Jesus Gives Words of Warning and Hope
1During that time a crowd of many thousands had gathered. There were so many people that they were stepping on one another. Jesus spoke first to his disciples. “Be on your guard against the yeast of the Pharisees,” he said. “They just pretend to be godly. 2Everything that is secret will be brought out into the open. Everything that is hidden will be uncovered. 3What you have said in the dark will be heard in the daylight. What you have whispered to someone behind closed doors will be shouted from the rooftops.
4“My friends, listen to me. Don’t be afraid of those who kill the body but can’t do any more than that. 5I will show you whom you should be afraid of. Be afraid of the one who has the authority to throw you into hell after you have been killed. Yes, I tell you, be afraid of him. 6Aren’t five sparrows sold for two pennies? But God does not forget even one of them. 7In fact, he even counts every hair on your head! So don’t be afraid. You are worth more than many sparrows.
8“What about someone who says in front of others that he knows me? I tell you, the Son of Man will say in front of God’s angels that he knows that person. 9But what about someone who says in front of others that he doesn’t know me? I, the Son of Man, will say in front of God’s angels that I don’t know him. 10Everyone who speaks a word against the Son of Man will be forgiven. But anyone who speaks evil things against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven.
11“You will be brought before synagogues, rulers and authorities. But do not worry about how to stand up for yourselves or what to say. 12The Holy Spirit will teach you at that time what you should say.”
The Story of the Rich Fool
13Someone in the crowd spoke to Jesus. “Teacher,” he said, “tell my brother to divide the family property with me.”
14Jesus replied, “Friend, who made me a judge or umpire between you?” 15Then he said to them, “Watch out! Be on your guard against wanting to have more and more things. Life is not made up of how much a person has.”
16Then Jesus told them a story. He said, “A certain rich man’s land produced a very large crop. 17He thought to himself, ‘What should I do? I don’t have any place to store my crops.’
18“Then he said, ‘This is what I’ll do. I will tear down my barns and build bigger ones. I will store my extra grain in them. 19I’ll say to myself, “You have plenty of grain stored away for many years. Take life easy. Eat, drink and have a good time.” ’
20“But God said to him, ‘You foolish man! Tonight I will take your life away from you. Then who will get what you have prepared for yourself?’
21“That is how it will be for whoever stores things away for themselves but is not rich in the sight of God.”
Do Not Worry
22Then Jesus spoke to his disciples. He said, “I tell you, do not worry. Don’t worry about your life and what you will eat. And don’t worry about your body and what you will wear. 23There is more to life than eating. There are more important things for the body than clothes. 24Think about the ravens. They don’t plant or gather crops. They don’t have any barns at all. But God feeds them. You are worth much more than birds! 25Can you add even one hour to your life by worrying? 26You can’t do that very little thing. So why worry about the rest?
27“Think about how the wild flowers grow. They don’t work or make clothing. But here is what I tell you. Not even Solomon in his royal robes was dressed like one of those flowers. 28If that is how God dresses the wild grass, how much better will he dress you! After all, the grass is here only today. Tomorrow it is thrown into the fire. Your faith is so small! 29Don’t spend time thinking about what you will eat or drink. Don’t worry about it. 30People who are ungodly run after all those things. Your Father knows that you need them. 31But put God’s kingdom first. Then those other things will also be given to you.
32“Little flock, do not be afraid. Your Father has been pleased to give you the kingdom. 33Sell what you own. Give to those who are poor. Provide purses for yourselves that will not wear out. Store up riches in heaven that will never be used up. There, no thief can come near it. There, no moth can destroy it. 34Your heart will be where your riches are.
35“Be dressed and ready to serve. Keep your lamps burning. 36Be like servants waiting for their master to return from a wedding dinner. When he comes and knocks, they can open the door for him at once. 37It will be good for those servants whose master finds them ready when he comes. What I’m about to tell you is true. The master will then dress himself so he can serve them. He will have them take their places at the table. And he will come and wait on them. 38It will be good for those servants whose master finds them ready. It will even be good if he comes in the middle of the night or toward morning. 39But here is what you must understand. Suppose the owner of the house knew at what hour the robber was coming. He would not have let his house be broken into. 40You also must be ready. The Son of Man will come at an hour when you don’t expect him.”
41Peter asked, “Lord, are you telling this story to us, or to everyone?”
42The Lord answered, “Suppose a master puts one of his servants in charge of his other servants. The servant’s job is to give them the food they are to receive at the right time. The master wants a faithful and wise manager for this. 43It will be good for the servant if the master finds him doing his job when the master returns. 44What I’m about to tell you is true. The master will put that servant in charge of everything he owns. 45But suppose the servant says to himself, ‘My master is taking a long time to come back.’ Suppose that servant begins to beat the other servants, both men and women. Suppose he feeds himself. And suppose he drinks until he gets drunk. 46The master of that servant will come back on a day the servant doesn’t expect him. The master will return at an hour the servant doesn’t know. Then the master will cut him to pieces. He will send the servant to the place where unbelievers go.
47“Suppose a servant knows the master’s wishes. But the servant doesn’t get ready and doesn’t do what the master wants. Then that servant will receive a heavy beating. 48But suppose the servant does not know his master’s wishes. And suppose the servant does things for which he should be punished. He will receive a lighter beating. Much will be required of everyone who has been given much. Even more will be asked of the person who is supposed to take care of much.
Jesus Will Separate People From One Another
49“I have come to bring fire on the earth. How I wish the fire had already started! 50But I have a baptism of suffering to go through. And I must go through it. 51Do you think I came to bring peace on earth? No, I tell you. I have come to separate people. 52From now on there will be five members in a family, each one against the other. There will be three against two and two against three. 53They will be separated. Father will turn against son and son against father. Mother will turn against daughter and daughter against mother. Mother-in-law will turn against daughter-in-law and daughter-in-law against mother-in-law.”
Understanding the Meaning of What Is Happening
54Jesus spoke to the crowd. He said, “You see a cloud rising in the west. Right away you say, ‘It’s going to rain.’ And it does. 55The south wind blows. So you say, ‘It’s going to be hot.’ And it is. 56You pretenders! You know how to understand the appearance of the earth and the sky. Why can’t you understand the meaning of what is happening right now?
57“Why don’t you judge for yourselves what is right? 58Suppose someone has a claim against you, and you are on your way to court. Try hard to settle the matter on the way. If you don’t, that person may drag you off to the judge. The judge may turn you over to the officer. And the officer may throw you into prison. 59I tell you, you will not get out until you have paid the very last penny!”