Now there were some present at that time who told Jesus about the Galileans whose blood Pilate had mixed with their sacrifices.
Jesus answered, "Do you think that these Galileans were worse sinners than all the other Galileans because they suffered this way?
I tell you, no! But unless you repent, you too will all perish.
Or those eighteen who died when the tower in Siloam fell on them--do you think they were more guilty than all the others living in Jerusalem?
I tell you, no! But unless you repent, you too will all perish."
Then he told this parable: "A man had a fig tree, planted in his vineyard, and he went to look for fruit on it, but did not find any.
So he said to the man who took care of the vineyard, `For three years now I've been coming to look for fruit on this fig tree and haven't found any. Cut it down! Why should it use up the soil?'
"`Sir,' the man replied, `leave it alone for one more year, and I'll dig around it and fertilize it.
If it bears fruit next year, fine! If not, then cut it down.'"
On a Sabbath Jesus was teaching in one of the synagogues,
and a woman was there who had been crippled by a spirit for eighteen years. She was bent over and could not straighten up at all.
When Jesus saw her, he called her forward and said to her, "Woman, you are set free from your infirmity."
Then he put his hands on her, and immediately she straightened up and praised God.
Indignant because Jesus had healed on the Sabbath, the synagogue ruler said to the people, "There are six days for work. So come and be healed on those days, not on the Sabbath."
The Lord answered him, "You hypocrites! Doesn't each of you on the Sabbath untie his ox or donkey from the stall and lead it out to give it water?
Then should not this woman, a daughter of Abraham, whom Satan has kept bound for eighteen long years, be set free on the Sabbath day from what bound her?"
When he said this, all his opponents were humiliated, but the people were delighted with all the wonderful things he was doing.
Then Jesus asked, "What is the kingdom of God like? What shall I compare it to?
It is like a mustard seed, which a man took and planted in his garden. It grew and became a tree, and the birds of the air perched in its branches."
Again he asked, "What shall I compare the kingdom of God to?
It is like yeast that a woman took and mixed into a large amount of flour until it worked all through the dough."
Then Jesus went through the towns and villages, teaching as he made his way to Jerusalem.
Someone asked him, "Lord, are only a few people going to be saved?" He said to them,
"Make every effort to enter through the narrow door, because many, I tell you, will try to enter and will not be able to.
Once the owner of the house gets up and closes the door, you will stand outside knocking and pleading, `Sir, open the door for us.' "But he will answer, `I don't know you or where you come from.'
"Then you will say, `We ate and drank with you, and you taught in our streets.'
"But he will reply, `I don't know you or where you come from. Away from me, all you evildoers!'
"There will be weeping there, and gnashing of teeth, when you see Abraham, Isaac and Jacob and all the prophets in the kingdom of God, but you yourselves thrown out.
People will come from east and west and north and south, and will take their places at the feast in the kingdom of God.
Indeed there are those who are last who will be first, and first who will be last."
At that time some Pharisees came to Jesus and said to him, "Leave this place and go somewhere else. Herod wants to kill you."
He replied, "Go tell that fox, `I will drive out demons and heal people today and tomorrow, and on the third day I will reach my goal.'
In any case, I must keep going today and tomorrow and the next day--for surely no prophet can die outside Jerusalem!
"O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you, how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing!
Look, your house is left to you desolate. I tell you, you will not see me again until you say, `Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.' "
One Sabbath, when Jesus went to eat in the house of a prominent Pharisee, he was being carefully watched.
There in front of him was a man suffering from dropsy.
Jesus asked the Pharisees and experts in the law, "Is it lawful to heal on the Sabbath or not?"
But they remained silent. So taking hold of the man, he healed him and sent him away.
Then he asked them, "If one of you has a son or an ox that falls into a well on the Sabbath day, will you not immediately pull him out?"
And they had nothing to say.
When he noticed how the guests picked the places of honor at the table, he told them this parable:
"When someone invites you to a wedding feast, do not take the place of honor, for a person more distinguished than you may have been invited.
If so, the host who invited both of you will come and say to you, `Give this man your seat.' Then, humiliated, you will have to take the least important place.
But when you are invited, take the lowest place, so that when your host comes, he will say to you, `Friend, move up to a better place.' Then you will be honored in the presence of all your fellow guests.
For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted."
Then Jesus said to his host, "When you give a luncheon or dinner, do not invite your friends, your brothers or relatives, or your rich neighbors; if you do, they may invite you back and so you will be repaid.
But when you give a banquet, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind,
and you will be blessed. Although they cannot repay you, you will be repaid at the resurrection of the righteous."
When one of those at the table with him heard this, he said to Jesus, "Blessed is the man who will eat at the feast in the kingdom of God."
Jesus replied: "A certain man was preparing a great banquet and invited many guests.
At the time of the banquet he sent his servant to tell those who had been invited, `Come, for everything is now ready.'
"But they all alike began to make excuses. The first said, `I have just bought a field, and I must go and see it. Please excuse me.'
"Another said, `I have just bought five yoke of oxen, and I'm on my way to try them out. Please excuse me.'
"Still another said, `I just got married, so I can't come.'
"The servant came back and reported this to his master. Then the owner of the house became angry and ordered his servant, `Go out quickly into the streets and alleys of the town and bring in the poor, the crippled, the blind and the lame.'
"`Sir,' the servant said, `what you ordered has been done, but there is still room.'
"Then the master told his servant, `Go out to the roads and country lanes and make them come in, so that my house will be full.
I tell you, not one of those men who were invited will get a taste of my banquet.'"
Large crowds were traveling with Jesus, and turning to them he said:
"If anyone comes to me and does not hate his father and mother, his wife and children, his brothers and sisters--yes, even his own life--he cannot be my disciple.
And anyone who does not carry his cross and follow me cannot be my disciple.
"Suppose one of you wants to build a tower. Will he not first sit down and estimate the cost to see if he has enough money to complete it?
For if he lays the foundation and is not able to finish it, everyone who sees it will ridicule him,
saying, `This fellow began to build and was not able to finish.'
"Or suppose a king is about to go to war against another king. Will he not first sit down and consider whether he is able with ten thousand men to oppose the one coming against him with twenty thousand?
If he is not able, he will send a delegation while the other is still a long way off and will ask for terms of peace.
In the same way, any of you who does not give up everything he has cannot be my disciple.
"Salt is good, but if it loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again?
It is fit neither for the soil nor for the manure pile; it is thrown out. "He who has ears to hear, let him hear."
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.