GOSPEL ACCORDING TO MATTHEW
(Part 2 of 3, chapters 10-20)
WITH THE WORDS OF JESUS IN RED
Jesus sends out the twelve with divine power
10:1-4 - Jesus called his twelve disciples to him and gave them authority to expel evil spirits and heal all kinds of disease and infirmity. The names of the twelve apostles were: First, Simon, called Peter, with his brother Andrew; James, and his brother John, sons of Zebedee; Philip and Bartholomew, Thomas, and Matthew the tax-collector, James, the son of Alphaeus, and Thaddaeus, Simon the Patriot, and Judas Iscariot, who later turned traitor.
10:5-8 - These were the twelve whom Jesus sent out, with the instructions: "Don't turn off into any of the heathen roads, and don't go into any Samaritan town. Concentrate on the lost sheep of the house of Israel. As you go proclaim that the kingdom of Heaven has arrived. Heal the sick, raise the dead, cure the lepers, drive out devils - give, as you have received, without any charge whatever.
10:9-10 - "Don't take any gold or silver or even coppers to put in your purse; nor a knapsack for the journey, nor even a change of clothes, or sandals or a staff - the workman is worth his keep!
10:11-13 - "Wherever you go, whether it is into a town or a village, find out someone who is respected, and stay with him until you leave. As you enter his house give it your blessing. If the house deserves it, the peace of your blessing will come to it. But if it doesn't, your peace will return to you.
10:14-15 - "And if no one will welcome you or even listen to what you have to say, leave that house or town, and once outside it shake off the dust of that place from your feet. Believe me, Sodom and Gomorrah will fare better in the day of judgment than that town."
He warns them of troubles that lie ahead
10:16-18 - "Here I am sending you out like sheep with wolves all round you; so be as wise as serpents and yet as harmless as doves. But be on your guard against men. For they will take you to the court and flog you in their synagogues. You will be brought into the presence of governors and kings because of me - to give your witness to them and to the heathen.
10:19-20 - "But when they do arrest you, never worry about how you are to speak or what you are to say. You will be told at the time what you are to say. For it will not be really you who are speaking but the Spirit of your Father speaking through you.
10:21-22 - "Brothers are going to betray their brothers to death, and fathers their children. Children are going to betray their parents and have them executed. You yourselves will be universally hated because of my name. But the man who endures to the very end will be safe and sound.
10:23-27 - "But when they persecute you in one town make your escape to the next. Believe me, you will not have covered the towns of Israel before the Son of Man arrives. The disciple is not superior to his teacher any more than the servant is superior to his master, for what is good enough for the teacher is good enough for the disciple as well, and the servant will not fare better than his master. If men call the master of the household the 'Prince of Evil', what sort of names will they give to his Servants? But never let them frighten you, for there is nothing covered up which is not going to be exposed nor anything private which will not be made public. The things I tell you in the dark you must say in the daylight, and the things you hear in your private ear you must proclaim from the house-tops.
They should reverence God but have no fear of man
10:28 - "Never be afraid of those who can kill the body but are powerless to kill the soul! Far better to stand in awe of the one who has the power to destroy body and soul in the fires of destruction!
10:29-31 - "Two sparrows sell for a farthing, don't they? Yet not a single sparrow falls to the ground without your Father's knowledge. The very hairs of your head are all numbered. Never be afraid, then - you are far more valuable than sparrows.
10:32-33 - "Every man who publicly acknowledges me I shall acknowledge in the presence of my Father in Heaven, but the man who disowns me before men I shall disown before my Father in Heaven.
The Prince of Peace comes to bring division
10:34-36 - "Never think I have come to bring peace upon the earth. No, I have not come to bring peace but a sword! For I have come to set a man against his own father, a daughter against her own mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law. A man's enemies will be those who live in his own house.
10:37-39 - "Anyone who puts his love for father or mother above his love for me does not deserve to be mine, and he who loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me, and neither is the man who refuses to take up his cross and follow my way. The man who has found his own life will lose it, but the man who has lost it for my sake will find it.
10:40 - "Whoever welcomes you, welcomes me; and whoever welcomes me is welcoming the one who sent me.
10:41-42 - "Whoever welcomes a prophet just because he is a prophet will get a prophet's reward. And whoever welcomes a good man just because he is a good man will get a good man's reward. Believe me, anyone who gives even a drink of water to one of these little ones, just because he is my disciple, will by no means lose his reward."
11:1 - When Jesus had finished giving his twelve disciples these instructions he went on from there to teach and preach in the towns in which they lived.
John enquires about Christ: Christ speaks about John
11:2-3 - John the Baptist was in prison when he heard what Christ was doing, and he sent a message through his own disciples asking the question, "Are you the one who was to come or are we to look for somebody else?"
11:4-6 - Jesus gave them this reply, "Go and tell John what you see and her - that blind men are recovering their sight, cripples are walking, lepers being healed, the deaf hearing, the dead being brought to life and the good news is being given to those in need. And happy is the man who never loses faith in me."
11:7-10 - As John's disciples were going away Jesus began talking to the crowd about John: "What did you go out into the desert to look at? A reed waving in the breeze? No? Then what was it you went out to see? - a man dressed in fine clothes? But the men who wear fine clothes live in the courts of kings! But what did you really go to see - a prophet? Yes, I tell you, a prophet and far more than a prophet! This is the man of whom the scripture says - 'Behold, I send my messenger before your face, who will prepare your way before you'.
