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Further Warnings

12 Crowds were gathering in their thousands, so much so that they were trampling on each other. Jesus began to say to his disciples, ‘Watch out for the leaven of the Pharisees – I mean, their hypocrisy. This is a matter of first importance.

‘Nothing is concealed that won’t be uncovered; nothing is hidden that won’t be made known. So whatever you say in the darkness will be heard in the light, and whatever you speak indoors into someone’s ear will be proclaimed from the housetops.

‘So, my friends, I have this to say to you: don’t be afraid of those who kill the body, and after that have nothing more they can do. I will show you who to fear: fear the one who starts by killing and then has the right to throw people into Gehenna. Yes, let me tell you, that’s the one to fear!

‘How much do five sparrows cost? Two copper coins? And not one of them is forgotten in God’s presence. But the hairs of your head have all been counted. Don’t be afraid! You are worth more than lots of sparrows.

‘Let me tell you: if anyone acknowledges me before others, the son of man will acknowledge that person before God’s angels. But if anyone denies me before others, that person will be denied before God’s angels.

10 ‘Everyone who speaks a word against the son of man will have it forgiven; but the one who blasphemes against the holy spirit will not be forgiven.

11 ‘When they bring you before synagogues, rulers and authorities, don’t worry about how to give an answer or what to say. 12 The holy spirit will teach you what to say at that very moment.’

The Parable of the Rich Fool

13 Someone from the crowd said to Jesus, ‘Teacher, tell my brother to divide the inheritance with me!’

14 ‘Tell me, my good man,’ replied Jesus, ‘who appointed me as a judge or arbitrator over you?

15 ‘Watch out,’ he said to them, ‘and beware of all greed! Your life doesn’t consist of the sum total of your possessions.’

16 He told them a parable. ‘There was a rich man whose land produced a fine harvest. 17 “What shall I do?” he said to himself. “I don’t have enough room to store my crops!

18 ‘ “I know!” he said. “I’ll pull down my barns – and I’ll build bigger ones! Then I’ll be able to store all the corn and all my belongings there. 19 And I shall say to my soul, Soul, you’ve got many good things stored up for many years. Take it easy! Eat, drink, have a good time!”

20 ‘But God said to him, “Fool! This very night your soul will be demanded of you! Now who’s going to have all the things you’ve got ready?” 21 That’s how it is with someone who stores up things for himself and isn’t rich before God.

22 ‘So let me tell you this,’ he said to the disciples. ‘Don’t be anxious about your life – what you should eat; or about your body – what you should wear. 23 Life is more than food! The body is more than clothing! 24 Think about the ravens: they don’t sow seed, they don’t gather harvests, they don’t have storehouses or barns; and God feeds them. How much more will he feed you! Think of the difference between yourselves and the birds!

25 ‘Which of you by being anxious can add a day to your lifetime? 26 So if you can’t even do a little thing like that, why worry about anything else? 27 Think about the lilies and the way they grow. They don’t work hard, they don’t weave cloth; but, let me tell you, not even Solomon in all his glory was dressed up like one of them. 28 So if that’s how God clothes the grass in the field – here today, into the fire tomorrow – how much more will he clothe you, you little-faith lot!

29 ‘So don’t you go hunting about for what to eat or what to drink, and don’t be anxious. 30 The nations of the world go searching for all that stuff, and your father knows you need it. 31 This is what you should search for: God’s kingdom! Then all the rest will be given you as well. 32 Don’t be afraid, little flock. Your father is delighted to give you the kingdom.

33 ‘Sell your possessions and give alms. Make yourselves purses that don’t wear out, a treasure in heaven that lasts for ever, where the thief doesn’t come near and the moth doesn’t destroy. 34 Yes: where your treasure is, there your heart will be too.’

Jesus’ Call to Watchfulness

35 ‘Make sure you’re dressed and ready with your lamps alight,’ said Jesus. 36 ‘You need to be like people waiting for their master when he comes back from the wedding-feast, so that when he comes and knocks they will be able to open the door for him at once. 37 A blessing on the servants whom the master finds awake when he comes! I’m telling you the truth: he will put on an apron and sit them down and come and wait on them. 38 A blessing on them if he comes in the second watch of the night, or even the third, and finds them like that!

39 ‘But you should know this: if the householder had known what time the thief was coming, he wouldn’t have let his house be broken into. 40 You too should be ready, because the son of man is coming at a time you don’t expect.’

41 ‘Master,’ said Peter, ‘are you telling this parable for us, or for everyone?’

42 ‘Who then is the faithful and wise servant,’ said Jesus, ‘whom the master will set over all his household, to give them their allowance of food at the proper time? 43 A blessing on the servant that his master, when he comes, finds doing just that! 44 I’m telling you truly, he will install him as manager over all his possessions. 45 But if that servant says in his heart, “My master is taking his time over coming back,” and begins to beat the slaves and slave-girls, to eat and drink and get drunk – 46 then the master of that servant will come on a day he doesn’t expect him to, and at a moment he didn’t imagine, and he will cut him in two. He will give him the same place as the unbelievers.

47 ‘If a servant knew what the master wanted, and didn’t get ready, or do what was wanted, the punishment will be a severe beating. 48 If the servant didn’t know, and did what deserved a beating, it will be a light beating. Much will be required from one who is given much; if someone is entrusted with much, even more will be expected in return.’

Reading the Signs of the Times

49 ‘I came to throw fire upon the earth,’ Jesus continued, ‘and I wish it were already alight! 50 I have a baptism to be baptized with, and I am under huge pressure until it’s happened!

51 ‘Do you suppose I’ve come to give peace to the earth? No, let me tell you, but rather division. 52 From now on, you see, families will be split down the middle: three against two in a family of five, and two against three, 53 father against son and son against father, mother against daughter and daughter against mother, mother-in-law against daughter-in-law and daughter-in-law against mother-in-law.

54 ‘When you see a cloud rising in the west,’ he said to the crowds, ‘you say at once, “It’s going to rain,” and rain it does. 55 When you see the south wind getting up, you say, “It’s going to be very hot,” and that’s what happens. 56 You impostors! You know how to work out what the earth and the sky are telling you; why can’t you work out what’s going on at this very moment?

57 ‘Why don’t you judge for yourselves what you ought to do? 58 When you go with your accuser before a magistrate, do your best to reach a settlement with him. Otherwise he may drag you in front of the judge, and the judge will hand you over to the officer, and the officer will throw you into jail. 59 Let me tell you, you won’t get out from there until you have paid the last coin.’

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