Meanwhile, the crowds grew until thousands were milling about and crushing each other. Jesus turned first to his disciples and warned them, "Beware of the yeast of the Pharisees -- beware of their hypocrisy. 2The time is coming when everything will be revealed; all that is secret will be made public. 3Whatever you have said in the dark will be heard in the light, and what you have whispered behind closed doors will be shouted from the housetops for all to hear!"
4"Dear friends, don't be afraid of those who want to kill you. They can only kill the body; they cannot do any more to you. 5But I'll tell you whom to fear. Fear God, who has the power to kill people and then throw them into hell."
6"What is the price of five sparrows? A couple of pennies? Yet God does not forget a single one of them. 7And the very hairs on your head are all numbered. So don't be afraid; you are more valuable to him than a whole flock of sparrows."
8"And I assure you of this: If anyone acknowledges me publicly here on earth, I, the Son of Man, will openly acknowledge that person in the presence of God's angels. 9But if anyone denies me here on earth, I will deny that person before God's angels. 10Yet those who speak against the Son of Man may be forgiven, but anyone who speaks blasphemies against the Holy Spirit will never be forgiven."
11"And when you are brought to trial in the synagogues and before rulers and authorities, don't worry about what to say in your defense, 12for the Holy Spirit will teach you what needs to be said even as you are standing there."13
Then someone called from the crowd, "Teacher, please tell my brother to divide our father's estate with me."
Jesus replied, "Friend, who made me a judge over you to decide such things as that?" 15
Then he said, "Beware! Don't be greedy for what you don't have. Real life is not measured by how much we own."16
And he gave an illustration: "A rich man had a fertile farm that produced fine crops. 17In fact, his barns were full to overflowing. 18So he said, 'I know! I'll tear down my barns and build bigger ones. Then I'll have room enough to store everything. 19And I'll sit back and say to myself, My friend, you have enough stored away for years to come. Now take it easy! Eat, drink, and be merry!'"
20"But God said to him, 'You fool! You will die this very night. Then who will get it all?'"
21"Yes, a person is a fool to store up earthly wealth but not have a rich relationship with God."22
Then turning to his disciples, Jesus said, "So I tell you, don't worry about everyday life -- whether you have enough food to eat or clothes to wear. 23For life consists of far more than food and clothing. 24Look at the ravens. They don't need to plant or harvest or put food in barns because God feeds them. And you are far more valuable to him than any birds! 25Can all your worries add a single moment to your life? Of course not! 26And if worry can't do little things like that, what's the use of worrying over bigger things?"
27"Look at the lilies and how they grow. They don't work or make their clothing, yet Solomon in all his glory was not dressed as beautifully as they are. 28And if God cares so wonderfully for flowers that are here today and gone tomorrow, won't he more surely care for you? You have so little faith! 29And don't worry about food -- what to eat and drink. Don't worry whether God will provide it for you. 30These things dominate the thoughts of most people, but your Father already knows your needs. 31He will give you all you need from day to day if you make the Kingdom of God your primary concern."
32"So don't be afraid, little flock. For it gives your Father great happiness to give you the Kingdom.33"Sell what you have and give to those in need. This will store up treasure for you in heaven! And the purses of heaven have no holes in them. Your treasure will be safe -- no thief can steal it and no moth can destroy it. 34Wherever your treasure is, there your heart and thoughts will also be."
35"Be dressed for service and well prepared, 36as though you were waiting for your master to return from the wedding feast. Then you will be ready to open the door and let him in the moment he arrives and knocks. 37There will be special favor for those who are ready and waiting for his return. I tell you, he himself will seat them, put on an apron, and serve them as they sit and eat! 38He may come in the middle of the night or just before dawn. a But whenever he comes, there will be special favor for his servants who are ready!"
39"Know this: A homeowner who knew exactly when a burglar was coming would not permit the house to be broken into. 40You must be ready all the time, for the Son of Man will come when least expected."41
Peter asked, "Lord, is this illustration just for us or for everyone?"
And the Lord replied, "I'm talking to any faithful, sensible servant to whom the master gives the responsibility of managing his household and feeding his family. 43If the master returns and finds that the servant has done a good job, there will be a reward. 44I assure you, the master will put that servant in charge of all he owns. 45But if the servant thinks, 'My master won't be back for a while,' and begins oppressing the other servants, partying, and getting drunk -- 46well, the master will return unannounced and unexpected. He will tear the servant apart and banish him with the unfaithful. 47The servant will be severely punished, for though he knew his duty, he refused to do it."
48"But people who are not aware that they are doing wrong will be punished only lightly. Much is required from those to whom much is given, and much more is required from those to whom much more is given."
49"I have come to bring fire to the earth, and I wish that my task were already completed! 50There is a terrible baptism ahead of me, and I am under a heavy burden until it is accomplished. 51Do you think I have come to bring peace to the earth? No, I have come to bring strife and division! 52From now on families will be split apart, three in favor of me, and two against -- or the other way around. 53There will be a division between father and son, mother and daughter, mother-in-law and daughter-in-law."54
Then Jesus turned to the crowd and said, "When you see clouds beginning to form in the west, you say, 'Here comes a shower.' And you are right. 55When the south wind blows, you say, 'Today will be a scorcher.' And it is. 56You hypocrites! You know how to interpret the appearance of the earth and the sky, but you can't interpret these present times."
57"Why can't you decide for yourselves what is right? 58If you are on the way to court and you meet your accuser, try to settle the matter before it reaches the judge, or you may be sentenced and handed over to an officer and thrown in jail. 59And if that happens, you won't be free again until you have paid the last penny."
Scripture quotations marked NLT are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright 1996. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Wheaton, Illinois 60189. All rights reserved. (New Living Translation - The Bible Online)