Contemporary English Version
12 As thousands of people crowded around Jesus and were stepping on each other, he told his disciples:
Be sure to guard against the dishonest teaching[a] of the Pharisees! It is their way of fooling people. 2 Everything that is hidden will be found out, and every secret will be known. 3 Whatever you say in the dark will be heard when it is day. Whatever you whisper in a closed room will be shouted from the housetops.
The One To Fear
4 My friends, don’t be afraid of people. They can kill you, but after that, there is nothing else they can do. 5 God is the one you must fear. Not only can he take your life, but he can throw you into hell. God is certainly the one you should fear!
6 Five sparrows are sold for just two pennies, but God doesn’t forget a one of them. 7 Even the hairs on your head are counted. So don’t be afraid! You are worth much more than many sparrows.
Telling Others about Christ
8 If you tell others that you belong to me, the Son of Man will tell God’s angels that you are my followers. 9 But if you reject me, you will be rejected in front of them. 10 If you speak against the Son of Man, you can be forgiven, but if you speak against the Holy Spirit, you cannot be forgiven.
11 When you are brought to trial in the Jewish meeting places or before rulers or officials, don’t worry about how you will defend yourselves or what you will say. 12 At that time the Holy Spirit will tell you what to say.
A Rich Fool
13 A man in a crowd said to Jesus, “Teacher, tell my brother to give me my share of what our father left us when he died.”
14 Jesus answered, “Who gave me the right to settle arguments between you and your brother?”
15 Then he said to the crowd, “Don’t be greedy! Owning a lot of things won’t make your life safe.”
16 So Jesus told them this story:
A rich man’s farm produced a big crop, 17 and he said to himself, “What can I do? I don’t have a place large enough to store everything.”
18 Later, he said, “Now I know what I’ll do. I’ll tear down my barns and build bigger ones, where I can store all my grain and other goods. 19 Then I’ll say to myself, ‘You have stored up enough good things to last for years to come. Live it up! Eat, drink, and enjoy yourself.’”
20 But God said to him, “You fool! Tonight you will die. Then who will get what you have stored up?”
21 “This is what happens to people who store up everything for themselves, but are poor in the sight of God.”
22 Jesus said to his disciples:
I tell you not to worry about your life! Don’t worry about having something to eat or wear. 23 Life is more than food or clothing. 24 Look at the crows! They don’t plant or harvest, and they don’t have storehouses or barns. But God takes care of them. You are much more important than any birds. 25 Can worry make you live longer?[b] 26 If you don’t have power over small things, why worry about everything else?
27 Look how the wild flowers grow! They don’t work hard to make their clothes. But I tell you that Solomon with all his wealth[c] wasn’t as well clothed as one of these flowers. 28 God gives such beauty to everything that grows in the fields, even though it is here today and thrown into a fire tomorrow. Won’t he do even more for you? You have such little faith!
29 Don’t keep worrying about having something to eat or drink. 30 Only people who don’t know God are always worrying about such things. Your Father knows what you need. 31 But put God’s work first, and these things will be yours as well.
Treasures in Heaven
32 My little group of disciples, don’t be afraid! Your Father wants to give you the kingdom. 33 Sell what you have and give the money to the poor. Make yourselves moneybags that never wear out. Make sure your treasure is safe in heaven, where thieves cannot steal it and moths cannot destroy it. 34 Your heart will always be where your treasure is.
Faithful and Unfaithful Servants
35 Be ready and keep your lamps burning 36 just like those servants who wait up for their master to return from a wedding feast. As soon as he comes and knocks, they open the door for him. 37 Servants are fortunate if their master finds them awake and ready when he comes! I promise you that he will get ready and have his servants sit down so he can serve them. 38 Those servants are really fortunate if their master finds them ready, even though he comes late at night or early in the morning. 39 You would surely not let a thief break into your home, if you knew when the thief was coming. 40 So always be ready! You don’t know when the Son of Man will come.
41 Peter asked Jesus, “Did you say this just for us or for everyone?”
42 The Lord answered:
Who are faithful and wise servants? Who are the ones the master will put in charge of giving the other servants their food supplies at the proper time? 43 Servants are fortunate if their master comes and finds them doing their job. 44 A servant who is always faithful will surely be put in charge of everything the master owns.
45 But suppose one of the servants thinks that the master won’t return until late. Suppose that servant starts beating all the other servants and eats and drinks and gets drunk. 46 If that happens, the master will come on a day and at a time when the servant least expects him. That servant will then be punished and thrown out with the servants who cannot be trusted.
47 If servants are not ready or willing to do what their master wants them to do, they will be beaten hard. 48 But servants who don’t know what their master wants them to do will not be beaten so hard for doing wrong. If God has been generous with you, he will expect you to serve him well. But if he has been more than generous, he will expect you to serve him even better.
Not Peace, but Trouble
49 I came to set fire to the earth, and I wish it were already on fire! 50 I am going to be put to a hard test. And I will have to suffer a lot of pain until it is over. 51 Do you think that I came to bring peace to earth? No indeed! I came to make people choose sides. 52 A family of five will be divided, with two of them against the other three. 53 Fathers and sons will turn against one another, and mothers and daughters will do the same. Mothers-in-law and daughters-in-law will also turn against each other.
