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A Story about a Farmer

13 That same day Jesus left the house and went out beside Lake Galilee, where he sat down to teach.[a] Such large crowds gathered around him that he had to sit in a boat, while the people stood on the shore. Then he taught them many things by using stories. He said:

A farmer went out to scatter seed in a field. While the farmer was scattering the seed, some of it fell along the road and was eaten by birds. Other seeds fell on thin, rocky ground and quickly started growing because the soil wasn’t very deep. But when the sun came up, the plants were scorched and dried up, because they did not have enough roots. Some other seeds fell where thornbushes grew up and choked the plants. But a few seeds did fall on good ground where the plants produced a hundred or sixty or thirty times as much as was scattered. If you have ears, pay attention!

Why Jesus Used Stories

10 Jesus' disciples came to him and asked, “Why do you use nothing but stories when you speak to the people?”

11 Jesus answered:

I have explained the secrets about the kingdom of heaven to you, but not to others. 12 Everyone who has something will be given more. But people who don’t have anything will lose even what little they have. 13 I use stories when I speak to them because when they look, they cannot see, and when they listen, they cannot hear or understand. 14 So God’s promise came true, just as the prophet Isaiah had said,

“These people will listen
and listen,
    but never understand.
They will look and look,
    but never see.
15 All of them have
    stubborn minds!
Their ears are stopped up,
    and their eyes are covered.
They cannot see or hear
    or understand.
If they could,
they would turn to me,
    and I would heal them.”

16 But God has blessed you, because your eyes can see and your ears can hear! 17 Many prophets and good people were eager to see what you see and to hear what you hear. But I tell you that they did not see or hear.

Jesus Explains the Story about the Farmer

18 Now listen to the meaning of the story about the farmer:

19 The seeds that fell along the road are the people who hear the message about the kingdom, but don’t understand it. Then the evil one comes and snatches the message from their hearts. 20 The seeds that fell on rocky ground are the people who gladly hear the message and accept it right away. 21 But they don’t have deep roots, and they don’t last very long. As soon as life gets hard or the message gets them in trouble, they give up.

22 The seeds that fell among the thornbushes are also people who hear the message. But they start worrying about the needs of this life and are fooled by the desire to get rich. So the message gets choked out, and they never produce anything. 23 The seeds that fell on good ground are the people who hear and understand the message. They produce as much as a hundred or sixty or thirty times what was planted.

Weeds among the Wheat

24 Jesus then told them this story:

The kingdom of heaven is like what happened when a farmer scattered good seed in a field. 25 But while everyone was sleeping, an enemy came and scattered weed seeds in the field and then left.

26 When the plants came up and began to ripen, the farmer’s servants could see the weeds. 27 The servants came and asked, “Sir, didn’t you scatter good seed in your field? Where did these weeds come from?”

28 “An enemy did this,” he replied.

His servants then asked, “Do you want us to go out and pull up the weeds?”

29 “No!” he answered. “You might also pull up the wheat. 30 Leave the weeds alone until harvest time. Then I’ll tell my workers to gather the weeds and tie them up and burn them. But I’ll have them store the wheat in my barn.”

Stories about a Mustard Seed and Yeast

31 Jesus told them another story:

The kingdom of heaven is like what happens when a farmer plants a mustard seed in a field. 32 Although it is the smallest of all seeds, it grows larger than any garden plant and becomes a tree. Birds even come and nest on its branches.

33 Jesus also said:

The kingdom of heaven is like what happens when a woman mixes a little yeast into three big batches of flour. Finally, all the dough rises.

The Reason for Teaching with Stories

34 Jesus used stories when he spoke to the people. In fact, he did not tell them anything without using stories. 35 So God’s promise came true, just as the prophet[b] had said,

“I will use stories
    to speak my message
and to explain things
    that have been hidden
since the creation
    of the world.”

Jesus Explains the Story about the Weeds

36 After Jesus left the crowd and went inside,[c] his disciples came to him and said, “Explain to us the story about the weeds in the wheat field.”

37 Jesus answered:

The one who scattered the good seed is the Son of Man. 38 The field is the world, and the good seeds are the people who belong to the kingdom. The weed seeds are those who belong to the evil one, 39 and the one who scattered them is the devil. The harvest is the end of time, and angels are the ones who bring in the harvest.

40 Weeds are gathered and burned. That’s how it will be at the end of time. 41 The Son of Man will send out his angels, and they will gather from his kingdom everyone who does wrong or causes others to sin. 42 Then he will throw them into a flaming furnace, where people will cry and grit their teeth in pain. 43 But everyone who has done right will shine like the sun in their Father’s kingdom. If you have ears, pay attention!

A Hidden Treasure

44 The kingdom of heaven is like what happens when someone finds a treasure hidden in a field and buries it again. A person like that is happy and goes and sells everything in order to buy that field.

A Valuable Pearl

45 The kingdom of heaven is like what happens when a shop owner is looking for fine pearls. 46 After finding a very valuable one, the owner goes and sells everything in order to buy that pearl.

