Luke 14; Luke 15; Luke 16

1 One Sabbath day, Jesus went to eat in the house of a well-known Pharisee. While he was there, he was being carefully watched. 2 In front of him was a man whose body was badly swollen. 3 Jesus turned to the Pharisees and the authorities on the law. He asked them, "Is it breaking the Law to heal on the Sabbath?" 4 But they remained silent. So Jesus took hold of the man and healed him. Then he sent him away. 5 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?" 6 And they had nothing to say. 7 Jesus noticed how the guests picked the places of honor at the table. So he told them a story. 8 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. 9 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. 10 "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. 11 Anyone who lifts himself up will be brought down. And anyone who is brought down will be lifted up." 12 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. 13 "But when you give a big dinner, invite those who are poor. Also invite those who can't walk, the disabled and the blind. 14 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." 15 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." 16 Jesus replied, "A certain man was preparing a big dinner. He invited many guests. 17 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.' 18 "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.' 19 "Another said, 'I have just bought five pairs of oxen. I'm on my way to try them out. Please excuse me.' 20 "Still another said, 'I just got married, so I can't come.' 21 "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.' 22 " 'Sir,' the servant said, 'what you ordered has been done. But there is still room.' 23 "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. 24 I tell you, not one of those men who were invited will get a taste of my dinner.' " 25 Large crowds were traveling with Jesus. He turned and spoke to them. He said, 26 "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. 27 Anyone who doesn't carry his cross and follow me can't be my disciple. 28 "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. 29 Suppose he starts building and is not able to finish. Then everyone who sees what he has done will laugh at him. 30 They will say, 'This fellow started to build. But he wasn't able to finish.' 31 "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? 32 "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. 33 "In the same way, you must give up everything you have. If you don't, you can't be my disciple. 34 "Salt is good. But suppose it loses its saltiness. How can it be made salty again? 35 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."
1 The tax collectors and "sinners" were all gathering around to hear Jesus. 2 But the Pharisees and the teachers of the law were whispering among themselves. They said, "This man welcomes sinners and eats with them." 3 Then Jesus told them a story. 4 He said, "Suppose one of you has 100 sheep and loses one of them. Won't he leave the 99 in the open country? Won't he go and look for the one lost sheep until he finds it? 5 When he finds it, he will joyfully put it on his shoulders 6 and go home. Then he will call his friends and neighbors together. He will say, 'Be joyful with me. I have found my lost sheep.' 7 "I tell you, it will be the same in heaven. There will be great joy when one sinner turns away from sin. Yes, there will be more joy than for 99 godly people who do not need to turn away from their sins. 8 "Or suppose a woman has ten silver coins and loses one. She will light a lamp and sweep the house. She will search carefully until she finds the coin. 9 And when she finds it, she will call her friends and neighbors together. She will say, 'Be joyful with me. I have found my lost coin.' 10 "I tell you, it is the same in heaven. There is joy in heaven over one sinner who turns away from sin." 11 Jesus continued, "There was a man who had two sons. 12 The younger son spoke to his father. He said, 'Father, give me my share of the family property.' So the father divided his property between his two sons. 13 "Not long after that, the younger son packed up all he had. Then he left for a country far away. There he wasted his money on wild living. 14 He spent everything he had. "Then the whole country ran low on food. So the son didn't have what he needed. 15 He went to work for someone who lived in that country, who sent him to the fields to feed the pigs. 16 The son wanted to fill his stomach with the food the pigs were eating. But no one gave him anything. 17 "Then he began to think clearly again. He said, 'How many of my father's hired workers have more than enough food! But here I am dying from hunger! 18 I will get up and go back to my father. I will say to him, "Father, I have sinned against heaven. And I have sinned against you. 19 I am no longer fit to be called your son. Make me like one of your hired workers." ' 20 So he got up and went to his father. "While the son was still a long way off, his father saw him. He was filled with tender love for his son. He ran to him. He threw his arms around him and kissed him. 21 "The son said to him, 'Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer fit to be called your son.' 22 "But the father said to his servants, 'Quick! Bring the best robe and put it on him. Put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet. 23 Bring the fattest calf and kill it. Let's have a big dinner and celebrate. 