He said to his disciples, "Hard trials and temptations are bound to come, but too bad for whoever brings them on!
Better to wear a millstone necklace and take a swim in the deep blue sea than give even one of these dear little ones a hard time!
"Be alert. If you see your friend going wrong, correct him. If he responds, forgive him.
Even if it's personal against you and repeated seven times through the day, and seven times he says, 'I'm sorry, I won't do it again,' forgive him."
The apostles came up and said to the Master, "Give us more faith."
But the Master said, "You don't need more faith. There is no 'more' or 'less' in faith. If you have a bare kernel of faith, say the size of a poppy seed, you could say to this sycamore tree, 'Go jump in the lake,' and it would do it.
"Suppose one of you has a servant who comes in from plowing the field or tending the sheep. Would you take his coat, set the table, and say, 'Sit down and eat'?
Wouldn't you be more likely to say, 'Prepare dinner; change your clothes and wait table for me until I've finished my coffee; then go to the kitchen and have your supper'?
Does the servant get special thanks for doing what's expected of him?
It's the same with you. When you've done everything expected of you, be matter-of-fact and say, 'The work is done. What we were told to do, we did.'"
It happened that as he made his way toward Jerusalem, he crossed over the border between Samaria and Galilee.
As he entered a village, ten men, all lepers, met him. They kept their distance
but raised their voices, calling out, "Jesus, Master, have mercy on us!"
Taking a good look at them, he said, "Go, show yourselves to the priests."
One of them, when he realized that he was healed, turned around and came back, shouting his gratitude, glorifying God.
He kneeled at Jesus' feet, so grateful. He couldn't thank him enough - and he was a Samaritan.
Jesus said, "Were not ten healed? Where are the nine?
Can none be found to come back and give glory to God except this outsider?"
Then he said to him, "Get up. On your way. Your faith has healed and saved you."
Jesus, grilled by the Pharisees on when the kingdom of God would come, answered, "The kingdom of God doesn't come by counting the days on the calendar.
Nor when someone says, 'Look here!' or, 'There it is!' And why? Because God's kingdom is already among you."
He went on to say to his disciples, "The days are coming when you are going to be desperately homesick for just a glimpse of one of the days of the Son of Man, and you won't see a thing.
And they'll say to you, 'Look over there!' or, 'Look here!' Don't fall for any of that nonsense.
The arrival of the Son of Man is not something you go out to see. He simply comes.
But first it's necessary that he suffer many things and be turned down by the people of today.
"The time of the Son of Man will be just like the time of Noah -
everyone carrying on as usual, having a good time right up to the day Noah boarded the ship. They suspected nothing until the flood hit and swept everything away.
"It was the same in the time of Lot - the people carrying on, having a good time, business as usual
right up to the day Lot walked out of Sodom and a firestorm swept down and burned everything to a crisp.
That's how it will be - sudden, total - when the Son of Man is revealed.
"When the Day arrives and you're out working in the yard, don't run into the house to get anything. And if you're out in the field, don't go back and get your coat.
Remember what happened to Lot's wife!
If you grasp and cling to life on your terms, you'll lose it, but if you let that life go, you'll get life on God's terms.
"On that Day, two men will be in the same boat fishing - one taken, the other left.
Two women will be working in the same kitchen - one taken, the other left."
Trying to take all this in, the disciples said, "Master, where?" He told them, "Watch for the circling of the vultures. They'll spot the corpse first. The action will begin around my dead body."
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)