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Saturday, June 2, 2018
The Gospels & Early History
II Kings 1-5
Now the tax collectors and "sinners" were all gathering around to hear him.
But the Pharisees and the teachers of the law muttered, "This man welcomes sinners and eats with them."
Then Jesus told them this parable:
"Suppose one of you has a hundred sheep and loses one of them. Does he not leave the ninety-nine in the open country and go after the lost sheep until he finds it?
And when he finds it, he joyfully puts it on his shoulders
and goes home. Then he calls his friends and neighbors together and says, `Rejoice with me; I have found my lost sheep.'
I tell you that in the same way there will be more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who do not need to repent.
"Or suppose a woman has ten silver coins and loses one. Does she not light a lamp, sweep the house and search carefully until she finds it?
And when she finds it, she calls her friends and neighbors together and says, `Rejoice with me; I have found my lost coin.'
In the same way, I tell you, there is rejoicing in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents."
Jesus continued: "There was a man who had two sons.
The younger one said to his father, `Father, give me my share of the estate.' So he divided his property between them.
"Not long after that, the younger son got together all he had, set off for a distant country and there squandered his wealth in wild living.
After he had spent everything, there was a severe famine in that whole country, and he began to be in need.
So he went and hired himself out to a citizen of that country, who sent him to his fields to feed pigs.
He longed to fill his stomach with the pods that the pigs were eating, but no one gave him anything.
"When he came to his senses, he said, `How many of my father's hired men have food to spare, and here I am starving to death!
I will set out and go back to my father and say to him: Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you.
I am no longer worthy to be called your son; make me like one of your hired men.'
So he got up and went to his father. "But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him.
"The son said to him, `Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son. '
"But the father said to his servants, `Quick! Bring the best robe and put it on him. Put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet.
Bring the fattened calf and kill it. Let's have a feast and celebrate.
For this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.' So they began to celebrate.
"Meanwhile, the older son was in the field. When he came near the house, he heard music and dancing.
So he called one of the servants and asked him what was going on.
`Your brother has come,' he replied, `and your father has killed the fattened calf because he has him back safe and sound.'
"The older brother became angry and refused to go in. So his father went out and pleaded with him.
But he answered his father, `Look! All these years I've been slaving for you and never disobeyed your orders. Yet you never gave me even a young goat so I could celebrate with my friends.
But when this son of yours who has squandered your property with prostitutes comes home, you kill the fattened calf for him!'
"`My son,' the father said, `you are always with me, and everything I have is yours.
But we had to celebrate and be glad, because this brother of yours was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.'"
Jesus told his disciples: "There was a rich man whose manager was accused of wasting his possessions.
So he called him in and asked him, `What is this I hear about you? Give an account of your management, because you cannot be manager any longer.'
"The manager said to himself, `What shall I do now? My master is taking away my job. I'm not strong enough to dig, and I'm ashamed to beg--
I know what I'll do so that, when I lose my job here, people will welcome me into their houses.'
"So he called in each one of his master's debtors. He asked the first, `How much do you owe my master?'
"`Eight hundred gallons of olive oil,' he replied. "The manager told him, `Take your bill, sit down quickly, and make it four hundred.'
"Then he asked the second, `And how much do you owe?' "`A thousand bushels of wheat,' he replied. "He told him, `Take your bill and make it eight hundred.'
"The master commended the dishonest manager because he had acted shrewdly. For the people of this world are more shrewd in dealing with their own kind than are the people of the light.
I tell you, use worldly wealth to gain friends for yourselves, so that when it is gone, you will be welcomed into eternal dwellings.
"Whoever can be trusted with very little can also be trusted with much, and whoever is dishonest with very little will also be dishonest with much.
So if you have not been trustworthy in handling worldly wealth, who will trust you with true riches?
And if you have not been trustworthy with someone else's property, who will give you property of your own?
"No servant can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and Money."
The Pharisees, who loved money, heard all this and were sneering at Jesus.
He said to them, "You are the ones who justify yourselves in the eyes of men, but God knows your hearts. What is highly valued among men is detestable in God's sight.
"The Law and the Prophets were proclaimed until John. Since that time, the good news of the kingdom of God is being preached, and everyone is forcing his way into it.
It is easier for heaven and earth to disappear than for the least stroke of a pen to drop out of the Law.
"Anyone who divorces his wife and marries another woman commits adultery, and the man who marries a divorced woman commits adultery.
"There was a rich man who was dressed in purple and fine linen and lived in luxury every day.
At his gate was laid a beggar named Lazarus, covered with sores
and longing to eat what fell from the rich man's table. Even the dogs came and licked his sores.
"The time came when the beggar died and the angels carried him to Abraham's side. The rich man also died and was buried.
In hell, where he was in torment, he looked up and saw Abraham far away, with Lazarus by his side.
So he called to him, `Father Abraham, have pity on me and send Lazarus to dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue, because I am in agony in this fire.'
"But Abraham replied, `Son, remember that in your lifetime you received your good things, while Lazarus received bad things, but now he is comforted here and you are in agony.
And besides all this, between us and you a great chasm has been fixed, so that those who want to go from here to you cannot, nor can anyone cross over from there to us.'
"He answered, `Then I beg you, father, send Lazarus to my father's house,
for I have five brothers. Let him warn them, so that they will not also come to this place of torment.'
"Abraham replied, `They have Moses and the Prophets; let them listen to them.'
"`No, father Abraham,' he said, `but if someone from the dead goes to them, they will repent.'
"He said to him, `If they do not listen to Moses and the Prophets, they will not be convinced even if someone rises from the dead.'"
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.
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