When Jesus had finished giving instructions to His twelve disciples, He departed from there to teach and preach in their cities.
Now when John, while imprisoned, heard of the works of Christ, he sent word by his disciples
and said to Him, "Are You the Expected One, or shall we look for someone else?'
Jesus answered and said to them, "Go and report to John what you hear and see:
the BLIND RECEIVE SIGHT and the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed and the deaf hear, the dead are raised up, and the POOR HAVE THE GOSPEL PREACHED TO THEM.
"And blessed is he who does not take offense at Me.'
As these men were going away, Jesus began to speak to the crowds about John, "What did you go out into the wilderness to see? A reed shaken by the wind?
" But what did you go out to see? A man dressed in soft clothing? Those who wear soft clothing are in kings' palaces!
" But what did you go out to see? A prophet? Yes, I tell you, and one who is more than a prophet.
"This is the one about whom it is written, " BEHOLD, I SEND MY MESSENGER AHEAD OF YOU, WHO WILL PREPARE YOUR WAY BEFORE YOU.'
"Truly I say to you, among those born of women there has not arisen anyone greater than John the Baptist! Yet the one who is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he.
" From the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven suffers violence, and violent men take it by force.
"For all the prophets and the Law prophesied until John.
"And if you are willing to accept it, John himself is Elijah who was to come.
" He who has ears to hear, let him hear.
"But to what shall I compare this generation? It is like children sitting in the market places, who call out to the other children,
and say, "We played the flute for you, and you did not dance; we sang a dirge, and you did not mourn.'
"For John came neither eating nor drinking, and they say, " He has a demon!'
"The Son of Man came eating and drinking, and they say, "Behold, a gluttonous man and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners!' Yet wisdom is vindicated by her deeds.'
Then He began to denounce the cities in which most of His miracles were done, because they did not repent.
" Woe to you, Chorazin! Woe to you, Bethsaida! For if the miracles had occurred in Tyre and Sidon which occurred in you, they would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes.
"Nevertheless I say to you, it will be more tolerable for Tyre and Sidon in the day of judgment than for you.
"And you, Capernaum, will not be exalted to heaven, will you? You will descend to Hades; for if the miracles had occurred in Sodom which occurred in you, it would have remained to this day.
"Nevertheless I say to you that it will be more tolerable for the land of Sodom in the day of judgment, than for you.'
At that time Jesus said, "I praise You, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that You have hidden these things from the wise and intelligent and have revealed them to infants.
"Yes, Father, for this way was well-pleasing in Your sight.
" All things have been handed over to Me by My Father; and no one knows the Son except the Father; nor does anyone know the Father except the Son, and anyone to whom the Son wills to reveal Him.
" Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest.
"Take My yoke upon you 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.' 12
At that time Jesus went through the grainfields on the Sabbath, and His disciples became hungry and began to pick the heads of grain and eat.
But when the Pharisees saw this, they said to Him, "Look, Your disciples do what is not lawful to do on a Sabbath.'
But He said to them, "Have you not read what David did when he became hungry, he and his companions,
how he entered the house of God, and they ate the consecrated bread, which was not lawful for him to eat nor for those with him, but for the priests alone?
"Or have you not read in the Law, that on the Sabbath the priests in the temple break the Sabbath and are innocent?
"But I say to you that something greater than the temple is here.
"But if you had known what this means, " I DESIRE COMPASSION, AND NOT A SACRIFICE,' you would not have condemned the innocent.
"For the Son of Man is Lord of the Sabbath.'
Departing from there, He went into their synagogue.
And a man was there whose hand was withered. And they questioned Jesus, asking, " Is it lawful to heal on the Sabbath?'so that they might accuse Him.
And He said to them, " What man is there among you who has a sheep, and if it falls into a pit on the Sabbath, will he not take hold of it and lift it out?
" How much more valuable then is a man than a sheep! So then, it is lawful to do good on the Sabbath.'
Then He said to the man, "Stretch out your hand!' He stretched it out, and it was restored to normal, like the other.
But the Pharisees went out and conspired against Him, as to how they might destroy Him.
But Jesus, aware of this, withdrew from there. Many followed Him, and He healed them all,
and warned them not to tell who He was.
This was to fulfill what was spoken through Isaiah the prophet:
" 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 SHALL PROCLAIM JUSTICE TO THE GENTILES.
" HE WILL NOT QUARREL, NOR CRY OUT; NOR WILL ANYONE HEAR HIS VOICE IN THE STREETS.
" A BATTERED REED HE WILL NOT BREAK OFF, AND A SMOLDERING WICK HE WILL NOT PUT OUT, UNTIL HE LEADS JUSTICE TO VICTORY.
