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A Question about the Sabbath

One Sabbath when Jesus and his disciples were walking through some wheat fields,[a] the disciples picked some wheat. They rubbed the husks off with their hands and started eating the grain.

Some Pharisees said, “Why are you picking grain on the Sabbath? You’re not supposed to do that!”

Jesus answered, “You surely have read what David did when he and his followers were hungry. He went into the house of God and took the sacred loaves of bread that only priests were supposed to eat. He not only ate some himself, but even gave some to his followers.”

Jesus finished by saying, “The Son of Man is Lord over the Sabbath.”

A Man with a Crippled Hand

On another Sabbath[b] Jesus was teaching in a Jewish meeting place, and a man with a crippled right hand was there. Some Pharisees and teachers of the Law of Moses kept watching Jesus to see if he would heal the man. They did this because they wanted to accuse Jesus of doing something wrong.

Jesus knew what they were thinking. So he told the man to stand up where everyone could see him. And the man stood up. Then Jesus asked, “On the Sabbath should we do good deeds or evil deeds? Should we save someone’s life or destroy it?”

10 After he had looked around at everyone, he told the man, “Stretch out your hand.” He did, and his bad hand became completely well.

11 The teachers and the Pharisees were furious and started saying to each other, “What can we do about Jesus?”

Jesus Chooses His Twelve Apostles

12 About that time Jesus went off to a mountain to pray, and he spent the whole night there. 13 The next morning he called his disciples together and chose twelve of them to be his apostles. 14 One was Simon, and Jesus named him Peter. Another was Andrew, Peter’s brother. There were also James, John, Philip, Bartholomew, 15 Matthew, Thomas, and James the son of Alphaeus. The rest of the apostles were Simon, known as the Eager One,[c] 16 Jude, who was the son of James, and Judas Iscariot,[d] who later betrayed Jesus.

Jesus Teaches, Preaches, and Heals

17 Jesus and his apostles went down from the mountain and came to some flat, level ground. Many other disciples were there to meet him. Large crowds of people from all over Judea, Jerusalem, and the coastal cities of Tyre and Sidon were there too. 18 These people had come to listen to Jesus and to be healed of their diseases. All who were troubled by evil spirits were also healed. 19 Everyone was trying to touch Jesus, because power was going out from him and healing them all.

Blessings and Troubles

20 Jesus looked at his disciples and said:

God will bless you people
who are poor.
    His kingdom belongs to you!
21 God will bless
    you hungry people.
You will have plenty
    to eat!
God will bless you people
who are crying.
    You will laugh!

22 God will bless you when others hate you and won’t have anything to do with you. God will bless you when people insult you and say cruel things about you, all because you are a follower of the Son of Man. 23 Long ago your own people did these same things to the prophets. So when this happens to you, be happy and jump for joy! You will have a great reward in heaven.

24 But you rich people
    are in for trouble.
You have already had
    an easy life!
25 You well-fed people
    are in for trouble.
    You will go hungry!
You people
    who are laughing now
    are in for trouble.
You are going to cry
    and weep!

26 You are in for trouble when everyone says good things about you. That is what your own people said about those prophets who told lies.

Love for Enemies

27 This is what I say to all who will listen to me:

Love your enemies, and be good to everyone who hates you. 28 Ask God to bless anyone who curses you, and pray for everyone who is cruel to you. 29 If someone slaps you on one cheek, don’t stop that person from slapping you on the other cheek. If someone wants to take your coat, don’t try to keep back your shirt. 30 Give to everyone who asks and don’t ask people to return what they have taken from you. 31 Treat others just as you want to be treated.

32 If you love only someone who loves you, will God praise you for that? Even sinners love people who love them. 33 If you are kind only to someone who is kind to you, will God be pleased with you for that? Even sinners are kind to people who are kind to them. 34 If you lend money only to someone you think will pay you back, will God be pleased with you for that? Even sinners lend to sinners because they think they will get it all back.

35 But love your enemies and be good to them. Lend without expecting to be paid back.[e] Then you will get a great reward, and you will be the true children of God in heaven. He is good even to people who are unthankful and cruel. 36 Have pity on others, just as your Father has pity on you.

