Bible Society of South Africa

To The Word – Day 88

Luke 13–18

Bible text(s)

Turn from your Sins or Die

1At that time some people were there who told Jesus about the Galileans whom Pilate had killed while they were offering sacrifices to God. 2Jesus answered them, “Because those Galileans were killed in that way, do you think it proves that they were worse sinners than all the other Galileans? 3No indeed! And I tell you that if you do not turn from your sins, you will all die as they did. 4What about those eighteen people in Siloam who were killed when the tower fell on them? Do you suppose this proves that they were worse than all the other people living in Jerusalem? 5No indeed! And I tell you that if you do not turn from your sins, you will all die as they did.”

The Parable of the Unfruitful Fig Tree

6Then Jesus told them this parable: “There was once a man who had a fig tree growing in his vineyard. He went looking for figs on it but found none. 7So he said to his gardener, ‘Look, for three years I have been coming here looking for figs on this fig tree, and I haven't found any. Cut it down! Why should it go on using up the soil?’ 8But the gardener answered, ‘Leave it alone, sir, just one more year; I will dig round it and put in some manure. 9Then if the tree bears figs next year, so much the better; if not, then you can have it cut down.’ ”

Jesus Heals a Crippled Woman on the Sabbath

10One Sabbath Jesus was teaching in a synagogue. 11A woman there had an evil spirit that had made her ill for eighteen years; she was bent over and could not straighten up at all. 12When Jesus saw her, he called out to her, “Woman, you are free from your illness!” 13He placed his hands on her, and at once she straightened herself up and praised God.

14The official of the synagogue was angry that Jesus had healed on the Sabbath, so he spoke up and said to the people, “There are six days in which we should work; so come during those days and be healed, but not on the Sabbath!”

15The Lord answered him, “You hypocrites! Any one of you would untie your ox or your donkey from the stall and take it out to give it water on the Sabbath. 16Now here is this descendant of Abraham whom Satan has kept bound up for eighteen years; should she not be released on the Sabbath?” 17His answer made his enemies ashamed of themselves, while the people rejoiced over all the wonderful things that he did.

The Parable of the Mustard Seed

(Mt 13.31–32; Mk 4.30–32)

18Jesus asked, “What is the Kingdom of God like? What shall I compare it with? 19It is like this. A man takes a mustard seed and sows it in his field. The plant grows and becomes a tree, and the birds make their nests in its branches.”

The Parable of the Yeast

(Mt 13.33)

20Again Jesus asked, “What shall I compare the Kingdom of God with? 21It is like this. A woman takes some yeast and mixes it with forty litres of flour until the whole batch of dough rises.”

The Narrow Door

(Mt 7.13–14, 21–23)

22Jesus went through towns and villages, teaching the people and making his way towards Jerusalem. 23Someone asked him, “Sir, will just a few people be saved?”

Jesus answered them, 24“Do your best to go in through the narrow door; because many people will surely try to go in but will not be able. 25The master of the house will get up and close the door; then when you stand outside and begin to knock on the door and say, ‘Open the door for us, sir!’ he will answer you, ‘I don't know where you come from!’ 26Then you will answer, ‘We ate and drank with you; you taught in our town!’ 27But he will say again, ‘I don't know where you come from. Get away from me, all you wicked people!’ 28How you will cry and grind your teeth when you see Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and all the prophets in the Kingdom of God, while you are thrown out! 29People will come from the east and the west, from the north and the south, and sit down at the feast in the Kingdom of God. 30Then those who are now last will be first, and those who are now first will be last.”

Jesus' Love for Jerusalem

(Mt 23.37–39)

31At that same time some Pharisees came to Jesus and said to him, “You must get out of here and go somewhere else, because Herod wants to kill you.”

32Jesus answered them, “Go and tell that fox: ‘I am driving out demons and performing cures today and tomorrow, and on the third day I shall finish my work.’ 33Yet I must be on my way today, tomorrow, and the next day; it is not right for a prophet to be killed anywhere except in Jerusalem.