11:11 - "Believe me, no one greater than John the Baptist has ever been born of all mankind, and yet a humble member of the kingdom of Heaven is greater than he.
11:12-15 - "From the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of Heaven has been taken by storm and eager men are forcing their way into it. For the Law and all the prophets foretold it till the time of John and - if you can believe it - John himself is the 'Elijah' who must come before the kingdom. The man who has ears to hear must use them.
11:16-19 - "But how can I show what the people of this generation are like? They are like children sitting in the market-place calling out to their friends, 'We played at weddings for you but you wouldn't dance, and we played at funerals and you wouldn't cry!' For John came in the strictest austerity and people say, 'He's crazy!' Then the Son of Man came, enjoying life, and people say, 'Look, a drunkard and a glutton - the bosom-friend of the tax-collector and the sinner.' Ah, well, wisdom stands or falls by her own actions."
Jesus denounces apathy - and thanks God that simple men understand his message
11:20 - Then Jesus began reproaching the towns where most of his miracles had taken place because their hearts were unchanged.
11:21-22 - "Alas for you, Chorazin! Alas for you, Bethsaida! For if Tyre and Sidon had seen the demonstrations of God's power which you have seen they would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes. Yet I tell you this, that it will be more bearable for Tyre and Sidon in the day of judgment than for you.
11:23-24 - "And as for you, Capernaum, are you on your way up to Heaven? I tell you will go hurtling down among the dead! If Sodom had seen the miracles that you have seen, Sodom would be standing today. Yet I tell you now that it will be more bearable for the land of Sodom in the day of judgment than for you."
11:25-26 - At this same time Jesus said, "O Father, Lord of Heaven and earth, I thank you for hiding these things from the clever and intelligent and for showing them to mere children. Yes, I thank you, Father, that this was your will."
11:27 - Then he said: "Everything has been put in my hands by my Father, and nobody knows the Son except the Father. Nor does anyone know the Father except the Son - and the man to whom the Son chooses to reveal him.
11:28-30 - "Come to me, all of you who are weary and over-burdened, and I will give you rest! Put on my yoke and learn from me. For I am gentle and humble in heart and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light."
Jesus rebukes the sabbatarians
12:1-2 - It happened then that Jesus passed through the cornfields on the Sabbath day. His disciples were hungry and began picking the ears of wheat and eating them. But the Pharisees saw them do it. "There, you see," they remarked to Jesus, "your disciples are doing what the Law forbids them to do on the Sabbath."
12:3-4 - "Haven't any of you read what David did when he and his companions were hungry?" replied Jesus, "- how he went into the house of God and ate the presentation loaves, which he and his followers were not allowed to eat since only priests can do so?
12:5-8 - "Haven't any of you read in the Law that every Sabbath day priests in the Temple can break the Sabbath and yet remain blameless? I tell you that there is something more important than the Temple here. If you had grasped the meaning of the scripture 'I desire mercy and not sacrifice', you would not have been so quick to condemn the innocent! For the Son of Man is master even of the Sabbath."
12:9-10 - Leaving there he went into their synagogue, where there happened to be a man with a shrivelled hand. "Is it right to heal anyone on the Sabbath day?" they asked him - hoping to bring a charge against him.
12:11-12 - "If any of you had a sheep which fell into a ditch on the Sabbath day, would he not take hold of it and pull it out?" replied Jesus. "How much more valuable is a man than a sheep? You see, it is right to do good on the Sabbath day."
12:13 - Then Jesus said to the man, "Stretch out your hand!" He did stretch it out, and it was restored as sound as the other.
12:14 - But the Pharisees went out and held a meeting against Jesus and discussed how they could get rid of him altogether.
Jesus retires to continue his work
12:15 - But Jesus knew of this and he left the place.
12:16-21 - Large crowds followed him and he healed them all, with the strict injunction that they should not make him conspicuous by their talk, thus fulfilling Isaiah's prophecy: 'Behold, my servant whom I have chosen, my beloved in whom my soul is well pleased; I will put my Spirit upon him, and he will declare justice to the Gentiles. He will not quarrel nor cry out, nor will anyone hear his voice in the streets. A bruised reed he will not break, and smoking flax he will not quench, till he sends forth justice to victory. And in his name Gentiles will trust' .
12:22-23 - Then a devil-possessed man who could neither see nor speak was brought to Jesus. He healed him, so that the dumb man could both speak and see. At this the whole crowd went wild with excitement, and people kept saying, "Can this be the Son of David?"
The Pharisees draw an evil conclusion, and Jesus rebukes them
12:24 - But the Pharisees on hearing this remark said to each other, "This man is only expelling devils because he is in league with Beelzebub, the prince of devils."
12:25-29 - Jesus knew what they were thinking and said to them, "Any kingdom divided against itself is bound to collapse, and no town or household divided against itself can last for long. If it is Satan who is expelling Satan, then he is divided against himself - so how do you suppose that his kingdom can continue? And if I expel devils because I am an ally of Beelzebub, what alliance do your sons make when they do the same thing? They can settle that question for you! But if I am expelling devils by the Spirit of God, then the kingdom of God has swept over you unawares! How do you suppose anyone could get into a strong man's house and steal his property unless he first tied up the strong man? But if he did that, he could ransack his whole house.
12:30-32 - "The man who is not on my side is against me, and the man who does not gather with me is really scattering. That is why I tell you that men may be forgiven for every sin and blasphemy, but blasphemy against the Spirit cannot be forgiven. A man may say a word against the Son of Man and be forgiven, but whoever speaks against the Holy Spirit cannot be forgiven either in this world or in the world to come!
