God Knows and Cares
1 In the meanwhile, when so many thousands of the people had gathered that they were trampling on one another, Jesus commenced by saying primarily to His disciples, Be on your guard against the leaven (ferment) of the Pharisees, which is hypocrisy [producing unrest and violent agitation]. 2 Nothing is [so closely] covered up that it will not be revealed, or hidden that it will not be known. 3 Whatever you have spoken in the darkness shall be heard and listened to in the light, and what you have whispered in [people's] ears and behind closed doors will be proclaimed upon the housetops.
4 I tell you, My friends, do not dread and be afraid of those who kill the body and after that have nothing more that they can do. 5 But I will warn you whom you should fear: fear Him Who, after killing, has power to hurl into hell (Gehenna); yes, I say to you, fear Him! 6 Are not five sparrows sold for two pennies? And [yet] not one of them is forgotten or uncared for in the presence of God. 7 But [even] the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Do not be struck with fear or seized with alarm; you are of greater worth than many [flocks] of sparrows.
8 And I tell you, Whoever declares openly [speaking out freely] and confesses that he is My worshiper and acknowledges Me before men, the Son of Man also will declare and confess and acknowledge him before the angels of God. 9 But he who disowns and denies and rejects and refuses to acknowledge Me before men will be disowned and denied and rejected and refused acknowledgement in the presence of the angels of God. 10 And everyone who makes a statement or speaks a word against the Son of Man, it will be forgiven him; but he who blasphemes against the Holy Spirit [that is, whoever intentionally comes short of the reverence due the Holy Spirit], it will not be forgiven him [for him there is no forgiveness]. 11 And when they bring you before the synagogues and the magistrates and the authorities, do not be anxious [beforehand] how you shall reply in defense or what you are to say. 12 For the Holy Spirit will teach you in that very hour and moment what [you] ought to say.
13 Someone from the crowd said to Him, Master, order my brother to divide the inheritance and share it with me. 14 But He told him, Man, who has appointed Me a judge or umpire and divider over you? 15 And He said to them, Guard yourselves and keep free from all covetousness (the immoderate desire for wealth, the greedy longing to have more); for a man's life does not consist in and is not derived from possessing overflowing abundance or that which is over and above his needs.
Parable of the Wealthy Fool
16 Then He told them a parable, saying, The land of a rich man was fertile and yielded plentifully. 17 And he considered and debated within himself, What shall I do? I have no place [in which] to gather together my harvest. 18 And he said, I will do this: I will pull down my storehouses and build larger ones, and there I will store all my grain or produce and my goods. 19 And I will say to my soul, Soul, you have many good things laid up, [enough] for many years. Take your ease; eat, drink, and enjoy yourself merrily. 20 But God said to him, You fool! This very night they [the messengers of God] will demand your soul of you; and all the things that you have prepared, whose will they be? 21 So it is with the one who continues to lay up and hoard possessions for himself and is not rich [in his relation] to God [this is how he fares].
22 And [Jesus] said to His disciples, Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious and troubled [with cares] about your life, as to what you will [have to] eat; or about your body, as to what you will [have to] wear. 23 For life is more than food, and the body [more] than clothes. 24 Observe and consider the ravens; for they neither sow nor reap, they have neither storehouse nor barn; and [yet] God feeds them. Of how much more worth are you than the birds! 25 And which of you by being overly anxious and troubled with cares can add a cubit to his stature or a moment [unit] of time to his age [the length of his life]? 26 If then you are not able to do such a little thing as that, why are you anxious and troubled with cares about the rest? 27 Consider the lilies, how they grow. They neither [wearily] toil nor spin nor weave; yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory (his splendor and magnificence) was not arrayed like one of these. 28 But if God so clothes the grass in the field, which is alive today, and tomorrow is thrown into the furnace, how much more will He clothe you, O you [people] of little faith? 29 And you, do not seek [by meditating and reasoning to inquire into] what you are to eat and what you are to drink; nor be of anxious (troubled) mind [ unsettled, excited, worried, and in suspense]; 30 For all the pagan world is [greedily] seeking these things, and your Father knows that you need them. 31 Only aim at and strive for and seek His kingdom, and all these things shall be supplied to you also. 32 Do not be seized with alarm and struck with fear, little flock, for it is your Father's good pleasure to give you the kingdom!
33 Sell what you possess and give donations to the poor; provide yourselves with purses and handbags that do not grow old, an unfailing and inexhaustible treasure in the heavens, where no thief comes near and no moth destroys. 34 For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.
Be in Readiness
35 Keep your loins girded and your lamps burning, 36 And be like men who are waiting for their master to return home from the marriage feast, so that when he returns from the wedding and comes and knocks, they may open to him immediately. 37 Blessed (happy, fortunate, and to be envied) are those servants whom the master finds awake and alert and watching when he comes. Truly I say to you, he will gird himself and have them recline at table and will come and serve them! 38 If he comes in the second watch (before midnight) or the third watch (after midnight), and finds them so, blessed (happy, fortunate, and to be envied) are those servants!
39 But of this be assured: if the householder had known at what time the burglar was coming, he would have been awake and alert and watching and would not have permitted his house to be dug through and broken into. 40 You also must be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour and a moment when you do not anticipate it.
Parable of the Faithful Steward
42 And the Lord said, Who then is that faithful steward, the wise man whom his master will set over those in his household service to supply them their allowance of food at the appointed time? 43 Blessed (happy and to be envied) is that servant whom his master finds so doing when he arrives. 44 Truly I tell you, he will set him in charge over all his possessions. 45 But if that servant says in his heart, My master is late in coming, and begins to strike the menservants and the maids and to eat and drink and get drunk, 46 The master of that servant will come on a day when he does not expect him and at an hour of which he does not know, and will punish him and cut him off and assign his lot with the unfaithful. 47 And that servant who knew his master's will but did not get ready or act as he would wish him to act shall be beaten with many [lashes]. 48 But he who did not know and did things worthy of a beating shall be beaten with few [lashes]. For everyone to whom much is given, of him shall much be required; and of him to whom men entrust much, they will require and demand all the more.
Christ Divides Men
49 I have come to cast fire upon the earth, and how I wish that it were already kindled! 50 I have a baptism with which to be baptized, and how greatly and sorely I am urged on (impelled, constrained) until it is accomplished! 51 Do you suppose that I have come to give peace upon earth? No, I say to you, but rather division; 52 For from now on in one house there will be five divided [among themselves], three against two and two against three. 53 They will be divided, father against son and son against father, mother against daughter and daughter against mother, mother-in-law against her daughter-in-law and daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law.
54 He also said to the crowds of people, When you see a cloud rising in the west, at once you say, It is going to rain! And so it does. 55 And when [you see that] a south wind is blowing, you say, There will be severe heat! And it occurs. 56 You playactors (hypocrites)! You know how [intelligently] to discern and interpret and prove the looks of the earth and sky; but how is it that you do not know how to discern and interpret and apply the proof to this present time?
57 And why do you not judge what is just and personally decide what is right? 58 Then as you go with your accuser before a magistrate, on the way make a diligent effort to settle and be quit (free) of him, lest he drag you to the judge, and the judge turn you over to the officer, and the officer put you in prison. 59 I tell you, you will never get out until you have paid the very last [fraction of a] cent.