" AND IN HIS NAME THE GENTILES WILL HOPE.'
Then a demon-possessed man who was blind and mute was brought to Jesus, and He healed him, so that the mute man spoke and saw.
All the crowds were amazed, and were saying, "This man cannot be the Son of David, can he?'
But when the Pharisees heard this, they said, "This man casts out demons only by Beelzebul the ruler of the demons.'
And knowing their thoughts Jesus said to them, " Any kingdom divided against itself is laid waste; and any city or house divided against itself will not stand.
"If Satan casts out Satan, he is divided against himself; how then will his kingdom stand?
"If I by Beelzebul cast out demons, by whom do your sons cast them out? For this reason they will be your judges.
"But if I cast out demons by the Spirit of God, then the kingdom of God has come upon you.
"Or how can anyone enter the strong man's house and carry off his property, unless he first binds the strong man? And then he will plunder his house.
" He who is not with Me is against Me; and he who does not gather with Me scatters.
" Therefore I say to you, any sin and blasphemy shall be forgiven people, but blasphemy against the Spirit shall not be forgiven.
" Whoever speaks a word against the Son of Man, it shall be forgiven him; but whoever speaks against the Holy Spirit, it shall not be forgiven him, either in this age or in the age to come.
"Either make the tree good and its fruit good, or make the tree bad and its fruit bad; for the tree is known by its fruit.
" You brood of vipers, how can you, being evil, speak what is good? For the mouth speaks out of that which fills the heart.
" The good man brings out of his good treasure what is good; and the evil man brings out of his evil treasure what is evil.
"But I tell you that every careless word that people speak, they shall give an accounting for it in the day of judgment.
"For by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned.'
Then some of the scribes and Pharisees said to Him, "Teacher, we want to see a sign from You.'
But He answered and said to them, " An evil and adulterous generation craves for a sign; and yet no sign will be given to it but the sign of Jonah the prophet;
for just as JONAH WAS THREE DAYS AND THREE NIGHTS IN THE BELLY OF THE SEA MONSTER, so will the Son of Man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.
" The men of Nineveh will stand up with this generation at the judgment, and will condemn it because they repented at the preaching of Jonah; and behold, something greater than Jonah is here.
" The Queen of the South will rise up with this generation at the judgment and will condemn it, because she came from the ends of the earth to hear the wisdom of Solomon; and behold, something greater than Solomon is here.
" Now when the unclean spirit goes out of a man, it passes through waterless places seeking rest, and does not find it.
"Then it says, "I will return to my house from which I came'; and when it comes, it finds it unoccupied, swept, and put in order.
"Then it goes and takes along with it seven other spirits more wicked than itself, and they go in and live there; and the last state of that man becomes worse than the first. That is the way it will also be with this evil generation.'
While He was still speaking to the crowds, behold, His mother and brothers were standing outside, seeking to speak to Him.
Someone said to Him, "Behold, Your mother and Your brothers are standing outside seeking to speak to You.'
But Jesus answered the one who was telling Him and said, "Who is My mother and who are My brothers?'
And stretching out His hand toward His disciples, He said, "Behold My mother and My brothers!
"For whoever does the will of My Father who is in heaven, he is My brother and sister and mother.' 13
That day Jesus went out of the house and was sitting by the sea.
And large crowds gathered to Him, so He got into a boat and sat down, and the whole crowd was standing on the beach.
And He spoke many things to them in parables, saying, "Behold, the sower went out to sow;
and as he sowed, some seeds fell beside the road, and the birds came and ate them up.
"Others fell on the rocky places, where they did not have much soil; and immediately they sprang up, because they had no depth of soil.
"But when the sun had risen, they were scorched; and because they had no root, they withered away.
"Others fell among the thorns, and the thorns came up and choked them out.
"And others fell on the good soil and yielded a crop, some a hundredfold, some sixty, and some thirty.
" He who has ears, let him hear.'
And the disciples came and said to Him, "Why do You speak to them in parables?'
Jesus answered them, " To you it has been granted to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it has not been granted.
" For whoever has, to him more shall be given, and he will have an abundance; but whoever does not have, even what he has shall be taken away from him.
"Therefore I speak to them in parables; because while seeing they do not see, and while hearing they do not hear, nor do they understand.
" In their case the prophecy of Isaiah is being fulfilled, which says, " YOU WILL KEEP ON HEARING, BUT WILL NOT UNDERSTAND; YOU WILL KEEP ON SEEING, BUT WILL NOT PERCEIVE;
FOR THE HEART OF THIS PEOPLE HAS BECOME DULL, WITH THEIR EARS THEY SCARCELY HEAR, AND THEY HAVE CLOSED THEIR EYES, OTHERWISE THEY WOULD SEE WITH THEIR EYES, HEAR WITH THEIR EARS, AND UNDERSTAND WITH THEIR HEART AND RETURN, AND I WOULD HEAL THEM.'