Judging Others

37 Jesus said:

Don’t judge others, and God won’t judge you. Don’t be hard on others, and God won’t be hard on you. Forgive others, and God will forgive you. 38 If you give to others, you will be given a full amount in return. It will be packed down, shaken together, and spilling over into your lap. The way you treat others is the way you will be treated.

39 Jesus also used some sayings as he spoke to the people. He said:

Can one blind person lead another blind person? Won’t they both fall into a ditch? 40 Are students better than their teacher? But when they are fully trained, they will be like their teacher.

41 You can see the speck in your friend’s eye. But you don’t notice the log in your own eye. 42 How can you say, “My friend, let me take the speck out of your eye,” when you don’t see the log in your own eye? You show-offs! First, get the log out of your own eye. Then you can see how to take the speck out of your friend’s eye.

A Tree and Its Fruit

43 A good tree cannot produce bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot produce good fruit. 44 You can tell what a tree is like by the fruit it produces. You cannot pick figs or grapes from thornbushes. 45 Good people do good things because of the good in their hearts. Bad people do bad things because of the evil in their hearts. Your words show what is in your heart.

Two Builders

46 Why do you keep on saying that I am your Lord, when you refuse to do what I say? 47 Anyone who comes and listens to me and obeys me 48 is like someone who dug down deep and built a house on solid rock. When the flood came and the river rushed against the house, it was built so well that it didn’t even shake. 49 But anyone who hears what I say and doesn’t obey me is like someone whose house wasn’t built on solid rock. As soon as the river rushed against that house, it was smashed to pieces!

Jesus Heals an Army Officer’s Servant

After Jesus had finished teaching the people, he went to Capernaum. In that town an army officer’s servant was sick and about to die. The officer liked this servant very much. And when he heard about Jesus, he sent some Jewish leaders to ask him to come and heal the servant.

The leaders went to Jesus and begged him to do something. They said, “This man deserves your help! He loves our nation and even built us a meeting place.” So Jesus went with them.

When Jesus wasn’t far from the house, the officer sent some friends to tell him, “Lord, don’t go to any trouble for me! I am not good enough for you to come into my house. And I am certainly not worthy to come to you. Just say the word, and my servant will get well. I have officers who give orders to me, and I have soldiers who take orders from me. I can say to one of them, ‘Go!’ and he goes. I can say to another, ‘Come!’ and he comes. I can say to my servant, ‘Do this!’ and he will do it.”

When Jesus heard this, he was so surprised that he turned and said to the crowd following him, “In all of Israel I’ve never found anyone with this much faith!”

10 The officer’s friends returned and found the servant well.

A Widow’s Son

11 Soon Jesus and his disciples were on their way to the town of Nain, and a big crowd was going along with them. 12 As they came near the gate of the town, they saw people carrying out the body of a widow’s only son. Many people from the town were walking along with her.

13 When the Lord saw the woman, he felt sorry for her and said, “Don’t cry!”

14 Jesus went over and touched the stretcher on which the people were carrying the dead boy. They stopped, and Jesus said, “Young man, get up!” 15 The boy sat up and began to speak. Jesus then gave him back to his mother.

16 Everyone was frightened and praised God. They said, “A great prophet is here with us! God has come to his people.”

17 News about Jesus spread all over Judea and everywhere else in that part of the country.

John the Baptist

18-19 John’s followers told John everything that was being said about Jesus. So he sent two of them to ask the Lord, “Are you the one we should be looking for? Or must we wait for someone else?”

20 When these messengers came to Jesus, they said, “John the Baptist sent us to ask, ‘Are you the one we should be looking for? Or are we supposed to wait for someone else?’”

21 At that time Jesus was healing many people who were sick or in pain or were troubled by evil spirits, and he was giving sight to a lot of blind people. 22 Jesus said to the messengers sent by John, “Go and tell John what you have seen and heard. Blind people are now able to see, and the lame can walk. People who have leprosy[f] are being healed, and the deaf can now hear. The dead are raised to life, and the poor are hearing the good news. 23 God will bless everyone who doesn’t reject me because of what I do.”

