Matthew 23; Luke 20; Luke 21

1 Jesus spoke to the crowds and to his disciples. 2 "The teachers of the law and the Pharisees sit in Moses' seat," he said. 3 "So you must obey them. Do everything they tell you. But don't do what they do. They don't practice what they preach. 4 They tie up heavy loads and put them on other people's shoulders. But they themselves aren't willing to lift a finger to move them 5 "Everything they do is done for others to see. On their foreheads and arms they wear little boxes that hold Scripture verses. They make the boxes very wide. And they make the tassels on their coats very long. 6 "They love to sit down in the place of honor at dinners. They also love to have the most important seats in the synagogues. 7 They love to be greeted in the market places. They love it when people call them 'Rabbi.' 8 "But you shouldn't be called 'Rabbi.' You have only one Master, and you are all brothers. 9 Do not call anyone on earth 'father.' You have one Father, and he is in heaven. 10 You shouldn't be called 'teacher.' You have one Teacher, and he is the Christ. 11 The most important person among you will be your servant. 12 Anyone who lifts himself up will be brought down. And anyone who is brought down will be lifted up. 13 "How terrible it will be for you, teachers of the law and Pharisees! You pretenders! You shut the kingdom of heaven in people's faces. You yourselves do not enter. And you will not let those enter who are trying to. 15 "How terrible for you, teachers of the law and Pharisees! You pretenders! You travel everywhere to win one person to your faith. Then you make him twice as much a son of hell as you are. 16 "How terrible for you, blind guides! You say, 'If anyone takes an oath in the name of the temple, it means nothing. But anyone who takes an oath in the name of the gold of the temple must keep the oath.' 17 You are blind and foolish! Which is more important? Is it the gold? Or is it the temple that makes the gold holy? 18 "You also say, 'If anyone takes an oath in the name of the altar, it means nothing. But anyone who takes an oath in the name of the gift on it must keep the oath.' 19 You blind men! Which is more important? Is it the gift? Or is it the altar that makes the gift holy 20 "So anyone who takes an oath in the name of the altar takes an oath in the name of it and of everything on it. 21 And anyone who takes an oath in the name of the temple takes an oath in the name of it and of the One who lives in it 22 And anyone who takes an oath in the name of heaven takes an oath in the name of God's throne and of the One who sits on it. 23 "How terrible for you, teachers of the law and Pharisees! You pretenders! You give God a tenth of your spices, like mint, dill and cummin. But you have not practiced the more important things of the law, like fairness, mercy and faithfulness. You should have practiced the last things without failing to do the first. 24 You blind guides! You remove the smallest insect from your food. But you swallow a whole camel! 25 "How terrible for you, teachers of the law and Pharisees! You pretenders! You clean the outside of the cup and dish. But on the inside you are full of greed. You only want to satisfy yourselves. 26 Blind Pharisee! First clean the inside of the cup and dish. Then the outside will also be clean. 27 "How terrible for you, teachers of the law and Pharisees! You pretenders! You are like tombs that are painted white. They look beautiful on the outside. But on the inside they are full of the bones of the dead. They are also full of other things that are not pure and clean. 28 It is the same with you. On the outside you seem to be doing what is right. But on the inside you are full of what is wrong. You pretend to be what you are not. 29 "How terrible for you, teachers of the law and Pharisees! You pretenders! You build tombs for the prophets. You decorate the graves of the godly. 30 And you say, 'If we had lived in the days of those who lived before us, we wouldn't have done what they did. We wouldn't have helped to kill the prophets.' 31 So you give witness against yourselves. You admit that you are the children of those who murdered the prophets. 32 So finish the sins that those who lived before you started! 33 "You nest of poisonous snakes! How will you escape from being sentenced to hell? 34 So I am sending you prophets, wise men, and teachers. You will kill some of them. You will nail some to a cross. Others you will whip in your synagogues. You will chase them from town to town. 35 "So you will pay for all the godly people's blood spilled on earth. I mean from the blood of godly Abel to the blood of Zechariah, the son of Berekiah. Zechariah was the one you murdered between the temple and the altar. 36 What I'm about to tell you is true. All this will happen to those who are now living 37 "Jerusalem! Jerusalem! You kill the prophets and throw stones in order to kill those who are sent to you. Many times I have wanted to gather your people together. I have wanted to be like a hen who gathers her chicks under her wings. But you would not let me! 38 Look, your house is left empty 39 I tell you, you will not see me again until you say, 'Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord.' "(Psalm 118:26)
