Matthew 11-12 Contemporary English Version (CEV)
John the Baptist
11 After Jesus had finished instructing his twelve disciples, he left and began teaching and preaching in the towns.[a]
2 John was in prison when he heard what Christ was doing. So John sent some of his followers 3 to ask Jesus, “Are you the one we should be looking for? Or must we wait for someone else?”
4 Jesus answered, “Go and tell John what you have heard and seen. 5 The blind are now able to see, and the lame can walk. People with leprosy[b] are being healed, and the deaf can hear. The dead are raised to life, and the poor are hearing the good news. 6 God will bless everyone who doesn’t reject me because of what I do.”
7 As John’s followers were going away, Jesus spoke to the crowds about John:
What sort of person did you go out into the desert to see? Was he like tall grass blown about by the wind? 8 What kind of man did you go out to see? Was he someone dressed in fine clothes? People who dress like that live in the king’s palace. 9 What did you really go out to see? Was he a prophet? He certainly was. I tell you that he was more than a prophet. 10 In the Scriptures God says about him, “I am sending my messenger ahead of you to get things ready for you.” 11 I tell you that no one ever born on this earth is greater than John the Baptist. But whoever is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than John.
12 From the time of John the Baptist until now, violent people have been trying to take over the kingdom of heaven by force. 13 All the Books of the Prophets and the Law of Moses[c] told what was going to happen up to the time of John. 14 And if you believe them, John is Elijah, the prophet you are waiting for. 15 If you have ears, pay attention!
16 You people are like children sitting in the market and shouting to each other,
17 “We played the flute,
18 John the Baptist did not go around eating and drinking, and you said, “That man has a demon in him!” 19 But the Son of Man goes around eating and drinking, and you say, “That man eats and drinks too much! He is even a friend of tax collectors[d] and sinners.” Yet Wisdom is shown to be right by what it does.
The Unbelieving Towns
20 In the towns where Jesus had worked most of his miracles, the people refused to turn to God. So Jesus was upset with them and said:
21 You people of Chorazin are in for trouble! You people of Bethsaida are in for trouble too! If the miracles that took place in your towns had happened in Tyre and Sidon, the people there would have turned to God long ago. They would have dressed in sackcloth and put ashes on their heads.[e] 22 I tell you that on the day of judgment the people of Tyre and Sidon will get off easier than you will.
23 People of Capernaum, do you think you will be honored in heaven? You will go down to hell! If the miracles that took place in your town had happened in Sodom, that town would still be standing. 24 So I tell you that on the day of judgment the people of Sodom will get off easier than you.
Come to Me and Rest
25 At that moment Jesus said:
My Father, Lord of heaven and earth, I am grateful that you hid all this from wise and educated people and showed it to ordinary people. 26 Yes, Father, that is what pleased you.
27 My Father has given me everything, and he is the only one who knows the Son. The only one who truly knows the Father is the Son. But the Son wants to tell others about the Father, so that they can know him too.
28 If you are tired from carrying heavy burdens, come to me and I will give you rest. 29 Take the yoke[f] I give you. Put it on your shoulders and learn from me. I am gentle and humble, and you will find rest. 30 This yoke is easy to bear, and this burden is light.
A Question about the Sabbath
12 One Sabbath, Jesus and his disciples were walking through some wheat fields.[g] His disciples were hungry and began picking and eating grains of wheat. 2 Some Pharisees noticed this and said to Jesus, “Why are your disciples picking grain on the Sabbath? They are not supposed to do that!”
3 Jesus answered:
You surely must have read what David did when he and his followers were hungry. 4 He went into the house of God, and then they ate the sacred loaves of bread that only priests are supposed to eat. 5 Haven’t you read in the Law of Moses that the priests are allowed to work in the temple on the Sabbath? But no one says that they are guilty of breaking the law of the Sabbath. 6 I tell you that there is something here greater than the temple. 7 Don’t you know what the Scriptures mean when they say, “Instead of offering sacrifices to me, I want you to be merciful to others?” If you knew what this means, you would not condemn these innocent disciples of mine. 8 So the Son of Man is Lord over the Sabbath.