12:33 - "You must choose between having a good tree with good fruit and a rotten tree with rotten fruit. For you can tell a tree at once by its fruit.
12:34-37 - "You serpent's brood, how can you say anything good out of your evil hearts? For a man's words depend on what fills his heart. A good man gives out good - from the goodness stored in his heart; a bad man gives out evil - from his store of evil. I tell you that men will have to answer at the day of judgment for every careless word they utter - for it is your words that will acquit you, and your words that will condemn you."
Jesus refuses to give a sign
12:38-42 - Then some of the scribes and Pharisees said, "Master, we want to see a sign from you." But Jesus told them, "It is an evil and unfaithful generation that craves for a sign, and no sign will be given to it - except the sign of the prophet Jonah. For just as Jonah was in the belly of that great sea-monster for three days and nights, so will the Son of Man be in the heart of the earth for three days and nights. The men of Nineveh will stand up with this generation in the judgment and will condemn it. For they did repent when Jonah preached to them, and you have more than Jonah's preaching with you now! The Queen of the South will stand up in the judgment with this generation and will condemn it. For she came from the ends of the earth to listen to the wisdom of Solomon, and you have more than the wisdom of Solomon with you now!
The danger of spiritual emptiness
12:43-45 - "When the evil spirit goes out of a man it wanders through waterless places looking for rest and never finding it. Then it says, 'I will go back to my house from which I came.' When it arrives it finds it unoccupied, but clean and all in order. Then it goes and collects seven other spirits more evil than itself to keep it company, and they all go in and make themselves at home. The last state of that man is worse than the first - and that is just what will happen to this evil generation."
Jesus and his relations
12:46-50 - While he was still talking to the crowds, his mother and his brothers happened to be standing outside wanting to speak to him. Somebody said to him, "Look, your mother and your brothers are outside wanting to speak to you." But Jesus replied to the one who told him, "Who is my mother, and who are my brothers?"; then with a gesture of his hand towards his disciples he went on, "There are my mother and brothers! For whoever does the will of my Heavenly Father is brother and sister and mother to me."
Jesus tells the parable of the seed
13:1-9 - It was on the same day that Jesus went out of the house and sat down by the lake-side. Such great crowds collected round him that he went aboard a small boat and sat down while all the people stood on the beach. He told them a great deal in parables, and began: "There was once a man who went out to sow. In his sowing some of the seeds fell by the road-side and the birds swooped down and gobbled them up. Some fell on stony patches where they had very little soil. They sprang up quickly in the shallow soil, but when the sun came up they were scorched by the heat and withered away because they had no roots. Some seeds fell among thorn-bushes and the thorns grew up and choked the life out of them. But some fell on good soil and produced a crop - some a hundred times what had been sown, some sixty and some thirty times. The man who has ears should use them!"
13:10 - At this the disciples approached him and asked, "Why do you talk to them in parables?"
13:11-15 - "Because you have been given the chance to understand the secrets of the kingdom of Heaven," replied Jesus, "but they have not. For when a man has something, more is given to him till he has plenty. But if he has nothing even his nothing will be taken away from him. This is why I speak to them in these parables; because they go through life with their eyes open, but see nothing, and with their ears open, but understand nothing of what they hear. They are the living fulfilment of Isaiah's prophecy which says: 'Hearing you will hear and shall not understand, and seeing you will see and not perceive; for the heart of this people has grown dull. Their ears are hard of hearing, and their eyes they have closed, lest they should see with their eyes and hear with their ears, lest they should understand with their heart and turn, so that I should heal them'.
13:16-17 - "But how fortunate you are to have eyes that see and ears that hear! Believe me, a great many prophets and good men have longed to see what you are seeing and they never saw it. Yes, and they longed to hear what you are hearing and they never heard it.
13:18-23 - "Now listen to the parable of the sower. When a man hears the message of the kingdom and does not grasp it, the evil one comes and snatches away what was sown in his heart. This is like the seed sown by the road-side. The seed sown on the stony patches represents the man who hears the message and eagerly accepts it. But it has not taken root in him and does not last long - the moment trouble or persecution arises through the message he gives up his faith at once. The seed sown among the thorns represents the man who hears the message, and then the worries of this life and the illusions of wealth choke it to death and so it produces no 'crop' in his life. But the seed sown on good soil is the man who both hears and understands the message. His life shows a good crop, a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown."
Good and evil grow side by side in this present world
13:24-30 - Then he put another parable before them. "The kingdom of Heaven," he said, "is like a man who sowed good seed in his field. But while his men were asleep his enemy came and sowed weeds among the wheat, and went away. When the crop came up and ripened, the weeds appeared as well. Then the owner's servants came up to him and said, 'Sir, didn't you sow good seed in your field? Where did all these weeds come from? 'Some blackguard has done this to spite me.' he replied. 'Do you want us then to go out and pull them all up?' said the servants. 'No,' he returned, 'if you pull up the weeds now, you would pull up the wheat with them. Let them both grow together till the harvest. And at harvest-time I shall tell the reapers, 'Collect all the weeds first and tie them up in bundles ready to burn, but collect the wheat and store it in my barn.'"
The kingdom's power of growth, and widespread influence
13:31-32 - Then he put another parable before them: "the kingdom of Heaven is like a tiny grain of mustard-seed which a man took and sowed in his field. As a seed it is the smallest of them all, but it grows to be the biggest of all plants. It becomes a tree, big enough for birds to come and nest in its branches."