34“Jerusalem, Jerusalem! You kill the prophets, you stone the messengers God has sent you! How many times have I wanted to put my arms round all your people, just as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you would not let me! 35And so your Temple will be abandoned. I assure you that you will not see me until the time comes when you say, ‘God bless him who comes in the name of the Lord.’ ”

Jesus Heals a Sick Man

1One Sabbath Jesus went to eat a meal at the home of one of the leading Pharisees; and people were watching Jesus closely. 2A man whose legs and arms were swollen came to Jesus, 3and Jesus asked the teachers of the Law and the Pharisees, “Does our Law allow healing on the Sabbath or not?”

4But they would not say anything. Jesus took the man, healed him, and sent him away. 5Then he said to them, “If any one of you had a son or an ox that happened to fall in a well on a Sabbath, would you not pull them out at once on the Sabbath itself?”

6But they were not able to answer him about this.

Humility and Hospitality

7Jesus noticed how some of the guests were choosing the best places, so he told this parable to all of them: 8“When someone invites you to a wedding feast, do not sit down in the best place. It could happen that someone more important than you has been invited, 9and your host, who invited both of you, would have to come and say to you, ‘Let him have this place.’ Then you would be embarrassed and have to sit in the lowest place. 10Instead, when you are invited, go and sit in the lowest place, so that your host will come to you and say, ‘Come on up, my friend, to a better place.’ This will bring you honour in the presence of all the other guests. 11For all those who make themselves great will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be made great.”

12Then Jesus said to his host, “When you give a lunch or a dinner, do not invite your friends or your brothers or your relatives or your rich neighbours — for they will invite you back, and in this way you will be paid for what you did. 13When you give a feast, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, and the blind; 14and you will be blessed, because they are not able to pay you back. God will repay you on the day the good people rise from death.”

The Parable of the Great Feast

(Mt 22.1–10)

15When one of the men sitting at table heard this, he said to Jesus, “How happy are those who will sit down at the feast in the Kingdom of God!”

16Jesus said to him, “There was once a man who was giving a great feast to which he invited many people. 17When it was time for the feast, he sent his servant to tell his guests, ‘Come, everything is ready!’ 18But they all began, one after another, to make excuses. The first one told the servant, ‘I have bought a field and must go and look at it; please accept my apologies.’ 19Another one said, ‘I have bought five pairs of oxen and am on my way to try them out; please accept my apologies.’ 20Another one said, ‘I have just got married, and for that reason I cannot come.’

21“The servant went back and told all this to his master. The master was furious and said to his servant, ‘Hurry out to the streets and alleys of the town, and bring back the poor, the crippled, the blind, and the lame.’ 22Soon the servant said, ‘Your order has been carried out, sir, but there is room for more.’ 23So the master said to the servant, ‘Go out to the country roads and lanes and make people come in, so that my house will be full. 24I tell you all that none of those who were invited will taste my dinner!’ ”

The Cost of Being a Disciple

(Mt 10.37–38)

25Once when large crowds of people were going along with Jesus, he turned and said to them, 26“Those who come to me cannot be my disciples unless they love me more than they love father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, and themselves as well. 27Those who do not carry their own cross and come after me cannot be my disciples.

28“If one of you is planning to build a tower, you sit down first and work out what it will cost, to see if you have enough money to finish the job. 29If you don't, you will not be able to finish the tower after laying the foundation; and all who see what happened will laugh at you. 30‘This man began to build but can't finish the job!’ they will say.

31“If a king goes out with 10,000 men to fight another king who comes against him with 20,000 men, he will sit down first and decide if he is strong enough to face that other king. 32If he isn't, he will send messengers to meet the other king, to ask for terms of peace while he is still a long way off. 33In the same way,” concluded Jesus, “none of you can be my disciple unless you give up everything you have.