A Man with a Crippled Hand
9 Jesus left and went into one of the Jewish meeting places, 10 where there was a man whose hand was crippled. Some Pharisees wanted to accuse Jesus of doing something wrong, and they asked him, “Is it right to heal someone on the Sabbath?”
11 Jesus answered, “If you had a sheep that fell into a ditch on the Sabbath, wouldn’t you lift it out? 12 People are worth much more than sheep, and so it is right to do good on the Sabbath.” 13 Then Jesus told the man, “Hold out your hand.” The man did, and it became as healthy as the other one.
14 The Pharisees left and started making plans to kill Jesus.
God’s Chosen Servant
15 When Jesus found out what was happening, he left there and large crowds followed him. He healed all of their sick, 16 but warned them not to tell anyone about him. 17 So God’s promise came true, just as Isaiah the prophet had said,
18 “Here is my chosen servant!
Jesus and the Ruler of the Demons
22 Some people brought to Jesus a man who was blind and could not talk because he had a demon in him. Jesus healed the man, and then he was able to talk and see. 23 The crowds were so amazed that they asked, “Could Jesus be the Son of David?”[h]
24 When the Pharisees heard this, they said, “He forces out demons by the power of Beelzebul, the ruler of the demons!”
25 Jesus knew what they were thinking, and he said to them:
Any kingdom where people fight each other will end up ruined. And a town or family that fights will soon destroy itself. 26 So if Satan fights against himself, how can his kingdom last? 27 If I use the power of Beelzebul to force out demons, whose power do your own followers use to force them out? Your followers are the ones who will judge you. 28 But when I force out demons by the power of God’s Spirit, it proves that God’s kingdom has already come to you. 29 How can anyone break into a strong man’s house and steal his things, unless he first ties up the strong man? Then he can take everything.
30 If you are not on my side, you are against me. If you don’t gather in the harvest with me, you scatter it. 31-32 I tell you that any sinful thing you do or say can be forgiven. Even if you speak against the Son of Man, you can be forgiven. But if you speak against the Holy Spirit, you can never be forgiven, either in this life or in the life to come.
A Tree and Its Fruit
33 A good tree produces only good fruit, and a bad tree produces bad fruit. You can tell what a tree is like by the fruit it produces. 34 You are a bunch of evil snakes, so how can you say anything good? Your words show what is in your hearts. 35 Good people bring good things out of their hearts, but evil people bring evil things out of their hearts. 36 I promise you that on the day of judgment, everyone will have to account for every careless word they have spoken. 37 On that day they will be told that they are either innocent or guilty because of the things they have said.
A Sign from Heaven
38 Some Pharisees and teachers of the Law of Moses said, “Teacher, we want you to show us a sign from heaven.”
39 But Jesus replied:
You want a sign because you are evil and won’t believe! But the only sign you will get is the sign of the prophet Jonah. 40 He was in the stomach of a big fish for three days and nights, just as the Son of Man will be deep in the earth for three days and nights. 41 On the day of judgment the people of Nineveh[i] will stand there with you and condemn you. They turned to God when Jonah preached, and yet here is something far greater than Jonah. 42 The Queen of the South[j] will also stand there with you and condemn you. She traveled a long way to hear Solomon’s wisdom, and yet here is something much greater than Solomon.
Return of an Evil Spirit
43 When an evil spirit leaves a person, it travels through the desert, looking for a place to rest. But when the demon doesn’t find a place, 44 it says, “I will go back to the home I left.” When it gets there and finds the place empty, clean, and fixed up, 45 it goes off and finds seven other evil spirits even worse than itself. They all come and make their home there, and the person ends up in worse shape than before. That’s how it will be with you evil people of today.
Jesus' Mother and Brothers
46 While Jesus was still speaking to the crowds, his mother and brothers came and stood outside because they wanted to talk with him. 47 Someone told Jesus, “Your mother and brothers are standing outside and want to talk with you.”[k]
48 Jesus answered, “Who is my mother and who are my brothers?” 49 Then he pointed to his disciples and said, “These are my mother and my brothers! 50 Anyone who obeys my Father in heaven is my brother or sister or mother.”
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