A Fish Net

47 The kingdom of heaven is like what happens when a net is thrown into a lake and catches all kinds of fish. 48 When the net is full, it is dragged to the shore, and the fishermen sit down to separate the fish. They keep the good ones, but throw the bad ones away. 49 That’s how it will be at the end of time. Angels will come and separate the evil people from the ones who have done right. 50 Then those evil people will be thrown into a flaming furnace, where they will cry and grit their teeth in pain.

New and Old Treasures

51 Jesus asked his disciples if they understood all these things. They said, “Yes, we do.”

52 So he told them, “Every student of the Scriptures who becomes a disciple in the kingdom of heaven is like someone who brings out new and old treasures from the storeroom.”

The People of Nazareth Turn against Jesus

53 When Jesus had finished telling these stories, he left 54 and went to his hometown. He taught in their meeting place, and the people were so amazed that they asked, “Where does he get all this wisdom and the power to work these miracles? 55 Isn’t he the son of the carpenter? Isn’t Mary his mother, and aren’t James, Joseph, Simon, and Judas his brothers? 56 Don’t his sisters still live here in our town? How can he do all this?” 57 So the people were very unhappy because of what he was doing.

But Jesus said, “Prophets are honored by everyone, except the people of their hometown and their own family.” 58 And because the people did not have any faith, Jesus did not work many miracles there.

The Death of John the Baptist

14 About this time Herod the ruler[d] heard the news about Jesus and told his officials, “This is John the Baptist! He has come back from death, and that’s why he has the power to work these miracles.”

3-4 Herod had earlier arrested John and had him chained and put in prison. He did this because John had told him, “It isn’t right for you to take Herodias, the wife of your brother Philip.” Herod wanted to kill John. But the people thought John was a prophet, and Herod was afraid of what they might do.

When Herod’s birthday came, the daughter of Herodias danced for the guests. She pleased Herod so much that he swore to give her whatever she wanted. But the girl’s mother told her to say, “Here on a platter I want the head of John the Baptist!”

The king was sorry for what he had said. But he did not want to break the promise he had made in front of his guests. So he ordered a guard 10 to go to the prison and cut off John’s head. 11 It was taken on a platter to the girl, and she gave it to her mother. 12 John’s followers took his body and buried it. Then they told Jesus what had happened.

Jesus Feeds Five Thousand

13 After Jesus heard about John, he crossed Lake Galilee[e] to go to some place where he could be alone. But the crowds found out and followed him on foot from the towns. 14 When Jesus got out of the boat, he saw the large crowd. He felt sorry for them and healed everyone who was sick.

15 That evening the disciples came to Jesus and said, “This place is like a desert, and it is already late. Let the crowds leave, so they can go to the villages and buy some food.”

16 Jesus replied, “They don’t have to leave. Why don’t you give them something to eat?”

17 But they said, “We have only five small loaves of bread[f] and two fish.” 18 Jesus asked his disciples to bring the food to him, 19 and he told the crowd to sit down on the grass. Jesus took the five loaves and the two fish. He looked up toward heaven and blessed the food. Then he broke the bread and handed it to his disciples, and they gave it to the people.

20 After everyone had eaten all they wanted, Jesus' disciples picked up twelve large baskets of leftovers.

21 There were about five thousand men who ate, not counting the women and children.

Jesus Walks on the Water

22 Right away, Jesus made his disciples get into a boat and start back across the lake.[g] But he stayed until he had sent the crowds away. 23 Then he went up on a mountain where he could be alone and pray. Later that evening, he was still there.

24 By this time the boat was a long way from the shore. It was going against the wind and was being tossed around by the waves. 25 A little while before morning, Jesus came walking on the water toward his disciples. 26 When they saw him, they thought he was a ghost. They were terrified and started screaming.

27 At once, Jesus said to them, “Don’t worry! I am Jesus. Don’t be afraid.”

28 Peter replied, “Lord, if it is really you, tell me to come to you on the water.”

29 “Come on!” Jesus said. Peter then got out of the boat and started walking on the water toward him.

30 But when Peter saw how strong the wind was, he was afraid and started sinking. “Save me, Lord!” he shouted.

31 Right away, Jesus reached out his hand. He helped Peter up and said, “You surely don’t have much faith. Why do you doubt?”

32 When Jesus and Peter got into the boat, the wind died down. 33 The men in the boat worshiped Jesus and said, “You really are the Son of God!”

Jesus Heals Sick People in Gennesaret

34 Jesus and his disciples crossed the lake and came to shore near the town of Gennesaret. 35 The people found out that he was there, and they sent word to everyone who lived in that part of the country. So they brought all the sick people to Jesus. 36 They begged him just to let them touch his clothes, and everyone who did was healed.

The Teaching of the Ancestors

15 About this time some Pharisees and teachers of the Law of Moses came from Jerusalem. They asked Jesus, “Why don’t your disciples obey what our ancestors taught us to do? They don’t even wash their hands[h] before they eat.”