Worthless Salt

(Mt 5.13; Mk 9.50)

34“Salt is good, but if it loses its saltiness, there is no way to make it salty again. 35It is no good for the soil or for the manure heap; it is thrown away. Listen, then, if you have ears!”

The Lost Sheep

(Mt 18.12–14)

1One day when many tax collectors and other outcasts came to listen to Jesus, 2the Pharisees and the teachers of the Law started grumbling, “This man welcomes outcasts and even eats with them!” 3So Jesus told them this parable:

4“Suppose one of you has a hundred sheep and loses one of them — what do you do? You leave the other 99 sheep in the pasture and go looking for the one that got lost until you find it. 5When you find it, you are so happy that you put it on your shoulders 6and carry it back home. Then you call your friends and neighbours together and say to them, ‘I am so happy I found my lost sheep. Let us celebrate!’ 7In the same way, I tell you, there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over 99 respectable people who do not need to repent.

The Lost Coin

8“Or suppose a woman who has ten silver coins loses one of them — what does she do? She lights a lamp, sweeps her house, and looks carefully everywhere until she finds it. 9When she finds it, she calls her friends and neighbours together, and says to them, ‘I am so happy I found the coin I lost. Let us celebrate!’ 10In the same way, I tell you, the angels of God rejoice over one sinner who repents.”

The Lost Son

11Jesus went on to say, “There was once a man who had two sons. 12The younger one said to him, ‘Father, give me my share of the property now.’ So the man divided his property between his two sons. 13After a few days the younger son sold his part of the property and left home with the money. He went to a country far away, where he wasted his money in reckless living. 14He spent everything he had. Then a severe famine spread over that country, and he was left without a thing. 15So he went to work for one of the citizens of that country, who sent him out to his farm to take care of the pigs. 16He wished he could fill himself with the bean pods the pigs ate, but no one gave him anything to eat. 17At last he came to his senses and said, ‘All my father's hired workers have more than they can eat, and here I am about to starve! 18I will get up and go to my father and say, Father, I have sinned against God and against you. 19I am no longer fit to be called your son; treat me as one of your hired workers.’ 20So he got up and started back to his father.

“He was still a long way from home when his father saw him; his heart was filled with pity, and he ran, threw his arms round his son, and kissed him. 21‘Father,’ the son said, ‘I have sinned against God and against you. I am no longer fit to be called your son.’ 22But the father called his servants. ‘Hurry!’ he said. ‘Bring the best robe and put it on him. Put a ring on his finger and shoes on his feet. 23Then go and get the prize calf and kill it, and let us celebrate with a feast! 24For this son of mine was dead, but now he is alive; he was lost, but now he has been found.’ And so the feasting began.

25“In the meantime the elder son was out in the field. On his way back, when he came close to the house, he heard the music and dancing. 26So he called one of the servants and asked him, ‘What's going on?’ 27‘Your brother has come back home,’ the servant answered, ‘and your father has killed the prize calf, because he got him back safe and sound.’

28“The elder brother was so angry that he would not go into the house; so his father came out and begged him to come in. 29But he answered his father, ‘Look, all these years I have worked for you like a slave, and I have never disobeyed your orders. What have you given me? Not even a goat for me to have a feast with my friends! 30But this son of yours wasted all your property on prostitutes, and when he comes back home, you kill the prize calf for him!’ 31‘My son,’ the father answered, ‘you are always here with me, and everything I have is yours. 32But we had to celebrate and be happy, because your brother was dead, but now he is alive; he was lost, but now he has been found.’ ”

The Shrewd Manager

1Jesus said to his disciples, “There was once a rich man who had a servant who managed his property. The rich man was told that the manager was wasting his master's money, 2so he called him in and said, ‘What is this I hear about you? Hand in a complete account of your handling of my property, because you cannot be my manager any longer.’ 3The servant said to himself, ‘My master is going to dismiss me from my job. What shall I do? I am not strong enough to dig ditches, and I am ashamed to beg. 4Now I know what I will do! Then when my job is gone, I shall have friends who will welcome me in their homes.’

