Contemporary English Version
Faith and Service
17 Jesus said to his disciples:
There will always be something that causes people to sin. But anyone who causes them to sin is in for trouble. A person who causes even one of my little followers to sin 2 would be better off thrown into the ocean with a heavy stone tied around their neck. 3 So be careful what you do.
Correct any followers[a] of mine who sin, and forgive the ones who say they are sorry. 4 Even if one of them mistreats you seven times in one day and says, “I am sorry,” you should still forgive that person.
5 The apostles said to the Lord, “Make our faith stronger!”
6 Jesus replied:
If you had faith no bigger than a tiny mustard seed, you could tell this mulberry tree to pull itself up, roots and all, and to plant itself in the ocean. And it would!
7 If your servant comes in from plowing or from taking care of the sheep, would you say, “Welcome! Come on in and have something to eat”? 8 No, you wouldn’t say that. You would say, “Fix me something to eat. Get ready to serve me, so I can have my meal. Then later on you can eat and drink.” 9 Servants don’t deserve special thanks for doing what they are supposed to do. 10 And that’s how it should be with you. When you’ve done all you should, then say, “We are merely servants, and we have simply done our duty.”
Ten Men with Leprosy
11 On his way to Jerusalem, Jesus went along the border between Samaria and Galilee. 12 As he was going into a village, ten men with leprosy[b] came toward him. They stood at a distance 13 and shouted, “Jesus, Master, have pity on us!”
14 Jesus looked at them and said, “Go show yourselves to the priests.”[c]
On their way they were healed. 15 When one of them discovered that he was healed, he came back, shouting praises to God. 16 He bowed down at the feet of Jesus and thanked him. The man was from the country of Samaria.
17 Jesus asked, “Weren’t ten men healed? Where are the other nine? 18 Why was this foreigner the only one who came back to thank God?” 19 Then Jesus told the man, “You may get up and go. Your faith has made you well.”
20 Some Pharisees asked Jesus when God’s kingdom would come. He answered, “God’s kingdom isn’t something you can see. 21 There is no use saying, ‘Look! Here it is' or ‘Look! There it is.’ God’s kingdom is here with you.”[d]
22 Jesus said to his disciples:
The time will come when you will long to see one of the days of the Son of Man, but you will not. 23 When people say to you, “Look there,” or “Look here,” don’t go looking for him. 24 The day of the Son of Man will be like lightning flashing across the sky. 25 But first he must suffer terribly and be rejected by the people of today. 26 When the Son of Man comes, things will be just as they were when Noah lived. 27 People were eating, drinking, and getting married right up to the day when Noah went into the big boat. Then the flood came and drowned everyone on earth.
28 When Lot[e] lived, people were also eating and drinking. They were buying, selling, planting, and building. 29 But on the very day Lot left Sodom, fiery flames poured down from the sky and killed everyone. 30 The same will happen on the day when the Son of Man appears.
33 People who try to save their lives will lose them, and those who lose their lives will save them. 34 On that night two people will be sleeping in the same bed, but only one will be taken. The other will be left. 35-36 Two women will be together grinding wheat, but only one will be taken. The other will be left.[h]
37 Then Jesus' disciples spoke up, “But where will this happen, Lord?”
Jesus said, “Where there is a corpse, there will always be buzzards.”[i]
A Widow and a Judge
18 Jesus told his disciples a story about how they should keep on praying and never give up:
2 In a town there was once a judge who didn’t fear God or care about people. 3 In that same town there was a widow who kept going to the judge and saying, “Make sure that I get fair treatment in court.”
4 For a while the judge refused to do anything. Finally, he said to himself, “Even though I don’t fear God or care about people, 5 I will help this widow because she keeps on bothering me. If I don’t help her, she will wear me out.”
6 The Lord said:
Think about what that crooked judge said. 7 Won’t God protect his chosen ones who pray to him day and night? Won’t he be concerned for them? 8 He will surely hurry and help them. But when the Son of Man comes, will he find on this earth anyone with faith?
A Pharisee and a Tax Collector
9 Jesus told a story to some people who thought they were better than others and who looked down on everyone else:
10 Two men went into the temple to pray.[j] One was a Pharisee and the other a tax collector.[k] 11 The Pharisee stood over by himself and prayed,[l] “God, I thank you that I am not greedy, dishonest, and unfaithful in marriage like other people. And I am really glad that I am not like that tax collector over there. 12 I go without eating[m] for two days a week, and I give you one tenth of all I earn.”
13 The tax collector stood off at a distance and did not think he was good enough even to look up toward heaven. He was so sorry for what he had done that he pounded his chest and prayed, “God, have pity on me! I am such a sinner.”
