Luke 1-11 The Voice (VOICE)
In the time of Jesus, Jewish life is centered in the temple in Jerusalem. Priests are responsible for the temple’s activities—which include receiving religious pilgrims and their sacrifices (cattle, sheep, goats, and doves). Animal sacrifices may sound strange to a modern society, but in the ancient world, they are quite common. The slaughter of animals is a daily experience; it is part of any meal that includes meat. So this meal brings together the Jewish family from near and far, seeking to affirm their connections to the one true and living God. Their gift of animals is their contribution to the meal. (The priests, by the way, are authorized to use the meat for the sustenance of their families.)
The presentation of the blood and meat of these sacrifices is accompanied by a number of prescribed rituals, performed by priests wearing prescribed ornamental clothing, according to a prescribed schedule. As the story continues, these solemn rituals are interrupted in an unprecedented way.
1 1-3 For those who love God, several other people have already written accounts of what God has been bringing to completion among us, using the reports of the original eyewitnesses, those who were there from the start to witness the fulfillment of prophecy. Like those other servants who have recorded the messages, I present to you my carefully researched, orderly account of these new teachings. 4 I want you to know that you can fully rely on the things you have been taught about Jesus, God’s Anointed One.
5 To understand the life of Jesus, I must first give you some background history, events that occurred when Herod ruled Judea for the Roman Empire. Zacharias was serving as a priest in the temple in Jerusalem those days as his fathers had before him. He was a member of the priestly division of Abijah (a grandson of Aaron who innovated temple practices), and his wife, Elizabeth, was of the priestly lineage of Aaron, Moses’ brother. 6 They were good and just people in God’s sight, walking with integrity in the Lord’s ways and laws. 7 Yet they had this sadness. Due to Elizabeth’s infertility, they were childless, and at this time, they were both quite old—well past normal childbearing years.
8 One day Zacharias was chosen to perform his priestly duties in God’s presence, according to the temple’s normal schedule and routine. 9 He had been selected from all the priests by the customary procedure of casting lots for a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to enter the sacred precincts of the temple. There he burned sweet incense, 10 while outside a large crowd of people prayed. 11 Suddenly Zacharias realized he was not alone: a messenger of the Lord was there with him. The messenger stood just to the right of the altar of incense. 12 Zacharias was shocked and afraid, 13 but the messenger reassured him.
Messenger: Zacharias, calm down! Don’t be afraid!
Zacharias is a priest working in the temple, but priests don’t normally hear from God. Those who hear from God are called prophets, not priests. One becomes a priest by being born in a priestly family line. Prophets, on the other hand, arise unpredictably and have no special credentials except the message they carry. So Zacharias has no reason to believe his duties will be interrupted in this way. Often in the biblical story, when people receive a message from God—after getting over the initial shock—they start asking questions. They push back; they doubt.
Messenger: Zacharias, your prayers have been heard. Your wife is going to have a son, and you will name him John. 14 He will bring you great joy and happiness—and many will share your joy at John’s birth.
15 This son of yours will be a great man in God’s sight. He will not drink alcohol in any form;[a] instead of alcoholic spirits, he will be filled with the Holy Spirit from the time he is in his mother’s womb. 16 Here is his mission: he will turn many of the children of Israel around to follow the path to the Lord their God. 17 Do you remember the prophecy about someone to come in the spirit and power of the prophet Elijah; someone who will turn the hearts of the parents back to their children;[b] someone who will turn the hearts of the disobedient to the mind-set of the just and good? Your son is the one who will fulfill this prophecy: he will be the Lord’s forerunner, the one who will prepare the people and make them ready for God.
Zacharias: 18 How can I be sure of what you’re telling me? I am an old man, and my wife is far past the normal age for women to bear children. This is hard to believe!
Messenger (sternly): 19 I am Gabriel, the messenger who inhabits God’s presence. I was sent here to talk with you and bring you this good news. 20 Because you didn’t believe my message, you will not be able to talk—not another word—until you experience the fulfillment of my words.
21 Meanwhile the crowd at the temple wondered why Zacharias hadn’t come out of the sanctuary yet. It wasn’t normal for the priest to be delayed so long. 22 When at last he came out, he was making signs with his hands to give the blessing, but he couldn’t speak. They realized he had seen some sort of vision. 23 When his time on duty at the temple came to an end, he went back home to his wife. 24 Shortly after his return, Elizabeth became pregnant. She avoided public contact for the next five months.
Elizabeth: 25 I have lived with the disgrace of being barren for all these years. Now God has looked on me with favor. When I go out in public with my baby, I will not be disgraced any longer.
26 Six months later in Nazareth, a city in the rural province of Galilee, the heavenly messenger Gabriel made another appearance. This time the messenger was sent by God 27 to meet with a virgin named Mary, who was engaged to a man named Joseph, a descendant of King David himself. 28 The messenger entered her home.
Messenger: Greetings! You are favored, and the Lord is with you! [Among all women on the earth, you have been blessed.][c]
29 The heavenly messenger’s words baffled Mary, and she wondered what type of greeting this was.
Messenger: 30 Mary, don’t be afraid. You have found favor with God. 31 Listen, you are going to become pregnant. You will have a son, and you must name Him “Savior,” or Jesus.[d] 32 Jesus will become the greatest among men. He will be known as the Son of the Highest God. God will give Him the throne of His ancestor David, 33 and He will reign over the covenant family of Jacob forever.
Mary: 34 But I have never been with a man. How can this be possible?
Messenger: 35 The Holy Spirit will come upon you. The Most High will overshadow you. That’s why this holy child will be known, as not just your son, but also as the Son of God. 36 It sounds impossible, but listen—you know your relative Elizabeth has been unable to bear children and is now far too old to be a mother. Yet she has become pregnant, as God willed it. Yes, in three months, she will have a son. 37 So the impossible is possible with God.
Mary (deciding in her heart): 38 Here I am, the Lord’s humble servant. As you have said, let it be done to me.
Luke is very interested in the ways that disadvantaged people of his day respond to God. Already there is a fascinating interplay between Zacharias’s response to God and Mary’s.
And the heavenly messenger was gone. 39 Mary immediately got up and hurried to the hill country, in the province of Judah, 40-41 where her cousins Zacharias and Elizabeth lived. When Mary entered their home and greeted Elizabeth, who felt her baby leap in her womb, Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit.
Elizabeth (shouting): 42 You are blessed, Mary, blessed among all women, and the child you bear is blessed! 43 And blessed I am as well, that the mother of my Lord has come to me! 44 As soon as I heard your voice greet me, my baby leaped for joy within me. 45 How fortunate you are, Mary, for you believed that what the Lord told you would be fulfilled.
Mary is deeply moved by these amazing encounters—first with the messenger and then with her cousin, Elizabeth. Mary’s response can’t be contained in normal prose; her noble soul overflows in poetry. And this poetry isn’t simply religious; it has powerful social and political overtones. It speaks of a great reversal—what might be called a social, economic, and political revolution. To people in Mary’s day, there is little question as to what she is talking about. The Jewish people are oppressed by the Roman Empire, and to speak of a King who will demote the powerful and rich and elevate the poor and humble means one thing: God is moving toward setting them free! Soon Zacharias will overflow in poetry of his own.
46 Mary: My soul lifts up the Lord!
51 God’s arm has accomplished mighty deeds.
56 Mary stayed with Elizabeth in Judea for the next three months and then returned to her home in Galilee.
57 When the time was right, Elizabeth gave birth to a son. 58 News about the Lord’s special kindness to her had spread through her extended family and the community. Everyone shared her joy, for after all these years of infertility, she had a son! 59 As was customary, eight days after the baby’s birth the time came for his circumcision and naming. Everyone assumed he would be named Zacharias, like his father.
Elizabeth (disagreeing): 60 No. We will name him John.
Her Relatives (protesting): 61 That name is found nowhere in your family.
62 They turned to Zacharias and asked him what he wanted the baby’s name to be.
63 He motioned for a tablet, and he wrote, “His name is John.” Everyone was shocked by this breach of family custom. 64 They were even more surprised when, at that moment, Zacharias was able to talk again, and he shouted out praises to God. 65 A sense of reverence spread through the whole community. In fact, this story was spread throughout the hilly countryside of Judea. 66 People were certain that God’s hand was on this child, and they wondered what sort of person John would turn out to be when he became a man.
67 When Zacharias’s voice was restored to him, he sang from the fullness of the Spirit a prophetic blessing.
68 Zacharias: May the Lord God of Israel be blessed indeed!
72-74 God will show mercy promised to our ancestors,
76 And you, my son, will be called the prophet of the Most High.
78 All this will flow from the kind and compassionate mercy of our God.
80 And John grew up and became strong in spirit. He lived in the wilderness, outside the cities, until the day came for him to step into the public eye in Israel.
2 Around the time of Elizabeth’s amazing pregnancy and John’s birth, the emperor in Rome, Caesar Augustus, required everyone in the Roman Empire to participate in a massive census— 2 the first census since Quirinius had become governor of Syria. 3 Each person had to go to his or her ancestral city to be counted.
This political background isn’t incidental: it is crucial to the story. Conquering nations in the ancient world work in various ways. Some brutally destroy and plunder the nations they conquer. Some conquer people as slaves or servants. Other empires allow the people to remain in their land and work as before, but with one major change: the conquered people have to pay taxes to their rulers. The purpose of a census like the one Luke de-scribes is to be sure that everyone is appropriately taxed and knows who is in charge.
