Beware of Religious Hypocrisy
12 Meanwhile, a crowd of many thousands came together, so that they were trampling on one another. He began to say to his disciples first, “Be on your guard against the leaven[a] of the Pharisees, which is hypocrisy.2 There is nothing covered that won’t be uncovered, nothing hidden that won’t be made known. 3 Therefore, whatever you have said in the dark will be heard in the light, and what you have whispered in an ear in private rooms will be proclaimed on the housetops.
4 “I say to you, my friends, don’t fear those who kill the body, and after that can do nothing more. 5 But I will show you the one to fear: Fear him who has authority to throw people into hell after death. Yes, I say to you, this is the one to fear! 6 Aren’t five sparrows sold for two pennies?[b]Yet not one of them is forgotten in God’s sight. 7 Indeed, the hairs of your head are all counted. Don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.
8 “And I say to you, anyone who acknowledges me before others, the Son of Man will also acknowledge him before the angels of God, 9 but whoever denies me before others will be denied before the angels of God. 10 Anyone who speaks a word against the Son of Man will be forgiven, but the one who blasphemes against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven. 11 Whenever they bring you before synagogues and rulers and authorities, don’t worry about how you should defend yourselves or what you should say. 12 For the Holy Spirit will teach you at that very hour what must be said.”
The Parable of the Rich Fool
13 Someone from the crowd said to him, “Teacher, tell my brother to divide the inheritance with me.”
14 “Friend,”[c] he said to him, “who appointed me a judge or arbitrator over you?” 15 He then told them, “Watch out and be on guard against all greed, because one’s life is not in the abundance of his possessions.”
16 Then he told them a parable: “A rich man’s land was very productive.17 He thought to himself, ‘What should I do, since I don’t have anywhere to store my crops? 18 I will do this,’ he said. ‘I’ll tear down my barns and build bigger ones and store all my grain and my goods there. 19 Then I’ll say to myself, “You have many goods stored up for many years. Take it easy; eat, drink, and enjoy yourself.”’
20 “But God said to him, ‘You fool! This very night your life is demanded of you. And the things you have prepared—whose will they be?’
21 “That’s how it is with the one who stores up treasure for himself and is not rich toward God.”
The Cure for Anxiety
22 Then he said to his disciples: “Therefore I tell you, don’t worry about your life, what you will eat; or about the body, what you will wear. 23 For life is more than food and the body more than clothing. 24 Consider the ravens: They don’t sow or reap; they don’t have a storeroom or a barn; yet God feeds them. Aren’t you worth much more than the birds? 25 Can any of you add one moment to his life span[d] by worrying? 26 If then you’re not able to do even a little thing, why worry about the rest?
27 “Consider how the wildflowers grow: They don’t labor or spin thread. Yet I tell you, not even Solomon in all his splendor was adorned like one of these. 28 If that’s how God clothes the grass, which is in the field today and is thrown into the furnace tomorrow, how much more will he do for you—you of little faith? 29 Don’t strive for what you should eat and what you should drink, and don’t be anxious. 30 For the Gentile world eagerly seeks all these things, and your Father knows that you need them.
31 “But seek his kingdom, and these things will be provided for you.32 Don’t be afraid, little flock, because your Father delights to give you the kingdom. 33 Sell your possessions and give to the poor. Make money-bags for yourselves that won’t grow old, an inexhaustible treasure in heaven, where no thief comes near and no moth destroys. 34 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
Ready for the Master’s Return
35 “Be ready for service[e] and have your lamps lit. 36 You are to be like people waiting for their master to return from the wedding banquet so that when he comes and knocks, they can open the door for him at once. 37 Blessed will be those servants the master finds alert when he comes. Truly I tell you, he will get ready,[f] have them recline at the table, then come and serve them. 38 If he comes in the middle of the night, or even near dawn,[g] and finds them alert, blessed are those servants. 39 But know this: If the homeowner had known at what hour the thief was coming, he would not have let his house be broken into.40 You also be ready, because the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect.”
Rewards and Punishment
41 “Lord,” Peter asked, “are you telling this parable to us or to everyone?”
42 The Lord said: “Who then is the faithful and sensible manager his master will put in charge of his household servants to give them their allotted food at the proper time? 43 Blessed is that servant whom the master finds doing his job when he comes. 44 Truly I tell you, he will put him in charge of all his possessions. 45 But if that servant says in his heart, ‘My master is delaying his coming,’ and starts to beat the male and female servants, and to eat and drink and get drunk, 46 that servant’s master will come on a day he does not expect him and at an hour he does not know. He will cut him to pieces[h] and assign him a place with the unfaithful.[i] 47 And that servant who knew his master’s will and didn’t prepare himself or do it[j] will be severely beaten. 48 But the one who did not know and did what deserved punishment will receive a light beating. From everyone who has been given much, much will be required; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, even more will be expected.[k]
Not Peace but Division
49 “I came to bring fire on the earth, and how I wish it were already set ablaze! 50 But I have a baptism to undergo, and how it consumes me until it is finished! 51 Do you think that I came here to bring peace on the earth? No, I tell you, but rather division. 52 From now on, five in one household will be divided: three against two, and two against three.
53 They will be divided, father against son,
son against father,
mother against daughter,
daughter against mother,
mother-in-law against her daughter-in-law,
and daughter-in-law against mother-in-law.”[l]
Interpreting the Time
54 He also said to the crowds: “When you see a cloud rising in the west, right away you say, ‘A storm is coming,’ and so it does. 55 And when the south wind is blowing, you say, ‘It’s going to be hot,’ and it is.56 Hypocrites! You know how to interpret the appearance of the earth and the sky, but why don’t you know how to interpret this present time?
57 “Why don’t you judge for yourselves what is right? 58 As you are going with your adversary to the ruler, make an effort to settle with him on the way. Then he won’t drag you before the judge, the judge hand you over to the bailiff, and the bailiff throw you into prison. 59 I tell you, you will never get out of there until you have paid the last cent.”[m]