1 One day Jesus was teaching the people in the temple courtyard. He was preaching the good news to them. The chief priests and the teachers of the law came up to him. The elders came with them. 2 "Tell us by what authority you are doing these things," they all said. "Who gave you this authority?" 3 Jesus replied, "I will also ask you a question. Tell me, 4 was John's baptism from heaven? Or did it come from men?" 5 They talked to each other about it. They said, "If we say, 'From heaven,' he will ask, 'Why didn't you believe him?' 6 But if we say, 'From men,' all the people will throw stones at us and kill us. They believe that John was a prophet." 7 So they answered Jesus, "We don't know where John's baptism came from." 8 Jesus said, "Then I won't tell you by what authority I am doing these things either." 9 Jesus went on to tell the people a story. "A man planted a vineyard," he said. "He rented it out to some farmers. Then he went away for a long time. 10 "At harvest time he sent a servant to the renters. They were supposed to give him some of the fruit of the vineyard. But the renters beat the servant. Then they sent him away with nothing. 11 So the man sent another servant. They beat that one and treated him badly. They also sent him away with nothing. 12 The man sent a third servant. The renters wounded him and threw him out. 13 "Then the owner of the vineyard said, 'What should I do? I have a son, and I love him. I will send him. Maybe they will respect him.' 14 "But when the renters saw the son, they talked the matter over. 'This is the one who will receive all the owner's property someday,' they said. 'Let's kill him. Then everything will be ours.' 15 So they threw him out of the vineyard. And they killed him. "What will the owner of the vineyard do to the renters? 16 He will come and kill them. He will give the vineyard to others." When the people heard this, they said, "We hope this never happens!" 17 Jesus looked right at them and said, "Here is something I want you to explain the meaning of. It is written, " 'The stone the builders didn't accept has become the most important stone of all.' (Psalm 118:22) 18 Everyone who falls on that stone will be broken to pieces. But the stone will crush anyone it falls on." 19 The teachers of the law and the chief priests looked for a way to arrest Jesus at once. They knew he had told that story against them. But they were afraid of the people. 20 The religious leaders sent spies to keep a close watch on Jesus. The spies pretended to be honest. They hoped they could trap Jesus with something he would say. Then they could hand him over to the power and authority of the governor. 21 So the spies questioned Jesus. "Teacher," they said, "we know that you speak and teach what is right. We know you don't favor one person over another. You teach the way of God truthfully. 22 Is it right for us to pay taxes to Caesar or not?" 23 Jesus saw they were trying to trick him. So he said to them, 24 "Show me a silver coin. Whose picture and words are on it?" 25 "Caesar's," they replied. He said to them, "Then give to Caesar what belongs to Caesar. And give to God what belongs to God." 26 They were not able to trap him with what he had said there in front of all the people. Amazed by his answer, they became silent. 27 The Sadducees do not believe that people rise from the dead. Some of them came to Jesus with a question. 28 "Teacher," they said, "Moses wrote for us about a man's brother who dies. Suppose the brother leaves a wife but has no children. Then the man must get married to the widow. He must have children to carry on his dead brother's name. 29 "There were seven brothers. The first one got married to a woman. He died without leaving any children. 30 The second one got married to her. 31 And then the third one got married to her. One after another, the seven brothers got married to her. They all died. None left any children. 32 Finally, the woman died too. 33 Now then, when the dead rise, whose wife will she be? All seven brothers were married to her." 34 Jesus replied, "People in this world get married. And their parents give them to get married. 35 But it will not be like that when the dead rise. Those who are considered worthy to take part in what happens at that time won't get married. And their parents won't give them to be married. 36 They can't die anymore. They are like the angels. They are God's children. They will be given a new form of life when the dead rise. 37 "Remember the story of Moses and the bush. Even Moses showed that the dead rise. The Lord said to him, 'I am the God of Abraham. I am the God of Isaac. And I am the God of Jacob.'(Exodus 3:6) 38 He is not the God of the dead. He is the God of the living. In his eyes, everyone is alive." 39 Some of the teachers of the law replied, "You have spoken well, teacher!" 40 And no one dared to ask him any more questions. 41 Jesus said to them, "Why do people say that the Christ is the Son of David? 42 David himself says in the Book of Psalms, " 'The Lord said to my Lord, "Sit at my right hand 43 until I put your enemies under your control." ' (Psalm 110:1) 44 David calls him 'Lord.' So how can he be David's son?" 45 All the people were listening. Jesus said to his disciples, 46 "Watch out for the teachers of the law. They like to walk around in long robes. They love to be greeted in the market places. They love to have the most important seats in the synagogues. They also love to have the places of honor at dinners. 47 They take over the houses of widows. They say long prayers to show off. God will punish those men very much."