4-5 Mary’s fiancé Joseph, from Nazareth in Galilee, had to participate in the census in the same way everyone else did. Because he was a descendant of King David, his ancestral city was Bethlehem, David’s birthplace. Mary, who was now late in her pregnancy that the messenger Gabriel had predicted, 6 accompanied Joseph. While in Bethlehem, she went into labor 7 and gave birth to her firstborn son. She wrapped the baby in a blanket and laid Him in a feeding trough because the inn had no room for them.
8 Nearby, in the fields outside of Bethlehem, a group of shepherds were guarding their flocks from predators in the darkness of night. 9 Suddenly a messenger of the Lord stood in front of them, and the darkness was replaced by a glorious light—the shining light of God’s glory. They were terrified!
Messenger: 10 Don’t be afraid! Listen! I bring good news, news of great joy, news that will affect all people everywhere. 11 Today, in the city of David, a Liberator has been born for you! He is the promised Anointed One, the Supreme Authority! 12 You will know you have found Him when you see a baby, wrapped in a blanket, lying in a feeding trough.
13 At that moment, the first heavenly messenger was joined by thousands of other messengers—a vast heavenly choir. They praised God.
14 Heavenly Choir: To the highest heights of the universe, glory to God!
15 As soon as the heavenly messengers disappeared into heaven, the shepherds were buzzing with conversation.
Shepherds: Let’s rush down to Bethlehem right now! Let’s see what’s happening! Let’s experience what the Lord has told us about!
16 So they ran into town, and eventually they found Mary and Joseph and the baby lying in the feeding trough. After they saw the baby, 17 they spread the story of what they had experienced and what had been said to them about this child. 18 Everyone who heard their story couldn’t stop thinking about its meaning. 19 Mary, too, pondered all of these events, treasuring each memory in her heart.
20 The shepherds returned to their flocks, praising God for all they had seen and heard, and they glorified God for the way the experience had unfolded just as the heavenly messenger had predicted.
Here again is Luke’s fascination with disadvantaged people. Jesus’ first visitors are not ambassadors, dignitaries, or wealthy landowners. The first to pay Him homage are simple shepherds, minimum-wage workers in the ancient agrarian economy. They have little to no status in the world. They are the humble and the poor whom God is now raising up to receive heavenly messages and an audience with the great King. This theme recurs as the story continues.
21 Eight days after His birth, the baby was circumcised in keeping with Jewish religious requirements, and He was named Jesus, the name the messenger had given Him before His conception in Mary’s womb. 22 After Mary had observed the ceremonial days of postpartum purification required by Mosaic law, she and Joseph brought Jesus to the temple in Jerusalem to present Him to the Lord. 23 They were fulfilling the Lord’s requirement that “every firstborn Israelite male will be dedicated to the Eternal One as holy.”[h] 24 They also offered the sacrifice required by the law of the Lord, “two turtledoves or two young pigeons.”[i]
25 While fulfilling these sacred obligations at the temple, they encountered a man in Jerusalem named Simeon. He was a just and pious man, anticipating the liberation of Israel from her troubles. He was a man in touch with the Holy Spirit. 26 The Holy Spirit had revealed to Simeon that he would not die before he had seen the Lord’s Anointed One. 27 The Spirit had led him to the temple that day, and there he saw the child Jesus in the arms of His parents, who were fulfilling their sacred obligations. 28 Simeon took Jesus into his arms and blessed God.
29 Simeon: Now, Lord and King, You can let me, Your humble servant, die in peace.
33 His father and mother were stunned to hear Simeon say these things. 34 Simeon went on to bless them both, and to Mary in particular he gave predictions.
Simeon: Listen, this child will make many in Israel rise and fall. He will be a significant person whom many will oppose. 35 In the end, He will lay bare the secret thoughts of many hearts. And a sword will pierce even your own soul, Mary.
36 At that very moment, an elderly woman named Anna stepped forward. Anna was a prophetess, the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher. She had been married for seven years before her husband died 37 and a widow to her current age of 84 years. She was deeply devoted to the Lord, constantly in the temple, fasting and praying. 38 When she approached Mary, Joseph, and Jesus, she began speaking out thanks to God, and she continued spreading the word about Jesus to all those who shared her hope for the rescue of Jerusalem.
39 After fulfilling their sacred duties according to the law of the Lord, Mary and Joseph returned with Jesus to their own city of Nazareth in the province of Galilee. 40 There Jesus grew up, maturing in physical strength and increasing in wisdom, and the grace of God rested on Him.
41 Every year during Jesus’ childhood, His parents traveled to Jerusalem for the Passover celebration. 42 When Jesus was 12, He made the journey with them. 43 They spent several days there, participating in the whole celebration. When His parents left for home, Jesus stayed in Jerusalem, but Joseph and Mary were not aware. 44 They assumed Jesus was elsewhere in the caravan that was traveling together. After they had already traveled a full day’s journey toward home, they began searching for Him among their friends and relatives. 45 When no one had seen the boy, Mary and Joseph rushed back to Jerusalem and searched for Him.
46 After three days of separation, they finally found Him—sitting among a group of religious teachers in the temple—asking them questions, listening to their answers. 47 Everyone was surprised and impressed that a 12-year-old boy could have such deep understanding and could answer questions with such wisdom.
48 His parents, of course, had a different reaction.
Mary: Son, why have You treated us this way? Listen, Your father and I have been sick with worry for the last three days, wondering where You were, looking everywhere for You.
Jesus: 49 Why did you need to look for Me? Didn’t you know that I must be working for My Father?
Little is recorded about Jesus’ life between His birth and the age of 30. But this one episode tells so much. First, Jesus’ family life is a lot like anyone’s—full of mishaps and misunderstandings. Second, as Jesus enters young adulthood, He begins manifesting an extraordinary sense of identity. (Remember, a 12-year-old isn’t “just a kid” in Israel—he is becoming a man.) He isn’t just “Mary’s boy” or “Joseph’s stepson.” He has a direct relationship with God as His Father, and He knows His life will follow a path of working for God.
50 Neither Mary nor Joseph really understood what He meant by this. 51 Jesus went back to Nazareth with them and was obedient to them. His mother continued to store these memories like treasures in her heart. 52 And Jesus kept on growing—in wisdom, in physical stature, in favor with God, and in favor with others.
3 Our story continues 15 years after Tiberius Caesar had begun his reign over the empire. Pilate was governor of Judea, Herod ruled Galilee, his brother Philip ruled Ituraea and Trachonitis, and Lysanias ruled Abilene.
More than any other Gospel writer, Luke wants to situate the story of Jesus in secular history. In particular, he gives details of the emperor, governor, and other client rulers. With a toxic mixture of cruelty and might, these authorities lord their power over the common people. Yet these high and mighty are—as Mary’s poem describes—destined to be brought down in the presence of a new kind of king and a new kind of kingdom. Jesus will exercise His authority in a radically different way—not through domination and violence, but through love, healing, compassion, and service.
John’s father Zacharias is a priest who serves in Jerusalem at the temple. Among their other duties, priests perform ritual cleansings necessary for Jewish worshipers who become ceremonially unclean—perhaps through contact with outsiders (non-Jewish people), perhaps through contact with blood or a dead body, perhaps through a physical illness. But when John appears on the scene, he hasn’t followed in his father’s footsteps. He’s not fulfilling the role of the priest, but rather of the prophet. He works far outside of Jerusalem, and he baptizes people in the Jordan River, not near the temple. It’s as if John is performing a symbolic drama: If you want to be in tune with God, the temple and its normal routines can’t help you anymore. Instead of being cleansed there, you should come out to this radical preacher and let him cleanse you in the river. And his message isn’t a polite, tame message. It’s fiery and intense! God isn’t interested in just routine religion. He wants changed lives!
2 In Jerusalem Annas and Caiaphas were high priests in the temple. And in those days, out in the wilderness, John (son of Zacharias) received a message from God.
3 John brought this divine message to all those who came to the Jordan River. He preached that people should be ritually cleansed through baptism as an expression of changed lives for the forgiveness of sins. 4 As Isaiah the prophet had said,
A solitary voice is calling:
7 In fulfillment of those words, crowds streamed out from the villages and towns to be baptized[k] by John at the Jordan.
John the Baptist: You bunch of venomous snakes! Who told you that you could escape God’s coming wrath? 8 Don’t just talk of turning to God; you’d better bear the authentic fruit of a changed life. Don’t take pride in your religious heritage, saying, “We have Abraham for our father!” Listen—God could turn these rocks into children of Abraham!
9 God wants you to bear fruit! If you don’t produce good fruit, then you’ll be chopped down like a fruitless tree and made into firewood. God’s ax is taking aim and ready to swing!
People: 10 What shall we do to perform works from changed lives?
John the Baptist: 11 The person who has two shirts must share with the person who has none. And the person with food must share with the one in need.
12 Some tax collectors were among those in the crowd seeking baptism.[l]
Tax Collectors: Teacher, what kind of fruit is God looking for from us?
John the Baptist: 13 Stop overcharging people. Only collect what you must turn over to the Romans.
Soldiers: 14 What about us? What should we do to show true change?
John the Baptist: Don’t extort money from people by throwing around your power or making false accusations, and be content with your pay.
15 John’s bold message seized public attention, and many began wondering if John might himself be the Anointed One promised by God.
John the Baptist: 16 I baptize[m] you with water, but One is coming—One far more powerful than I, One whose sandals I am not worthy to untie—who will baptize[n] you with the Holy Spirit and with fire. 17 He is coming like a farmer at harvesttime, tools in hand to separate the wheat from the chaff. He will burn the chaff with unquenchable fire, and He will gather the genuine wheat into His barn.
