One Sabbath day, Jesus went to eat in the house of a well-known Pharisee. While he was there, he was being carefully watched.
In front of him was a man whose body was badly swollen.
Jesus turned to the Pharisees and the authorities on the law. He asked them, "Is it breaking the Law to heal on the Sabbath?"
But they remained silent. So Jesus took hold of the man and healed him. Then he sent him away.
He asked them another question. He said, "Suppose one of you has a son or an ox that falls into a well on the Sabbath day. Wouldn't you pull him out right away?"
And they had nothing to say.
Jesus noticed how the guests picked the places of honor at the table. So he told them a story.
He said, "Suppose someone invites you to a wedding feast. Do not take the place of honor. A person more important than you may have been invited.
If so, the host who invited both of you will come to you. He will say, 'Give this person your seat.' Then you will be filled with shame. You will have to take the least important place.
"But when you are invited, take the lowest place. Then your host will come over to you. He will say, 'Friend, move up to a better place.' Then you will be honored in front of all the other guests.
Anyone who lifts himself up will be brought down. And anyone who is brought down will be lifted up."
Then Jesus spoke to his host. "Suppose you give a lunch or a dinner," he said. "Do not invite your friends, your brothers or sisters, or your relatives, or your rich neighbors. If you do, they may invite you to eat with them. So you will be paid back.
"But when you give a big dinner, invite those who are poor. Also invite those who can't walk, the disabled and the blind.
Then you will be blessed. Your guests can't pay you back. But you will be paid back when those who are right with God rise from the dead."
One of the people at the table with Jesus heard him say those things. So he said to Jesus, "Blessed is the one who will eat at the feast in God's kingdom."
Jesus replied, "A certain man was preparing a big dinner. He invited many guests.
Then the day of the dinner arrived. He sent his servant to those who had been invited. The servant told them, 'Come. Everything is ready now.'
"But they all had the same idea. They began to make excuses. The first one said, 'I have just bought a field. I have to go and see it. Please excuse me.'
"Another said, 'I have just bought five pairs of oxen. I'm on my way to try them out. Please excuse me.'
"Still another said, 'I just got married, so I can't come.'
"The servant came back and reported this to his master. "Then the owner of the house became angry. He ordered his servant, 'Go out quickly into the streets and lanes of the town. Bring in those who are poor. Also bring those who can't walk, the blind and the disabled.'
" 'Sir,' the servant said, 'what you ordered has been done. But there is still room.'
"Then the master told his servant, 'Go out to the roads. Go out to the country lanes. Make the people come in. I want my house to be full.
I tell you, not one of those men who were invited will get a taste of my dinner.' "
Large crowds were traveling with Jesus. He turned and spoke to them. He said,
"Anyone who comes to me must hate his father and mother. He must hate his wife and children. He must hate his brothers and sisters. And he must hate even his own life. Unless he does, he can't be my disciple.
Anyone who doesn't carry his cross and follow me can't be my disciple.
"Suppose someone wants to build a tower. Won't he sit down first and figure out how much it will cost? Then he will see whether he has enough money to finish it.
Suppose he starts building and is not able to finish. Then everyone who sees what he has done will laugh at him.
They will say, 'This fellow started to build. But he wasn't able to finish.'
"Or suppose a king is about to go to war against another king. And suppose he has 10,000 men, while the other has 20,000 coming against him. Won't he first sit down and think about whether he can win?
"And suppose he decides he can't win. Then he will send some men to ask how peace can be made. He will do this while the other king is still far away.
"In the same way, you must give up everything you have. If you don't, you can't be my disciple.
"Salt is good. But suppose it loses its saltiness. How can it be made salty again?
It is not good for the soil. And it is not good for the trash pile. It will be thrown out. "Those who have ears should listen."