Jesus answered:

Why do you disobey God and follow your own teaching? Didn’t God command you to respect your father and mother? Didn’t he tell you to put to death all who curse their parents? But you let people get by without helping their parents when they should. You let them say that what they have has been offered to God.[i] Is this any way to show respect to your parents? You ignore God’s commands in order to follow your own teaching. And you are nothing but show-offs! Isaiah the prophet was right when he wrote that God had said,

“All of you praise me
    with your words,
but you never really
    think about me.
It is useless for you
    to worship me,
when you teach rules
    made up by humans.”

What Really Makes People Unclean

10 Jesus called the crowd together and said, “Pay attention and try to understand what I mean. 11 The food that you put into your mouth doesn’t make you unclean and unfit to worship God. The bad words that come out of your mouth are what make you unclean.”

12 Then his disciples came over to him and asked, “Do you know that you insulted the Pharisees by what you said?”

13 Jesus answered, “Every plant that my Father in heaven did not plant will be pulled up by the roots. 14 Stay away from those Pharisees! They are like blind people leading other blind people, and all of them will fall into a ditch.”

15 Peter replied, “What did you mean when you talked about the things that make people unclean?”

16 Jesus then said:

Don’t any of you know what I am talking about by now? 17 Don’t you know that the food you put into your mouth goes into your stomach and then out of your body? 18 But the words that come out of your mouth come from your heart. And they are what make you unfit to worship God. 19 Out of your heart come evil thoughts, murder, unfaithfulness in marriage, vulgar deeds, stealing, telling lies, and insulting others. 20 These are what make you unclean. Eating without washing your hands will not make you unfit to worship God.

A Woman’s Faith

21 Jesus left and went to the territory near the cities of Tyre and Sidon. 22 Suddenly a Canaanite woman[j] from there came out shouting, “Lord and Son of David,[k] have pity on me! My daughter is full of demons.” 23 Jesus did not say a word. But the woman kept following along and shouting, so his disciples came up and asked him to send her away.

24 Jesus said, “I was sent only to the people of Israel! They are like a flock of lost sheep.”

25 The woman came closer. Then she knelt down and begged, “Please help me, Lord!”

26 Jesus replied, “It isn’t right to take food away from children and feed it to dogs.”[l]

27 “Lord, that’s true,” the woman said, “but even dogs get the crumbs that fall from their owner’s table.”

28 Jesus answered, “Dear woman, you really do have a lot of faith, and you will be given what you want.” At that moment her daughter was healed.

Jesus Heals Many People

29 From there, Jesus went along Lake Galilee. Then he climbed a hill and sat down. 30 Large crowds came and brought many people who were crippled or blind or lame or unable to talk. They placed them, and many others, in front of Jesus, and he healed them all. 31 Everyone was amazed at what they saw and heard. People who had never spoken could now speak. The lame were healed, the crippled could walk, and the blind were able to see. Everyone was praising the God of Israel.

Jesus Feeds Four Thousand

32 Jesus called his disciples together and told them, “I feel sorry for these people. They have been with me for three days, and they don’t have anything to eat. I don’t want to send them away hungry. They might faint on their way home.”

33 His disciples said, “This place is like a desert. Where can we find enough food to feed such a crowd?”

34 Jesus asked them how much food they had. They replied, “Seven small loaves of bread[m] and a few little fish.”

35 After Jesus had told the people to sit down, 36 he took the seven loaves of bread and the fish and gave thanks. He then broke them and handed them to his disciples, who passed them around to the crowds.

37 Everyone ate all they wanted, and the leftovers filled seven large baskets.

38 There were four thousand men who ate, not counting the women and children.

39 After Jesus had sent the crowds away, he got into a boat and sailed across the lake. He came to shore near the town of Magadan.[n]

A Demand for a Sign from Heaven

16 The Pharisees and Sadducees came to Jesus and tried to test him by asking for a sign from heaven. He told them:

If the sky is red in the evening, you say the weather will be good. But if the sky is red and gloomy in the morning, you say it is going to rain. You can tell what the weather will be like by looking at the sky. But you don’t understand what is happening now.[o] You want a sign because you are evil and won’t believe! But the only sign you will be given is what happened to Jonah.[p]

Then Jesus left.

The Yeast of the Pharisees and Sadducees

The disciples had forgotten to bring any bread when they crossed the lake.[q] Jesus then warned them, “Watch out! Guard against the yeast of the Pharisees and Sadducees.”

The disciples talked this over and said to each other, “He must be saying this because we didn’t bring along any bread.”

Jesus knew what they were thinking and said:

You surely don’t have much faith! Why are you talking about not having any bread? Don’t you understand? Have you forgotten about the five thousand people and all those baskets of leftovers from just five loaves of bread? 10 And what about the four thousand people and all those baskets of leftovers from only seven loaves of bread? 11 Don’t you know by now that I am not talking to you about bread? Watch out for the yeast of the Pharisees and Sadducees!