18 He preached with many other provocative figures of speech and so conveyed God’s message to the people—the time had come to rethink everything. 19 But John’s public preaching ended when he confronted Herod, the ruler of Galilee, for his many corrupt deeds, including taking Herodias, the ruler’s sister-in-law, as his own wife. 20 Herod responded by throwing John into prison.
21 But before John’s imprisonment, when he was still preaching and ritually cleansing through baptism[o] the people in the Jordan River, Jesus also came to him to be baptized. As Jesus prayed, the heavens opened, 22 and the Holy Spirit came upon Him in a physical manifestation that resembled a dove. A voice echoed out from heaven.
Voice from Heaven: You are My Son,[p] the Son I love, and in You I take great pleasure.
What does it mean for Jesus to be baptized by John? If John’s baptism symbolizes a rejection of the religious establishment centered in the temple in Jerusalem, then Jesus’ baptism by John symbolizes that He is aligned with this radical preacher. Jesus isn’t simply coming to strengthen or even renew the centers of power. Instead, He is joining John at the margins to be part of something wild and new that God is doing. And the vivid manifestation of God’s pleasure—the dovelike appearance and the voice from heaven—suggests that even though Jesus is in a sense aligning Himself with John, John is simply the opening act and Jesus is the main attraction. The choreography between John’s work and Jesus’ work continues, but from this point on, Jesus is in the center of the story.
23 At this, the launch of Jesus’ ministry, Jesus was about 30 years old.
He was assumed to be the son of Joseph, the son of Eli, 24 the son of Matthat, the son of Levi, the son of Melchi, the son of Jannai, the son of Joseph, 25 the son of Mattathias, the son of Amos, the son of Nahum, the son of Hesli, the son of Naggai, 26 the son of Maath, the son of Mattathias, the son of Semein, the son of Josech, the son of Joda, 27 the son of Joanan, the son of Rhesa, the son of Zerubbabel, the son of Shealtiel, the son of Neri, 28 the son of Melchi, the son of Addi, the son of Cosam, the son of Elmadam, the son of Er, 29 the son of Joshua, the son of Eliezer, the son of Jorim, the son of Matthat, the son of Levi, 30 the son of Simeon, the son of Judah, the son of Joseph, the son of Jonam, the son of Eliakim, 31 the son of Melea, the son of Menna, the son of Mattatha, the son of Nathan, the son of David, 32 the son of Jesse, the son of Obed, the son of Boaz, the son of Salmon, the son of Nahshon, 33 the son of Amminadab, the son of Admin, the son of Ram, the son of Hezron, the son of Perez, the son of Judah, 34 the son of Jacob, the son of Isaac, the son of Abraham, the son of Terah, the son of Nahor, 35 the son of Serug, the son of Reu, the son of Peleg, the son of Heber, the son of Shelah, 36 the son of Cainan, the son of Arphaxad, the son of Shem, the son of Noah, the son of Lamech, 37 the son of Methuselah, the son of Enoch, the son of Jared, the son of Mahalaleel, the son of Cainan, 38 the son of Enosh, the son of Seth, the son of Adam, the son of God.
While genealogies may seem tedious, for people in many cultures (including Luke’s), genealogies are important and meaningful because they give a sense of identity and history. Luke places Jesus in the mainstream of biblical history, connected to King David, Abraham, Noah, and Adam. By connecting Jesus with Adam, and ultimately with God, Luke shows how Jesus is connected to and relevant for all people, and he may also be suggesting that in Jesus God is launching a new humanity, with Jesus as the new Adam. Unlike the first Adam, though, Jesus will be completely faithful to God, as the next episode makes clear. Perhaps echoing Adam and Eve being tempted by the serpent in the garden (Genesis 3:1–7), Luke moves from the stories of Jesus’ beginnings to His temptation.
4 When Jesus returned from the Jordan River, He was full of the Holy Spirit, and the Holy Spirit led Him away from the cities and towns and out into the desert.
2 For 40 days, the Spirit led Him from place to place in the desert, and while there, the devil tempted Jesus. Jesus was fasting, eating nothing during this time, and at the end, He was terribly hungry. 3 At that point, the devil came to Him.
Devil: Since You’re the Son of God, You don’t need to be hungry. Just tell this stone to transform itself into bread.
Jesus: 4 It is written in the Hebrew Scriptures, “People need more than bread to live.”[q]
5 Then the devil gave Jesus a vision. It was as if He traveled around the world in an instant and saw all the kingdoms of the world at once.
Devil: 6 All these kingdoms, all their glory, I’ll give to You. They’re mine to give because this whole world has been handed over to me. 7 If You just worship me, then everything You see will all be Yours. All Yours!
9 Then the devil led Jesus to Jerusalem, and he transported Jesus to stand upon the pinnacle of the temple.
Devil: Since You’re the Son of God, just jump. Just throw Yourself into the air. 10 You keep quoting the Hebrew Scriptures. They themselves say,
He will put His heavenly messengers in charge of You,
They will hold You up in their hands
Jesus: 12 Yes, but the Hebrew Scriptures also say, “You will not presume on God; you will not test the Lord, the one True God.”[u]
13 The devil had no more temptations to offer that day, so he left Jesus, preparing to return at some other opportune time.
14 Jesus returned to Galilee in the power of the Holy Spirit, and soon people across the region had heard news of Him. 15 He would regularly go into their synagogues and teach. His teaching earned Him the respect and admiration of everyone who heard Him.
16 He eventually came to His hometown, Nazareth, and did there what He had done elsewhere in Galilee—entered the synagogue and stood up to read from the Hebrew Scriptures.
17 The synagogue attendant gave Him the scroll of the prophet Isaiah, and Jesus unrolled it to the place where Isaiah had written these words:
18 The Spirit of the Lord the Eternal One is on Me.
Luke’s audience doesn’t divide the world into sacred vs. secular or religious vs. political. For them, life is integrated. And for them, these “religious” words from Isaiah have a powerful and “political” meaning: because they see themselves as oppressed by the Roman occupation, Jesus’ words suggest that His “good news” describes a powerful change about to come—a change that will rescue the people from their oppression. His fellow Jews have long been waiting for a savior to free them from Roman oppression. Jesus tells them their hopes are about to be fulfilled. But then, just as people speak well of Jesus, He lets them know their expectations aren’t in line with God’s plans. He tells them not to expect God to fit into their boxes and suggests the unthinkable: that God cares for the Gentiles, the very people who are oppressing them! They aren’t too pleased by this.
He sent Me to tell those who are held captive that they can now be set free,
20 Jesus rolled up the scroll and returned it to the synagogue attendant. Then He sat down, as a teacher would do, and all in the synagogue focused their attention on Jesus, waiting for Him to speak. 21 He told them that these words from the Hebrew Scriptures were being fulfilled then and there, in their hearing.
22 At first everyone was deeply impressed with the gracious words that poured from Jesus’ lips. Everyone spoke well of Him and was amazed that He could say these things.
Everyone: Wait. This is only the son of Joseph, right?
Jesus: 23 You’re about to quote the old proverb to Me, “Doctor, heal yourself!” Then you’re going to ask Me to prove Myself to you by doing the same miracles I did in Capernaum. 24 But face the truth: hometowns always reject their homegrown prophets.
25 Think back to the prophet Elijah. There were many needy Jewish widows in his homeland, Israel, when a terrible famine persisted there for three and a half years. 26 Yet the only widow God sent Elijah to help was an outsider from Zarephath in Sidon.[w]
27 It was the same with the prophet Elisha. There were many Jewish lepers in his homeland, but the only one he healed—Naaman—was an outsider from Syria.[x]
28 The people in the synagogue became furious when He said these things. 29 They seized Jesus, took Him to the edge of town, and pushed Him right to the edge of the cliff on which the city was built. They would have pushed Him off and killed Him, 30 but He passed through the crowd and went on His way.
31-33 Next He went to Capernaum, another Galilean city. Again He was in the synagogue teaching on the Sabbath, and as before, the people were enthralled by His words. He had a way of saying things—a special authority, a unique power.
In attendance that day was a man with a demonic spirit.
Demon-Possessed Man (screaming at Jesus): 34 Get out of here! Leave us alone! What’s Your agenda, Jesus of Nazareth? Have You come to destroy us? I know who You are: You’re the Holy One, the One sent by God!
Jesus (firmly rebuking the demon): 35 Be quiet. Get out of that man!
Then the demonic spirit immediately threw the man into a fit, and he collapsed right there in the middle of the synagogue. It was clear the demon had come out, and the man was completely fine after that. 36 Everyone was shocked to see this, and they couldn’t help but talk about it.
Synagogue Members: What’s this about? What’s the meaning of this message? Jesus speaks with authority, and He has power to command demonic spirits to go away.
The essential message of Jesus can be summed up this way: the kingdom of God is available to everyone, starting now. When Jesus refers to the kingdom of God, He doesn’t mean something that happens after death, far off in heaven; He equates the kingdom of God with God’s will being done on earth as it is in heaven. So the kingdom of God is life as God intends it to be—life to the full, life in peace and justice, life in abundance and love. Individuals enter the Kingdom when they enter into a relationship with Jesus, when they trust Him enough to follow His ways. But make no mistake, the Kingdom is about more than individual lives; it is about the transformation and renewal of all God has created. It may start with individual responses, but it doesn’t stop there.
Jesus describes His purpose as proclaiming this message. But Jesus not only expresses His message of the kingdom of God in words, He also dramatizes it in deeds. Luke calls these amazing deeds “signs and wonders,” suggesting that these actions have symbolic meaning, which is significant, and are wonderful, which means they fill people with awe and wonder. In the coming chapters, the wonder that the original eyewitnesses feel is palpable, and Jesus’ actions are significant signs of the kingdom of God.