24 After John’s messengers had gone, Jesus began speaking to the crowds about John:

What kind of person did you go out to the desert to see? Was he like tall grass blown about by the wind? 25 What kind of man did you really go out to see? Was he someone dressed in fine clothes? People who wear expensive clothes and live in luxury are in the king’s palace. 26 What then did you go out to see? Was he a prophet? He certainly was! I tell you that he was more than a prophet. 27 In the Scriptures, God calls John his messenger and says, “I am sending my messenger ahead of you to get things ready for you.” 28 No one ever born on this earth is greater than John. But whoever is least important in God’s kingdom is greater than John.

29 Everyone had been listening to John. Even the tax collectors[g] had obeyed God and had done what was right by letting John baptize them. 30 But the Pharisees and the experts in the Law of Moses refused to obey God and be baptized by John.

31 Jesus went on to say:

What are you people like? What kind of people are you? 32 You are like children sitting in the market and shouting to each other,

“We played the flute,
    but you would not dance!
We sang a funeral song,
    but you would not cry!”

33 John the Baptist did not go around eating and drinking, and you said, “John has a demon in him!” 34 But because the Son of Man goes around eating and drinking, you say, “Jesus eats and drinks too much! He is even a friend of tax collectors and sinners.” 35 Yet Wisdom is shown to be right by what its followers do.

Simon the Pharisee

36 A Pharisee invited Jesus to have dinner with him. So Jesus went to the Pharisee’s home and got ready to eat.[h]

37 When a sinful woman in that town found out that Jesus was there, she bought an expensive bottle of perfume. 38 Then she came and stood behind Jesus. She cried and started washing his feet with her tears and drying them with her hair. The woman kissed his feet and poured the perfume on them.

39 The Pharisee who had invited Jesus saw this and said to himself, “If this man really were a prophet, he would know what kind of woman is touching him! He would know that she is a sinner.”

40 Jesus said to the Pharisee, “Simon, I have something to say to you.”

“Teacher, what is it?” Simon replied.

41 Jesus told him, “Two people were in debt to a moneylender. One of them owed him five hundred silver coins, and the other owed him fifty. 42 Since neither of them could pay him back, the moneylender said that they didn’t have to pay him anything. Which one of them will like him more?”

43 Simon answered, “I suppose it would be the one who had owed more and didn’t have to pay it back.”

“You are right,” Jesus said.

44 He turned toward the woman and said to Simon, “Have you noticed this woman? When I came into your home, you didn’t give me any water so I could wash my feet. But she has washed my feet with her tears and dried them with her hair. 45 You didn’t greet me with a kiss, but from the time I came in, she has not stopped kissing my feet. 46 You didn’t even pour olive oil on my head,[i] but she has poured expensive perfume on my feet. 47 So I tell you that all her sins are forgiven, and that is why she has shown great love. But anyone who has been forgiven for only a little will show only a little love.”

48 Then Jesus said to the woman, “Your sins are forgiven.”

49 Some other guests started saying to one another, “Who is this who dares to forgive sins?”

50 But Jesus told the woman, “Because of your faith, you are now saved.[j] May God give you peace!”

Footnotes

  1. 6.1 walking through some wheat fields: It was the custom to let hungry travelers pick grains of wheat.
  2. 6.6 On another Sabbath: Some manuscripts have a reading which may mean “the Sabbath after the next.”
  3. 6.15 known as the Eager One: The word “eager” translates the Greek word “zealot,” which was a name later given to the members of a Jewish group that resisted and fought against the Romans.
  4. 6.16 Iscariot: This may mean “a man from Kerioth” (a place in Judea). But more probably it means “a man who was a liar” or “a man who was a betrayer.”
  5. 6.35 without expecting to be paid back: Some manuscripts have “without giving up on anyone.”
  6. 7.22 leprosy: See the note at 4.27.
  7. 7.29 tax collectors: See the note at 3.12.
  8. 7.36 got ready to eat: On special occasions the Jewish people often followed the Greek and Roman custom of lying down on their left side and leaning on their left elbow, while eating with their right hand. This is how the woman could come up behind Jesus and wash his feet (see verse 38).
  9. 7.44-46 washed my feet. . . greet me with a kiss. . . pour olive oil on my head: Guests in a home were usually offered water so they could wash their feet, because most people either went barefoot or wore sandals and would come in the house with very dusty feet. Guests were also greeted with a kiss on the cheek, and special ones often had sweet-smelling olive oil poured on their head.
  10. 7.50 saved: Or “healed.” The Greek word may have either meaning.