5“So he called in all the people who were in debt to his master. He asked the first one, ‘How much do you owe my master?’ 6‘100 barrels of olive oil,’ he answered. ‘Here is your account,’ the manager told him; ‘sit down and write fifty.’ 7Then he asked another one, ‘And you — how much do you owe?’ ‘A thousand sacks of wheat,’ he answered. ‘Here is your account,’ the manager told him; ‘write 800.’

8“As a result the master of this dishonest manager praised him for doing such a shrewd thing; because the people of this world are much more shrewd in handling their affairs than the people who belong to the light.”

9And Jesus went on to say, “And so I tell you: make friends for yourselves with worldly wealth, so that when it gives out, you will be welcomed in the eternal home. 10Whoever is faithful in small matters will be faithful in large ones; whoever is dishonest in small matters will be dishonest in large ones. 11If, then, you have not been faithful in handling worldly wealth, how can you be trusted with true wealth? 12And if you have not been faithful with what belongs to someone else, who will give you what belongs to you?

13“No servant can be the slave of two masters; such a servant will hate one and love the other or will be loyal to one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money.”

Some Sayings of Jesus

(Mt 11.12–13; 5.31–32; Mk 10.11–12)

14When the Pharisees heard all this, they sneered at Jesus, because they loved money. 15Jesus said to them, “You are the ones who make yourselves look right in other people's sight, but God knows your hearts. For the things that are considered of great value by human beings are worth nothing in God's sight.

16“The Law of Moses and the writings of the prophets were in effect up to the time of John the Baptist; since then the Good News about the Kingdom of God is being told, and everyone forces their way in. 17But it is easier for heaven and earth to disappear than for the smallest detail of the Law to be done away with.

18“Any man who divorces his wife and marries another woman commits adultery; and the man who marries a divorced woman commits adultery.

The Rich Man and Lazarus

19“There was once a rich man who dressed in the most expensive clothes and lived in great luxury every day. 20There was also a poor man named Lazarus, covered with sores, who used to be brought to the rich man's door, 21hoping to eat the bits of food that fell from the rich man's table. Even the dogs would come and lick his sores.

22“The poor man died and was carried by the angels to sit beside Abraham at the feast in heaven. The rich man died and was buried, 23and in Hades, where he was in great pain, he looked up and saw Abraham, far away, with Lazarus at his side. 24So he called out, ‘Father Abraham! Take pity on me, and send Lazarus to dip his finger in some water and cool my tongue, because I am in great pain in this fire!’

25“But Abraham said, ‘Remember, my son, that in your lifetime you were given all the good things, while Lazarus got all the bad things. But now he is enjoying himself here, while you are in pain. 26Besides all that, there is a deep pit lying between us, so that those who want to cross over from here to you cannot do so, nor can anyone cross over to us from where you are.’ 27The rich man said, ‘Then I beg you, father Abraham, send Lazarus to my father's house, 28where I have five brothers. Let him go and warn them so that they, at least, will not come to this place of pain.’

29“Abraham said, ‘Your brothers have Moses and the prophets to warn them; your brothers should listen to what they say.’ 30The rich man answered, ‘That is not enough, father Abraham! But if someone were to rise from death and go to them, then they would turn from their sins.’ 31But Abraham said, ‘If they will not listen to Moses and the prophets, they will not be convinced even if someone were to rise from death.’ ”

Sin

(Mt 18.6–7, 21–22; Mk 9.42)

1Jesus said to his disciples, “Things that make people fall into sin are bound to happen, but how terrible for the one who makes them happen! 2It would be better for him if a large millstone were tied round his neck and he were thrown into the sea than for him to cause one of these little ones to sin. 3So watch what you do!