13:33 - This is another of the parables he told them: "the kingdom of Heaven is like yeast, taken by a woman and put into three measures of flour until the whole lot had risen."
13:34-35 All these things Jesus spoke to the crowd in parables, and he did not speak to them at all without using parables - to fulfil the prophecy: 'I will open my mouth in parables; I will utter things which have been kept secret from the foundation of the world'.
Jesus again explains a parable to his disciples
13:36 - Later, he left the crowds and went indoors, where his disciples came and said, "Please explain to us the parable of the weeds in the field."
13:37-39 - "The one who sows the good seed is the Son of Man," replied Jesus. "The field is the whole world. The good seed? That is the sons of the kingdom, while the weeds are the sons of the evil one. The blackguard who sowed them is the devil. The harvest is the end of this world. The reapers are angels.
13:40-43 - "Just as weeds are gathered up and burned in the fire so will it happen at the end of this world. The Son of Man will send out his angels and they will uproot from the kingdom everything that is spoiling it, and all those who live in defiance of its laws, and will throw them into the blazing furnace, where there will be tears and bitter regret. Then the good will shine out like the sun in their Father's kingdom. The man who has ears should use them
More pictures of the kingdom of Heaven
13:44 - "Again, the kingdom of Heaven is like some treasure which has been buried in a field. A man finds it and buries it again, and goes off overjoyed to sell all his possessions to buy himself that field.
13:45-46 - "Or again, the kingdom of Heaven is like a merchant searching for fine pearls. When he has found a single pearl of great value, he goes and sells all his possessions and buys it.
13:47-50 - "Or the kingdom of Heaven is like a big net thrown into the sea collecting all kinds of fish. When it is full, the fishermen haul it ashore and sit down and pick out the good ones for the barrels, but they throw away the bad. That is how it will be at the end of this world. The angels will go out and pick out the wicked from among the good and throw them into the blazing furnace, where there will be tears and bitter regret.
13:51 - "Have you grasped all this?"
"Yes," they replied.
13:52 - "You can see, then," returned Jesus, "how every one who knows the Law and becomes a disciple of the kingdom of Heaven is like a householder who can produce from his store both the new and the old."
Jesus is not appreciated in his native town
13:53-57 - When Jesus had finished these parables he left the place, and came into his own country. Here he taught the people in their own synagogue, till in their amazement they said, "Where does this man get his wisdom and these powers? He's only the carpenter's son. Isn't Mary his mother, and aren't James, Joseph, Simon and Judas his brothers? And aren't all his sisters living here with us? Where did he get all this?" And they were deeply offended with him. But Jesus said to them, "No prophet goes unhonoured except in his own country and in his own home!"
13:58 - And he performed very few miracles there because of their lack of faith.
Herod's guilty conscience
14:1-2 - "About this time Herod, governor of the province, heard the reports about Jesus and said to his men, "This must be John the Baptist: he has risen from the dead. That is why miraculous powers are at work in him."
14:3-11 - For previously Herod had arrested John and had him bound and put in prison, all on account of Herodias, the wife of his brother Philip. For John had said to him, "It is not right for you to have this woman." Herod wanted to kill him for this, but he was afraid of the people, since they all thought John was a prophet. But during Herod's birthday celebrations Herodias' daughter delighted him by dancing before his guests, so much so that he swore to give her anything she liked to ask. And she, prompted by her mother, said, "I want you to give me, here and now, on a dish, the head of John the Baptist!" Herod was aghast at this, but because he had sworn in front of his guests, he gave orders that she should be given what she had asked. So he sent men and had John beheaded in the prison. Then his head was carried in on a dish and presented to the young girl who handed it to her mother.
14:12 - Later John's disciples came, took his body and buried it. Then they went and told the news to Jesus."
14:13a - When he heard it he went away by boat to a deserted place, quite alone.
Jesus feeds a tired and hungry crowd
14:13b-15 - Then the crowds heard of his departure and followed him out of the towns on foot. When Jesus emerged from his retreat he saw a vast crowd and was very deeply moved and cured the sick among them. As evening fell his disciples came to him and said, "We are right in the wilds here and it is very late. Send away these crowds now, so that they can go into the villages and buy themselves food."
14:16 - "There's no need for them to go away," returned Jesus. "You give them something to eat!"
14:17 - "But we haven't anything here," they told him, "except five loaves and two fish."
14:18 - To which Jesus replied, "Bring them here to me."
14:19-21 - He told the crowd to sit down on the grass. Then he took the five loaves and the two fish in his hands, and, looking up to Heaven, he thanked God, broke the loaves and passed them to his disciples who handed them to the crowd. Everybody ate and was satisfied. Afterwards they collected twelve baskets full of the pieces which were left over. Those who ate numbered about five thousand men, apart from the women and children.
Jesus again shows his power over the forces of nature
14:22-27 - Directly after this Jesus insisted on his disciples' getting aboard their boat and going on ahead to the other side, while he himself sent the crowds home. And when he had sent them away he went up the hill-side quite alone, to pray. When it grew late he was there by himself while the boat was by now a long way from the shore at the mercy of the waves, for the wind was dead against them. In the small hours Jesus went out to them, walking on the water of the lake. When the disciples caught sight of him walking on the water they were terrified. "It's a ghost!" they said, and screamed with fear. But at once Jesus spoke to them. "It's all right! It's I myself, don't be afraid!"
14:28 - "Lord, if it's really you," said Peter, "tell me to come to you on the water."