12 Finally, the disciples understood that Jesus wasn’t talking about the yeast used to make bread, but about the teaching of the Pharisees and Sadducees.

Who Is Jesus?

13 When Jesus and his disciples were near the town of Caesarea Philippi, he asked them, “What do people say about the Son of Man?”

14 The disciples answered, “Some people say you are John the Baptist or maybe Elijah[r] or Jeremiah or some other prophet.”

15 Then Jesus asked them, “But who do you say I am?”

16 Simon Peter spoke up, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.”

17 Jesus told him:

Simon, son of Jonah, you are blessed! You didn’t discover this on your own. It was shown to you by my Father in heaven. 18 So I will call you Peter, which means “a rock.” On this rock I will build my church, and death itself will not have any power over it. 19 I will give you the keys to the kingdom of heaven, and God in heaven will allow whatever you allow on earth. But he will not allow anything that you don’t allow.

20 Jesus told his disciples not to tell anyone that he was the Messiah.

Jesus Speaks about His Suffering and Death

21 From then on, Jesus began telling his disciples what would happen to him. He said, “I must go to Jerusalem. There the nation’s leaders, the chief priests, and the teachers of the Law of Moses will make me suffer terribly. I will be killed, but three days later I will rise to life.”

22 Peter took Jesus aside and told him to stop talking like that. He said, “God would never let this happen to you, Lord!”

23 Jesus turned to Peter and said, “Satan, get away from me! You’re in my way because you think like everyone else and not like God.”

24 Then Jesus said to his disciples:

If any of you want to be my followers, you must forget about yourself. You must take up your cross and follow me. 25 If you want to save your life,[s] you will destroy it. But if you give up your life for me, you will find it. 26 What will you gain, if you own the whole world but destroy yourself? What would you give to get back your soul?

27 The Son of Man will soon come in the glory of his Father and with his angels to reward all people for what they have done. 28 I promise you that some of those standing here will not die before they see the Son of Man coming with his kingdom.

The True Glory of Jesus

17 Six days later Jesus took Peter and the brothers James and John with him. They went up on a very high mountain where they could be alone. There in front of the disciples, Jesus was completely changed. His face was shining like the sun, and his clothes became white as light.

All at once Moses and Elijah were there talking with Jesus. So Peter said to him, “Lord, it is good for us to be here! Let us make three shelters, one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah.”

While Peter was still speaking, the shadow of a bright cloud passed over them. From the cloud a voice said, “This is my own dear Son, and I am pleased with him. Listen to what he says!” When the disciples heard the voice, they were so afraid that they fell flat on the ground. But Jesus came over and touched them. He said, “Get up and don’t be afraid!” When they opened their eyes, they saw only Jesus.

On their way down from the mountain, Jesus warned his disciples not to tell anyone what they had seen until after the Son of Man had been raised from death.

10 The disciples asked Jesus, “Don’t the teachers of the Law of Moses say that Elijah must come before the Messiah does?”

11 Jesus told them, “Elijah certainly will come and get everything ready. 12 In fact, he has already come. But the people did not recognize him and treated him just as they wanted to. They will soon make the Son of Man suffer in the same way.” 13 Then the disciples understood that Jesus was talking to them about John the Baptist.

Jesus Heals a Boy

14 Jesus and his disciples returned to the crowd. A man knelt in front of him 15 and said, “Lord, have pity on my son! He has a bad case of epilepsy and often falls into a fire or into water. 16 I brought him to your disciples, but none of them could heal him.”

17 Jesus said, “You people are too stubborn to have any faith! How much longer must I be with you? Why do I have to put up with you? Bring the boy here.” 18 Then Jesus spoke sternly to the demon. It went out of the boy, and right then he was healed.

19 Later the disciples went to Jesus in private and asked him, “Why couldn’t we force out the demon?”

20-21 Jesus replied:

It is because you don’t have enough faith! But I can promise you this. If you had faith no larger than a mustard seed, you could tell this mountain to move from here to there. And it would. Everything would be possible for you.[t]

Jesus Again Speaks about His Death

22 While Jesus and his disciples were going from place to place in Galilee, he told them, “The Son of Man will be handed over to people 23 who will kill him. But three days later he will rise to life.” All of this made the disciples very sad.

Paying the Temple Tax

24 When Jesus and the others arrived in Capernaum, the collectors for the temple tax came to Peter and asked, “Does your teacher pay the temple tax?”

25 “Yes, he does,” Peter answered.

After they had returned home, Jesus went up to Peter and asked him, “Simon, what do you think? Do the kings of this earth collect taxes and fees from their own people or from foreigners?”[u]

26 Peter answered, “From foreigners.”

Jesus replied, “Then their own people[v] don’t have to pay. 27 But we don’t want to cause trouble. So go cast a line into the lake and pull out the first fish you hook. Open its mouth, and you will find a coin. Use it to pay your taxes and mine.”

