One Sabbath day as Jesus was walking through some grainfields, his disciples broke off heads of wheat, rubbed off the husks in their hands, and ate the grains.
But some Pharisees said, "You shouldn't be doing that! It's against the law to work by harvesting grain on the Sabbath."
Jesus replied, "Haven't you ever read in the Scriptures what King David did when he and his companions were hungry? 4He went into the house of God, ate the special bread reserved for the priests alone, and then gave some to his friends. That was breaking the law, too." 5
And Jesus added, "I, the Son of Man, am master even of the Sabbath."6
On another Sabbath day, a man with a deformed right hand was in the synagogue while Jesus was teaching.
The teachers of religious law and the Pharisees watched closely to see whether Jesus would heal the man on the Sabbath, because they were eager to find some legal charge to bring against him.
But Jesus knew their thoughts. He said to the man with the deformed hand, "Come and stand here where everyone can see." So the man came forward.
Then Jesus said to his critics, "I have a question for you. Is it legal to do good deeds on the Sabbath, or is it a day for doing harm? Is this a day to save life or to destroy it?" 10
He looked around at them one by one and then said to the man, "Reach out your hand." The man reached out his hand, and it became normal again!
At this, the enemies of Jesus were wild with rage and began to discuss what to do with him.
One day soon afterward Jesus went to a mountain to pray, and he prayed to God all night.
At daybreak he called together all of his disciples and chose twelve of them to be apostles. Here are their names:
Simon (he also called him Peter), Andrew (Peter's brother), James, John, Philip, Bartholomew,
Matthew, Thomas, James (son of Alphaeus), Simon (the Zealot),
Judas (son of James), Judas Iscariot (who later betrayed him).
When they came down the slopes of the mountain, the disciples stood with Jesus on a large, level area, surrounded by many of his followers and by the crowds. There were people from all over Judea and from Jerusalem and from as far north as the seacoasts of Tyre and Sidon.
They had come to hear him and to be healed, and Jesus cast out many evil spirits.
Everyone was trying to touch him, because healing power went out from him, and they were all cured.
Then Jesus turned to his disciples and said, "God blesses you who are poor, for the Kingdom of God is given to you. 21God blesses you who are hungry now, for you will be satisfied. God blesses you who weep now, for the time will come when you will laugh with joy. 22God blesses you who are hated and excluded and mocked and cursed because you are identified with me, the Son of Man. "
23"When that happens, rejoice! Yes, leap for joy! For a great reward awaits you in heaven. And remember, the ancient prophets were also treated that way by your ancestors."
24"What sorrows await you who are rich, for you have your only happiness now. 25What sorrows await you who are satisfied and prosperous now, for a time of awful hunger is before you. What sorrows await you who laugh carelessly, for your laughing will turn to mourning and sorrow. 26What sorrows await you who are praised by the crowds, for their ancestors also praised false prophets. "
27"But if you are willing to listen, I say, love your enemies. Do good to those who hate you. 28Pray for the happiness of those who curse you. Pray for those who hurt you. 29If someone slaps you on one cheek, turn the other cheek. If someone demands your coat, offer your shirt also. 30Give what you have to anyone who asks you for it; and when things are taken away from you, don't try to get them back. 31Do for others as you would like them to do for you."
32"Do you think you deserve credit merely for loving those who love you? Even the sinners do that! 33And if you do good only to those who do good to you, is that so wonderful? Even sinners do that much! 34And if you lend money only to those who can repay you, what good is that? Even sinners will lend to their own kind for a full return."
35"Love your enemies! Do good to them! Lend to them! And don't be concerned that they might not repay. Then your reward from heaven will be very great, and you will truly be acting as children of the Most High, for he is kind to the unthankful and to those who are wicked. 36You must be compassionate, just as your Father is compassionate."
37"Stop judging others, and you will not be judged. Stop criticizing others, or it will all come back on you. If you forgive others, you will be forgiven. 38If you give, you will receive. Your gift will return to you in full measure, pressed down, shaken together to make room for more, and running over. Whatever measure you use in giving -- large or small -- it will be used to measure what is given back to you."39Then Jesus gave the following illustration: "What good is it for one blind person to lead another? The first one will fall into a ditch and pull the other down also. 40A student is not greater than the teacher. But the student who works hard will become like the teacher."
41"And why worry about a speck in your friend's eye a when you have a log in your own? 42How can you think of saying, 'Friend, b let me help you get rid of that speck in your eye,' when you can't see past the log in your own eye? Hypocrite! First get rid of the log from your own eye; then perhaps you will see well enough to deal with the speck in your friend's eye."
43"A good tree can't produce bad fruit, and a bad tree can't produce good fruit. 44A tree is identified by the kind of fruit it produces. Figs never grow on thornbushes or grapes on bramble bushes. 45A good person produces good deeds from a good heart, and an evil person produces evil deeds from an evil heart. Whatever is in your heart determines what you say."
46"So why do you call me 'Lord,' when you won't obey me? 47I will show you what it's like when someone comes to me, listens to my teaching, and then obeys me. 48It is like a person who builds a house on a strong foundation laid upon the underlying rock. When the floodwaters rise and break against the house, it stands firm because it is well built. 49But anyone who listens and doesn't obey is like a person who builds a house without a foundation. When the floods sweep down against that house, it will crumble into a heap of ruins."
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)