Luke 14; Luke 15; Luke 16 (GOD'S WORD Translation)

1 On a day of worship Jesus went to eat at the home of a prominent Pharisee. The guests were watching Jesus very closely. 2 A man whose body was swollen with fluid was there. 3 Jesus reacted by asking the Pharisees and the experts in Moses' Teachings, "Is it right to heal on the day of worship or not?" 4 But they didn't say a thing. So Jesus took hold of the man, healed him, and sent him away. 5 Jesus asked them, "If your son or your ox falls into a well on a day of worship, wouldn't you pull him out immediately?" 6 They couldn't argue with him about this. 7 Then Jesus noticed how the guests always chose the places of honor. So he used this illustration when he spoke to them: 8 "When someone invites you to a wedding, don't take the place of honor. Maybe someone more important than you was invited. 9 Then your host would say to you, 'Give this person your place.' Embarrassed, you would have to take the place of least honor. 10 So when you're invited, take the place of least honor. Then, when your host comes, he will tell you, 'Friend, move to a more honorable place.' Then all the other guests will see how you are honored. 11 Those who honor themselves will be humbled, but people who humble themselves will be honored." 12 Then he told the man who had invited him, "When you invite people for lunch or dinner, don't invite only your friends, family, other relatives, or rich neighbors. Otherwise, they will return the favor. 13 Instead, when you give a banquet, invite the poor, the handicapped, the lame, and the blind. 14 Then you will be blessed because they don't have any way to pay you back. You will be paid back when those who have God's approval come back to life." 15 One of those eating with him heard this. So he said to Jesus, "The person who will be at the banquet in the kingdom of God is blessed." 16 Jesus said to him, "A man gave a large banquet and invited many people. 17 When it was time for the banquet, he sent his servant to tell those who were invited, 'Come! Everything is ready now.' 18 "Everyone asked to be excused. The first said to him, 'I bought a field, and I need to see it. Please excuse me.' 19 Another said, 'I bought five pairs of oxen, and I'm on my way to see how well they plow. Please excuse me.' 20 Still another said, 'I recently got married, and that's why I can't come.' 21 "The servant went back to report this to his master. Then the master of the house became angry. He told his servant, 'Run to every street and alley in the city! Bring back the poor, the handicapped, the blind, and the lame.' 22 "The servant said, 'Sir, what you've ordered has been done. But there is still room for more people.' 23 "Then the master told his servant, 'Go to the roads and paths! Urge the people to come to my house. I want it to be full. 24 I can guarantee that none of those invited earlier will taste any food at my banquet.'" 25 Large crowds were traveling with Jesus. He turned to them and said, 26 "If people come to me and are not ready to abandon their fathers, mothers, wives, children, brothers, and sisters, as well as their own lives, they cannot be my disciples. 27 So those who do not carry their crosses and follow me cannot be my disciples. 28 "Suppose you want to build a tower. You would first sit down and figure out what it costs. Then you would see if you have enough money to finish it. 29 Otherwise, if you lay a foundation and can't finish the building, everyone who watches will make fun of you. 30 They'll say, 'This person started to build but couldn't finish the job.' 31 "Or suppose a king is going to war against another king. He would first sit down and think things through. Can he and his 10,000 soldiers fight against a king with 20,000 soldiers? 32 If he can't, he'll send ambassadors to ask for terms of peace while the other king is still far away. 33 In the same way, none of you can be my disciples unless you give up everything. 34 "Salt is good. But if salt loses its taste, how will you restore its flavor? 35 It's not any good for the ground or for the manure pile. People throw it away. "Let the person who has ears listen!" 1 All the tax collectors and sinners came to listen to Jesus. 2 But the Pharisees and the scribes complained, "This man welcomes sinners and eats with them." 3 Jesus spoke to them using this illustration: 4 "Suppose a man has 100 sheep and loses one of them. Doesn't he leave the 99 sheep grazing in the pasture and look for the lost sheep until he finds it? 5 When he finds it, he's happy. He puts that sheep on his shoulders and 6 goes home. Then he calls his friends and neighbors together and says to them, 'Let's celebrate! I've found my lost sheep!' 7 I can guarantee that there will be more happiness in heaven over one person who turns to God and changes the way he thinks and acts than over 99 people who already have turned to God and have his approval." 8 "Suppose a woman has ten coins and loses one. Doesn't she light a lamp, sweep the house, and look for the coin carefully until she finds it? 9 When she finds it, she calls her friends and neighbors together and says, 'Let's celebrate! I've found the coin that I lost.' 10 So I can guarantee that God's angels are happy about one person who turns to God and changes the way he thinks and acts." 11 Then Jesus said, "A man had two sons. 12 The younger son said to his father, 'Father, give me my share of the property.' So the father divided his property between his two sons. 13 "After a few days, the younger son gathered his possessions and left for a country far away from home. There he wasted everything he had on a wild lifestyle. 14 He had nothing left when a severe famine spread throughout that country. He had nothing to live on. 15 So he got a job from someone in that country and was sent to feed pigs in the fields. 16 No one in the country would give him any food, and he was so hungry that he would have eaten what the pigs were eating. 