37 The excitement about Jesus spread into every corner of the surrounding region.
38 Picture this:
Jesus then leaves that synagogue and goes over to Simon’s place. Simon’s mother-in-law is there. She is sick with a high fever. Simon’s family asks Jesus to help her.
39 Jesus stands over her, and just as He had rebuked the demon, He rebukes the fever, and the woman’s temperature returns to normal. She feels so much better that she gets right up and cooks them all a big meal.
40 By this time, it’s just before nightfall, and as the sun sets, groups of families, friends, and bystanders come until a huge crowd has gathered. Each group has brought along family members or friends who are sick with any number of diseases. One by one, Jesus lays His hands on them and heals them. 41 On several occasions, demonic spirits are expelled from these people, after shouting at Jesus, “You are the Son of God!”
Jesus always rebukes them and tells them to be quiet. They know He is the Anointed One, but He doesn’t want to be acclaimed in this way.
42 The next morning, Jesus sneaks away. He finds a place away from the crowds, but soon they find Him. The crowd tries their best to keep Him from leaving.
Jesus: 43 No, I cannot stay. I need to preach the kingdom of God to other cities too. This is the purpose I was sent to fulfill.
44 So He proceeds from synagogue to synagogue across Judea,[y] preaching His message of the kingdom of God.
5 Picture these events:
On the banks of Gennesaret Lake, a huge crowd, Jesus in the center of it, presses in to hear His message from God. 2 Off to the side, fishermen are washing their nets, leaving their boats unattended on the shore.
3 Jesus gets into one of the boats and asks its owner, Simon, to push off and anchor a short distance from the beach. Jesus sits down and teaches the people standing on the beach.
4 After speaking for a while, Jesus speaks to Simon.
Jesus: Move out into deeper water, and drop your nets to see what you’ll catch.
Simon (perplexed): 5 Master, we’ve been fishing all night, and we haven’t caught even a minnow. But . . . all right, I’ll do it if You say so.
6 Simon then gets his fellow fishermen to help him let down their nets, and to their surprise, the water is bubbling with thrashing fish—a huge school. The strands of their nets start snapping under the weight of the catch, 7 so the crew shouts to the other boat to come out and give them a hand. They start scooping fish out of the nets and into their boats, and before long, their boats are so full of fish they almost sink!
The miracles Jesus performs come in all types: He heals the sick. He frees the oppressed. He shows His power over nature. He will even raise the dead. But as the story in verses 21-26 shows, one of the greatest miracles of all is forgiveness. To have sins forgiven—to start over again, to have God separate believers from their mistakes and moral failures, to lift the weight of shame and guilt—this may well be the weightiest evidence that God’s Son is on the move. The kingdom of God doesn’t throw all guilty people in jail; it doesn’t execute everyone who has made mistakes or tell them they’re just getting what they deserve. Instead, it brings forgiveness, reconciliation, a new start, a second chance. In this way, it mobilizes believers to have a new future.
Certainly Jesus has communicated the message of the Kingdom through words and through signs and wonders. Now Jesus embodies the message in the way He treats people, including outcasts like Levi. As a tax collector, Levi is a Jew who works for the Romans, the oppressors, the enemies. No wonder tax collectors are despised! But how does Jesus treat this compromiser? He doesn’t leave him paralyzed in his compromised position; He invites him—like the paralyzed man—to get up and walk, and to walk in a new direction toward a new King and Kingdom.
8-10 Simon’s fishing partners, James and John (two of Zebedee’s sons), along with the rest of the fishermen, see this incredible haul of fish. They’re all stunned, especially Simon. He comes close to Jesus and kneels in front of His knees.
Simon: I can’t take this, Lord. I’m a sinful man. You shouldn’t be around the likes of me.
Jesus: Don’t be afraid, Simon. From now on, I’ll ask you to bring Me people instead of fish.
11 The fishermen haul their fish-heavy boats to land, and they leave everything to follow Jesus.
12 Another time in a city nearby, a man covered with skin lesions comes along. As soon as he sees Jesus, he prostrates himself.
Leper: Lord, if You wish to, You can heal me of my disease.
13 Jesus reaches out His hand and touches the man, something no one would normally do for fear of being infected or of becoming ritually unclean.
Jesus: I want to heal you. Be cleansed!
Immediately the man is cured. 14 Jesus tells him firmly not to tell anyone about this.
Jesus: Go, show yourself to the priest, and do what Moses commanded by making an appropriate offering to celebrate your cleansing. This will prove to everyone what has happened.
15 Even though Jesus said not to talk about what happened, soon every conversation was consumed by these events. The crowds swelled even larger as people went to hear Jesus preach and to be healed of their many afflictions. 16 Jesus repeatedly left the crowds, though, stealing away into the wilderness to pray.
17 One day Jesus was teaching in a house, and the healing power of the Lord was with Him. Pharisees and religious scholars were sitting and listening, having come from villages all across the regions of Galilee and Judea and from the holy city of Jerusalem.
18 Some men came to the house, carrying a paralyzed man on his bed pallet. They wanted to bring him in and present him to Jesus, 19 but the house was so packed with people that they couldn’t get in. So they climbed up on the roof and pulled off some roof tiles. Then they lowered the man by ropes so he came to rest right in front of Jesus.
20 In this way, their faith was visible to Jesus.
Jesus (to the man on the pallet): My friend, all your sins are forgiven.
21 The Pharisees and religious scholars were offended at this. They turned to one another and asked questions.
Pharisees and Religious Scholars: Who does He think He is? Wasn’t that blasphemous? Who can pronounce that a person’s sins are forgiven? Who but God alone?
Jesus (responding with His own question): 22 Why are your hearts full of questions? 23 Which is easier to say, “Your sins are forgiven” or “Get up and walk”? 24 Just so you’ll know that the Son of Man is fully authorized to forgive sins on earth (He turned to the paralyzed fellow lying on the pallet), I say, get up, take your mat, and go home.
25 Then, right in front of their eyes, the man stood up, picked up his bed, and left to go home—full of praises for God! 26 Everyone was stunned. They couldn’t help but feel awestruck, and they praised God too.
People: We’ve seen extraordinary things today.
27 Some time later, Jesus walked along the street and saw a tax collector named Levi sitting in his tax office.
Jesus: Follow Me.
28 And Levi did. He got up from his desk, left everything (just as the fishermen had), and followed Jesus.
29 Shortly after this, Levi invited his many friends and associates, including many tax collectors, to his home for a large feast in Jesus’ honor. Everyone sat at a table together.
The Pharisees are back again, and they stay through the rest of the story. Pharisaism is a religious movement, consisting of lay people (not clergy) who share a deep commitment to the Hebrew Scriptures and traditions. They believe the Jewish people have not yet been freed from the Romans because of the Jews’ tolerance of sin. There are too many drunks, prostitutes, and gluttons. “If we could just get these sinners to change their ways,” they feel, “then God would send the One who will free us.” How angry they are at Jesus not just for forgiving sins but also for eating with sinners! After all, to eat with people means to accept them. The kind of Rescuer they expect will judge and destroy sinners, not forgive them and enjoy their company!
30 The Pharisees and their associates, the religious scholars, got the attention of some of Jesus’ disciples.
Pharisees (in low voices): What’s wrong with you? Why are you eating and drinking with tax collectors and other immoral people?
Jesus (answering for the disciples): 31 Healthy people don’t need a doctor, but sick people do. 32 I haven’t come for the pure and upstanding; I’ve come to call notorious sinners to rethink their lives and turn to God.
Pharisees: 33 Explain to us why You and Your disciples are so commonly found partying like this, when our disciples—and even the disciples of John—are known for fasting rather than feasting, and for saying prayers rather than drinking wine.
Jesus: 34 Imagine there’s a wedding going on. Is that the time to tell the guests to ignore the bridegroom and fast? 35 Sure, there’s a time for fasting—when the bridegroom has been taken away. 36 Look, nobody tears up a new garment to make a patch for an old garment. If he did, the new patch would shrink and rip the old, and the old garment would be worse off than before. 37 And nobody takes freshly squeezed juice and puts it into old, stiff wineskins. If he did, the fresh wine would make the old skins burst open, and both the wine and the wineskins would be ruined. 38 New demands new—new wine for new wineskins. 39 Anyway, those who’ve never tasted the new wine won’t know what they’re missing; they’ll always say, “The old wine is good enough for me!”
6 1-2 One Sabbath Day,[z] some Pharisees confronted Jesus again. This time, they saw the disciples picking some grain as they walked through the fields. The disciples would dehusk the grain by rubbing the kernels in their hands, and then they would eat it raw.
Jesus certainly has His detractors. They watch Him closely and voice their opposition to His words and actions. Sometimes they even try to stump Him with questions or publicly humiliate Him. But Jesus refuses to be intimidated. For every charge they level, He has an answer. To the charge of blasphemy, He responds, “I have the authority to forgive sins.” To the charge that He befriends sinners and parties too much, He answers, “These are My people; I’ve come for them.” To the accusation that He breaks Sabbath law, He quips, “The Sabbath is a great servant, but it’s not your master. I am Lord of the Sabbath.” The crowds are amazed at the tense give-and-take between Jesus and His opponents. They seem to respect the Pharisees for their strict observance of God’s law, or perhaps they fear them because they don’t want to become targets of Pharisaic criticism. Yet the people are attracted to Jesus because of the peculiar moral authority He exhibits. As time goes on, Jesus crosses more and more lines drawn in the sand. The tension between Jesus and the Pharisees now becomes a major plotline of Luke’s story.