“If your brother sins, rebuke him, and if he repents, forgive him. 4If he sins against you seven times in one day, and each time he comes to you saying, ‘I repent,’ you must forgive him.”

Faith

5The apostles said to the Lord, “Make our faith greater.”

6The Lord answered, “If you had faith as big as a mustard seed, you could say to this mulberry tree, ‘Pull yourself up by the roots and plant yourself in the sea!’ and it would obey you.

A Servant's Duty

7“Suppose one of you has a servant who is ploughing or looking after the sheep. When he comes in from the field, do you tell him to hurry and eat his meal? 8Of course not! Instead, you say to him, ‘Get my supper ready, then put on your apron and wait on me while I eat and drink; after that you may have your meal.’ 9The servant does not deserve thanks for obeying orders, does he? 10It is the same with you; when you have done all you have been told to do, say, ‘We are ordinary servants; we have only done our duty.’ ”

Jesus Heals Ten Men

11As Jesus made his way to Jerusalem, he went along the border between Samaria and Galilee. 12He was going into a village when he was met by ten men suffering from a dreaded skin disease. They stood at a distance 13and shouted, “Jesus! Master! Take pity on us!”

14Jesus saw them and said to them, “Go and let the priests examine you.”

On the way they were made clean. 15When one of them saw that he was healed, he came back, praising God in a loud voice. 16He threw himself to the ground at Jesus' feet and thanked him. The man was a Samaritan. 17Jesus said, “There were ten men who were healed; where are the other nine? 18Why is this foreigner the only one who came back to give thanks to God?” 19And Jesus said to him, “Get up and go; your faith has made you well.”

The Coming of the Kingdom

(Mt 24.23–28, 37–41)

20Some Pharisees asked Jesus when the Kingdom of God would come. His answer was, “The Kingdom of God does not come in such a way as to be seen. 21No one will say, ‘Look, here it is!’ or, ‘There it is!’; because the Kingdom of God is within you.”

22Then he said to the disciples, “The time will come when you will wish you could see one of the days of the Son of Man, but you will not see it. 23There will be those who will say to you, ‘Look, over there!’ or, ‘Look, over here!’ But don't go out looking for it. 24As the lightning flashes across the sky and lights it up from one side to the other, so will the Son of Man be in his day. 25But first he must suffer much and be rejected by the people of this day. 26As it was in the time of Noah so shall it be in the days of the Son of Man. 27Everybody kept on eating and drinking, and men and women married, up to the very day Noah went into the boat and the flood came and killed them all. 28It will be as it was in the time of Lot. Everybody kept on eating and drinking, buying and selling, planting and building. 29On the day Lot left Sodom, fire and sulphur rained down from heaven and killed them all. 30That is how it will be on the day the Son of Man is revealed.

31“On that day someone who is on the roof of his house must not go down into the house to get any belongings; in the same way anyone who is out in the field must not go back to the house. 32Remember Lot's wife! 33Whoever tries to save his own life will lose it; whoever loses his life will save it. 34On that night, I tell you, there will be two people sleeping in the same bed: one will be taken away, the other will be left behind. 35Two women will be grinding corn together: one will be taken away, the other will be left behind.”

37The disciples asked him, “Where, Lord?”

Jesus answered, “Wherever there is a dead body, the vultures will gather.”

The Parable of the Widow and the Judge

1Then Jesus told his disciples a parable to teach them that they should always pray and never become discouraged. 2“In a certain town there was a judge who neither feared God nor respected people. 3And there was a widow in that same town who kept coming to him and pleading for her rights, saying, ‘Help me against my opponent!’ 4For a long time the judge refused to act, but at last he said to himself, ‘Even though I don't fear God or respect people, 5yet because of all the trouble this widow is giving me, I will see to it that she gets her rights. If I don't, she will keep on coming and finally wear me out!’ ”

6And the Lord continued, “Listen to what that corrupt judge said. 7Now, will God not judge in favour of his own people who cry to him day and night for help? Will he be slow to help them? 8I tell you, he will judge in their favour and do it quickly. But will the Son of Man find faith on earth when he comes?”

