One day Jesus was praying in a certain place. When he finished, one of his disciples said to him, "Lord, teach us to pray, just as John taught his disciples."
He said to them, "When you pray, say: "`Father, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come.
Give us each day our daily bread.
Forgive us our sins, for we also forgive everyone who sins against us. And lead us not into temptation. '"
Then he said to them, "Suppose one of you has a friend, and he goes to him at midnight and says, `Friend, lend me three loaves of bread,
because a friend of mine on a journey has come to me, and I have nothing to set before him.'
"Then the one inside answers, `Don't bother me. The door is already locked, and my children are with me in bed. I can't get up and give you anything.'
I tell you, though he will not get up and give him the bread because he is his friend, yet because of the man's boldness he will get up and give him as much as he needs.
"So I say to you: Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.
For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened.
"Which of you fathers, if your son asks for a fish, will give him a snake instead?
Or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion?
If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!"
Jesus was driving out a demon that was mute. When the demon left, the man who had been mute spoke, and the crowd was amazed.
But some of them said, "By Beelzebub, the prince of demons, he is driving out demons."
Others tested him by asking for a sign from heaven.
Jesus knew their thoughts and said to them: "Any kingdom divided against itself will be ruined, and a house divided against itself will fall.
If Satan is divided against himself, how can his kingdom stand? I say this because you claim that I drive out demons by Beelzebub.
Now if I drive out demons by Beelzebub, by whom do your followers drive them out? So then, they will be your judges.
But if I drive out demons by the finger of God, then the kingdom of God has come to you.
"When a strong man, fully armed, guards his own house, his possessions are safe.
But when someone stronger attacks and overpowers him, he takes away the armor in which the man trusted and divides up the spoils.
"He who is not with me is against me, and he who does not gather with me, scatters.
"When an evil spirit comes out of a man, it goes through arid places seeking rest and does not find it. Then it says, `I will return to the house I left.'
When it arrives, it finds the house swept clean and put in order.
Then it goes and takes seven other spirits more wicked than itself, and they go in and live there. And the final condition of that man is worse than the first."
As Jesus was saying these things, a woman in the crowd called out, "Blessed is the mother who gave you birth and nursed you."
He replied, "Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and obey it."
As the crowds increased, Jesus said, "This is a wicked generation. It asks for a miraculous sign, but none will be given it except the sign of Jonah.
For as Jonah was a sign to the Ninevites, so also will the Son of Man be to this generation.
The Queen of the South will rise at the judgment with the men of this generation and condemn them; for she came from the ends of the earth to listen to Solomon's wisdom, and now one greater than Solomon is here.
The men of Nineveh will stand up at the judgment with this generation and condemn it; for they repented at the preaching of Jonah, and now one greater than Jonah is here.
"No one lights a lamp and puts it in a place where it will be hidden, or under a bowl. Instead he puts it on its stand, so that those who come in may see the light.
Your eye is the lamp of your body. When your eyes are good, your whole body also is full of light. But when they are bad, your body also is full of darkness.
See to it, then, that the light within you is not darkness.
Therefore, if your whole body is full of light, and no part of it dark, it will be completely lighted, as when the light of a lamp shines on you."
When Jesus had finished speaking, a Pharisee invited him to eat with him; so he went in and reclined at the table.
But the Pharisee, noticing that Jesus did not first wash before the meal, was surprised.
Then the Lord said to him, "Now then, you Pharisees clean the outside of the cup and dish, but inside you are full of greed and wickedness.
You foolish people! Did not the one who made the outside make the inside also?
But give what is inside [the dish] to the poor, and everything will be clean for you.
"Woe to you Pharisees, because you give God a tenth of your mint, rue and all other kinds of garden herbs, but you neglect justice and the love of God. You should have practiced the latter without leaving the former undone.
"Woe to you Pharisees, because you love the most important seats in the synagogues and greetings in the marketplaces.
"Woe to you, because you are like unmarked graves, which men walk over without knowing it."
One of the experts in the law answered him, "Teacher, when you say these things, you insult us also."
Jesus replied, "And you experts in the law, woe to you, because you load people down with burdens they can hardly carry, and you yourselves will not lift one finger to help them.
"Woe to you, because you build tombs for the prophets, and it was your forefathers who killed them.
So you testify that you approve of what your forefathers did; they killed the prophets, and you build their tombs.
Because of this, God in his wisdom said, `I will send them prophets and apostles, some of whom they will kill and others they will persecute.'
Therefore this generation will be held responsible for the blood of all the prophets that has been shed since the beginning of the world,
from the blood of Abel to the blood of Zechariah, who was killed between the altar and the sanctuary. Yes, I tell you, this generation will be held responsible for it all.
"Woe to you experts in the law, because you have taken away the key to knowledge. You yourselves have not entered, and you have hindered those who were entering."
When Jesus left there, the Pharisees and the teachers of the law began to oppose him fiercely and to besiege him with questions,
waiting to catch him in something he might say.