Knowing What To Do
54 Jesus said to all the people:
As soon as you see a cloud coming up in the west, you say, “It’s going to rain,” and it does. 55 When the south wind blows, you say, “It’s going to get hot,” and it does. 56 Are you trying to fool someone? You can predict the weather by looking at the earth and sky, but you don’t really know what’s going on right now. 57 Why don’t you understand the right thing to do? 58 When someone accuses you of something, try to settle things before you are taken to court. If you don’t, you will be dragged before the judge. Then the judge will hand you over to the jailer, and you will be locked up. 59 You won’t get out until you have paid the last cent you owe.
Turn Back to God
13 About this same time Jesus was told that Pilate had given orders for some people from Galilee to be killed while they were offering sacrifices. 2 Jesus replied:
Do you think that these people were worse sinners than everyone else in Galilee just because of what happened to them? 3 Not at all! But you can be sure that if you don’t turn back to God, every one of you will also be killed. 4 What about those eighteen people who died when the tower in Siloam fell on them? Do you think they were worse than everyone else in Jerusalem? 5 Not at all! But you can be sure that if you don’t turn back to God, every one of you will also die.
A Story about a Fig Tree
6 Jesus then told them this story:
A man had a fig tree growing in his vineyard. One day he went out to pick some figs, but he didn’t find any. 7 So he said to the gardener, “For three years I have come looking for figs on this tree, and I haven’t found any yet. Chop it down! Why should it take up space?”
8 The gardener answered, “Master, leave it for another year. I’ll dig around it and put some manure on it to make it grow. 9 Maybe it will have figs on it next year. If it doesn’t, you can have it cut down.”
Healing a Woman on the Sabbath
10 One Sabbath, Jesus was teaching in a Jewish meeting place, 11 and a woman was there who had been crippled by an evil spirit for eighteen years. She was completely bent over and could not straighten up. 12 When Jesus saw the woman, he called her over and said, “You are now well.” 13 He placed his hands on her, and right away she stood up straight and praised God.
14 The man in charge of the meeting place was angry because Jesus had healed someone on the Sabbath. So he said to the people, “Each week has six days when we can work. Come and be healed on one of those days, but not on the Sabbath.”
15 The Lord replied, “Are you trying to fool someone? Won’t any one of you untie your ox or donkey and lead it out to drink on a Sabbath? 16 This woman belongs to the family of Abraham, but Satan has kept her bound for eighteen years. Isn’t it right to set her free on the Sabbath?” 17 Jesus' words made his enemies ashamed. But everyone else in the crowd was happy about the wonderful things he was doing.
A Mustard Seed and Yeast
18 Jesus said, “What is God’s kingdom like? What can I compare it with? 19 It is like what happens when someone plants a mustard seed in a garden. The seed grows as big as a tree, and birds nest in its branches.”
20 Then Jesus said, “What can I compare God’s kingdom with? 21 It is like what happens when a woman mixes yeast into three batches of flour. Finally, all the dough rises.”
The Narrow Door
22 As Jesus was on his way to Jerusalem, he taught the people in the towns and villages. 23 Someone asked him, “Lord, are only a few people going to be saved?”
24 Do all you can to go in by the narrow door! A lot of people will try to get in, but will not be able to. 25 Once the owner of the house gets up and locks the door, you will be left standing outside. You will knock on the door and say, “Sir, open the door for us!”
But the owner will answer, “I don’t know a thing about you!”
26 Then you will start saying, “We dined with you, and you taught in our streets.”
27 But he will say, “I really don’t know who you are! Get away from me, you evil people!”
28 Then when you have been thrown outside, you will weep and grit your teeth because you will see Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and all the prophets in God’s kingdom. 29 People will come from all directions and sit down to feast in God’s kingdom. 30 There the ones who are now least important will be the most important, and those who are now most important will be least important.
Jesus and Herod
31 At that time some Pharisees came to Jesus and said, “You had better get away from here! Herod[d] wants to kill you.”
32 Jesus said to them:
Go tell that fox, “I am going to force out demons and heal people today and tomorrow, and three days later I’ll be through.” 33 But I am going on my way today and tomorrow and the next day. After all, Jerusalem is the place where prophets are killed.
Jesus Loves Jerusalem
34 Jerusalem, Jerusalem! Your people have killed the prophets and have stoned the messengers who were sent to you. I have often wanted to gather your people, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings. But you wouldn’t let me. 35 Now your temple will be deserted. You won’t see me again until the time when you say,
“Blessed is the one who comes
in the name of the Lord.”
- 12.1 dishonest teaching: The Greek text has “yeast,” which is used here of a teaching that is not true (see Matthew 16.6,12).
- 12.25 live longer: Or “grow taller.”
- 12.27 Solomon with all his wealth: The Jewish people thought that Solomon was the richest person who had ever lived.
- 13.31 Herod: Herod Antipas, the son of Herod the Great.