14:29a - "Come on, then," replied Jesus.
14:29b-33 - Peter stepped down from the boat and did walk on the water, making for Jesus. But when he saw the fury of the wind he panicked and began to sink, calling out, "Lord save me!" At once Jesus reached out his hand and caught him, saying, "You little-faith! What made you lose your nerve like that?" Then, when they were both aboard the boat, the wind dropped. The whole crew came and knelt down before Jesus, crying, "You are indeed the Son of God!"
14:34-36 - When they had crossed over to the other side of the lake, they landed at Gennesaret, and when the men of that place had recognised him, they sent word to the whole surrounding country and brought all the diseased to him. They implored him to let them "touch just the edge of his cloak", and all those who did so were cured.
The dangers of tradition
15:1-2 - Then some of the scribes and Pharisees from Jerusalem came and asked Jesus, "Why do your disciples break our ancient tradition and eat their food without washing their hands properly?"
15:3-9 - "Tell me," replied Jesus, "why do you break God's commandment through your tradition? For God said, 'Honour your father and your mother', and 'He who curses father or mother, let him be put to death' . But you say that if a man tells his parents, 'Whatever use I might have been to you is now given to God', then he owes no further duty to his parents. And so your tradition empties the commandment of God of all its meaning. You hypocrites! Isaiah describes you beautifully when he said: 'These people draw near to me with their mouth, and honour me with their lips, but their heart is far from me. And in vain they worship me, teaching as doctrines the commandments of men'."
Superficial and true cleanliness
15:10-11 - Then he called the crowd to him and said, "Listen, and understand this thoroughly! It is not what goes into a man's mouth that makes him common or unclean. It is what comes out of a man's mouth that makes him unclean."
15:12 - Later his disciples came to him and said, "Do you know that the Pharisees are deeply offended by what you said?"
15:13-14 - "Every plant which my Heavenly Father did not plant will be pulled up by the roots," returned Jesus. "Let them alone. They are blind guides, and when one blind man leads another blind man they will both end up in the ditch!"
15:15 - "Explain this parable to us," broke in Peter.
15:16 - "Are you still unable to grasp things like that?" replied Jesus.
15:17-20 - "Don't you see that whatever goes into the mouth passes into the stomach and then out of the body altogether? But the things that come out of a man's mouth come from his heart and mind, and it is they that really make a man unclean. For it is from a man's mind that evil thoughts arise - murder, adultery, lust, theft, perjury and blasphemy. These are the things which make a man unclean, not eating without washing his hands properly!"
A gentile's faith in Jesus
15:21-22 - Jesus left that place and retired into the Tyre and Sidon district. There a Canaanite woman from those parts came to him crying at the top of her voice, "Lord, have pity on me! My daughter is in a terrible state - a devil has got into her!"
15:23 - Jesus made no answer, and the disciples came up to him and said, "Do send her away - she's still following us and calling out."
15:24 - "I was only sent," replied Jesus, "to the lost sheep of the house of Israel."
15:25 - Then the woman came and knelt at his feet. "Lord, help me," she said.
15:26 - "It is not right, you know," Jesus replied, "to take the children's food and throw it to the dogs."
15:27 - "Yes, Lord, I know, but even the dogs live on the scraps that fall from their master's table!"
15:28 - "You certainly don't lack faith," returned Jesus, "it shall be as you wish." And at that moment her daughter was cured.
Jesus heals and feeds vast crowds of people
15:29-31 - Jesus left there, walked along the shore of the lake of Galilee, then climbed the hill and sat down. And great crowds came to him, bringing with them people who were lame, crippled, blind, dumb and many others. They simply put them down at his feet and he healed them. The result was that the people were astonished at seeing dumb men speak, crippled men healed, lame men walking about and blind men having recovered their sight. And they praised the God of Israel.
15:32 - But Jesus quietly called his disciples to him. "My heart goes out to this crowd," he said. "They've stayed with me three days now and have no more food. I don't want to send them home without anything or they will collapse on the way."
15:33 - "Where could we find enough food to feed such a crowd in this deserted spot?" said the disciples.
15:34 - "How many loaves have you?" asked Jesus.
"Seven, and a few small fish," they replied.
15:35-39 - Then Jesus told the crowd to sit down comfortably on the ground. And when he had taken the seven loaves and the fish into his hands, he broke them with a prayer of thanksgiving and gave them to the disciples to pass on to the people. Everybody ate and was satisfied, and they picked up seven baskets full of the pieces left over. Those who ate numbered four thousand men apart from women and children. Then Jesus sent the crowds home, boarded the boat and arrived at the district of Magadan.
Jesus again refuses to give a sign
16:1-4 - Once the Pharisees and the Sadducees arrived together to test him, and asked him to give them a sign from Heaven. But he replied, "When the evening comes you say, 'Ah, fine weather - the sky is red.' In the morning you say, 'There will be a storm today, the sky is red and threatening.' Yes, you know how to interpret the look of the sky but you have no idea how to interpret the signs of the times! A wicked and unfaithful age insists on a sign; and it will not be given any sign at all but that of the prophet Jonah." And he turned on his heel and left them.
