Jesus tells the people to be careful how they live
1 While all this was happening, many thousands of people had come together near that place. The crowd was so big that people were almost walking over each other. Jesus began to talk first to his disciples. He said, ‘Be careful! Do not accept the yeast of the Pharisees. Do not be hypocrites like they are.
12:1People put yeast and water into flour to make bread. The yeast grows in the bread and this causes the bread to rise. A little bit of yeast causes a whole loaf to rise. People copied what the Pharisees did. So it was like yeast that was growing. One bad person can cause many other people to do wrong things.
2 Some people hide the things that they do. But there will be a time when other people will see those things clearly. Everyone will know all their secrets. 3 You may have said things secretly, in the dark of the night. But one day, people will hear those things in the light of day. You may have said things quietly into someone's ear, behind a door that you have shut. But one day, people will shout out those secrets loudly from the tops of the houses.
4 You are my friends, so I tell you this: do not be afraid of those people who can kill only your body. After that, they can do nothing worse to you. 5 But I tell you, it is God that you should be afraid of. He has the power to kill people and then to throw them into hell. Yes, I am telling you, be very afraid of him.
6 Think about this. People sell five birds for two small coins. But each little bird is valuable to God. He knows about them all and takes care of them. 7 God even knows how many hairs there are on your head. So do not be afraid of those people who are against you. You are more valuable to God than many little birds.
8 I tell you this. You should say clearly to other people, “I believe in Jesus.” If you do this, I, the Son of Man, will say to the angels of God, “This is someone who is my disciple.” 9 But if you say to other people, “I do not believe in Jesus,” I will say to the angels of God, “I do not know this person. He is not one of my disciples.”
10 Somebody may speak against me, the Son of Man, and God will forgive him. But if somebody says bad things against the Holy Spirit, God will not forgive that person.
12:10Jesus will forgive people that speak against him. They must say that they are sorry. And they must stop speaking in that way. The Holy Spirit shows them that they have spoken badly about Jesus. But some people will not listen to the Holy Spirit and they will speak against him. There is no way for God to forgive those people.
11 People will take you into their meeting places. They will make you stand in front of rulers and other people that have authority. They will want to show that you have done bad things. But do not be afraid of them. Do not worry about what you should say. 12 At that time, the Holy Spirit will teach you. He will tell you what words you should say.’
A story about a rich fool
13 Someone in the crowd said to Jesus, ‘Teacher, I have a problem with my brother. Our father has died. Tell my brother to give me my part of the things that our father left us.’
12:13When a man died, the older son received twice as much as his younger brother. People were often not happy with this. The ruler in the meeting place sometimes talked with people to decide what was right. It was not right for Jesus to do this.
14 Jesus replied, ‘It is not my job to say which of you is right or wrong. And it is not my job to say how much each of you should have.’ 15 Then he said to all the people, ‘Be very careful! Do not want more things than you really need. A person's life is worth more than the things that he has, even if he is very rich.’
16 Jesus then told them a story: ‘A man had some very good ground, where he planted seeds. The plants grew very well. When they became ripe, he had much more than he planted. 17 He thought about how much he would soon have. “I have nowhere to store all the food from my plants,” he said to himself. 18 But then he decided what to do. He thought, “I will pull down the building where I now store my food. Then I will build a bigger place to store it all, as well as everything else that is mine. 19 Then I will say to myself, ‘You have plenty of things stored safely. These will be enough for you for many years. Now you can live an easy life. Eat and drink as much as you want. Enjoy yourself.’ ”
20 But then God said to the man, “You are a fool! Tonight you will die. You will have to leave everything behind that you have stored. Somebody else will have them, but you will not!” ’
21 Then Jesus said, ‘Some people think only about having many things for themselves. This story shows how those people live. But God says about them, “They have nothing of value at all.” ’
Do not have troubles in your mind
22 Jesus said to his disciples, ‘I tell you this: You should not worry about how to stay alive. Do not worry about the food that you need to stay alive. Do not worry about the clothes that you need to wear. 23 Your life is more important than the food that you eat. Your body is more important than your clothes.
24 Think about the birds. They do not plant seeds in the ground. They do not cut down plants to eat. They have no buildings to store food. But God gives them food to eat. You are much more valuable than the birds. 25 Even if you always worry about your life, you cannot make it as much as one hour longer! 26 No, you cannot even do a small thing like that. So, if you are always worrying about the things that you need, will that really help you?
27 Think about how the wild flowers grow. They do not do work or make clothes for themselves. But I tell you this about them: Even one wild flower is more beautiful than King Solomon was. And King Solomon wore the most beautiful clothes. 28 It is God that gives beautiful clothes even to the grass. One day the grass is growing in the field, but the next day people will cut it and burn it. God will certainly take care of you, much more than he takes care of the grass. You should trust him more than you do!
12:28People burned dry grass and wild flowers to cook food.