14 Then Jesus said, “When the two men went home, it was the tax collector and not the Pharisee who was pleasing to God. If you put yourself above others, you will be put down. But if you humble yourself, you will be honored.”
Jesus Blesses Little Children
15 Some people brought their little children for Jesus to bless. But when his disciples saw them doing this, they told the people to stop bothering him. 16 So Jesus called the children over to him and said, “Let the children come to me! Don’t try to stop them. People who are like these children belong to God’s kingdom.[n] 17 You will never get into God’s kingdom unless you enter it like a child!”
A Rich and Important Man
18 An important man asked Jesus, “Good Teacher, what must I do to have eternal life?”
19 Jesus said, “Why do you call me good? Only God is good. 20 You know the commandments: ‘Be faithful in marriage. Do not murder. Do not steal. Do not tell lies about others. Respect your father and mother.’”
21 He told Jesus, “I have obeyed all these commandments since I was a young man.”
22 When Jesus heard this, he said, “There is one thing you still need to do. Go and sell everything you own! Give the money to the poor, and you will have riches in heaven. Then come and be my follower.” 23 When the man heard this, he was sad, because he was very rich.
24 Jesus saw how sad the man was. So he said, “It’s terribly hard for rich people to get into God’s kingdom! 25 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.”
26 When the crowd heard this, they asked, “How can anyone ever be saved?”
27 Jesus replied, “There are some things that people cannot do, but God can do anything.”
28 Peter said, “Remember, we left everything to be your followers!”
29 Jesus answered, “You can be sure that anyone who gives up home or wife or brothers or family or children because of God’s kingdom 30 will be given much more in this life. And in the future world they will have eternal life.”
Jesus Again Tells about His Death
31 Jesus took the twelve apostles aside and said:
We are now on our way to Jerusalem. Everything that the prophets wrote about the Son of Man will happen there. 32 He will be handed over to foreigners,[o] who will make fun of him, mistreat him, and spit on him. 33 They will beat him and kill him, but three days later he will rise to life.
34 The apostles did not understand what Jesus was talking about. They could not understand, because the meaning of what he said was hidden from them.
Jesus Heals a Blind Beggar
35 When Jesus was coming close to Jericho, a blind man sat begging beside the road. 36 The man heard the crowd walking by and asked what was happening. 37 Some people told him that Jesus from Nazareth was passing by. 38 So the blind man shouted, “Jesus, Son of David,[p] have pity on me!” 39 The people who were going along with Jesus told the man to be quiet. But he shouted even louder, “Son of David, have pity on me!”
40 Jesus stopped and told some people to bring the blind man over to him. When the blind man was getting near, Jesus asked, 41 “What do you want me to do for you?”
“Lord, I want to see!” he answered.
42 Jesus replied, “Look and you will see! Your eyes are healed because of your faith.” 43 Right away the man could see, and he went with Jesus and started thanking God. When the crowds saw what happened, they praised God.
- 17.3 followers: The Greek text has “brothers,” which is often used in the New Testament for followers of Jesus.
- 17.12 leprosy: See the note at 4.27.
- 17.14 show yourselves to the priests: See the note at 5.14.
- 17.21 here with you: Or “in your hearts.”
- 17.27,28 Noah. . . Lot: When God destroyed the earth by a flood, he saved Noah and his family. And when God destroyed the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah and the evil people who lived there, he rescued Lot and his family (see Genesis 19.1-29).
- 17.31 rooftop: See the note at 5.19.
- 17.32 what happened to Lot’s wife: She turned into a block of salt when she disobeyed God (see Genesis 19.26).
- 17.35,36 will be left: Some manuscripts add, “Two men will be in the same field, but only one will be taken. The other will be left.”
- 17.37 Where there is a corpse, there will always be buzzards: This saying may mean that when anything important happens, people soon know about it. Or the saying may mean that whenever something bad happens, curious people gather around and stare. But the word translated “buzzard” also means “eagle” and may refer to the Roman army, which had an eagle as its symbol.
- 18.10 into the temple to pray: Jewish people usually prayed there early in the morning and late in the afternoon.
- 18.10 tax collector: See the note at 3.12.
- 18.11 stood over by himself and prayed: Some manuscripts have “stood up and prayed to himself.”
- 18.12 without eating: See the note at 2.37.
- 18.16 People who are like these children belong to God’s kingdom: Or “God’s kingdom belongs to people who are like these children.”
- 18.32 foreigners: The Romans, who ruled Judea at this time.
- 18.38 Son of David: The Jewish people expected the Messiah to be from the family of King David, and for this reason the Messiah was often called the “Son of David.”