Then Jesus left Capernaum and went southward to the region of Judea and into the area east of the Jordan River. As always there were the crowds, and as usual he taught them.
Some Pharisees came and tried to trap him with this question: "Should a man be allowed to divorce his wife?"
3"What did Moses say about divorce?" Jesus asked them.
"Well, he permitted it," they replied. "He said a man merely has to write his wife an official letter of divorce and send her away." a5
But Jesus responded, "He wrote those instructions only as a concession to your hard-hearted wickedness. 6But God's plan was seen from the beginning of creation, for 'He made them male and female.' b7'This explains why a man leaves his father and mother and is joined to his wife, c8and the two are united into one.' d Since they are no longer two but one, 9let no one separate them, for God has joined them together."10
Later, when he was alone with his disciples in the house, they brought up the subject again.
He told them, "Whoever divorces his wife and marries someone else commits adultery against her. 12And if a woman divorces her husband and remarries, she commits adultery."13
One day some parents brought their children to Jesus so he could touch them and bless them, but the disciples told them not to bother him.
But when Jesus saw what was happening, he was very displeased with his disciples. He said to them, "Let the children come to me. Don't stop them! For the Kingdom of God belongs to such as these. 15I assure you, anyone who doesn't have their kind of faith will never get into the Kingdom of God." 16
Then he took the children into his arms and placed his hands on their heads and blessed them.
As he was starting out on a trip, a man came running up to Jesus, knelt down, and asked, "Good Teacher, what should I do to get eternal life?"
18"Why do you call me good?" Jesus asked. "Only God is truly good.19But as for your question, you know the commandments: 'Do not murder. Do not commit adultery. Do not steal. Do not testify falsely. Do not cheat. Honor your father and mother.' e "20
"Teacher," the man replied, "I've obeyed all these commandments since I was a child."
Jesus felt genuine love for this man as he looked at him. "You lack only one thing," he told him. "Go and sell all you have and give the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me." 22
At this, the man's face fell, and he went sadly away because he had many possessions.
Jesus looked around and said to his disciples, "How hard it is for rich people to get into the Kingdom of God!" 24
This amazed them. But Jesus said again, "Dear children, it is very hard f 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
The disciples were astounded. "Then who in the world can be saved?" they asked.
Jesus looked at them intently and said, "Humanly speaking, it is impossible. But not with God. Everything is possible with God."28
Then Peter began to mention all that he and the other disciples had left behind. "We've given up everything to follow you," he said.
And Jesus replied, "I assure you that everyone who has given up house or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or property, for my sake and for the Good News, 30will receive now in return, a hundred times over, houses, brothers, sisters, mothers, children, and property -- with persecutions. And in the world to come they will have eternal life. 31But many who seem to be important now will be the least important then, and those who are considered least here will be the greatest then. g "32
They were now on the way to Jerusalem, and Jesus was walking ahead of them. The disciples were filled with dread and the people following behind were overwhelmed with fear. Taking the twelve disciples aside, Jesus once more began to describe everything that was about to happen to him in Jerusalem.
33"When we get to Jerusalem," he told them, "the Son of Man will be betrayed to the leading priests and the teachers of religious law. They will sentence him to die and hand him over to the Romans. 34They will mock him, spit on him, beat him with their whips, and kill him, but after three days he will rise again."35
Then James and John, the sons of Zebedee, came over and spoke to him. "Teacher," they said, "we want you to do us a favor."
36"What is it?" he asked.
"In your glorious Kingdom, we want to sit in places of honor next to you," they said, "one at your right and the other at your left."
But Jesus answered, "You don't know what you are asking! Are you able to drink from the bitter cup of sorrow I am about to drink? Are you able to be baptized with the baptism of suffering I must be baptized with?"39
"Oh yes," they said, "we are able!" And Jesus said, "You will indeed drink from my cup and be baptized with my baptism, 40but I have no right to say who will sit on the thrones next to mine. God has prepared those places for the ones he has chosen."41
When the ten other disciples discovered what James and John had asked, they were indignant.
So Jesus called them together and said, "You know that in this world kings are tyrants, and officials lord it over the people beneath them. 43But among you it should be quite different. Whoever wants to be a leader among you must be your servant, 44and whoever wants to be first must be the slave of all. 45For even I, the Son of Man, came here not to be served but to serve others, and to give my life as a ransom for many."46
And so they reached Jericho. Later, as Jesus and his disciples left town, a great crowd was following. A blind beggar named Bartimaeus (son of Timaeus) was sitting beside the road as Jesus was going by.
When Bartimaeus heard that Jesus from Nazareth was nearby, he began to shout out, "Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!"
"Be quiet!" some of the people yelled at him.But he only shouted louder, "Son of David, have mercy on me!"
When Jesus heard him, he stopped and said, "Tell him to come here." So they called the blind man. "Cheer up," they said. "Come on, he's calling you!"
Bartimaeus threw aside his coat, jumped up, and came to Jesus.
51"What do you want me to do for you?" Jesus asked. "Teacher," the blind man said, "I want to see!"
And Jesus said to him, "Go your way. Your faith has healed you." And instantly the blind man could see! Then he followed Jesus down the road. h
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)