God Knows and Cares
1In the meantime, after so many thousands of the people had gathered that they were stepping on one another, Jesus began speaking first of all to His disciples, “Be continually on your guard against the [a]leaven of the Pharisees [that is, their pervasive, corrupting influence and teaching], which is hypocrisy [producing self-righteousness]. 2 But there is nothing [so carefully] concealed that it will not be revealed, nor so hidden that it will not be made known. 3 For that reason, whatever you have said in the dark will be heard in the light, and what you have whispered behind closed doors will be proclaimed on the housetops.
4 “I say to you, My friends, do not be afraid of those who kill the body and after that have nothing more that they can do. 5 But I will point out to you whom you should fear: fear the One who, after He has killed, has authority and power to hurl [you] into [b]hell; yes, I say to you, [stand in great awe of God and] fear Him! 6 Are not five sparrows sold for two [c]copper coins? Yet not one of them has [ever] been forgotten in the presence of God. 7 Indeed the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Do not be afraid; you are far more valuable than many sparrows.
8 “I say to you, whoever declares openly and confesses Me before men [speaking freely of Me as his Lord], the Son of Man also will declare openly and confess him [as one of His own] before the angels of God. 9 But he who denies Me before men will be denied in the presence of the angels of God. 10 And everyone who speaks a word against the Son of Man, it will be forgiven him; but he who [d]blasphemes against the Holy Spirit [that is, whoever intentionally discredits the Holy Spirit by attributing the authenticating miracles done by Me to Satan], it will not be forgiven him [for him there is no forgiveness]. 11 When they bring you before the synagogues and the magistrates and the authorities, do not be worried about how you are to defend yourselves or what you are to say; 12 for the Holy Spirit will teach you in that very hour what you ought to say.”
13 Someone from the crowd said to Him, “Teacher, tell my brother to divide the family inheritance with me.” 14 But He said to him, “Man, who appointed Me a judge or an arbitrator over [the two of] you?” 15 Then He said to them, “Watch out and guard yourselves against every form of greed; for not even when one has an overflowing abundance does his life consist of nor is it derived from his possessions.”
Parable of the Wealthy Fool
16 Then He told them a parable, saying, “There was a rich man whose land was very fertile and productive. 17 And he began thinking to himself, ‘What shall I do, since I have no place [large enough in which] to store my crops?’ 18 Then he said, ‘This is what I will do: I will tear down my storehouses and build larger ones, and I will store all my grain and my goods there. 19 And I will say to my soul, “Soul, you have many good things stored up, [enough] for many years; rest and relax, eat, drink and be merry (celebrate continually).”’ 20 But God said to him, ‘You fool! This very night your soul is required of you; and now who will own all the things you have prepared?’ 21 So it is for the one who continues to store up and hoard possessions for himself, and is not rich [in his relationship] toward God.”
22 Jesus said to His disciples, “For this reason I tell you, do not worry about your life, as to what you will eat; or about your body, as to what you will wear. 23 For life is more than food, and the body more than clothes. 24 Consider the ravens, for they neither sow [seed] nor reap [the crop]; they have no storehouse or barn, and yet God feeds them. How much more valuable are you than the birds! 25 And which of you by worrying can add one hour to his life’s span? 26 So if you are not even able to do a very little thing [such as that], why are you worried about the rest? 27 Consider the lilies and wildflowers, how they grow [in the open field]. They neither labor nor spin [wool to make clothing]; yet I tell you, not even Solomon in all his glory and splendor dressed himself like one of these. 28 But if this is how God clothes the grass which is in the field today and tomorrow is thrown into the furnace, how much more will He clothe you? You of little faith! 29 So as for you, do not seek what you will eat and what you will drink; nor have an anxious and unsettled mind. 30 For all the [pagan] nations of the world greedily seek these things; and your [heavenly] Father [already] knows that you need them. 31 But [strive for and actively] seek His kingdom, and these things will be given to you as well. 32 Do not be afraid and anxious, little flock, for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom.
33 “Sell your possessions (show compassion) and give [donations] to the poor. Provide money belts for yourselves that do not wear out, an unfailing and inexhaustible treasure in the heavens, where no thief comes near and no moth destroys. 34 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
Be in Readiness
35 “Be dressed and ready for active service, and keep your lamps continuously burning. 36 Be like men who are waiting for their master when he returns from the wedding feast, so that when he comes and knocks they may immediately open the door for him. 37 Blessed (happy, prosperous, to be admired) are those servants whom the master finds awake and watching when he arrives. I assure you and most solemnly say to you, he will prepare himself to serve, and will have them recline at the table, and will come and wait on them. 38 Whether he comes in the second watch (before midnight), or even in the third (after midnight), and finds them so [prepared and ready], blessed are those servants.
39 “But be sure of this, that if the head of the house had known at what time the thief was coming, he [would have been awake and alert, and] would not have allowed his house to be broken into. 40 You too, be continually ready; because the Son of Man is coming at an hour that you do not expect.”
41 Peter said, “Lord, are You addressing this parable to us [disciples], or to everyone else as well?”
Parable of the Faithful Steward
42 The Lord said, “Who then is the faithful and wise steward [of the estate], whom his master will put in charge over his household, to give his servants their portion of food at the proper time? 43 Blessed (happy, prosperous, to be admired) is that servant whom his master finds so doing when he arrives. 44 I assure you and most solemnly say to you, he will put him in charge of all his possessions. 45 But if that servant says in his heart, ‘My master is taking his time in coming,’ and begins to beat the servants, both men and women, and to eat and drink and get drunk, 46 the master of that servant will come on a day when he does not expect him and at an hour he does not know, and will [e]cut him in pieces, and assign him a place with the unbelievers. 47 And that servant who knew his master’s will, and yet did not get ready or act in accord with his will, will be beaten with many lashes [of the whip], 48 but the one who did not know it and did things worthy of a beating, will receive only a few [lashes]. From everyone to whom much has been given, much will be required; and to whom they entrusted much, of him they will ask all the more.
Christ Divides Men
49 “I have come to cast fire (judgment) on the earth; and how I wish that it were already kindled! 50 I have a baptism [of great suffering] with which to be baptized, and how [greatly] I am distressed until it is accomplished! 51 Do you suppose that I came to grant peace on earth? No, I tell you, but rather division [between believers and unbelievers]; 52 for from now on five in one household will be divided [over Me], three against two and two against three. 53 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.”
54 He also said to the crowds, “When you see a cloud rising in the west, you immediately say, ‘It is going to rain,’ and that is how it turns out. 55 And when [you see that] a south wind is blowing, you say, ‘It will be a hot day,’ and it happens. 56 You hypocrites (play-actors, pretenders)! You know how to analyze and intelligently interpret the appearance of the earth and sky [to forecast the weather], but why do you not intelligently interpret this present time?
57 “And why do you not even on your own initiative judge what is right? 58 For while you are going with your opponent [at law] to appear before a magistrate, on the way make an effort to settle, so that he does not drag you before the judge, and the judge does not [rule against you and] turn you over to the officer, and the officer does not throw you into prison. 59 I say to you, you [absolutely] will not get out of there until you have paid the very last [f]cent.”