24 This son of mine was dead. And now he is alive again. He was lost. And now he is found.' "So they began to celebrate. 25 "The older son was in the field. When he came near the house, he heard music and dancing. 26 So he called one of the servants. He asked him what was going on. 27 " 'Your brother has come home,' the servant replied. 'Your father has killed the fattest calf. He has done this because your brother is back safe and sound.' 28 "The older brother became angry. He refused to go in. So his father went out and begged him. 29 "But he answered his father, 'Look! All these years I've worked like a slave for you. I have always obeyed your orders. You never gave me even a young goat so I could celebrate with my friends. 30 But this son of yours wasted your money with some prostitutes. Now he comes home. And for him you kill the fattest calf!' 31 " 'My son,' the father said, 'you are always with me. Everything I have is yours. 32 But we had to celebrate and be glad. This brother of yours was dead. And now he is alive again. He was lost. And now he is found.' "
1 Jesus told his disciples another story. He said, "There was a rich man who had a manager. Some said that the manager was wasting what the rich man owned. 2 So the rich man told him to come in. He asked him, 'What is this I hear about you? Tell me exactly how you have handled what I own. You can't be my manager any longer.' 3 "The manager said to himself, 'What will I do now? My master is taking away my job. I'm not strong enough to dig. And I'm too ashamed to beg. 4 I know what I'm going to do. I'll do something so that when I lose my job here, people will welcome me into their houses.' 5 "So he called in each person who owed his master something. He asked the first one, 'How much do you owe my master?' 6 " 'I owe 800 gallons of olive oil,' he replied. "The manager told him, 'Take your bill. Sit down quickly and change it to 400 gallons.' 7 "Then he asked the second one, 'And how much do you owe?' " 'I owe 1,000 bushels of wheat,' he replied. "The manager told him, 'Take your bill and change it to 800 bushels.' 8 "The manager had not been honest. But the master praised him for being clever. The people of this world are clever in dealing with those who are like themselves. They are more clever than God's people. 9 "I tell you, use the riches of this world to help others. In that way, you will make friends for yourselves. Then when your riches are gone, you will be welcomed into your eternal home in heaven. 10 "Suppose you can be trusted with very little. Then you can be trusted with a lot. But suppose you are not honest with very little. Then you will not be honest with a lot. 11 "Suppose you have not been worthy of trust in handling worldly wealth. Then who will trust you with true riches? 12 Suppose you have not been worthy of trust in handling someone else's property. Then who will give you property of your own? 13 "No servant can serve two masters at the same time. He will hate one of them and love the other. Or he will be faithful to one and dislike the other. You can't serve God and Money at the same time." 14 The Pharisees loved money. They heard all that Jesus said and made fun of him. 15 Jesus said to them, "You try to make yourselves look good in the eyes of other people. But God knows your hearts. What is worth a great deal among people is hated by God. 16 "The teachings of the Law and the Prophets were preached until John came. Since then, the good news of God's kingdom is being preached. And everyone is trying very hard to enter it. 17 It is easier for heaven and earth to disappear than for the smallest part of a letter to drop out of the Law. 18 "Anyone who divorces his wife and gets married to another woman commits adultery. Also, the man who gets married to a divorced woman commits adultery. 19 "Once there was a rich man. He was dressed in purple cloth and fine linen. He lived an easy life every day. 20 A man named Lazarus was placed at his gate. Lazarus was a beggar. His body was covered with sores. 21 Even dogs came and licked his sores. All he wanted was to eat what fell from the rich man's table. 22 "The time came when the beggar died. The angels carried him to Abraham's side. The rich man also died and was buried. 23 In hell, the rich man was suffering terribly. He looked up and saw Abraham far away. Lazarus was by his side. 24 So the rich man called out, 'Father Abraham! Have pity on me! Send Lazarus to dip the tip of his finger in water. Then he can cool my tongue with it. I am in terrible pain in this fire.' 25 "But Abraham replied, 'Son, remember what happened in your lifetime. You received your good things. Lazarus received bad things. Now he is comforted here, and you are in terrible pain. 26 Besides, a wide space has been placed between us and you. So those who want to go from here to you can't go. And no one can cross over from there to us.' 27 "The rich man answered, 'Then I beg you, father. Send Lazarus to my family. 28 I have five brothers. Let Lazarus warn them. Then they will not come to this place of terrible suffering.' 29 "Abraham replied, 'They have the teachings of Moses and the Prophets. Let your brothers listen to them.' 30 " 'No, father Abraham,' he said. 'But if someone from the dead goes to them, they will turn away from their sins.' 31 "Abraham said to him, 'They do not listen to Moses and the Prophets. So they will not be convinced even if someone rises from the dead.' "
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