Matthew 23 Contemporary English Version (CEV)
Jesus Condemns the Pharisees and the Teachers of the Law of Moses
23 Jesus said to the crowds and to his disciples:
2 The Pharisees and the teachers of the Law are experts in the Law of Moses. 3 So obey everything they teach you, but don’t do as they do. After all, they say one thing and do something else.
4 They pile heavy burdens on people’s shoulders and won’t lift a finger to help. 5 Everything they do is just to show off in front of others. They even make a big show of wearing Scripture verses on their foreheads and arms, and they wear big tassels[a] for everyone to see. 6 They love the best seats at banquets and the front seats in the meeting places. 7 And when they are in the market, they like to have people greet them as their teachers.
8 But none of you should be called a teacher. You have only one teacher, and all of you are like brothers and sisters. 9 Don’t call anyone on earth your father. All of you have the same Father in heaven. 10 None of you should be called the leader. The Messiah is your only leader. 11 Whoever is the greatest should be the servant of the others. 12 If you put yourself above others, you will be put down. But if you humble yourself, you will be honored.
13-14 You Pharisees and teachers of the Law of Moses are in for trouble! You’re nothing but show-offs. You lock people out of the kingdom of heaven. You won’t go in yourselves, and you keep others from going in.[b]
15 You Pharisees and teachers of the Law of Moses are in for trouble! You’re nothing but show-offs. You travel over land and sea to win one follower. And when you have done so, you make that person twice as fit for hell as you are.
16 You are in for trouble! You are supposed to lead others, but you are blind. You teach that it doesn’t matter if a person swears by the temple. But you say that it does matter if someone swears by the gold in the temple. 17 You blind fools! Which is greater, the gold or the temple that makes the gold sacred?
18 You also teach that it doesn’t matter if a person swears by the altar. But you say that it does matter if someone swears by the gift on the altar. 19 Are you blind? Which is more important, the gift or the altar that makes the gift sacred? 20 Anyone who swears by the altar also swears by everything on it. 21 And anyone who swears by the temple also swears by God, who lives there. 22 To swear by heaven is the same as swearing by God’s throne and by the one who sits on that throne.
23 You Pharisees and teachers are show-offs, and you’re in for trouble! You give God a tenth of the spices from your garden, such as mint, dill, and cumin. Yet you neglect the more important matters of the Law, such as justice, mercy, and faithfulness. These are the important things you should have done, though you should not have left the others undone either. 24 You blind leaders! You strain out a small fly but swallow a camel.
25 You Pharisees and teachers are show-offs, and you’re in for trouble! You wash the outside of your cups and dishes, while inside there is nothing but greed and selfishness. 26 You blind Pharisee! First clean the inside of a cup, and then the outside will also be clean.
27 You Pharisees and teachers are in for trouble! You’re nothing but show-offs. You’re like tombs that have been whitewashed.[c] On the outside they are beautiful, but inside they are full of bones and filth. 28 That’s what you are like. Outside you look good, but inside you are evil and only pretend to be good.
29 You Pharisees and teachers are nothing but show-offs, and you’re in for trouble! You build monuments for the prophets and decorate the tombs of good people. 30 And you claim that you would not have taken part with your ancestors in killing the prophets. 31 But you prove that you really are the relatives of the ones who killed the prophets. 32 So keep on doing everything they did. 33 You are nothing but snakes and the children of snakes! How can you escape going to hell?
34 I will send prophets and wise people and experts in the Law of Moses to you. But you will kill them or nail them to a cross or beat them in your meeting places or chase them from town to town. 35 That’s why you will be held guilty for the murder of every good person, beginning with the good man Abel. This also includes Barachiah’s son Zechariah,[d] the man you murdered between the temple and the altar. 36 I can promise that you people living today will be punished for all these things!