Pharisees: Don’t You know the sacred law says You can’t harvest and mill grain on the Sabbath Day—the day on which all work is forbidden? Why do You think You can ignore the sacred law?
The Pharisees think they have God all figured out. They claim to be experts in the sacred writings—the Hebrew Scriptures. But Jesus doesn’t fit in with their assumptions and expectations, and He doesn’t submit to their presumed expertise. So they are constantly criticizing Him and trying to trap Him in some obvious wrongdoing or unorthodoxy. But Jesus responds with questions instead of answers. He seems to decide that the best way to help them is by challenging them to think, to question their assumptions, to see things from a higher or deeper perspective. For example, they argue about what is permissible on the Sabbath Day (the seventh day, the day of rest); this is how Jesus gets them thinking about the deeper purpose of the Sabbath Day.
Jesus: 3 Speaking of the sacred law, haven’t you ever read about the time when David and his companions were hungry? 4 Don’t you remember how he went into the house of God and took the sacred bread of the presence—which, you may recall, only the priests were lawfully permitted to eat? Remember that he not only ate it, but he also gave it to his companions?[aa] 5 Likewise, the Son of Man has authority over the Sabbath.
6 On another Sabbath, Jesus entered the synagogue and taught there. In the congregation was a man who had a deformed right hand. 7 The religious scholars and Pharisees watched Jesus; they suspected that He might try to perform a healing on that day, which they would use as evidence to convict Him of Sabbath-breaking.
8 Jesus knew about their plan, and He told the man with the deformed hand to come and stand in front of everyone. The man did so. 9 Then Jesus spoke directly to the religious scholars and Pharisees.
Jesus: Here’s a question for you: On the Sabbath Day, is it lawful to do good or to do harm? Is it lawful to save life or to destroy it?
10 He turned His gaze to each of them, one at a time. Then He spoke to the man.
Jesus: Stretch your hand out.
As the man did, his deformed hand was made normal again. 11 This made the Pharisees and religious scholars furious. They began discussing together what they would do to Jesus.
12 Around this time, Jesus went outside the city to a nearby mountain, along with a large crowd of His disciples. He prayed through the night to God. 13 The next morning, He chose 12 of them and gave each a new title of “emissary.”
They are no longer simply disciples, which means “learners”; now they are also apostles, which means “emissaries.”
14 They included Simon (Jesus called him Peter) and Andrew (Simon’s brother); James and John; Philip and Bartholomew; 15 Matthew and Thomas; James (son of Alphaeus) and Simon (known as the Zealot); 16 Judas (son of James) and the other Judas (Judas Iscariot, who later betrayed Jesus).
17 The whole crowd of disciples (including the 12 now designated as His emissaries) came down together, and they stood on a level area nearby. They were joined by an even greater crowd of people who had come from across the whole region—from all of Judea, from Jerusalem, from the coastal areas of Tyre and Sidon. 18 These people came to hear Jesus teach and to be healed by Jesus of their diseases. Those who were troubled by demonic spirits were liberated.
19 Everyone wanted to touch Jesus because when they did, power emanated from Him and they were healed. 20 He looked across the faces of His disciples.
Jesus: All you who are poor, you are blessed
Here is Luke’s most concentrated summary of Jesus’ teachings for His followers. Here He describes what life in the kingdom of God looks like.
27 If you’re listening, here’s My message: Keep loving your enemies no matter what they do. Keep doing good to those who hate you. 28 Keep speaking blessings on those who curse you. Keep praying for those who mistreat you. 29 If someone strikes you on one cheek, offer the other cheek too. If someone steals your coat, offer him your shirt too. 30 If someone begs from you, give to him. If someone robs you of your valuables, don’t demand them back. 31 Think of the kindness you wish others would show you; do the same for them.
32 Listen, what’s the big deal if you love people who already love you? Even scoundrels do that much! 33 So what if you do good to those who do good to you? Even scoundrels do that much! 34 So what if you lend to people who are likely to repay you? Even scoundrels lend to scoundrels if they think they’ll be fully repaid.
35 If you want to be extraordinary—love your enemies! Do good without restraint! Lend with abandon! Don’t expect anything in return! Then you’ll receive the truly great reward—you will be children of the Most High—for God is kind to the ungrateful and those who are wicked. 36 So imitate God and be truly compassionate, the way your Father is.
37 If you don’t want to be judged, don’t judge. If you don’t want to be condemned, don’t condemn. If you want to be forgiven, forgive. 38 Don’t hold back—give freely, and you’ll have plenty poured back into your lap—a good measure, pressed down, shaken together, brimming over. You’ll receive in the same measure you give.
39 Jesus told them this parable:
Jesus: What happens if a blind man leads a blind man? Won’t both of them fall into a pit? 40 You can’t turn out better than your teacher; when you’re fully taught, you will resemble your teacher.
41 Speaking of blindness: Why do you focus on the speck in your brother’s eye? Why don’t you see the log in your own? 42 How can you say to your brother, “Oh, brother, let me help you take that little speck out of your eye,” when you don’t even see the big log in your own eye? What a hypocrite! First, take the log out of your own eye. Then you’ll be able to see clearly enough to help your brother with the speck in his eye.
43 Count on this: no good tree bears bad fruit, and no bad tree bears good fruit. 44 You can know a tree by the fruit it bears. You don’t find figs on a thorn bush, and you can’t pick grapes from a briar bush. 45 It’s the same with people. A person full of goodness in his heart produces good things; a person with an evil reservoir in his heart pours out evil things. The heart overflows in the words a person speaks; your words reveal what’s within your heart.
46 What good is it to mouth the words, “Lord! Lord!” if you don’t live by My teachings? 47 What matters is that you come to Me, hear My words, and actually live by them. 48 If you do that, you’ll be like the man who wanted to build a sturdy house. He dug down deep and anchored his foundation to solid rock. During a violent storm, the floodwaters slammed against the house, but they couldn’t shake it because of solid craftsmanship. [It was built upon rock.][ab]
49 On the other hand, if you hear My teachings but don’t put them into practice, you’ll be like the careless builder who didn’t bother to build a foundation under his house. The floodwaters barely touched that pathetic house, and it crashed in ruins in the mud.
In addition to teaching and healing, Jesus also gathers disciples, who are simply students or apprentices. Their classroom is the world—hillsides and beaches, homes and country roads, fields and city streets. Their subject is life—life in the kingdom of God. Jesus has many students, both men and women, but He forms a special inner circle known as “the twelve.” The number “twelve” is highly symbolic because the Jewish people were originally composed of twelve tribes. However, over the centuries, some of the tribes were decimated. By calling together a new twelve, Jesus seems to be dramatizing a new beginning for the people of God. The original twelve tribes found their identity in the law of Moses, but now Jesus is giving a new way of life for His twelve to learn and follow.
7 Jesus shared all these sayings with the crowd that day on the plain. When He was finished, He went into the town of Capernaum. 2 There, a Centurion had a slave he loved dearly. The slave was sick—about to die— 3 so when the Centurion heard about Jesus, he contacted some Jewish elders. He sent them to ask Jesus to come and heal his dear slave. 4 With great emotion and respect, the elders presented their request to Jesus.
Jewish Elders: This man is worthy of Your help. It’s true that he’s a Centurion, 5 but he loves our nation. In fact, he paid for our synagogue to be built.
6 So Jesus accompanied them. When they approached the Centurion’s home, the Centurion sent out some friends to bring a message to Jesus.
Message of the Centurion: Lord, don’t go to the trouble of coming inside. I am not worthy to have You come under my roof. 7 That’s why I sent others with my request. Just say the word, and that will be enough to heal my servant. 8 I understand how authority works, being under authority myself and having soldiers under my authority. I command to one, “Go,” and he goes. I say to another, “Come,” and he comes. I say to my slave, “Do this,” and he obeys me.
9 Jesus was deeply impressed when He heard this. He turned to the crowd that followed Him.
John, it seems, is having second thoughts. Is Jesus really the One we have expected? Is He the Anointed One? But who can blame John for these doubts? After all, John is in prison, unjustly held by a corrupt, immoral ruler. Ultimately the desert prophet will have his head severed from his body when the drunken, lusty king makes a silly promise in front of dinner guests. So who can blame John for seeking assurance from the Lord? Jesus, realizing fully the kinds of expectations others have, gently reminds John and his disciples of the Scriptures: “the blind see, the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead live, and the poor receive the good news.” Luke doesn’t say how John responds to the report as he nears his own end. What is clear is that Jesus has the utmost respect for His colleague and cousin. He doesn’t reject him for his doubts but tries to send him reassurance.
Jesus: Listen, everyone. This outsider, this Roman, has more faith than I have found even among our own Jewish people.
10 The friends of the Centurion returned home, and they found the slave was completely healed.
11 It wasn’t long after this when Jesus entered a city called Nain. Again all of His disciples accompanied Him, along with a huge crowd. 12 He was coming near the gate of the city as a corpse was being carried out. This man was the only child and support of his widowed mother, and she was accompanied by a large funeral crowd.
13 As soon as the Lord saw her, He felt compassion for her.
Jesus: Don’t weep.
14 Then He came to the stretcher, and those carrying it stood still.
Jesus: Young man, listen! Get up!
15 The dead man immediately sat up and began talking. Jesus presented him to his mother, 16 and everyone was both shocked and jubilant. They praised God.
Funeral Crowd: A tremendous prophet has arisen in our midst! God has visited His people!