He is misunderstood by the disciples
16:5-12 - Then his disciples came to him on the other side of the lake, forgetting to bring any bread with them. "Keep your eyes open," said Jesus to them, "and be on your guard against the 'yeast' of the Pharisees and Sadducees!" But they were arguing with each other, and saying, "We forgot to bring the bread." When Jesus saw this he said to them, "Why all this argument among yourselves about not bringing any bread, you little-faiths? Don't you understand yet, or have you forgotten the five loaves and the five thousand, and how many baskets you took up afterwards; or the seven loaves and the four thousand and how many baskets you took up then? I wonder why you don't understand that I wasn't talking about bread at all - I told you to beware of the yeast of the Pharisees and Sadducees." Then they grasped the fact that he had not told them to be beware of yeast in the ordinary sense but of the teaching of the Pharisees and Sadducees.
Peter's bold affirmation
16:13 - When Jesus reached the Caesarea-Philippi district he asked his disciples a question. "Who do people say the Son of Man is?"
16:14 - "Well, some say John the Baptist," they told him. "Some say Elijah, others Jeremiah or one of the prophets."
16:15 - "But what about you?" he said to them. "Who do you say that I am?"
16:16 - Simon Peter answered, "You? You are Christ, the Son of the living God!"
16:17-20 - "Simon, son of Jonah, you are a fortunate man indeed!" said Jesus, "for it was not your own nature but my Heavenly Father who has revealed this truth to you! Now I tell you that you are Peter the rock, and it is on this rock that I am going to found my Church, and the powers of death will never prevail against it. I will give you the keys of the kingdom of Heaven; whatever you forbid on earth will be what is forbidden in Heaven and whatever you permit on earth will be what is permitted in Heaven!" Then he impressed on his disciples that they should not tell anyone that he was Christ.
Jesus speaks about his passion, and the cost of following him
16:21 - From that time onwards Jesus began to explain to his disciples that he would have to go to Jerusalem, and endure much suffering from the elders, chief priests and scribes, and finally be killed; and be raised to life again on the third day.
16:22-23 - Then Peter took him on one side and started to remonstrate with him over this. "God bless you, Master! Nothing like this must happen to you!" Then Jesus turned round and said to Peter, "Out of my way, Satan! ... you stand right in my path, Peter, when you look at things from man's point of view and not from God's"
16:24-26 - Then Jesus said to his disciples, "If anyone wants to follow in my footsteps he must give up all right to himself, take up his cross and follow me. For the man who wants to save his life will lose it; but the man who loses his life for my sake will find it. For what good is it for a man to gain the whole world at the price of his own soul? What could a man offer to buy back his soul once he had lost it?
16:27-28 - "For the Son of Man will come in the glory of his Father and in the company of his angels and then he will repay every man for what he has done. Believe me, there are some standing here today who will know nothing of death till they have seen the Son of Man coming as a king."
Three disciples glimpse the glory of Christ
17:1-3 - Six days later Jesus chose Peter, James and his brother John, to accompany him high up on the hill-side where they were quite alone. There his whole appearance changed before their eyes, his face shining like the sun and his clothes as white as light. Then Moses and Elijah were seen talking to Jesus.
17:4 - "Lord," exclaimed Peter, "it is wonderful for us to be here! If you like I could put up three shelters, one each for you and Moses and Elijah ----"
17:5 - But while he was still talking a bright cloud overshadowed them and a voice came out of the cloud: "This is my dearly loved Son in whom I am well pleased. Listen to him!"
17:6-7 - When they heard this voice the disciples fell on their faces, overcome with fear. Then Jesus came up to them and touched them.
17:8 - "Get up and don't be frightened," he said. And as they raised their eyes there was no one to be seen but Jesus himself.
17:9-10 - On their way down the hill-side Jesus warned them not to tell anyone about what they had seen until after the Son of Man had risen from the dead. Then the disciples demanded, "Why is it, then, that the scribes always say Elijah must come first?"
17:11-12 - "Yes, Elijah does come first," replied Jesus, "and begins the world's reformation. But I tell you that Elijah has come already and men did not recognise him. They did what they liked with him, and they will do the same to the Son of Man."
17:13 - Then they realised that he had been referring to John the Baptist.
Jesus heals an epileptic boy
17:14-16 - When they returned to the crowds again a man came and knelt in front of Jesus. "Lord, do have pity on my son," he said, "for he is a lunatic and is in a terrible state. He is always falling into the fire or into the water. I did bring him to your disciples but they couldn't cure him."
17:17 - "You really are an unbelieving and difficult people," Jesus returned. "How long must I be with you, and how long must I put up with you? Bring him here to me!"
17:18 - Then Jesus reprimanded the evil spirit and it went out of the boy, who was cured from that moment.
17:19 - Afterwards the disciples approached Jesus privately and asked, "Why weren't we able to get rid of it?"
17:20-21 - "Because you have so little faith," replied Jesus. "I assure you that if you have as much faith as a grain of mustard-seed you can say to this hill, 'Up you get and move over there!' and it will move - you will find nothing is impossible." "However, this kind does not go out except by prayer and fasting"
17:22-23 - As they went about together in Galilee, Jesus told them, "The Son of Man is going to be handed over to the power of men, and they will kill him. And on the third day he will be raised to life again." This greatly distressed the disciples.
Jesus pays the Temple-tax - in an unusual way
17:24 - Then when they arrived at Capernaum the Temple tax-collectors came up and said to Peter, "Your master doesn't pay Temple-tax, we presume?"
17:25 - "Oh, yes, he does!" replied Peter. Later when he went into the house Jesus anticipated what he was going to say. "What do you think, Simon?" he said. "Whom do the kings of this world get their rates and taxes from - their own people or from others?"
17:26 - "From others," replied Peter.