Meanwhile, when a crowd of many thousands had gathered, so that they were trampling on one another, Jesus began to speak first to his disciples, saying: "Be on your guard against the yeast of the Pharisees, which is hypocrisy.
There is nothing concealed that will not be disclosed, or hidden that will not be made known.
What you have said in the dark will be heard in the daylight, and what you have whispered in the ear in the inner rooms will be proclaimed from the roofs.
"I tell you, my friends, do not be afraid of those who kill the body and after that can do no more.
But I will show you whom you should fear: Fear him who, after the killing of the body, has power to throw you into hell. Yes, I tell you, fear him.
Are not five sparrows sold for two pennies ? Yet not one of them is forgotten by God.
Indeed, the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Don't be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.
"I tell you, whoever acknowledges me before men, the Son of Man will also acknowledge him before the angels of God.
But he who disowns me before men will be disowned before the angels of God.
And everyone who speaks a word against the Son of Man will be forgiven, but anyone who blasphemes against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven.
"When you are brought before synagogues, rulers and authorities, do not worry about how you will defend yourselves or what you will say,
for the Holy Spirit will teach you at that time what you should say."
Someone in the crowd said to him, "Teacher, tell my brother to divide the inheritance with me."
Jesus replied, "Man, who appointed me a judge or an arbiter between you?"
Then he said to them, "Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; a man's life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions."
And he told them this parable: "The ground of a certain rich man produced a good crop.
He thought to himself, `What shall I do? I have no place to store my crops.'
"Then he said, `This is what I'll do. I will tear down my barns and build bigger ones, and there I will store all my grain and my goods.
And I'll say to myself, "You have plenty of good things laid up for many years. Take life easy; eat, drink and be merry."'
"But God said to him, `You fool! This very night your life will be demanded from you. Then who will get what you have prepared for yourself?'
"This is how it will be with anyone who stores up things for himself but is not rich toward God."
Then Jesus said to his disciples: "Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat; or about your body, what you will wear.
Life is more than food, and the body more than clothes.
Consider the ravens: They do not sow or reap, they have no storeroom or barn; yet God feeds them. And how much more valuable you are than birds!
Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life ?
Since you cannot do this very little thing, why do you worry about the rest?
"Consider how the lilies grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you, not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these.
If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today, and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, how much more will he clothe you, O you of little faith!
And do not set your heart on what you will eat or drink; do not worry about it.
For the pagan world runs after all such things, and your Father knows that you need them.
But seek his kingdom, and these things will be given to you as well.
"Do not be afraid, little flock, for your Father has been pleased to give you the kingdom.
Sell your possessions and give to the poor. Provide purses for yourselves that will not wear out, a treasure in heaven that will not be exhausted, where no thief comes near and no moth destroys.
For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
"Be dressed ready for service and keep your lamps burning,
like men waiting for their master to return from a wedding banquet, so that when he comes and knocks they can immediately open the door for him.
It will be good for those servants whose master finds them watching when he comes. I tell you the truth, he will dress himself to serve, will have them recline at the table and will come and wait on them.
It will be good for those servants whose master finds them ready, even if he comes in the second or third watch of the night.
But understand this: If the owner of the house had known at what hour the thief was coming, he would not have let his house be broken into.
You also must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him."
Peter asked, "Lord, are you telling this parable to us, or to everyone?"
The Lord answered, "Who then is the faithful and wise manager, whom the master puts in charge of his servants to give them their food allowance at the proper time?
It will be good for that servant whom the master finds doing so when he returns.
I tell you the truth, he will put him in charge of all his possessions.
But suppose the servant says to himself, `My master is taking a long time in coming,' and he then begins to beat the menservants and maidservants and to eat and drink and get drunk.
The master of that servant will come on a day when he does not expect him and at an hour he is not aware of. He will cut him to pieces and assign him a place with the unbelievers.
"That servant who knows his master's will and does not get ready or does not do what his master wants will be beaten with many blows.
But the one who does not know and does things deserving punishment will be beaten with few blows. From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked.
"I have come to bring fire on the earth, and how I wish it were already kindled!
But I have a baptism to undergo, and how distressed I am until it is completed!
Do you think I came to bring peace on earth? No, I tell you, but division.
From now on there will be five in one family divided against each other, three against two and two against three.
They will be divided, 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."
He said to the crowd: "When you see a cloud rising in the west, immediately you say, `It's going to rain,' and it does.
And when the south wind blows, you say, `It's going to be hot,' and it is.
Hypocrites! You know how to interpret the appearance of the earth and the sky. How is it that you don't know how to interpret this present time?
"Why don't you judge for yourselves what is right?
As you are going with your adversary to the magistrate, try hard to be reconciled to him on the way, or he may drag you off to the judge, and the judge turn you over to the officer, and the officer throw you into prison.
I tell you, you will not get out until you have paid the last penny. "
Scripture taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION. NIV. Copyright 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan Publishing House. All rights reserved.