17 News of Jesus spread across the whole province of Judea and beyond to the surrounding regions. 18 When these reports reached John’s disciples, they brought news to John himself, who was known for his preaching and ritual cleansing.[ac] 19 John sent two of his disciples to ask the Lord, “Are You the Promised One, or shall we keep looking for someone else?”
20 They came to Jesus and asked their question exactly as directed by John the Baptist.
21 Before He answered John’s messengers, Jesus cured many from various diseases, health conditions, and evil spirits. He even caused many blind people to regain their sight.
Jesus (to John’s disciples): 22 Go and tell John what you’ve witnessed with your own eyes and ears: the blind are seeing again, the lame are walking again, the lepers are clean again, the deaf hear again, the dead live again, and good news is preached to the poor.[ad] 23 Whoever is not offended by Me is blessed indeed.
24 When John’s messengers left, Jesus talked to the crowds about John.
Jesus: When you went out into the wilderness to see John, what were you expecting? A reed shaking in the wind? 25 What were you looking for? A man in expensive clothing? Look, if you were looking for fancy clothes and luxurious living, you went to the wrong place—you should have gone to the kings’ courts, not to the wilderness! 26 What were you seeking? A prophet? Ah yes, that’s what John is, and even more than a prophet. 27 The prophet Malachi was talking about John when he wrote,
I will send My messenger before You,
28 Listen, there is no human being greater than this man, John the Baptist. Yet even the least significant person in the coming kingdom of God is greater than John.
29 The common people and tax collectors heard God’s own wisdom in Jesus’ assessment of John because they had been ritually cleansed through baptism by John. 30 But the Pharisees and religious scholars hardened their hearts and turned their backs on God’s purposes for them because they had refused John’s baptism.[af]
Jesus: 31 The people of this generation—what are they like? To what can they be compared? 32 I’ll tell you: they’re like spoiled kids sitting in the marketplace playing games, calling out,
We played the pipes for you,
33 You can’t win with this generation. John the Baptist comes along, fasting and abstaining from wine, and you say, “This guy is demon-possessed!” 34 The Son of Man comes along, feasting and drinking wine, and you say, “This guy is a glutton and a drunk, a friend of scoundrels and tax collectors!” 35 Well, wisdom’s true children know wisdom when they hear it.
36-40 Once a Pharisee named Simon invited Jesus to be a guest for a meal.
Just as Jesus enters the man’s home and takes His place at the table, a woman from the city—notorious as a woman of ill repute—follows Him in. She has heard that Jesus will be at the Pharisee’s home, so she comes in and approaches Him, carrying an alabaster flask of perfumed oil. Then she begins to cry, she kneels down so her tears fall on Jesus’ feet, and she starts wiping His feet with her own hair. Then she actually kisses His feet, and she pours the perfumed oil on them.
Simon (thinking): Now I know this guy is a fraud. If He were a real prophet, He would have known this woman is a sinner and He would never let her get near Him, much less touch Him . . . or kiss Him!
Jesus (knowing what the Pharisee is thinking): Simon, I want to tell you a story.
Simon: Tell me, Teacher.
Jesus: 41 Two men owed a certain lender a lot of money. One owed 100 weeks’ wages, and the other owed 10 weeks’ wages. 42 Both men defaulted on their loans, but the lender forgave them both. Here’s a question for you: which man will love the lender more?
Simon: 43 Well, I guess it would be the one who was forgiven more.
Jesus: Good answer.
44-46 Now Jesus turns around so He’s facing the woman, although He’s still speaking to Simon.
Jesus: Do you see this woman here? It’s kind of funny. I entered your home, and you didn’t provide a basin of water so I could wash the road dust from My feet. You didn’t give Me a customary kiss of greeting and welcome. You didn’t offer Me the common courtesy of providing oil to brighten My face. But this woman has wet My feet with her own tears and washed them with her own hair. She hasn’t stopped kissing My feet since I came in. And she has applied perfumed oil to My feet. 47 This woman has been forgiven much, and she is showing much love. But the person who has shown little love shows how little forgiveness he has received.
48 (to the woman) Your sins are forgiven.
Simon and Friends (muttering among themselves): 49 Who does this guy think He is? He has the audacity to claim the authority to forgive sins?
Jesus (to the woman): 50 Your faith has liberated you. Go in peace.
8 Soon after this incident, Jesus preached from city to city, village to village, carrying the good news of the kingdom of God. He was accompanied by a group called “the twelve,” 2 and also by a larger group including some women who had been rescued from evil spirits and healed of diseases. There was Mary, called Magdalene, who had been released from seven demons. 3 There were others like Susanna and Joanna, who was married to Chuza, a steward of King Herod. And there were many others too. These women played an important role in Jesus’ ministry, using their wealth to provide for Him and His other companions.
4 While a huge crowd gathered with people from many surrounding towns streaming to hear Jesus, He told them a parable.
Parables are works of art, specifically, works of short fiction. They are intricately constructed and complex in their intent. In some ways, they are intended to hide the truth; they don’t reduce truth to simple statements or formulae. Instead, they force the reader to take things to a deeper level, to engage the imagination, to think and think again. In this way, they invite people to ask questions; they stir curiosity; they create intrigue.
Jesus: 5 Once a farmer went out to scatter seed in his fields. Some seeds fell along a trail where they were crushed underfoot by people walking by. Birds flew in and ate those seeds. 6 Other seeds fell on gravel. Those seeds sprouted but soon withered, depleted of moisture under the scorching sun. 7 Still other seeds landed among thorns where they grew for a while, but eventually the thorns stunted them so they couldn’t thrive or bear fruit. 8 But some seeds fell into good soil—soft, moist, free from thorns. These seeds not only grew, but they also produced more seeds, a hundred times what the farmer originally planted. If you have ears, hear My meaning!
9 His disciples heard the words, but the deeper meaning eluded them.
Disciples: What were You trying to say?
10 Jesus: The kingdom of God contains many secrets.
I want you to understand, so 11 here’s the interpretation: The voice of God falls on human hearts like seeds scattered across a field. 12 Some people hear that message, but the devil opposes the liberation that would come to them by believing. So he swoops in and steals the message from their hard hearts like birds stealing the seeds from the footpath. 13 Others receive the message enthusiastically, but their vitality is short-lived because the message cannot be deeply rooted in their shallow hearts. In the heat of temptation, their faith withers, like the seeds that sprouted in gravelly soil. 14 A third group hears the message, but as time passes, the daily anxieties, the pursuit of wealth, and life’s addicting delights outpace the growth of the message in their hearts. Even if the message blossoms and fruit begins to form, the fruit never fully matures because the thorns choke out the plants’ vitality.
15 But some people hear the message and let it take root deeply in receptive hearts made fertile by honesty and goodness. With patient dependability, they bear good fruit.
16 You wouldn’t light a lamp and cover it with a clay pot. You’re not going to hide it under your bed. No, when you light it, you’re going to put it out in the open so your guests can feel welcome and see where they’re going.
17 Hidden things will always come out into the open. Secret things will come to light and be exposed. 18 I hope you’re still listening. And I hope you’re listening carefully. If you get what I’m saying, you’ll get more. If you miss My meaning, even the understanding you think you have will be taken from you.
19 Around this time, Jesus was speaking to a crowd of people gathered in a house. His mother and brothers arrived to see Him, but the crowd around Him was so huge that they couldn’t even get through the door. 20 Word spread through the crowd.
Someone from the Crowd: Jesus, Your mother and brothers are outside the house hoping to see You.
Jesus: 21 Do you want to know who My mother and brothers are? They’re the ones who truly understand God’s message and obey it.
22 Picture this:
One day Jesus and His disciples get into a boat.
Jesus: Let’s cross the lake.
So they push off from shore and begin sailing to the far side. 23 As they progress across the lake, Jesus falls sound asleep. Soon a raging storm blows in. The waves wash over the sides of the boat, and the boat starts filling up with water. Every second the situation becomes more dangerous.
24 The disciples shake Jesus and wake Him.
Disciples (shouting): Master! Master! We’re all going to die!
Jesus wakes up and tells the wind to stop whipping them around, and He tells the furious waves to calm down. They do just that. 25 Then Jesus turns to the disciples.
Jesus: What happened to your faith?
The disciples had been terrified during the storm, but now they’re afraid in another way. They turn to each other and start whispering, chattering, and wondering.
Disciples: Who is this man? How can He command wind and water so they do what He says?
26 When they get to the other side of the lake, in the Gerasene country opposite Galilee, 27 a man from the city is waiting for Jesus when He steps out of the boat. The man is full of demonic spirits. He’s been running around for a long time stark naked, and he’s homeless, sleeping among the dead in a cemetery. 28-29 This man has on many occasions been tied up and chained and kept under guard, but each time he has broken free and the demonic power has driven him back into remote places away from human contact. Jesus commands the demonic force to leave him. The man looks at Jesus and starts screaming. He falls down in front of Jesus.
Possessed Man (shouting): Don’t torment me, Jesus, Son of the Most High God! Why are You here?
Jesus (calmly and simply): 30 What’s your name?
Possessed Man: Battalion.
He says this because an army of demons is inside of him. 31 The demons start begging Jesus not to send them into the bottomless pit. 32 They plead instead to enter into a herd of pigs feeding on a steep hillside near the shore. Jesus gives them permission to do so. 33 Suddenly the man is liberated from the demons, but the pigs—they stampede, squealing down the hill and into the lake where they drown themselves.