29 Do not always be thinking about the food and drink that you need. Do not worry about things like that. 30 People who do not know God are always trying to get these things. But as for you, your Father God knows that you need them. 31 Instead, always think about the things that are important in the kingdom of God. Then God will also give you the things that you need each day.
32 You are only a small group of people, but do not be afraid. Your Father God has given his kingdom to you. He is happy to do that. 33 So sell what you have and give the money to poor people. Then you will have valuable things in heaven. That is like keeping your money in a bag that will never have any holes in it. There, the value of your things will never become less. There, nobody can take them from you. Insects cannot destroy them. 34 If you do that, you will be thinking a lot about heaven. That is where you will have stored your valuable things.’
Be ready for Jesus to return
35 Jesus said, ‘Always be ready for my return. Be like people that are ready to start work at any time. They have put on their clothes so that they are ready for work. And they have lit their lamps. 36 You must be like servants that are waiting for their master to arrive. When he returns home from the marriage party, he will knock on the door. His servants should be ready to open it for him immediately. 37 Those servants will be very happy if their master finds them awake. I tell you this: The master will dress himself to give them food. He will say to them, “Sit at the table. I will come to serve you.”
12:35In those days, everybody wore long clothes. To be ready to work, they pulled up the lowest part of their skirt. They then fixed it to their belt, so that they could move easily.
38 The master may arrive in the middle of the night. He may even arrive just before the sun rises. But, if the master finds them awake and ready, the servants will be happy.
39 You can be sure about this. The master of a house does not know when a man might come to rob him. If he knew the time, he would keep awake. He would not let the robber come into his house and take away his things.
40 You also must be ready. The Son of Man will come at a time when you are not thinking about it.’
12:40A robber takes things from someone, when that person is not watching. Jesus is telling those that obey him to be ready for his return. Nobody knows when that will be.
Be a good servant
41 Peter asked Jesus, ‘Master, are you only telling this story to us, your disciples? Or is this story for everyone to hear?’
42 Jesus replied, ‘Be a wise servant. Be someone that the master can trust. The master will choose a man like that. He will say to him, “I want you to rule my house and the other servants. Give them the food that they need at the right time.” 43 That servant will be very happy when his master comes home. His master will see that he has done everything well. 44 Let me tell you what will happen. The master will give that servant authority to rule over everything in his house. 45 But another servant might say to himself, “My master is very late. He will not come yet.” Then he begins to hit the other servants, both the men and the women. He eats too much, and he drinks too much. He even becomes drunk. 46 Then the master of that servant will come home and he will surprise the servant. He did not think that his master would come home on that day or at that time. Then the master will punish that servant a lot. He will put the servant with those people that do not obey him.
47 A servant may know what his master wants him to do. Then he should prepare himself and do that. If he does not, his master will punish him very much. He will hit him a lot. 48 But another servant perhaps does not know what his master wants him to do. So he does wrong things. The master will punish him because he did those wrong things. But he will not hit him as much. If God gives a lot to somebody, he will want a lot back in return. And God will want much more from the person to whom he has given authority over much more.
49 I came to start a fire on earth. I would be happy if that fire were already burning. 50 I have a baptism of pain to receive. I cannot rest until this has happened.
12:50Jesus is using pictures to tell them about future events. The fire means the time when God will judge bad people. The baptism means the pain that Jesus will have. A time will soon come when he feels much pain. He will have this pain when he dies. It will be like going under the water in baptism.
51 I did not come into the world so that everyone will agree with each other. No, I tell you. I came to put people against one another. 52 From now on, because of me, five people in a family will be against each other. Two people will be against the other three. Three of them will be against the other two. 53 They will not agree together. The father will be against his son and the son will be against his father. The mother will be against her daughter and the daughter will be against her mother. The mother will be against her son's wife. And the son's wife will be against her husband's mother.’
12:53Some people in a family will obey God. Some will not. Some people will not like those that obey Jesus.
54 Then Jesus said to the crowd, ‘If you see a cloud that is rising in the west, immediately you say, “It will rain.” And the rain does come. 55 Sometimes you see that the south wind is blowing. So you say, “It will be very hot weather.” And the hot weather does come. 56 You are hypocrites! You look at the earth and the sky, and you know what weather will come. So look at the special things that are happening near you now. They show you what will soon happen. But you do not understand what they are showing you. Why not?
12:56The things that were happening were showing something. They showed that Jesus was the Messiah. He would soon die.
57 You should know what is right. And you should do it. 58 This may happen to you: Someone says, “You have done something wrong against me.” So he takes hold of you to go to the judge. Before you arrive at the office of the judge, try to agree with this man how to make things right again. If you do not agree together about the problem, it may be bad for you. The judge will give you to his officer. The officer will put you in prison. 59 I tell you. You will remain in prison until you have paid all the money, even the last small coin.’
12:58A judge listens to what people say against each other. He then decides who is right or wrong.
12:59Jesus is telling the people that everyone is in debt to God. They do not obey him as they should. Jesus says that we should agree with God now. And we should do something about our debt. If we do not, God will be our judge. He will punish us when we stand in front of him.