One day Jesus told his disciples a story to illustrate their need for constant prayer and to show them that they must never give up.
2"There was a judge in a certain city," he said, "who was a godless man with great contempt for everyone. 3A widow of that city came to him repeatedly, appealing for justice against someone who had harmed her. 4The judge ignored her for a while, but eventually she wore him out. 'I fear neither God nor man,' he said to himself, 5'but this woman is driving me crazy. I'm going to see that she gets justice, because she is wearing me out with her constant requests!'"6
Then the Lord said, "Learn a lesson from this evil judge. 7Even he rendered a just decision in the end, so don't you think God will surely give justice to his chosen people who plead with him day and night? Will he keep putting them off? 8I tell you, he will grant justice to them quickly! But when I, the Son of Man, return, how many will I find who have faith?"9
Then Jesus told this story to some who had great self-confidence and scorned everyone else:
10"Two men went to the Temple to pray. One was a Pharisee, and the other was a dishonest tax collector. 11The proud Pharisee stood by himself and prayed this prayer: 'I thank you, God, that I am not a sinner like everyone else, especially like that tax collector over there! For I never cheat, I don't sin, I don't commit adultery, 12I fast twice a week, and I give you a tenth of my income.'13"But the tax collector stood at a distance and dared not even lift his eyes to heaven as he prayed. Instead, he beat his chest in sorrow, saying, 'O God, be merciful to me, for I am a sinner.' 14I tell you, this sinner, not the Pharisee, returned home justified before God. For the proud will be humbled, but the humble will be honored."15
One day some parents brought their little children to Jesus so he could touch them and bless them, but the disciples told them not to bother him.
Then Jesus called for the children and said to the disciples, "Let the children come to me. Don't stop them! For the Kingdom of God belongs to such as these. 17I assure you, anyone who doesn't have their kind of faith will never get into the Kingdom of God."18
Once a religious leader asked Jesus this question: "Good teacher, what should I do to get eternal life?"
19"Why do you call me good?" Jesus asked him. "Only God is truly good. 20But as for your question, you know the commandments: 'Do not commit adultery. Do not murder. Do not steal. Do not testify falsely. Honor your father and mother.'a"21
The man replied, "I've obeyed all these commandments since I was a child."
22"There is still one thing you lack," Jesus said. "Sell all you have and give the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me." 23
But when the man heard this, he became sad because he was very rich.
Jesus watched him go and then said to his disciples, "How hard it is for rich people to get into the Kingdom of God! 25It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the Kingdom of God!"26
Those who heard this said, "Then who in the world can be saved?"
He replied, "What is impossible from a human perspective is possible with God."28
Peter said, "We have left our homes and followed you."
29"Yes," Jesus replied, "and I assure you, everyone who has given up house or wife or brothers or parents or children, for the sake of the Kingdom of God, 30will be repaid many times over in this life, as well as receiving eternal life in the world to come."31
Gathering the twelve disciples around him, Jesus told them, "As you know, we are going to Jerusalem. And when we get there, all the predictions of the ancient prophets concerning the Son of Man will come true. 32He will be handed over to the Romans to be mocked, treated shamefully, and spit upon. 33They will whip him and kill him, but on the third day he will rise again."34
But they didn't understand a thing he said. Its significance was hidden from them, and they failed to grasp what he was talking about.
As they approached Jericho, a blind beggar was sitting beside the road.
When he heard the noise of a crowd going past, he asked what was happening.
They told him that Jesus of Nazareth was going by.
So he began shouting, "Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!"
The crowds ahead of Jesus tried to hush the man, but he only shouted louder, "Son of David, have mercy on me!"
When Jesus heard him, he stopped and ordered that the man be brought to him.
Then Jesus asked the man, "What do you want me to do for you?" "Lord," he pleaded, "I want to see!"
And Jesus said, "All right, you can see! Your faith has healed you." 43
Instantly the man could see, and he followed Jesus, praising God. And all who saw it praised God, too.
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)