17 "Finally, he came to his senses. He said, 'How many of my father's hired men have more food than they can eat, while I'm starving to death here? 18 I'll go at once to my father, and I'll say to him, "Father, I've sinned against heaven and you. 19 I don't deserve to be called your son anymore. Make me one of your hired men."' 20 "So he went at once to his father. While he was still at a distance, his father saw him and felt sorry for him. He ran to his son, put his arms around him, and kissed him. 21 Then his son said to him, 'Father, I've sinned against heaven and you. I don't deserve to be called your son anymore.' 22 "The father said to his servants, 'Hurry! Bring out the best robe, and put it on him. Put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet. 23 Bring the fattened calf, kill it, and let's celebrate with a feast. 24 My son was dead and has come back to life. He was lost but has been found.' Then they began to celebrate. 25 "His older son was in the field. As he was coming back to the house, he heard music and dancing. 26 He called to one of the servants and asked what was happening. 27 "The servant told him, 'Your brother has come home. So your father has killed the fattened calf to celebrate your brother's safe return.' 28 "Then the older son became angry and wouldn't go into the house. His father came out and begged him to come in. 29 But he answered his father, 'All these years I've worked like a slave for you. I've never disobeyed one of your commands. Yet, you've never given me so much as a little goat for a celebration with my friends. 30 But this son of yours spent your money on prostitutes, and when he came home, you killed the fattened calf for him.' 31 "His father said to him, 'My child, you're always with me. Everything I have is yours. 32 But we have something to celebrate, something to be happy about. This brother of yours was dead but has come back to life. He was lost but has been found.'" 1 Then Jesus said to his disciples, "A rich man had a business manager. The manager was accused of wasting the rich man's property. 2 So the rich man called for his manager and said to him, 'What's this I hear about you? Let me examine your books. It's obvious that you can't manage my property any longer.' 3 "The manager thought, 'What should I do? My master is taking my job away from me. I'm not strong enough to dig, and I'm ashamed to beg. 4 I know what I'll do so that people will welcome me into their homes when I've lost my job.' 5 "So the manager called for each one of his master's debtors. He said to the first, 'How much do you owe my master?' 6 "The debtor replied, 'Eight hundred gallons of olive oil.' "The manager told him, 'Take my master's ledger. Quick! Sit down, and write "four hundred!"' 7 "Then he asked another debtor, 'How much do you owe?' "The debtor replied, 'A thousand bushels of wheat.' "The manager told him, 'Take the ledger, and write "eight hundred!"' 8 "The master praised the dishonest manager for being so clever. Worldly people are more clever than spiritually-minded people when it comes to dealing with others." 9 [Jesus continued,] "I'm telling you that although wealth is often used in dishonest ways, you should use it to make friends for yourselves. When life is over, you will be welcomed into an eternal home. 10 Whoever can be trusted with very little can also be trusted with a lot. Whoever is dishonest with very little is dishonest with a lot. 11 Therefore, if you can't be trusted with wealth that is often used dishonestly, who will trust you with wealth that is real? 12 If you can't be trusted with someone else's wealth, who will give you your own? 13 "A servant cannot serve two masters. He will hate the first master and love the second, or he will be devoted to the first and despise the second. You cannot serve God and wealth." 14 The Pharisees, who love money, heard all this and were making sarcastic remarks about him. 15 So Jesus said to them, "You try to justify your actions in front of people. But God knows what's in your hearts. What is important to humans is disgusting to God. 16 "Moses' Teachings and the Prophets were [in force] until the time of John. Since that time, people have been telling the Good News about the kingdom of God, and everyone is trying to force their way into it. 17 It is easier for the earth and the heavens to disappear than to drop a comma from Moses' Teachings. 18 "Any man who divorces his wife to marry another woman is committing adultery. The man who marries a woman divorced in this way is committing adultery. 19 "There was a rich man who wore expensive clothes. Every day was like a party to him. 20 There was also a beggar named Lazarus who was regularly brought to the gate of the rich man's house. 21 Lazarus would have eaten any scraps that fell from the rich man's table. Lazarus was covered with sores, and dogs would lick them. 22 "One day the beggar died, and the angels carried him to be with Abraham. The rich man also died and was buried. 23 He went to hell, where he was constantly tortured. As he looked up, in the distance he saw Abraham and Lazarus. 24 He yelled, 'Father Abraham! Have mercy on me! Send Lazarus to dip the tip of his finger in water to cool off my tongue. I am suffering in this fire.' 25 "Abraham replied, 'Remember, my child, that you had a life filled with good times, while Lazarus' life was filled with misery. Now he has peace here, while you suffer. 26 Besides, a wide area separates us. People couldn't cross it in either direction even if they wanted to.' 27 "The rich man responded, 'Then I ask you, Father, to send Lazarus back to my father's home. 28 I have five brothers. He can warn them so that they won't end up in this place of torture.' 29 "Abraham replied, 'They have Moses' [Teachings] and the Prophets. Your brothers should listen to them!' 30 "The rich man replied, 'No, Father Abraham! If someone comes back to them from the dead, they will turn to God and change the way they think and act.' 31 "Abraham answered him, 'If they won't listen to Moses' [Teachings] and the Prophets, they won't be persuaded even if someone comes back to life.'"
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