Who Is the Greatest?

18 About this time the disciples came to Jesus and asked him who would be the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. Jesus called a child over and had the child stand near him. Then he said:

I promise you this. If you don’t change and become like a child, you will never get into the kingdom of heaven. But if you are as humble as this child, you are the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. And when you welcome one of these children because of me, you welcome me.

Temptations To Sin

It will be terrible for people who cause even one of my little followers to sin. Those people would be better off thrown into the deepest part of the ocean with a heavy stone tied around their necks! The world is in for trouble because of the way it causes people to sin. There will always be something to cause people to sin, but anyone who does this will be in for trouble.

If your hand or foot causes you to sin, chop it off and throw it away! You would be better off to go into life crippled or lame than to have two hands or two feet and be thrown into the fire that never goes out. If your eye causes you to sin, poke it out and get rid of it. You would be better off to go into life with only one eye than to have two eyes and be thrown into the fires of hell.

The Lost Sheep

10-11 Don’t be cruel to any of these little ones! I promise you that their angels are always with my Father in heaven.[w] 12 Let me ask you this. What would you do if you had a hundred sheep and one of them wandered off? Wouldn’t you leave the ninety-nine on the hillside and go look for the one that had wandered away? 13 I am sure that finding it would make you happier than having the ninety-nine that never wandered off. 14 That’s how it is with your Father in heaven. He doesn’t want any of these little ones to be lost.

When Someone Sins

15 If one of my followers[x] sins against you, go and point out what was wrong. But do it in private, just between the two of you. If that person listens, you have won back a follower. 16 But if that one refuses to listen, take along one or two others. The Scriptures teach that every complaint must be proven true by two or more witnesses. 17 If the follower refuses to listen to them, report the matter to the church. Anyone who refuses to listen to the church must be treated like an unbeliever or a tax collector.[y]

Allowing and Not Allowing

18 I promise you that God in heaven will allow whatever you allow on earth, but he will not allow anything you don’t allow. 19 I promise that when any two of you on earth agree about something you are praying for, my Father in heaven will do it for you. 20 Whenever two or three of you come together in my name,[z] I am there with you.

An Official Who Refused To Forgive

21 Peter came up to the Lord and asked, “How many times should I forgive someone[aa] who does something wrong to me? Is seven times enough?”

22 Jesus answered:

Not just seven times, but seventy-seven times![ab] 23 This story will show you what the kingdom of heaven is like:

One day a king decided to call in his officials and ask them to give an account of what they owed him. 24 As he was doing this, one official was brought in who owed him fifty million silver coins. 25 But he didn’t have any money to pay what he owed. The king ordered him to be sold, along with his wife and children and all he owned, in order to pay the debt.

26 The official got down on his knees and began begging, “Have pity on me, and I will pay you every cent I owe!” 27 The king felt sorry for him and let him go free. He even told the official that he did not have to pay back the money.

28 As the official was leaving, he happened to meet another official, who owed him a hundred silver coins. So he grabbed the man by the throat. He started choking him and said, “Pay me what you owe!”

29 The man got down on his knees and began begging, “Have pity on me, and I will pay you back.” 30 But the first official refused to have pity. Instead, he went and had the other official put in jail until he could pay what he owed.

31 When some other officials found out what had happened, they felt sorry for the man who had been put in jail. Then they told the king what had happened. 32 The king called the first official back in and said, “You’re an evil man! When you begged for mercy, I said you did not have to pay back a cent. 33 Don’t you think you should show pity to someone else, as I did to you?” 34 The king was so angry that he ordered the official to be tortured until he could pay back everything he owed. 35 That is how my Father in heaven will treat you, if you don’t forgive each of my followers with all your heart.

Teaching about Divorce

19 When Jesus finished teaching, he left Galilee and went to the part of Judea that is east of the Jordan River. Large crowds followed him, and he healed their sick people.

Some Pharisees wanted to test Jesus. They came up to him and asked, “Is it right for a man to divorce his wife for just any reason?”

Jesus answered, “Don’t you know that in the beginning the Creator made a man and a woman? That’s why a man leaves his father and mother and gets married. He becomes like one person with his wife. Then they are no longer two people, but one. And no one should separate a couple that God has joined together.”

The Pharisees asked Jesus, “Why did Moses say that a man could write out divorce papers and send his wife away?”

Jesus replied, “You are so heartless! That’s why Moses allowed you to divorce your wife. But from the beginning God did not intend it to be that way. I say that if your wife has not committed some terrible sexual sin,[ac] you must not divorce her to marry someone else. If you do, you are unfaithful.”

10 The disciples said, “If that’s how it is between a man and a woman, it’s better not to get married.”

11 Jesus told them, “Only those people who have been given the gift of staying single can accept this teaching. 12 Some people are unable to marry because of birth defects or because of what someone has done to their bodies. Others stay single for the sake of the kingdom of heaven. Anyone who can accept this teaching should do so.”

