Leaving there, they went through Galilee. He didn't want anyone to know their whereabouts,
for he wanted to teach his disciples. He told them, "The Son of Man is about to be betrayed to some people who want nothing to do with God. They will murder him. Three days after his murder, he will rise, alive."
They didn't know what he was talking about, but were afraid to ask him about it.
They came to Capernaum. When he was safe at home, he asked them, "What were you discussing on the road?"
The silence was deafening - they had been arguing with one another over who among them was greatest.
He sat down and summoned the Twelve. "So you want first place? Then take the last place. Be the servant of all."
He put a child in the middle of the room. Then, cradling the little one in his arms, he said,
"Whoever embraces one of these children as I do embraces me, and far more than me - God who sent me."
John spoke up, "Teacher, we saw a man using your name to expel demons and we stopped him because he wasn't in our group."
Jesus wasn't pleased. "Don't stop him. No one can use my name to do something good and powerful, and in the next breath cut me down.
If he's not an enemy, he's an ally.
Why, anyone by just giving you a cup of water in my name is on our side. Count on it that God will notice.
"On the other hand, if you give one of these simple, childlike believers a hard time, bullying or taking advantage of their simple trust, you'll soon wish you hadn't. You'd be better off dropped in the middle of the lake with a millstone around your neck.
"If your hand or your foot gets in God's way, chop it off and throw it away. You're better off maimed or lame and alive than the proud owner of two hands and two feet, godless in a furnace of eternal fire.
And if your eye distracts you from God, pull it out and throw it away.
You're better off one-eyed and alive than exercising your twenty-twenty vision from inside the fire of hell.
"Everyone's going through a refining fire sooner or later,
but you'll be well-preserved, protected from the eternal flames. Be preservatives yourselves. Preserve the peace."
Published by permission. Originally published by NavPress in English as THE MESSAGE: The Bible in Contemporary Language copyright 2002 by Eugene Peterson. All rights reserved. (The Message Bible Online)