15 People brought babies to Jesus, hoping he might touch them. When the disciples saw it, they shooed them off. 16 Jesus called them back. "Let these children alone. Don't get between them and me. These children are the kingdom's pride and joy. 17 Mark this: Unless you accept God's kingdom in the simplicity of a child, you'll never get in." 18 One day one of the local officials asked him, "Good Teacher, what must I do to deserve eternal life?" 19 Jesus said, "Why are you calling me good? No one is good - only God. 20 You know the commandments, don't you? No illicit sex, no killing, no stealing, no lying, honor your father and mother." 21 He said, "I've kept them all for as long as I can remember." 22 When Jesus heard that, he said, "Then there's only one thing left to do: Sell everything you own and give it away to the poor. You will have riches in heaven. Then come, follow me." 23 This was the last thing the official expected to hear. He was very rich and became terribly sad. He was holding on tight to a lot of things and not about to let them go. 24 Seeing his reaction, Jesus said, "Do you have any idea how difficult it is for people who have it all to enter God's kingdom? 25 I'd say it's easier to thread a camel through a needle's eye than get a rich person into God's kingdom." 26 "Then who has any chance at all?" the others asked. 27 "No chance at all," Jesus said, "if you think you can pull it off by yourself. Every chance in the world if you trust God to do it." 28 Peter tried to regain some initiative: "We left everything we owned and followed you, didn't we?" 29 "Yes," said Jesus, "and you won't regret it. No one who has sacrificed home, spouse, brothers and sisters, parents, children - whatever - 30 will lose out. It will all come back multiplied many times over in your lifetime. And then the bonus of eternal life!" 31 Then Jesus took the Twelve off to the side and said, "Listen carefully. We're on our way up to Jerusalem. Everything written in the Prophets about the Son of Man will take place. 32 He will be handed over to the Romans, jeered at, made sport of, and spit on. Then, after giving him the third degree, they will kill him. 33 In three days he will rise, alive." 34 But they didn't get it, could make neither heads nor tails of what he was talking about. 35 He came to the outskirts of Jericho. A blind man was sitting beside the road asking for handouts. 36 When he heard the rustle of the crowd, he asked what was going on. 37 They told him, "Jesus the Nazarene is going by." 38 He yelled, "Jesus! Son of David! Mercy, have mercy on me!" 39 Those ahead of Jesus told the man to shut up, but he only yelled all the louder, "Son of David! Mercy, have mercy on me!" 40 Jesus stopped and ordered him to be brought over. When he had come near, Jesus asked, 41 "What do you want from me?" He said, "Master, I want to see again." 42 Jesus said, "Go ahead - see again! Your faith has saved and healed you!" 43 The healing was instant: He looked up, seeing - and then followed Jesus, glorifying God. Everyone in the street joined in, shouting praise to God.
1 Then Jesus entered and walked through Jericho. 2 There was a man there, his name Zacchaeus, the head tax man and quite rich. 3 He wanted desperately to see Jesus, but the crowd was in his way - he was a short man and couldn't see over the crowd. 4 So he ran on ahead and climbed up in a sycamore tree so he could see Jesus when he came by. 5 When Jesus got to the tree, he looked up and said, "Zacchaeus, hurry down. Today is my day to be a guest in your home." 6 Zacchaeus scrambled out of the tree, hardly believing his good luck, delighted to take Jesus home with him. 7 Everyone who saw the incident was indignant and grumped, "What business does he have getting cozy with this crook?" 8 Zacchaeus just stood there, a little stunned. He stammered apologetically, "Master, I give away half my income to the poor - and if I'm caught cheating, I pay four times the damages." 9 Jesus said, "Today is salvation day in this home! Here he is: Zacchaeus, son of Abraham! 10 For the Son of Man came to find and restore the lost." 11 While he had their attention, and because they were getting close to Jerusalem by this time and expectation was building that God's kingdom would appear any minute, he told this story: 12 "There was once a man descended from a royal house who needed to make a long trip back to headquarters to get authorization for his rule and then return. 13 But first he called ten servants together, gave them each a sum of money, and instructed them, 'Operate with this until I return.' 14 "But the citizens there hated him. So they sent a commission with a signed petition to oppose his rule: 'We don't want this man to rule us.' 15 "When he came back bringing the authorization of his rule, he called those ten servants to whom he had given the money to find out how they had done. 16 "The first said, 'Master, I doubled your money.' 17 "He said, 'Good servant! Great work! Because you've been trustworthy in this small job, I'm making you governor of ten towns.' 18 "The second said, 'Master, I made a fifty percent profit on your money.' 19 "He said, 'I'm putting you in charge of five towns.' 20 "The next servant said, 'Master, here's your money safe and sound. I kept it hidden in the cellar. 21 To tell you the truth, I was a little afraid. I know you have high standards and hate sloppiness, and don't suffer fools gladly.' 22 "He said, 'You're right that I don't suffer fools gladly - and you've acted the fool! 23 Why didn't you at least invest the money in securities so I would have gotten a little interest on it?' 24 "Then he said to those standing there, 'Take the money from him and give it to the servant who doubled my stake.' 25 "They said, 'But Master, he already has double . . .' 26 "He said, 'That's what I mean: Risk your life and get more than you ever dreamed of. Play it safe and end up holding the bag. 27 "'As for these enemies of mine who petitioned against my rule, clear them out of here. I don't want to see their faces around here again.'" 28 After saying these things, Jesus headed straight up to Jerusalem. 29 When he got near Bethphage and Bethany at the mountain called Olives, he sent off two of the disciples with instructions: 30 "Go to the village across from you. As soon as you enter, you'll find a colt tethered, one that has never been ridden. Untie it and bring it. 31 If anyone says anything, asks, 'What are you doing?' say, 'His Master needs him.'" 32 The two left and found it just as he said. 33 As they were untying the colt, its owners said, "What are you doing untying the colt?" 34 They said, "His Master needs him." 35 They brought the colt to Jesus. Then, throwing their coats on its back, they helped Jesus get on. 36 As he rode, the people gave him a grand welcome, throwing their coats on the street. 37 Right at the crest, where Mount Olives begins its descent, the whole crowd of disciples burst into enthusiastic praise over all the mighty works they had witnessed: 38 Blessed is he who comes, the king in God's name! All's well in heaven! Glory in the high places! 39 Some Pharisees from the crowd told him, "Teacher, get your disciples under control!" 40 But he said, "If they kept quiet, the stones would do it for them, shouting praise." 41 When the city came into view, he wept over it. 42 "If you had only recognized this day, and everything that was good for you! But now it's too late. 43 In the days ahead your enemies are going to bring up their heavy artillery and surround you, pressing in from every side. 44 They'll smash you and your babies on the pavement. Not one stone will be left intact. All this because you didn't recognize and welcome God's personal visit." 45 Going into the Temple he began to throw out everyone who had set up shop, selling everything and anything. 46 He said, "It's written in Scripture, My house is a house of prayer; You have turned it into a religious bazaar." 47 From then on he taught each day in the Temple. The high priests, religion scholars, and the leaders of the people were trying their best to find a way to get rid of him. 48 But with the people hanging on every word he spoke, they couldn't come up with anything.