Meanwhile the people had come streaming towards Him by tens of thousands, so that they were trampling one another under foot. And now He proceeded to say to His disciples first, "Beware of the yeast of the Pharisees, that is to say, beware of hypocrisy.
There is nothing that is covered up which will not be uncovered, nor hidden which will not become known.
Whatever therefore you have said in the dark, will be heard in the light; and what you have whispered within closed doors will be proclaimed from the house-tops.
"But to you who are my friends I say, "`Be not afraid of those who kill the body and after that can do nothing further.
I will warn you whom to fear: fear him who after killing has power to throw into Gehenna: yes, I say to you, fear him.
Are not five sparrows sold for a penny? and yet not one of them is a thing forgotten in God's sight.
But the very hairs on your heads are all counted. Away with fear: you are more precious than a multitude of sparrows.'
"And I tell you that every man who shall have acknowledged me before men, the Son of Man will also acknowledge before the angels of God.
But he who disowns me before men will be disowned before the angels of God.
"Moreover every one who shall speak against the Son of Man, may obtain forgiveness; but he who blasphemes the Holy Spirit will never obtain forgiveness.
And when they are bringing you before synagogues and magistrates and governors, do not anxiously ponder the manner or matter of your defence, nor what you are to say;
for the Holy Spirit shall teach you at that very moment what you must say."
Just then a man in the crowd appealed to Him. "Rabbi," he said, "tell my brother to give me a share of the inheritance."
"Man," He replied, "who has constituted me a judge or arbitrator over you?"
And to the people He said, "Take care, be on your guard against all covetousness, for no one's life consists in the superabundance of his possessions."
And He spoke a parable to them. "A certain rich man's lands," He said, "yielded abundant crops,
and he debated within himself, saying, "`What am I to do? for I have no place in which to store my crops.'
"And he said to himself, "`This is what I will do: I will pull down my barns and build larger ones, and in them I will store up all my harvest and my wealth;
and I will say to my life, "`Life, you have ample possessions laid up for many years to come: take your ease, eat, drink, enjoy yourself.'
"But God said to him, "`Foolish man, this night your life is demanded from you; and these preparations--for whom shall they be?'
"So is it with him who amasses treasure for himself, but has no riches in God."
Then turning to His disciples He said, "For this reason I say to you, `Dismiss all anxious care for your lives, inquiring what you are to eat, and for your bodies, what you are to put on.'
For life is a greater gift than food, and the body is a greater gift than clothing.
Observe the ravens. They neither sow nor reap, and have neither store-chamber nor barn. And yet God feeds them. How far more precious are you than the birds!
And which of you is able by anxious thought to add a moment to his life?
If then you are unable to do even a very little thing, why be over-anxious about other matters?
Observe the lilies, how they grow. They neither labour nor spin. And yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendour was as beautifully dressed as one of these.
But if God so clothes the vegetation in the fields, that blooms to-day and to-morrow will be thrown into the oven, how much more certainly will He clothe you, you men of feeble faith!
"Therefore, do not be asking what you are to eat nor what you are to drink; and do not waver between hope and fear.
For though the nations of the world pursue these things, as for you, your Father knows that you need them.
But make His Kingdom the object of your pursuit, and these things shall be given you in addition.
"Dismiss your fears, little flock: your Father finds a pleasure in giving you the Kingdom.
Sell your possessions and give alms. Provide yourselves with purses that will never wear out, a treasure inexhaustible in Heaven, where no thief can come nor moth consume.
For where your wealth is stored, there also will your heart be.
"Have your girdles on, and let your lamps be alight;
and be yourselves like men waiting for their master--on the look-out till he shall return from the wedding feast--that, when he comes and knocks, they may open the door instantly.
Blessed are those servants, whom their Master when He comes shall find on the watch. I tell you in solemn truth, that He will tie an apron round Him, and will bid them recline at table while He comes and waits on them.
And whether it be in the second watch or in the third that He comes and finds them so, blessed are they.
Of this be sure, that if the master of the house had known what time the robber was coming, he would have kept awake and not have allowed his house to be broken into.
Be you also ready, for at an hour when you are not expecting Him the Son of Man will come."
"Master," said Peter, "are you addressing this parable to us, or to all alike?"
"Who, then," replied the Lord, "is the faithful and intelligent steward whom his Master will put in charge of His household to serve out their rations at the proper times?
Blessed is that servant whom his Master when He comes shall find so doing.
I tell you truly that He will put him in authority over all His possessions.
But if that servant should say in his heart, `My Master is a long time in coming,' and should begin to beat the menservants and the maids, and to eat and drink, drinking even to excess;
that servant's Master will come on a day when he is not expecting Him and at an hour that he knows not of, and will punish him severely, and make him share the lot of the unfaithful.
And that servant who has been told his Master's will and yet made no preparation and did not obey His will, will receive many lashes.
But he who had not been told it and yet did what deserved the scourge, will receive but few lashes. To whomsoever much has been given, from him much will be required; and to whom much has been entrusted, of him a larger amount will be demanded.
"I came to throw fire upon the earth, and what is my desire? Oh that it were even now kindled!
But I have a baptism to undergo; and how am I pent up till it is accomplished!
Do you suppose that I came to give peace on earth? No, I tell you that I came to bring dissension.
For from this time there will be in one house five persons split into parties. Three will form a party against two and two will form a party against three;
father against son and son against father; mother attacking daughter and daughter her mother, mother-in-law her daughter-in-law, and daughter-in-law her mother-in-law."
Then He said to the people also, "When you see a cloud rising in the west, you immediately say, `There is to be a shower;' and it comes to pass.
And when you see a south wind blowing, you say, `It will be burning hot;' and it comes to pass.
Vain pretenders! You know how to read the aspect of earth and sky. How is it you cannot read this present time?
"Why, too, do you not of yourselves arrive at just conclusions?
For when, with your opponent, you are going before the magistrate, on the way take pains to get out of his power; for fear that, if he should drag you before the judge, the judge may hand you over to the officer of the court, and the officer lodge you in prison.
Never, I tell you, will you get free till you have paid the last farthing."