Jesus Blesses Little Children

13 Some people brought their children to Jesus, so that he could place his hands on them and pray for them. His disciples told the people to stop bothering him. 14 But Jesus said, “Let the children come to me, and don’t try to stop them! People who are like these children belong to God’s kingdom.”[ad] 15 After Jesus had placed his hands on the children, he left.

A Rich Young Man

16 A man came to Jesus and asked, “Teacher, what good thing must I do to have eternal life?”

17 Jesus said to him, “Why do you ask me about what is good? Only God is good. If you want to have eternal life, you must obey his commandments.”

18 “Which ones?” the man asked.

Jesus answered, “Do not murder. Be faithful in marriage. Do not steal. Do not tell lies about others. 19 Respect your father and mother. And love others as much as you love yourself.” 20 The young man said, “I have obeyed all of these. What else must I do?”

21 Jesus replied, “If you want to be perfect, go sell everything you own! Give the money to the poor, and you will have riches in heaven. Then come and be my follower.” 22 When the young man heard this, he was sad, because he was very rich.

23 Jesus said to his disciples, “It’s terribly hard for rich people to get into the kingdom of heaven! 24 In fact, it’s easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to get into God’s kingdom.”

25 When the disciples heard this, they were greatly surprised and asked, “How can anyone ever be saved?”

26 Jesus looked straight at them and said, “There are some things that people cannot do, but God can do anything.”

27 Peter replied, “Remember, we have left everything to be your followers! What will we get?”

28 Jesus answered:

Yes, all of you have become my followers. And so in the future world, when the Son of Man sits on his glorious throne, I promise that you will sit on twelve thrones to judge the twelve tribes of Israel. 29 All who have given up home or brothers and sisters or father and mother or children or land for me will be given a hundred times as much. They will also have eternal life. 30 But many who are now first will be last, and many who are last will be first.

Workers in a Vineyard

20 As Jesus was telling what the kingdom of heaven would be like, he said:

Early one morning a man went out to hire some workers for his vineyard. After he had agreed to pay them the usual amount for a day’s work, he sent them off to his vineyard.

About nine that morning, the man saw some other people standing in the market with nothing to do. He said he would pay them what was fair, if they would work in his vineyard. So they went.

At noon and again about three in the afternoon he returned to the market. And each time he made the same agreement with others who were loafing around with nothing to do.

Finally, about five in the afternoon the man went back and found some others standing there. He asked them, “Why have you been standing here all day long doing nothing?”

“Because no one has hired us,” they answered. Then he told them to go work in his vineyard.

That evening the owner of the vineyard told the man in charge of the workers to call them in and give them their money. He also told the man to begin with the ones who were hired last. When the workers arrived, the ones who had been hired at five in the afternoon were given a full day’s pay.

10 The workers who had been hired first thought they would be given more than the others. But when they were given the same, 11 they began complaining to the owner of the vineyard. 12 They said, “The ones who were hired last worked for only one hour. But you paid them the same that you did us. And we worked in the hot sun all day long!”

13 The owner answered one of them, “Friend, I didn’t cheat you. I paid you exactly what we agreed on. 14 Take your money now and go! What business is it of yours if I want to pay them the same that I paid you? 15 Don’t I have the right to do what I want with my own money? Why should you be jealous, if I want to be generous?”

16 Jesus then said, “So it is. Everyone who is now first will be last, and everyone who is last will be first.”

Jesus Again Tells about His Death

17 As Jesus was on his way to Jerusalem, he took his twelve disciples aside and told them in private:

18 We are now on our way to Jerusalem, where the Son of Man will be handed over to the chief priests and the teachers of the Law of Moses. They will sentence him to death, 19 and then they will hand him over to foreigners[ae] who will make fun of him. They will beat him and nail him to a cross. But on the third day he will rise from death.

A Mother’s Request

20 The mother of James and John[af] came to Jesus with her two sons. She knelt down and started begging him to do something for her. 21 Jesus asked her what she wanted, and she said, “When you come into your kingdom, please let one of my sons sit at your right side and the other at your left.”[ag]

22 Jesus answered, “Not one of you knows what you are asking. Are you able to drink from the cup[ah] that I must soon drink from?”

James and John said, “Yes, we are!”

23 Jesus replied, “You certainly will drink from my cup! But it isn’t for me to say who will sit at my right side and at my left. That is for my Father to say.”

24 When the ten other disciples heard this, they were angry with the two brothers. 25 But Jesus called the disciples together and said:

You know that foreign rulers like to order their people around. And their great leaders have full power over everyone they rule. 26 But don’t act like them. If you want to be great, you must be the servant of all the others. 27 And if you want to be first, you must be the slave of the rest. 28 The Son of Man did not come to be a slave master, but a slave who will give his life to rescue[ai] many people.