1 As Jesus looked up, he saw rich people putting their gifts into the temple offering boxes. 2 He also saw a poor widow put in two very small copper coins. 3 "What I'm about to tell you is true," Jesus said. "That poor widow has put in more than all the others. 4 All of those other people gave a lot because they are rich. But even though she is poor, she put in everything. She had nothing left to live on." 5 Some of Jesus' disciples were talking about the temple. They spoke about how it was decorated with beautiful stones and with gifts that honored God. But Jesus asked, 6 "Do you see all this? The time will come when not one stone will be left on top of another. Every stone will be thrown down." 7 "Teacher," they asked, "when will these things happen? And what will be the sign that they are about to take place?" 8 Jesus replied, "Keep watch! Be careful that you are not fooled. Many will come in my name. They will claim, 'I am he!' And they will say, 'The time is near!' Do not follow them. 9 Do not be afraid when you hear about wars and about fighting against rulers. Those things must happen first. But the end will not come right away." 10 Then Jesus said to them, "Nation will fight against nation. Kingdom will fight against kingdom. 11 In many places there will be powerful earthquakes. People will go hungry. There will be terrible sicknesses. Things will happen that will make people afraid. There will be great and miraculous signs from heaven. 12 "But before all this, people will arrest you and treat you badly. They will hand you over to synagogues and prisons. You will be brought to kings and governors. All this will happen to you because of my name. 13 In that way you will be witnesses to them. 14 But make up your mind not to worry ahead of time about how to stand up for yourselves. 15 I will give you words of wisdom. None of your enemies will be able to withstand them or oppose them. 16 "Even your parents, brothers, sisters, relatives and friends will hand you over to the authorities. They will put some of you to death. 17 Everyone will hate you because of me. 18 But not a hair on your head will be harmed. 19 If you stand firm, you will gain life. 20 "A time is coming when you will see armies surround Jerusalem. Then you will know that it will soon be destroyed. 21 Those who are in Judea should then escape to the mountains. Those in the city should get out. Those in the country should not enter the city. 22 This is the time when God will punish Jerusalem. Everything will come true, just as it has been written. 23 "How awful it will be in those days for pregnant women! How awful for nursing mothers! There will be terrible suffering in the land. There will be great anger against those people. 24 Some will be killed by the sword. Others will be taken as prisoners to all the nations. Jerusalem will be overrun by those who aren't Jews until the times of the non-Jews come to an end. 25 "There will be miraculous signs in the sun, moon and stars. The nations of the earth will be in terrible pain. They will be puzzled by the roaring and tossing of the sea. 26 Terror will make people faint. They will be worried about what is happening in the world. The sun, moon and stars will be shaken from their places. 27 "At that time people will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud. He will come with power and great glory. 28 When these things begin to take place, stand up. Hold your head up with joy and hope. The time when you will be set free will be very close." 29 Jesus told them a story. "Look at the fig tree and all the trees," he said. 30 "When you see leaves appear on the branches, you know that summer is near. 31 In the same way, when you see these things happening, you will know that God's kingdom is near. 32 "What I'm about to tell you is true. The people living at that time will certainly not pass away until all these things have happened. 33 Heaven and earth will pass away. But my words will never pass away. 34 "Be careful. If you aren't, your hearts will be loaded down with wasteful living, drunkenness and the worries of life. Then the day the Son of Man returns will close on you like a trap. You will not be expecting it. 35 That day will come upon every person who lives on the whole earth. 36 "Always keep watching. Pray that you will be able to escape all that is about to happen. Also, pray that you will not be judged guilty when the Son of Man comes." 37 Each day Jesus taught at the temple. And each evening he went to spend the night on the hill called the Mount of Olives. 38 All the people came to the temple early in the morning. They wanted to hear Jesus speak.
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