The Parable of the Pharisee and the Tax Collector

9Jesus also told this parable to people who were sure of their own goodness and despised everybody else. 10“Once there were two men who went up to the Temple to pray: one was a Pharisee, the other a tax collector.

11“The Pharisee stood apart by himself and prayed, ‘I thank you, God, that I am not greedy, dishonest, or an adulterer, like everybody else. I thank you that I am not like that tax collector over there. 12I fast two days a week, and I give you a tenth of all my income.’

13“But the tax collector stood at a distance and would not even raise his face to heaven, but beat on his breast and said, ‘God, have pity on me, a sinner!’ 14I tell you,” said Jesus, “the tax collector, and not the Pharisee, was in the right with God when he went home. For all who make themselves great will be humbled, and all who humble themselves will be made great.”

Jesus Blesses Little Children

(Mt 19.13–15; Mk 10.13–16)

15Some people brought their babies to Jesus for him to place his hands on them. The disciples saw them and scolded them for doing so, 16but Jesus called the children to him and said, “Let the children come to me and do not stop them, because the Kingdom of God belongs to such as these. 17Remember this! Whoever does not receive the Kingdom of God like a child will never enter it.”

The Rich Man

(Mt 19.16–30; Mk 10.17–31)

18A Jewish leader asked Jesus, “Good Teacher, what must I do to receive eternal life?”

19“Why do you call me good?” Jesus asked him. “No one is good except God alone. 20You know the commandments: ‘Do not commit adultery; do not commit murder; do not steal; do not accuse anyone falsely; respect your father and your mother.’ ”

21The man replied, “Ever since I was young, I have obeyed all these commandments.”

22When Jesus heard this, he said to him, “There is still one more thing you need to do. Sell all you have and give the money to the poor, and you will have riches in heaven; then come and follow me.” 23But when the man heard this, he became very sad, because he was very rich.

24Jesus saw that he was sad and said, “How hard it is for rich people to enter the Kingdom of God! 25It is much harder for a rich person to enter the Kingdom of God than for a camel to go through the eye of a needle.”

26The people who heard him asked, “Who, then, can be saved?”

27Jesus answered, “What is humanly impossible is possible for God.”

28Then Peter said, “Look! We have left our homes to follow you.”

29“Yes,” Jesus said to them, “and I assure you that anyone who leaves home or wife or brothers or parents or children for the sake of the Kingdom of God 30will receive much more in this present age and eternal life in the age to come.”

Jesus Speaks a Third Time about his Death

(Mt 20.17–19; Mk 10.32–34)

31Jesus took the twelve disciples aside and said to them, “Listen! We are going to Jerusalem where everything the prophets wrote about the Son of Man will come true. 32He will be handed over to the Gentiles, who will mock him, insult him, and spit on him. 33They will whip him and kill him, but three days later he will rise to life.”

34But the disciples did not understand any of these things; the meaning of the words was hidden from them, and they did not know what Jesus was talking about.

Jesus Heals a Blind Beggar

(Mt 20.29–34; Mk 10.46–52)

35As Jesus was coming near Jericho, there was a blind man sitting by the road, begging. 36When he heard the crowd passing by, he asked, “What is this?”

37“Jesus of Nazareth is passing by,” they told him.

38He cried out, “Jesus! Son of David! Take pity on me!”

39The people in front scolded him and told him to be quiet. But he shouted even more loudly, “Son of David! Take pity on me!”

40So Jesus stopped and ordered the blind man to be brought to him. When he came near, Jesus asked him, 41“What do you want me to do for you?”

“Sir,” he answered, “I want to see again.”

42Jesus said to him, “Then see! Your faith has made you well.”

43At once he was able to see, and he followed Jesus, giving thanks to God. When the crowd saw it, they all praised God.

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