Jesus Heals Two Blind Men

29 Jesus was followed by a large crowd as he and his disciples were leaving Jericho. 30 Two blind men were sitting beside the road. And when they heard that Jesus was coming their way, they shouted, “Lord and Son of David,[aj] have pity on us!”

31 The crowd told them to be quiet, but they shouted even louder, “Lord and Son of David, have pity on us!”

32 When Jesus heard them, he stopped and asked, “What do you want me to do for you?”

33 They answered, “Lord, we want to see!”

34 Jesus felt sorry for them and touched their eyes. Right away they could see, and they became his followers.

Jesus Enters Jerusalem

21 When Jesus and his disciples came near Jerusalem, he went to Bethphage on the Mount of Olives and sent two of them on ahead. He told them, “Go into the next village, where you will at once find a donkey and her colt. Untie the two donkeys and bring them to me. If anyone asks why you are doing that, just say, ‘The Lord[ak] needs them.’ Right away he will let you have the donkeys.”

So God’s promise came true, just as the prophet had said,

“Announce to the people
    of Jerusalem:
‘Your king is coming to you!
He is humble
    and rides on a donkey.
He comes on the colt
    of a donkey.’”

The disciples left and did what Jesus had told them to do. They brought the donkey and its colt and laid some clothes on their backs. Then Jesus got on.

Many people spread clothes in the road, while others put down branches[al] which they had cut from trees. Some people walked ahead of Jesus and others followed behind. They were all shouting,

“Hooray[am] for the Son of David![an]
God bless the one who comes
    in the name of the Lord.
Hooray for God
    in heaven above!”

10 When Jesus came to Jerusalem, everyone in the city was excited and asked, “Who can this be?”

11 The crowd answered, “This is Jesus, the prophet from Nazareth in Galilee.”

Jesus in the Temple

12 Jesus went into the temple and chased out everyone who was selling or buying. He turned over the tables of the moneychangers and the benches of the ones who were selling doves. 13 He told them, “The Scriptures say, ‘My house should be called a place of worship.’ But you have turned it into a place where robbers hide.”

14 Blind and lame people came to Jesus in the temple, and he healed them. 15 But the chief priests and the teachers of the Law of Moses were angry when they saw his miracles and heard the children shouting praises to the Son of David. [ao] 16 The men said to Jesus, “Don’t you hear what those children are saying?”

“Yes, I do!” Jesus answered. “Don’t you know that the Scriptures say, ‘Children and infants will sing praises’?” 17 Then Jesus left the city and went out to the village of Bethany, where he spent the night.

Jesus Puts a Curse on a Fig Tree

18 When Jesus got up the next morning, he was hungry. He started out for the city, 19 and along the way he saw a fig tree. But when he came to it, he found only leaves and no figs. So he told the tree, “You will never again grow any fruit!” Right then the fig tree dried up.

20 The disciples were shocked when they saw how quickly the tree had dried up. 21 But Jesus said to them, “If you have faith and don’t doubt, I promise that you can do what I did to this tree. And you will be able to do even more. You can tell this mountain to get up and jump into the sea, and it will. 22 If you have faith when you pray, you will be given whatever you ask for.”

A Question about Jesus' Authority

23 Jesus had gone into the temple and was teaching when the chief priests and the leaders of the people came up to him. They asked, “What right do you have to do these things? Who gave you this authority?”

24 Jesus answered, “I have just one question to ask you. If you answer it, I will tell you where I got the right to do these things. 25 Who gave John the right to baptize? Was it God in heaven or merely some human being?”

They thought it over and said to each other, “We can’t say that God gave John this right. Jesus will ask us why we didn’t believe John. 26 On the other hand, these people think that John was a prophet, and we are afraid of what they might do to us. That’s why we can’t say that it was merely some human who gave John the right to baptize.” 27 So they told Jesus, “We don’t know.”

Jesus said, “Then I won’t tell you who gave me the right to do what I do.”

A Story about Two Sons

28 Jesus said:

I will tell you a story about a man who had two sons. Then you can tell me what you think. The father went to the older son and said, “Go work in the vineyard today!” 29 His son told him that he would not do it, but later he changed his mind and went. 30 The man then told his younger son to go work in the vineyard. The boy said he would, but he didn’t go. 31 Which one of the sons obeyed his father?

“The older one,” the chief priests and leaders answered.

Then Jesus told them:

You can be sure that tax collectors[ap] and prostitutes will get into the kingdom of God before you ever will! 32 When John the Baptist showed you how to do right, you would not believe him. But these evil people did believe. And even when you saw what they did, you still would not change your minds and believe.

Renters of a Vineyard

33 Jesus told the chief priests and leaders to listen to this story:

A land owner once planted a vineyard. He built a wall around it and dug a pit to crush the grapes in. He also built a lookout tower. Then he rented out his vineyard and left the country.

34 When it was harvest time, the owner sent some servants to get his share of the grapes. 35 But the renters grabbed those servants. They beat up one, killed one, and stoned one of them to death. 36 He then sent more servants than he did the first time. But the renters treated them in the same way.