34 The pig owners see all this. They run back to their town and tell everyone in the region about it. 35 Soon a crowd rushes from the town to see what’s going on out by the lake. There they find Jesus seated to teach with the newly liberated man sitting at His feet learning in the posture of a disciple. This former madman is now properly dressed and completely sane. This frightens the people. 36 The pig owners tell them the whole story—the healing, the pigs’ mass suicide, everything.
37 The people are scared to death, and they don’t want this scary abnormality happening in their territory. They ask Jesus to leave immediately. Jesus doesn’t argue. He prepares to leave, 38 but before they embark, the newly liberated man begs to come along and join the band of disciples.
Jesus: 39 No. Go home. Tell your people this amazing story about how much God has done for you.
The man does so. In fact, he tells everyone in the whole city how much Jesus did for him that day on the shore.
40 When Jesus and His disciples crossed the lake, another crowd was waiting to welcome Him. 41 A man made his way through the crowd. His name was Jairus, and he was a synagogue official. Like the man on the other side of the lake, this dignified man also fell at Jesus’ feet, begging Jesus to visit his home 42 where his only daughter, a girl of 12, lay dying. Jesus set out with Jairus. The crowd came along, too, pressing hard against Him.
43 In the crowd was a woman. She had suffered from an incurable menstrual disorder for 12 years [and had spent her livelihood on doctors with no effect].[ah] It had kept her miserable and ritually unclean, unable to participate fully in Jewish life. 44 She followed Jesus, until she could reach Him. She touched the fringe of the robe Jesus wore, and at that moment the bleeding stopped.
Jesus (stopping and looking about): 45 Who touched Me?
Some in the Crowd (everyone speaking at once): Not me.
Another in the Crowd: It wasn’t me either.
Peter [and those with him][ai] (intervening): Master, what kind of question is that, with this huge crowd all around You and many people touching You on all sides?
Jesus: 46 I felt something. I felt power going out from Me. I know that somebody touched Me.
47 The woman now realized her secret was going to come out sooner or later, so she stepped out of the crowd, shaking with fear, and she fell down in front of Jesus. Then she told her story in front of everyone—why she touched Him, what happened as a result.
Jesus: 48 Your faith has made you well again, daughter. Go in peace.
49 Right at that instant, one of Jairus’s household servants arrived.
Servant: Sir, your daughter is dead. It’s no use bothering the Teacher with this anymore.
Jesus (interrupting Jairus before he could speak): 50 Don’t be afraid. Just believe. She’ll be well again.
51-52 As they approached the house, the whole neighborhood was full of the sound of mourning—weeping, wailing, loud crying. Jesus told everyone to stay outside—everyone except Peter, John, James, and, of course, the girl’s father and mother.
Jesus (to the mourners): Please stop weeping. The girl isn’t dead. She’s only asleep.
53 They knew for certain that she was dead, so their bitter tears now mixed with mocking laughter.
54 Meanwhile, inside, Jesus took the girl’s hand.
Jesus: Child, get up!
55 She started breathing again, and she sat right up.
Jesus: Get her something to eat.
56 Her parents were amazed, but Jesus sternly told them to keep what had happened a secret.
So concludes an almost breathtaking succession of encounters between Jesus and people in need. Each story is unique; Jesus responds to each person as an individual, and there is no detectable formula to His way of treating people—except that in every case, His interactions are characterized by love and compassion.
Now Jesus takes His ministry of teaching the kingdom of God in word and deed to a new level: He sends out His disciples to do what they have seen Him do. Jesus commissions the twelve to multiply His ministry. They will go out from and then return to Jesus with reports of what they’ve experienced and learned. But it’s hard for them to get any time alone to talk. There are so many people who want time with Jesus!
9 Jesus convened a gathering of the twelve. He gave them power and authority to free people from all demonic spirits and to heal them of diseases. 2 He sent them out to preach the kingdom of God and to heal the sick. 3-5 These were His instructions:
6 The disciples left on their journeys from village to village. They preached the good news, and they healed the sick everywhere they went.
7-8 Their mission didn’t go unnoticed. The local official installed by Rome, Herod, was especially anxious about the news because rumors were flying. Some people said that Elijah or one of the other ancient prophets had been resurrected, while others said that John, famous for his ritual cleansing, was alive and preaching again.
Herod: 9 I am the one who beheaded John. So who is this man who is causing such a stir?
Herod was curious about Jesus and wanted to see Him.
10 The emissaries[aj] whom Jesus had sent out returned, and Jesus took them away from the crowds for a time of retreat in a city called Bethsaida. They gave Jesus a full report of their accomplishments and experiences. 11 But soon the crowds discovered where they were and pursued Him. Jesus didn’t turn them away; He welcomed them, spoke of the kingdom of God to them, and brought health to those who needed healing.
12 Picture what happened while in Bethsaida, where Jesus and His disciples were spending time with the crowds:
The sun is low in the sky, and soon it will be dusk. The twelve come to Jesus with advice.
Disciples: Send the crowd away so they can find lodging and food in the nearby villages and countryside. We’re out here in the middle of nowhere.
Jesus: 13-14 No. You give them something to eat.
Disciples: Are You kidding? There are at least 5,000 men here, not to mention women and children. All we have are five loaves and two fish. The only way we could provide for them would be to go to a nearby city and buy cartloads of food. That would cost a small fortune.
Jesus: Just do this: organize them in little communities of about 50 people each and have them sit down.
15 They do what Jesus says, and soon groups of 50 are scattered across the landscape.
16 Then Jesus takes the five loaves and two fish, and He looks up to heaven. He praises God for the food, takes each item, and breaks it into fragments. Then He gives fragments to the twelve disciples and tells them to distribute the food to the crowd.
17 Everyone eats. Everyone is satisfied. Nobody goes away hungry. In fact, when the disciples recover the leftovers, they have 12 baskets full of broken pieces.
18 Once Jesus was praying in solitude. The disciples were nearby, and He came to them with a question.
Jesus: What are the people saying about Me?
Disciples: 19 Some people think You’re John the Baptist. Others say You’re the prophet Elijah, or else one of the other ancient prophets who has come back from the dead.
Jesus: 20 Ah, but what about you? Who do you say that I am?
Peter: God’s Anointed, the Liberating King.
Jesus (sternly): 21 Don’t tell anyone this. 22 The Son of Man must suffer intensely. He must be rejected by the religious establishment—the elders, the chief priests, the religious scholars. Then He will be killed. And then, on the third day He will be raised.
23 If any of you want to walk My path, you’re going to have to deny yourself. You’ll have to take up your cross every day and follow Me. 24 If you try to avoid danger and risk, then you’ll lose everything. If you let go of your life and risk all for My sake, then your life will be rescued, healed, made whole and full. 25 Listen, what good does it do you if you gain everything—if the whole world is in your pocket—but then your own life slips through your fingers and is lost to you?
26 If you’re ashamed of who I am and what I teach, then the Son of Man will be ashamed of you when He comes in all His glory, the glory of the Father, and the glory of the holy messengers. 27 Are you ready for this? I’m telling you the truth: some of you will not taste death until your eyes see the kingdom of God.
In this section of Luke, Jesus is working hard with the disciples. They have a lot to learn and not much time left to learn it. But their “not-getting-it factor” is quite amazing. Luke’s tone betrays him shaking his head and chuckling as he writes, thinking about how foolish the disciples can be at times. And, of course, he’s probably thinking of himself too . . . just as he hopes his readers will when they read about the stupid things the disciples say and do—one moment seeing and hearing glorious things, the next moment missing the point entirely.
28 Those words had about eight days to settle in with the disciples. Then, once again, Jesus went away to pray. This time He took along only Peter, John, and James. They climbed a mountainside and came to a place of solitude.
29-32 Jesus began to pray and the disciples tried to stay awake, but their eyes grew heavier and heavier and finally they all fell asleep. When they awakened, they looked over at Jesus and saw something inexplicable happening. Jesus was changing before their eyes, beginning with His face. It seemed to glow. The glow spread, and even His clothing took on a blinding whiteness. Then, two figures appeared in the glorious radiance emanating from Jesus. The three disciples somehow knew that these figures were Moses and Elijah. Peter, James, and John overheard the conversation that took place among Jesus, Moses, and Elijah—a conversation that centered on Jesus’ “departure”[ak] and how He would accomplish this departure from the capital city, Jerusalem.
33 The glow began to fade, and it was clear that Moses and Elijah were about to disappear.
Peter (to Jesus): Please, Master, it is good for us to be here and see this. Can we make three structures—one to honor You, one to honor Moses, and one to honor Elijah, to try to capture what’s happening here?
Peter had no idea what he was saying.
34 While he spoke a cloud descended, and they were enveloped in it, and fear fell on them. 35 Then a voice came out of everywhere and nowhere at once.
36 Then the voice was silent, the cloud disappeared, and Moses and Elijah were gone. Peter, James, and John were left speechless, stunned, staring at Jesus who now stood before them alone. For a long time, they did not say a word about this whole experience.
37 They came down the mountain, and the next day yet another huge crowd gathered around Jesus. There was a man in the crowd who shouted out.
Man in Crowd: 38 Teacher! Please come and look at my son here, my only child. 39 From time to time, a demonic spirit seizes him. It makes him scream and go into convulsions. He foams at the mouth. It nearly destroys him and only leaves after causing him great distress. 40 While You were up on the mountain, I begged Your disciples to liberate him from this spirit, but they were incapable of helping us.
Jesus: 41 O generation faithless, twisted, and crooked, how long can I be with you? How much can I bear? Bring your boy here.
42 The boy had taken a few steps toward Jesus when suddenly the demon seemed to rip into the boy, throwing him into convulsions. Jesus spoke sternly to the demonic spirit, and the boy was healed. Jesus presented the boy to his father.
