Change Your Hearts
1At that time some people were there with Jesus. They told him about what had happened to some people from Galilee. Pilate# Pontius Pilate was the Roman governor of Judea from 26 to 36. killed those people while they were worshiping. He mixed their blood with the blood of the animals they were sacrificing to God. 2Jesus answered, “Do you think this happened to them because they were more sinful than all others from Galilee? 3No, they were not! But if all of you don’t change your hearts and lives, then you will be destroyed as they were! 4What about those 18 people who died when the tower of Siloam fell on them? Do you think they were more sinful than all the others who live in Jerusalem? 5They were not! But I tell you, if you don’t change your hearts and lives, then you will all be destroyed too!”
The Useless Tree
6Jesus told this story: “A man had a fig tree planted in his vineyard. He came looking for some fruit on the tree, but he found none. 7So the man said to his servant who took care of his vineyard, ‘I have been looking for fruit on this tree for three years, but I never find any. Cut it down! Why should it waste the ground?’ 8But the servant answered, ‘Master, let the tree have one more year to produce fruit. Let me dig up the dirt around it and put on some fertilizer. 9Maybe the tree will produce fruit next year. If the tree still doesn’t produce fruit, then you can cut it down.’”
Jesus Heals on the Sabbath
10Jesus was teaching in one of the synagogues on the Sabbath day. 11In the synagogue there was a woman who had an evil spirit in her. This spirit had made the woman a cripple for 18 years. Her back was always bent; she could not stand up straight. 12When Jesus saw her, he called her over and said, “Woman, your sickness has left you!” 13Jesus put his hands on her. Immediately she was able to stand up straight and began praising God.
14The synagogue leader was angry because Jesus healed on the Sabbath day. He said to the people, “There are six days for work. So come to be healed on one of those days. Don’t come for healing on the Sabbath day.”
15The Lord answered, “You people are hypocrites! All of you untie your work animals and lead them to drink water every day—even on the Sabbath day! 16This woman that I healed is our Jewish sister. But Satan has held her for 18 years. Surely it is not wrong for her to be freed from her sickness on a Sabbath day!” 17When Jesus said this, all the men who were criticizing him were ashamed. And all the people were happy for the wonderful things Jesus was doing.
Stories of Mustard Seed and Yeast
18Then Jesus said, “What is God’s kingdom like? What can I compare it with? 19God’s kingdom is like the seed of the mustard plant.# The seed is very small, but the plant grows taller than a man. A man plants this seed in his garden. The seed grows and becomes a tree. The wild birds build nests on its branches.”
20Jesus said again, “What can I compare God’s kingdom with? 21It is like yeast that a woman mixes into a big bowl of flour. The yeast makes all the dough rise.”
The Narrow Door
22Jesus was teaching in every town and village. He continued to travel toward Jerusalem. 23Someone said to Jesus, “Lord, how many people will be saved? Only a few?”
Jesus said, 24“Try hard to enter through the narrow door that opens the way to heaven! Many people will try to enter there, but they will not be able. 25A man gets up and closes the door of his house. You can stand outside and knock on the door. You can say, ‘Sir, open the door for us!’ But he will answer, ‘I don’t know you! Where did you come from?’ 26Then you will say, ‘We ate and drank with you. You taught in the streets of our town.’ 27But he will say to you, ‘I don’t know you! Where did you come from? Go away from me! All of you do evil!’ 28You will see Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and all the prophets in God’s kingdom. But you will be thrown outside. Then you will cry and grind your teeth with pain. 29People will come from the east, west, north, and south. They will sit down at the table in the kingdom of God. 30Those who are last now will be first in the future. And those who are first now will be last in the future.”
Jesus Will Die in Jerusalem
31At that time some Pharisees came to Jesus and said, “Go away from here! Herod wants to kill you!”
32Jesus said to them, “Go tell that fox Herod, ‘Today and tomorrow I am forcing demons out of people and finishing my work of healing. Then, on the third day, I will reach my goal.’ 33Yet I must be on my way today and tomorrow and the next day. Surely it cannot be right for a prophet to be killed anywhere except in Jerusalem.
34“Jerusalem, Jerusalem! You kill the prophets. You kill with stones those men that God has sent you. Many times I wanted to help your people. I wanted to gather them together as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings. But you did not let me. 35Now your home will be left completely empty. I tell you, you will not see me again until that time when you will say, ‘God bless the One who comes in the name of the Lord.’”# Quotation from Psalm 118:26.