Jesus Loves Jerusalem
37 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. 38 And now your temple will be deserted. 39 You won’t see me again until you say,
“Blessed is the one who comes
Luke 20-21 Contemporary English Version (CEV)
A Question about Jesus' Authority
20 One day, Jesus was teaching in the temple and telling the good news. So the chief priests, the teachers, and the nation’s leaders 2 asked him, “What right do you have to do these things? Who gave you this authority?”
3 Jesus replied, “I want to ask you a question. 4 Who gave John the right to baptize? Was it God in heaven or merely some human being?”
5 They talked this 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. 6 And we can’t say that it was merely some human who gave John the right to baptize. The crowd will stone us to death, because they think John was a prophet.”
7 So they told Jesus, “We don’t know who gave John the right to baptize.”
8 Jesus replied, “Then I won’t tell you who gave me the right to do what I do.”
Renters of a Vineyard
9 Jesus told the people this story:
A man once planted a vineyard and rented it out. Then he left the country for a long time. 10 When it was time to harvest the crop, he sent a servant to ask the renters for his share of the grapes. But they beat up the servant and sent him away without anything. 11 So the owner sent another servant. The renters also beat him up. They insulted him terribly and sent him away without a thing. 12 The owner sent a third servant. He was also beaten terribly and thrown out of the vineyard.
13 The owner then said to himself, “What am I going to do? I know what. I’ll send my son, the one I love so much. They will surely respect him!”
14 When the renters saw the owner’s son, they said to one another, “Someday he will own the vineyard. Let’s kill him! Then we can have it all for ourselves.” 15 So they threw him out of the vineyard and killed him.
Jesus asked, “What do you think the owner of the vineyard will do? 16 I’ll tell you what. He will come and kill those renters and let someone else have his vineyard.”
When the people heard this, they said, “This must never happen!”
17 But Jesus looked straight at them and said, “Then what do the Scriptures mean when they say, ‘The stone that the builders tossed aside is now the most important stone of all’? 18 Anyone who stumbles over this stone will get hurt, and anyone it falls on will be smashed to pieces.”
19 The chief priests and the teachers of the Law of Moses knew that Jesus was talking about them when he was telling this story. They wanted to arrest him right then, but they were afraid of the people.
20 Jesus' enemies kept watching him closely, because they wanted to hand him over to the Roman governor. So they sent some men who pretended to be good. But they were really spies trying to catch Jesus saying something wrong. 21 The spies said to him, “Teacher, we know that you teach the truth about what God wants people to do. And you treat everyone with the same respect, no matter who they are. 22 Tell us, should we pay taxes to the Emperor or not?”
23 Jesus knew that they were trying to trick him. So he told them, 24 “Show me a coin.” Then he asked, “Whose picture and name are on it?”
“The Emperor’s,” they answered.
25 Then he told them, “Give the Emperor what belongs to him and give God what belongs to God.” 26 Jesus' enemies could not catch him saying anything wrong there in front of the people. They were amazed at his answer and kept quiet.
Life in the Future World
27 The Sadducees did not believe that people would rise to life after death. So some of them came to Jesus 28 and said:
Teacher, Moses wrote that if a married man dies and has no children, his brother should marry the widow. Their first son would then be thought of as the son of the dead brother.
29 There were once seven brothers. The first one married, but died without having any children. 30 The second one married his brother’s widow, and he also died without having any children. 31 The same thing happened to the third one. Finally, all seven brothers married that woman and died without having any children. 32 At last the woman died. 33 When God raises people from death, whose wife will this woman be? All seven brothers had married her.
34 Jesus answered:
The people in this world get married. 35 But in the future world no one who is worthy to rise from death will either marry 36 or die. They will be like the angels and will be God’s children, because they have been raised to life.
37 In the story about the burning bush, Moses clearly shows that people will live again. He said, “The Lord is the God worshiped by Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.”[a] 38 So the Lord isn’t the God of the dead, but of the living. This means that everyone is alive as far as God is concerned.
39 Some of the teachers of the Law of Moses said, “Teacher, you have given a good answer!” 40 From then on, no one dared to ask Jesus any questions.