43 The crowd began cheering and discussing this amazing healing and the power of God, but Jesus turned to His disciples.
Jesus: 44 Listen. Listen hard. Let these words get down deep: the Son of Man is going to be turned over to the authorities and arrested.
45 They had no idea what He meant by this; they heard the words but missed the meaning, and they felt too afraid to ask Him to explain further.
46 Later the close followers of Jesus began to argue over the stupid and vain question, “Which one of us is the greatest disciple?”
47 Jesus saw what was going on—not just the argument, but the deeper heart issues—so He found a child and had the child stand beside Him.
Jesus: 48 See this little one? Whoever welcomes a little child in My name welcomes Me. And whoever welcomes Me welcomes the One who sent Me. The smallest one among you is therefore the greatest.
John: 49 Master, we found this fellow casting out demons. He said he was doing it in Your name, but he’s not one of our group. So we told him to stop.
Jesus: 50 What? No! Don’t think like that! Whoever is not working against you is working with you.
51 The time approached for Him to be taken back up to the Father; so strong with resolve, Jesus made Jerusalem His destination.
52 He sent some people ahead of Him into the territory of the Samaritans, a minority group at odds with the Jewish majority. He wanted His messengers to find a place for them to stay in a village along the road to Jerusalem. 53 But because the Samaritans realized Jesus was going to Jerusalem, they refused to welcome them.
Jesus (turning toward them and shaking His head): 55 You just don’t get it. [56 The Son of Man didn’t come to ruin the lives of people, but He came to liberate them.][ap]
He led them on toward another village. 57 Farther along on the road, a man volunteered to become a disciple.
Volunteer: I’ll follow You to any destination.
Jesus: 58 Foxes are at home in their burrows. Birds are at home in their nests. But the Son of Man has no home. 59 You (to another person)—I want you to follow Me!
Another Volunteer: I’d be glad to, Teacher, but let me first attend to my father’s funeral.
Jesus: 60 Let the dead bury their dead. I’m giving you a different calling—to go and proclaim the kingdom of God.
A Third Volunteer: 61 I’ll come, Jesus. I’ll follow You. But just let me first run home to say good-bye to my family.
Jesus: 62 Listen, if your hand is on the plow but your eyes are looking backward, then you’re not fit for the kingdom of God.
10 The Lord then recruited and deployed 70[aq] more disciples. He sent them ahead, in teams of two, to visit all the towns and settlements between them and Jerusalem. 2 This is what He ordered.
Jesus: There’s a great harvest waiting in the fields, but there aren’t many good workers to harvest it. Pray that the Harvest Master will send out good workers to the fields.
3 It’s time for you 70 to go. I’m sending you out armed with vulnerability, like lambs walking into a pack of wolves. 4 Don’t bring a wallet. Don’t carry a backpack. I don’t even want you to wear sandals. Walk along barefoot, quietly, without stopping for small talk. 5 When you enter a house seeking lodging, say, “Peace on this house!” 6 If a child of peace—one who welcomes God’s message of peace—is there, your peace will rest on him. If not, don’t worry; nothing is wasted. 7 Stay where you’re welcomed. Become part of the family, eating and drinking whatever they give you. You’re My workers, and you deserve to be cared for. Again, don’t go from house to house, 8 but settle down in a town and eat whatever they serve you. 9 Heal the sick and say to the townspeople, “The kingdom of God has come near to you.”
10 Of course, not every town will welcome you. If you’re rejected, walk through the streets and say, 11 “We’re leaving this town. We’ll wipe off the dust that clings to our feet in protest against you. But even so, know this: the kingdom of God has come near.” 12 I tell you the truth, on judgment day, Sodom will have an easier time of it than the town that rejects My messengers.
13 It’s going to be bad for you, Chorazin! It’s going to be bad for you, Bethsaida! If the mighty works done in your streets had been done in the cities of Tyre and Sidon, they would have been moved to turn to God and cry out in sackcloth and ashes. 14 On judgment day, Tyre and Sidon will have an easier time of it than you. 15 It’s going to be bad for you, too, Capernaum! Will you be celebrated to heaven? No, you will go down to the place of the dead.
16 Listen, disciples: if people give you a hearing, they’re giving Me a hearing. If they reject you, they’re rejecting Me. And if they reject Me, they’re rejecting the One who sent Me. So—go now!
17 When the 70[ar] completed their mission and returned to report on their experiences, they were elated.
Seventy: It’s amazing, Lord! When we use Your name, the demons do what we say!
Jesus: 18 I know. I saw Satan falling from above like a lightning bolt. 19 I’ve given you true authority. You can smash vipers and scorpions under your feet.[as] You can walk all over the power of the enemy. You can’t be harmed. 20 But listen—that’s not the point. Don’t be elated that evil spirits leave when you say to leave. Rejoice that your names are written in heaven.
21 Then Jesus Himself became elated. The Holy Spirit was on Him, and He began to pray with joy.
Jesus: Thank You, Father, Lord of heaven and earth. Thank You for hiding Your mysteries from the wise and intellectual, instead revealing them to little children. Your ways are truly gracious. 22 My Father has given Me everything. No one knows the full identity of the Son except the Father, and nobody knows the full identity of the Father except the Son, and the Son fully reveals the Father to whomever He wishes. 23 (then almost in a whisper to the disciples) How blessed are your eyes to see what you see! 24 Many prophets and kings dreamed of seeing what you see, but they never got a glimpse. They dreamed of hearing what you hear, but they never heard it.
25 Just then a scholar of the Hebrew Scriptures tried to trap Jesus.
Scholar: Teacher, what must I do to experience the eternal life?
Jesus (answering with a question): 26 What is written in the Hebrew Scriptures? How do you interpret their answer to your question?
Jesus: 28 Perfect. Your answer is correct. Follow these commands and you will live.
29 The scholar was frustrated by this response because he was hoping to make himself appear smarter than Jesus.
Scholar: Ah, but who is my neighbor?
Jesus: 30 This fellow was traveling down from Jerusalem to Jericho when some robbers mugged him. They took his clothes, beat him to a pulp, and left him naked and bleeding and in critical condition. 31 By chance, a priest was going down that same road, and when he saw the wounded man, he crossed over to the other side and passed by. 32 Then a Levite who was on his way to assist in the temple also came and saw the victim lying there, and he too kept his distance. 33 Then a despised Samaritan journeyed by. When he saw the fellow, he felt compassion for him. 34 The Samaritan went over to him, stopped the bleeding, applied some first aid, and put the poor fellow on his donkey. He brought the man to an inn and cared for him through the night.
35 The next day, the Samaritan took out some money—two days’ wages[av] to be exact—and paid the innkeeper, saying, “Please take care of this fellow, and if this isn’t enough, I’ll repay you next time I pass through.”
36 Which of these three proved himself a neighbor to the man who had been mugged by the robbers?
Scholar: 37 The one who showed mercy to him.
Jesus: Well then, go and behave like that Samaritan.
This story brings together many themes from Jesus’ teaching of the Kingdom. Samaritans are seen as “half-breeds” by Jesus’ fellow Jews—racially mixed and also religiously compromised. By making a Samaritan the hero of the story, Jesus is once again tweaking assumptions and breaking out of conventional boxes: “In the kingdom of God,” Jesus is saying, “the outcasts and last can move to the front of the line.” The focus for Jesus is not on the kinds of sophisticated arguments preferred by the religious scholar; for Jesus the kingdom of God is about living life, and in particular, living a life of love for God and for neighbor—whoever that neighbor may be.
38 Jesus continued from there toward Jerusalem and came to another village. Martha, a resident of that village, welcomed Jesus into her home. 39 Her sister, Mary, went and sat at Jesus’ feet, listening to Him teach. 40 Meanwhile Martha was anxious about all the hospitality arrangements.
Martha (interrupting Jesus): Lord, why don’t You care that my sister is leaving me to do all the work by myself? Tell her to get over here and help me.
Jesus: 41 Oh Martha, Martha, you are so anxious and concerned about a million details, 42 but really, only one thing matters. Mary has chosen that one thing, and I won’t take it away from her.
11 Another time Jesus was praying, and when He finished, one of His disciples approached Him.
Disciple: Teacher, would You teach us Your way of prayer? John taught his disciples his way of prayer, and we’re hoping You’ll do the same.
Jesus: 2 Here’s how to pray:
Father [in heaven], may Your name be revered.
5 Imagine that one of your friends comes over at midnight. He bangs on the door and shouts, “Friend, will you lend me three loaves of bread? 6 A friend of mine just showed up unexpectedly from a journey, and I don’t have anything to feed him.” 7 Would you shout out from your bed, “I’m already in bed, and so are the kids. I already locked the door. I can’t be bothered”? 8 You know this as well as I do: even if you didn’t care that this fellow was your friend, if he keeps knocking long enough, you’ll get up and give him whatever he needs simply because of his brash persistence!
9 So listen: Keep on asking, and you will receive. Keep on seeking, and you will find. Keep on knocking, and the door will be opened for you. 10 All who keep asking will receive, all who keep seeking will find, and doors will open to those who keep knocking.
11 Some of you are fathers, so ask yourselves this: if your son comes up to you and asks for a fish for dinner, will you give him a snake instead? 12 If your boy wants an egg to eat, will you give him a scorpion? 13 Look, all of you are flawed in so many ways, yet in spite of all your faults, you know how to give good gifts to your children. How much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to all who ask!
14 Picture this:
Jesus is exorcising a demon that has long kept a man from speaking. When the demon is expelled, the man starts talking and the people are amazed.
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