37 Finally, the owner sent his own son to the renters, because he thought they would respect him. 38 But when they saw the man’s son, they said, “Someday he will own the vineyard. Let’s kill him! Then we can have it all for ourselves.” 39 So they grabbed him, threw him out of the vineyard, and killed him.

40 Jesus asked, “When the owner of that vineyard comes, what do you suppose he will do to those renters?”

41 The chief priests and leaders answered, “He will kill them in some horrible way. Then he will rent out his vineyard to people who will give him his share of grapes at harvest time.”

42 Jesus replied, “You surely know that the Scriptures say,

‘The stone that the builders
    tossed aside
is now the most important
    stone of all.
This is something
the Lord has done,
    and it is amazing to us.’

43 I tell you that God’s kingdom will be taken from you and given to people who will do what he demands. 44 Anyone who stumbles over this stone will be crushed, and anyone it falls on will be smashed to pieces.”[aq]

45 When the chief priests and the Pharisees heard these stories, they knew that Jesus was talking about them. 46 So they looked for a way to arrest Jesus. But they were afraid to, because the people thought he was a prophet.

Footnotes

  1. 13.1 sat down to teach: See the note at 5.1.
  2. 13.35 the prophet: Some manuscripts have “the prophet Isaiah.”
  3. 13.36 went inside: Or “went home.”
  4. 14.1 Herod the ruler: Herod Antipas, the son of Herod the Great (see 2.1).
  5. 14.13 crossed Lake Galilee: To the east side.
  6. 14.17 small loaves of bread: These would have been flat and round or in the shape of a bun.
  7. 14.22 back across the lake: To the west side.
  8. 15.2 wash their hands: The Jewish people had strict laws about washing their hands before eating, especially if they had been out in public.
  9. 15.5 has been offered to God: According to Jewish custom, when people said something was offered to God, it belonged to him and could not be used for anyone else, not even for their own parents.
  10. 15.22 Canaanite woman: This woman was not Jewish.
  11. 15.22 Son of David: See the note at 9.27.
  12. 15.26 feed it to dogs: The Jewish people sometimes referred to Gentiles as dogs.
  13. 15.34 small loaves of bread: See the note at 14.17.
  14. 15.39 Magadan: The location is unknown.
  15. 16.2,3 If the sky is red. . . what is happening now: The words of Jesus in verses 2 and 3 are not in some manuscripts.
  16. 16.4 what happened to Jonah: Jonah was in the stomach of a big fish for three days and nights (see 12.40).
  17. 16.5 crossed the lake: To the east side.
  18. 16.14 Elijah: Many of the Jewish people expected the prophet Elijah to come and prepare the way for the Messiah.
  19. 16.25 life: In verses 25 and 26 the same Greek word is translated “life,” “yourself,” and “soul.”
  20. 17.20,21 for you: Some manuscripts add, “But the only way to force out that kind of demon is by praying and going without eating.”
  21. 17.25 from their own people or from foreigners: Or “from their children or from others.”
  22. 17.26 From foreigners. . . their own people: Or “From other people. . . their children.”
  23. 18.10,11 in heaven: Some manuscripts add, “The Son of Man came to save people who are lost.”
  24. 18.15 followers: The Greek text has “brother,” which is used here and elsewhere in this chapter to refer to a follower of Christ.
  25. 18.17 tax collector: See the note at 5.46.
  26. 18.20 in my name: Or “as my followers.”
  27. 18.21 someone: Or “a follower.” See the note at 18.15.
  28. 18.22 seventy-seven times: Or “seventy times seven.” The large number means that one follower should never stop forgiving another.
  29. 19.9 some terrible sexual sin: See the note at 5.32.
  30. 19.14 People who are like these children belong to God’s kingdom: Or “God’s kingdom belongs to people who are like these children.”
  31. 20.19 foreigners: The Romans, who ruled Judea at this time.
  32. 20.20 mother of James and John: The Greek text has “mother of the sons of Zebedee” (see 26.37).
  33. 20.21 right side. . . left: The most powerful people in a kingdom sat at the right and left side of the king.
  34. 20.22 drink from the cup: In the Scriptures a cup is sometimes used as a symbol of suffering. To “drink from the cup” is to suffer.
  35. 20.28 rescue: The Greek word often, though not always, means the payment of a price to free a slave or a prisoner.
  36. 20.30 Son of David: See the note at 9.27.
  37. 21.3 The Lord: Or “The master of the donkeys.”
  38. 21.8 spread clothes. . . put down branches: This was one way that the Jewish people welcomed a famous person.
  39. 21.9 Hooray: This translates a word that can mean “please save us.” But it is most often used as a shout of praise to God.
  40. 21.9,15 Son of David: See the note at 9.27.
  41. 21.9,15 Son of David: See the note at 9.27.
  42. 21.31 tax collectors: See the note at 5.46.
  43. 21.44 pieces: Verse 44 is not in some manuscripts.