and the love of God; but these are the things you should have done, without neglecting the others. 43Woe to you Pharisees, because you love the best seats in the synagogues and to be respectfully greeted in the market places. 44Woe to you! For you are like graves which are unmarked, and people walk over them without being aware of it [and are ceremonially unclean].”
45One of the lawyers [an expert in the Mosaic Law] answered Him, “Teacher, by saying this, You insult us too!” 46But He said, “Woe to you lawyers as well, because you weigh men down with burdens [man-made rules, unreasonable requirements] which are hard to bear, and you yourselves will not even touch the burdens with one of your fingers [to lighten the load]. 47Woe to you! For you repair or build tombs for the prophets, and it was your fathers who killed them. 48So you are witnesses and approve the deeds of your fathers, because they [actually] killed them, and you repair or build their tombs. 49For this reason also the wisdom of God said [in the Scriptures], ‘I will send them prophets and apostles, some of whom they will put to death and some they will persecute, 50so that charges may be brought against this generation [holding them responsible] for the blood of all the prophets shed since the foundation of the world, 51from the blood of Abel to the blood of Zechariah [the priest], who was murdered between the altar and the house of God. Yes, I tell you, charges will be brought against this generation.’ 52Woe to you lawyers, because you have taken away the key to knowledge (scriptural truth). You yourselves did not enter, and you held back those who were entering [by your flawed interpretation of God’s word and your man-made tradition].”
53When He left there, the scribes and the Pharisees began to be very hostile [toward Him] and to interrogate Him on many subjects, 54plotting against Him to catch Him in something He might say.