About David’s Son
41 Jesus asked, “Why do people say that the Messiah will be the son of King David?[b] 42 In the book of Psalms, David himself says,
‘The Lord said to my Lord,
44 David spoke of the Messiah as his Lord, so how can the Messiah be his son?”
Jesus and the Teachers of the Law of Moses
45 While everyone was listening to Jesus, he said to his disciples:
46 Guard against the teachers of the Law of Moses! They love to walk around in long robes, and they like to be greeted in the market. They want the front seats in the meeting places and the best seats at banquets. 47 But they cheat widows out of their homes and then pray long prayers just to show off. These teachers will be punished most of all.
A Widow’s Offering
21 Jesus looked up and saw some rich people tossing their gifts into the offering box. 2 He also saw a poor widow putting in two pennies. 3 And he said, “I tell you that this poor woman has put in more than all the others. 4 Everyone else gave what they didn’t need. But she is very poor and gave everything she had.”
The Temple Will Be Destroyed
5 Some people were talking about the beautiful stones used to build the temple and about the gifts that had been placed in it. Jesus said, 6 “Do you see these stones? The time is coming when not one of them will be left in place. They will all be knocked down.”
Warning about Trouble
7 Some people asked, “Teacher, when will all this happen? How can we know when these things are about to take place?”
8 Jesus replied:
Don’t be fooled by those who will come and claim to be me. They will say, “I am Christ!” and “Now is the time!” But don’t follow them. 9 When you hear about wars and riots, don’t be afraid. These things will have to happen first, but that isn’t the end.
10 Nations will go to war against one another, and kingdoms will attack each other. 11 There will be great earthquakes, and in many places people will starve to death and suffer terrible diseases. All sorts of frightening things will be seen in the sky.
12 Before all this happens, you will be arrested and punished. You will be tried in your meeting places and put in jail. Because of me you will be placed on trial before kings and governors. 13 But this will be your chance to tell about your faith.
14 Don’t worry about what you will say to defend yourselves. 15 I will give you the wisdom to know what to say. None of your enemies will be able to oppose you or to say that you are wrong. 16 You will be betrayed by your own parents, brothers, family, and friends. Some of you will even be killed. 17 Because of me, you will be hated by everyone. 18 But don’t worry![d] 19 You will be saved by being faithful to me.
Jerusalem Will Be Destroyed
20 When you see Jerusalem surrounded by soldiers, you will know that it will soon be destroyed. 21 If you are living in Judea at that time, run to the mountains. If you are in the city, leave it. And if you are out in the country, don’t go back into the city. 22 This time of punishment is what is written about in the Scriptures. 23 It will be an awful time for women who are expecting babies or nursing young children! Everywhere in the land people will suffer horribly and be punished. 24 Some of them will be killed by swords. Others will be carried off to foreign countries. Jerusalem will be overrun by foreign nations until their time comes to an end.
When the Son of Man Appears
25 Strange things will happen to the sun, moon, and stars. The nations on earth will be afraid of the roaring sea and tides, and they won’t know what to do. 26 People will be so frightened that they will faint because of what is happening to the world. Every power in the sky will be shaken.[e] 27 Then the Son of Man will be seen, coming in a cloud with great power and glory. 28 When all of this starts happening, stand up straight and be brave. You will soon be set free.
A Lesson from a Fig Tree
29 Then Jesus told them a story:
When you see a fig tree or any other tree 30 putting out leaves, you know that summer will soon come. 31 So, when you see these things happening, you know that God’s kingdom will soon be here. 32 You can be sure that some of the people of this generation will still be alive when all of this takes place. 33 The sky and the earth won’t last forever, but my words will.
34 Don’t spend all of your time thinking about eating or drinking or worrying about life. If you do, the final day will suddenly catch you 35 like a trap. That day will surprise everyone on earth. 36 Watch out and keep praying that you can escape all that is going to happen and that the Son of Man will be pleased with you.
37 Jesus taught in the temple each day, and he spent each night on the Mount of Olives. 38 Everyone got up early and came to the temple to hear him teach.
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