At that time some people reported to Jesus about some Galileans whom Pilate had executed while they were sacrificing animals.
Jesus replied to them, "Do you think that this happened to them because they were more sinful than other people from Galilee?
No! I can guarantee that they weren't. But if you don't turn to God and change the way you think and act, then you, too, will all die.
What about those 18 people who died when the tower at Siloam fell on them? Do you think that they were more sinful than other people living in Jerusalem?
No! I can guarantee that they weren't. But if you don't turn to God and change the way you think and act, then you, too, will all die."
Then Jesus used this illustration: "A man had a fig tree growing in his vineyard. He went to look for fruit on the tree but didn't find any.
He said to the gardener, 'For the last three years I've come to look for figs on this fig tree but haven't found any. Cut it down! Why should it use up [good] soil?'
"The gardener replied, 'Sir, let it stand for one more year. I'll dig around it and fertilize it.
Maybe next year it'll have figs. But if not, then cut it down.'"
Jesus was teaching in a synagogue on the day of worship.
A woman who was possessed by a spirit was there. The spirit had disabled her for 18 years. She was hunched over and couldn't stand up straight.
When Jesus saw her, he called her to come to him and said, "Woman, you are free from your disability."
He placed his hands on her, and she immediately stood up straight and praised God.
The synagogue leader was irritated with Jesus for healing on the day of worship. The leader told the crowd, "There are six days when work can be done. So come on one of those days to be healed. Don't come on the day of worship."
The Lord said, "You hypocrites! Don't each of you free your ox or donkey on the day of worship? Don't you then take it out of its stall to give it some water to drink?
Now, here is a descendant of Abraham. Satan has kept her in this condition for 18 years. Isn't it right to free her on the day of worship?"
As he said this, everyone who opposed him felt ashamed. But the entire crowd was happy about the miraculous things he was doing.
Jesus asked, "What is the kingdom of God like? What can I compare it to?
It's like a mustard seed that someone planted in a garden. It grew and became a tree, and the birds nested in its branches."
He asked again, "What can I compare the kingdom of God to?
It's like yeast that a woman mixed into a large amount of flour until the yeast worked its way through all the dough."
Then Jesus traveled and taught in one city and village after another on his way to Jerusalem.
Someone asked him, "Sir, are only a few people going to be saved?" He answered,
"Try hard to enter through the narrow door. I can guarantee that many will try to enter, but they won't succeed.
After the homeowner gets up and closes the door, [it's too late]. You can stand outside, knock at the door, and say, 'Sir, open the door for us!' But he will answer you, 'I don't know who you are.'
Then you will say, 'We ate and drank with you, and you taught in our streets.'
But he will tell you, 'I don't know who you are. Get away from me, all you evil people.'
Then you will cry and be in extreme pain. That's what you'll do when you see Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and all the prophets. They'll be in the kingdom of God, but you'll be thrown out.
People will come from all over the world and will eat in the kingdom of God.
Some who are last will be first, and some who are first will be last."
At that time some Pharisees told Jesus, "Get out of here, and go somewhere else! Herod wants to kill you."
Jesus said to them, "Tell that fox that I will force demons out of people and heal people today and tomorrow. I will finish my work on the third day.
But I must be on my way today, tomorrow, and the next day. It's not possible for a prophet to die outside Jerusalem.
"Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you kill the prophets and stone to death those sent to you! How often I wanted to gather your children together the way a hen gathers her chicks under her wings! But you were not willing!
Your house will be abandoned. I can guarantee that you will not see me again until you say, 'Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord!'"