17:27 - "Then the family is exempt," Jesus told him. "Yet we don't want to give offence to these people, so go down to the lake and throw in your hook. Take the first fish that bites, open his mouth and you'll find a coin. Take that and give it to them, for both of us."
Jesus commends the simplicity of children
18:1 - It was at this time that the disciples came to Jesus with the question, "Who is really greatest in the kingdom of Heaven?"
18:2-4 - Jesus called a little child to his side and set him on his feet in the middle of them all. "Believe me," he said, "unless you change your whole outlook and become like little children you will never enter the kingdom of Heaven. It is the man who can be as humble as this little child who is greatest in the kingdom of Heaven.
18:5-7 - "Anyone who welcomes one child like this for my sake is welcoming me. But if anyone leads astray one of these little children who believe in me he would be better off thrown into the depths of the sea with a mill-stone hung round his neck! Alas for the world with its pitfalls! In the nature of things there must be pitfalls. yet alas for the man who is responsible for them!
The right way may mean costly sacrifice
18:8-9 - "If your hand or your foot is a hindrance to your faith, cut it off and throw it away. It is a good thing to go into life maimed or crippled - rather than to have both hands and feet and be thrown on to the everlasting fire. Yes, and if your eye leads you astray, tear it out and throw it away. It is a good thing to go one-eyed into life - rather than to have both your eyes and be thrown on the fire of the rubbish heap.
18:10-11 - "Be careful that you never despise a single one of these little ones - for I tell you that they have angels who see my Father's face continually in Heaven."
18:12-14 - "What do you think? If a man has a hundred sheep and one wanders away from the rest, won't he leave the ninety-nine on the hill-side and set out to look for the one who has wandered away? Yes, and if he should chance to find it I assure you he is more delighted over that one than he is over the ninety-nine who never wandered away. You can understand then that it is never the will of your Father in Heaven that a single one of these little ones should be lost."
Reconciliation must always be attempted
18:15-17 - "But if your brother wrongs you, go and have it out with him at once - just between the two of you. If he will listen to you, you have won him back as your brother. But if he will not listen to you, take one or two others with you so that everything that is said may have the support of two or three witnesses. And if he still won't pay any attention, tell the matter to the church. And if he won't even listen to the church then he must be to you just like a pagan - or a tax-collector!
The connection between earthly conduct and spiritual reality
18:18 - "Believe me, whatever you forbid upon earth will be what is forbidden in Heaven, and whatever you permit on earth will be what is permitted in Heaven."
18:19-20 - "And I tell you once more that if two of you on earth agree in asking for anything it will be granted to you by my Heavenly Father. For wherever two or three people come together in my name, I am there, right among you!"
The necessity for forgiveness
18:21 - Then Peter approached him with the question, "Master, how many times can my brother wrong me and I must forgive him? Would seven times be enough?"
18:22-27 - "No," replied Jesus, "not seven times, but seventy times seven! For the kingdom of Heaven is like a king who decided to settle his accounts with his servants. When he had started calling in his accounts, a man was brought to him who owed him millions of pounds. And when it was plain that he had no means of repaying the debt, his master gave orders for him to be sold as a slave, and his wife and children and all his possessions as well, and the money to be paid over. At this the servant fell on his knees before his master, 'Oh, be patient with me!' he cried, 'and I will pay you back every penny!' Then his master was moved with pity for him, set him free and cancelled his debt.
18:28-30 - "But when this same servant had left his master's presence, he found one of his fellow-servants who owed him a few shillings. He grabbed him and seized him by the throat, crying, 'Pay up what you owe me!' At this his fellow-servant fell down at his feet, and implored him, 'Oh, be patient with me, and I will pay you back!' But he refused and went out and had him put in prison until he should repay the debt.
18:31 - When the other fellow-servants saw what had happened, they were horrified and told their master the whole incident.
18:32-35 - Then his master called him in. "'You wicked servant!' he said. 'Didn't I cancel all that debt when you begged me to do so? Oughtn't you to have taken pity on your fellow-servant as I, your master, took pity on you? And his master in anger handed him over to the gaolers till he should repay the whole debt. This is how my Heavenly Father will treat you unless you each forgive your brother from your heart."
The divine principle of marriage
19:1-2 - When Jesus had finished talking on these matters, he left Galilee and went on to the district of Judea on the far side of the Jordan. Vast crowds followed him, and he cured them.
19:3 - Then the Pharisees arrived with a test-question. "Is it right," they asked, "for a man to divorce his wife on any grounds whatever?"
19:4-6 - "Haven't you read," he answered, "that the one who created them from the beginning 'made them male and female' and said: 'For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh'? So they are no longer two separate people but one. No man therefore must separate what God has joined together."
19:7 - "Then why," they retorted, "did Moses command us to give a written divorce-notice and dismiss the woman?"
19:8-9 - "It was because you knew so little of the meaning of love that Moses allowed you to divorce your wives! But that was not the original principle. I tell you that anyone who divorces his wife on any grounds except her unfaithfulness and marries some other woman commits adultery."
19:10 - His disciples said to him, "If that is a man's position with his wife, it is not worth getting married!"
19:11-12 - "It is not everybody who can live up to this," replied Jesus, "- only those who have a special gift. For some are incapable of marriage from birth, some are made incapable by the action of men, and some have made themselves so for the sake of the kingdom of Heaven. Let the man who can accept what I have said accept it."