" But blessed are your eyes, because they see; and your ears, because they hear.
"For truly I say to you that many prophets and righteous men desired to see what you see, and did not see it, and to hear what you hear, and did not hear it.
" Hear then the parable of the sower.
"When anyone hears the word of the kingdom and does not understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away what has been sown in his heart. This is the one on whom seed was sown beside the road.
"The one on whom seed was sown on the rocky places, this is the man who hears the word and immediately receives it with joy;
yet he has no firm root in himself, but is only temporary, and when affliction or persecution arises because of the word, immediately he falls away.
"And the one on whom seed was sown among the thorns, this is the man who hears the word, and the worry of the world and the deceitfulness of wealth choke the word, and it becomes unfruitful.
"And the one on whom seed was sown on the good soil, this is the man who hears the word and understands it; who indeed bears fruit and brings forth, some a hundredfold, some sixty, and some thirty.'
Jesus presented another parable to them, saying, " The kingdom of heaven may be compared to a man who sowed good seed in his field.
"But while his men were sleeping, his enemy came and sowed tares among the wheat, and went away.
"But when the wheat sprouted and bore grain, then the tares became evident also.
"The slaves of the landowner came and said to him, "Sir, did you not sow good seed in your field? How then does it have tares?'
"And he said to them, "An enemy has done this!' The slaves said to him, "Do you want us, then, to go and gather them up?'
"But he said, "No; for while you are gathering up the tares, you may uproot the wheat with them.
"Allow both to grow together until the harvest; and in the time of the harvest I will say to the reapers, "First gather up the tares and bind them in bundles to burn them up; but gather the wheat into my barn.'
He presented another parable to them, saying, " The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed, which a man took and sowed in his field;
and this is smaller than all other seeds, but when it is full grown, it is larger than the garden plants and becomes a tree, so that THE BIRDS OF THE AIR come and NEST IN ITS BRANCHES.'
He spoke another parable to them, " The kingdom of heaven is like leaven, which a woman took and hid in three pecks of flour until it was all leavened.'
All these things Jesus spoke to the crowds in parables, and He did not speak to them without a parable.
This was to fulfill what was spoken through the prophet: " I WILL OPEN MY MOUTH IN PARABLES; I WILL UTTER THINGS HIDDEN SINCE THE FOUNDATION OF THE WORLD.'
Then He left the crowds and went into the house. And His disciples came to Him and said, " Explain to us the parable of the tares of the field.'
And He said, "The one who sows the good seed is the Son of Man,
and the field is the world; and as for the good seed, these are the sons of the kingdom; and the tares are the sons of the evil one;
and the enemy who sowed them is the devil, and the harvest is the end of the age; and the reapers are angels.
"So just as the tares are gathered up and burned with fire, so shall it be at the end of the age.
" The Son of Man will send forth His angels, and they will gather out of His kingdom all stumbling blocks, and those who commit lawlessness,
and will throw them into the furnace of fire; in that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.
" Then THE RIGHTEOUS WILL SHINE FORTH AS THE SUN in the kingdom of their Father. He who has ears, let him hear.
" The kingdom of heaven is like a treasure hidden in the field, which a man found and hid again; and from joy over it he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field.
"Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant seeking fine pearls,
and upon finding one pearl of great value, he went and sold all that he had and bought it.
"Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a dragnet cast into the sea, and gathering fish of every kind;
and when it was filled, they drew it up on the beach; and they sat down and gathered the good fish into containers, but the bad they threw away.
"So it will be at the end of the age; the angels will come forth and take out the wicked from among the righteous,
and will throw them into the furnace of fire; in that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.
"Have you understood all these things?' They said to Him, "Yes.'
And Jesus said to them, "Therefore every scribe who has become a disciple of the kingdom of heaven is like a head of a household, who brings out of his treasure things new and old.'
When Jesus had finished these parables, He departed from there.
He came to His hometown and began teaching them in their synagogue, so that they were astonished, and said, "Where did this man get this wisdom and these miraculous powers?
"Is not this the carpenter's son? Is not His mother called Mary, and His brothers, James and Joseph and Simon and Judas?
"And His sisters, are they not all with us? Where then did this man get all these things?'
And they took offense at Him. But Jesus said to them, " A prophet is not without honor except in his hometown and in his own household.'
And He did not do many miracles there because of their unbelief. 14