Then on a day of worship Jesus walked through the grainfields. His disciples were hungry and began to pick the heads of grain to eat.
When the Pharisees saw this, they said to him, "Look! Your disciples are doing something that is not right to do on the day of worship."
Jesus asked them, "Haven't you read what David did when he and his men were hungry?
Haven't you read how he went into the house of God and ate the bread of the presence? He and his men had no right to eat those loaves. Only the priests have that right.
Or haven't you read in Moses' Teachings that on the day of worship the priests in the temple do things they shouldn't on the day of worship yet remain innocent?
I can guarantee that something greater than the temple is here.
If you had known what 'I want mercy, not sacrifices' means, you would not have condemned innocent people.
"The Son of Man has authority over the day of worship."
Jesus moved on from there and went into a synagogue.
A man with a paralyzed hand was there. The people asked Jesus whether it was right to heal on a day of worship so that they could accuse him of doing something wrong.
Jesus said to them, "Suppose one of you has a sheep. If it falls into a pit on a day of worship, wouldn't you take hold of it and lift it out?
Certainly, a human is more valuable than a sheep! So it is right to do good on the day of worship."
Then he said to the man, "Hold out your hand." The man held it out, and it became normal again, as healthy as the other.
The Pharisees left and plotted to kill Jesus.
He knew about this, so he left that place. Many people followed him, and he cured all of them.
He also ordered them not to tell people who he was.
So what the prophet Isaiah had said came true:
"Here is my servant whom I have chosen, whom I love, and in whom I delight. I will put my Spirit on him, and he will announce justice to the nations.
He will not quarrel or shout, and no one will hear his voice in the streets.
He will not break off a damaged cattail. He will not even put out a smoking wick until he has made justice victorious.
The nations will have hope because of him."
Then some people brought Jesus a man possessed by a demon. The demon made the man blind and unable to talk. Jesus cured him so that he could talk and see.
The crowds were all amazed and said, "Can this man be the Son of David?"
When the Pharisees heard this, they said, "This man can force demons out of people only with the help of Beelzebul, the ruler of demons."
Since Jesus knew what they were thinking, he said to them, "Every kingdom divided against itself is ruined. And every city or household divided against itself will not last.
If Satan forces Satan out, he is divided against himself. How, then, can his kingdom last?
If I force demons out of people with the help of Beelzebul, who helps your followers force them out? That's why they will be your judges.
But if I force demons out with the help of God's Spirit, then the kingdom of God has come to you.
How can anyone go into a strong man's house and steal his property? First he must tie up the strong man. Then he can go through his house and steal his property.
"Whoever isn't with me is against me. Whoever doesn't gather with me scatters.
So I can guarantee that people will be forgiven for any sin or cursing. However, cursing the Spirit will not be forgiven.
Whoever speaks a word against the Son of Man will be forgiven. But whoever speaks against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven in this world or the next.
"Make a tree good, and then its fruit will be good. Or make a tree rotten, and then its fruit will be rotten. A person can recognize a tree by its fruit.
You poisonous snakes! How can you evil people say anything good? Your mouth says what comes from inside you.
Good people do the good things that are in them. But evil people do the evil things that are in them.
"I can guarantee that on judgment day people will have to give an account of every careless word they say.
By your words you will be declared innocent, or by your words you will be declared guilty."
Then some scribes and Pharisees said, "Teacher, we want you to show us a miraculous sign."
He responded, "The people of an evil and unfaithful era look for a miraculous sign. But the only sign they will get is the sign of the prophet Jonah.
Just as Jonah was in the belly of a huge fish for three days and three nights, so the Son of Man will be in the heart of the earth for three days and three nights.
The men of Nineveh will stand up with you at the time of judgment and will condemn you, because they turned to God and changed the way they thought and acted when Jonah spoke his message. But look, someone greater than Jonah is here!
The queen from the south will stand up at the time of judgment with you. She will condemn you, because she came from the ends of the earth to hear Solomon's wisdom. But look, someone greater than Solomon is here!
"When an evil spirit comes out of a person, it goes through dry places looking for a place to rest. But it doesn't find any.
Then it says, 'I'll go back to the home I left.' When it arrives, it finds the house unoccupied, swept clean, and in order.
Then it goes and brings along seven other spirits more evil than itself. They enter and take up permanent residence there. In the end the condition of that person is worse than it was before. That is what will happen to the evil people of this day."
While Jesus was still talking to the crowds, his mother and brothers were standing outside. They wanted to talk to him.
Someone told him, "Your mother and your brothers are standing outside. They want to talk to you."
He replied to the man speaking to him, "Who is my mother, and who are my brothers?"
Pointing with his hand at his disciples, he said, "Look, here are my mother and my brothers.
Whoever does what my Father in heaven wants is my brother and sister and mother."