Jesus welcomes children
19:13-15 - Then some little children were brought to him, so that he could put his hands on them and pray for them. The disciples frowned on the parents' action but Jesus said, "You must let little children come to me, and you must never stop them. The kingdom of Heaven belongs to little children like these!" Then he laid his hands on them and went on his way.
Jesus shows that keeping the commandments is not enough
19:16 - Then it happened that a man came up to him and said, "Master what good thing must I do to secure eternal life?"
19:17 - "I wonder why you ask me about what is good?" Jesus answered him. "Only one is good. But if you want to enter that life you must keep the commandments."
19:18-19 - "Which ones?" he asked. "'You shall not murder,' 'You shall not commit adultery,' 'You shall not steal,' 'You shall not bear false witness,' 'Honour your father and your mother', and 'You shall love your neighbour as yourself'," replied Jesus.
19:20 - "I have carefully kept all these," returned the young man. "What is still missing in my life?"
19:21 - Then Jesus told him, "If you want to be perfect, go now and sell your property and give the money away to the poor - you will have riches in Heaven. Then come and follow me!"
19:22 - When the young man heard that he turned away crestfallen, for he was very wealthy.
19:23-24 - Then Jesus remarked to his disciples, "Believe me, a rich man will find it very difficult to enter the kingdom of Heaven. Yes, I repeat, a camel could more easily squeeze through the eye of a needle than a rich man get into the kingdom of God!"
19:25 - The disciples were simply amazed to hear this, and said, "Then who can possibly be saved?"
19:26 - Jesus looked steadily at them and replied, "Humanly speaking it is impossible; but with God anything is possible!"
Jesus declares that sacrifice for the kingdom will be repaid
19:27 - At this Peter exclaimed, "Look, we have left everything and followed you. What is that going to be worth to us?"
19:28-30 - "Believe me," said Jesus, "when I tell you that in the next world, when the Son of Man shall sit down on his glorious throne, you who have followed me will also sit on twelve thrones and become judges of the twelve tribes of Israel. Every man who has left houses or brothers or sisters or fathers or mother or children or land for my sake will receive it all back many times over, and will inherit eternal life. But many who are first now will be last then - and the last first!
But God's generosity may appear unfair
20:1-7 - "For the kingdom of Heaven is like a farmer going out early in the morning to hire labourers for his vineyard. He agreed with them on a wage of a silver coin a day and sent them to work. About nine o'clock he went and saw some others standing about in the market-place with nothing to do. 'You go to the vineyard too," he said to them, 'and I will pay you a fair wage.' And off they went. At about mid-day and again at about three o'clock in the afternoon he went and did the same thing. Then about five o'clock he went out and found some others standing about. 'Why are you standing about here all day doing nothing?' he asked them. 'Because no one has employed us,' they replied. 'You go off into the vineyard as well, then,' he said.
20:8-12 - "When evening came the owner of the vineyard said to his foreman, 'Call the labourers and pay them their wages, beginning with the last and ending with the first.' So those who were engaged at five o'clock came up and each man received a silver coin. But when the first to be employed came they reckoned they would get more, but they also received a silver coin a man. As they took their money they grumbled at the farmer and said, 'These last fellows have only put in one hour's work and you've treated them exactly the same as us who have gone through all the hard work and heat of the day!'
20:13-15 - "But he replied to one of them, 'My friend, I'm not being unjust to you. Wasn't our agreement for a silver coin a day? Take your money and go home. It is my wish to give the latecomers as much as I give you. May I not do what I like with what belongs to me? Must you be jealous because I am generous?'
20:16 - "So, many who are the last now will be the first then and the first last."
Jesus' final journey to Jerusalem
20:17-19 - Then, as he was about to go up to Jerusalem, Jesus took the twelve disciples aside and spoke to them as they walked along. "Listen, we are now going up to Jerusalem and the Son of Man will be handed over to the chief priests and the scribes - and they will condemn him to death. They will hand him over to the heathen to ridicule and flog and crucify. And on the third day he will rise again!"
20:20 - At this point the mother of the sons of Zebedee arrived with her sons and knelt in front of Jesus to ask him a favour.
20:21 - "What is it you want?" he asked her.
"Please say that these two sons of mine may sit one on each side of you when you are king!" she said.
20:22 - "You don't know what it is you are asking," replied Jesus. "Can you two drink what I have to drink?"
"Yes, we can," they answered.
20:23 - "Ah, you will indeed 'drink my drink'," Jesus told them, "but as for sitting on either side of me, that is not for me to grant - that belongs to those for whom my Father has planned it."
20:24 - When the other ten heard of this incident they were highly indignant with the two brothers.
20:25-28 - But Jesus called them to him and said, "You know that the rulers of the heathen lord it over them and that their great ones have absolute power? But it must not be so among you. No, whoever among you wants to be great must become the servant of you all, and if he wants to be first among you he must be your slave - just as the Son of Man has not come to be served but to serve, and to give his life to set many others free."
He restores sight to two blind men
20:29-31 - A great crowd followed them as they were leaving Jericho, and two blind men who were sitting by the roadside, hearing that it was Jesus who was passing by, cried out, "Have pity on us, Lord, you Son of David!" The crowd tried to hush them up, but this only made them cry out more loudly still, "Have pity on us, Lord, you Son of David!"
20:32 - Jesus stood quite still and called out to them, "What do you want me to do for you?"
20:33 - "Lord, let us see again!"
20:34 - And Jesus, deeply moved with pity, touched their eyes. At once their sight was restored, and they followed him.
to top of page
on to Part 3, Matthew 21-28 OR back to Jesus Words in Red